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The BOR Diaspora

Author: Fr. Cezar Tabarna
January 8, 2009

“The Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) has a strong Diaspora in the United States of America.”  (Unofficial translation)  Three articles found in “ZIARUL LUMINA” - THE LIGHT NEWSPAPER (The Romanian Patriarchate’s Daily) January 6, 7, 8, 2009.

  • January 6, 2009.

The beginning of the canonical organizing of the Romanian Orthodox Church in both Americas was made at the Church Congress, made up of clergy and lay representatives from existing Romanian Orthodox parishes in the United States and Canada, which met in Detroit Michigan on April 25, 1929.  It was decided at this Congress that to initiate a Missionary Episcopate under the canonical jurisdiction of the Romanian Orthodox Church.  The Congress let its decision be known by way of a written request to the Patriarchate signed by all of the parish representatives.  At their November 1929 meeting, the National Church Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate approved the request made by the American church Congress.  Following these decisions, His Holiness Patriarch Miron offered the newly started Missionary Episcopate canonical authority by means of the Patriarchal decree #10219 dated November 1, 1930.  The Patriarch gave authority to the interim administrative Council, formed at the 1929 Congress, to organize, educate and lead in all Episcopate matters until the election and installation of a Bishop.  In order to better organize not only the Episcopate but also its parishes in conformity with Orthodox Canons, the Church Congress held in Cleveland Ohio on October 30, 1932 adopted a Constitution and By-laws organizing church life.  The Constitution was ratified by the (BOR’s) Holy Synod at their June 15, 1933 meeting.  Afterwards revisions were made; the first and most important being adopted at the July 1935 Congress under the Presidency of Bishop Policarp.

Of equal importance are the (BOR’s) Holy Synod decisions regarding the Archdiocese’s Autonomy.  The first of these was decided upon by the Permanent Synod on July 12, 1950.  The second was expressed in a Decree of (BOR’s) Plenary Holy Synod Session of December 12, 1974, which clearly defines the unique relationship between the Mother Church and her daughter in the two Americas.

  • January 7, 2009.

The Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the two Americas is an eparchy of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR), with which it retains a unity of apostolic faith, dogmatically, canonically and liturgically.  This relationship is defined in (BOR’s) Holy Synod Decree dated July 12, 1950 and in the Holy Synod’s Plenary Session of December 12, 1974.

In the Constitution of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America it stipulates: “Being in complete canonical and ecclesiastic communion with BOR, as well as with the eparchies of other Orthodox Churches with canonical jurisdiction in North and South America, the Archdiocese is a founding member of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America (SCOBA), the only recognized forum for inter-Orthodox relations in America, including the problem of Orthodox administrative unity in both Americas, and the Archbishop is a voting member of said group.  Inasmuch as it is the unique organization having continuous and uninterrupted canonical and spiritual ties with BOR, the Archdiocese has the exclusive right to recognize church institutions of Orthodox Christians of Romanian origin that are in its juridical limits as well as having the right to use the term “Romanian Orthodox” as a qualifier or as its official title.  The Archdiocese asks that all Romanian Orthodox Christians, clergy and laity, attempt to maintain canonical, spiritual and administrative unity in both Americas, in conformity with the Traditions of the Orthodox Church.

The missionary role of the Archdiocese is to initiate and strengthen Orthodox Christian communities by spreading the Gospel, having communion of spirit with its members by means of the Holy Gifts, and by assisting them in fulfilling their pastoral and social needs.  Inasmuch as it is a community which has its roots in the Romanian Orthodoxy, the Archdiocese is the organization that maintains the Romanian language and culture, together with all that is good and holy in the lives of the Romanian people, being at the same time conscious of its divine vocation to be the light for all who search Salvation, and this not only for Romanian immigrants in both Americas, but also for the following generations as well as for who joined these Romanian communities either through marriage or by conversion.

  • January 8, 2009.

The Archdiocese here (in America) is an autonomous eparchy, in line with Decrees of autonomy granted by the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR’s) Holy Synod on December 12, 1974.  The jurisdiction of the Archdiocese includes North and South America.  Following the Decree of Autonomy, the Archdiocese conducts itself following its own Constitution.  The latter must maintain canonical, dogmatic and spiritual links to BOR’s Holy Synod, from which it receives the Holy Myrrh, in conformity with the Canons and the canonical organization of the Orthodox Church.  The Archdiocese administers, instructs, leads and supervises the spiritual and religious life in the parishes, missions, monasteries and other eparchial institutions, auxiliary and youth organizations under its jurisdiction.  The Archdiocese has its own printing facilities and publicizes books, newspapers bulletins and literature for the religious and moral education of its faithful, in keeping with the teachings of the Orthodox Church.

The Archdiocese is led by an Archbishop, chosen by Congress, confirmed and seated by BOR’s Holy Synod.  The Archbishop holds the title of Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of both Americas, and is a permanent member of BOR’s Holy Synod.  The Archdiocese includes the following institutions and organizations: the Central Eparchial Administration, deaneries, parishes, missions, monasteries and other monastic properties, theological institutes, and any other institutions and organizations.  Presently, the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of both Americas is lead by His Eminence Nicolae Condrea, and the Bishop-Vicar is His Grace Ioan Casian.

The two Romanian Orthodox Eparchies in America and Canada decided in 2008 to unite under the canonical and spiritual administration of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR), after over six decades of separation.  The act of unity is the result of the dialogue between hierarchs, priests and laity of both eparchies, a dialogue encouraged by the Romanian Patriarchate.  The new structure is called the “Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of both Americas”.

4 Comments to “The BOR Diaspora”

  1. Alex Nemoianu Says:

    La inceputul anului 2009, in mai multe numere consecutive, “ziarul Lumina” al Patriarhiei Ortodoxe Romane a dedicat spatiu unor texte contribuite de catre un anume preot Cezar Tabarna despre, ceeace acest preot numeste, “diaspora ortodoxa romana”. Din capul locului trebuie spus ca ziarul “Lumina”, in trista traditie a publicisticii comuniste preluata de noile structuri neo-comuniste, cleptocratice, ale Romanei, nu publica la intamplare, publica doar deliberat si cu intentie care, mai intotdeauna este rea, la comanda.

    Cu adevarat revoltatoare, pentru sfruntata nerusinare si ignorare a adevarului, sunt randurile dedicate situatiei Ortodocsilor de origine romana din Lumea Noua. In primul rand este jignitor ca Romanii-Americani si Romanii-Canadieni sa fie numiti “diaspora”. Este posibil ca acest Tabarna sa nu stie intelesul cuvantului “diaspora” dar, inca mai probabil este ca el a folosit deliberat, spre dezinformare, acest cuvant. “Diaspora” este partea unui popor care traieste, vremelnic, in afara hotarelor sale istorice. In acest inteles Romanii-Americani si Romanii-Canadieni sunt orice, dar nu diaspora. Ca sa fim bine intelesi, Romanii-Americani si Romanii-Canadienti, sunt parte a natiunilor Americana si Canadiana, oameni ai locului unde se afla, care, in mod voluntar, au pastrat mostenirea spirituala si culturala a stramosilor lor, si care mostenire ei o duc in fapta si nu in vorba, care poate fi Engleza sau Romana. Ce putem spune despre aceia dintre Romanii-Americani si Romanii-Canadieni care sunt nascuti in Lumea Noua, poate la a treia si a patra generatie? Conform lui Tabarna sunt si ei “diaspora”? Dar dupa aceasta prima necuvinta de exprimare Tabarna se dezlantuie intr-un delir al dezinformarii.

    El spune cum ca in 1929 Romanii Ortodocsi din Lumea Noua s-au alcatuit intr-o “Episcopie Misionara”. Fals, caci termenul de “misionar” a fost adaugat numirii Episcopiei mai tarziu. Tabarna lasa sa se inteleaga, inducand in eroare deliberat, cum ca actuala “Arhiepiscopie Ortodoxa Romana Misionara” ar fi continuatoarea Episcopiei intemeiate in 1929. Nimic mai fals caci aceasta ROAA a fost adusa in existenta de catre comunistii din Romania in 1950. Acelasi Tabarna “omite” sa aminteasca despre Episcopia Ortodoxa Romana din America - ROEA- (”Vatra”), continuatoarea istorica a Episcopiei din 1929. In mod absolut scandalos el omite sa pomeneasca pe Ierarhii “Vetrei”, IPS VALERIAN si pe IPS NATHANIEL si orice merite ale lor. Tabarna nu poate pricepe ca pentru Ortodocsii Romani-American si Romani-Canadieni viitorul nu poate fi decat in Lumea Noua, cu Lumea Noua, ca parte din Lumea Noua si ca parte a Ortodoxiei din Lumea Noua.

    Dar ceeace incununeaza dezinformarea lui Tabarna este afirmatia dupa care cele doua eparhii (pe care premeditat nu le numeste!) s-ar fi unit intr-o “Mitropolie Romana Ortodoxa din America” sub ascultarea (i.e supunerea) Patriarhiei de la Bucuresti. Efectiv, “pasarea malai viseaza”! Intentia lui Cezar Tabarna (si de fapt a celor care au comandat textul, i.e Patriarhia cleptocratiei) este limpede. Ierarhii cu suflet de bisnitari ai Patriarhiei Romane, ajunsa o structura tipic neo-comunista, se doresc a fi stapanii “Vetrei” si ei isi inchipuie ca prin minciuna si prin dezinformare ar putea obtine ce vor. O alta trasatura mostenita din comunsim.

    Dar ce este cu adevarat trist este faptul ca unii membrii ai “Comisiei comune de dialog”, care ar trebui sa apere interesele “Vetrei” si credinciosilor ei, refuza cu indaratnicie sa vada reaua credinta a Patriarhiei Romane sau, mai exact, a nevrednicilor ei slujitori. Dar, din fericire, nici “noi” nu suntem asa de prosti cat ar voi “ei”. Minciuna si dezinformare pana la un punct, dar nu mai departe!

  2. Administrator Says:

    The above articles in the official newspaper of the Romanian Patriarchate underline that the LIE is alive and well, and festering in the halls of Bucharest’s Patriarchate.

    Three days worth of articles calling those of us, in Canada and the United States, who are of Romanian heritage, their Diaspora? Are we some form of an appendage of a country our forefathers left to find a better place to live in? Are we some form of appendage of a country millions of people have fled from after 1989 in search of a better life? I think not. How dare anyone from there refer to us in Canada and in the United States as their Diaspora! Those of us who have immigrated here and have chosen this to be our home, showing this by becoming citizens here, and those of us born here and choosing to proclaim our heritage here even 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 generations into our lives on these shores, are insulted by their audacity! One could ask if these people have dictionaries but we know that they do, and so this is an attempt to falsify who we are. In other words, this is all about rewriting history to justify their warped vision of the world, where they see a place for themselves in running our Churches, our Institutions, and our Cultural Centres. They wish to use us as a political platform to promote their external affairs policies in our countries of Canada and the United States, not to mention elsewhere in the western world. “Their” Diaspora is a LIE by definition. It does not exist.

    Their LIES continue in these three articles in how they have conveniently written our Episcopate out of the story they tell about our Church here in North America, which started organizing itself as an independent Episcopate back in 1929. They conveniently forget to mention that our ROEA Vatra Episcopate was the only Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in North America until after WW II, when in 1950 the Romanian Patriarchate and Government attempted to take over the Vatra. After losing succesive court battles, they created their own parrallel Church structure, today’s Archdiocese, the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of both Americas (ROAA), an appendage of Bucharest’s Romanian Patriarchate. Since that day, the ROAA has been a minority group, and so most Romanian Orthodox parishes and missions, started before AND after 1989, choose to join our independent Episcopate, which is under the canonical coverage of the Orthodox Church in America, rather than the Romanian Patriarchate’s ROAA. Their rewriting of history goes so far as to claim that only they can call themselves Romanian Orthodox and therefore we cannot. Those, who many of us consider to be traitors, have the privilege of calling themselves the descendants of Decebal and Traian, and our forefathers and some of us who suffered the blunt edge of their tyrannical swords are not? NO. History is not going to permit this type of rewriting. The LIARS are being called out and the TRUTH will be told.

    They speak of their role in North America and yet everything they do is almost completely divorced from anything Canadian or American. Do they not realize that our home is here, our friends are here, our neighbours are here, and our faith is practiced in our Churches here. We have chosen to be here and not elsewhere. Our future and our children’s future is here. Of course they realize all this but it does not fall into their ethnocentric political plans for us and hence the LIES. In sum, we have evolved and have moved forward and all they want from us is for us to regress and remain under their control.

    But that is all they were taught in Romania, and consequently that is all they know. It is up to us, those of us born in freedom, and those of us who have learned freedom and its responsibilities, to face up to LIES and call those who perpetrate these crimes by their real name, i.e. LIARS.

    How else can we call those who claim that “the two Romanian Orthodox Eparchies in America and Canada decided in 2008 to unite under the canonical and spiritual administration of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR), after over six decades of separation. The act of unity is the result of the dialogue between hierarchs, priests and laity of both eparchies, a dialogue encouraged by the Romanian Patriarchate. The new structure is called the ‘Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of both Americas’.” How many LIES can you fit into 3 sentences? This must win that contest. More importantly, let us not forget that these LIES are perpetrated in the Official daily newspaper of the Romanian Patriarchate. BOR and the Patriarchate condone these LIES.

    Unhappily, LIES continue to find a home on our shores as well, in our Episcopate, among the clergy and even among our Dialogue Commission, where only clerics are members. Why does our JDC stand idly by and let the LIES go on unchallenged? And go on they do; unabated, unchallenged and even revered as coming from “Holy” people. But LIES are only something said by a LIAR and never by a “Holy” person. One cannot revere a LIAR without condoning his LIE and thus becoming a de facto LIAR yourself. It is that simple and no, there is no escape, no justification, no matter how many robes or crosses you wear.

  3. Dr. Gale Papageorge Says:

    wow, I really try not to go to these orthodox blogs because of the over the top reponses. Anyone non orthodox just checking in on how we are talking to one another on these blogs would not recognize most of these places as christian. Can you imagine what they think of our churches?

    Honestly, why do I feel that this “unity” debate is about so much more than it proclaims to be? Perhaps because it is? I feel that the Romanian clergy and laity who want to reunite with the “Mother Church” are striving for something much more, which is the fear that the diaspora will be divided into so many small groups that there will be an identity loss throughout the Romanians here in America. This kind of fear is human nature and is apparent with any “ethnic minority” here in America. These are feelings and concerns that can’t be denied to them. In fact, America does have a poor track record of dealing with these situations, vis-a vis Native Americans, African Americans, etc. when these situations first appeared. I understand how and why individuals don’t want to give up their cultural roots and identity. We can’t deny the proclivity of such a situation.

    On the other hand, we have many American born clergy and laity (not in all cases) pulling the other way in fear that they will lose their cultural identity and needs in the process.

    Therefore, it seems that perhaps we are not addressing this situation in the way it needs to be addressed. We should be looking for solutions of compromise: perhaps a way in which Romanian born, particularly recent emigres, do not have to worry about being divided and losing their cultural identity within the church, and a way in which American born individuals can also feel the same.

    There must be a point ( or rather many points) of compromise in which both sides can come closer together and work together to find a way to come up with a working model that will maintain both goals. It seems to me that this hasn’t been dicussed, and if it has, it hasn’t been put out there for people to hear, and consequently, we are all working from a place of fear and nothing more, which only causes further bashing and unbrotherly and unchristian love.

    AS long as we can agree to not make the same mistakes as colonial America, and as long as the diaspora can let go of a completely idealistic vision of how it should be, there is always a hope to come to some kind of situation where one doesn’t usurp the identity and needs of the other. Let’s start talking about it in this light.

    Respectfully and In His Name,

    Dr. Gale Papageorge

  4. Administrator Says:

    Dear Dr. Gale Papageorge,
    The compromise you search for is what we have been living in the OCA for 50 years. We have our own Romanian Diocese (Episcopate) with our own Bishop and administrative autonomy in the Autocephalous OCA, so that in the future, our Diocese can evolve into the organic OCA, when the time is right. For this reason the door has always been open to Bucharest’s North American arm, the ROAA, to join with our ROEA Episcopate in the OCA. The real question is why won’t Bucharest (Patriarchate and Government) let this happen?

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