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Romanian Leaders Speak

Author: Mark Stokoe
March 27, 2009
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OCA ROMANIAN LAY LEADERS ASK FOR OPEN DISCUSSION

(Excerpts of the article found on ocanews.org)

In the wake of Antioch’s suppression of its American dioceses, thirty-one lay leaders of the OCA’s Romanian Episcopate, including many former presidents and board members of the women’s auxiliary ARFORA, the youth movement AROY, the Orthodox Brotherhood and the Episcopate Council, have expressed their frustration in an open letter to the Episcopate’s Bishops, clergy and laity regarding the current lack of information regarding the proposed “unification” of the OCA’s Romanian Episcopate and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas under the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest.

Disinformation from Romania

The Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate, on the other hand, is insisting through its publications that unification has already taken place, In two articles from the Romanian Patriarchate Daily (Jan 7 and 8, 2009), sketching the history of Romanian Orthodoxy in North America, the OCA’s Romanian Episcopate is never mentioned - despite being the original, largest and for decades the only Romanian church body in North America. The Episcopate is finally mentioned in the January 9th article, but then, only in relation “to the unity which was achieved in 2008″! The article states:

“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’.”

Such misstatements, or rather overstatements, are not new to Bucharest. The Patriarchate released a similiar statement after the two Diocesan congresses last July.  Was such a bold public re-statement now just another error, based on wishful thinking? Whatever it was, it was sure to elicit a response …

And that response was outrage, at least from ROEANews.info, a Romanian Orthodox website which tracks the status of the unity proposal. “How many LIES can you fit into 3 sentences?” the editor asked. “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. The Patriarchate condones these LIES.”

No Information from the Vatra

If misinformation from Romania is irritating many, the lack of information from the Vatra, the headquarters of the Romanian Episcopate in Michigan, or from Archbishop Nathaniel, is frustrating others.  Archbishop Nathaniel has indicated that no real, open discussion should occur until there is a ‘final’ proposal on the table. Although a ‘modified’ proposal was offered this past Saturday in Cleveland at the Episcopate Council meeting, the Archbishop left the door open for further comments and possible changes, emphasizing that ‘due diligence’ must be observed.

As a result, it now seems clear that the Romanian Episcopate will not be able to meet deadlines laid out in Episcopate by-laws for reports (from committees set up at the last Congress) to be distributed to delegates for the upcoming Congress, July 3-5, 2009. But the Archbishop’s delays are not the only reason: the legal counsel for the Episcopate has posed 40 questions for the Patriarchal Romanian Archdiocese in America on matters affecting a possible union of the two dioceses, with no response.

The Letter

Thus, the lay leader’s complaint, that the “unification” proposal between the OCA’s Romanian Archdiocese and the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate “has yet to be openly and fully discussed ten months” after it was first presented. Stating “there is no point in rushing or attempting to prematurely vote on this matter”, the lay leaders argue that it would be best to “completely understand all the facts before we decide on this current Unity proposal.”

[roeanews.info administrator says that the letter in question is available on this website ]

12 Comments to “Romanian Leaders Speak”


  1. Administrator Says:

    Inca o data, am ajuns de rasul lumii! JDC-ul nostru ROEA fuge dupa unire SUB Patriarhia Romana, in timp ce alte regrupari ortodoxe nu mai stiu cum sa fuga din inchisoarea lor, in bisericiile lor din Nord-America conduse acum din tari straine. Ce n’ar da Antiohienii din Nord- America sa nu mai fie sub calcaiul Patriarhiei din Antiohia? Ce n’ar da Grecii din Nord- America sa fie eliberati de Patriarhia Ecumenica, in Biserica lor de aici? Ce n’ar da cei din ROCOR sa fie din nou independenti si nu supusi Moscovei? Si noi? Noi cautam probleme cu lumanarea, fiindca nu stim cand ne este bine! Vai de noi!


  2. Administrator Says:

    We have once again become a laughing stock! Our ROEA JDC is running after a unity UNDER the Romanian Patriarchate, while other Orthodox groups do not know how to escape from the prisons their churches in North America have become, as their leadership is from foreign lands. What wouldn’t the Antiochians of North America give to no longer be under the heel of the Antiochian Patriarchate? What wouldn’t the Greeks of North America give to become free of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in their Church here. What wouldn’t ROCOR give to again be independent and not subjected under Moscow? And us? We even use a candle to search out problems, simply because we cannot sense or tell when things are going well! What is with us?


  3. Concerned Member of the Episcopate Says:

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

    After seeing the profoundly “non-canonical” (whatever that means) reversal of the Antiochian autonomy in spite of clearly established constitution, how can any Romanian Orthodox in America doubt that Bucharest will attempt the same once it has a pro-Patriarchal Metropoltian in power? They have never changed their tune, not once in 60 years. We are better off in the OCA.


  4. Anonymous A Says:

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

    Dear Concerned Member of the Episcopate:

    Keep in mind one big difference — the agreement the AOCA had with Antioch clearly stated that the AOCA is still subject to decisions of the Antioch Holy Synod. (There never really was autonomy there.) The proposed agreement between ROEA and Romanian Patriarchate clearly states that the Romanian Holy Synod gives up all rights to governance and properties in North America. So you can’t exactly compare apples to apples here.


  5. Constantin Aurel Ardeleanu Says:

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

    Dear Anonymous A,

    Yes you can compare apples to apples here. The Romanian Synod DOES NOT give up all rights, read the documents more carefully. What just happened to the AOCA could, and most likely will happen here as well.


  6. A Child of Romania but an American Orthodox Says:

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

    Dear Anonymous A:

    The reality of a hierarchal Church is that the Synod in Romania can yank the American chain any time it wants, regardless of what is on paper. The Antiochian deal supposedly allowed the North American Archdiocese the same self-rule the Romanians here think they would get. Forget it! And once Bucharest puts THEIR choice of Metropolitan on the throne here, you will find that out. Worse yet, what has the church in Romania done in its constitution to the role of the laity??? Do you honestly think they won’t do the same on this side of the ocean, one way or another?
    By the way, doesn’t it bother anyone that the Patriarch is already making this a deal de facto in their press releases???


  7. Anonymous A Says:

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

    I wonder how many of the people who signed this letter are actually paid, active members of ROEA parishes at this present time.

    (Mark Stokoe, the OCANews.org editor’s note: While that may be an interesting question, I can tell you I recognize many names on the list and some do not attend ROEA parishes. One is married to Antiochian priest and attends his parish, as is proper. I recognize another who works for another Archdiocese, so I imagine he attends there, as is proper. The signers make no pretensions of being current members of the ROEA; they simply state they were past Presidents, etc. of ROEA organizations, and are concerned. They did not tell anybody how to vote, only that one should have all the facts before one votes. Your attempt to cast aspersions on them based on where they now worship by vocation, marriage or choice, is ill-considered.)


  8. Anonymous B Says:

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

    Look, going back to the Mother Churches is “ALWAYS” the wrong thing to do. You can’t go home. I realize this has been presented as a “unity” move for the Romanians, but if the Romanians in the US want unity, it should be under a free, independent bishop leading the church in the US.


  9. Anonymous C Says:

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

    MetPhilip has just silenced the Wichita Presbyters meeting with his so PRO DAMASCUS allegiance. Don’t you think that could happen to the Romanians? Stay with OCA where we KNOW our position.


  10. Mark Atkins Says:

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

    I don’t understand why there are Orthodox people in America who actually would prefer to be ruled by foreigners. It’s really strange, especially considering that this nation was founded on the principle of self-rule and freedom from the capriciousness of tyrants. And further, most of the Orthodox who came here were fleeing various kinds of oppression in their homeland (the Slavs, the Arabs, the Cypriot and Anatolian Greeks, the Romanians, etc.). I just don’t get it. But I don’t have to, thankfully, because God eally does have all of this in control, and it seems that events are moving in a positive direction, in spite of initial appearances. Think about it: the heads of all three branches of the Russian Church have been replaced and the other parts of the American Church are now all of a sudden wrestling with these issues. Things look good, so long as we pray, trust God, and speak openly, honestly, and lovingly.


  11. Anonymous B Says:

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

    Why is this even being discussed? If Abp. Nathaniel is as interested in Orthodox unity in America as he has always said that he is, then the best (and only non-phyletistic) option is to dissolve the Romanian Episcopate and integrate the parishes into the existing geographical OCA dioceses. The same should be done with the Albanian Archdiocese, as well.


  12. Fr. David Hudson Says:

    Hear, hear! Anonymous B is getting close to the true issue.

    What is/are the mission/missions that require(s) the existence of (a) Romanian Orthodox eparchy or eparchies in America? Can that mission be better fulfilled by one eparchy or two? Or more?

    Why are there three Russian jurisdictions operating in North America? Do they all have the same mission?

    Is the mission of Romanian eparchies the same now as it was 50 years ago?

    Are we worried about the right issues?

    Surely unity is necessary, but the value of unity depends on the vision and the capability of fulfilling it. Isn’t there a need for some kind of re-organization that recognizes both the mission to new immigrants and to Romanian-Americans, as well as non-Romanian Americans who have somehow managed to find their way into these jurisdictions?

    Of course it is important that we like each other and trust each other, but in the world, it is mission and effectiveness, not sentiment, that guides strategic decision-making.


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