Romanian Orthodox for Enquiry in America

Guardians of the Vatra

Orthodox Brotherhood Documents

ROAA/BOR Documents


Author: Administrator
October 22, 2008
This website informs you about the Unity issue and keeps you updated on the latest activities.

Here you will find all you need to know on the Unity issue and you will be regularly informed of any further last minute moves that allow for quasi-unilateral decision-making without offering all Episcopate members the time to research, evaluate and judge the merits of any proposal that significantly impacts our Church.

After the 1990 political upheavals in Romania, it was hoped that more normal Church relations might emerge here in North America. Our Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (ROEA) asked the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) to recognize the canonicity of the ROEA, which it did in 1991, and by 1993 clergy and hierarchs from the ROEA, BOR and its underling Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas (ROAA), served together. The American ROEA and the Romanian ROAA then set up their own Dialogue Commissions (DC) composed of clergy, and which, when together, is called the Joint Dialogue Commission (JDC). In terms of structure, the ROEA is under the canonical coverage of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and administratively, the Episcopate is self-governing. The ROAA is under the canonical coverage and administrative authority of BOR, with a limited autonomy accorded at the discretion of the Romanian Patriarchate. When it became clear in the JDC that the Romanian ROAA would not consider Unity with the American ROEA in the OCA, and instead demanded that Unity only be considered under BOR, talks diminished. In April 2006, Archbishop Nathaniel suspended the talks proclaiming loyalty to the OCA and referring to a letter from the late Archbishop Valerian stating that the American ROEA is permanently part of the OCA. At the 2006 Annual Episcopate Congress, Archbishop Nathaniel re-opened our DC so that a dialogue with BOR be undertaken.

Our American ROEA DC went to Romania in February 2008 with the specific mandate of correcting the historical record, incorrectly sustained by BOR and its underling 1950’s creation, the Romanian ROAA. They returned not having corrected the historical record but with an “Agreed Statement” that clearly overstepped their mandate, and then followed up by having other unauthorized meetings with ROAA’s DC. No one ever suspected that our DC would participate with the other DC in preparing a 20 point proposal entitled “Proposal to Establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of North America” under BOR, and that the ROEA and ROAA hierarchs would approve it for consideration at their respective 2008 Annual Episcopate Congresses. This document was even presented to the Holy Synod of the OCA on May 14, 2008. When it became obvious that this proposal for Unity under BOR was going to be pushed through without proper evaluation, without lay and clergy consultation and without enough time for Episcopate Council (the executive body elected by Congress) and Congress deliberation, a dissenting view was sent to the Holy Synod of the OCA prior to their meeting the ROEA DC.

The Episcopate Council was informed of this dissenting view. At the last Episcopate Council meeting prior to the 2008 Episcopate Congress our DC insisted that the Episcopate Council approve their resolution: a recommendation to Congress for immediate Unity of the American ROEA with the Romanian ROAA, and this under BOR. Since this move had been anticipated, the Episcopate Council countered with its own resolution that was approved by the 2008 Episcopate Congress. This resolution allows for talks to continue with the ROAA and BOR, but that “due diligence” special committees (Jurisprudence, Finance and Constitution committees) be set up, carry out their mandates and report back to the Episcopate Council.

The ROEA Episcopate Congress passed the aforementioned resolution on July 5, 2008 and soon after, mobile cellular telephone calls from Grass Lake were proclaiming that Unity had been achieved! At the July 6, 2008 consecration of the Romanian ROAA’s new cathedral in Chicago statements made by our own Bishop Irineu leave people believing that the Unity of the American ROEA with the Romanian ROAA under BOR had taken place! This was confirmed by ROAA’s Archbishop Nicolae and BOR’s Patriarchal delegate, Metropolitan Laurentiu Streza! (3 videos with hierarchs’ speeches are available on this website) The Romanian Patriarchate announces the same Unity on its website and media outlets announce it throughout Romania and abroad! By July 7, 2008, millions of people in Romania and around the world believe that the Unity of the American ROEA with the Romanian ROAA under BOR had taken place! On that day officials of our Episcopate informed the Patriarchate that the announcement was premature in that Unity had not happened. In spite of this, no less than BOR’s Patriarch Daniel himself, affirms to the Holy Synod, on July 8-9, 2008, that “Unity between the 2 dioceses in North America has been achieved”! Later that week some efforts at correcting the announcement are made but, to this day, the Patriarchal website still refers to the fictitious “Unity”. The whole episode sounds incredulous, but those present at the ROEA Episcopate Congress held in Grass Lake, Michigan over the July 4th, 2008 weekend know that Unity did NOT happen. The truth needed to be told…

n.b. The affirmations made are documented on this website.

First question:

Q1. Janet Damian says (December 16th):

I apologize if I missed this on the website, but who is “Administrator”? I think that in the spirit of honesty and integrity, which we are seeking in this process, we should know who you are. Thank you.

R1. Administrator says (December 18th):

The organizers behind this website are all ROEA parish members and active participants in the life of this Vatra Episcopate.  Some are recent Romanian immigrants to North America while others are born here of Romanian heritage.  Your concerns about anonymity have been previously debated and the overwhelming majority consensus carried the day. It should not be forgotten that most people potentially impacted by this possible future decision to abandon the OCA and unite with the Romanian Patriarchate’s subservient American Eparchy (ROAA) and this under Bucharest rule, have been kept in the dark.  The objective of this website is to open up the Unity discussion and ensure that all concerned be informed and have the opportunity to participate in this, the most important decision making process in the life of our Vatra Episcopate.  Our goal is to keep focused on this objective.

Given the past experiences with similar websites that are attacked by some for not revealing the name or names of those behind the scenes, and by others for promoting the personal notoriety of the individual or individuals behind the website in question, and taking into account the recent history of “ad hominem” attacks made in the context of the present Unity discussions, it was felt that a forced focus on the issues at hand rather than permitting possible attacks on the people behind the scenes, was the best option.  And yet, you will find that most authors who choose to submit their articles on this website do sign their own names.  As you can also see on the website even the comments are sometimes, but not always, signed.  So, at the end of the day, this website succeeds in having the issues debated without discussing the people behind the scenes, while the names of most of the article authors and comment makers are revealed by choice.   Given that the website debate is focused on the Unity issue and not on the people behind the scenes, our objective is accomplished, at least to date.

Second question:

Q2. Geo says (December 17th):

Are you for the creation of a new “maximally autonomous metropolitinate”?

R2. Administrator (December 18th):

It is difficult to be “for” something that does not and cannot exist.  In this context the real question is “what is a ‘maximally autonomous’ Metropolitanate” in that the term ‘maximal autonomy’ does not exist in the Orthodox Church.  The term ‘maximal autonomy’ as used in the Unity debate expresses a desire for a very limited involvement of the Patriarchal Church in the affairs of the new Metropolitanate.  However, this cannot be imposed on any Autocephalous Church by a subservient Metropolitanate.  Like in all such relationships, the autonomy granted a Metropolitanate is entirely at the pleasure of the party doing the granting, in this case the Romanian Patriarchate.  In other words ‘maximal autonomy’ is “possibly HERE TODAY, and possibly GONE TOMORROW” whatever the Romanian Patriarchate desires, today and tomorrow.  There are no guarantees that what you sign today will be respected tomorrow.  None.  Forget the 20 points of maximal autonomy.  Any one and/or all of those points can be changed at any time by the Romanian Patriarchate.  Can you entrust your North American Church to a foreign state-run Church hoping it will have your American /Canadian best interests at heart?  Of course not.  Since we cannot have “Maximal Autonomy” who will  have it?  The Romanian Patriarchate will have it, to do with us that which they will.  They have tried this before and failed.  Will they succeed today?  That depends on us, all of us.

Third question:

Q3. Emily says (June 30th):

It would be helpful if all the comments posted are written or translated in english. How can i be supportive if i can’t fully understand what is written in romanian?

R3. Administrator (June 30th):

Please note that most Articles on this site are presented in both English and Romanian, while Contributors’ comments are not translated, and thus posted in the language received.  Administrator comments use the same language as the one which the comment refers to.  I hope this clarifies our use of language.

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