Romanian Orthodox for Enquiry in America

Guardians of the Vatra

Orthodox Brotherhood Documents

ROAA/BOR Documents


Author: Ronald Andrei Muresan
January 21, 2011
I was four years old in 1960, the year the SCOBA Orthodox bishops’ council was formed, under ever-mounting calls (GOYA, SOYO, CEOYLA, etc.) for a North American Orthodox Synod, independent of the Old World, neither more nor less than the countries our ancestors came from. My father was 39 then, fifteen years younger than I am now. Eisenhower was president, and Queen Elizabeth of England was - still having babies.

To put it charitably, SCOBA elevated caution over action. That is how it felt to many of us in CEOYLA’s leadership councils. One might say they spent 50 years riding the brakes, the whole time reassuring us we were heading up-hill.

The 20th Century came and went. Hopes were raised at the 1994 Ligonier bishops’ conference, then dashed when the Holy Synod in Istanbul, Turkey (ancient Constantinople) reacted by retiring the dean of North American archbishops, Archbishop +Iakovos, who had seemed on the point of breaking the logjam and bringing about a united Synod of North America. SCOBA settled back into its status quo, and we watched the New Millennium come and go too. No united Orthodox voice. So far removed from public life that the U.S. National Cathedral “forgot” to invite a single Orthodox bishop to the National Cathedral Memorial Service after 9-11.

Then last year, 15 years after Ligonier, SCOBA watched itself voted out of existence by an Orthodox council in Chambesy, Switzerland. Not one American bishop cast a ballot, because none was even invited - they were locked out of this crucial decision about our church life. A synod with no say over its own existence - can be expected to accomplish - what?

SCOBA has now been replaced by a new Episcopal Assembly, 55 bishops who gathered in New York City last summer. They limited themselves to merely electing officers, cautious not to rush matters: they will not even be naming committees until sometime before their next annual meeting, in June 2011.

And now, some Old World apologists are spinning all this, cautioning that we might be getting ahead of ourselves. We are told after fifty years to again content ourselves with the mere fact that all our bishops assembled in one place. The implication: getting things done promptly is somehow risky.

Their motto has a familiar ring to it: “Speed is not the goal, Results are.” But an inconvenient fact confronts them: doing things their way has produced a half-century of no results. On the contrary, our separate “jurisdictions” have hardened more and more, isolated webs of duplicative, competing institutions, diocesan cathedrals next-door to each other, pious toil wasted, stumbling blocks that will add years of effort and hard feelings when they would have to be closed or sold.

Half a century of slow-walking have left American Orthodoxy in limbo, lacking even the spirit to protest at how the Old World Patriarchates disregard and snub us, deliberately denying us the right to vote on our church’s future. It is simply wrong to say that “due process is a Western, un-Orthodox concept.” Through the centuries, even those accused of the most devilish heresies have been allowed the right to be present at Church Councils, to argue their case and even vote on their own condemnation. One of the only Councils to exclude the accused has ever since been called The Robbers’ Synod. Due process was canonical before it was democratic.

I say that the “take it slow” apologists are hard pressed to make their case. The sixty years since World War II have yielded dubious results. The pages of history, the gospel, even  medicine, teach us what results to expect when delay is piled on delay, frittering away precious time as we leave The Bridegroom standing at the door, knocking. Once the ship has sailed (or fracture untreated), you find yourself stranded at the dock, or. . . . Our ancestors - and we - sacrificed too much to let Orthodoxy be left to dissolve into the mists of history!

Our Old World mother Patriarchates seem bent on keeping us tied to their apron strings, but a half century of “talking about talking” is enough. Just last year brought yet another attempt to buy time: the Ecumenical Patriarchate teasingly announced, “Autocephaly will be on the agenda at the coming Great and Holy World Council of Orthodoxy, which is being prepared, perhaps as early as 2013.” A Council that has been a-planning for fifty years?! I am skeptical, but out of respect - for now - I won’t take the past half century as proof of bad faith.

I have a straight (multi-part) question for Fr. Mark Arey, spokesman for the Greek Archdiocese and by extension, for the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) of old Constantinople.

I should think he would have a straight, ready answer:  “In which city on God’s Good Earth has the EP blocked out the 1,000+ rooms needed for this 2013 Great & Holy Council? (each bishop with his deacon + theologians + canon lawyers + seminary deans + monastics + the faithful + observers + press) “For what specific dates in 2013? “For 6 days? 6 weeks? 6 months?” “And those exact hotel names, please?” Enough with secrecy!

We North American Orthodox need to face up to the lessons of history and take matters into our own hands, unfamiliar as that may be for us: No nation, church or any other group has ever been given independence. They proclaim it themselves, declaring it the whole world over.

Hierarchs of America! Please convene on Pentecost 2011, Spirit-driven, and declare independence. UNANIMOUSLY. Stop acting like skittish red-headed step-children. Stand up for yourselves - and us - just like the Mother Churches did.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate stonewalled for 141 years before it formally recognized the Church of Russia’s independence. The EP actually threatened to excommunicate the Church of Romania after it declared independence in 1866, until 1885. We Americans can either pass our next 141 years running this “3-legged race” or we can live the life of an independent Local Church, in fact, if not formally. I see no signs that at The Last Judgment the Savior will demand to see our Tomos of Autocephaly, our Charter of Canonicity. He’ll simply ask whether we insisted on creating a proper Orthodox Church structure to minister to “these, the least of My brothers.”  Here, in the blessed land where it pleased Providence that I and mine be born and live, as Orthodox.

13 Comments to “Spinning”

  1. Andrew Says:

    More Orthodox Christians, and from all ethnic backgrounds need to get involved in this struggle for a local North American Church, otherwise the ethnic hammer will kill Orthodoxy on this continent.

  2. Scott Pennington Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    Why are so many people worshipping this idol of American autocephaly? It is not a panacea for all that ails us. Having a local church with standards no higher than GOARCH would be a step backwards for some jurisdictions here. Moreover, the article gives the impression that there is this great outcry for autocephaly now. I don’t believe that is even remotely true. Many Greeks want a Greek church here. Many Arabs want an Arab church here. Etc. If there was this great push, it would materialize. But it’s not.

    Besides, those who say the American church is not mature enough actually do have somewhat of a point. I’m not talking about in terms of how long the Orthodox have been in North America. I’m talking about the fact that we only represent a very, very small percentage of Americans. Orthodoxy was the dominant religion of Russia and Romania long before autocephaly. It is no use whatsoever to say we would grow more rapidly if unified. You are still talking about the same bishops, the same people. If it’s not growing rapidly now, autocephaly will not change that.
    I’ve never for a second – - even through all the whoopla about the EA on this site and others – - believed that there was any substance or significance to any of the proceedings besides infinite delay. Mammon, ethnocentricity, etc. simply are too strong to yield any progress. Plus, as I alluded to above, “be careful what you wish for, you may get it”. An autocephalous American church will look just like the dysfunctional one we have now, except for herding lots of bishops who have very different opinions on morality and orthopraxis under the same roof, regardless of whether they actually respect one another. Inevitably, because of the size of GOARCH, the moral witness of the new local church would be compromised. The greatest common denominator is not that inspiring.

  3. Kevin Allen Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    “An autocephalous American church will look just like the dysfunctional one we have now, except for herding lots of bishops who have very different opinions on morality and orthopraxis under the same roof, regardless of whether they actually respect one another. Inevitably, because of the size of GOARCH, the moral witness of the new local church would be compromised. The greatest common denominator is not that inspiring.”

    Hate to admit it, but I have to agree with Mr. Pennington here. The problem is not with the concept of an autocephalous church, the problem is with our choice of (current) episcopal leaders.

  4. George Michalopulos Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    [You] are largely correct. The problem is definitely with the people to an extent but also with the bishops. Your concern about a united church that has the moral vision of the GOA (a very low bar indeed) is that because the GOA is the largest of the jurisdictions it will drag down everybody else to their level. True. However, you miss a very important point: and that is that none of the ethnic eparchies (not just the GOA) have any control whatsoever about the election of their bishops. To be blunt, the vast majority of non-OCA bishops at present are a major disappointment (notice I said “at present,” I know that the OCA had some questionable characters in the episcopate).

    Quite simply how we got to this moral impasse is because the GOA has worldly bishops. And why are the bishops worldly? Because they reflect the moral vision of the Phanar which is almost non-existent. It didn’t have to be this way. I remember as a youngster reading The Orthodox Observer. It seemed that every other issue was about some pressing moral concern, not just abortion, but promiscuity, divorce, etc. Under the late Archbishop +Iakovos, the GOA and its organs did not hesitate to engage the culture. Sure, sometimes it was in a clumsy fashion.
    The climax of this incipient Orthodox Americanism (for want of a better term: how else to describe concern for America and our vision for it?) were the heady days leading up to, during, and after Ligonier. I could feel it. It was palpable. Now it’s not to be. The damage has been severe, probably irreperable. We no longer trust each other but instead have a contempt for each others’ ethos.

    So yes, you are right: Russia/Romania/etc, did not become autocephalous until their respective countries were already by and large Orthodox but you leave out an important caveat: their bishops had long been locally elected and they did not shy away from having a Christian moral vision. Equally as important, neither did their mother church –Constantinople. Only under conditions of greater autonomy can we Orthodox even hope to make a dent in America regarding conversion. Otherwise, the GOA/Serbian/Romanian/etc. bishops will continue being what they are: satraps of foreign overlords whose only real goal is to keep the money flowing back to the Old Country.

  5. Dean Calvert Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    Kevin and Scott, forgive me, but I disagree with you both…vehemently.

    Re: Having a local church with standards no higher than GOARCH would be a step backwards for some jurisdictions here.

    Who has ever suggested this? Why is this the presumption? I would argue the opposite…WITHOUT a united American church, we will continue to devolve and disintegrate…FROM the true Church INTO the lowest common denominator of what we see around us. Ask yourself, “who allowed these standards in the GOA? A locally elected synod, or the Old World patriarchs? My contention is – ONLY with unity,i.e. locally elected bishops, sitting in synod, will the standards of the traditional church be maintained.

    I know many do not like my Starbucks analogy – i.e., we are nothing but a (divinely inspired) geographic franchise system. But the analogy predicts EXACTLY what we see occurring in the GOA. In business terms, if you allow the franchisees carte blanche, by refusing to enforce quality standards, “STARBUCKS” will become “FOLGERS” overnight, as the local franchisees use the cheapest coffee possible, leveraging the brand to maximize current profits. This is the danger of competitive jurisdictions without an serious overarching authority – they will destroy Orthodoxy in America by watering it down. Orthodoxy in America will become Anglicanism sprinkled with funny hats, cool vestments, Turkish coffee and baklava…nothing more. No proponent of Unity supports that…at least none that I know of.  I know this analogy will send shivers down the spine of many, and I can see the eyes rolling – but isn’t that EXACTLY what Kevin is complaining about? Wake up people…only a unified church will preserve and defend what we have inherited…the “Snow White and the seven dwarfs” system of Orthodoxy will demolish it…”a race to the bottom” is what it’s called in business.

    Second, “Besides, those who say the American church is not mature enough actually do have somewhat of a point”. They only have a point if you are counting on autocephaly as a panacea, which no serious-minded person does. Autocephaly will change none of the “facts on the ground”. What it will change, if we exercise it wisely, is the system of governance…putting us back on the track of evangelism and mission, which is where we belong. We don’t have to be the majority…we don’t even have to be a significant minority…we do need to be true to the Great Commission.

    … You cannot expect people at the bottom of an organization to compensate and overcome the buffoons at the top. It just will not happen! The problem is always in the corner office.

    While I would not argue that each of us can make an important contribution to the process by our own actions and spiritual development (unquestionably), the bottom line is that we are all trapped in a failed system right now…every bit as much as the poor production line worker in a 90 year old Ford plant. He can do the best job possible, all he will get is tired and frustrated.

    Which really brings me to my bottom line – the Church of the First 15 centuries, the system we have inherited, worked because of the synergy of the laity, the clergy and the hierarchs. It was much different than what most of us grew up in (the system of eparchial ethnic churches), a system which caused many of the component parts to “morph” into bastardized versions of the original.  We could spend all day discussing the ramifications of the 500 years of Turkish oppression, and the impact of Communism on the Church – but I would suggest that the episcopacy has suffered the most…and not for the reason you might expect.  The last 500 years has seen a degradation of the quality of the episcopacy. Look a the first 1500 years…men like Chrysostom and Photios occupying the ecumenical throne..the Einstein’s of their day. The best and the brightest became bishops. What do we have now? Anywhere, not just Constantinople. The average rabbi is better educated than any of our patriarchs. Most of our hierarchs would mess up running a fruit stand.

    As this degradation has occurred, there has been a commensurate loss of respect of the episcopacy by BOTH the laity and the clergy; the laity being more vocal. I recognized this personally, when I left the GOA and entered the OCA. In the GOA, the bishops were treated like rock-stars at best, and feared at worst. In the OCA, they are archpastors. I was lucky enough to get into a diocese with a solid bishop, and found (to my amazement) a completely different view of the episcopacy than the one I’d grown up with. In this diocese, people actually looked up to their bishop…respected him. Talked to the bishop, consulted him, on things like “Should I change jobs?” and “Should I get a divorce?” I was astonished to hear that people would often consult our bishop on very personal, pastoral things – seeking his blessing. And it occurred to me, even the thought of doing this would never have occurred to me in the GOA (despite the fact that I’d been very close with some Greek bishops over the years).

    My point (belabored as it is) is this – only a homegrown system of providing and electing qualified candidates for the episcopacy is EVER going to lead us out of this quagmire. Not candidates selected (by criteria we do not understand) overseas, not candidates imposed on us…locally elected hierarchs…elected with the participation of the clergy and the laity.

    Are we going to make mistakes? Of course…this is NOT a panacea. Witness Met. Theodosius, Herman, and Bishop Nikolai to name only a few. However, I’ll put this system up against the foreign model any time for the quality of hierarchs elected over the long run. On average, the locally elected system will provide better qualified bishops. Perhaps more importantly, we will be able to GET RID of the bad ones…witness (once again) Met Herman and Bp Nikolai, versus Abp Spyridon and what is going on in Englewood right now…any questions?

    In sum, autocephaly has never been presented as a panacea…it is not. Autocephaly is the only hope of Orthodoxy reclaiming it’s posterity, remaining true to Christ and itself, regenerating itself on this continent, and being the light of the world. I hope this has not been too obnoxious or incoherent a response..if so, please forgive me.

  6. Harry Coin Says:

    Dean’s post really speaks to the issue. I’d add that the more local the decision making the less bound up with the inside baseball the church is with what one political party’s national and international agenda happens to be that year. Plainly the Phanariots and GOA in high places are pretty much owned and operated by the US Democratic party’s leadership, to the point the church’s announcements parrot that party’s perspective whenever possible, and when not they are as silent or near to silent as can be.

    The reason for the lack of the self-corrective factor previously seen in Orthodox history concerning local bishops behaving badly can be inferred from this graph:

    World Life Expectancy

    850,000 of 1,000,000 women having Cesarian operations died prior to around 1900 — not counting the women who died trying to deliver then the Cesarian was attempted to save the baby. Now 20 of 1,000,000 women having Cesarians die. The bishops of those days were mostly all widowers or married; that’s why as Dean writes folk went to them for advice — they knew something of suffering, loss and what it means to be a father and a spouse and not just in metaphorical senses. They had wisdom as well as book knowledge. Now our church is distorted by a rule change in the 400′s that served the church when most died in their 20′s (it prevented the scandal of orphans and widows created by priests remarrying too old). We need to change it back and right soon or no matter how our bishops organize themselves we won’t attract and retain people as they have many church options in the USA.

  7. Michael Bauman Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    Orthodoxy has deteriorated in this country precisely because the Old World Patriarch don’t give a damn about the people here or the Church or anything else except their own existential problems (their own personal ones, not their people who have largely disappeared). They have no vision, because they are dhimmi. Only the Russian Church has any energy and they have to be concerned with what is happening in their own country with their own people.
    I know for a fact that +Basil has a list of the varying practices currently in vogue within various Orthodox Churchs from receiving converts to how non-Orthodox marriage is treated. He will not settle for a watered down morality or overly lax approach (although there are those who will consider him too worldly)

    Whatever we do with it, Dean is correct, without a functional local synod, we are dead. The Church will go on somewhere, but it won’t be in the U.S. Even with a functioning local synod there will be those who consider themselves to the the one and only true and genuine Orthodox Orthodox Church. The question is what will +Basil and others of like mind do if they are stonewalled, and the result is a distorted, twisted slouch of a Church? Still think there is going to be an official Orthodox Church and an un-official one. Which will be the Church? That is the the question isn’t it.

  8. Andrew Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    Are there people who profit from Orthodox dis-unity in America? You bet there are and this is the elephant in the room nobody really wants to talk about. Despite all the platitudes there is today a professional class of sinecure staffers who are highly paid and resistant to any talk of unity that will compromise their gravy train. Think of all the highly paid chancellors, ecumenical officers, directors of ministry, titular hierarchs, and other Church officers and patronage positions out there who have lifestyles that are significantly better than the average pastor and person in the pews. You think these folks are going to embrace unity if it means a cut in their lifestyle? No way. These folks have it good and they are not going to give it up. Likewise, no bishop is going to compromise his six-figure suburban lifestyle to go somewhere poor and challenging to minister for the sake of american orthodox unity.

    Today, there is a select professional class of Orthodox leaders who profit from the status quo of disunity and confusion. They live very well. This professional class shapes opinion and has direct access to hierarchs across the country. This professional bureaucracy is a highly paid welfare program with a three-bar cross. The hard work and stewardship of many Orthodox Christians funds this welfare bureaucracy. Any attempt to dismantle this is going to be met with resistance. Meanwhile, the costs of maintaining this bureaucracy will continue to skyrocket while risking the solvency of jurisdictions.

    We can have no real episcopal assembly or talk of Orthodoxy unity in America until we confront the bureaucracy that profits off of Orthodox dis-unity in America. St. Benedict of Nursia was right when he said “Pruned. It Grows”

  9. Ron Muresan Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    My friends, we are no less “mature” than our Orthodox fellows in Greece, Romania, Russia. Here, we are deformed, by a gestation period that’s gone on too long. Like any gestation (or conflict) that is strung out, left to hang fire, like a bread left too long in the oven. Burning, on our way to useless crispiness that if it’s not saved, will only be fit for a bin somewhere.  Plus, as an informed, thoughtful Antiochian friend has said, “We live in the fantasy that we are an Orthodox country,” which has resulted in screwed-up finances, lavish clerical visits based on posturing, pretensions and strutting discussing “mutual problems” and “the meaning of ‘Icon’ in the Orthodox Church” rather than on Modesty, Thrift, and Focus on living The Thankful Life, letting Our Little Light Shine, which lets our clergy live the Joyous Life they entered Seminary with!

    Sorry my article pre-supposes this goodness of life, the sweet modesty of a wholesome, pious laity that feels empowered and respected by a joyous, fulfilled hierarchy and clergy. Because their shortcomings, like ours, are the direct result of our deformity of church life. It is precisely the century-old “slow walk” that has distorted and deformed our Orthodoxy in America. That has confused some people into mistaking hoped-for Orthodox senior-care foundations, orphanages, hospitals, colleges as “neo-protestant.” Into NOT stinging with shame at 3 ethnic parishes built on THE SAME CITY BLOCK.

    We for sure don’t need, and can’t finance, 55 bishops in America. At least not until we are autocephalous. Freed of having to live vicariously the COMBINED problems facing Russia, Greece, Istanbul, Romania, Serbia, etc. Back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, we still retained our primordial Orthodoxy, the strength that our Orthodox immigrant parents brought with them.  But like a ballroom that feuding clans are fighting over, cobwebs gather, the windows darken, the roof caves in. Because nothing is going to be settled, no house put in order, that’s run from across the ocean by men who don’t live in my world, face my problems, know my joys. Men who feel entitled to withhold their blessings from time-tested, home-grown American solutions to American problems.  Let the Patriarch of Constantinople apply his solutions to the Greeks – they won’t have him. Let the Patriarch of Russia apply his to the Ukrainians – who don’t want him.

    Only when we study, internalize and implement the reasons underlying the Holy Canons will Orthodoxy thrive in America. Because what underlies them is The Holy Spirit. “For The Lord is That Spirit, and where The Lord is, there is Liberty.” The Lord will give us not only the freedom to craft the necessary solutions to our American dilemma, He will grant us the perception, vision, and wisdom. Us – the sacerdotal priesthood and the royal priesthood, collectively.  Sorry for the long reply, but I ached with dread at some of your posts. Keep one thing foremost in your minds – your conclusions and “estimations” about your/our hierarchy are themselves short-sighted, themselves the result of “The Slow Walk.” Our hierarchs are, collectively, the most capable, insightful, holiest of men – BUT THEY HAVE BEEN JUST AS BLOCKED AS WE HAVE BEEN. Because “they” are “us.” Blocked from their normal work, of being productive and fruitful, they have been distorted into committing acts which we could criticize, were we worthy!

    THAT is why I wrote my “Spinning” article, to urge them to step out of the shadows to which they have been consigned.  Freed from that captivity that their forebears courageously evaded in 19th-20-th century churches, they will be free to work with their royal priesthood “toward a more glorious Orthodoxy in North America.” (the words of my late, blessed Archbishop +Valerian Trifa.)

  10. Nick Katich Says:

    As posted on ‘Comments’ regarding “Spinning”

    “Our hierarchs are, collectively, the most capable, insightful, holiest of men – BUT THEY HAVE BEEN JUST AS BLOCKED AS WE HAVE BEEN. Because “they” are “us.” Blocked from their normal work, of being productive and fruitful, they have been distorted into committing acts which we could criticize, were we worthy!”

    Ron: Let’s not delude ourselves. Except for your Archbishop and those other bishops in the OCA and in the Antiochian Archdiocese, the rest are as emotionally attached to their mother patriarchates and their phyletistic jingoism as the old world synods they serve. I hardly know of any bishops in the ethnic jurisdictions that would vote to cut the old world umbilical cord if they were given the opportunity to express themselves by secret ballot. It is not the old world patriarchs that are blocking them from their normal work. They are blocking themselves.

  11. Gary N. Brott, North Venice, FL Says:

    Thank you Ron for directing our attention to the most important issue on which the ROEA should be focusing, i.e., the 50-year movement in America to unify ALL Orthodox jurisdictions into one American Orthodox Synod. That movement, spearheaded in large part by CEOYLA (Council of Eastern Orthodox Youth Leaders of the Americas), was stalled by SCOBA and the events you described. Put in proper perspective, the ROEA/BOR/ROAA “re-unification” issue amounts to nothing more than a sideshow. As I opined on this site in 2009, why are we wasting time on that “tar baby?”

    Like the old saying goes, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Due to a Muslim invasion in 716, Cordoba, Spain became a Muslim provincial capital, a subordinate to the Caliphate of Damascus. Thereafter, in 786 the Roman Catholic “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption” in Cordoba was converted to the “Great Mosque of Cordoba.” This is an historic fact–look it up.

    In recent years, Islam has been slowly invading Europe. Once another 50 years go by, it’s likely the countries of the “mother churches” will have been over-run by the spread of radical Islamists, and Romania will be no exception (are you naive enough to think that what’s going on right now in Egypt, northern Africa and the Middle East is all about freedom?). Fifty years after that, the cathedral in Bucharest may be converted to the Great Mosque of Bucharest like in Cordoba. If ROEA had re-unified with ROEA/ROAA, where would ROEA be at that point; a subordinate to the Caliphate of Bucharest? I realize that sounds disrespectful but, to all you BOR sympathizers and operatives out there, before you start with the vilification, is not Patriarch Bartholomew, today, being squeezed out of Istanbul?

    You nailed it, Ron. The future of Orthodoxy worldwide is not Eastern Europe. The future of world Orthodoxy is North America. All the energy currently being directed to the ROEA/BOR/ROAA “re-unification” would be put to better use if re-directed to encouraging the establishment of one American Orthodox Synod. Maybe we should extend an invitation to Patriarch Bartholomew to relocate his patriarchate here and solve multiple problems in the Orthodox world. In any event, let’s shelve the ROEA/BOR/ROAA “re-unification” matter once and for all and, instead; focus our energies on the more productive long-term goal–establishing one American Orthodox Synod to benefit all of Orthodoxy, worldwide. Call it what you like. I’ll take an “Orthodox Church in America,” or an “American Orthodox Church,” or a “Patriarchate of America” any day over “maximal autonomy” granted by the soon-to-be Great Mosque of Bucharest.

  12. Toma Says:

    Hey Mr. Gary Brott, do you go to church? Do you go to a Romanian churc, better said? If not, please keep your nose in the courtroom and out of church matters.

  13. Administrator Says:

    Obviously, Gary CARES, otherwise he wouldn’t write on this topic. It is true that to some of those of Romanian Orthodox origin who were born in North America, the Church was an important part of their makeup. Church every Sunday and important Holiday, Sunday school, summer camp, helping, fixing, giving time and money to the Church. These people are American Orthodox of Romanian heritage, much like many first generation children will be. So you see Toma, this IS Gary’s Church.

    And frankly, your racist remarks against those of Romanian heritage born here has no place on this website. Cease or desist!

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O Lord and Master of my life,
leave me not with the spirit of laziness,
of despair, of domination, or idle words.

Rather, give me, your servant, the spirit of integrity,
of humility, of patience, and of love.

Thus, Lord, grant me the wisdom to see my own faults,
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