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More Unity Concerns

Author: Mark Stokoe
June 2, 2009
Romanian Unity Proposal Continues to Raise Concerns, Questions

(Excerpts of the article found on

On April 10, 2009, a newspaper article appeared in the Canadian- Romanian newspaper Zig- Zag, published in Quebec, which stated that the Unity Proposal will be presented at the next Church Congresses of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate (ROEA-OCA) and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americans ( ROAA-Patriarchal) for debate - and ratification. The article continued to say that it will be “thereafter presented to the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, which would then approve the new Metropolitanate.”

The fact the newspaper presented the Unity proposal as a “done deal”, in which the process, timeline and outcome all seem pre-determined has raised questions throughout Romanian America & Canada, as the information came from a unity meeting held in an Episcopate parish, led by a priest of the Episcopate and a Bishop of the Patriarchal jurisdiction. Writing on, the administrator asks:

“If this is not the correct ‘Plan’, then why did the clerics present, not intervene?”

“While these grandiose plans are being made about our future, what about the rights of our Parishes and members?  Are they to be ignored?  … “Due Diligence”, as required by ROEA Episcopate Council and Congress, must first be approved…

-Nothing is said about legal time limitations and allotted time for delegates to take any proposals for unity back to their respective parishes for discussion.

-Nothing is said about individual parish/ mission members and their possible rights to vote on the unity issue.

-Nothing is said about the required OCA canonical release process.

-Nothing is said about opt-out clauses regarding monasteries, parishes/ missions who prefer to stay with the OCA…”

In conclusion he asks:

“…It seems that something should be done with the JDC.  What say you?”

5 Comments to “More Unity Concerns”

  1. Child of Romania Says:

    as posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Romanian Unity Propopsal Continues to Raise Concerns, Questions’:

    [Regarding] the Romanian “Unity” debacle, why does the Romanian Episcopate’s “Unity Team” keep driving this toward a train wreck, refusing any kind of “due diligence?” If this report is true, they are now working outside even the By-laws of the Episcopate! And why won’t the Romanian Patriarch and his synod recognize that they do not own the Episcopate, and stop announcing a done deal?

    Faithful of the Episcopate, speak up to Abp Nathaniel and demand this nonsense by the JDC stop! If you don’t, they will keep trying to run the train right over you. You deserve better. The people who founded and built the Episcopate deserve better. May they ask God to protect the Episcopate.

  2. Keith (Andrew) Massey Says:

    as posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Romanian Unity Propopsal Continues to Raise Concerns, Questions’:

    Regarding the Romanian Unity Proposal. I am a former Protestant who converted to Orthodoxy at an OCA parish. As such, I am very interested in the eventual realizaton of an American Orthodox Church fully accepted by all of Orthodoxy. I am also now married to a Romanian. I have worked very hard to acquire a functional use of Romanian so I can genuinely interact with a mother-in-law who still lives in Bucharest. Since my wife and I are both teachers, we have summers free and spend two months in Romania every year. We attend a Patriarchal (Moscow) parish where I am now the Vice-President. Our parish is a conglomeration of Russians, Romanians, Egyptians, Bulgarians, and others. Our priest makes everyone feel welcome by saying at least the “Lord have mercy” (hospodi pomilui; doamne miluieste; ya rabb raHam) in the language of everyone represented. And I can tell you that the various ethnicities there deeply appreciate the fact that the liturgy includes their particular language, if even in a few words.

    As am American convert, I obviously want an American Church. But we also need to admit that many (if not a majority) of the Orthodox on this continent are still first generation immigrants. And many of them may still feel most comfortable in a parish with their country’s name on the sign. Their children won’t feel the same way. But they still do. We don’t have jurisdictional unity now, as we should. And that may mean that in the path of eventual unity there will be seeming setbacks. But such changes may also include hidden opportunities. The Romanians can and should do whatever makes sense for them in terms of maximizing the Gospel mission to the sizable Romanian immigrant community here. Maybe that is the creation of a jurisdiction with maximal autonomy under the authority of Bucharest. That is for them to decide. Romania is the second most populous Orthodox nation. As such, immigrants from Romania deserve the maximal representation and advocacy when a single American Church is finally realized. And I suspect that may best be served by a unified body.

    But perhaps the creation of a unified Romanian Church in America need not be a stab in the back of unity. What if the Romanian Episcopate made as a condition for this unity that the Romanian Church finally recognize the autocephaly of the OCA? In that case, the newly created Romanian-American Church would do what I hear every Sunday, prayers for our Patriarch and the Metropolitan on whose canonical territory we reside: “For his Holiness +Daniel, Patriarch of Romania. For his Beatitude +Jonah, Metropolitan of all North America and Canada.”

  3. Caveat Lector Says:

    as posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Romanian Unity Propopsal Continues to Raise Concerns, Questions’:

    Unfortunately, recognizing the autocephaly of the OCA would run directly counter to Bucharest’s chief aim, which is getting back Bessarabia. It makes more sense (from a strictly worldly standpoint) for Bucharest to assume sovereignty over the Romanians here and then deliver them to Constantinople in exchange for the EP’s support for returning Bessarabia to Bucharest. This is allegedly the deal already done behind the scenes that only needs now to be declared publicly at the upcoming council: The undisputedly autocephalous churches get their breakaway regions returned to them; the EP gets the Diaspora. The OCA, if it doesn’t go along, gets left out in the cold.

    (OCANews Editor’s note: Oh, it’s a great plan (from a worldy perspective if one lives in Byzantium) but it ignores the wee small fact that the Besserabian Church is currently under Moscow, and not the EP’s to give away. For this “grand plan” to work it would have to compensate Moscow - and I doubt the EP’s giving up claims to Estonia and Ukraine would do much, since last time I looked, they were not the EP’s to give away either, since I imagine the Estonian and Ukrainian governments would be in opposition to any plan give more Russian influence in their countries. Not to mention the wee little fact that the Faithful in those countries might not agree being traded as if this were some Post World War II Yalta agreement. Here’s an idea - how about basing good order in the Church not on dead empires and forgotten kingdoms, not on the borders of dead ideological totalitarian regimes, not on old Bishop’s fears for shrinking futures and lost influence, but on the local faithful’s hopes for ministry and witness in the future? There’s a thought.)

  4. Keith (Andrew) Massey Says:

    as posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Romanian Unity Propopsal Continues to Raise Concerns, Questions’:

    As long as we’re speculating intrigues, I think a better path for Bucharest is to recognize the OCA, which means throwing the weight of the second most populous Orthodox country (Romania) behind the first (Russia). Since we’ve admitted that Bessarabia isn’t Constantinople’s to give, a deal with the ones who actually hold it would seem wiser. And a Russian-Romanian bloc basically controls the upcoming Council. Romania, in this deal, would be in a position to ask for Bessarabia in exchange for support of Russian annexation of the Baltic States (Good God, this sounds like a game of Risk, doesn’t it?) At any rate, I think the notion of all the established autocephalous Churches accepting Constantinople’s control of the rest of the universe in exchange for a few outlying provinces each is a non-starter.

    Bucharest isn’t going to throw away her diaspora in exchange for Bessarabia. Ethnically and linguistically, she knows she has that region in the long run anyway.

    And if any of us think that this level of bargaining won’t be a part of the council, they’re wrong. And that doesn’t mean the council won’t be the occasion of the Holy Spirit surging. This is just how these things happen. In my morning commute, I drive by a Macedonian Church (let’s open up another can of worms). I make the sign of the cross and am so happy every morning that I have that little place to focus on my Savior. Yes, all this stuff is messy, but despite this jurisdictional morass, we do have One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism, One God and Father of all.

    (OCANews Editor’s note: I think you may have hit on a million dollar idea there, Keith. Orthodox Risk. The battle for world domination, ecclesiastical style. Six players ( EP, Moscow, Romania, Antioch, Greece and Serbia battle for barbarian lands!) Players control monks, bishops ( representing 5 monks) and Patriarchs ( representing 20 monks) with which they attempt to capture territories from other players. The goal of the game is “world domination,” to control all the territories—or “conquer the world”—through the elimination of the other players…. Sad that our reality is so easily parodied, is it not? )

  5. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Romanian Unity Propopsal Continues to Raise Concerns, Questions’:

    Regarding the Romanians; there is no hope returning under the thumb of “old country,” foreign bishops. + Valerian knew this only too well. The hope for ALL Americans is here in America under our own bishops. This is EXACTLY what Orthodox Canon Law states. Local bishops rule over local churches. There is no foreign bishop intervention - in fact, foreign bishop meddling is condemned.
    The Greeks are learning this; the Antiochians are learning this; etc. Unity with the Patriarchal Romanian parishes? Of course, but under the autocephaly enjoyed by the Romanians under the OCA!

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