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Chronology

Author: Administrator
October 15, 2008

CHRONOLOGY OF ACTIONS, STEPS & MIS-STEPS TAKEN BY THE AMERICAN ROEA LEADERSHIP AND THE JOINT DIALOGUE COMMISSIONS ON THE ROAD TO “UNITY” WITH THE ROMANIAN ROAA “UNDER” THE ROMANIAN PATRIARCHATE

2009

January 6-8, 2009 - “The Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) has a strong Diaspora in the United States of America.”  is the title of three articles found on the “ziarullumina.ro” website - THE LIGHT NEWSPAPER (The Romanian Patriarchate’s Daily) January 6, 7, 8, 2009.  The above articles underline that LIES are alive and well in Bucharest’s Patriarchate. Three days worth of articles calling those of us, in Canada and the United States who are of Romanian heritage, their Diaspora?

Their LIES continue in how they have conveniently written our Episcopate (founded in 1929) out of the story they tell about our Church here in North America.  Since their inception in 1950, the ROAA has been a minority group, and so most Romanian Orthodox parishes and missions, started before AND after 1989, choose to join our Episcopate in the OCA rather than the Romanian Patriarchate’s ROAA. They claim that “the two Romanian Orthodox Eparchies in America and Canada decided in 2008 to unite under the canonical and spiritual administration of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR), after over six decades of separation… The act of unity is the result of the dialogue… The new structure is called the ‘Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of both Americas’.” We know these as untruths and yet these LIES are perpetrated in the Official daily newspaper of the Romanian Patriarchate, which can only mean that BOR and the Patriarchate condone these LIES.  Unhappily, these LIES continue to find a home on our shores as well, in our Episcopate, among some clergy and even among our JDC. Why do they stand idly by and let the LIES go on unchallenged?

2008

December 22, 2008 -  Excerpts from an article by Raluca Avram found on the “bihoreanul.ro” website, deal with Fr. Casian Fetea’s becoming a Bishop for a new Exarchate in North America.  It seems that this was planned as early as the summer of 2007, fully one year before the  “Untruthful Unity” events unfolded before our eyes during July, 2008.  It should be noted that Fr. Casian Fetea was friends with newly elected Patriarch Daniel of Romania, and that Metropolitan Laurentiu Streza referred to this new  Exarchate in His July 6, 2008 Chicago speech (also on roeanews.info website).

November 12, 2008 – A new Metropolitan was elected at the 15th All-American Council of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.  His Grace, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York, and Metropolitan of All America and Canada. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah was born James Paffhausen in Chicago, IL in 1959, was baptized into the Episcopal Church and received into the Orthodox Church in 1978.  He was tonsured to monastic rank at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA in 1995 and has been a monastery abbott in California until very recently.  May the Lord bless His Beatitude, Jonah, newly-elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada with the understanding and leadership our Church merits.

November 10, 2008 – At the 15th All-American Council of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Nathaniel gave a summary of where things stand in terms of Unity discussions between the OCA’s Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America and the Romanian Patriarchate’s Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas.  His half hour talk addressed questions regarding the need for Unity under Bucharest rather than under the OCA, the relative lack of information on the topic, how Unity discussions might be viewed by some as a rejection of the OCA, or how others might see this as strictly an ethnic solution.  His Eminence clearly stated that there is not even a finalized working proposal that has been accepted by either eparchy, nor has any of this been officially passed by the Episcopate Congresses, let alone the Romanian Patriarchate, or indeed the OCA.  His Eminence did mention that He and his Dialogue Commission members presented the OCA’s Holy Synod with a possible scenario of Unity but said that the Holy Synod gave no comment and that none would be forthcoming until, and if, a real proposal would be tabled.

October 17-19, 2008 – The 2008 Orthodox Brotherhood Conference was held in Cleveland, Ohio. Attendance was up a bit from last year, with new members participating.  President Dan Miclau opened the Conference sessions on Friday evening which were organized by Conference chairman Dave Salanty.

The highlight of the Conference was the Forum on the “Unity under Bucharest” proposal which was openly debated for the first time within our Vatra Episcopate.  Mr. Dan Miclau, Brotherhood Auxiliary President, served as the Forum moderator. The three speakers included: V. Rev. Fr. Dimitrie Vincent, Brotherhood Spiritual Advisor, Rev. Fr. Anton Frunza, Solia Editor of the Romanian section, and Archdeacon David Oancea, Chancellor of our Episcopate.  Fathers Remus Grama and Ian Pac-Urar, members of both the Brotherhood and JDC, participated and spoke to many points, and answered questions during the presentations.  The result was for some sort of reconciliation with ROAA parishes and members, but certainly against any Unity under Bucharest.

October 15, 2008 - As of today the Episcopate Office remains silent concerning the statements of the Romanian Patriarchate. There is no information to the faithful and clergy of the ROEA regarding any progress in the Jurisprudence, Finance and Constitution Committees proposed by the Episcopate Council and approved by the Congress.

August 12, 2008 - JDC meeting. Three major topics were discussed: (1) the deliberation and decisions of the respective Congresses; (2) reactions to certain public statements made following the Congresses; and (3) the refinement of the Proposal text.  In spite of the untruths, the ROEA Dialogue Commission continues to negotiate with those whose credibility is in question.  In fact, our DC should not meet with the other side until our due diligence process is completed.

July 8, 2008 - No less than Patriarch Daniel himself, in his address to the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church affirms on page 7 that “unity between the 2 dioceses in North America has been achieved”. This untruth is scandalous, particularly since other actions confirm that it was known at the Patriarchate that unity had not occurred..

July 6, 2008 – The Romanian Patriarchate incorrectly announces the union of the ROEA and the ROAA “under the canonical and spiritual protection of their mother-church, the Romanian Orthodox Church”. This is announced on the Patriarchal website and soon appears on radio, TV and in newspapers and magazines across Romania and abroad where millions of people now believe that unity of the American ROEA and the Romanian ROAA took place under the Romanian Patriarchate!

July 6, 2008 – Statements made by ROEA’s Bishop Irineu at the consecration of the ROAA Cathedral in Chicago leave people believing that the Unity of ROEA and ROAA under the Romanian Patriarchate did indeed take place.  Statements made by ROAA’s Archbishop Nicolae confirm that view. Statements made by Metropolitan Laurentiu Streza, the Romanian Patriarchal envoy to this Unity event, reaffirm the view that Unity did in fact take place. Only those present in Grass Lake Michigan know that Unity did not happen July 4, 2008 weekend!

July 5, 2008 – The following was voted on by our ROEA Episcopate Congress and nothing more:

”Be it resolved that the Episcopate Council recommends that the Congress acknowledge the combined “Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of North America” as an acceptable basis to continue the work of the JDC towards a final proposal to be presented to the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Be it also resolved that the Episcopate Council recommends to the Episcopate Congress, in keeping with due diligence, that the Joint Dialogue Commission’s efforts to establish the Metropolitanate can continue, that the Archbishop as President of the Congress establish special committees, namely, a “Constitution and By-Laws Committee”, “Jurisprudence”, “Finance Committee” and any other committees that may be necessary to create a unified Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of North America.

And be it further resolved that said committees be established as soon as possible, and that their work be reported to the Episcopate Council, so that a Special Episcopate Congress may be convened.”

So, after Congress voted for nothing more than the continuation of talks between the American ROEA and the Romanian ROAA in view of a possible unity under the Romanian Patriarchate at some future point, mobile cellular telephone calls from Grass Lake Michigan were proclaiming that unity had been achieved!

July 4th Weekend 2008 – An Episcopate Council meeting is held on the eve of the Annual Episcopate Congress and again the majority of the meeting consisted of discussion on unity with the ROAA and the concept of Maximal Autonomy proposed to be granted by the Romanian Patriarchate.  Council members were awaiting translations and minutes promised at the previous Council meeting, but none were forthcoming.  Our DC had however prepared a resolution for Council to approve and then have Council recommend it to the Congress for approval.  This original resolution amounted to nothing less than the recommendation of unity with the ROAA under Bucharest without even the proper deliberation that a due diligence process would require.  Given that this approach had been predicted in advance, enough work had been done to prepare Council for blocking the steamroller approach of our DC.  The recommendation that was finally approved by Council, after 2 days of deliberation, was successfully passed through Congress and it allowed for continued discussions, but now in the context of due diligence.  The Council is expecting to review Due Diligence Committee reports prior to any convening of a special Congress for the purpose of examining the possibility of Unity with the ROAA under the Bucharest Patriarchate.

June 13, 2008 - The proposal was sent to the delegates of the Episcopate Congress together with a letter form Archbishop Nathaniel in which it is stated that “we propose that it is both useful time-wise and fitting that a final vote should take place on April 26, 2009 on the 80th anniversary of the first Congress in Detroit, Michigan at a Special Congress.”

May 31, 2008 – An Episcopate Council meeting is held in Southfeld, MI.  The majority of the meeting consisted of discussion on unity with the ROAA and the concept of Maximal Autonomy proposed to be granted by the Romanian Patriarchate.  Council members received numbered copies of a twenty-point document outlining the proposal.  Following the discussion, members were required to return each copy to Episcopate Chancery staff.  Council members raised specific questions on each of the twenty points and were assured by the Archbishop and our DC that their points would be incorporated into the revised document that would be presented to the Episcopate Council and the Episcopate Congress during the July 4th weekend.  In response to a question concerning the spirit and tone of the March 11, 2008 letter from Patriarch Daniel to Archbishop Nicolae, Archbishop Nathaniel and the DC indicated that a translated version in English would be prepared and transmitted to the Episcopate Council members.  This has yet to be done.

May 17, 2008 – A private by invitation-only meeting of ten (10) long-time Episcopate members (both on and off Episcopate Council) is convened to discuss concerns over the rush to unity and how to react to the issue.  Some DC clergy find out about this meeting and seem threatened by this type of information-sharing activity, and respond by making un-priestly public statements.

May 14, 2008 – A letter to the Episcopate is received from Patriarch Daniel in Romanian that urges the Episcopate to act quickly and to formally approve the concept of “Maximal Autonomy”.

May 14, 2008 – The ROEA’s DC (Rev. Frs. Grama, Lazar, Mitescu, Rosco & Pac-Urar) present a complete report on the dialogue to the OCA’s Holy Synod in Syosset, NY to “…explain the need for the proposed course of action and its benefits to the process of Orthodox Unity in America”.  The OCA acknowledged receipt of their report as well as a conflicting view from an Episcopate member.

April 14, 2008 – The ROEA and ROAA Joint Dialogue Committees meet at St. George Catherdral in Southfield, MI.  For the first time the ROEA’s DC indicates that “…points offered by the Patriarch are now considered to be indispensable from the ROEA’s perspective”.  A Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of North America” was drafted and the ROEA’s and ROAA’s respective hierarchs approved it for consideration.  The proposal was to be presented to the two eparchies and Congresses for final approval.

April, 2008 –  Members of the American ROEA Dialogue Commission have been questioned by parishioners and others concerning DC activities and about their opinions on the “Unity” under Bucharest question.  In one documented case, such a priest, after assuring that the best interests of the ROEA were being served, commented publicly that any parishioner who feels that this type of unity is not the proper direction is working at odds with the Archbishop and the ROEA DC.  In this case, the parishioner in question runs the risk of being “excommunicated”.  Other parishioners were also threatened with excommunication for spreading “false rumors” about the ongoing “Unity” discussions and this for the mere fact that they dare discuss this topic at religious gatherings.   If they do not cease and desist they run the risk of “excommunication” if these nefarious activities continue.  Hello??

March 14, 2008 – The Archbishop addresses Episcopate members via letter and a posting on the ROEA website that meetings with the Romanian Patriarchate were “…positive and encouraging for the mission and life of our Episcopate in the U.S. and Canada” and that “the healing of the estrangement of the two Romanian Orthodox eparchies in North America, and the movement toward the unity of all Orthodox in North America – which the Church of Romania also agrees, is needed and inevitable”.  When pressed the position becomes “undecided”.

March 11, 2008 – The letter from Patriarch Daniel to His underling Archbishop Nicolae of the ROAA reviews the results of the March 5-7, 2008 Romanian Patriarchate Holy Synod meeting and results of ROEA Dialogue Commission visit.  The content of the Common Declaration made in Bucharest is now curiously altered in this letter.  The Patriarch also admonishes Archbishop Nicolae for not having integrated clergy and parishes that are threatening to establish Exarchate Diocese into the ROAA.  He gives a deadline of July 4th 2008 Annual Church Congress weekend or face the prospect of the Patriarchate directly absorbing those parishes and any others that wish to “…re-establish direct communion with the Mother Church” under a Exarhate that could also attract parishes from our ROEA.  The threat is to both the ROAA and ROEA.

March 8, 2008 – The planned Episcopate Council meeting, which had been moved to St. George Cathedral in Southfield, MI was cancelled due to a snowstorm…

February 25-Febraury 27, 2008 – The Archbishop travels with the five members of our Dialogue Commission to Bucharest to meet with the Romanian Patriarchate to…”discuss reconciliation over historical issues which separated the two jurisdictions”.  In the spirit of the Inter-Orthodox Chambesy Commission with regard to the Orthodox diaspora, Patriarch Daniel proposes (off the official agenda) a model for the unity of all Romanians in America.  This was presented as a model for other Orthodox jurisdictions to follow.  The notion of “Maximal Autonomy” surfaces for the first time.  The result of these talks was the posting of an “Agreed Statement”.  For the first time, the Romanian Patriarchate stated verbally that our Episcopate had suffered as result of communism in Romania, and that ROEA’s two hierarchs, +Bishop Policarp and +Archbishop Valerian, “confessors of the faith”, were unjustly persecuted.  Strangely and different from what the Patriarchate did in Paris, “mutual forgiveness for past transgressions” was asked for by both sides.

February 4, 2008 – Episcopate Chancery issues a letter of invitation and draft agenda for the Episcopate Council meeting to be held on March 8, 2008 at the Vatra Romaneasca.  Preliminary agenda references are under the heading “Episcopate Matters” and the topics are “Romanian Exarchate” and “Joint Dialogue Commission & Romanian Patriarchate Dialogue”.   No mention is made of the JDC’s planned trip to Romania, February 25 - March 3, 2008.

2007

December 28, 2007 – Rev. Fr. Casian Fetea, parish priest of St. Mary Church in Elmhurst, NY and alleged leader of the movement to form the new Exarchate dies suddenly in Church.

December 2007 – Rumors abound concerning establishment of a new Romanian Exarchate diocese centered in the New York area.  It is formed with the intent of drawing Romanian-speaking parishes of both the ROEA and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America (ROAA) into a new eparchy having direct ties with the Romanian Patriarchate.  Some of the 13 signatories of the 1996 letter wanting Unity for ROEA under the Romanian Patriarchate are involved here even though they were reprimanded for their 1996 actions.

November 20, 2007 – The Archbishop travels to Paris, France to preside over 125th Anniversary of Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel Church.  Patriarch Daniel sends letter…”asking for forgiveness, on behalf of all his predecessors, of the French-Romanian exiles”.

September 26-October 2, 2007 – The Archbishop participates in the enthronement ceremonies in Bucharest for the new Patriarch Daniel.  He is accompanied by Very Rev. Frs. Laurence Lazar and Remus Grama, representing both the ROEA and the OCA.

July 4th Weekend 2007 – The Episcopate Council is asked to proceed with obtaining Securitate files on all ROEA clergy from 1947 onwards.  A formal letter addressed to the CNSAS is prepared for official Episcopate signature but, as of October 2008 no action has been taken.

June 23, 2007 - Archbishop Nathaniel addressed a letter to the late Patriarch Teoctist  asking for a meeting between representatives of the Church of Romania and of our Episcopate.

2006

July 4th Weekend 2006 – At the annual Episcopate Congress the Archbishop announces the re-instatement of the JDC so that it may continue its work in effectuating a dialogue with the Romanian Patriarchate.

July 1, 2006 - The Congress unanimously passes a motion empowering the ROEA Chancery to request the assistance of the Romanian Government, Presidency and CNSAS in receiving the files from Securitate for Bishop Policarp and Archbishop Valerian in order to clear their names of false accusations. As of today no action has been taken.

April 2006 - Archbishop Nathaniel sent a Pastoral letter to all the clergy and faithful of the Episcopate entitled “On the Unity of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate with the Orthodox Church in America”, informing them of his decision to stop the dialogue, and dissolve the DC, because the solution proposed was contrary to the oath that he took in front of the Holy Synod in 1980 and it was uncanonical. Archbishop Nathaniel also included a letter of the late Archbishop Valerian Trifa of blessed memory in which he states that he perceive this to be a permanent unity between the ROEA and OCA.

PRIOR TO 2006

September 7, 2005 - Meeting at Vatra of Archbishop Nathaniel and the JDC with Bishop Seraphim of Canada, secretary of the Holy Synod of OCA, Fr. R. Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, and Fr. D. Brum, Secretary to the Metropolitan. A meeting with the OCA canonists was recommended, but never happened.

June 23, 2005 - A proposal goes to the ROAA DC from ROEA DC members to unite the two eparchies in a metropolitanate” having the thinnest, necessary link to the Romanian Orthodox Church”.  This process is recharged after years of inactivity.

November 2002 - Bishop Irineu is consecrated. Among the consecrators is Archbishop Nicolae.

July 2002 - Archbishop Nicolae is consecrated as Archbishop of ROAA. Among the consecrators are Archbishop Nathaniel and Metropolitan Theodosius.

July 2002 - Archmnadrite Irineu Duvlea is elected Auxiliary Bishop of the ROEA

1996 - 13 Clergy from the ROEA have an initiative regarding Unity under the Romanian Patriarchate. Their action is reprimanded by both Bishop Nathaniel and Metropolitan Theodosius.  Their divisive actions persist and many of the original signatories have continued their efforts to this very day.

1993 - The JDC is established between the ROEA and the ROAA.

1993 -  Clergy from both dioceses, the American ROEA and the Romanian ROAA, are authorized to serve together.

1991 - The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church recognizes, at the request of Bishop Nathaniel, the canonicity of the ROEA.


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PRAYER OF ST. EPHREM

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,
and not condemn my brother;

for You are blessed, now and forever. Amen.



OUR FATHER

Our Father, who are in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day
our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.