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When the Going gets Tough…

Author: Alex. Nemoianu
September 2, 2010
When the Going gets Tough, the Tough get Going!

It is by now obvious that Orthodoxy in the New World is at a crossroads. The options are but two.  The Orthodox faithful of the New World have to choose between being an obedient appendix of the Old World or to assume the status of an equal among equals and demand canonical independence.  At this point a few basics should be repeated.

The New World, that is the United States and Canada, is a continent, the most developed part of the World and the leader of the World. This reality cannot be argued, it is a fact.

The American and the Canadian nations are a few centuries old and their contribution to modern culture and civilization is overwhelming.  In all areas of development the New World leads and is mostly, head and shoulders above the rest.  Under these circumstances it is absolutely stunning why this is not recognized by the Orthodox bodies of the Old World. This situation has an explanation and it has a cause, and the blame for this aberration lays squarely with the Old World.

The Orthodox bodies of the New World act, in regard to the New World Orthodoxy, in a selfish and misguided way.  Out of inertia, fear of change, and for petty materialistic interests as well, those bodies continue to consider the North American Orthodox a “diaspora” and part of the ethnic realities of the Old World. It is an obstinate denial of reality and of crystal clear facts. It is also an offensive refusal to acknowledge the very existence of the American and Canadian nations.  Up to a point the bodies of the Old World act in ignorance, but beyond that point, they act in unforgiveable bad faith. In the Old World, it is a fact that Orthodox canonical bodies consider that all nations are entitled to autocephaly, but not the New World; and this simply represents an aberration and  a gross offense.

This unholy mixture of ignorance and bad faith is draped in all kinds of dubious canonical interpretations, sheer sophistry and uncalled for presumptuousness.  Let us make no mistake. The canonical bodies of the Old World, or at least, too many of them, ganged up not against OCA, they ganged up against the very idea of North American autocephaly. This machination should not tolerated!  But paradoxically, the responsibility to change and reject that approach, and the responsibility to assert North American Orthodoxy, do not reside with the bodies of the Old World, they are the domain of the North American Orthodox faithful.

The personal humbleness  of His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah is very commendable. I have previously shown that this is a quality that has become “rara avis” among Orthodox hierarchs. But the Metropolitan is wrong when he tolerates  to be pushed around as Metropolitan of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of America.  The Metropolitan should hold the line. He should fight back. He should reject any suggestion that the American Orthodox Autocephaly is anything but full autocephaly.  It should be remembered that when faced with the arrogance of heretics, Saint Nicholas, the very symbol of gentleness, was not shy to literally hit back hard. That act was not just an occurrence; it set an example to follow.  For the Orthodox faithful of the New World, now is the time to prove the unyielding mettle of North Americans. No matter how many would gang up against it, North America will not cave.

North American Orthodox autocephaly is a cause worthy to fight for, and a cause that will prevail.

52 Comments to “When the Going gets Tough…”

  1. Administrator Says:

    A venit vremea sa fim curajos. In istoria ortodoxie, vedem ca Autocefalia rar se primeste, ci sa ia. Luati-o! Este a voastra daca ati obtinut maturitate ortodoxa si sunteti capabil sa o luati si sa o pastrati spre inflorirea ei. Astazi, in America de Nord, o avem in OCA, fiind luata de inaintasii nostrii in 1970. O treime din Bisericiile Ortodoxe Autocefale din lume recunosc autocefalia OCA-ului de astazi. Ce va fi proportia de recunoastere in inca 40 de ani, adica in 2050? Daca continuam sa crestem in America de Nord, sa fiti sigur ca vom fi recunoscuti de si mai multe biserici ortodoxe autocefale. Realitatea existentei noastre si a cresterii noastre se vor intampla in acelasi timp cand mai multe Biserici din lumea veche vor diminua in importanta. Cum a fost si la Adunarea Episcopala din New York, 2010 unde 55 din cei 65 de Episcopi ortodocsi din America de Nord au vazut Episcopii OCA intrand in camera, NU AU AVUT CUM SA NU VADA ELEFANTUL INTRAND. Intr-adevar OCA-ul este mare si impozant din toate puncturile de vedere: # de parohii, Episcopi, credinciosi, etc., dar mai ales, prin faptul ca este singura biserica locala cu dreptul canonic de a fi in America de Nord. Iata lupta cea dreapta care uneste pe toti ortodocsii care vor Biserica Ortodoxa Autocefala aici, condusa de Prelati de aici, cu metode administrative care sa adapteaza la scopul si cultura locala, si unde laicii au un rol de management important in Biserica, fiindca Biserica este si Cler si Laici. Restul este…praf la ochi!

  2. Administrator Says:

    The time has come for us to be courageous. In the history of Orthodoxy we see that Autocephaly is rarely received, but that it is most often taken. Take it! It is yours if you have attained Orthodox maturity and are capable of taking it and then preserving it so that it may blossom. Today, in North America, we have it in the OCA, since our forefathers took it in 1970. One third of Autocephalous Orthodox Churches worldwide accept our OCA autocephaly today. What will the proportion of acceptance be 40 years hence, that is in 2050? If we continue to grow in North America rest assured that we will be recognized by more and more autocephalous Orthodox churches. The reality of our existence and our growth will occur at the same time as many churches in the Old World will diminish in importance. As occurred at the 2010 New York Episcopal Assembly where 55 of the 65 Orthodox Bishops in North America saw the OCA Bishops enter the room, THEY COULD NOT AVOID SEEING THE ELEPHANT ENTERING. Truly, the OCA is massive and important from all points of view: # of parishes, Bishops, faithful, etc., but more importantly, because it is the only local Church with a canonical right to exist in North America. Here is the righteous battle that unites all Orthodox faithful wanting an Autocephalous Orthodox Church here, run by Prelates from here, with administrative customs adopted to our local culture and views, and where the laity plays an important management role in the Church, because the Church is also Clergy and Laity. The rest is… sand in the eyes!

  3. Un prieten Says:

    Marea majoritatea Romanilor din Nord America au ales ROEA- OCA nu numai ca in aceasta biserica, exista o independenta totala fata de BOR, condusa de comunisti si de neo-comunisti de acolo cu interesele lor, dar si pentru faptul ca este nevoie de o biserica autocefala in lumea noua pentru copii nostri care doresc sa pastreze religia noastra stramoseasca chiar cand devini ei Americani si Canadieni.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Cry me a river with this reflection… In case you missed it, we ARE diaspora and will remain attached to the mother church….all you converts can “convert” back if you dont like it.

  5. Anonymous Antiochian Priest Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Very, very true! And [Anonymous]#1 can return to his “Mother” Church. Always amazed as an 18yr convert to Orthodoxy, how we have to turn to foreign great “spiritual” leaders in far off places to determine how we shall be governed. Where is that emailer who desires a Boston Tea Party? Taxation without REAL representation. Foreign born “local” leaders who will always desire Old World concurrence to their plans (when convenient and beneficial!)

    Yes, I concur, God bless Met. Jonah and his like. Few of our leaders have courage of any sort. “Don’t Rock the Ship”, should be placed on their memorial stones under the words Memory Eternal!

  6. Anonymous 2 Says:

    ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! The autocephaly of the OCA is a sacred gift by prompted by Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff. It is totally canonical and even outlined in the early minutes of SCOBA (1961-62) as the way to solve the unity problem in North America. Unfortunately, both the Greeks & Antiochians reneged and would not join the OCA. Fast-forward to where we are today. Non-canonical Episcopal Assemblies controlled by old-world bishops trying to regain power & authority throughout the world. The OCA must stand-up for who we are and if our leaders refuse, they can retire and be replaced by bishops who are worthy to say, “We belong to the only indigenous, canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America.” There is nothing in Moscow; there is nothing in Istanbul or anywhere else. We are Orthodox people of North America and we run our own churches with our own bishops. Our Church is HERE! Our Synod is HERE! There is no “DIASPORA” and we don’t believe in Roman Catholic ecclesiology of putting ourselves under one bishop in Istanbul nor Moscow. We are free in Christ!

  7. Todd Petratis Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    It’s hard for +Jonah to not let himself be pushed around when Moscow who gave the OCA their “Autochephaly”, at the moment is not in any way defending it!

    ( - Editor’s note: Since the Russian Church recently instructed its parishes in North America to commemorate +JOnah as the head of the local autocephalous church, as is done everywhere else where Russian churches exist on the terrority of other churches, one wonders how they are not defending it? Or again, by inviting and receiving the Metropolitan as a head of church during his visit last year. The Tomos envisioned voluntary adherance to the OCA by other groups - so by not forcing others into the OCA the Russians are “defending” the Tomos. Or perhaps you mean Chambesy? Coming to an agreement about how autocephaly will be done in the future is not an attack on how its was done in the past; nor does Chambesy mention that. Of that the Russians have said nothing. So when you make such unsubstantiated claims, it would be helpful if you would give reasons beyond personal prejudices….)

  8. Sean O'Clare Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    I very much like both the facts and the spirit of this article. I would like to point out, however, a variance in focus. The churces of the “Old World” tend to see their role as maintainers of emigrants to the New World. There is no vision, at all, of any sort, or attempt, to evangelize the New World. This focus goes back well over 100 years, to a time when the churches in New Orelans or San Francisco, for example, were established, not to evangelize, but rather to serve the needs of pre-existing national or ethnic communities (Greek and Russian, respectively). As long as they see themselves in this role, then they will seek to maintain their position as guide, leader and protector of established nationat and ethnic communities. IF the churches in the Old Countries saw their roles as evangelists, then the entire focus would change. Then, as happened in the Ukraine and Russia over a thousand years ago, then the churches would be given, would demand, and would receive total autocephaly.

    I also agree that it is up to the faithful in the New World churches and communities to seek, demand and receive autocephaly. However, virtually no one, for all of the talk, bluster, seminars and conferences truly believes in evangelization. We have accepted the role of maintaining national and ethnic communities because it is easier and finances are more secure. We need to change our focus, and yes, I know, there are some missions and churches where evangelism is a focus (but not always where one thinks) but for the vast majority of Orthodox churches, we still see that converts must come to Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy does not go to them.
    In the past five or ten decades there has really only been one massive effort to evangelize, to convert a large number of Americans to Orthodoxy. Of course I speak of the Evangelical Orthodox Mission/Church of the Antiochains. What I’d like to know is, who was the one key person who spear-headed this effort? I know Met. Philip received those several thousand converts, but who really did the work? I sure have never heard mention of anyone in this role. I’ve been to a couple conferences/seminars on evangelisation, and I’ve heard the members of the AEOM speak (if they are still referred to by this title), but this is asking how to evangelize from the people who were the evangelized, not the evangelizer. So, who was the evangelizer? Who is that person or persons? Where is that person? How come that person never shares with us how they did it? Maybe that person or persons should be sharing? We need to change our focus from maintenace (this is the way the Old World churches see us - therefore they have become the maintainers) to evangelism. Then we will seek, demand and receive true autocephaly.

  9. Anon Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    “We ARE diaspora…” give me a break. I am the third generation of my family in this country. I have never been within a thousand miles of my grandfathers home. I AM Orthodox. I AM also an American. We may be a “child” to our parents, we may even act childlike. We made mistakes, we will continue to make mistakes, and we will watch our parents make the same mistakes. But we will learn and I think we do pretty well with that. I love my parents and honor them and am grateful for the fine upbringing they gave me, but I’m quite willing to stand on my own now. We make that decision, nobody else can now make it for us.

  10. Bob Koch Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    The old world patriarchs may pronounce on American Orthodox issues of headship when they can go to the local hardware store and buy parts to fix a leaky faucet; WITHOUT permission of the local government. They are irrelevant there and here.

  11. Anonymous 3 Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Alexandru Nemoianu is a true visionary! Do not give up the fight within the Romanians and we 2nd, 3rd & 4th generation Orthodox within the OCA will not give up our autocephaly. Any convert bishop(s) who think they can dissolve our autocephaly and put us back under Moscow are sadly mistaken. We’ve changed Metropolitans twice and maybe the third time will be a charm. People need to wake-up regarding the serious threat of foreign bishops trying to dominate the Orthodox in N. America. Canonically, foreign bishops have NO authority outside their dioceses - even Big + Bart!

  12. Happy Says:

    Please, just accept the church as it was given to us and stop trying to take it apart people. Is it that hard to be obedient to those that actually studied and served in the church for their entire lives and generations when others are born-again theologians and historians in the last 10 years because they were so sick of their last church the visited. Come on. Stop being petty and ignorant, be a realist. This is a new country, new to Orthodoxy, after 100 years (or really last 60 years worth) been a growing church at a great speed. Those who seem to want separation seem to think like a 16 year old getting his drivers license and now thinks he is an adult with the same understanding of life and responsibility as an actual adult who has lived life. However, this is the Church, much more serious and we are acting like 16 year olds getting the drivers license. It takes time, knowledge, and understanding. WE ARE NOT READY! Be realists people, who here is going to step down, give up their seat, and follow the next Patriarch of America. That would be awesome, but not gonna happen. I’m sorry. At least not now, it would be nice though. This is a great historical time we are in, in the eyes of the church, but do not rush it, just let it take it’s course. Maybe this is the course, but it will not happen. I’m not pessimistic, I’m being a realist. We need the Mother Church, and She needs us. Would you abandon your Mother? No way! Let us pray for forgiveness and Her care to help GUIDE us so that one day we can walk on our own feet. We’re just crawling.

  13. Anonymous 2 Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Anyone who wants to put themselves under “FOREIGN BISHOPS” please go join the Greeks, Antiochians or others. Orthodox Canon Law is clear: “Bishops do not have authority outside their own diocese.” This includes + Bart! The OCA won’t give up it’s autocephaly. The people (laos) of the OCA refuse to accept any such notion. The Episcopal Assemblies can say whatever they want; the Great Council of 2013 can say whatever it wants; the OCA remains a canonical, autocephalous church in North America. Foreign yo-ho’s trying to do a land grab - ain’t gonna happen.

  14. Bob Koch Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    [HAPPY,] It’s easy to comment on something so consistent: hogwash in all three points. Just nonsense. If the ancient ‘Mother” churches (I’d love to see that concept in the Fathers of the Church, the liturgies or the scriptures) produce the current hierarchs after “entire lives and generations” of serving the Church, then they are the best case going to cut not just administrative ties, but ties of any kind. They’re a disaster and want to export the disaster here. They are also hopelessly corrupt as can be seen from the materials posted on this website over several years now. I don’t find “Mother” church in the Creed, I was not received into the “Mother” church of anything. I don’t have to recite a prayer of devotion to one to receive communion. It’s a corrupt idea from desperate people who can’t deal with information getting out laity who can read.

  15. David Barrett Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    “It takes time, knowledge, and understanding. WE ARE NOT READY!” Gee, I remember white people saying the same thing when I was a child about blacks in America demanding their equal rights after 400 years!! As Anonymous said, “Orthodox Canon Law is clear: ‘Bishops do not have authority outside their own diocese.’” Wake up and smell the coffee!!!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    I think those who would argue that we are not “ready” have an obligation to state exactly what is not ready. Without such guideposts, how would we know? I suspect the reason there are no requirements listed when such statements are made is that: 1) there are other autocephalous churches that can’t meet the requirements; 2) it involves some sort of murky spiritual intuition, along the lines of the “I know it when I see it” - that also conveniently allows the church to never be independent.

  17. kidsmom Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    And any good Mother would know that the ultimate goal of raising progeny is to give them the gift of independence. It is unhealthy to keep our kids under our wings until they are past the age where they should be allowed to fly on their own.

  18. Fr John Chagnon Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Every autocephalous Orthodox Church, every Patriarchate, was once a 16 year old kid wanting the keys. They seemed to have turned out, for the most part, alright and there’s no reason why an autocephalous American Orthodox Church would not do the same. Bumps and mishaps on the way? Absolutely, but that’s how children grow up and wise parent’s understand this.

  19. David Barrett Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    A great Reflection: Clear, succinct, and to the point!!! And, more importantly, all very true!!

  20. Andrew A. Lukashonak Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    I also am a realist. The grass is not greener on the old world side of the fence. I love the Russian Church dearly but despite its age and resilience, it has its own weaknesses and particular challenges to face. The same is true for all the old world churches. Each one could receive a letter addressed to them from St. John in his Book of Revelation. The OCA has made mistakes and misplaced priorities but what church old or new hasn’t? At least I see an effort at real repentance (however imperfectly for some).
    Having been exposed to church politics for most my life I’ve come to believe our autocephaly is something that must be defended at all cost. It is a gift to those Orthodox Christians (maybe a generation or two away) who will ask “Why aren’t we united?” and then actually do something about it. But for the time being, if we won’t defend it, who will? And if we don’t think it is something worth defending then we don’t deserve it! +Jonah needs to understand what he has been entrusted with and act accordingly even if it requires courage despite his youth and standing. The answer to our problem will not come from abroad but from within and only at the right time when we really desire it.

    To be honest I’m not alarmed about our haphazard situation here in America. The Gospel is being preached, lives are being saved, the Eucharist is offered and the holy mysteries of the church are celebrated in freedom. So we can say no to power grabs and ill-intentioned meddling in the name of church unity for the time being. If old world bishops want to fix something they should begin in their own backyards where there is much in need of attention. Yes, our witness in America is weakened for now but unless our unity is real, our witness won’t be strong anyway!

    I am often amazed at the things that have taken place in my 43 years. We are living in a fantastic time. But we must also realize that it is an exceptional time. Historically, changes don’t normally happen so quickly! Maybe we should concentrate more on the quality of our church lives then the order of the diptychs. If the OCA fails to preach the Gospel, no Tomos of Autocephaly will spare the pruners shears!

  21. Anonymous Says:

    If + Bart were REALLY serious about unity & autocephaly in North America, he’d just tell the GOA and everyone else to join the OCA and have a new election of a leader of the OCA. What’s so difficult about that? Why won’t this happen? Because the Episcopal Assemblies are ultimately about + Bart putting all the Orthodox in N. Am. under HIMSELF. These assemblies and the projected Universal Council of 2013 is a sham to coronate + Bart as an Eastern Pope. WAKE UP AMERICA! You are being scammed. And Moscow can’t wait to consolidate ROCOR & the OCA under itself. Fat chance!

  22. Kenneth R. Tobin Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    This reflection should be taken to heart by every lay member of whatever Orthodox jurisdiction in North America. For make no mistake, Orthodoxy in North America, and elsewhere, is at a crossroads, and it is long past time for the American Orthodox laity to stand up and demand the end of foreign control and leadership of its Church.

    But unfortunately, we are often our own worst enemies, as some of the comments on this and other threads continually demonstrate. Cow-towing to foreign potentates seems to be in the DNA of some members of the laity, who apparently have never assimilated to or accepted the culture in which they live. Instead their emphasis is on preserving ethnic enclaves and “special relationships” with what can only be described as a dubious set of characters across the ethnic and national boundaries of the Orthodox world.

    But the time for fun and games is over, and the time for serious action is now. If Metropolitan Jonah can not vigorously and articulately defend an independent North American Church he should resign forthwith. The OCA’s independence should be seen as an entitlement to be shared with all North American Orthodox Christians, not merely as a gift to one jurisdiction to be horded, exploited and controlled.

    Finally, it really is time for North American Orthodox Christians to take control of their own destiny, whatever the cost to international relations and foreign sensibilities. We are no better, but certainly no worse, than our brothers abroad, and we are fully able to run our own affairs free from the machinations of often corrupt, and at best self-interested, authorities outside North America. For those who think otherwise–well, no one is stopping you from leaving!

  23. Fr. Andrew Gall Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    When the going gets tough …and it will…/ If Alexandru Nemoianu is a true visionary, what will he see on October 3,2010, after the Episcopte Congress meets in Cleveland , Ohio. Be sure to tell us what you see.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Great article. Metropolitan Jonah you should be reading this article and following its vision. The laity of the OCA will not accept anything other than remaining an autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    If the American Romanians are so narrow-minded as to believe old country, foreign bishops will REALLY have their best interests in mind, WAKE UP! They want the American $$$ - that’s what this is about! Going back to old country bishops sets American Orthodoxy back to the 1940’s & 50’s. FOOLS!

  26. Fr. Andrew Gall Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Remember- you brought up money & who wants it, so think about sticky fingers and payoffs.
    Am. Orothodoxy before April 10, 1970, was doing just fine and it still is. Ask those who are under the thumb of foreign bishops with Am. Metropolitans.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Fr. Gall: The Romanians under the OCA are an American institution. The OCA is an American institution and WILL remain as such. The possible take-over of these institutions by FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS and/or churches, should be of strong interest to people in our American State Dept. Are these really CHURCH PEOPLE behind these take-overs or are they agents of FOREIGN GOVTS?

  28. Fr. Andrew Gall Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Remember - you brought up the word institution. Who do you think should be in an institution for past deeds done in the name of the Holy Church ? Maybe Am. needs an overseer that is not blind. You do know about the MP & the KGB agents & puppets here & now ? OH, MY ! …

  29. Iskandra Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    … I know the OCA isn’t perfect but the synod is here in America with rule of law and with a laity and group of clergy who were able to overcome a scandal because it was all contained here, in this land. There was no foreign patriarchate to bribe in order to sway the outcome. And with email, blogs, and new sites like this one, it is very hard for a synod based in this country to pull a fast one.

  30. Can't say who I am this time Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Just before the last All-American-Council. Bishop Benjamin said he would not allow his diocese to fall under the authority of foreign bishops. I don’t know what he would do if the rest of the OCA Synod said they were going with a foreign church, but his statements so far seem to indicate he will resist anything other than an autocephalous American Church.

  31. Cantemir Says:

    Nemoianu is very right!

    The problem we face is that there is a great confusion, mostly with new arrived people, between race and culture. I am Romanian by race but I am American by culture. I do not intend to go back to Romania, my grand-grandfather’s country. I am an Orthodox American, my children are Orthodox Americans and we are not DIASPORA. Period!

  32. Steve Knowlton Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    For some reason it makes sense that the Bulgarians should have a BULGARIAN church, fully Bulgarian, fully Orthodox. Same with Russians, Georgians, Cypriots, Arabs, Poles, Czechs, Romanians, etc.

    We Americans want the same. Why, suddenly does the a rather straightforward principle stop at the shores of the Atlantic?

  33. Fr. Dennis Buck Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    [Steve] …by which, of course, you mean: IN Bulgaria, IN Russia, IN Georgia (Tblisi, not Atlanta), IN Cyprus, etc., right?

  34. Iskandra Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Some of the “mother” churches are sick, senile, compromised and heading toward death. We could help them out with a unified voice in North America if they would let go and let us become an autocephalous church.

    One blow to the Assad regime and it will be gone, and with it would go the patriarchate of Damascus with all of those Christians. Just look at what happened to the Iraqi Christians after the war. Their numbers have been decimated. The patriarchate of Damascus need North America to be one church of 2 million, not a remanent church of 50,000. Washington will hear our voice if we are unified. Wake up to reality, would you please.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    Alexandru: It is good to see you here! I am so glad there are still people like you among the Romanians. I remember well the visionaries; + Valerian, Fr. Hategan, Fr. Lazar (the older) and many others at the Vatra who truly believed in an American Church. WHAT HAPPENED??? Where did all the ethnocentricity come from wanting to return to old country patriarchs who only want $$$? I thank God there are people like you within the Romanians. Please don’t let your Conference on Oct 3rd set your church back to 1940. We in the OCA will probably go through another purge to rid ourselves of those who are fighting against our American Church!

  36. Alexandru Nemoianu Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    The Russian Patriarchate would never rescind the Tomos of autocephaly; for a few reasons.
    In the first place such a Tomos cannot be rescinded. “Tomos” means to cut and what is cut cannot be put together again.

    A Tomos of autocephaly means total independence and total independence cannot be less than “total independence”.(I really cannot understand why it is so hard to accept that words have meaning.)

    In addition, the Russian Patriarchate is fully aware that an Orthodox autocephalous body is unavoidable for America and the Patriarchate was wise to accept this fact ahead of time. In a more anecdotic manner we can put it this way; The Russian Patriarchate was the one who, in 1970,rediscovered the very simple truth, “if you cannot beat them, join them”.

  37. Mark Stokoe Says:

    as posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “When the Going gets Tough”

    [The ocanews Editor’s comment below is in response to Fr. Deacon Daniel’s comment criticizing OCA self-governance, the low number of American saints and monasteries, suggesting that a typical individualistic mindset exists here; this in support of his claim that the Orthodox phenomenon has yet to take root here, and why the OCA may go under the EP soon.]

    …The fact is that compared to 40 years ago, the OCA has more, and better parishes (in terms of real commitment, priestly education, eucharistic life, finances, music, translated texts, practically any standard by which you want to judge. Charitable outreach as well; more monasteries with more monks and nuns than 40 years ago; more dioceses; and two large and growing seminaries - and a third regional one. We are mature enough to go through a scandal, and correct it ourselves, thank you very much. We are not perfect - and could do much more, and do it better. But the facts are that we may be smaller in total numbers - but most everybody in the OCA knows why they are here as Christians first; and not for some ethnic or political or social or familial statement. And yes, we do have saints - but different ones than they have in Europe. Alaskan Matushka Olga Michael comes to mind as one on the verge of being recognized by the whole church for her sanctity, and that for being a wife, mother, midwife and help to the poor. Oh, and the miracles. True, you won’t find an advocate for the sexually abused in most tradtional Orthodox countries - but thank God she was doing it in Alaska 35 years ago even before it became a cause celebre.

    So, yes, we have an individualistic mindset in the West - and thank God people like Matushka Olga could think for themselves, and do something about the problems. You think groupthink is better? Last time I looked God was going to ask me at the Last Judgement what I did - not what “Holy Russia” did. Last time I looked Hellenism, for all its wonder and beauty, couldn’t save me; my faith in Jesus Christ can. I hope St. Herman has an onion to lower down to me so I can hold on and make it to heaven - but it is this individual who has to repent and grab hold. So yes, I have no problem with “individualism”.

    As for the OCA joining the EP - LOL. I can tell you this, the Russians would take umbrage at the thought, making it unpalatable for the EP, even if they wanted, which they don’t. Nor is the OCA re-joining the Russians. Not if the Synod, MC and AAC have any say. And friend, we do.)

  38. Thomas Says:

    1)In the Orthodox church, there is no “democracy.” there is “theocracy.” This democracy concept is leading to remarks, as above, naming the orthodox church “an instituion.” the democracy concept definetly led to over 3000 protestant sects! Just look in the United States!

    2)The Greeks, the Antiochians, the Serbs, even the Russians have united under their mother patrarchate! The fact that they have their own bishops here, leading the church, shows it is a “territorial church,” not a foreign church as others said on this site! All churches have to be territorial, thats why each episcopate has it’s own bishop, metropolinate it’s own metropolitan.

    3)However these bishops have to submit to a sinod. Who does the OCA submitt to? There is no patriarchate in america for the oca to submitt to! Moreover the name “oca” is misleading and un-true. Does OCA represent all the Orthodox christians in America? That in itself, shows how uncanonical it is! Where in the world, the orthodox world,do you see a metropolitan (Jonah in this case)to forsee/to lead other bishops/archbishops who have nothing to do with oca. For example, our episcopate, “the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America & Candada,” submitts to a metropolitan that represents “OCA!” Thats like, Mitropolia Ardealului (mitropolitul), foreeing the Russian Epsicopate of Sibiu!

    4)The Russian patriarchate (even though they did not have the athority to do so) granted autocephaly to “mitropolia in afara rusiei” not to “oca.” OCA is a heresy which was formed by “converted orthodox bishops, who even today, represent OCA.”

    5)The fact of the matter is Romanians are divided under two episcopates in America. We need to be one. And OCA does not represent what is Romanian… Our mother church is BOR. And just as [others] have united under their mother churches,so will we Romanians do the same. Because this the will of god: for the church to be one! We are Romanians, not Russians. And we are part of the “Romanian episcopate of America and Canada” not “the American Episcopate of America and Canada.” Again, i repeat. If it is Gods will for all Romanians to be one, under their mother church BOR, who can stand in his way? I feel truly sorry for anyone who thinks they can!

  39. Administrator Says:

    1)Thomas, for the last time learn your terms: a theocracy is a form of state government where the head religious person also runs the country. Why do you confuse this with democracy in the church, institutions and Protestantism? All nonsense.

    2)The Greeks and Antiochians here were under their Mother Churches well before any of this. The Serbs were literally shoved under Belgrade recently by their Hierarchs without the approval of the free Serbs here and that saga is far from over. ROCOR struck a deal with the Moscow Patriarchate and that is not going very well at all. So, why should we leave the OCA?

    3)Many ethnic regroupings here report to foreign territorial churches there. They have no business doing so. A territory is a simple concept applied here to define local Churches. You can’t have more than one local Church responsible for a given territory. Our territory is America. You cannot have Bishops here reporting to the Romanian Synod there, along with Bishops here reporting to the Russian Synod there, or have Bishops here reporting to a Serbian Synod there, when all these Bishops are on this American territory and should be reporting to an American Synod here! Their territory is Romania, Russia, Serbia, etc. NOT America! What would the Romanian Patriarchate say if the Russian Patriarchate would try to open a church in Bucharest under a Bishop reporting to Moscow? IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN BECAUSE BUCHAREST WOULD NOT ALLOW SUCH AN INTRUSION? You mention the Russian Episcopate of Sibiu [Romania] in gest. Get real. Why should we allow these churches to do the same here, in America? WE ARE TOO NICE, THAT’S WHY! Remember, the OCA is an autocephalous Orthodox church, recognized as such by the majority of Orthodox in the world. It has its own Synod and the ROEA is a Diocese within it. Not all ethnic groups have joined the OCA yet, mostly for political reasons. But in not doing so they themselves support phyletism here, which means organizing the church on ethnic lines rather than on territorial boundaries, something considered to be contrary to Orthodox Canon Law. Our ROEA Vatra Episcopate is a founding Diocese of the OCA and as such recognizes its autocephalous status as the TRUE Orthodox Church in America. Most Priests and laity coming here had the option to chose join the ROEA/OCA or the ROAA/BOR, that regrouping under Bucharest. Most chose our Vatra Episcopate. What more do you want from us?

    4)The OCA is comprised of many ethnic and Americanized groups, as it should in America. The Russian group is the most significant ethnic group in the OCA, followed by the Romanians, Albanians and Bulgarians. The Church also includes many converts and many churches now use English/French/Spanish as liturgical languages instead of the original languages, as they should given the changing generations and audiences.

    5)The fact of the matter is that most Priests and laity coming here chose join the ROEA/OCA rather than the ROAA/BOR and this bothers BOR and the Romanian Government because they have no control over them here. People left Romania to start their new lives here. Most attend a church that will grow with their changing needs, as they become Americanized and their children grow as Americans and develop the need for an American style Orthodox Church – not a Romanian one. What don’t you get. The Romanian Orthodox Church IN Romania. The American Orthodox Church IN America. Finally, I am so glad you know God’s will and that is to join the Romanian Patriarchate while we reside here. You make no sense. GOD IS ON OUR SIDE. CU NOI ESTE DUMNEZEU.

  40. Thomas Says:

    Mr administrator, If you have anything to respond this following posting …

    -Arguments against OCA autocephaly - Canonical arguments …
    -Arguments against OCA autocephaly - Historical arguments …
    -Arguments against OCA autocephaly - Practical arguments …

  41. Administrator Says:

    This website will not allow you to blatantly attack our Church. If you do not like it then leave it! OCA autocephaly is recognized by the majority of Orthodox worldwide and it may take decades longer before it is recognized by all. Remember, most of these Churches not recognizing our autocephaly do so for political reasons, both their own and their respective government’s reasons. These bodies want to create and control their “Diasporas” and controlling their ethnic church groups here allows this to occur. This has nothing to do with religion – it has nothing to do with God.

    As previously mentioned to you on Jan. 22, 2010 regarding the article American Metropolitanate posted Jan.14, 2010, (not to mention a few other times):

    “A concoction of false rhetoric challenging the canonicity of the OCA will not be tolerated on this website. Any attempt to defame the OCA, by claiming and then circuitously “arguing” that the OCA is not canonical, will not be printed here. Please learn about the subject matter before repeatedly making hurtful and ridiculous claims here. In short and as previously explained: If clergy from different Orthodox churches concelebrate the Holy Liturgy, it means that they each recognize the canonicity of the other – otherwise they would not concelebrate. All recognized Orthodox churches concelebrate with the OCA, including BOR and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Therefore, by definition, the OCA IS ACCEPTED AS A CANONICAL CHURCH IN ORTHODOXY.”

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Administrator–Please correct one statement in your reply: to say the “OCA autocephaly is recognized by the majority of Orthodox worldwide” is misleading. Only one third of the Orthodox Churches in the world say they recognize the OCA autocephaly (they say it, but several of them don’t really respect it in practice, but that’s a different story). Your statement of “majority” is based on the fact that Russia is the largest Orthodox Church population wise and, therefore, our majority refers to assuming that each and every in Russia recognizes the OCA autocephaly. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the autocephaly, I think we all need to be clear on facts.

    Also, I agree with your statement that a website should not be used to “blatantly attach our Church.” However, many of the insulting statements against Churches, Patriarchates, clergy, etc, are made by Mr Nemoianu, yourself, and some of the other authors on this very site. You appear to promote such attitudes when it is against others, but you refrain from allowing it when it’s directed at “our Church” (whatever you view “our Church” to be). Please explain how this is not a double standard.

  43. Administrator Says:

    Dear anonymous, I do not want to be misleading. Remember, I have repeated this complete statement you ask me to correct a couple of times already on this website. For example, in my Sep 8, 2010 response to Thomas regarding the article “Met. Hilarion BORussia & OCA” I said: “…today, fully 1/3 of Orthodox Churches, representing the majority of Orthodox worldwide, consider the OCA to be an Autocephalous Church. This is reality…” Understand the context of the shortened version you take issue with. It was a Sep 12, 2010 Administrator reply to a Sep 10 Comment by Thomas regarding the article “When the Going gets Tough”. Those reading the website and following the back and forth would understand the full meaning even in the shortened version. So Anonymous, in the interests of brevity and convenience, we used a shortened version of the argument, AND NOT TO MISLEAD AND BE UNCLEAR ABOUT FACTS AS YOU UNFAIRLY IMPLY!

    Also, dear anonymous, when referring to “our church” this website refers to the Vatra Episcopate, the ROEA/OCA, the one we chose! When facts are insulting, then this website is guilty of being insulting. When does this occur? When the ROAA and BOR spew out lies and expect us to swallow hard (as highlighted many times on this website). SORRY! NO CAN DO! A lie is a lie and calling the perpetrators liars is a Christian requirement! Being polite is nice, but not always acceptable! What did Jesus say to the money lenders in the temple? Who knocked what tables over? Was Jesus polite in insulting these horrible beings? Of course not! GET REAL!

  44. Thomas Says:

    Hotii si talharii, si mincinosii nu sunt ai lui Dumnezeu. Asta ti-o spun suta la suta. Ti-e frica sa postezi adevarul. Dar de el nu scapi! Nici in viata aceasta. Si nici in viata de dincolo!

  45. Administrator Says:

    Da Thomas. Atunci, sa nu mai minti incercand sa ne supui BOR-ului cu falsuri, si sa nu incerci sa ne furi Episcopia facuta de noi si inaintasii nostri aici. Nu vrem mincinosi si talhari in mijlocul nostru – mai ales cei subventionati din strainatate! Plecati la BOR cat mai repede! Nimeni nu va opreste!

  46. Alexandru Nemoianu Says:

    Thomas ai ajuns la argumente absurde. Vorbeste raspicat,nu in maniera Constanta. OCA este viitorul; ca ne place ori ba. America inseamna a fi inclusiv si nu exclusiv.
    Cine iubeste BOR,fuga acolo. Nu-i vom duce dorul.

  47. Thomas Says:

    Doua intrebari:

    1.) Dece se revoca autocefalia la OCA?

    2.) In legatura cu inaintasii vostrii de care tot amintesti (si ai nostri)care au contruit si zidit biserici si cumunitati. “Voi” astia “americanii” care sunte-ti impotriva unirii, ce ati facut? Cate biserici ati zidit? Cate comunitati ati infiintat? Cati preoti ati produs? Va spun eu. 0 Asa ca inainte sa va folositi de inatasii vostrii,faceti si voi un sfert ce au facut ei mai intai. Dupa ce “faceti” atunci “puteti” vorbii. Pana atunci… In episcopia asta, cele mai mare parohii sunt romanesti. Cele mai mari biserici sunt romanesti. Cei mai multi preoti sunt romani 99%. Deceeeeeeee? Eu nu stiu cum nu iti este rusine sa vorbesti cand esti un minoritar. Trezeste-te odata omule.

  48. Administrator Says:

    1-Thomas, nu mai spune minciuni. Nimeni nu a anuntat ca Autocefalia OCAului se revoca. Daca se va intampla asa ceva, atunci putem continua aceasta discutie, altfel opreste-te, cel fara dovezi.

    2-Thomas, iata o lectie de istorie: Cel putin din 1970 si pana in 1990 toate bisericiile din Episcopie noastra au fost sprijinite si cladite de americani de origina romana si convertiti, fiindca dupa primul val de imigratie din anii 1890, a venit valul din 1945, dupa al doilea razboi mondial. Noii veniti au conlucrat impreuna cu cei nascuti aici si copii lor sau alipit grupul de americani de origina romana. Deci totul in aceasta Episcopie dupa cel mult 1970 si pana in 1990 este cladit si sustinut numai de americani de origina romana si convertiti. Din 1990 si pana acum vedem conlucrarea intre noii veniti si cei care erau déjà aici. Un bun exemplu de astfel de parohie am vazut-o toti la Congresul din Cleveland. Exista parohii unde nu s-a mutat nici un nou venit de dupa 1990 (fiind situatia economica mai proasta in zonele respective)si acolo sustinerea vine in totalitate de la americani de origina romana si convertiti. Exista si parohii/misiuni unde marea majoritate sunt noi veniti de dupa 1990 (si ii gasim in zone unde situatia economica este mai buna). (Nu uitati ca este mai usor pentru un nou venit sa mearga direct la un loc favorabil cand ajunge in America de Nord, si este mai greu pentru cei nascuti aici care au legaturi cu orasele lor, case, lucru, copii, etc.) Vezi Thomas, nu mai ataca, mai ales cand nu stii despre ce vorbesti!

  49. Thomas Says:

    The OCA autocephally will be revoked by next may.

  50. Administrator Says:

    I’m sure OCA clergy and laity would like to know more about this!

  51. Thomas Says:

    Dumnezeu daca vrea sa uneasca Romanii toti intr-o mitropolie - sub patriarhia mama (BOR), tu ce faci domnule administrator?…

    Esti un om care … Pana atunci, … si nu te baga …

  52. Administrator Says:

    Cum poti pretinde ca cunosti voia lui Dumnezeu pentru Biserica noastra aici in America de Nord?

    Ma Thomas, opreste insultele! Mesajele tale au din ce in ce mai multe …, adica mult din ceia ce scrii este editat; insulte, calomnii, etc. Fi mai politicos, te rog.

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