Posts Tagged ‘church politics’

This news release from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) announces a recent agreement between the Jerusalem and Constantinople Patriarchates ceding the JP’s claims of jurisdiction in the United States to the latter.  Its parishes here will form a vicariate directly under the jurisdiction of the Greek Archbishop of America, seemingly similar in many ways to Constantinople’s other non-Greek groups here, but without the status of a diocese or full “jurisdiction” of its own like them.  As they highlight that this will have the effect of bringing the JP’s Church here under the SCOBA umbrella (but without distinct representation on SCOBA), that will leave only the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) apart from it, among “canonical” Orthodox jurisdictions based here in the States.

Orthodoxwiki discusses the JP here, on this page, and links to a new page of theirs about the new Vicariate.*  A couple years ago I thought I read that, objecting to talk of the GOA absorbing breakaway Antiochian parishes (as discussed on Orthodoxwiki), the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America temporarily put the breaks on SCOBA Primates’ meetings.  But I lack complete information on this point.  SCOBA meetings have resumed since that time.

I have also read that the GOA does include a handful of parishes defined by Orthodox ethnicity other than Greek, including Romanian.  I don’t know the history there either.

(*–The small Belarusan “Council” of parishes that Orthodoxwiki continues to list in the present tense disappeared from GOA/EP information products – website, printed directory – some time in the last couple years.  I don’t know what happened to them, if anything.)

Christos anesti!  Alithos anesti!

As in all religious groups, in canonical Orthodoxy you will find a spectrum of approaches to other religious groups, from fervent opposition and isolationism to full embrace, and from the laity to Patriarchs, with a variety of justifications offered for each position.

Ironically, Orthodox in ecumenism have a reputation for arrogance and aloofness – I know not least because I thought them so as a Protestant reading about them in the church press in the ’90s!  While I believe it’s possible to present Orthodoxy more positively than our reputation, sometimes it seems like President Harry Truman: “‘Give ’em hell, Harry,’ his supporters would say.  And Truman would say, ‘I never give ’em hell.  I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”’  “The truth” is that Orthodoxy’s historical approach to other Christian bodies has been similar to Rome’s as well as that of some Evangelical and Fundamentalist churches: to consider itself THE Church of Christ* and all others in error and/or schism ultimately from it, to which they need to return to have the best chance of Salvation.  (They got it from us! 😉 )  It is also true that many Orthodox in ecumenism are taking other approaches, otherwise for certain we would have been long since disinvited!

(*–Ideally Orthodox say so adding ‘humbly, by God’s Graciousness and no doing of our own, we being so sinful, imperfect, political, etc etc, that Orthodoxy’s preservation is nothing less than a miraculous work of God and a sign from Him that there’s something of worth here!’)