Romanian Orthodox for Enquiry in America

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Diocesan Councils & JDC

Author: Administrator
April 1, 2009
American ROEA and Romanian ROAA, Diocesan Councils and Dialogue Commissions Meet in Cleveland, March 21, 2009

On March 21, 2009 the tentatively scheduled meeting of the ROEA Diocesan Council and the ROAA Diocesan Council, as well as their respective Dialogue Commissions met.

Although the possibility of a joint meeting was discussed at the November 22, 2008 ROEA Episcopate Council meeting, nothing was definite until 1 week prior to the meeting which was held in Cleveland at the ROEA’s St. Mary Cathedral.  Consequently, it was difficult for some ROEA Councilers to attend.  As mentioned at that same November 22, 2008 ROEA Episcopate Council meeting, an informal get- together that was not substantive in nature, would be the best approach particularly since the ROEA’s “Due Diligence” questions remained completely unanswered.  The Saturday morning joint get- together was then to be followed by a regular ROEA Episcopate Council meeting.

(A very carefully worded March 28, 2009 “news release” regarding the above was posted on both ROEA and ROAA church websites and also available here under ROEA documents.)

While the ROEA Episcopate Council meeting of Nov. 22, 2009 agreed to an informal get-together with ROAA’s Diocesan Council, the other side had already made other plans.  We can now find excerpts from the ROAA Dec.8, 2009 Diocesan Council Meeting reported in their “Credinta - The Faith”. The words used are very different:

“Understanding the importance of a real, authentic dialogue concerning the unity of our church, the [ROAA] Eparchial Council proposed a meeting of the two Eparchial Councils in the spring of 2009 in order to discuss key issues related to the process of unification.”

The ROEA talks about an “informal social get -together with the other side” while the ROAA says that March 21, 2009 needs to be a meeting where “a real, authentic dialogue concerning the unity of our church” takes place.  This is not Dialogue when we talk past each other.  This is not trust.  This is yet proof again that unity under BOR would not work.  We simply are not on the same wavelength, (thank God).

In Cleveland, it became clear early on that the “informal get-together” that was supposed to happen became a more substantive discussion given the topics put forward by ROAA members.  It also became clear that the ROAA is trying desperately to circumvent the “Due Diligence” process.  As well, it became clear that the two JDC groups had continued to work on refining the original 20 point Proposal.  Apparently, we now have an updated 23 point Proposal.  Discussions on that document were pushed by both JDC groups and the ROAA delegation which identifies the locomotive in front of the “unity train”.  These are the individuals who are insisting on a quick resolution, but, in the meantime, the “Due Diligence” the American ROEA Congress and Episcopate Council requires is being ignored.

Unhappily, the afternoon ROEA Episcopate Council meeting went into “Executive session” which it seems meant that only ROEA Episcopate Council members could assist with no ROEA observers.  However, ROEA JDC members were allowed to attend the whole session, even though their presentation was only 1 of the agenda items… This type of unilateral action has not happened in a very long time in the ROEA.   In this context is not reporting anything that happened at the March 21, 2009 ROEA Episcopate Council Meeting.  What a pity we have to resort to closed door meetings when dealing with issues like “unity” that interest the whole ROEA church membership; hierarchs, clergy and laity alike.

How will Unity with a foreign Church ever happen when “trust” is such a critical component.  It is very difficult to trust BOR/ ROAA when disinformation is their modus operandi, when they operate so differently than us, and where autocratic leadership is the norm.  Will it ever be like the trust we implicitly have in the OCA, that Church which has cradled us for 40 years without us ever having questioned the common trust we have in each other.  We are now told that the amendments to the original 20 point Proposal for a North American Metropolitanate under BOR, including both the American ROEA and the Romanian ROAA, will somehow block BOR from making any future changes.  This is patently ridiculous.  The Orthodox Church is a hierarchal church, which means that the autocephalous church in charge (in this proposed case, the Romanian Patriarchate) makes the rules and changes the rules.  It means that anything they agree to today can be changed tomorrow.  Thus, everything depends on trust (as it does today in ROEA’s relationship with the autocephalous OCA) and nothing really depends on agreements, contracts, or decrees that can all be subsequently changed.

It seems that with closed door meetings as seen in Cleveland on March 21, 2009 we in the ROEA no longer even trust each other.  Closed door meetings?  Secret agendas? Hidden JDC meetings?  No minutes?   Is this what hanging around with BOR/ ROAA clerics engenders?  Is this what we have learned from that foreign church?  They clearly do not believe that the “Church” headed by Christ is comprised of Hierarchs, clerics and laity, all three.  This is the Orthodoxy we know in North America, the Orthodoxy we live and one of the main factors that separates us from Roman Catholics.  Please, do not change our “Vatra” traditions and ways, and turn our North American - OCA church structure into something we can no longer trust or recognize.  What gives?

6 Comments to “Diocesan Councils & JDC”

  1. Q Says:

    I’d like to know what was said during that closed meeting. I do not want to assume it was suspicious. Your website needs to do the kind of investigative reporting that did before posting. But His Eminence needs to know that this not allowing of a fully and healthy flow of information and administrative transparency will only confuse this process for everyone. In this, by the way, he is not necessarily mirroring BOR clergy–they seem to publish everything quite publicly so far. He is actually acting like an old school OCA hierarch, and frankly, like himself. We saw the same stonewalling from Syosset. Clearly, some dioceses learned their lessons. Ours did not.

  2. M/M George Puscas Says:

    Writing my comment on April 1 seems like a most appropriate date to do so!

    We have no interest in learning any more facts about this proposed ‘Unity’ proposal, and are frankly amazed that something of this nature is even thought of as a subject of consideration. Forget it! So very many years of absolute devotion, of sacrifices and energies, given with loving and selfless hearts, minds and bodies to build all that has so wonderfully been accomplished should not be compromised…or ’surrendered’. Pity that those generations, those foundation builders who are now asleep in the Lord cannot voice their passionate ‘Nay’.

    God bless America! God Bless the OCA! La multi ani!

  3. robert Says:

    How disappointed I am in the Archbishop, to see that he is allowing himself to be dragged down to the level of Bucharest. He certainly has been wronged by the advice of those JDC members, as we all have. If he continues to listen to that JDC, what will be his legacy? We all need to pray for the Archbishop that God may give him the strength to speak for the past heros of our Episcopate, preserve our Episcopate for its future heros and not be fooled by our own misguided JDC.

  4. Johnny Says:

    I agree with Q. We cannot have important discussions about our church future happen behind closed doors. Leaving the OCA only to to join the other Romanian Diocese which already reports to the Romanian Patriarch, is a very important decision. Unknown meetings, closed door seesions, private talks, what next? Enough secrecy has already happened and it should stop.

    Did our side send out due diligence questions like required by Council and Congress? If yes, did we receive answers to those due diligence questions? If yes, what are the specific questions and answers. How can we vote on such an important issue without knowing what is involved, without studying the details, thinking about what we should do, talking to others, and coming up with a position.

    All this last minute stuff is wrong. Let us know what is going on. Give us time and information to make up our own minds. Archbishop Nathaniel should not let the JDC make a sales pitch for Unity again at this Congress so they can get popular support without giving us the facts. We have a voice. Treat those of us who go to church, work for free and pay the bills with respect. We have a vote. Don’t try to decide for us. That’s just not right.

  5. Preot Trist Says:

    Sedinta cu usile inchise cand discutia intereseaza toata Episcopia este ce am cunoscut in Biserica lasata acasa. Rog pe cei responsabili sa nu mai repete astfel de greseli si sa publice dezbaterile privind unitatea cu Biserica Romana.

  6. WORRIED Says:

    When we came to this country (USA) we did it for a reason! We are now American citizens, we believe in the American values and we don’t trust anything (or anybody) that comes from Bucharest. We know for a fact that they (BOR) cannot be trusted and I think, it’s very naive of our Episcopate leadership and JDC to think otherwise.

    Those priests and lay members that want to be under the Romanian Patrirach are free to join ROAA churches and let us be. Nobody is forcing anybody to belong to the ROEA and we shouldn’t be dragged agianst our will to the other side.

    Yes, it would be great to have a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan under OCA, and even greater to have an American Patriarch! This will happen only when all the Orthodox churches in America will speak as one.

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