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DO NOT BE AFRAID; ONLY BELIEVE

Author: Tom Rosco
October 16, 2009
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The following article, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (Mark 5:36) first appeared on the AROY website on September 23, 2009 and was taken from AROY News. This article was found on www.orthodoxdetroit.com on October 16 and it is also now found on www.ocanews.org.

We read many instances in the Gospels when Jesus healed people.  You may be familiar with some of these: the woman who touched the hem of His robe, the ten lepers, the blind man at Jericho, the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, and the two blind men at Capernaum to name a few.  In each of these events, Jesus made it clear that those who were healed were healed because of their faith in Him.  We know that we, too, must believe in the power of God for our salvation, but we also learn from the Gospels that we are called to help each other in this effort.  There are several moving examples in which people were healed by Jesus because of someone else’s faith.  When He healed the paralytic who was lowered by his friends through the roof of a crowded house (Mt.9:1-8; Mk.2:1-12; Lk.5:17-26), the Gospels say Jesus “saw their faith,” referring to the man’s friends.  In response to the Gentile woman who pleaded with Him to heal her daughter, He said “…great is your faith!  Let it be to you as you desire” (Mt.15:28), and with that her daughter was healed.  And when the centurion asked Him to just “say the word” to heal his dying servant (Mt.8:5-13; Lk.7:1-10), Jesus remarked “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” — and this “great faith” was found in a person moved by love and compassion for another. This is what it means to be the Church, the Body of Christ.  True, we must focus on our personal spiritual development and relationship with God, but it is just as important that we support one another through prayer, charity, understanding, and most of all love.  We can best express this love by having not just faith for our own sake, but also having faith for the sake of others: Love your neighbor as yourself (Rom.13:9).  In fact, Jesus did not just recognize this kind of faith in people, but, more importantly, He commanded it when He said to Jairus and his wife “Do not be afraid; only believe” (Mk.5:36) when they were told that their daughter had died.  It was their faith that caused Jesus to raise the girl from her bed.  Do we have this kind of faith?

Today, we Romanian Orthodox Christians in North America are being challenged to again have faith for one another.  Many years ago, over 50 years, our Church family here in North America was divided as a result of the actions of the communist government in Romania.  This traumatic break was not an easy one, but it was necessary for the times and circumstances that our ancestors found themselves in.  Those who held our Episcopate together endured a lot — insults, lawsuits and even physical harm — but they did what was right and for the good of the Church.  Through God’s Grace, and the sacrifice of many martyrs, we eventually witnessed the fall of communism and freedom of the Church in Romania and elsewhere in Europe some 20 years ago.  Since that time, our Episcopate has worked together with the Romanian Archdiocese (those who wished to remain under the Church of Romania after the break) to restore relations and try to heal the wounds of the past.  And now, after 18 years of dialogue and prayer, we have been presented with a possible means to finally end this division and reunite our family.

As you can read in the Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of North America, the proposal to unite all the Romanian Orthodox churches in North America into one jurisdiction (found here), this is not “a step backward.”  It is not “selling out.”  And it is not anyone’s “quest for domination” as some have erroneously editorialized.  On the contrary, it is uniting our family as a first step in hopes that eventually all Orthodox Christians in North America will realize a greater unity.  In correcting a situation caused by tragic events of the past, we can be a model for others looking toward the future.  It is recognizing the historical reality that Godless communism no longer controls the free Church of Romania, our Mother Church who deserves our love and respect and who loves and respects us.  And it is an act of humility (without which we cannot truly have faith) on the part of everyone involved so “that they may be one” (Jn.17:11) as Jesus prayed. — “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

While most people are thankful for such a reunion, seeing “how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps.133:1), there are some who still find it difficult to accept such a move after all that our Church leaders suffered as a result of the communist influence.  Evil deeds were a reality in those days, and just as it is difficult for a victim to feel safe and secure in their home at night after being robbed, so too are some people affected by the events of the past.  We must continue to love and pray for people who are victims of these feelings.  However, we are the Church and we cannot live in fear any longer. — “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Over the years, I have had conversations with many family and friends who lived through much of the history we read about.  One person in particular, a priest, comes to mind.  In the 1950’s, he arrived at a parish where the people were fighting over to which Romanian jurisdiction they should belong.  Police were often called to restore peace at the church.  This priest was threatened with physical harm many times and faced the occasional small mob of angry men (who usually had been drinking) who had come to beat him up if he didn’t “turn to their side” and join the diocese loyal to the Church of Romania, and thus the communist influences there.  He eventually brought the parish out of the turmoil and into a new time of growth and progress.  Until his death, he would often talk about the difficulties he endured, but over time he had forgiven those who wronged him and was encouraged by the changes that he saw had taken place in Romania since 1989.  Whenever asked in recent years about his opinion on the reunion of the Romanian Churches in North America, he would simply respond, “It’s time.”  And so, in those two words, he summed up his faith in God and for others. — “Do not be afraid; only believe.”  As young Orthodox Christians, I would say that most of us probably have not had our faith tested to such an extreme, but our faith is challenged every day.  We need each other.  We need to have faith for others and others to have faith for us.  Let’s do what we can to love one another as the family that we are - members of all Romanian Orthodox communities in North America - and God will bless us with His good works.

I would just close with the words of Archbishop Valerian (Trifa), who led our Episcopate through the most difficult times of communist persecution.  He himself was a true confessor of the Orthodox Faith through his ordeals, I believe because of convictions such as this one, as he once wrote decades ago in an article: “…it is not Orthodoxy which is to be blamed for the fact that some sing to the communist tune in the name of Orthodoxy.  It is history’s tragic fate that has split the world in two, once more putting Christ’s Church and entire nations under the political yoke of a Godless empire.  But, just as Orthodoxy will not be extinguished in spite of all that, we are sure that it will not be compromised through acts of man.  It is not man who is the leader of Orthodoxy, it is the Father in heaven, who can never be compromised.”

31 Comments to “DO NOT BE AFRAID; ONLY BELIEVE”


  1. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    Tom Rosco, son of JDC member Fr Romey Rosco, continues the line of “this reunification will help bring unity in America.” And how exactly does he see that happening? NO ONE in favor of the reunification has EVER answered that question, but continues to use it as a selling point of the grande plan. I would question how the Episcopate shows some kind of humility by acquiescing to the foreign Patriarchate. If there was any humility here, it would be the Patriarch acknowledging that his parishes here really should come under the Episcopate…unless all the people who have immigrated here are just staying long enough to make some money and go back to Romania, in which case those parishes are more like foreign embassies serving transcient visitors. Otherwise, being in America should meaning being part of the American Church to which the Episcopate belongs.

    (ocanews - editor’s note: I think you have hit two nails on the head with this comment. First, no one has explained how haviing 16+ ethnically based jurisdictions, all related to foreign patriarchates, builds unity towards an American Church. And that of course, is where you second insight comes in: this is not about an American Church, but maintaining ecclesiastical identities in America apart from the culture in which they find themselves. Is that a valid goal in the missionary context that is America? Yes, if the goal is never to create a local Church. But if so, then how does it promote unity in America? It would seem, rather, it institutionalizes our seperation and colonial ecclesistical status forever for the convenience of foreign Patriarchates, with all the negatives that implies. An American Church then becomes a chimera, for there are no Americans, there are only Greeks, Russians, Serbs, Arabs, Romanians, Bulgarians, Albanians, etc. in America - forever. Or at least until 15 foreign Churches decide the time is right to unite them into one, which, as someone said, will be on the 14th of Never. The OCA’s dream of an autocephalous local church composed of diverse groups may be dead in the water at the moment, but this path seems like a dead end right from the start. )


  2. Anonymous5 Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    The fact remains, “Local churches are under the omophor of local bishops.” There are no Orthodox Canons stating that foreign bishops should rule over the churches or territories not under their immediate authority. There is NO DIASPORA; only local, indigenous growing Orthodox Churches with local bishops which RULE THEMSELVES. The Romanians in America under the OCA rule themselves according to Orthodox Canon Law. To go under the omophor of a foreign bishop, the Pat. of Romania, is NOT canonical nor how the Holy Apostles organized the Church. So, which is it, obeying Orthodox Canon Law and RULING YOURSELF or disobeying the canons and subject yourselves to foreign bishops?


  3. Matt Says:

    The author should be more careful when quoting someone whose opinions on this topic are widely known. Of course the quote of Archbishop Valerian is correct, but it is completely out of context in that he never supported the idea of reunification with the Romanian church. In fact, Archbishop Valerian could not be more clear than he was in his 1984 letter to Romanian Patriarch Justin which is posted on this website.

    “To assure its existence, the Episcopate in America must look only forward and not backward. For this reason it voluntarily became affiliated with the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America (OCA) which is made up of various ethnic Orthodox groups who all have the same goals. Since the purpose of this [ROEA-OCA] affiliation was fundamental for the very existence of the Episcopate, it is, therefore, irreversible.”

    By quoting Archbishop Valerian out of context the author attempts to imply that His Eminence Valerian would be in favor of unity where in fact, the Archbishop held the opposite view. Any attempt to misuse his words is eminently dishonest and a disservice to us all.


  4. Dale1 Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    The idea that the OCA is an”American” Church is simply laughable. My family has lived in this country for almost three hundred years, but because I refuse to reject the traditions of my ancestors, I cannot belong to the OCA…but only to the Antiochian Archdiocese which has a western rite Vicariate. The OCA is simply the Russian Church utilizing, sometimes, English. That does not make it an “American” Church. The Romanians should return home.


  5. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    Dale:
    I don’t know how you see the OCA as NOT an American Church. It’s composed of all nationalities and 50% converts! Most ALL the OCA parishes use 100% English. You are just looking at the Western Rite? The Western Rite is American? The last I looked, the Western Rite is Roman. The Romanians under the OCA RULE THEMSELVES. They can use all English, all Romanian or whatever. The key here is that they have full, ecclesiastical authority over their own churches. Even the Antiochians don’t have that….


  6. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    Reply to Dale:
    Yes the OCA is an Orthodox Church in the US which is completely without a foreign Patr. It is true, its roots and traditions are Russian. [But the] … majority of our bishops are truly diocesan bishops, American born and many converts. Many of our clergy our converts… When I was a child in the 60’s services [in my parish] were in Church Slavonic and I followed along with an English/Church Slavonic Divine Liturgy book (1963) and I still have it. Most of my siblings have left the Orthodox Church. Either they don’t go to church or they go to a non-Orthodox Church. I attended Russian language school during the week and Russian folk dance classes, etc. The Russian bishops tried to russify the people. The OCA parishes are mixed with converts over the past 40 years and their children are cradle Orthodox. They have the faith in books (which did not exist in the 60’s) to teach themselves the faith and their children. SVS Press did a lot of work translating religious books into English. Our Orthodox churches are not to be centers of preserving ethnic cultures, but places of worship of God in correct worship… Our music in our churches could be a blend of the best of all our traditions of the Orthodox world. It is time the bishops and Patr. got on board and did what is right for the Orthodox faithful in this country. OCA parishes today do not have Russian language schools and folk dance classes as the norm. There is nothing wrong with having Greek language classes, Romanian language classes, Russian language classes and folk dancing Irish folk dancing, etc. But each parish based upon its makeup can have a parish that is first christian with christian outreach and still celebrate its ancestral roots whether it is Scottish, Irish, Russian, Austrian, Czech, Serbian, Macedonian, or European (as my children state their ethnic heritage, eastern european and western european). If we are preserving Orthodoxy as a basis of our ethnic culture only and seen by other Americans as Greek Orthodox or Romanian Orthodox; then we aren’t doing the Lord’s work and being a shining light of Christ that others may want to become Orthodox. Its time to get priorities straight. Lets be honest. The foreign patri. see American dollars helping their churches overseas. We can do charitable outreach to our fellow Orthodox overseas and honor those people and saints who gave much with their blood. Let’s have a healthy united Orthodox church in the US/Canada, etc.


  7. Christopher Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    With all due respect, Dale, if I didn’t reject the traditions of my ancestors, I couldn’t be in the OCA either. Those sacrifices to Odin make a mess, and it just takes over the conversation at coffee hour. As for whether the OCA is an American Church, get back to me when the Antiochians celebrate the Liturgy in Tlingit.


  8. Marc Trolinger Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    The autocephelous OCA combined with the AOCA would make a more “American” Church than the OCA alone. This Church in combination with most of the Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Carpatho-Russian, Greek, and Russian Orthodox parishes in North America would make a much more effective Orthodox Christian witness. This Church would also be far more likely to attract those of us who have been here so long we have no national identity other than being Canadian, American, or Mexican.

    A greater autocephelaous North American Orthodox Church would also benefit Orthodox Christians worldwide by manifesting far more effective cooperative efforts to help our brothers and sisters around the world, and to attract other Christian to the ancient Faith.


  9. Mark C. Phinney Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    Dale,
    You raise an interesting and very important question: what constitutes “American Orthodoxy”, i.e., Orthodoxy in North America? Is it which rite is used in worship: the Eastern Rites of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, and St. Gregory Diologos, or the “Western Rite”? (Can any reader point me to a complete, widely recognized Orthodox Western Rite that predates the establishment of the Church of England?)

    In 1985 the parish in Southern California to which I belonged at the time was received into Orthodoxy at the hand of His Grace Clement, then Bishop of Serpukhov, of the Moscow Patriarchate as Western Rite Orthodox. We were Anglo-Catholics looking for a more stable home and chose Orthodoxy; we petitioned Moscow to receive us for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that the OCA had no interest in providing for “Western Rite Orthodox”. In 1989 I transferred to a nearby OCA parish because, although I was raised a Traditional Episcopalian, I had come to find the services of the Eastern Rite more spiritually nourishing. I chose the OCA parish rather than the nearer Serbian Orthodox parish because I understand neither Old Church Slavonic nor modern Serbian. Not once in my move from the Western Rite to the Eastern Rite did I think I was changing from an American into a Russian.

    What of my ancestral home? My father’s side of the family (Scots and Irish) has lived in the territory of what is now the U.S.A. since the second ship landed in the Plymouth Colony, almost 400 years. My mother’s side of the family (Scots and German) has been in the U.S.A. for at least 90 years, but probably no more than 150 years. At a minimum, I am third generation Scots/Irish/German-American, but most importantly I am Orthodox. My Orthodox roots are in the North American Orthodoxy founded by the Saints of North America, both known and unknown.


  10. Gregory Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    While Mr. Rosco sings “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1) in support of the OCA’s Romanian Episcopate uniting with the Church of Romania overseas, he ignores that such a move would actually create disunity, sundering “the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3) it now shares with Orthodox Christians of Albanian, Bulgarian, Russian and many other roots within the Orthodox Church in America. He also ignores the fact that such a move would mean shaping church life along the lines of the heresy of phyletism (identifying and organizing the Church in ethnocentric terms), rather than by the orthodox principle of territorial unity and integrity in a given geographic area. It’s a matter of cultural roots trumping canonical norms one again. Why not have the American diocese of the Romanian Church simply join the Romanian Episcopate of the OCA, which would both unite separated brethren born of the same ethnic roots, and advance the canonical territorial unity and integrity of the Church in North America? That solution would accomplish two noble goals and avoid unorthodoxy.


  11. Another anon Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    “Do not be afraid, but believe.” Believe what? Have faith in whom? Most of us trust God, and believe in Him. Unfortunately, we do NOT believe that this Reunification idea is connected to what is good for us or the Church in this country. While we may be past the terrible days of Communism, it is naive to think that things are just fine now. Those who were shaped under its influence, including those in the Church, did not suddenly become some other persons the day after Ceausescu died. That is also reflected in a different mindset of people who live on the other side of the ocean. A prime example is the heavy-handedness we have seen on the part of the Patriarch already, announcing the “reunification” over a year ago as a done deal, and threatening his archbishop here to get it done, or he would, etc. To turn the Episcopate back over to the Patriarchate, for whatever brotherly love it supposedly would show (and why is that necessary in order for some new harmony to exist?), would show us to be poor stewards of the Church on this continent. Believing in Christ, I am not afraid of the real Good News. But that still does not make reunification a good idea.


  12. George Michalopulos Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    All: the idea of the Romanian jurisdictions coming together in a “maximally autonomous metropolitinate” is sublimely ridiculous. Yes, I know, the churches’ rift should be healed, but guess what? there’s an American Orthodox Church. You’re living here in America. Get over it.


  13. John M. Shoji Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    “This reunification will help bring unity in America.” I cannot believe some people believe this idea. I think even if people of ROEA reunite Romanian Patriarchate with this idea, Romanian Patriarchate may have different one. So, how those two groups fill the gap?

    If the Romanian Patriarchate are promoting ‘unity’ in North America, they must do same in other places in the world. However, they have established parishes in Japan without having any consent from the Orthodox Church of Japan. Why do they create ecclesiastical disunity in Japan?

    I think Romanian Patriarchate in present just promote the idea “România Mare.”


  14. Scot Yonkin Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    It is certainly good that brothers should dwell together in unity. And certainly good that old world wounds caused by communism be healed. But returning 1/2 of the Orthodox Church here in America with Romanian roots to the authority of European bishops makes NO SENSE. Traditions are lovely. The diversity that one sees here in America when it comes to singing and praying the liturgy and in the iconography and church architecture is wonderful. I love it as a matter of fact. But the fact remains that the majority of the people that belong, or more importantly, WILL BELONG to the church here in the future have never been to Romania. And will probably never go there. If the Orthodox in this country don’t stop using the Church as a means to live in some small way the life of their grandparents, then these beautiful buildings will someday stand empty, locked up and will only be a beautiful testimony to a bygone era.

    In making America Orthodox, we must bring a little of Romania here, Russia here, Greece here, Serbia here, Bulgaria here, Ukraine here, even Africa and, anyplace else Orthodox Christianity is found. But we cannot retreat into ethnic enclaves here and expect that Americans are gonna get it.

    I recently had a revealing interaction with a Romanian woman who I was hoping to have an interaction with about the Church. Her being cradle Orthodox FROM Romania and me being an American convert. It didn’t go so well. When I was hoping to learn something special from someone who came here from the Old World, and despite her being baptized there in the Faith, she went into a relentless tirade about the Church and its long services, strict rules, unintelligable services, hypocritical clergy and yada yada yada. She could not understand for the life of her why we (me and my convert wife) would want to be Orthodox. During the conversation she also showed a complete lack of understanding of the basic tennants of the Faith, which with my rudimentary understanding was able to blatantly call her out on. Nonetheless, my point is that this kind of thinking in Europe, as I understand it, is not all that uncommon. Why anyone would want to subjugate ourselves to Churches overseas that have enough work to do in their OWN COUNTRIES is beyond my comprehension. We can learn from them and borrow from their traditions and cultures BUT WE MUST BECOME A CHURCH HERE IN AMERICA.

    I belong to the OCA. Sure it isn’t the answer. The OCA must be a piece of a bigger puzzle that is put together in the end. And I have a feeling that most people in the OCA would be willing to give up the OCA as we know it, if it were to result in Americans actually having A unified Church here. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

    Anyway… everyone can just keep fighting over Old world, New world, Old calendar, New Calendar, Greek language, or English language, Byzantine chant or polyphony, slavonic in the servies, Romanian traditions or whatever…. so one can feel as though they are actually in the Old country during church. That way the Evangelicals can welcome your kids into their church and heretical teachings or the Roman catholics can get your grandkids to a mixed marriage. While converts study for months or years to find and come to this church. All the while painfully disrobing themselves of all the prejudice that comes with being protestant and against anything “catholic”. Only to find Orthodox people here trying their darndest to be ANYTHING BUT Catholic in the true sense of the word.

    The evil scandals and financial misdeeds that plague(d) the OCA and the Antiochians don’t bother me nearly as much as the scandal of keeping the PEARL of GREAT PRICE hidden here while many Americans will never have the chance to know her.


  15. Alexandru Nemoianu Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    After a long… introduction, TR concluded, in a typical circular logic manner, that the “Vatra Episcopate should be subordinated to the Romanian Patriarchate because it is good” (that is to say we should be subordinated because we should be subordinated). Anyhow. In what way will a subordination to a foreign body (the Romanian Patriarchate) promote Orthodox unity in North America?

    … Sins had to be atoned before being forgiven (the case of the machinations of the Romanian communists and their religious contraption in North America, the so called “missionary” diocese).
    Very conveniently, and literally pro domo… [no mention is made] that by switching allegiances, the group of Vatra priests … in the Joint Commission of Dialogue (JDC) show not whose friends they are, but what sort of friends they are. In this context it is strange how such a … comment … was printed in a publication of a “Vatra” auxiliary at a time when there is an open attempt to silence any argument that favors the “Vatra’s” status quo status, that is unity in and with the OCA.


  16. John Ad Orientum Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    I think the question of whether or not this is a good idea will largely depend on your vision for Orthodoxy in America. Do you see the Church as the Ark of Salvation whose mission is to extend the true faith to this land and its people? If so this is probably not an idea which will appeal to you. On the other hand if you view the Church primarily as an ethnic social club this makes wonderful sense.

    Under the mercy,
    John


  17. Matt Karnes Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    I am totally amazed at the OCA Holy Synods seeming complacency in the face of what seems to the ….actions being contemplated by Archbishop Nathaniel.


  18. ANONYMOUS Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    Did anyone look at all the Romanian born clergy that’s in the ROEA ? Look it up now on the oca.org web site. I need not say more because your minds our already made up. Who do you thing you’re kidding ? You even have a Romanian born Bishop. I thought the OCA got their clergy from the native land, America. Very, very few American born clergy are in the ROEA. Why?

    How many of their clergy have “green cards’ and Are Under +ABN thumb.– many came to this country without a release from their Bishops in Romanian and were taken in:however when they want to transfer to another Bishop, no way.It looks like +ABN will be the oldest Bishop in the OCA but, Don”t Look to him for leadership.


  19. Daniel E. Fall Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    What does ‘unity’ give us that we don’t have today? The only thing I see as a positive is tolerance. My church already is, so I don’t care much about unity.

    My church, by the way, is extremely unique. Past pictures show hundreds of ethnic Slavs, and today, there are only a couple left in the church from that bunch (and their children). The church was nearly dead and was brought back to life by a convert priest, and our parish is largely converts. What killed it? Ask me it was staying with the old language into the 90s that did it. I went there to one service and couldn’t understand it and it was cold to keep the heat bill low enough for the 5 parishoners to pay for it, so it was about 5 years before I returned. Once in awhile, we grace some of our foreigners or elderly with something sung or spoken in their native tongue, and that is the extent of it.

    I think the truest tradition of Orthodoxy was local rule, and if the Patriarchs of Europe are the rulers of American churches; I’d say expect nothing good to come of it and you can reflect on my case story above.

    Perhaps I’ve identified the greatest benefit to unity, simple local rule, but it isn’t something most folks care about. Most folks just don’t want things to change drastically in their lives. I don’t believe all Orthodox and other Christian churches in North America need to be unified. I believe Orthodoxy will steadily shrink if English is not embraced in the liturgy here in North America. And the liturgy could be eastern, western, northern, southern, whatever… and I don’t think it’d matter if the language weren’t the local language…my thoughts as a largely disinterested third.


  20. Fr. Christopher Calin Says:

    as posted on ocanews.org, ‘Share your comments’ section regarding ‘On Romanian Unity – Do not be afraid; only believe’

    Though not currently serving in the ROEA, I am one of only a handful of priests that were born in the US nurtured in and produced from the ROEA. I am disappointed with those who believe and teach that uniting the Episcopate with the BOR is a step forward (un pas inainte). It is, to me, just the opposite. Do not be enthralled by the promises of the BOR for “maximal autonomy,” nor the spiritual riches of that nation, to give up on the ideals of the ever-memorable Archbishop Valerian and those pioneers, priests and faithful who sacrificed so much to build a free and autonomous Episcopate.

    It seems to me that those who advocate such a unity are unwittingly using the Church as a vehicle for political and/or cultural purposes. It would be better, in my opinion, to create a social and philanthropic entity to unite Romanians in the two episcopates in common work, like the now defunct “Union and League of Romanian Societies”.

    Actions speak louder than words. Any plans that might submit the episcopate and its parish churches in North America to a Synod Abroad would only marginalize it, and remove it from any meaningful dialogue on church unity. If the ROEA jumps the OCA ship, it will cease to be the forward looking ROEA, and will become nothing more than BOR Abroad, an immigrant entity, cut off from its historical roots here, increasingly meaningless to the lives of our faithful, disconnected from the mission of the Church — a Romanian cultural club. May this never happen!


  21. Mihai Says:

    With all Due respect, Fr. Calin, if you are not serving the Roea then I feel you should not comment on this site. We need people from inside the Episcopate to state their views, not others from outside bringing in their viewpoints and poison.

    That is the point of Unification, so that we as Romanian Orthodox are not led by others “from the outside.”


  22. Administrator Says:

    Dear Mihai, please show a little more than the “due” respect you claim to use when addressing Fr. Calin. Please understand that he is a child of the ROEA, one of the Vatra success stories, in that he is American-born of Romanian heritage, and chose to become an Orthodox priest here! His word in this debate is not only welcome, but needed. Mihai, this man you criticize represents your grandchildren or great-grandchildren, if you indeed succeed in having grandchildren or great grandchildren who continue in the Orthodox faith here in America. Why can’t you be proud of him like many of us are? He is not outside the debate. He is central to the debate. He represents the reason we have taken our stance to remain in the OCA. Mihai, why ignore your own future? By the way, that’s us! Don’t you realize you are now criticizing your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren?


  23. Anonymous Says:

    Mr. Daniel Falls,if your church is extremelu unique, then stay with the OCA, and Romanians vor face unirea - and be one – because they care.


  24. Administrator Says:

    Dear “Anonymous”. Why does Daniel E. Fall deserve your above comment? Understand that we all care and want unity. The question is: “should ROEA-ROAA unity happen under the local OCA or the foreign BOR?”


  25. Mihai Says:

    Mr. Administrator, for your information I am 64 years old and I do have Grandchildren and those grandchildren, despite the fact they were born here, they know how to speak very well Romanian, and enjoy very much visiting Romania every year. They are proud of their Romanian heretage through their own example by taking the effort to keep in touch with the country and culture, and speaking the language fluently.

    Unirea cu BOR este esentiala nu doar pentru viitorul Ortodoxiei in America dar pentru unirea Romaniilor in Statelor Unite intro singura entitate intarindu-i intr-o singura credinta.

    Daca copii vostrii vor sa fie cat mai departati de aceasta cultura, si sa o critice mereu asa cum crititcati voi Biserica BOR, care reprezita natiunea Ortodoxa Romana, atunci stati cu OCA.

    Dar noi Romanii vom sa fim uniti intro singura mitropolie sub BOR si ne vom lua preotii nostrii Romani cu noi. Nu vrem sa iesiti afara ci sa stati alaturi de noi si sa fim adevarati Romani-Americani. Pentru ca unindu-ne cu BOR nu inseamna nicidecum ca negam Natiunea Americana, ci faptul ca nu mai vrem sa fim condusi si supusi la OCA, care nu are nimic de a face cu identitea noastra de Romani Ortodocsi - cu care ne mandrim majoritatea dintre noi in aceasta episcopie.

    Cu tot respectul Fr. Calin, nu am spus-o cu intentie de rau ci pentru ca sa se poate duce un dialog correct,fara influente de din afara, asa cu care traim acum in OCA.


  26. Administrator Says:

    Mihai, you may have grandchildren who still speak Romanian, but, I suspect, based on the above, that they are the first or at most, second generation born in this country, in your family. Wait a while. Some of us are 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation born here, and among us, you will still find a small minority who speak Romanian to some degree, and some of us have even visited Romania. Ask these people how many brothers/ sisters, cousins and children they have who still speak Romanian, and the answer is, very few indeed. Ask how many are still Orthodox and the number is somewhat larger, but by no means large enough. This is our goal, i.e. to have more of these retain their Orthodox faith even as they lose their Romanian language and become fully integrated Americans and Canadians. History has proven that no one can fight Americanization, even on a world scale, let alone in America! For example, today, the second language in Romania is no longer French or Russian, it is English. Our history has taught us that no one can maintain a Romanian ghetto environment in America. It has been tried around our churches and cultural groups many times in the last 100 years, and it has failed every time. Learn from OUR forefathers, pre-WWI and post-WWII immigrants from Romania. Believe it or not we understand your nostalgia for Romania and all things Romanian, and this is normal; we have seen it and heard it from Bunica and Mosu, but we cannot build the religious future of our children on something so emotional as a wish that has failed many times before. No, the hope we now have is to pass on the most precious gift our Romanian ancestors gave us, i.e. our Orthodox faith. To do so, we must adapt to our children’s American roots, since they will lose their Romanian ones here, within a couple of generations at most. But if we learn from past mistakes, there is a chance they will retain our ancestral Orthodoxy if we make it THEIR American Orthodoxy. That is why BOR must represent our past and the OCA our present and future. This debate should not be about OUR needs but about our children and grandchildren’s religious needs.

    Tot repetati ca unirea sub BOR este ceva bun “pentru viitorul Ortodoxiei in America”, dar nu puteti explica cum sau de ce? Repetand aceleasi cuvinte, fara argumente cu care sa le sustineti, dovedeste ca nu aveti nici un argument valabil sau convingator. In plus, trebuie inteles ca, BOR si OCA impartasesc aceiasi credinta, cea Ortodoxa, doar ca BOR este in Romania si OCA este in America, fiindca asa sunt Canoanele Ortodoxe – adica biserica noastra este organizata si administrata pe baza teritoriala, si nu pe baza etnica.

    Mihai, mergi prea departe cand afirmi ca, “copiii nostri vor sa fie cat mai departati de aceasta cultura (Romana) si sa o critice mereu, asa cum criticati voi Biserica BOR…” De ce nu vrei sa intelegi ca drumul spre desprinderea de limba, si atunci si de cultura Romana, incepe chiar cu prima generatie si continua din ce in ce mai mult, in functie de numarul de generatii nascute aici, si ca limba si cultura Americana devine cea mai importanta in viata acestor copii? Stim, si intelegem ca nostalgia este emotiva, dar nu ne putem juca cu viitorul religios al copiilor nostri, bazat pe nostalgia lui nenea Mihai. Deja, noi am sacrificat prea mult in acest sens, urmand nostalgia bunicilor nostri si pierzand viitorul religios la prea multi copii de-ai nostri. Deci, decizia de a merge inainte cu OCA si lasand BOR in trecutul nostru este fireasca si normala in contextul nostru de aici, in America de Nord. Toti dintre noi am cunoscut un nenea Mihai, dar din pacate, timpul are cuvantul lui si aici “trenul Romanesc a plecat din gara”. Chiar, putem spune ca in gara la New York gasesti numai trenuri Americane, tot asa cum in gara din Bucuresti, gasesti numai trenuri Romanesti. Asa este firesc si normal si asa este cand aleg alta tara… Si de unde o scoateti ca, “BOR… reprezinta natiunea Ortodoxa Romana…” Nu exista asa ceva. Romania este o natie si Ortodoxia este o religie. Amestecand aceste notiuni inseamna nostalgie sau altceva, dar nicidecum o realitate. Aici, speram si ne luptam ca copiii nostri nascuti in America sa fie Ortodocsi Americani, fiindca America este, sau va deveni, natia lor, si vrem ca Ortodoxia sa ramana religia lor.

    Mihai, acum mergi chiar prea departe cu amenintarile. Adica daca nu se formeaza o Mitropolie sub BOR “atunci ne vom lua preotii nostri Romani cu noi [cand plecam din OCA]”. Fii serios Mihai! Majoritatea preotilor veniti din Romania dupa 1990 au ales Episcopia noastra, care este in OCA, chiar pentru motivul ca au dorit sa scape de sub calcaiul BOR-ului cand au parasit Romania, ca sa-si faca o noua viata aici. Au gasit o alta cultura administrativa deschisa in Biserica noastra de aici, unde coruptia nu este in frunte. Daca ar fi dorit sa ramana sub BOR, acesti preoti veniti din Romania ar fi ales ROAA care este déjà sub BOR si nu ROEA care este supusa OCA-ului. Deci, sunt preoti veniti aici dupa 1990 care au ales Episcopia noastra intelegand ca trecutul nostru este BOR, si ca prezentul si viitorul nostru este OCA, biserica locala in America.

    In final, Pr. Calin nu este “din afara”, el este de-al nostru si ne reprezinta pe noi si viitorul nostru. Cuvantul lui in aceasta discutie este cel putin atat de important ca si opiniile Dumneavoastra.


  27. Mihai Says:

    Domnule Administrator, am tot scris dece e buna unirea, cum sa se faca etc. Nu am intentia sa ma repet si sa argumentez de infinit ori. Daca nu intelegeti, e problema dumneavostra, daca nu vreti sa intelege-ti, e si mai rau.

    Vom merge la ROAA! Da, dar cum am mai spus. Ne vom duce la ei, uniindu-ne cu ei sub BOR, si ne vom lua si preotii nostrii romani, sa fim si noi o singura natiune romana unita pe aces continent. Cei care nu vreti sa veniti, nu aveti decat sa ramaneti cu OCA!


  28. Administrator Says:

    Nenea Mihai, ne pare rau dar, afara de argumente ne-ortodoxe, nu ati prezentat nici un argument canonic pentru a parasi OCA-ul si sa intram sub BOR. Ati prezentat doar vechiul argument depasit - etnic. Atunci, cum vreti sa convingeti lumea? Cu amenintari ca “Ne vom duce la ei [ROAA], uniindu-ne cu ei sub BOR, si ne vom lua si preotii nostrii romani [din ROEA], sa fim si noi o singura natiune romana unita pe aces continent.” MIHAI, NU VORBI IN NUMELE PREOTILOR CARE AU PLECAT DIN ROMANIA SA NU MAI FIE SUPUSI CORUPTIEI DE-ACOLO SI CARE AU ALES ROEA SI NU ROAA, CAND AU SOSIT IN AMERICA DE NORD! NENE, NATIUNEA ROMANA ESTE IN ROMANIA, SI STABILINDU-VA AICI, ATI ALES NATIUNEA AMERICANA.


  29. Dale Says:

    It appears that to simply mention the possibility of an Orthodoxy that is not tied to Byzantinism is immediately condemned along the lines of human sacrifice. Are you people for real?


  30. Matt Says:

    Dear Dale, not all of us see things only through the Ecumenical Patriarch’s glasses. Please read a bit more before being so overly judgemental.


  31. Dale Says:

    Dear Matt, I was basing my comments on things stated on this web conversation. But I have indeed read Holy Trinity’s Web page (The OCA Cathedral in San Fransisco) which attacks any tradition not stemming from Greece or Russia as “baggage.” Hence, I do not really believe that I am in any manner being over judgmental at all. I have heard that the new Metropolitan does not have the narrow and bigoted view of the ancient traditions of other than Byzantine Christians previously exhibited by the OCA…concerning that, I can only say that time will tell.


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