Romanian Orthodox for Enquiry in America

Guardians of the Vatra

Orthodox Brotherhood Documents

ROAA/BOR Documents


Author: Niraj Warikoo
August 26, 2009
-Orthodox Church leader (the OCA’s Metropolitan JONAH) hopes factions can unify here-

An article from the August 15, 2009 Detroit Free Press

Orthodox Christians must reach out across ethnic and social lines in order for their churches to survive, the new head of the Orthodox Church in America said Friday after arriving in Michigan for a three-day visit.

Metropolitan Jonah, 49, is to meet with local parishes on his first trip to Michigan since being elected in November as head of the church, one of the three main Orthodox churches in the U.S. Metro detroit has about 40 Orthodox churches, some of them part of the group Jonah heads. On Sunday, he’ll help lead a service at St. George Romanian Orthodox Cathedral in Southfield.

Jonah is a convert from the Episcopal Church who came to the Orthodox faith after coming across an Orthodox book in a “hippie bookstore” in California, he told the Free Press. That started him on a spiritual journey that led him to become a monk and visit Russia. He became a bishop in 2008 and was elected as head of the church less than two weeks later.

Jonah hopes to bring unity among Orthodox factions in the United States and one day bring them under one leadership. He also is trying to clean up a leadership that has been criticized for financial mismanagement and some corruption. He said the administration of the church has been “radically restructured.” “Everybody is new except for a couple of secretaries,” he said. “There is a lot of old baggage.”

The Orthodox Church in America has its roots in Russian monks who came to Alaska more than 200 years ago. Today, many Native Americans in Alaska are members of the Orthodox Church, he said. Jonah arrived at Detroit Metro Airport from Alaska, where he had met with the Orthodox community.

Orthodox churches are often associated with particular ethnicities, such as Greek, Russian, or Lebanese-Syrian, among others. But Jonah said the community must transcend ethnic boundaries to flourish. Otherwise, “it will die out,” he said. Jonah said he wants a “church that embraces all people.”

In many of the immigrant Orthodox communities, “the second and third generation of youth are almost entirely lost.” … “How do we retain the youth?” The key, he said, is making people aware of what the Orthodox Church can offer. “What people are looking for is a spiritual path, a way that leads them into the depths of communion with God,” he said.

Niraj Warikoo


  1. Ron Muresan Says:

    The O.C.A.’s Metropolitan Jonah came to Detroit and Archbishop Nathaniel’s Cathedral where Fr. Laurence Lazar (JDC Secretary) is the Dean. The Metropolitan made a point of saying that our Vatra Episcopate “is an integral part of the O.C.A.; it’s something that we don’t seem to say often enough, but I have come here to say it to you.” He mentioned that he came to this specific Cathedral because it was the seat of the O.C.A.’s Romanian Diocese. He mentioned the important role that Archbishop Nathaniel has as the senior among the Holy Synod Bishops and that as Metropolitan, he depends on the Archbishop’s wisdom and experience.

    Metropolitan Jonah then took the unusual step of giving the cross to the faithful personally for veneration, and many of us present thanked him.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    It’s great that Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press covered O.C.A. Metropolitan Jonah’s trip to Michigan. On this trip the Metropolitan visited our Episcopate for the first time. God Bless Metropolitan Jonah. Speaking at our Detroit Cathedral, Metropolitan Jonah made it clear that he appreciates the presence of our Episcopate in the O.C.A. He said how important we are to the O.C.A. At the reception afterward, the Metropolitan visited many tables in the hall, and numerous people told him how much we appreciate being in the O.C.A. and having him here among us. Of course, those wanting us to go under Bucharest were not happy with Metropolitan Jonah’s presence, and some probably let him know, but, oh well.

  3. Johnny Says:

    Jonah is telling us what we should already know. Many of us are second or third generation Americans and the product of ethnic Orthodox churches. We have seen our friends disappear from our churches over the years because of ethnic insistence in our American context. It is obvious that only a culturally American Orthodox Church has a future here. This requires that we leave ethnic divisions behind us and allow an American Orthodox Church to emerge from the ethnic past.

  4. Ghita Says:

    +Jonah aduce punctul esential in discutia noastra despre unirea sub Bucuresti. El spune ca trecutul ortodox in America este bazat pe etnii (Greci, Rusi, Romani) iar daca va fi viitorul ortodox aici, va trebui sa treaca peste divizarile etnice si ortodoxia va trebui sa cuprinda pe toti din aceasta natie Americana. In ceea ce ne priveste, aceasta inseamna ca BOR in America, reprezinta “trecutul” Episcopiei noastre, si ce ne ofera OCA reprezinta “viitorul” nostru. Aceste cuvinte sunt clare si convingatoare, bazate si izvorate din istoria imigrantiilor de aici. Ce nu intelege JDC-ul? Sau, de ce nu vrea sa inteleaga JDC-ul?

  5. Rugativa Si Postiti Says:

    Rugativa si fiti si mai credincios ca inainte. Nu lasati raul sa va intre in suflet. Fiti buni si cu dusmanul vostru si rugativa pentru el. Traiti dupa cum iar place la Dumnezeu. Caci el ne va decide soarta. Nu monarhul, nu patriarhul si nici politica. Rugativa si invatativa si copii sa fie oameni buni cu frica de Dumnezeu. Voi nu observati ca tot ce e corect si bun e incet incet dat la o parte ca sa poata rau stapini? E razboiul intre bine si rau. Iar nu poti scoate raul afara cu rau ci cu rugaciuni si post. Dumnezeu sa ne pazeasca si sa ne dea intelepciune, sa ne lumineze mintea, si sa nu ne lase sa ne departam de El.

  6. Admininsrator Says:

    Nimic pozitiv nu se poate face fara rugaciunea sincera. Mai mult, cei mai tari si cei mai mari nu pot invinge rugaciunea sincera. Va multumim pentru acest indemn la rugaciune in acest timp al Postului Mare.

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