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UNITY? – CONSIDER 40 PTS.

Author: Alex. C. Popescu
February 26, 2009
Our Romanian Orthodox Episcopate (ROEA) Congress is fast approaching. The “Unity” of our American “ROEA” with the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the America’s (ROAA) already under the Church of Romania (BOR), into a Metropolitanate all under Romania, was falsely announced last July by Bucharest. It will be tabled again. Unity is now lost somewhere in the “Due Diligence” process.

Consider the following 40 points:

1) Misinformation cannot be a basis for Dialogue. After 20 years of talks with us, the ROAA still claims they are the rightful descendants of the 1929 group who started our ROEA. The fact that in 1950 their Missionary Archdiocese was founded by the Romanian Patriarchate and Government in order grab hold of our ROEA, is never mentioned, nor are the 1950’s Court cases we won.

2) The ROAA still refer to our “heretical and non-canonical” situation under the “Russians” but never admit any wrongdoing in their and BOR having collaborated with the Communist tyrants that brought Romania to its knees for 40 years. Why? Many of those who sold out are today’s leaders.

3) When attempting to highlight the great sacrifices made by the ROEA Bishop Morusca and Archbishop Valerian, BOR and the ROAA come back and include the “sacrifices” their Bishop Moldovan and Archbishop Victorin suffered at the hands of the Communists. Those responsible for persecuting our leaders are now compared to the ones that were persecuted? This is an attempt at rewriting history.

4) The Feb. 2008 meeting in Bucharest between ROEA and BOR representatives was supposed to be only about correcting the historical record and not about any change in jurisdictional status. That goal was not fulfilled. Instead, an ROAA delegation joined the discussions, resulting in an “Agreed Statement” and then a 20 point “Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of NA” was issued.

5) Our Dialogue Committee (JDC) did not verify the canonical possibilities of what was being negotiated and they did not consult the BOR Constitution. In all that time, BOR/ ROAA did not mention that their newly passed BOR Constitution was in direct conflict with the “maximal autonomy” being proposed. Since these two are incompatible we must question the preparedness of our JDC. Also, we must assume that ROAA/ BOR representatives willfully negotiated with us something they knew could not happen. To this day, no one has offered to make any change to the BOR constitution that would accommodate the Proposal’s 20 points. Trust?

6) Our forefathers fought to build and protect a free church in a free society. BOR and the ROAA are aggressive, clearly displaying that they are ready grab what we have, in order to influence and control us, so that we become truly subservient to this foreign church and government. Must we give up our freedom in the name of Unity with those from foreign lands who continue to be duplicitous?

7) BOR and its underling ROAA repeatedly disrespect our ROEA in news releases by saying that the Unity is already done. The earlier releases were excused by our Hierarchs and JDC as being mistakes. Having this published six months later, on Jan. 8, 2009 in the Ziarul Lumina, BOR’s official newspaper, is truly appalling.

8) As soon as something does not go Bucharest’s way they immediately revert to threats and blackmail as was the case with the new Exarchate to be headed up by now deceased Fr. C. Fetea. This new entity under BOR was a threat to both the ROEA and the ROAA to hurry onto the unity train … or else!

9) Unity under BOR is a step backwards for us who have been evolving here in NA for 100 years. Our aim is a truly multi-jurisdictional Autocephalous American Orthodox Church. Most of that time has been with the OCA and only a couple of decades earlier with BOR. We are from here, not elsewhere, and our church and church leadership should be from here, not elsewhere, and this especially for the sake of our children.

10) The cultural divide between us is so great that if unity were ever achieved, it would probably disintegrate very quickly, with us and our children the first to be shown the door.

11) Having our NA Church under the control of foreigners is not only a step backwards, but can also be perceived as potential threat to our loyalty as US or Canadian nationals. If our Churches and communities fall into foreign hands and are used by those leaders as political platform to promote foreign objectives, we betray our loyalty to the US and Canada. The church should not be organized in such a way as to permit this aberration, particularly when we have options such as the OCA.

12) Separation of Church and State is sacred in our Western culture. Having the clergy in Romania paid by the Romanian Government means that they must follow government directives. We do not want our Church here to be directed by bureaucrats, external affairs representatives or worse from Romania.

13) The Patriarch’s March 11, 2008 letter to His underling ROAA’s Archbishop Nicolae is eloquent in its lack of respect for Nicolae’s “autonomy”. Duplicity in full action. One side says one thing and the other understands something else. This foreign Hierarch has no problem ignoring NA “autonomy”.

14) Some clergy from within our Episcopate, supporters of unity, openly insult those who do not want to sell out to Bucharest. They try to push unity down our throats. Why? To whom are they loyal? Are they trustworthy?

15) This unity process from BOR and the ROAA is simply another attempt to take over our ROEA and its parishes and missions. Unity is the way this time. Yes, 1989 became 1990, but people do not change that quickly. Communist Romania is now a cleptocracy, and more time is required for state structures, including the Church, to be purged of the infestation caused by being collaborators with the tyrants who subjugated Romania for 40 years. Today, we in NA are very different from those in Romania, and we continue to grow apart.

16) We truly distrust that communist and post-communist culture; in fact we fear that culture, and this is normal, not because we haven’t gotten over the cold war but because they haven’t. Their modus operandi is a “culture of fear” like in other Eastern bloc countries. Their institutions are corrupt, their Hierarchs run the church like autocrats, threatening those opposing them fearlessly and without shame.

17) “A culture of intimidation is alien to Christ… This demon needs to be exorcised” says Metropolitan Jonah who tells us that “Hierarchy is only about responsibility. It’s not all this imperial nonsense.” He also says “We don’t need foreign despots. We are the only non-state Orthodox Church…We are the only Orthodox Church that does not exist under the thumb of a State…” This is our belief as well.

18) The fact that the ROAA/ BOR has not responded to our due diligence questions indicates bad faith. Responding to the first set of questions should be a condition of having even a “social” gathering with their Council.

19) The Romanian State and its dependent BOR views those of Romanian heritage in the rest of the world as their Diaspora. They do not view us as independent individuals, citizens of other countries, who freely choose to build and pray in our own churches, free of State intervention. Rather, they see us as an extension of the Romania and a BOR Diaspora, a ready-made political platform for their benefit.

20) The American Government has given its opinion regarding religious freedom in Romania and they state clearly that many existing BOR Hierarchs were involved in many abuses and wrongful actions. We cannot subordinate ourselves to a Church which has this dismal report card from the American Government. The BOR’s haughty and misguided reply is proof of this.

21) In the resolutions of 1951, upheld by U.S. Federal Courts, there were 3 reasons for schism; a) the Church being under the control of government, b) BOR meddling in Church affairs in the US, and c) BOR propagated ideas in the US which are contrary to free life ideals held by US citizens. These apply to this day and are the basis of our Episcopate. We cannot have Unity with the ROAA under BOR, when they continue to contravene the principles that are the legal basis of our Episcopate.

22) Fully 8 out of BOR’s Holy Synod of Bishops have been accused of collaborating with the Securitate.

23) No official screening process as to clergy exists in Romania, and so those who collaborated with the Secret Police are not removed from the clergy, in keeping with Church canons. The collaboration reaches into the Holy Synod. It probably exists in their churches outside Romania as well.

24) BOR’s attempt to take over the ROEA is nothing new. What is different now is the word Unity. But old-world national foreign affairs goals, working through the Church, is nothing new, and whenever these churches move beyond their borders we should understand that this is political neo-colonialism cloaked in religious robes, ethnic phyletism of the lowest order.

25) Our Episcopate has priests who left Romania before Communism took root in the late 1940’s and we have priests who were born in NA. One would suspect that these priests would be against such a unity out of principle. If they support unity it is probably because it is indeed a “nice thing” to be united, in principle at least. These are good people, but they cannot fathom how deceitful the leaders on the other side can be, and so, some fall for the deceit (maximal autonomy, independence, etc.). These people should educate themselves by listening to those who came after 1989, and this only after gaining their trust. Maybe then they would better understand who they are dealing with, and what is at stake.

26) We also have priests who came here after 1989. Most left Romania precisely to escape that type of autocratic church leadership. They are politically astute and they may first tell you what is politically expedient, but as you gain their trust, you quickly find out how much they abhor the corruption and autocratic control so prevalent in today’s Romanian Church and State.

27) Then, we have that category of individuals who left Romania from 1949 to 1989 as theology students or clergy. Some of these risked all to escape Communist Romania, but unhappily others promised certain things or agreed to certain activities in order to be permitted to leave the country, while others again were sent out on specific missions. We need to know who is in our midst, who we confess to, and what drives certain individuals to do what they do, including pushing for unity.

28) It is important to get the Securitate files on our ROEA clergy. This is possible under Romanian law.

29) Before even contemplating any Unity with the ROAA we should also see the Securitate files on all ROAA clergy. Due diligence should start here.

30) We are told to forgive because that is divine, as compared to erring, which is human. How can we forgive those who admit to no wrongdoing? This is not Christian when we know the opposite.

31) What would our past leaders respond to the Unity question? Probably “No” to Unity under BOR.

32) How can any Orthodox Christian be for a Unity in North America based on “being of the same blood” or “being of the same ethnic group”? Since when did phyletism become condoned in the Orthodox Church? This unity is flawed in that it is founded on a clear non-Orthodox basis.

33) In the 20 point Proposal to establish a Metropolia under BOR, fully seven of those points repudiate the very founding principles of the ROEA. Paragraphs I, IV, VI, X, XIV, XVII, and XX all violate the founding principles. Further, in our American Orthodox church, there will be no requirement for an American Bishop. All could come from Romania; all could take orders from Romania. Unity?

34) Immediately after the election of Patriarch Daniel, the Holy Synod of Romania, at the request of Daniel, voted to remove the laity from participation in the election process of Hierarchs. The tradition of our church has always been 2/3 laity and 1/3 clergy. This exclusion makes the laity simply outsiders to the process, a group expected to “pay and obey”, and be “submissive” to their rulers, because it is “God’s will” - an “obedience without conscience”, completely un-Orthodox.

35) “Maximally autonomous” is a term newly coined for this occasion and it means something less than “independent”. In Orthodox nomenclature the word “independence” translates into the word “autocephaly”. The Orthodox Church has many autocephalous churches, each one truly self-ruling. Orthodoxy also has autonomous churches; but, each one is referred to as being a part of, or under its respective autocephalous church. There is no such concept as an autonomous church being “with” an autocephalous church; an autonomous church can only be “under” the authority of an autocephalous church. More misinformation.

36) Gramata and Holy Chrism from Romania, but no funding? The first two are guarantors of our subservience to BOR, while the third can seem to be stopped officially, but in practice, it cannot be stopped, and thus our “maximally autonomous” Metropolia will follow orders and exist at the whim of the Patriarchate and as well, be at the mercy of those who control those secret bank accounts, and disburse funds to obedient operators.

37) Our abandoning the OCA would strike a blow at the raison d’être of this Church made up of Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Albanian ethnic groups, as well as many American converts. Any NA group that has or will rejoin its Mother Church reinforces their notion of Diaspora. They will not let these daughter churches become sister churches because it is not politically expedient for them and their governments to do so. Unity with them means a one-way street into the past.

38) The chief lawyer for the Episcopate on the due diligence aspects has stated that the final agreement can never be the final agreement since future Episcopate councils can change it at will, with the consent of BOR. Anything in the agreement can be changed at anytime. At least with the OCA, our agreement has remained unchallenged, and the OCA has been true to their word for almost 50 years. A lot more trust must be developed before the same can be said of BOR.

39) We saw heavy-handed coercion at some ROEA 2009 parish General Assemblies. It was almost impossible to broach the unity subject there, but when it came down to choosing the “right” Episcopate Congress delegates, the few pro-unity proponents kicked into gear and pushed the choice of “their” delegates. Since no discussion on Unity took place, very few knew what this was about, except for the ones who were so instructed. Stacking the Congress delegate vote in favour of Unity is the result, at least in some parishes.

40) Let’s summarize our options:
a) If we do unite under BOR we gain nothing but the very strong likelihood that they will interfere in our day to day North American church affairs.
b) Even if the ROEA and ROAA unite under the OCA, all we gain is the assurance that this very same issue will be brought up again in the future, given that one of our ROEA bishops is a Romanian national and that both ROAA bishops are Romanian nationals that have been placed in position by BOR. Only 1 out of 4 of our Diocesan Bishops would be American and this, even in the context of being a unified Diocese in the OCA.
c) If we do not unite and our ROEA continues to stay under the OCA, we lose nothing and gain the assurance that our children may still be Orthodox in the future.
So, why not just stay the way we are and open our ROEA doors to ROAA parishes and missions that truly want to make their future in the OCA. The ROAA can keep their Hierarchs, their debts, their former Securitate links, their post-communist baggage, not to mention their autocratic puppeteer overlords from the Bucharest Patriarchate who themselves are nothing more than mere employees of a foreign State.

Important for the Episcopate and Episcopate Council members are the words of our chief lawyer for the Episcopate on Due Diligence, who warns that the Episcopate and each individual Council member can be sued if Due Diligence is not satisfactorily completed. As well, it can be deduced that even our JDC members can be sued if they have not truthfully and completely detailed their unity discussions with the other side to the Episcopate Council, or if they have provided incorrect and/ or incomplete information to the Council and/ or Congress. This process must be taken seriously since the consequences of making a mistake are high. Given the obvious ROAA/ BOR disdain for us by not even responding to our initial Due Diligence questions, should the process not stop here? Given that many parishes will want to remain with the OCA, even if ROEA/ ROAA Unity is achieved under BOR, and that court cases against the Episcopate might follow, is such a divisive move worth it? Remember that in some cases people are not allowed to speak; people are not allowed to hear dissenting views; people are not allowed to vote on these issues. Rather, Congress-delegate choices in some Parish assemblies are already being manipulated, so it should be of no surprise to anyone when all this is challenged. This unity seems more like a divisive albatross than anything else. May God lead us down the right path to salvation.

Alex. C. Popescu
Montreal, Canada,
Feb. 26, 2009.

5 Comments to “UNITY? – CONSIDER 40 PTS.”


  1. Clergy Says:

    This website is long overdue. I welcome it and I am looking forward to seeing it updated on a daily basis. Truth has to prevail. We need to stay informed.


  2. Preot in America Says:

    Oare, de ce am plecat de acasa?

    Daca pana mai ieri credeam ca am ajuns intr-o tara libera, intr-o Episcopie potrivita cu legislatia Americana, acum suntem dezamagiti si scarbiti de tot ce se intampla la noi. Toate aceste 40 de puncte si poate mai sunt si altele, dovedesc ca intrarea sub Patriarhia Romana, inseamna de fapt, apusul ortodoxiei curate in America.

    Biserica din Romania este plina de ,,baali’’. Unul este al ,,banului’’ . Cand oamenii mor de foame, guvernul pompeaza bani pentru salarizarea clerului din tara si strainatate. Cu ce scop? Al doilea, este,,baalul politic’’. Chiar de curand, fiecare preot este incurajat sa intre in politica si aceasta numai cu binecuvantarea ierarhului, in functie de culoarea politica pe care o are. La fel, cu ce scop? Altul ,, Baalul santajului’’ este pentru preotii care nu se supun ierarhului, atunci cand sunt interese la mijloc, este amenintat cu mutarea din parohie sau chiar caterisirea. Si altul ,,baalul informatorilor’’ pentru preotii care isi spioneaza colegii sau chiar credinciosii. Acestea sunt doar o parte din lucrurile care aduc scarba in sufletele multor preoti si credinciosi.

    Acum, suntem urmariti si noi de aceste duhuri, care tulbura linistea sufleteasca regasita cu greu, ameninta libertatea si ne impinge in prapastia disparitiei ortodoxei pure de aici. Intr-un cuvant, nu ne da ,,pacea daruita de Dumnezeu’’. Ma intreb, de ce vor sa faca unirea tocmai ,,cei bine asezati’’ din Episcopia noastra. De ce, tot acestia aplica ,,legea’’ de acasa: se promite promovarea in locuri mai bune si se ajuta la ,,vreme de necaz’’ In rest, potopul!

    Cititi ziarele din Romania si vedeti ca multi preoti din Romania, sunt disperati de felul cum se lucreaza in Sinod. De credinciosi, ce sa mai vorbim; nimeni nu-i baga in seama!

    De aceea, suntem si noi ingrijorati, caci a venit timpul intrebarilor si nu gasim raspuns, adica ,,glasul din pustie…’’.

    Ne intrebam:,, de ce-am plecat de acasa!’’


  3. Preot Trist Says:

    Iata 40 de motive sa NU ne supunem Patriarhiei Romane, unul mai sarat decat altul. Ce mai asteapta cei din Grass Lake, ca sa opreasca nebunia?

    In plus de motivele date, este cazul sa subliniem ca mai multi membri din Sfantul Sinod sunt acuzati de colaborare cu Securitatea, unii chiar declarati vinovati. Cei din Romania nu pot curati Biserica lor si noi vrem sa ne supunem lor?

    Si totusi, cum putem sa ne gandim sa aducem praful din Romania dupa noi si sa ne supunem unei Biserici putrede, parasind astfel Biserica Ortodoxa Americana care ne-a primit asa de frumos? Cine ne ia drept prosti? Am plecat de-acolo ca sa scapam de coruptia din Biserica, nu s-o aducem dupa noi in noua noastra casa.

    Si JDC-ul nostru, plin de “savantii nostri”, ne vand viitorul pe degeaba! De ce oare?

    Ce vom face noi? Cum sa actionam? Cum putem fi impotriva JDC-ului, cand ei si cel putin un ierarh de-al nostru sustin subjugarea, cu tarie. Cum vom plati opunerea noastra la subjugare? Stim cum este in Biserica Romana, dar stim ca abuzurile de’acasa pot incepe si aici. Poate ca numai cu voturi secrete se poate decide?


  4. John Says:

    If Romanian Priests in our Episcopate who left Romania to rid themselves of a corrupt Church disagree with Unity then they should speak up more loudly, or at least find a way to let their position be known.

    Some feel they cannot reveal their identity. Wow! Did anyone ever think that our Priests would be afraid of Senior Priests of the JDC and even their ROEA Bishops?

    Fear of reprisal is a real fear. These priests should stand up, but we shouldn’t judge them too hard, some obviously know about this first hand. One thing we should do is to at least make sure that all future votes on anything to do with Unity be SECRET as the good “Preot Trist” suggests.


  5. A non-partisan Romanian Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘OCA Romanians ask Questions ’
    Dear Mark,

    As a sign of openness and transparency, I am sending to your attention this material to be posted on our beloved site: ocanews.org. It should be known by some other non – Romanian readers …

    The following material is from roeanews.info. It should be better for the readers of this site to know something about the “Romanian cuisine.”

    Mr Popescu from Canada came up with this stuff; well regarded by the ROEA Council members. In case the ROAA would like to touch this “HOT STUFF”, it will be good. Both the ROEA and ROAA should acknowledge that transparency must prevail and backdoor deal is not accepted.

    Mr Popescu’s material reveals a very refined Kosher observations both Romanian dioceses should debate and answer fairly. No debate and answers to this stuff everything should be tabled “SINE DIE.”
    ……
    UNITY UNDER BUCHAREST - 40 POINTS TO CONSIDER
    (The above article is quoted here.)
    ……

    At the present time the ROEA Archbishop is attending the OCA 2009 Spring session of the Holy Synod. Everyone in the Synod is expecting from him a report to be presented regarding the current situation of the JDC. It would be very interested to see if anything different will be presented by the ROEA Archbishop that he presented at the AAC 15 November 13, 2008. Th Synod Agenda is very genuine at this time dealing not only with +Nicolae case, but some other issue regarding some OCA hierarchs.
    Thank you,


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PRAYER OF ST. EPHREM

O Lord and Master of my life,
leave me not with the spirit of laziness,
of despair, of domination, or idle words.

Rather, give me, your servant, the spirit of integrity,
of humility, of patience, and of love.

Thus, Lord, grant me the wisdom to see my own faults,
and not condemn my brother;

for You are blessed, now and forever. Amen.



OUR FATHER

Our Father, who are in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day
our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.