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JDC Aug. 12, 2008 Communiqué

Author: Alex. C. Popescu
October 20, 2008
The Joint Dialogue Commission (JDC) produced a Communiqué after their August 12, 2008 meeting in Detroit. It is available on the website under ROEA Documents.  On closer scrutiny, certain statements need addressing:

1- Statement: “…the Commission met to continue its work on the proposal [… including …] the refinement of the Proposal text.”
1- Comment: Since that time nothing has been published concerning the “refinement of the Proposal text”. In spite of numerous negative comments concerning many of the proposed 20 points and suggestions made to improve the Proposal Document made since July, the JDC apparently refuses to disclose its “refinements” to the Council nor, more importantly, to the membership at large. What will become of those points which have drawn the most criticism? The JDC refuses to speak!

Furthermore, “refinement of the Proposal text” and its 20 points in more final format must await completion of the Due Diligence process. It seems that there exists a list of many pages of Due Diligence questions and nothing has yet happened with them.  Will Bucharest/Chicago i.e. the Romanian Patriarchate and/or its subservient Diocese - the ROAA, ever respond in full to these many pages of questions?  If they fail to respond to those questions, there cannot be a proposal to present for a vote of any kind on this issue.  Or, are they so sure that this is a done deal and therefore, no response is required?

2- Statement “The JDC members noted that both Congresses took an historic step by approving the proposal as a basis for continued dialogue.”
2- Comment: It is important to be very clear on this point and for this reason it is best to specifically quote the 2008 ROEA Congress Resolution on this topic. “Be it also resolved that the Episcopate Council recommends to the Episcopate Congress, in keeping with due diligence, that the Joint Dialogue Commission’s efforts to establish the Metropolitanate can continue, that the Archbishop… establish special Committees, namely, a “Constitution and By-Laws Committee”, “Jurisprudence”, “Finance Committee” and any other committees that may be necessary… And be it further resolved that said committees be established as soon as possible, and that their work be reported to the Episcopate Council…”

Yes, “continued dialogue” is approved but only inasmuch as ROEA due diligence Committees are set up and their reports presented to the Episcopate Council which will then finalize the information that will be distributed to the entire membership, including Episcopate Congress delegates.  “Continued dialogue” was also approved so that numerous due diligence questions relative to the actions of the Romanian Patriarchate, particularly inasmuch as they impact the faithful outside Romania during the past 60+ years, can finally be asked, and then answered.

What we have not been told in the JDC August 12, 2008 communiqué is that the above quote is language of limitation regarding Unity, preferred by the members of our ROEA Episcopate Council over the “we endorse the 20 points…”, which was the resolution language presented by our JDC members to our Episcopate Council and which the Council rejected. It seems that the JDC members had prepared a resolution which completely endorsed the 20 point Proposal, and if their resolution had not been blocked by our Episcopate Council, today we could have already been under the Romanian Patriarchate’s thumb! The JDC’s actions are clearly those of a pro-unity under Bucharest team, and this latest “Communiqué” is a continuation of their partisan propaganda and full of misinformation, both of commission and omission.

3- Statement: “The Commission regrets the hasty pronouncements of various officials and the media immediately after our Congresses.  These misrepresented our Congresses’ decisions as being final decisions on unity…”
3- Comment: This is a strange comment indeed since both ROEA Vicar Bishop Irineu and ROAA Archbishop Nicolae proclaimed this Unity publicly, albeit not finally, on July 6, 2008 in Chicago, the day after the July 5, 2008 ROEA Congress resolution quoted above was made.  Their recordings are on the “” website for all to hear and interpret.  They were quoted in several mass media outlets, and their feeble references to the remaining steps to be made before Unity is finally attained were not even registered by the media.  The declaration of Unity was made and anything else became such a minor irritant it wasn’t even quoted!  End of story. Therefore, the JDC has no one to blame but its own ROEA and ROAA Hierarchs for having “misrepresented our Congresses’ decisions as being final decisions on unity…”

4- Statement: “The Commission regrets the hasty pronouncements of various officials and the media immediately after our Congresses… Recent speculation and public commentary by individuals outside of our eparchies have only complicated the delicate nature of this process… ”
4- Comment: This is another interesting comment in that the Patriarchal news agency announced the “Union of the ROEA and ROAA under the Orthodox Church of Romania” as of July 6, 2008, and the Romanian Patriarch himself announced the Unity event at the Holy Synod of July 7-9, 2008.  Reference to these is made on the website.  Romanian and international news agencies broadcast this “news” and now millions of people believe that this Unity under Bucharest actually took place.  Also, we should not overlook Metropolitan Streza’s July 5, 2008 “Unity” remarks in Chicago.  It must be noted that the latter was the Romanian Patriarchate’s official representative at the Chicago events and is far from being an “outsider”. Does the JDC mention any of this? Language of omission…

5- Statement: “The Commission members insist that the process of discussion and possible union is in the competence of our two eparchies alone … ”
5- Comment: This is another curious statement in that the unofficial unity Proposal prepared by the JDC itself refers to the need of Romanian Patriarchate approval: “We propose that, together, we ask the Romanian Orthodox Church to recognize a maximally autonomous, united, Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of the Americas made up of the present Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, with the following properties:…” Therefore, having Patriarchal envoys and representatives such as Metropolitan Streza commenting and even leading Unity discussions makes perfect sense. They alone should know what is acceptable to the Romanian Patriarchate and what is not. That some JDC members give the impression they may or may not like what the Patriarchate has to say through its envoys is another issue, one that some should get used to if they go under the Romanian Patriarchate. More misinformation…

6- Statement: “In our first meeting in 1993 the Commission said: ‘We are cognizant of the fact that the reconciliation and normalization of relations between our respective dioceses is part of the larger process of bringing the various Orthodox jurisdictions together in the great work of an administratively united Orthodox Church on the American continent.’  The Commission would ask that our continuing efforts be understood within this larger context.”
6- Comment: This is a “how is that again” statement in that it seems so patently contradictory; and yet we are asked to not only accept it as logical argumentation but also be convinced by it.  Somehow, “ROEA/ROAA unity under the Romanian Patriarchate is a move towards Orthodox unity in North America”?  This would sound so much more believable if we would instead say: “ROEA/ROAA unity under the OCA is a move towards Orthodox unity in North America”.  That sounds better doesn’t it?  It also sounds eminently more logical.

A simple analogy would be, if you live in Detroit would you drive through Boston on your way to Los Angeles?  Of course not.  Then why leave the American Orthodox Church to join the Romanian Orthodox Church only to later rejoin American Orthodox Church?  Why would the OCA even consider taking you back once you’ve left them? The logic is simply not there…

As well, if this statement would be at all credible the JDC would have to answer why no meeting has been held amongst all the parties - the ROEA, the agents of Bucharest/ Chicago and the OCA?  Who has blocked such a meeting, which, if successful, could bring us closer to Orthodox unity in America? Is this Unity issue under Bucharest not simply an ethnic issue driven by political neo-colonialism?  Isn’t the above statement regarding Orthodox unity in America written only on paper but not written in the hearts of those who write it?  Isn’t this their way of paying lip service to our real goal, while they get us to sign the opposite on the proverbial dotted line? Willful omission/ commission…

Again, this statement makes no sense, since we should all know enough about the Romanian Patriarchate and its controlling State apparatus to be convinced that once they have us under their control, they will never let us go.  Our forefathers believed this and we should not be fooled into believing that power-mongering has vanished simply because 1989 became 1990.  Change in culture, ethics values takes a whole lot longer than 1 or even 20 years, possibly many generations… In the meantime we continue to grow apart…

But hold on, they do say: ‘We are cognizant of the fact that the reconciliation and normalization of relations between our respective dioceses is part of the larger process of bringing the various Orthodox jurisdictions together in the great work of an administratively united Orthodox Church on the American continent.’  So they really want ROEA/ROAA Unity under the OCA, right?  Ahh!, but possibly not today, only tomorrow, right? Or maybe… Please, enough with the misinformation. Stop.

When will this type of partisan, misinformation, JDC “Communiqué” end?  We need straight-talking, complete disclosure and full cooperation if we are to obtain all the facts and information needed, prior to deciding on the Episcopate’s future.  We need the due diligence procedure to start and we need each one of those many pages of questions to be answered before any votes are taken on the issue of Unity. We must know fully what kind of Unity is envisaged before we sign on that dotted line…  If there is insufficient cooperation from the other side, or if the due diligence findings produce negative results, then this discussion of ROEA/ROAA Unity under Bucharest should cease, and the sooner the better.  In any event, the debate should be refocused on ROEA/ROAA unity under the OCA, the only approach that makes any sense, particularly since this is what the Communiqué claims as the JDC’s goal.  Too much valuable time, energy, money and focus is being spent on issues that have nothing to do with growing our Church in North America, teaching and making our faith more palatable to our children so that they continue in the faith of our ancestors, presenting the beauties of this Church to our neighbours in the United States and Canada, and concentrating on preparing our own lives for eternal salvation.

No unity proposal is acceptable which gives to us a religious colonialism, long ago rejected by our parents and grandparents.  They built a church free from and independent of a State-controlled church.  Why would we now want to go backwards rather than continuing forwards?  Colonialism, even in the religious sense, is over, at least in the North American context. If others choose to live in the past let them do so by staying in or joining the Romanian ROAA, or whatever new eparchy the Romanian Patriarchate chooses to threaten them with, but please leave us alone!  If there are those in the Romanian ROAA interested in sharing our North American church life in the OCA, the American ROEA door is wide open.  We have chosen to go forward in the American ROEA, and this as part of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. This is our path and those who see their future here are welcome to join with us in this, the newest and only non-State-controlled Orthodox Church in the world, the OCA.

I pray that our Episcopate leadership, Hierarchs, Chancery staff, Episcopate Council members, Dialogue Commission members, and Committee members, would share these views, because most of the rest of us, faithful and clergy alike, have already chosen to be part of the American ROEA and the OCA, instead of the Romanian ROAA and the Romanian Patriarchate.  Let no one forget that we have had this choice since 1952 and continue to have this choice today.  We have already chosen!  Who dares attempt to overrule our choice?  The JDC certainly has no mandate to even consider this.  Who knows, maybe our leadership has already come to the same conclusion and the time has come to speak up for our Episcopate, free and independent of foreign control.

Alex. C. Popescu
October 20, 2008
Montreal, Canada

5 Comments to “JDC Aug. 12, 2008 Communiqué”

  1. Administrator Says:

    The above article highlights the July 5, 2008 Communications mess created by announcing a Unity that never took place. Millions of people worldwide now think that ROEA/ ROAA Unity under the Romanian Patriarchate has happened and no one has countered this misinformation, at least not to the extent that it has corrected the false impression already created on those millions of people in question. However, I fear this was done on purpose and that we are, once again, having to deal with people schooled in misinformation, etc.

    Another example is the back and forth on the ROAA debt which goes from non-existent to close to $2,000,000 with the latest number of roughly $1,500,000 being the most popular answer. A simple question deserves a simple answer…

  2. Ioan Filip Says:

    Please tell me, where did you get the information about the debt of ROAA? I suppose that you refer to the mortgage for the archdiocesan center in Chicago. As far as I know, the value of the purchase was slightly bigger that $1M. However, again, as far as I know, the community which is formed around the cathedral (they like to call themselves a ”parish”) is eager to get the full responsibility of that mortgage. So, it’s clear that you don’t have other reasons against the unity except the political ones.

  3. Administrator Says:

    Members of the ROAA Dialogue Commission have finally referred to the ROAA debt this spring/summer. As well, there are many legal and financial issues to be answered, even before proceeding with any further unity talks. This process is called “Due Dilligence” and our Episcopate Council and Episcopate Congress agreed that this must be first completed. The political questions you refer to (and there are many), will also be brought up, but all in due course. Keep reading this website.

  4. Constantine Nan Says:

    The article [JDC August 12, 2008 Communiqué reprinted in the Sept. / Oct. 2008 Solia] left me with the impression that the ultimate goal of the JDC is the
    establishment of a united Orthodox Church on the American continent. If this is
    in fact the case, why are we even considering being under the Patriarchate in
    Romania? Am I being naive in thinking that logically the ROAA should join the
    ROEA under the OCA?

  5. Administrator Says:

    Logically you are correct in that the Romanian ROAA should join the American ROEA under the OCA. The question is why the Romanian ROAA chooses not to, or more specifically, why the Romanian Patriarchate would never let this happen. One should not forget that the Romanian Patriarchate is the Romanian State Church, and that Hierarchs and clergy are paid Romanian government employees. Thus, as in every other sphere of activity, when looking for the source of power, follow the dollar!

    The Romanian State and its dependent Romanian Orthodox Church views the rest of the world as their Diaspora. They do not view us as independent individuals, citizens of other countries, who choose to group together in Churches free of State intervention, so that we might worship in the faith of our ancestors in the hope of attaining eternal salvation, and passing this on to our children.

    No, they view us an extension of the Romanian State and its dependent Church, a collective group ready-made to become a political platform for their benefit, and this not only in the United States and Canada, but also in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Australia, and countries all over the world.

    Another logical question here would be: “And what does this have to do with religion?”

    Unhappily, the response here is simple: “Nothing.”

    The next inevitable question is: “And what does this have to do with Romanian politics?”

    Again, the response is simple: “Everything”

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