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The American Catholic-Orthodox Church
28-03-2008, 11:41 PM
Post: #16
Re: On Alphabet Soup
Rick Henry Wrote:Dear Tom,

I understand now that you are the AOCC. Possibly we need to change the title of this thread? Good job catching this Tom!

In Christ,
Rick


No problem Rick. As you have probably already discovered there are scores of Acronyms in the U.S. Many groups I am convinced exist only on paper without any real ministry. I'm just a seminarian and I am involved in ministry work. I ran into one group once that had 11 Bishops, no priests, no deacons, no seminarians and no parishes. We certainly are not large but we are serious about ministry.

A comment made above by John brings to mind the fact that all of our Clergy are bi-vocational. Because we and some others like us were planted by missionary activity and then ... well forgotten we are placed in the position that we are in essence still, several decades later, essentially missions. It gives one a unique perspective to say the least.

In Peace
Tom

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!


Tom
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29-03-2008, 09:05 AM
Post: #17
Orthodoxy: ethnicity and praxis
Dear Tom,

Both your own story and that of the BOC raise the important question of evangelising for Orthodoxy in countries where the Faith is already well 'planted'. In such cases it is natural that the nexus of any Orthodoxy will be immigrant communities which, by their nature and circumstances tend to hold fiercely to the signs of their nationalism in their new environment.

I can remember on another forum one chap telling me he'd had to learn old Church Slavonic, so why couldn't I? The answer is found in Acts 15 and in the practice of the Apostles themselves. Indeed, had Sts. Cyril and Methodius gone to Kiev telling the Slavs that unless they spoke Greek they couldn't hear the Good News, I suspect Russia would not be Orthodox now.

Those outside the immigrant Orthodox, as with those in the second or third generation of the diaspora, face a problem. The ethnicity within which Orthodoxy is embedded is often mistaken for Orthodoxy itself by the Orthodox; but those standing outside that ethnicity see it otherwise. So where do those not immigrants or not Greek, Russian or whatever, come to Orthodoxy?

Fr. Peter Gillquist's book on becoming Orthodox is very revealing here. It is clear from it that the Greeks didn't want him and his group because they feared a bunch of 'Anglos' swamping them; there was never any connection with the Russians; so if it had not been for the Antiochians they would not have been able to join with a canonical Orthodox group. even now, many years later, one finds in reviews of Gillquist's writings traces of Greek and Russian Orthodox distrust of Anglo newcomers. I do wonder sometimes whether parts of the Orthodox Church actually want to evangelise or simply run a social club for religiously-minded immigrants?

This is just one of the reasons why I am so grateful to the BOC. Without it I don't see how the journey to Orthodoxy would have been completed; even now, I tend to pinch myself and wonder whether the BOC is typical in any way of other Orthodox bodies?

The BOC exemplifies what the early Church knew - that is the importance of the bishop. We are enormously blessed in Abba Seraphim, as we are with our other clergy - and that is where the answer to the question of how to engage the populations of the UK and the USA has to begin; with the successors of the Apostles.


In peace,

John

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
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29-03-2008, 11:24 AM
Post: #18
Re: Orthodoxy: ethnicity and praxis
John Charmley Wrote:Dear Tom,

Both your own story and that of the BOC raise the important question of evangelising for Orthodoxy in countries where the Faith is already well 'planted'. In such cases it is natural that the nexus of any Orthodoxy will be immigrant communities which, by their nature and circumstances tend to hold fiercely to the signs of their nationalism in their new environment.

I can remember on another forum one chap telling me he'd had to learn old Church Slavonic, so why couldn't I? The answer is found in Acts 15 and in the practice of the Apostles themselves. Indeed, had Sts. Cyril and Methodius gone to Kiev telling the Slavs that unless they spoke Greek they couldn't hear the Good News, I suspect Russia would not be Orthodox now.

Those outside the immigrant Orthodox, as with those in the second or third generation of the diaspora, face a problem. The ethnicity within which Orthodoxy is embedded is often mistaken for Orthodoxy itself by the Orthodox; but those standing outside that ethnicity see it otherwise. So where do those not immigrants or not Greek, Russian or whatever, come to Orthodoxy?

Fr. Peter Gillquist's book on becoming Orthodox is very revealing here. It is clear from it that the Greeks didn't want him and his group because they feared a bunch of 'Anglos' swamping them; there was never any connection with the Russians; so if it had not been for the Antiochians they would not have been able to join with a canonical Orthodox group. even now, many years later, one finds in reviews of Gillquist's writings traces of Greek and Russian Orthodox distrust of Anglo newcomers. I do wonder sometimes whether parts of the Orthodox Church actually want to evangelise or simply run a social club for religiously-minded immigrants?

This is just one of the reasons why I am so grateful to the BOC. Without it I don't see how the journey to Orthodoxy would have been completed; even now, I tend to pinch myself and wonder whether the BOC is typical in any way of other Orthodox bodies?

The BOC exemplifies what the early Church knew - that is the importance of the bishop. We are enormously blessed in Abba Seraphim, as we are with our other clergy - and that is where the answer to the question of how to engage the populations of the UK and the USA has to begin; with the successors of the Apostles.


In peace,

John


Dear John;
Well written my brother. Indeed as I shared earlier that is much the issue here. I think the OCA (Russian) is now starting to use English a little more often but it has been a long time coming. Indeed evangelism must take place in English in English speaking countries. I have also found that the rugged individualistic average American has come to distrust anything that even remotely looks, smells or feels foreign to them. (Yes I know not a very pretty comment about your average U.S. Citizen) I suppose we should focus upon Paul's writing when he states that he becomes all things to all men so that some may be saved.

Thanks again for making +Samuel and I feel so welcome here.

Tom

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!


Tom
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29-03-2008, 11:58 AM
Post: #19
 
Dear Tom,

Thank you, and Metropolitan +Samuel for your engagement with us here; it is good to have you here and to discuss the important questions we both seek to address; indeed what is more important that bringing the True Faith to all?

Like the Apostles we have to take men and women as we find them; the ideal evangelistic opportunity probably never occurs; the Church is in the business of bringing us in repentance to Christ; it receives us with love as the sinners we are because it perceives, in our desire to repent and walk in His way, the person we shall become when He is in us and we are in Him.

The encounter between Orthodoxy and western democracy is an interesting one. We do not have open to us the Russian option - that of claiming there is a special sort of ethnically Russian democracy which, unlike its western counterpart is not marked by an individualistic ethos and independence of mind. Nor do we have open the Roman Catholic option of finding unity through the headship of a bishop who when he speaks ex cathedra does so with the authority of St. Peter.

The history of Orthodox Christianity reveals a story of splits, schisms, reconciliations and pronouncements of anathemata, which runs alongside and is part of the broader picture. Even as we are a spiritual hospital offering healing, so too are we fully-human - with all that involves. The process of divinisation proceeds in us, but how much we all slip and stumble; how much then do we all need to bear with each other on life's journey.

The BOC has, I believe, set a model of what is needful in our times and place. History, time and circumstance have all left deposits of Orthodoxy across parts of the western world; but the working of the Holy Spirit has created the opportunity for those Churches to come back into contact with their 'home' Churches; just as He has made it possible for whole convert groups like that of Fr. Peter Gillquist to be received into the Church. Where the Orthodox Churches act as the Greeks appear to have done with Fr. Peter's mission, they miss the chance to bring together the scattered sheep; where they behave as the Antiochians did there, or as the Coptic Church did with the BOC, then they do indeed fulfil the Great Commission laid upon them by Christ Himself.

Of course, to the scattered sheep the problem appears in a guise different from that perceived by the Shepherd. We are confident of our orthodoxy and heritage; but the Shepherd needs to be as sure as we are, and that can sometimes seem hard; but it is necessary, and a good exercise in Christian humility and patience.

This is a site intended for fellowship. We like to think we are true ecumenists. That does not mean we are the ecclesiastical equivalent of one of those political parties which likes to say it is all things to all men; we know what we stand for and in whose name we preach. We know, also, that His command was to love one another and to be one. For us, true ecumenism comes in providing the opportunity for dialogue with those who wish to know more about Orthodoxy. From those to whom much has been given, much is expected.

In peace,

John

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
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30-03-2008, 10:59 AM
Post: #20
Re: Further Clarification
Dear Metropolitan +Samuel,

Thanks for continuing to be open to dialogue here. This speaks well of the AOCC that you are so willing to educate others and continue to clarify things for those like me who are just now learning about the AOCC. I am sympathetic to what is being shared about ethnic veins and nationalistic agendas here in this thread. As John has mentioned in the past, I seem to have a very high interest in an American Orthodoxy--this subject has consumed much of my time and conversation in the past two years.

I would like to understand something more clearly though. Admittedly, I am a very poor historian; however, as I have been attempting to learn about the AOCC, primarily through your gracious efforts/writing here, I was struck by something you said earlier in this thread, and I shared it with some of my friends who I thought might find this enlightening, as you wrote:


AmericanOrthodox Wrote:There was also a great deal of upheaval among the Orthodox Jurisdictions in this country at that time, as several arms of that Church were formed. From this came such Jurisdictions as the OCA and ROCOR, which, if I might add, were under Archbishop Ofiesh's omophora at one point. However, they chose to continue in an ethnic vein and walked away from Archbishop Ofiesh who clung tightly to a true American orthodoxy.

However, as it relates to the comments about the OCA and ROCOR, to my surprise, instead of a time/vehicle of illumination I received direct challenges to what is shared above, and I was told that this is completely false.

It was shared with me (to paraphrase lightly) that "Bishop Aftimios was, indeed, at one time a legitimate bishop in a very chaotic time, ecclessiastically speaking. However, he gave up all claims of legitimacy when he married and started ordaining bishops single-handedly. The OCA was certainly never under his jurisdiction because the OCA did not technically exist until it was officially formed in 1970. ROCOR existed prior to Metr. Sergius who is not without some controversy himself, and to say that it was put under Bishop Afthemios is a stretch at very best. ROCOR exists in many countries, not just the US, so putting them administratively under Afthemios would have been tandamount to saying all Russians outside of Russia throughout the world were American Orthodox. I just do not see that as a realistic possibility."

And, from another (in less of a paraphrase mode) I was told to 'look at my own research and put the timelines together.' "In 1927, the North American Metropolia was still a part of ROCOR which was at that time headquarted in Serbia. It makes absolutely no logical sense that the Metropolia and/or all of ROCOR would be under Aftimios Oefish if they were, in fact, the ones who ordained and chartered him (btw, Aftimios Oefish was in fact defrocked after his marriage). The whole core of the Metopolia/OCA vs ROCOR dispute is about ecclesiastical authority over the Church in North America - is it conceivable that either of those bodies who have been nipping at each other's heels all these years about who is the true successor of the Russian Church in North America would give it all up to a newly consecrated Arab - I don't think so."

So as I said, I thought this was a very significant point that you made at the onset of this discussion about the OCA and ROCOR being under the Archbishop at one point, but, as you can see now I am somewhat confused about the facts here.

Thanks again very much for your time and patience here.

In Christ,
Rick
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30-03-2008, 03:48 PM
Post: #21
 
Dear Rick,

Thanks for sharing those snipped of information; how redolent some of them are of the spirit of some on that other site. Why refrain from saying a critical thing unless you can do it with real acerbity? 'See how they love each other' comes to mind for obvious reasons.

I can understand why ROCOR take that sort of attitude; having been called all sorts of things themselves in their time by the MP, getting your retaliation in first is a tactic of first choice to some within it! It sounds so unedifying, and the sort of thing that makes some just walk away; of course it makes others roll up their sleeves and get those sledgehammers out.

I suspect that Metropolitan +Samuel will have another take from that of our old chums. Still, since some of them think I'm a Monophysite heretic bound for warmer climes (OK, I know its only our G®assy friend and a couple of others) in the hereafter, my two pennyworth don't count!

But seriously, thanks for sharing what is being said. I'm sure it won't surprise His Grace, but it is good that it should be out in open view where he and Tom can deal with it appropriately. It is an act of kindness on your part not just to take the easier route of letting it pass; you're a truly generous orthodox yourself; if only all were!

In Christ,

John

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
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31-03-2008, 11:16 AM
Post: #22
Not Surprising
Dear Rick and all ...

Absolutely nothing of what you quoted from your friends in the OCA and ROCOR surprised me in the least.

First ... let me clarify something absolutely. Archbishop Ofiesh never consecrated Bishops single handedly. He ordained exactly four Bishops ... Emmanuel Abohatab in 1926, with Bishops Arseney and Theophaney at, coincidentally, the OCA Seminary in Pennsylvania; Sophronios Bishara at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Brooklyn, New York in 1928 and with Bishops Emmanuel Abohatab and Elias of Tyre and Sidon, (Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch); Joseph Zuk, with Bishop Bishara in 1931, (Zuk became the first Metropolitan of The Ukranian Orthodox Church of America); and William Albert (Ignatius) Nichols in 1932, with Bishops Zuk and Bishara. The last consecration, and I do emphasize "last" here, was celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Brooklyn.

I find it rather funny, (sarcasm meant here), that absolutely nowhere in either version of Bishop Ofiesh's Biography written by his wife, (yes, he was married and I shall delve into that in a minute), is there any mention of other consecrations. Now ... why two versions of the Biography? Ofiesh's wife was basically blackmailed by the Antiochian Church into writing a version of the biography acceptable to the Antiochians so Ofiesh would have some place to be buried. I am in possession of both versions of the Biography.

Now ... the marriage issue. I challenge the notion that a Bishop has to be celibate. To the best of my understanding of the Pedalion and the Canons of the Councils, there is absolutely nowhere to be found the mandate that a Bishop has to come from the ranks of Monks. Also ... i quote Saint Paul in his Epistle to Titus when he lays down the qualifications for a Bishop ...

"For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I have appointed thee: if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly. For a Bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God, not self willed, not quick to anger, not given to wine, not violent, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers, ( Titus1: 5-9).

I could go much further here, but that would be pointless I think. The ethnic Churches will always have their own selfish agendas, and I and the Hierarchs, Clergy and Seminarians of the AOCC will not engage them. It, quite frankly, is tantamount to beating a dead horse. The AOCC is more interested in continuing the mission and ministry given it to be a unifier rather than a divider.

I apologize here and now if I have offended in any way by what I have said, but I tend to get rather upset when untruths are told about Archbishop Ofiesh and the AOCC.

Peace, my brothers.

Metropolitan +Samuel
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06-04-2008, 02:37 PM
Post: #23
 
Dear All,

I would like to second John's thought whereby possibly others could speak to the issue of a married episcopate.

My mind goes to the passage shared by Metropolitan +Samuel above, and others from the Holy Writ, whereby we see, according to the Apostle Paul, for both the presbuteros and episcopos in the New Testament marriage is normal and acceptable.

So yes John, good question as well, when you share that the issue of a married episcopate has been a long standing Orthodox practice; however, is it more than a practice?

Is this something to be explained as an allowance for different schools of thought, or is this more of a kind of boundary marker?

In Christ,
Rick
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06-04-2008, 03:31 PM
Post: #24
 
Dear Rick,

It would be good to have some input here from those with more knowledge. My Roman Catholic friends are fond of pointing out to me that where they have developed the notion of a celibate clergy, we have a half way house. It would be confrontational to point out that the Eastern Catholic Churches have married clergy.

The Anglicans, of course, go the whole hog the other way - allowing both married priests and bishops.

In Christ,

John

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
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