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My Thoughts on Unity

Author: Constantine Nan
August 5, 2009
I was very moved by Valerie Yova’s comments in her “Reflections on Reunification” piece, because my own experiences parallel so closely. We share the same love of our heritage, and in fact we shared many of the same experiences while at the Vatra, through AROY, etc… Her comments really hit the nail on the head and say what I feel so much more clearly than I could hope to do.

Valerie’s article got me to thinking of my own grandfather, Mosu Tecau who told me stories of his difficult youth in Romania and how he toiled to get ahead, working long hours as a apprentice barrel maker only to find himself in debt with little hope for advancement because of the corruption that ran rampant and the political atmosphere at that time. According to what he told me, that mentality of corruption existed from the time of the Ottoman Empire, existed through the era of the monarchy, and carried on right through the years of communist occupation. Unlike Valerie, I was fortunate to travel through Romania with Mosu during the 60’s to witness first hand the yoke of communism and it’s impact on the way of life, the mentality of the people, and the rule of law.

Has that mentality of corruption changed, or does it still exist in Romania today? I don’t know the answer to that, but I for one would hate to see our Episcopate take the chance of that possibility existing and placing ourselves under a church jurisdiction with that history.

Separation of church and state has always been an important part of the American experience, and is a part of our culture that I fear may not always be recognized and fully understood by those in a foreign land. Not only does that separation not exist in Romania, but I understand that clergy hold a number of seats in the government. While I don’t pretend to judge the lack of separation of church and state for Romania, I don’t think they can totally comprehend its importance to American’s.

In the last 50 or 60 years there have been at least two (2) major changes in the government of Romania. Who’s to say that it won’t change again, or the relationship between the government and the church won’t change again. At the very least we have a say in how our government interacts with the church, we would have no say in that relationship if we were under the Patriarch.

Valerie’s conclusion, or should I say solution to the unity issues may seem too simple, but again she hits the nail on the head. We are citizens of North America and as such the ROEA and the ROAA realistically should be governed by a body headquartered in North America (OCA) and not influenced by foreign entities that don’t fully understand our culture and way of life.

Constantine Nan
Dallas, Texas

6 Comments to “My Thoughts on Unity”

  1. Administrator Says:

    Citind articolul Dl. C. Nan m’am gandit la motivele plecarii diferitelor generatii din Romania, inclusiv cea dupa 1989.

    Nimeni nu pleaca de la bine cautand o situatie mai proasta. Toti au plecat ca Romania nu le’a oferit ceia ce voiau. Intr-un cuvant le leaga insatisfactia.

    Starea economica, starea politica, viitorul fara viitor, coruptia; iata ce le leaga. Si atunci, cei nascuti aici au acest punct in comun cu cei veniti mai recent, primind mostenirea de la inaintasi. Toti cred ca aici este mai bine decat acolo. Si atunci, ce este de aici, este mai bun decat ce este de acolo, inclusiv Biserica.

    Deci, BOR (Biserica Ortodoxa Romana) si bratul sau ROAA din America ar putea fi “bun” pentru Romania, dar desigur nu destul de “bun” pentru aici. Si asa este. La noi exista OCA (Biserica Ortodoxa Americana) si Episcopia noastra ROEA face parte din ea pe baza de incredere reciproca. Mai bine nu se poate. Asta s’a dovedit cu timpul (50 de ani). Si atunci cine are incredere intr’o institutie ce vine dintr’o tara corupta? Pai nici Romanii nu au incredere in ai lor in Romania! Si cei din BOR-ROAA nu mai stiu cum se scapa de belea!

  2. Administrator Says:

    On reading C. Nan’s article I started thinking about the reasons different generations left Romania, including the post-1989 one.

    No one leaves a good situation in search of a poor one. All left because Romania did not offer what they wanted. In a word, all are tied by discontent.

    The economic situation, the political one, a future without a future, corruption; this is what ties them together. Those born here have this in common with those having arrived here more recently, having received this legacy from their forefathers. All believe that that things are better here than over there. Thus, what is from here is better than what is from there, including the Church.

    So, the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate (BOR) and its North American arm (ROAA) could be “good enough” for Romania, but not “good enough” for here. And that’s the way it is. Here, we have the OCA (Orthodox Church in America) and our Vatra Episcopate (ROEA) is a part of it, all based on reciprocal trust. The relationship is great. This has been proven over time (50 years). And now, is there anyone who has faith in an institution which comes from a corrupt country? Even the Romanians have no faith in their own in Romania. And those in BOR-ROAA don’t know how to get rid of their misfortune!

  3. Matei Says:

    Separarea de stat si de Biserica pare fi foarte importanta in America. Cand te gandesti la ce se intampla in Romania intre Guvern si Patriarhie, intre primaria si parohia, atunci nu este de mirare ca aici s’a creiat acest zid intre ele.

    Deci, in caz de unire sub Bucuresti, schimbarile politice sau bisericesti din Romania ar putea avea un impact pe situatia noastra de aici. Acest lucru nu este de folos noua, din contra.

  4. Valerie Yova Says:

    excerpts of what was posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Reflections on Romanian Unity’:

    …Connie Nan’s message was filled with the insight and common sense for which he has always been known.

    … I do not dispair. I see all of this as God’s way of making sure we “clean house” here in America before any serious movement is made towards admininstrative unity. It is not pleasant, but I look upon what is happening now as a blessing and a preparation for what is to come. And it WILL come. If the Lord doesn’t come FIRST.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    excerpts of what was posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Reflections on Romanian Unity’:

    We have the advantage of growing up in a community of 14 Orthodox Churches who were cooperating together and using English as early as the mid 1950’s. We have the advantage of knowing how the priests worked together (as well as possible) to coordinate Pan-Orthodox activities and strive toward a “REAL” American Church.

    Now, this all seems so far away and lost. The Romanians want to retrench to Romania; the Greeks are becoming more parochial; the Antiochians aren’t sure where they are going; the OCA is is holding true to it’s origins, but attacked on all sides; etc.

    WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED? Where is the vision of a united American Orthodox Church we grew up with? Didn’t anyone else get the memo?

  6. Constantin Aurel Ardeleanu Says:

    excerpts of what was posted on, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘Reflections on Romanian Unity’:

    What can so many of us say that has not already been said? Valerie [Yova] speaks to things so many of us experienced to one degree or another. Myself, I did not have the opportunity to have Grandparent here, but I did have the opportunity to travel to Romania in 1983 and 1984; and can only say that under the Communistic regime, life for all Romanians was deplorable; words could not even begin to express how bad.

    Connie Nan’s words also ring so true and there are many of us that appreciate his speaking out.

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