Breaking: Antiochian Bishops Resign from the EA

assembly-of-bishops-logoSources in the Antiochian jurisdiction have confirmed to Monomakhos that Metropolitan Philip Saliba has instructed all of the Antiochian bishops in North America to resign from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops forthwith. When we receive the actual letter we will publish it.

As for myself, I didn’t think it would happen this fast. Maybe the “break in the dam” I was talking about last week was ROCOR deciding that the EA was nothing but a sham. Whether ROCOR emboldened Philip to take the final step or not I can’t say. Personally, I think he knew it was a put-up job from the get-go. Philip, long a canny warrior, has excellent instincts and can size up a man or a situation quickly and clearly.

Four years ago, Yours Truly was one of three members on the Orthodox Christian Laity distrolist who warned that fine organization that the then-aborning Episcopal Assembly process was nothing but a ruse to cement GOA hegemony over North America and finally put paid the claims of the OCA. A Trojan Horse if you will dressed up in pious Orthospeak. Philip himself pulled a last-minute maneuver back in 2010 which indicated his displeasure but in the end decided to go along with it anyway.* Doubtless, he felt that he had nothing to lose and that in time, the GOA “metropolitans” would rip off their fraternal masks and reveal their true hegemonist identity. Maybe he felt it would collapse of its own internal contradictions.

Looks like he was right on both counts. More will be said in time.

*Curiously, Theodore Kalmoukos of The National Herald interviewed both Metropolitans Philip and Jonah right before they were to meet for the first-ever Episcopal Assembly in 2010. The last question he addressed to them was their opinion about homosexuality. Both men affirmed that it was an abomination. For some reason, Kalmoukos never interviewed any of the GOA metropolitans or asked for their opinions on this subject.

Comments

  1. John Pappas says:

    These days being heterosexually challenged is virtually a job requirement for the new GOA episcopal hires. If the larger American Church ever comes under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it will become mute on morality for fear of exposing this weak underbelly. Why do you think the GOA is silent on issues except the safe ones like the environment?

    The EP and GOA elevated Sen. Paul Sarbanes as a son of the Church. Sarbanes was one of the most radical pro-abortionists in the US Senate. He even voted against partial-birth abortion. How could the GOA teach clearly about abortion and fete Sarbanes at the same time? It couldn’t. That’s why you never heard any clear teaching from them.

    Don’t think that homosexuality will be any different despite some statements against gay marriage here and there. Look at what the heterosexually challenged and their fellow travelers have done to the OCA. They have brought it to the brink of collapse. The moral rot will be exposed in the GOA too.

    Maybe Met. Philip and ROCOR see that coming under the EP would be a disaster. Why make the internal confusion of the GOA their own?

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  2. Trudge at SmartVote says:

    Good for Metropolitan Philip.

    As for this and the imposition of Mark Maymon as bishop, we have lost the understanding of what makes a bishop according to the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers.

    “And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.” Acts 6:5

    Chrysostom on the office of the Bishop, Homily X on 1 Timothy 3: 1–4

    “If a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desires a good work. A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.”

    As now proceeding to discourse of the Episcopal office, he sets out with showing what sort of a person a Bishop ought to be. And here he does not do it as in the course of his exhortation to Timothy, but addresses all, and instructs others through him. And what says he? “If a man desire the office of a Bishop,” I do not blame him, for it is a work of protection. If any one has this desire, so that he does not covet the dominion and authority, but wishes to protect the Church, I blame him not. “For he desires a good work.” Even Moses desired the office, though not the power, and his desire exposed him to that taunt, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” (Acts vii. 27; Ex. ii. 14.) If any one, then, desire it in this way, let him desire it. For the Episcopate is so called from having the oversight of all.

    ….“Blameless.” Every virtue is implied in this word; so that if any one be conscious to himself of any sins, he doth not well to desire an office for which his own actions have disqualified him. For such an one ought to be ruled, and not to rule others. For he who bears rule should be brighter than any luminary; his life should be unspotted, so that all should look up to him, and make his life the model of their own. But in employing this exhortation, he had no common object in view. For he too was about to appoint Bishops, (which also he exhorts Titus to do in his Epistle to him,) and as it was probable that many would desire that office, therefore he urges these admonitions.

    “Vigilant,” he says, that is, circumspect, having a thousand eyes about him, quicksighted, not having the eyes of his mind dimmed. For many things occur which permit not a man to see clearly, to see things as they are. For care and troubles, and a load of business on all sides press upon him. He must therefore be vigilant, not only over his own concerns, but over those of others.

    He must be well awake, he must be fervent in spirit, and, as it were, breathe fire; he must labor and attend upon his duty by day and by night, even more than a general upon his army; he must be careful and concerned for all.

    “Sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality.” Because these qualities are possessed by most of those who are under their rule, (for in these respects they ought to be equal to those who rule over them,) he, to show what is peculiar to the Bishops, adds, “apt to teach.” For this is not required of him that is ruled, but is most essential to him who has this rule committed to him.

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  3. I wonder if this doesn’t have more to do with the Synod of Antioch’s decision not to participate in the AB’s because of their little feud with Jerusalem. Antioch has accused Jerusalem of interfering on their canonical territory, Qatar.

    http://byztex.blogspot.com/2014/01/where-are-we-with-assembly-of-bishops.html

    http://www.antiochian.org/report-holy-synod-antiochs-october-meeting

    Apparently Antioch gave them a two month deadline back in mid October to come to terms which would make the timing right (allowing for fashionable lateness and general old-world timekeeping).

    However, it is a strange solution if it is predicated upon Qatar: Break off with all talks with other Orthodox to spite one patriarchate. Hard to say. ROCOR has signalled it will treat the AB as SCOBA, Bulgaria as well, seems to be Serbia’s take too (per another source close to their leadership). Well, que sera, sera.

    Here is a little primer of sorts on the controversy from the perspective of Jerusalem. They don’t have the press apparatus here that Antioch does. I take no sides but it seems like there may be a genuine good faith dispute here:

    http://www.jp-newsgate.net/en/?s=qatar

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    • Fr. Peter Preble says:

      As a casual observer of what has been happening the decision of ++Philip to withdraw is directly related to the decision of the Patriarchate to withdraw from all episcopal assemblies around the world. Please do not read more into this.

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    • Antiochian Friend says:

      Misha,

      One should view these events through the prism of the war in Syria. The top priority of Antiochians everywhere at present is saving the Christians in the motherland, not jurisdictional politics anywhere else. If al-Nusra and its ilk had overrun Syria, as appeared likely last year, all of the Antiochian Patriarchate, including its Diaspora, would have become functional dependencies of the EP, because the Syrian Christians would have been in the truly pitiable position of seeking Turkish protection from annihilation. I suspect that the EP counted these chickens before they hatched in allowing Jerusalem to consecrate an archbishop in Qatar. Thanks be to God, Iran and Russia decided not to permit Syria to become either a Wahhabi state or a failed state, freeing Antiochians everywhere to express gratitude to Moscow for coming to our aid and protests to Constantinople for allowing our weakness to be exploited.

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        Saving the Orthodox Christians in Syria or anywhere they are threatened should be top priority for all Orthodox Christians not just Antiochians. The rebels are going through villages and killing Christians who will not deny Christ and convert to Islam in the areas of Syria under their control. Americans should be especially concerned because our misguided government has supported the rebels. How it could possible be in our national interests to support groups tied to Al Qaeda is totally beyond me. Have we not spent the last 12 year fighting Muslim radicals. Why we should support allowing people allied to the groups who gave us 9/11 have killed and maimed thousands of our soldiers and cost us billions of dollars in taking over the Middle East? It is insane of treason.

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  4. George Osborne says:

    If this is true, I would posit that it is probably somewhat of a ruse. Metropolitan Philip just used a hammer whereas ROCOR used a flyswatter to make the same point: namely a Phanar-dominated North American Church just is not going to happen. Here’s what I think will happen. The Phanar will throw a silent, internal fit. The GOA will get sulky. And then some letters and phone-calls will be made between the Antiochians, the Russians and the Greeks and you will have SCOBA with a new name but much the same purpose and legitimaticy. All pretense of bringing about jurisdictional normalization will be dead and as avoided as a live third rail. The OCA is a dead issue anyway. They won’t be taken seriously, especially with Bishop Mark sitting with his former brethern from Antioch in SCOBA mark II.

    As the curtain goes down in NA, the Phanar script is hurridly being revised for the Great Council, should that ever happen.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      In the end, does it really matter that Philip used the Qatar kerfuffle to do what John X told him to do? Isn’t it more likely that this serious misstep by the EP on Antioch’s canonical territory was providential? Why do I say this? Because it highlighted the bad faith of the Phanariotes and laid bare their hegemonic claims. As one who has far long and hard for Orthodox unity in North America lo these last 15 or so years, I would rather we wait another generation for the present episcopate –and laity–to fade away in ignominy and do it right.

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  5. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

    But, but, isn’t this just being obedient to the decision of the Antiochian Patriarchate that all Antiochian hierarchs should withdraw from all the local episcopal assemblies, such as the American one, due to encroachment of the Jerusalem Patriarchate into their territory? This, of course, would mean, then, that ROCOR, rather, sides with the Jerusalem Patriarchate based on its life-long and reflexive intolerance of the territoriality principle, and is supporting the EP and the assemblies?

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  6. GOAPriest says:

    Since when has Philip been a stalwart of traditional Orthodoxy? Please…whether the EA is a sham or not, we know that Philip is…

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    • Antiochian Priest says:

      Metropolitan Philip and our Antiochian Bishops do not pray with heretics in violation of the canons like the Greek Bishops routinely do. I would rather have a Bishop with a short or no beard who wears a suit on the street who does not compromise the Faith by participation in so called ecumenical prayer than Bishop who has a long beard and always wears a rasso and kamalavakia with a veil who participates in so called ecumenical services with anyone. When Metropolitan Philip and the Antiochian Archdiocese had the courage a few years ago to pull out of the ultra-liberal National Council of Churches, the Greeks, and OCA rushed to pledge their loyalty to the NCC. Years ago when SCOBA voted to resume dialogue with the Episcopalians Bishop Antoun, who was there to represent the Metropolitan was the only Bishop who opposed who opposed compromising our Faith by renewing dialogue with a “church” that ordains women and openly practicing homosexuals.

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      • Mark from the DOS says:

        Don’t you have full communion with monophysite, non-Chalcedonians?

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        • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says:

          Just for the sake of accuracy, on 28 September, 1990, at Chambesy the Orthodox and the Orientals adopted a Second Agreed Statement and Recommendations of the Churches, affirming that both sides hold exactly the same belief on the two natures of Christ, albeit expressing it differently. “The differences that exist between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental non-Chalcedonian Churches on Christological teaching are rather lexical and phraseological than essential, because ‘those of us who speak of the two natures of Christ do not thus deny their undivided and inseparable unity. And those of us who speak of the united divine-human nature in Christ do not deny the permanent dynamic presence in Christ of the divine and the human, unchangeable and unconfused.’” The statement called upon both sides to lift the various anathemas associated with this controversy as the next step towards restoring full communion. The text of the agreement was published in 1991, issue 7, of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (English edition), pages 52-55 .

          Fr. Philip

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        • Father Peter Farrington says:

          I am a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate and I am not a monophysite, nor is my bishop, nor our Fathers.

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          • Michael Bauman says:

            Father, whatever your belief and that is not in my competency to decide officially, I greatly admire the strength that faith has demonstrated in the face of great adversity. All I really know is what my (Antiochian) bishop told me when I asked: “We are friends but not in communion.”

            It would be a great grace if the communion could be restored.

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          • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

            Father Peter says, “I am a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate and I am not a monophysite, nor is my bishop, nor our Fathers.”

            Father, I believe you!

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          • Mark from the DOS says:

            But you don’t accept the Council of Chalcedon, do you? Or have the Coptics now adopted it?

            And I share Michael’s admiration for your perseverance in the face of adversity. However, as I understand it, the Oriental Orthodox believe in a single nature of Christ, that nature being both human and divine. Notwithstanding that, I understand the Antiochians to be in full communion with the Syrian Jacobite church.

            I understand the Chambesy, but frankly find it to be mere sophistry. There is a difference between two distinct nature and a single, united nature.

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          • In some ways, the issue is not really about whether Copts, Armenians, etc. are monophysites or not. First, the issue is whether they are willing to be Chalcedonian in some clarified way. Second, the fact is that our bishops/synods are not willing to commune with the others thus officially recognizing what has been said in ecumenical dialogue.

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            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              Perhaps the bigger problem is the scope of the Chalcedonian anathemas. For a long, long time it has been apparent that there could be a doctrinal reconciliation. But the Council was not content to anathematise doctrines, but went on to anathematise many a Bishop and teacher who are venerated as saints in the Oriental churches. How does one go about “fixing” that?

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          No the Patriarchate of Antioch is not in Communion with the non-Chalcedonians. We have good relations with the non-Chalcedonians, but are not in Communion with them. Such an important decision will have to be made by a Pan-Orthodox Council and approved by the Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches. However, in obedience to Canon 95 of the Council in Trullo, we do not Chrismate non-Chalcedonians, but receive them by a renunciation of monophysitism and a profession of faith.
          There were very good discussions with them that seemed to have reached agreement on doctrine. However, we are still divided because they consider saints people like Dioscorus and Servius of Antioch who we condemn heretics.

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      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        Is it “ecumenical prayer” with “heretics” when I pray with my non-Orthodox Christian children and grandchildren, now that I’m a catechumen in the Orthodox Church? Get real, friend!

        “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your [religiosity], Horatio!”

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          The kind of ecumenical prayer that is forbidden by most Orthodox Bishops, including Metropolitan Philip is a formal worship service together with representatives of non-Orthodox Churches. It is not private prayer before a meal with your family. The problem with ecumenical services is that it is not only forbidden by the canons, it also sends the wrong message by creating the illusion that a union exists that does not exist and that is right doctrine does not really matter. Instead, it is let us be one all hold hands and sing “Koombyya” and “Praise Jesus,” but do not say who Jesus really is because doctrine is divisive. The whole idea of worship with non-Orthodox is a betrayal of true Orthodoxy.

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        • Well, opinions vary. I’ve heard OCA priests say the canons only forbid conducting liturgies together. That’s an outright ecumenist lie.

          There are two canons, one addressed to clergy, one to laity, which prohibit prayer with heretics or schismatics. If you are head of your family, I don’t see a problem. You are praying, your family is “attending”. Surely the canons do not prohibit heterodox from attending Orthodox worship. Why a liturgy for the catechumens? How would people get to know the Church?

          However, attending prayer with the heterodox or leading the heterodox in prayer at their own forum is forbidden. If the canons have any meaning, that is it. The punishment for clery is deposition, for laity excommunication. It is usually not enforced, however,

          Now within families, I’m sure some pastoral leeway may be in order even beyond this. But that’s really the rule. It is mostly ignored by modernists, as are many others. They tend to draw the line at intercommunion.

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          • Tim R. Mortiss says:

            No, my family is not “attending”, they are praying, just as they have been for decades.

            In addition to our children, we have two sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law and twelve grandchildren. Several of my grandkids are adult or nearly so.

            When I am in the “forums” (interesting way of putting it) of my children and their families, I pray with them, and sometimes lead the prayers, and will continue always to do so.

            I have a feeling that these “canons” may have been promulgated under somewhat different circumstances than those in which I live.

            After all, I’m the one who raised them as “heterodox” since infancy!

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              You are right. The canons apply to participation in the liturgical celebrations of non-Orthodox, not saying grace before a meal. We should remember that the principle of economy allows for a dispensation from strictly following the canons. Some Orthodox show the influence of Western legalism when looking at the canons. That is the reason why someone without proper training in Orthodox canon law should not attempt to interpret the canons by themselves. For example there is a canon that forbids using Jewish physicians. When I was taken to the emergency room in unbearable pain from a kidney stone in November, my last concern was asking the doctor about his religion.

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      • GOAPriest says:

        Philip is a certified progressive and everyone knows it. Don’t bring up the Holy Canons unless you are prepared to face the music Antiochian Priest.

        Western rite…non canonical sham
        Changing fasting traditions…non canonical sham
        Moving feast days…non canonical sham
        Ordaining multiple men at the same service to the same degree of the clergy..non canonical sham
        Forbidding priests from dressing like priests…non canonical sham
        Overlooking rules regarding divorce of clergy…non canonical sham

        Did I defend Greek bishop’s participation at idiotic ecumenical prayer services?…your diversionary tactic is a valiant attempt to change the dreadful tune which is the Philip sham.

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        • Peter Proboscis says:

          Let’s address your claims:

          “Western rite…non canonical sham” – Western Rite originally instituted into the American Church by the saint, Pat. Tikhon of the ROC.

          “Changing fasting traditions…non canonical sham” – Haven’t been changed. Those who can strictly fast do so; those who can’t don’t!

          “Moving feast days…non canonical sham” – Moving feast days to Sundays when the entire church gathers is an ancient tradition of the Orthodox Church.

          “Ordaining multiple men at the same service to the same degree of the clergy..non canonical sham” – Nothing non-canonical about this!

          “Forbidding priests from dressing like priests…non canonical sham” – No, Met. Philip believes that parading around outside of the church in public in robes, cassocks, long hair, liturgical hats, etc. only scares potential converts away. We are in America, not 18th century Russia, Greece, etc.

          “Overlooking rules regarding divorce of clergy…non canonical sham” – Some canons are unchangeable while other aren’t. RE: Joe Allen, Met. Philip made this decision on the basis of “pastoral care.” Fully within canon law and his authority, but an exception rather than the rule.

          You are obviously a right-wing ROCOR person and not a GOAPriest!

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          • GOAPriest says:

            Peter,

            Sorry…but,

            No hierarch, even if he eventually is canonized has any right to create a rite. The Western rite is a cobbled-together sham, made up of post schismatic bits and pieces – a sort of liturgical archaeological free for all. It is completely outside the history of the Church to create, wholesale, liturgies…there is no living Orthodox Western liturgy. It is a fiction.

            No hierarch has the right to give allowance to the faithful to break canonical fasting regulations…sorry.

            Of course it is non canonical to ordain a mass of men to the priesthood or diaconate at the same liturgy. You need to go back to school.

            Parading around in robes? Is that how you describe the holy tradition of the Church? There is a clear tradition of clerical dress in the Orthodox Church…have you ever been outside the US. If so, you would have noticed that Orthodox priests in Orthodox countries dress the same – in cassocks. And who is Philip to decide that the received tradition is to be forbidden? By the way, the Saint you extol for creating the Western rite…he wore a cassock / robe. As well as EVERY SINGLE CLERGY SAINT of the Holy Orthodox Church.

            If you think the Allen case was an example of well-considered pastoral care, God help us.

            I am happy to be associated with my ROCOR brothers…ROCOR is not a pejorative, it’s part of the living Church. However, I am a GOA priest, whether you believe so or not.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              I think that you are the one who needs to go back to school. Your post shows a profound ignorance of Orthodox canon law, at least as I learned about it at Holy Cross the seminary of the Greek Archdiocese. Your whole judgmental attitude is an example of sinful pride. It is not your place to judge Metropolitan Philip or any other Orthodox hierarch.

              There have always been variations within the Church on non dogmatic matters like fasting. For example the Antiochian Archdiocese does not allow weddings during the entire Nativity Fast, while the Greek Archdiocese allows weddings until December 12. The decision to suspend fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays during the Paschal season was not made by Metropolitan Philip. It was made by the Holy Synod of Antioch.

              There are several canons that forbid fasting on Saturday and Sunday. I have never heard or read a logical explanation why we do not follow those canons in current practice.

              There are no canonical specifications on clerical attire. None of the clergy of our Church wore a modern rasso or kamalavakia during the age of the 7 Ecumenical Councils. The vast majority of Greek Orthodox clergy that I have known through the years wear the same clerical attire that I wear, so worry about your own Archdiocese before you criticize another.

              At the time that Sts. Basil and John Chrysostom wrote their Liturgies, they were both innovations and departures from the Liturgies used before them. Constantinople is in full Communion with both Moscow and Antioch, both of which allow the Western Rite. Therefore, your Patriarchate does not consider the Western Rite a serious heresy.

              One principle of Orthodox canon law is the principle of economy, which allows departure from usual practice by competent authority. The multiple ordinations were an act of economy. Besides there is no canon that forbids multiple ordinations. Single ordinations are only the usual practice of the Church and are not a matter of dogma. Metropolitan Philip did it only once under unusual circumstances with the approval of the Holy Synod of Antioch. Besides, the Greek Archdiocese recognize the validity of the Priests ordained in the multiple ordinations.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              St. Tikhon wore a business suit outside of the Church. During the 19th century, the Holy Synod of Russia instructed its clergy in non-Orthodox countries to dress as a gentleman according to the society in which they were serving. We have a picture of the first Priest in Vicksburg in 1908. He wore a normal business suit.
              The practice of married clergy wearing a rasso outside of the Church in modern times. Married clergy in Greece only began to wear their rasso outside of the Church during the 19th century. The Holy Synod of Greece only made it obligatory for married clergy to wear the rasso outside of the Church in the 1920s. Before that the clergy dressed like other men, only in black or darker colors Thus a married priest wearing a rasso on the street is not part of the Holy Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is only a fairly recent development.
              If someone is judging the Orthodoxy of a priest by beards and cassocks that person has the wrong priorities. What is important in Orthodoxy is our unchanging Holy Tradition which is our doctrine and worship, not what a priest wears to the grocery store. A legalistic obsession with such externals is wrong and shows a very superficial understanding of the Orthodox Faith. It also shows the corruption of Western legalism.

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              • Isa Almisry says:

                But Father, Holy Tradition is what grandpa did. ;)

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              • Fr. John,

                Where might I find some written support for this? And how did Orthodox clergy dress outside of church in Orthodox countries from say the 1600′s (or prior) to the middle of the 19th century? Just asking, and for anything written on the subject. Anything in the canons that apply, or the oaths or practices of Russian or Greek clergy from earlier periods?

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              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                A stretch to lay blame on “Western legalism” for the wearing of distinctive Orthodox clerical garments in public, especially in Greece!

                You don’t see Reformed parsons in their garb, including Geneva collar, anymore either.
                http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=geneva+collar&qpvt=geneva+collar&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=D76D65BD1A6576F4E4B3A349A8E42C3175C12231&selectedIndex=4

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              • http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_dress.aspx

                http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/a-response-to-calivas-clerical-attire-in-america.aspx

                Opinions do vary. Can’t say I agree with Met. Phillip (and/or Patriarch Meletios IV) on this issue.

                The article below is also good and addresses St. Tikhon’s practice specifically:

                http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_hair.aspx

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  “Or even more absurd, “My wife will not allow it!””
                  Was the author ever married?

                  Btw, the obsession with hair is a borrowing from Stoicism, something St. Clement didn’t wash off in baptism and we’ve had ever since.

                  I’d like to see an explanation squaring long hair with I Corinthians 11:14 which also fits the depictions we have of Christians of the early centuries-in particular St. Paul, which contrary to the article, is depicted with short hair and balding (but with a full beard), and even early depictions of Christ clean shaven (i.e. Roman fashion).

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                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    Yeah, couldn’t understand what the author was saying about St. Paul’s hair, much less about the barber towels and such…..

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                  • Why Isa, are you suggesting Christ was clean shaven like the Romans based on some early iconography. If so, what about the rest, if not, why does this or that icon matter? And, seriously, the comments about wives not being good with it assume that shaved is the fashion and that feminism is the norm.

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                    • Isa Almisry says:

                      I don’t suggest that Our Lord was clean shaven. I’m quite sure He was not. However, early Christian society found being clean shaven-even for clergy- as Christian enough that they venerated such iconography.

                      A husband’s body isn’t his own: that includes his face, besides other parts. That is all I assume.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      Actually, it was a matter of persecution that for a time in some parts of the Church, clergy were clean shaven, a pagan Roman custom. However, in the aftermath of the persecutions, the Church in the HOLY SPIRIT decided that Orthodox clerics should wear beards and cemented this practice by canon law. Mind you, when the Church was centered at Jerusalem, prior to its destruction by the Romans, the Holy Apostles and the clergy also wore beards. Pagan practice was never normative of the Church. It is a Church canon that Orthodox Priests and Bishops should wear beards. That is what is observed in almost every local church in Orthodoxy and is the practice the Church has handed to us to observe.

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      Which canon is that Rostislav?

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      …A canon (96) from the Sixth Ecumenical Council concerning hair says that: “Those who have put on Christ through baptism have solemnly promised to emulate and imitate the manner of life He led in the flesh.” Since a priest represents an image of Christ he should resemble him in outward appearance with both beard and long hair. …

                      …Question 39.

                      Father your blessing!
                      With regards to the G.O.A. of America, I have seen many things connected to this Archdiocese that are quite unique/unfamiliar. The trends amongst the clergy are different to those typical of Greek clergy (in Greece and the diaspora). Also, the churches look different in many ways: very simple (if any) templons; the use of musical instruments and of male/female choirs (singing in a non-Byzantine way). In other words, the Greek Church established in the U.S.A. seems extremely westernized and I cannot understand why. Are any of these things a breach of Canon Law? Why are they permitted and are unique only to the G.O.A. of America?

                      With respect

                      Evangelos

                      Answer to Question 39.

                      Dear Evangelos,
                      By trends of the clergy I presume you mean that many of the GOA clergy are clean shaven. For the majority of the Orthodox World a beard is a recognizable sign of a Priest which is deep rooted in Orthodox tradition. Priests with beards go as far back as the time of Moses when God commanded him to tell the priests (the sons of Aaron) not to shave or cut the beard of their chins (Lev. 21:5). In general this applies to all men for God created man with a beard to distinguish him from a woman. Although we are no longer under Mosaic Law, priests continue to wear beards since the Law was observed by both the Lord and the Apostles. A canon (96) from the Sixth Ecumenical Council concerning hair says that: “Those who have put on Christ through baptism have solemnly promised to emulate and imitate the manner of life He led in the flesh.” Since a priest represents an image of Christ he should resemble him in outward appearance with both beard and long hair. Much of the Priest’s outward appearance is influenced by monastic traditions. In older times monks were not allowed to have long hair and many kept their head shaven on the top similar to the style of the Western Benedictine monks, but under the influence of hermits who paid no attention to their outward appearance and let their hair grow, the tonsure was abandoned and long hair became the normal for both monks and Priests.
                      In the west priests began to shave their beards towards the end of the eighth century when Charlemagne (wanting to imitate pagan classical Rome) ordered Western clergy to shave regularly. During the Roman Empire, it was the custom for men to shave and being unshaven meant that you were a barbarian. The order to shave was not immediately accepted by all the western clergy, but many began to trim their beards quite closely thus avoiding being clean shaven which seemed more effeminate. In the 11th century Pope Gregory VII, tried to enforce shaving and by the sixteenth century beardlessness for Roman Catholic clergy was enforced by further canons which have since been dropped by the Second Vatican Council.
                      But that is the Roman Catholic Church; what about the new trend among the Orthodox clergy? Trimmed beards and short hair seems to have become fashionable from after the First World War. Priests justify this change by saying that the long hair and beards can appear unsightly and with trimmed beards they make themselves more approachable to the people. Other reasons among educated Priests is that long beards make them look like uneducated peasant Priests of that their wives demand that they tidy themselves up. In the west Orthodox Priests were more justified in cutting their hair and trimming their beards because many had to work fulltime in secular jobs where a trimmed appearance was required by their employer. In America this was taken to the extremes and Priest began to completely shave their beards. They believe that living in a modern world requires a modern outlook and because they live in societies with other Christian denominations, they have been influenced by Ecumenism and have adapted their appearance to be in line with the clergy of other denominations. Thus not only have the beards disappeared but also the rason which in public has been replaced by the suit and dog-collar. Of course it is not the rason that makes the Priest and neither does a priest with a long beard mean that he is a better priest that one without, but we should not be ashamed to walk in public in our traditional clerical dress and appearance. It is what makes an Orthodox Priest stand out and be recognizable. A Priest being clean shaven and wearing an Anglican suit and dog-collar can be recognized as a priest but not Orthodox. There are many arguments for long hair and beards supported by Holy Scripture, tradition and the Canons…

                      …in Orthodox countries like Greece and Cyprus, a Priest without a beard would not be taken seriously or respected. …

                      http://www.christopherklitou.com/question_39_on_goa_clergy_churches_music.htm

                      …Quinisext Council (Penthekte Synodos, or Fifth-Sixth Council).

                      The Byzantine Emperor Justinian II convened the council in Constantinople in 691-692 to complete the work of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, which omitted to approve disciplinary canons, and to decide on unresolved disciplinary matters. The council was attended by 215 bishops from the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. In addition, Bishop Basil of Gortyna in Illyria was present as the Papal Legate.

                      Many of the canons simply reiterated earlier enacted canons. They included regulations to eliminate festivals and practices that were seen as having pagan origins. Other canons tried to settle differences between the Eastern and Western churches over ritual observance and clerical discipline. Many seemingly differences in the West were condemned, including celebrating the Eucharist on weekdays in Lent instead of having Pre-Sanctified Liturgies; fasting on Saturdays throughout the year; omitting the “Alleluia” in Lent; and depictions of Christ as a lamb or Agnus Dei.

                      The council exposed major differences between East and West on issues such as the western efforts to impose celibacy on priests and deacons. The council affirmed the right of priests to marry and prescribed excommunication for anyone who attempted to separate a priest from his wife, or for any priest who abandoned his wife.

                      Many of the provisions of the council affected the day-to-day details of the life of the clergy. It ruled that they should not own taverns, lend money at interest, change dioceses without Episcopal permission, or fail to mix water with wine at the Eucharist, and they must not fail to preach on the Scriptures at least on Sundays.

                      In addition, the council ruled that the clergy must not shave their beards. By then, it was already the custom and practice throughout the Eastern Church for clergy not to shave. …

                      http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2009/05/should-priests-shave-should-priests.html

                      +++


                      St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite’s Comments on Canon 96 of the Sixth Oecumenical Synod

                      Those too incur the excommunication of this Canon, according to Zonaras, who do not put a razor to their head at all, nor cut the hair of their head, but let it grow long enough to reach to the belt like that of women, and those who bleach their hair so as to make it blond or golden, or who twist it up and tie it on spills in order to make it curly; or who put wigs or “rats” on their head. This excommunication is incurred also by those who shave off their beard in order to make their face smooth and handsome after such treatment, and not to have it curly, or in order to appear at all times like beardless young men; and those who singe the hair of their beard with a red-hot tile so as to remove any that is longer than the rest, or more crooked; or who use tweezers to pluck out the superfluous hairs on their face, in order to become tender and appear handsome; or who dye their beard, in order not to appear to be old men. This same excommunication is incurred also by those women who use rouge and paint on their face, in order to look pretty, and in this way to attract men beholding them to their Satanic love. Oh, and how the miserable women have the hardihood to dishonor the image which God gave them with their wicked beautifications! Ah! how is God to recognize them and tell whether they are His own creatures and images, at a time when they are wearing another face which is devilish, and another image, which is that of Satan? Hence it is that St. Gregory the Theologian says the following in his epic verses:

                      “Build yourselves not towers of spurious tresses on your head, women,
                      While petting soft necks of rocks invisible;
                      Nor apply shameful paint to forms of God’s,
                      So as to be wearing masks, and not faces.
                      Lest God requite you for such things when He has come to resent them.
                      Who? Whence is the Creator? Avaunt, get thee away from me, strange female!
                      I did not paint thee a bitch, but created an image of myself.
                      How is it that I have an idol, a specter instead of a friend?”

                      And the poor wretches do not know that by what they are doing they are managing only to make themselves like that hag and whore called Jezebel (II Kings 9:30), and are themselves becoming new and second Jezebels, because she too used to paint her face in order to please the eyes of men, just as is written: “And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of him; and she painted her face, and attired her head, and peeped through the window” (ibid.). So all men and all women who do such things are all excommunicated by the present Ecumenical Council. And is these things are forbidden to be done by the laity in general, how much more they are forbidden to clerics and those in holy orders, who ought by their speech and by their conduct, and by the outward decency and plainness of their garments, and of their hair, and of their beard, to teach the laity not to be body-lovers and exquisites, but soul-lovers and virtue- lovers. Note that the present Canon censures the priests of the Latins who shave off their moustache and their beard and who look like very young men and handsome bridegrooms and have the face of women. For God forbids men of the laity in general to shave their beard, by saying: “Ye shall not mar the appearance of your bearded chin” (Lev. 19:27). But He specially forbids those in holy orders to shave their beard, by saying to Moses to tell the sons of Aaron, or, in other words, the priests, not to shave the skin of their bearded chin (Lev. 21:5). Not only did He forbid this in words, but He even appeared to Daniel with whiskers and beard as the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:9); and the Son of God wore a beard while he was alive in the flesh. And our Forefathers and Patriarchs and Prophets and Apostles all wore beards, as is plainly evident from the most ancient pictures of them wherein they are painted with beards. But, more to the point, even the saints in Italy, like St. Ambrose, the father of monks Benedict, Gregory Dialogus, and the rest, all had beards, as they appear in their pictures painted in the church of St. Mark in Venice. Why, even the judgment of right reason decides the shaving of the beard to be improper. For the beard is the difference which in respect of appearance distinguishes a woman from a man. That is why a certain philosopher when asked why he grew a beard and whiskers, replied that as often as he stroked his beard and whiskers he felt that he was a man, and not a woman. Those men who shave their beard are not possessors of a manly face, but of a womanly face. Hence it was that Epiphanius blamed the Massalians for cutting off their beard, which is the visage peculiar to man as distinguished from woman. The Apostles in their Injunctions, Book I, ch.3, command that no one shall destroy the hair of his beard, and change the natural visage of the man into one that is unnatural. “For,” says he, “God the Creator made this to be becoming to women, but deemed it to be out of harmony with men.” The innovation of shaving the beard ensued in the Roman Church a little before Leo IX, Gregory VII even resorted to force in order to make bishops and clerics shave off their beard. Oh, and what a most ugly and most disgusting sight it is to see the successor of St. Peter close-shaven, as the Greeks say, like a “fine bridegroom,” with this difference, however, that he wears a stole and a pallium, and sits in the chief seat among a large number of other men like him in a council called the college of cardinals, while he himself is styled the Pope. Yet bearded Popes did not become extinct after insane Gregory, a witness to this fact being Pope Gelasius growing a beard, as is stated in his biography. See the Dodecabiblus of Dositheus, pp. 776-8. Meletius the Confessor (subject 7, concerning unleavened wafers) states that a certain Pope by the name of Peter on account of his lascivious acts was arrested by the king and one half of his beard was shaven off as ‘a mark of dishonor. According to another authority, in other temples too there were princes, even on the sacerdotal list, who had a beard, as in Leipzig they are to be seen painted after Martin Luther in the church called St. Paul’s and that called St, Thomas’s. I saw the same things also in Bardislabia.

                      From The Rudder, pp. 403-405. …

                      …Uncut Hair and Beards of the Clergy

                      You often state that clergy must not cut their hair and beards. There are church canons to support this and certainly it is part of church tradition. But you also know that St. Paul says that men should not have long hair and that certain church canons even allow for a monk with hair that is too long to cut it, as well as to cut his hair when he is away from the monastery. I would like your guidance on this apparent contradiction in tradition. (Fr. J.K., MA)

                      Your comments are intelligently stated and do not, as is often the case, seek to dispense with a difficult discipline—the uncut hair and beard of Orthodox clergy—by posing false contradictions in practice. The tradition of maintaining uncut hair and beard among the monastic and married clergy no doubt traces back to the ascetics of the desert. Just as monastic practice has influenced parish worship, so monastic dress and grooming have played an observable role in establishing the standard for clerical dress among married Priests. Except among “Westernized” Orthodox, with their anti-monastic bias, this influence by the barometer of spiritual life, the monastic estate, on the so-called “secular” clergy has always been thought positive.

                      Since an ascetic monastic foregoes the cutting of his hair and beard in order to avoid vanity, this custom has a practical purpose. Thus, it is obvious that a monastic would also avoid looking effeminate or styling his hair. It is for this reason that, if his hair gets too long, such that it resembles that of a woman, a monastic may ask his superior to cut it. When he goes out into the world, too, he should, in such circumstances, trim his hair and keep it tied up in back, as is the custom in the Greek and some Slavic Churches. This is in keeping with the spirit of St. Paul’s admonition against men having long hair like that of women, when this admonition is read in context.

                      What we must understand, here, is that the cutting of hair in all of these instances means nothing more than trimming off hair that falls below the middle of the back. We are not talking about the modern haircut, which is, in fact, the equivalent of the desecration of the head that led to Samson’s loss of strength and power. Clergymen are, therefore, unjustified in cutting their hair in the modern style, which is almost unknown in Christian history, until recent centuries. With regard to shaving, the Old Testament, the Church Fathers, and the Canons forbid a clergyman to cut his beard. One of the observations made by the Orthodox against the Popes during the union councils (and repeated by a number of Orthodox Fathers in modern times) was that, as they began to deviate from the Apostolic Faith, they also, oddly enough, began to shave off their beards. Moreover, not only should clergymen not shave, according to various Church authorities, but many holy men, such as St. Kosmas Aitolos, hold that laymen should let their beards, or least a moustache, grow naturally.

                      All of this does not, of course, mean that an Orthodox clergyman should not be clean and well groomed. The Canons allow for the trimming of the moustache (primarily for the purpose of insuring care in taking Holy Communion), and certainly by economy a Priest can trim his beard slightly, if he has to hold a secular job. Long hair should also be tied up in back or tucked under the collar, for which reason it rarely presents a problem for a working Priest who truly wishes to abide by canonical exactitude. (And by Priest, here, we mean, of course, both the Presbyter and the Deacon.) Nor would we argue that a beard and uncut hair are the sure signs of a good Priest. They are, as Bishop Chrysostomos of Etna always tells us, no more or less important to a Priest than “feathers are to a bird.”

                      Finally, in anticipation of those who oppose the canonical disciplines placed on Orthodox clergy, let us acknowledge that some monks, in the history of the Church, maintained a tonsure which involved cutting hair from the top of the head. This was one of many customs which did not last, and is not an argument against the living tradition of the Church as it has survived today, which assigns to monastics and “secular” clergy alike the discipline of leaving the hair and beard uncut, This discipline, combined with adherence to the canonical dress of the clergy (in Church, on the street, and at home), is a powerful deterrent against improper behavior on the part of Priests, who should be moral exemplars for the people, and provides a vivid witness of the peculiar nature to the people of God, the Christians. …

                      …Concerning the Tradition of Long Hair and Beards

                      The question of the appropriateness of long hair and beards is frequently put to traditional Orthodox clergy. A comprehensive article appeared in Orthodox Life concerning clergy dress in the J./F. 1991 issue. At this time we would like to address the topic of clergy appearance, i.e. hair and beards.

                      Anyone looking at photographs and portraits of clergy in Greece, Russia, Rumania, and other Orthodox countries taken in the early twentieth century will notice that almost without exception both the monastic and married clergy, priests and deacons, wore untrimmed beards and hair. Only after the First World War do we observe a new, modern look, cropped hair and beardless clergy. This fashion has been continued among some of the clergy to our own day. If one were to investigate this phenomenon in terms of a single clergyman whose life spanned the greater part of our century one would probably notice his style modernize from the first photographs up through the last.

                      There are two reasons given as an explanation for this change: it is said, “One must conform with fashion, we cannot look like peasants!” Or even more absurd, “My wife will not allow it!”. Such reasoning is the “dogmatic” line of modernists who either desire to imitate contemporary fashion (if beards are “in,” they wear beards, if beards are “out,” they shave), or are ecumenically minded, not wanting to offend clergy in denominations outside the Orthodox Church. The other reason is based on a passage of Holy Scripture where Saint Paul states, Both not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (I Cor. 11:14) In answer to the first justification, Orthodox tradition directly condemns Modernism and Ecumenism. It is necessary however to deal in more detail with the argument that bases its premise on Holy Scripture.

                      Orthodox Christian piety begins in the Holy Tradition of the Old Testament. Our relationship to the Lord God, holiness, worship, and morality was formed in the ancient times of the Bible. At the time of the foundation of the priesthood the Lord gave the following commandments to the priests during periods of mourning, And ye shall not shave your head for the dead [a pagan practice] with a baldness on the top; and they shall not shave their beard… (Lev. 21:5), and to all men in general, Ye shall not make a round cutting of the hair of your head, nor disfigure your beard (Lev. 19:27). The significance of these commandments is to illustrate that the clergy are to devote themselves completely to serving the Lord. Laymen as well are called to a similar service though without the priestly functions. This out ward appearance as a commandment was repeated in the law given to the Nazarene, a razor shall not come upon his head, until the days be fulfilled which he vowed to the Lord: he shall be holy, cherishing the long hair of the head all the days of his vow to the Lord… (Numbers 6:5-6).

                      The significance of the Nazarene vow was a sign of God’s power resting on the person who made it. To cut off the hair meant to cut off God’s power as in the example of Samson (see Judges 16:17-19). The strength of these pious observances, transmitted to the New Testament Church, were observed without question till our present times of willfulness and the apostasy resulting from it. Why, one might ask, do those Orthodox clergymen, while rejecting the above pious ordinances about hair, continue to observe the custom of granting various head coverings to clergy, a practice which also has its roots in the ancient ordinances of the Old Testament (cf. Ex. 24:4-6) and the tradition of the early Church (see Fusebius and Epiphanius of Cyprus concerning the miters worn by the Apostles John and James)?

                      The Apostle Paul himself wore his hair long as we can conclude from the following passage where it is mentioned that “head bands,” [Webmaster note: he then cites the Slavonic word using a special font. Consult the original article if needed.], and “towels” touched to his body were placed on the sick to heal them. The “head bands” indicate the length of his hair (in accor dance with pious custom) which had to be tied back in order to keep it in place (cf. Acts 19:12). The historian Egezit writes that the Apostle James, the head of the church in Jerusalem, never cut his hair (Christian Reading, Feb. 1898, p.142, [in Russian]).

                      If the pious practice among clergy and laity in the Christian community was to follow the example of the Old Testament, how then are we to understand the words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians cited earlier (I Cor. 11:14)? Saint Paul in the cited passage is addressing men and woman who are praying (cf. I Cor. 11:3-4). His words in the above passages, as well as in other passages concerning head coverings (cf. I Cor. 11: 4-7), are directed to laymen, not clergy. In other passages Saint Paul makes an obvious distinction between the clerical and lay rank (cf. I Cor. 4:1, I Tim. 4:6, Col. 1:7, and others). He did not oppose the Old Testament ordinance in regard to hair and beards since, as we have noted above, he himself observed it, as did Our Lord Himself, Who is depicted on all occasions with long hair and beard as the Great High Priest of the new Christian priest hood.

                      In our passage noted previously, Both not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (I Cor. 11:14) Saint Paul uses the Greek word for “hair.” This particular word for hair designates hair as an a ornament (the notion of length being only secondary and suggested), differing from [Gr.] thrix (the anatomical or physical term for hair). [1] Saint Paul’s selection of words emphasizes his criticism of laymen wearing their hair in a stylized fashion, which was contrary to pious Jewish and Christian love of modesty. We note the same approach to hair as that of Saint Paul in the 96th canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council where it states: “Those therefore who adorn and arrange their hair to the detri ment of those who see them, that is by cunningly devised intertwinings, and by this means put a bait in the way of unstable souls.” [2]

                      In another source, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, we read the follow ing concerning the Old Testament practice: “To an extent, hair style was a matter of fashion, at least among the upper classes, who were particularly open to foreign [pagan] influence. Nevertheless, long hair appears to have been the rule among the Hebrews (cf. Ezek. 8:3), both men and women” [3] (cf. Cant 4:1; 7:5). Thus we observe that cropped or stylized hair was the fashion among the pagans and not acceptable, especially among the Christian clergy from most ancient times up to our contemporary break with Holy Tradition. It is interesting to note that the fashion of cropped or stylized hair and shaved beards found its way into the Roman Catholic and Protestant worlds. So important had this pagan custom be come for Roman clergy by the 11th Century that it was listed among the reasons for the Anathema pronounced by Cardinal Humbert on July 15, 1054 against Patriarch Michael in Constantinople which precipitated the Western Church’s final falling away from the Orthodox Church: “While wearing beards and long hair you [Eastern Orthodox] reject the bond of brotherhood with the Roman clergy, since they shave and cut their hair.” [!] [4]

                      Igumen Luke

                      Endnotes

                      * Webmaster note: In the original article footnotes 2 and 3 were reversed in the text and footnotes.

                      1) Joseph Thayer D. D., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 354.

                      2) The Rudder, trans. by D. Cummings, p. 403.

                      3) A. C. Myers ed., The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, p.455

                      4) N. N. Voekov, The Church, Russia, and Rome, (in Russian), p. 98.

                      From Orthodox Life, Vol. 45, No. 5 (Sept-Oct 1995), pp. 41-43.

                      http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_hair.aspx

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    Clement of Alexandria is not an Eastern Orthodox Saint.

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      To Rostislav above

                      I did a search on the canons of the Council in Trullo and found no canon requiring clergy to wear beards and long hair. Indeed, the exact opposite was decreed by the council.

                      Canon XLII.
                      Those who are called Eremites and are clothed in black robes, and with long hair go
                      about cities and associate with the worldly both men and women and bring odium upon
                      their profession—we decree that if they will receive the habit of other monks and wear their
                      hair cut short, they may be shut up in a monastery and numbered among the brothers; but
                      if they do not choose to do this, they are to be expelled from the cities and forced to live in
                      the desert (ἐρήμους) from whence also they derive their name.

                      Canon XXI.
                      Those who have become guilty of crimes against the canons, and on this account subject
                      to complete and perpetual deposition, are degraded to the condition of layman. If, however,
                      keeping conversion continually before their eyes, they willingly deplore the sin on account
                      of which they fell from grace, and made themselves aliens therefrom, they may still cut their
                      hair after the manner of clerics. But if they are not willing to submit themselves to this
                      canon, they must wear their hair as laymen, as being those who have preferred the communion
                      of the world to the celestial life.

                      Unfortunately, this canon doe not describe how a cleric is supposed to cut their hair, but it does indicate that they did cut their hair.

                      Therefore, there is no set canonical standard for how a Priest should wear his hair.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      And as per my most recent directive: “thus endeth the lesson.”

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                    • Clement of Alexandria, in Ambiguum 7 III of “On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ” (SVS Press, 2003), is referred to by St. Maximus the Confessor as “the great Clement who wrote the Miscellanies.” (Just an aside.)

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                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      That’s right, Clement of Alexandria was never glorified as a Saint. It is said that when it was proposed to him that he accept election as a bishop, he refused, saying there were some things he couldn’t accept, such as the creation of the world in six days. He was told that he was not required to believe that: he was only required to teach what the Church teaches.

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                • Regarding Corinthians, he was saying that it does not mean what people assume it means for two reasons: 1) the passage refers to ornate arrangements of hair [ see κομάω, from κόμη, "the hair as an ornament" being the principle meaning, length "only secondary, and suggested" just as the orthodoxinfo author states], and 2) the standard for the clergy was different from that of the laity (as is the case today with the head coverings the clergy sometimes wear in church). What he was saying about St. Paul’s hair is that we can tell from the words used to describe his grooming that his hair, in reality, was long enough to be swept back and tied much like monastics often do today.

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                  • Rostislav says:

                    In the Book of Acts, it becomes clear that St. Paul takes a Nazorite vow. According to the Tradition of the Church, the All Holy Theotokos was raised as a Nazorite and she raised CHRIST as a Nazorite, and it is clear St. John the Baptist was a Nazorite. I think the issue of the clergy “cutting their hair” was settled at the outset if one considers these examples properly.

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              • Rostislav says:

                Sophistry and disinformation. The reason why clergy in Greece didn’t wear their ryassos outside of church before the nineteenth century is because the Turkish authorities prevented it and would have martyred them. In places where the Orthodox Church was not undergoing persecution, as in the case of Russia, clerics always wore proper attire, ie cassocks, ryassos, kamilavkas, skoufias, etc. That is how Orthodox clerics properly dress.

                St. Tikhon’s practice had to do with visiting and dealing with the heterodox, but amongst Orthodox Christians, he wore proper clerical attire, ie cassock, ryasso, panaghia, klobuk with namyotka or a skoufia, etc. Moreover, our society today in America is not as phobic to clerics in cassocks: so even in our dealings with the heterodox today, sensibilities are changed and different, accommodating Orthodox looking like Orthodox clerics.

                No, no one is “judging” Orthodox clergy. One is simply appreciating that they receive the practice handed to them by the Church in fidelity and respect their clerical offices. Canonically, Orthodox clergy are required to wear cassocks. That is Orthodox practice. While Orthodox clerics endeavoring to look like papal pedophile Priests not only diminishes their witness, it makes them look heterodox. That is why they should obey the Church and look like Orthodox clerics.

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                • Rostislav says:

                  …1) The 27th Canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council states: “None who is counted with the clergy should dress inappropriately, when in the city, nor when travelling. Each should use the attire which was appointed for clergy members. If someone breaks this rule, may he be deprived of serving for one week.”

                  Here everything is clear. If you do not wish to wear a priest’s clothing, do not dare to stand before the altar of God.

                  2) The great interpreter of Church Canons, Balsamon, in his interpretation of the 14th canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council, which speaks of the ordination of readers, notes: “He who has put on black attire with the purpose of entering the clergy, cannot remove it, for he has stated his intent of serving God and therefore cannot break his promise to God and ridicule this holy image, as other ridiculers do.”

                  If constant wearing of “black attire” is expected of the first rank of the priesthood, the reader, then all the more does it refer to those who are fully in the rank of the priesthood.

                  3) In the questioning period of the candidate before the ordination, the candidate to the priesthood, in the presence of his spiritual father makes the following promise: “I promise to wear the clothing appropriate to my priestly rank, not to cut my hair nor my beard… for through such unseemly behavior I risk belittling my rank and tempting believers” (Promise #5).

                  It is important to note here that, in confirmation of his promise the candidate kisses the Gospel and the Cross and signs his name. …

                  …The inner and outer cassocks traditionally worn by Orthodox clergy are, to the pious, objects of tremendous respect and veneration. Anyone who considers them “weird” is unenlightened. Nor does anything appointed by the Church, enveloped as it is in Grace, impede our witness as Orthodox Christians. Ignorance or simple bigotry account for instances in which clergymen are ridiculed for dressing in a traditional manner, and the treatment for ignorance and bigotry is not the abandonment of our customs, but, once again, the enlightenment of those who ridicule us. Moreover, our traditional Orthodox clerical dress witnesses openly to the Grace of the Priesthood. Many times our own clergy, who maintain such dress, encounter young children who, yet untainted by the vanity of the world, will turn to their parents and remark, “Look, it’s Jesus.” Such incidents speak for themselves and attest to the importance and nature of Orthodox Priestly attire. The idea that the traditional dress of an Orthodox Priest has it roots in Turkish vesture—whether secular or religious—is a contrived piece of historical fantasy that has often been used to justify contemporary innovations in clerical garb. Under the Turkish yoke, certain changes in cut and style can be observed in monastic and Priestly dress, but these are insignificant. Our clerical styles predate the Moslem yoke, and indeed it was from the Desert Fathers, who inhabited many of the areas where Islam first flourished, that the Islamic clergy took many of their customs—from the robes that they wear to the minarets (which are modeled on the structures in which the ancient Stylites lived and prayed, that is, “pillars” with a small cubicle on top).

                  The round white collar, bib, and business suit which you call “Roman Catholic” clerical dress is neither Roman Catholic in origin nor much more than normal street garb with a special collar. Papist priests, like Orthodox clergy, dressed in cassocks and special headgear well into this century. Only in the last few decades have they adopted what is actually Protestant clerical clothing or simply street clothes. As for the issue of deposition, let us note, first, that Orthodox clergy have, indeed, been suspended and even deposed for abandoning traditional clerical dress. St. Evalalios, a predecessor of St. Basil the Great in the See of Cappadocia, deposed his own son for abandoning traditional Priestly garments for “unsuitable” attire. …

                  http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_dress.aspx

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                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Rostislav, I gather if you were dying in a hospital and Fr. John came to minister to you to hear your confession and bring communion you would refuse his blessings?

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      I would not: I would treat him with courtesy. But I would respectfully tell him to observe the dignity of the Orthodox Priesthood and himself and put on a cassock if there was not a valid reason (in terms of whether or not he had secular work or so) for him dressing as a heterodox cleric.

                      But, Michael, if a Greek Old Calendarist – let’s say a moderate one – came to you and tried to minister to you, would you reject his blessing, seeing as how, canonically, he may be acting in disobedience as a Priest according to the canonical order of the Church?

                      Would Fr. John or his Bishop (or yours) even recognize his Priesthood (and he could show how he had valid Orthodox Apostolic Succession)?

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      To Rostoslav
                      I find it very difficult not to be offended and somewhat angry at your arrogant post.
                      If you were in the hospital and I visited you and you talked to me that way, I would tell you that you need to repent of the sin of pride. It is a sin for an Orthodox Christian to treat an Orthodox Priest with such disrespect. It is not your place to tell any Orthodox Priest what he should wear. That authority belongs to his Bishop and to no layman, especially one like you who has a very shallow understanding of Orthodoxy. If some canonical Orthodox jurisdiction makes the mistake of making you a Bishop, then and only then, can you tell an Orthodox Priest what to wear and only the Priests who had the misfortune to be under your omophorion.
                      I am very grateful that you are not in my parish. I do not need a self-appointed expert in Orthodoxy trying to tell me what to do after earning a degree in Orthodox theology from a fully accredited Orthodox seminary, and almost 34 years in the Priesthood under a fully canonical Metropolitan who is a member of the Holy Synod of one of the ancient Patriarchates.
                      I most certainly would tell my spiritual children to refuse the ministrations of an uncanonical schismatic Old Calendarist “priest.” An Orthodox Christian should only receive the ministrations from a canonical Orthodox Priest, not a schismatic from a sect that left the Orthodox Church.

                      Archpriest John W. Morris

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      As a faithful Orthodox Christian, in good standing with the Church and obedient TO HER, it is my place to tell you. And I would tell you, quite frankly, that, respectfully, you should review what the Mystery of Holy Chrismation constitutes and respect the Orthodox faithful sealed with the HOLY SPIRIT “to uphold the good order of the Church” and to repent of your disobedience to that Church and show me an example of humility by putting on a cassock and ending your deliberate and self-willed heterodox appearance and act like an Orthodox Priest. Your very manner and appearance is unbecoming and constitutes a religious counterfeit. Be an Orthodox Priest, not an “Orthodox Priest” and stop trafficking in 3 dollar bills. Do remember that we both constitute the Church in the HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

                      The Church is not your dictatorship and it is not your business to judge the spiritual charges of other Priests so if anyone should “humble himself.” For that, pridefully arrogating to yourself authority over the spiritual charges of another, you could be canonically reprimanded by your Bishop, BTW. I am not in obedience TO YOU, nor is it your place to subjugate anyone: the SPIRIT does not coerce but acts in validation of our free will urging us in OBEDIENCE TO THE CHURCH. Nor is it the place of yourself, one who is in very appearance disobedient to the Church IN YOUR SELF WILL AND OPEN REBELLION, the place to lecture anyone on humility and obedience. Physician, humble and heal thyself. What hubris.

                      Furthermore, you call moderate Greek Old Calendarists “schismatic” due to their disobedience to the Church (by breaching Communion with it over the scandalous divergences from Orthodoxy people like yourself have perpetrated) when your very appearance screams disobedience to the Church, the only difference between you two being ecclesiastical poles. You may claim to be “in Communion” with the Church while I am sure the GOC will state the same thing, but in opposite degrees your disobedience will show that neither of you is really “in full Communion,” for the GOC openly rejects Eucharistic fellowship in pride and disobedience while you in pride and self-will more subtly estrange yourself in schism, you both inserting pride and self will in the place of the requisite kenosis, thereby putting up a barrier of hubris, pride which is inhibiting the full work of the grace of the HOLY SPIRIT,. The spirit of rebellion, of schism, would be working in both of your instances. And, as such, relatively speaking, since both of your acts of schism are not canonically adjudicated (neither of you are popes to sit in judgement of one another in the place of the Church) your blessings would be equivalent, and the HOLY SPIRIT WOULD ACT IN RESPECT OF YOUR OFFICES, despite your shameless and prideful disobedient uses of them.

                      What is tragically comical and classless at the same time, is that you would never use such vilely schismatic language in characterizing the heterodox, be they Melkites or Non Chalcedonians or Maronites or even the Baptist pastor a block down the street. But you stoke the fires of schism further by savaging other people as challenged in their obedience to Orthodoxy as yourself. Reprehensible.

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    The canons only require a Priest to dress as a Priest. They do not specify exactly what proper priestly dress is, because priestly attire has changed through the centuries. Your mistake is confusing only one interpretation of the canons as the only one that is in conformity with the canons. The canons only require a Priest to wear the clerical attire mandated by his Bishop, which I do. Therefore, I am in complete conformity with the canons. There is room for diversity in interpreting disciplinary canons.
                    Promise #5 only applies to Priests of whatever jurisdiction requires it. It does not apply to all Orthodox Priests. I certainly was not required to make such a promise before an Archbishop, now Metropolitan, of the Patriarchate of Antioch ordained me to the Priesthood. The North American jurisdiction of the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch, founded by Sts. Peter and Paul, has complete authority to decide what proper attire is for its Priests just as other canonical Orthodox jurisdictions have the authority to determine the proper attire for its clergy. As long as we agree on the doctrine and moral teachings of the Church, we can disagree on such minor externals as clerical dress.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      …at the discretion of your beard…

                      should be:

                      …at the discretion of your Bishop…

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      I tell my people that Melkites and Maronites are Roman Catholics not Orthodox and that Baptists are Protestants. I would also tell them that they do not believe what we believe and therefore are heretical.

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                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    I’m thinking of steering clear of these “canons”. As Shakespeare (a heterodox; indeed, a Western one) said:
                    “O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
                    No more of that.”

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  I know that I will start a firestorm, but I cannot simply ignore some of the statements made above. I do not think that cassocks in the grocery store, long hair and beards have any real importance or are a measure of one’s Orthodoxy. What is important is not following every custom of the past, but strict adherence to the doctrine of Orthodoxy. Outward things like clergy attire have and will change, but the divinely revealed doctrine of the Orthodox Church never changes. It is a gross misunderstanding of the essence of Eastern Orthodoxy to waste time worrying about cassocks at the mall, the length of a priest’s beard, of how long his hair is. People who judge the Orthodoxy of a Priest by what he wears when he is not serving, or his hair or beard totally misunderstand the Eastern Orthodox Faith.

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                  • Isa Almisry says:

                    But Father, didn’t you hear it from George Castanza? It’s the hats.

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                    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says:

                      Can’t tell you how many people have referred to the Seinfeld episode on the Latvian Orthodox and the ‘It’s the hats’ reference as their familiarity with the Orthodox Church :) So, for George Castanza the ‘dress’ set the Orthodox apart, but obviously did not compel him to learn anymore about the Church until a ‘love’ interest entered the equation (i.e., relationship with an Orthodox Christian). Just sayin’.

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                  • If one looks like a papal pedophile priest and not an Orthodox Priest, one is quickly associated with them. That type of appearance is by no means going to “win friends and influence people” in today’s hostile, post Christian climate. Moreover, if clerics cannot be obedient to the Church in these small things, by what measure can their fidelity to the large things be assumed? And, honestly, if one is ashamed of looking like an Orthodox cleric when one is one, isn’t there something amuck?

                    Everywhere where Orthodoxy is a/the major Faith tradition, there is a certain look to Orthodox clerics, parishes, way of life: that is the look of mature and successful Orthodox witness.

                    The point of Orthodoxy is its message of authenticity and continuity as the Church of Pentecost, of the Gospel. Its pastors and approach must therefore look different and reflect a non-secularized, non-desacralized appearance in a society such as this to precisely impress upon America the difference of our message and its authenticity so that this society with our masses of unchurched ask why and we be ready to explain it to them, offering them the difference. Nominalizing and secularizing the Church to accommodate the times we live in is surrendering the Church and creating an American Easter Rite Protestant denomination instead of building a native, North American local church. Such a method is unserious and a pastiche of Orthodoxy, not genuine Orthodox witness. Our task is to incorporate our witness as it has been handed to us by our forbearers into today’s context not by iconoclasm and reformation, but by living the LIFE of the Church in the modern context and transfiguring it, necessarily presenting an image of a better way, a transcendent life, of fidelity and authenticity, not of a commercialized Orthodox fragment.

                    Yes, we today have very many bearded Orthodox clerics who unashamedly go to grocery stores, malls, hospitals, beaches, etc. in Orthodox garb, because they are not ashamed of the Church, nor do they wish to be disobedient to her. For they acknowledge that the Church is salvation, it is the embassy of the Kingdom, the LIFE of the world. If one is ashamed of CHRIST and HIS Church and its appearance, can one truly be faithful to HIM or is one doing HIM a favor by “doing church for HIM”?

                    Honestly, one is challenged to no good end to justify disobedience to the Church as a means of witnessing her Truth. The approach is self destructive and counterfeit and ultimately contradictory and impious.

                    There is no good reason why Orthodox clerics should not look like authentic Orthodox clerics.

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                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      I love to see Orthodox priests in Orthodox attire. It is a joy to me. At the same time I remember when I was approaching the Church and had the opportunity to be around Orthodox priests from time to time. What set them apart (most of them) for me was the joy they carried. So unlike 99.99999% of Roman Catholic priests I had ever met. It was quite easy for me to tell the difference cassock or not.

                      If the cassock is just a cassock, it is an affectation. If it is an expression of the priest’s understanding that he is set apart for the work of God and he rejoices in that, it is an incredible witness.

                      My parish priest has been an Orthodox priest for 35 years, 20 at my parish. I rarely see him in a cassock. Yet there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is a priest of the Orthodox Church, especially our bishop’s. His young assistant wears his cassock all the time, including hospital visits because he has the bishop’s blessing to do so (Antiochian BTW). He is still learning and growing into his priesthood yet he is unmistakably an Orthodox priest in thought, word and deed.

                      There are two other Orthodox priests who lead parishes in my city (one is Western Rite). The other is also young and wears his cassock often, yet, IMO, he expresses views that are more a function of the world than of the Church and, to me, comes across more western despite the cassock.

                      We are also blessed to have a HIerodeacon, our bishop’s assistant who is with us often as well. Needless to say, he is always in his cassock, but it is his quiet that impresses most. He is joyfully still (at least to my eyes).

                      My brother, a priest in the Patriarchal Bulgarian diocese of North American, Canada and Australia (whew) wears his cassock all the time everywhere.

                      Years ago, my family lived next door to a couple of young Muslim brothers. We were superficially friendly. They had eaten in our home, saw our icons and prayer table on the east wall of our living room/dinning room, knew who we were. We ate in theirs with the Koran in a special place on the eastern wall of their living room/dinning room. (Our two homes had the same floor plan)

                      Then my brother came to visit in his cassock and the Turkish inspired hat. My brother and I were in my driveway that bordered the Muslim’s land. Suddenly, we both had a really weird feeling. We turned around and the youngest of the Muslim brothers was in his back yard, staring at my brother with his mouth wide-open, shocked. The brothers never spoke to us again except for one chance meeting years later.

                      It is not the cassock that makes the priest, it is the priest who makes the cassock or whatever else they happen to wear. While the cassock is no doubt iconic in function it is not the only thing of importance. The descendants of the Pharisees can wear cassocks after all.

                      Clearly though, seeking and creating elaborate justifications for not wearing them is a problem.

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                    • I would add though a caveat to the traditionalists who post here:

                      I was at a GOARCH parish recently and spoke with a Serbian lady who was visiting there. She was asking me why the Greeks did this or that different from the Slavs – - confession and communion, pews, etc. I replied quite frankly, sometimes in Russian when I’d rather it not be overheard, about the changes of the twentieth century. I also told her not to start up with the Greeks about it because it’s a touchy issue and they perceive discussion about it as criticism, condescension or condemnation and will go on about “mere externals”, “Phariseeism” and “American customs”, etc., because they do not want to hear about it regardless of what is actually correct or traditional. They have committed and that’s the end of it as far as they’re concerned, canons and tradition be damned.

                      She could not understand that either; i.e., why it is an unwelcome subject. However, I’ve found it to be true. You can line up evidence regarding tradition, custom, canons, etc. that span across Russian, Greek and Arab practice for many centuries. You can point out when and why the changes from traditional practice were made.

                      It simply doesn’t matter to modernists regardless of ethnicity. Some will offer this or that feeble excuse but even if you proved them wrong to their satisfaction, they would not change. The reason is that they like it, they’re used to it, it fits their “lifestyle”, etc. and that’s the end of it. It’s like Nick’s advice to Toula in the Greek Wedding Movie, “Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.” “We’re modern people, X,Y and Z do not fit with our worldview anymore but we will retain A, B and C.”

                      Normally, I don’t even bother anymore. God is dealing on His timetable with the whole mess. Less said about it the better.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      And then there is the witness of the Saints and the Canons of the Church and fidelity to them, calling Orthodox clerics to obedience: a witness not of Pharisees, but of the Choir of Saints and of theosis. That is what we are talking about: there is no confusing of “phariseeism” with stating the obvious that Orthodox clerics disobedient to the Church are not authentically witnessing Orthodoxy, but, rather, their rebellion from the Church in their self-will. If one is attesting to himself, one definitely is not witnessing CHRIST.

                      And as a matter of fact, those who presume to judge faithful Orthodox clerics (or even depose them) for being faithful to the Church as clerics wearing Orthodox clerical garb are actually the descendents of the Pharisees who preferred their own man made laws which reject both the New Convenant and the authority of the Church: these rebels are indeed Pharisees. They are the ones stoning St. Stephen anew for witnessing CHRIST in the Faith of the Church.

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                    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                      Here is a small observation, for what it’ worth: in the GO parish where we are catechumens, while of course there are pews, I’d say that there is considerably more standing than there was 30 years ago when I went to services there. And I never saw prostrations in the aisles back then, but often do now.

                      Then there is the really interesting contrast amongst the Antiochians, where the new churches of mostly ex-evangelicals (or begun by them) have no pews and all the women wear headscarves, and the older “Arab” parishes, where brand-new buildings have pews, and few headscarves…..

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                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    Maybe. But the beard and the cassock “at the grocery store and at the mall” are going to become ever more important. The outward signs of faith need to return in this world we are now living in.

                    The cassock rather than the collar makes a real statement about a real Christian priest.

                    The Roman Catholic church has paid a great price for the abandonment of the outward signs of faith. When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, you knew you were in a Catholic household the second you walked into it. No more, not for a long time. You knew that fish was on all Friday menus, and why. There was a public statement every Friday at the café, the restaurant, or the cafeteria: I am a Catholic. Was it a real fast anymore then? Maybe not, but it was a real statement.

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                  • “I do not think that cassocks in the grocery store, long hair and beards have any real importance or are a measure of one’s Orthodoxy.”

                    That is fine, and perhaps I think that priests should serve liturgy in business suits, but it has nothing to do with our tradition. Rostislav was asked to provide canonical basis for his assertions regarding beards. He has more than done so.

                    As to “I think” and statements regarding the irrelevancy of externals, they are thoroughly Protestant. We are an incarnational Church. Matter is used constantly to reach the heart and spirit. Dismissing our material habits is ill advised.

                    Yes, Met. Phillip and some of the modernists have created an overwhelming context in their jurisdictions that these matters are both unimportant, alienating, etc. But this is a false impression and should be rejected. I thank Rostislav for his remarks here. Often I come across truly lame and seemingly disingenuous assertions by modernists regarding the distinction between “big T” and “small t” tradition, etc. Usually, they turn out to be baseless assertions. There is a great web of pseudo-Orthodox rationalizations which encourage modernism that can usually be debunked by a little logic and/or research. However, the reasoning behind their views is normally a rationalization, not the true reason they do things. The real reason is that they want to be thought of as modern and civilized according to the standards of modern, Western civilization – - standards which are often at odds with Orthodoxy. It is symptomatic of a deep inferiority complex which needs to be shaken off.

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      You wrote. “That is fine, and perhaps I think that priests should serve liturgy in business suits, but it has nothing to do with our tradition. Rostislav was asked to provide canonical basis for his assertions regarding beards. He has more than done so.”

                      There is a radical difference between what I wear when I am serving the Divine Liturgy and what I wear in the grocery store. The vestments that we wear are Holy Tradition. They are not optional, but must be worn as mandated by the service books of the Church. No one advocates changing the vestments. What I wear in a grocery store is completely different.
                      Rostislav has confused his personal interpretation of the canons with the canons themselves. The canons mandate that a Priest dress as a Priest. They do not specify how a Priest should dress. The last canon was written in 787. Throughout the centuries since then standards of clerical attire have changed. There are drawings of the Patriarch of Constantinople from the middle ages that show him wearing a broad rimed hat and colored robes, looking more like a Roman Catholic cardinal than a modern Eastern Orthodox Patriarch. In the Orthodox Church we do not decide for ourselves how to interpret the canons. Instead, each Bishop following the standards set by the Holy Synod under which he serves has the authority to determine how to apply non doctrinal canons. In my case, my Bishop tells me what to wear outside of the Church and I obey him. Because this is a non-doctrinal matter, there is room for difference and even disagreement among Bishops on such issues as what he instructs his Priests to wear when not serving. If a Bishop tells his clergy to wear a cassock outside of the Church, they must wear a cassock outside of the Church. However, if a Bishop tells his clergy to wear a clerical shirt and collar, that is what they must wear. Those who make an issue of such matters have their priorities wrong. I wear what my Bishop tells me to wear. Therefore, I am in complete obedience to the canons on clerical dress. Since the Patriarch and Holy Synod of Antioch are fully aware that their clergy in America wear clerical shirts and collars, no one should judge us. Obviously, this is not a doctrinal issue, since we are in full Communion with the rest of canonical Orthodoxy.

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                    • Father John,

                      I have no doubt that the synod of Constantinople agrees with Pat. Bartholomew regarding the 28th canon of the IV EC which is also not doctrinal, I’m sure they instruct their priests and laity in regard to the matter. They are also in communion with the rest of Orthodoxy, despite being dead wrong.

                      I don’t really want to argue this matter any further for the simple reason that you and clergy like you are caught in a no-win situation, to which you refer albeit in a different light. Regardless of how you feel about the modernistic claptrap and ecumenism, your recourse is to either agree or depart for greener pastures. Moreover, public criticism of your bishop or synod would be what they call a “career limiting decision”.

                      It is not necessary to tell priests to dress like priests unless you have some idea of how priests should dress as opposed to non-priests. Nor is the practice of the Patriarch of Constantinople during the Middle Ages (during part of which C’ple in fact had left the Church and was Roman Catholic) a measure of anything.

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                  • I understand Fr. John’s train of logic. Don’t fully agree with all of it, but I do grasp how and why he may have come to think as he does. So I am writing with a friendly attitude. What derisively is called “traditional clerical garb” does identify an Orthodox priest clearly. If I were in a serious accident, called for a priest, and a Catholic/Protestant collar were on the unknown-to-me man sent to assist, I cannot help that my reflex would be to respond, “Please, I asked for an Orthodox Christian priest.”

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      In such a case, I would tell you that I am an Orthodox Priest. It is a mistake to confuse Holy Tradition with one particular form of dress. I almost always wear my clericals when I am in public. However, at home I wear jeans and a t shirt. What if there were an emergency and I did not have time to change into my clericals? I would still be an Orthodox Priest. I am not living in an Orthodox country or an are where people are used to seeing an Orthodox Priest in a cassock. The vast majority of people where I live would not know that I am an Orthodox Priest if I were to wear a cassock outside of the Church. With all the important issues that we must face, in our God denying secular society, I think it is a mistake to be so concerned with externals that have changed through the centuries. I do not judge an Orthodox Priest who wears a cassock in a restaurant. He should not judge me because I do not. The canons require a Priest to dress as a Priest. They do not specify exactly what that dress is or should be. I cannot share the obsession of some Orthodox with beards, long hair or cassocks. I have more important things to worry about than non-essential externals. Such obsession of pure Phariseeism and has nothing to do with real Orthodoxy. It is what is in our hearts that make us Orthodox not the amount of hair on our face.

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                    • The writings of the Holy Fathers and the Holy Canons are normative expressions of the Holy Tradition. The mistake lies in disobedience to the Church and not looking like an Orthodox cleric, an offense for which in earlier times clerics were deposed.

                      There is no sophistry or disinformation which justifies disobedience to the Church. Orthodox clerics should look like Orthodox clerics. Period. They do the Church a disservice by looking like papal pedophile priests.

                      If you can’t be obedient to the Church in these small things, how can you be obedient to the Church in the large matters of Faith, and how is it you presume to put your opinion in the place of the discipline of the Church? This is secularization and massaging of Renovationism, Protestantism.

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                    • Bless, Father!

                      Fr. John, you expand my words way further than I intended them.

                      My point was that the confusion resulting from clerical attire noted in my previous post adds an unnecessary additional step — the step that I would have to clarify that the priest really was Orthodox. Of course I would take the man’s subsequent avowal at face value, and be grateful for his presence and aid.

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      To Rostaslav

                      I cannot help but find offensive the accusation that I do not respect and follow the writings of the Holy Fathers on all doctrinal matters. I teach and preach true Orthodoxy. I obey the canons, and defy anyone to show me a canon that specifies that an Orthodox Priest must wear a modern cassock all of the time, because at the time the canons were written no Orthodox clergy wore a modern cassock or rasso. All of that came much later. The canons only specify that a Priest must dress as a Priest. Because clerical dress has changed through the centuries, it is a mistake to declare the standards of one century the standard of Orthodoxy. The only consistent factor in Orthodox clerical attire is the color black, which I follow. I obey my Bishop and dress as he commands me to dress. Those who presume to condemn me are guilty of the sin of judging others. The pharesitical mindset that judges a Priest’s commitment to Orthodoxy on such externals as adherence to 19 century clerical attire beards and long hair is theologically unsound and shows the corruption of Western legalism and a very shallow understanding or the true Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Faith. I do not judge a Priest who wears a cassock, where I do not. I should not be judged by him or anyone else because I wear what my Bishop tells me to wear. People who make cassocks, beards and long hair the measure of Orthodoxy are causing and perpetuating division in the American Orthodox Church by judging those of us who wear more modern and American clerical attire. Where I live no one would recognize a cassock or rasso as Eastern Orthodox clerical dress. If I lived in a place where it were, I would dress appropriately for the environment in which I serve. However, I do not, so I dress in a way that people at least recognize that I am a Priest. I also usually wear an Orthodox Cross, but most people here do not even know what that means. Once again, what makes a man an Eastern Orthodox Priest is what is in his heart, not what he wears. A real Orthodox Christian understands that and does not condemn an Orthodox Priest because he does not dress outside of the Church according to their idea of how an Orthodox Priest should dress.
                      I have been an Eastern Orthodox Priest for 34 years and given my life to serve the Orthodox Church, how dare anyone presume to judge my commitment to Orthodoxy or accuse me of being unfaithful to the Holy Tradition of our Church because I do not wear a cassock to the grocery store.

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                    • The normative standard of Orthodox is the Holy Canons, Holy Scripture, the Holy Fathers expressing the Mind of the Church, not one Priest or one diocese of a patriarchate going rogue and interpreting Orthodoxy for the Church. “On doctrinal matters,” in other words, as you judge by your self-will you obey the Holy Fathers and the Holy Canons. That is disobedience. That is not Orthodoxy. That is Protestantism. What hubris.

                      The Church is not your cafeteria where you can pick and choose what you deem is appropriate and is inappropriate. Are you now above the Holy Canons and the Holy Fathers.

                      “Empty externals” which are observed everywhere else where Orthodoxy is a/the major faith tradition… so you are indicting the Orthodox world then for its “pettiness” and “lack of touch with reality”?! Oh really. You know better than the rest of the Orthodox world. If it looks like it, sounds like it and expresses itself like it… But then again, you seem to be a champion of wanting to observe the “empty externals” of papal pedophile priests and the heterodox. Such an interesting double standard. If they are such “empty externals,” perhaps you could be so much more obedient to the Holy Canons and the Holy Fathers in observing them, don’t you think?

                      I believe it could be the fact that such attitudes and behavior have been condemned as Renovationism in the not too distant past, and the Orthodox world has rejected such self-willed disobedience. Disobedience is not a legitimate standard of Orthodox witness.

                      Indeed, it is sad commentary when one can find Melkite clerics more observant of the Holy Canons and the Holy Fathers than their Orthodox counterparts. Very sad, indeed. A surrender to secularism and heterodoxy. Yet somehow you bareheadedly maintain this standard and dare to call it Orthodoxy?

                      It is not with me you take offense. You take offense with the Holy Canons and the Holy Fathers who would have disciplined you for your point of view. It is not I who even bother with addressing you. It is they to whom you must answer as an Orthodox Priest. In the final analysis, your sophistries and deceptions speak neither to your vindication nor to your defense, because by them you admit your sole intention to mask, to deceive, to try to impose your disobedience and self-will on the canonical order of the Church, and, frankly, no one really even in your ecclesiastical bubble is buying your contrived story behind it. It literally sounds like an iteration of ole Bagdad Bob.

                      Orthodox clerics should not dress like heterodox clerics. Period. There is no propriety in it and it is canonically unlawful. Do you really feel comfortable looking like a papal pedophile priest and calling that Orthodox? That is a travesty. That type of undesirable association with your admittedly, self-willed and disobedient choice of clerical garb is precisely why these “externals matter so much,” because you are distorting Orthodox witness by your very appearance. Moreover, anyone who observes the Holy Canons, the writings of the Holy Fathers, Orthodox dogmatic theology as he “sees fit” is already broadcasting that he is NOT OBSERVING the fullness of Orthodoxy, and is, rather, creating his own religion to which he is witness. That is “Orthodoxy,” not Orthodoxy. A self-confessed religious counterfeit. Fr.Morris, the Orthodox Church does not traffic in 3 dollar bills to witness the True Faith. It is a small standard to meet to be an Orthodox cleric and look like one. And that goes above and beyond what you deem “doctrinally” or in any way relevant. You are not a pope to make such unilateral decisions for Orthodoxy. Physician, humble and heal thyself.

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                    • Fr. John,

                      People who make cassocks, beards and long hair the measure of Orthodoxy are causing and perpetuating division in the American Orthodox Church by judging those of us who wear more modern and American clerical attire.

                      What in the world are you talking about? No one has judged YOU or labeled YOU, neither has anyone condemned you to eternal hell, or anything of the like. What is being said is simple: there is a received tradition, codified in the Holy Canons and lived by countless Orthodox clergy all over the world for countless centuries. As such, following it is the obligation of Orthodox clergy for obvious reasons. As an Orthodox priest, you are part of that great tradition – yet you wish to stand outside of it for a bunch empty excuses (enumerated by you). Fine. Do that. Be a cause of scandal to the faithful. But do not expect those better informed than yourself to accept such decisions and behavior as acceptable – they judge THAT BEHAVIOR to be wrong.

                      Where I live no one would recognize a cassock or rasso as Eastern Orthodox clerical dress. If I lived in a place where it were, I would dress appropriately for the environment in which I serve.

                      Your first responsibility is to serve the people of God, not to be recognized in public places as this, that or whatever. Who cares what anyone thinks you or aren’t, what in the world difference does that make? If a priest were to find himself on an island where everyone dressed in palm leaves and wore empty halved coconuts on their heads, ought he take up that practice to fit in? Isn’t the appropriateness of his dress dictated by WHAT HE IS (an ordained priest) not WHERE HE IS?

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                    • Isa Almisry says:

                      “Isn’t the appropriateness of his dress dictated by WHAT HE IS (an ordained priest) not WHERE HE IS?”
                      And that dictates that he should wear the tunic of the Late Antique Greco-Roman Mediterranean how?

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      To GOArch Priest

                      You wrote, “What in the world are you talking about? No one has judged YOU or labeled YOU, neither has anyone condemned you to eternal hell, or anything of the like. What is being said is simple: there is a received tradition, codified in the Holy Canons and lived by countless Orthodox clergy all over the world for countless centuries.”

                      I suggest that you read the posts of Rostislav. He had indeed judged me and my commitment to Orthodoxy. My Metropolitan and the practices of the Antiochian Archdiocese have been judged fiercely by you and Rostislav.
                      Only someone who is ignorant of the Orthodox Faith confuses medieval and 19 century interpretations of tradition with the Holy Tradition of the Church. Listen carefully to the Gospel on the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, next Sunday. It tells us not to judge others by outward appearances. You and others like you should be concerned with your own salvation, not judging a Priest by what he wears to the grocery store. If a man is a canonical Orthodox Priest under a canonical Bishop in Communion with your Bishop, as a faithful Orthodox Christian you must treat him with all the respect due an Orthodox Priest regardless of what he is wearing. If you do not, you yourself are in violation of the canons. We do not live in an Orthodox country where people know that a man wearing a cassock is a member of the Orthodox clergy. Where I live no one who is not Orthodox knows what an Orthodox cassock looks like.
                      It is wrong to make a big issue about non-doctrinal matters the way that some so called traditionalists have. The canons do not codify exactly what an Orthodox Priest must wear. They only require an Orthodox Priest to dress as an Orthodox Priest. I dress as my Bishop has instructed me to dress.
                      You are causing division in the Church by your narrow minded confusion of 19 century customs with the Holy Tradition of the Church. We have too many self-proclaimed experts in Orthodoxy who cause great confusion including some monastics who do not recognize that married Priests and the laity are not called to live a monastic style of life. I follow what I learned in seminary from a recognized expert in Orthodox canon law and my instructions from my Bishop, not the theories of someone who will not identify themselves so that we can check their credentials to pontificate on the true nature of Orthodoxy. That American Antiochian clergy wear attire recognized in our county as that of a Priest, is well known and approved by the Patriarch and Holy Synod of Antioch. Besides, Priests of the Greek Archdiocese, the OCA, and most other Orthodox jurisdictions in this country also wear Western clerical shirts and collars. Thus, we are not the only canonical Orthodox in this country in which most of the clergy only wear their cassocks at the Church. I have no problem with a Priest who wears a cassock all of the time, as long as he is not making wearing a cassock a badge of Orthodoxy and thinks of himself as better than Priest who does not wear his cassock outside of the Church.

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          I am an Antiochian Priest and will answer your message. But I will identify myself and do not hide behind a false name. None of the matters that you have mentioned is a violation of the canon law of the Church. They are not even exercises of economy because they do not violate the canons, at most they are a departure from usual customs and do not violate the doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

          Since every canon was written before the Western Schism, how can allowing the Western Rite be non-canonical? It was approved by both the Holy Synod of Moscow and the Holy Synod of Antioch.

          Fasting traditions have changed through the centuries and differ from among the various Orthodox traditions. Besides, it was not Metropolitan Philip who changed the rules to extend the non-fasting period to the entire Paschal season, it was the Holy Synod of Antioch. Did not Our Lord say something about not fasting when he is among them? I hate to tell you this, but when I was at Holy Cross, they did not follow the fasting traditions strictly, but modified them to be more appropriate to the American diet than our fasting rules, which were developed long ago in a foreign country that had a very different diet than we do We need to take a serious look at fasting rules that allow me to eat a lobster when I cannot have an hamburger. It is hard to believe now because lobster is a luxury food in most of the US, but there was a time when lobster was considered inferior food and was only eaten by the servants and the lower classes.
          Please show me the canon that forbids multiple ordinations. In the case to which you refer that was one time deal done with the approval of the Holy Synod of Antioch. Even the last Patriarch of Antioch has consecrated several Bishops at the same service. Obviously the OCA did not object since they took Bishop Mark who was consecrated by the Patriarch along with Bishops Thomas and Alexander. After study, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the ordinations I believe that if you take the time to check you will find that the Ecumenical Patriarch does not re-ordain Roman Catholic Priests who convert to Orthodoxy but receives them by vesting. Roman Catholic Priests are almost always ordained in multiple ordinations.
          Please show me the canons that specifically define how a Priest is supposed to dress. The canons only state that clergy should dress as clergy. It is historic fact that clerical dress has changed through the centuries. The only consistent factor is that clergy should wear black. If you study the history of Greek Orthodox clergy dress, you will learn that married clergy only began to wear the rasso outside of the Church in the 19th century. It was not until the 1920s that the Church of Greece adopted its current rules concerning clergy dress. I have seen many clergy of the Greek Archdiocese and most other Orthodox jurisdictions in this country who wear the exact same clerical shirt and collar as I do.
          The Greek Archdiocese is not any stricter than Metropolitan Philip concerning divorced clergy. I have known several Greek Orthodox Priests who were divorced and were allowed to remain in the Priesthood. I cannot think of one Antiochian Priest who is divorced and is still serving. In fact, the usual practice is to suspend the Priest after a divorce while an investigation takes place to determine what guilt, if any, the Priest has from the divorce.
          Have you ever actually met Metropolitan Philip and talked with him. I suspect not. How can you judge him? I have and have great respect and affection for him. He is not a modernist in the things that really matter.

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          • Michael Bauman says:

            Father John bless, I would say that Met. Philip is not really a modernist at all. He did, after all, withdraw us from the NCC. Greeks and OCA still there. He is a strong leader who is not afraid to take heat. At times, IMO, he goes out of his way to take it. At times, IMO, he uses his power in ways that seem capricious and offers no explanation taking the “my way or the highway” approach. Some of old line Arab folk that seem to be his friends are questionable in my book.

            As I’ve said before, I don’t like the man personally (and I have met him a few times), but I honor him and I have learned much about obedience because of him and the guidance of my diocesan bishop +Basil.

            I don’t agree with all of the things he has done but so what? I’m not a bishop, he is. When I came into the Church 27 years ago, I was told many times then: “Don’t worry about Met. Philip, he’ll be dead soon” as if that were a good thing. In part because of that early formation, even a few years ago I thought I’d never say with sincerity : God grant him many years!

            Those out there who are Philip haters– God bless them, but I’d rather be under Met. Philip as Met than any other bishop I can think of. The fruits of his labors won’t be fully known until some years after his passing, if then, but I’m betting they will look pretty good by that time, by the grace of God. The bishops who will carry on after him all seem to be strong in their own right.

            He is who he is and, frankly, he does not need defending. Any sins of omission or commission are between him and our Lord. What is of God will endure, what is not will wither away. Glory be to God.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              Metropolitan Philip has done a great deal to bring the practices of the Antiochian Archdiocese into conformity with traditional Orthodoxy. At one time, every parish moved the celebration of a great feast day to Sunday, never celebrated the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts during Great Lent and began Holy Week with the Holy Unction service on Holy Wednesday. On Sunday morning, most parishes did a greatly abbreviated form of Matins, we called “Greatest Hits from Matins.” He has changed all these things and has demanded that his clergy celebrate feast days on the feast day, serve the full services of Lent and Holy Week and do a proper Matins on Sunday as well as Great Vespers on Saturday evening. He has also greatly improved the education of his clergy. There was a time when a man who could chant would be ordained after spending a few days with Metropolitan Anthony learning the rudiments of how to do the Liturgy. Metropolitan ended that and only ordains properly educated clergy today. When he became Metropolitan we had less than 100 parishes and missions today we have close to 300. He was the only Orthodox leader who had the courage to reach out and receive the Evangelical Orthodox into the Church. Under his leadership, we have built an extensive summer camping program for our youth with the Antiochian Village and camps in every diocese.
              He is definitely not an ecumenist. Our Bishops and clergy are strictly forbidden to participate in so called ecumenical worship. We withdrew from the National Council of Churches several year ago. The Greeks and OCA should have followed our example. Instead, they fell all over themselves to rush to reaffirm their commitment to the NCC.
              Finally, he successfully achieved self-rule status for the Antiochian Archdiocese from the Patriarchate. We elect our own local Bishops here in America and our Archdiocesan constitution cannot be changed without the approval of our Archdiocesan convention.
              We have just bought and established a monastery for women, so that monasticism will be done right with guidance from experienced monastics. There are plans for the establishment for a monastery for men, once again under the guidance from an experienced monastic.
              He does not tolerate sexual immorality from his clergy unlike some other Orthodox jurisdictions.
              I would rather see a picture of Metropolitan Philip in a suit and Western clerical collar than a picture of a Bishop from another jurisdiction wearing a rasso and kamalavakia and veil involved in an ecumenical service with non-Orthodox.
              The Philip haters are simply jealous at the success and growth of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              To Michael Bauman

              I thank that if you had a one on one discussion with Metropolitan Philip, you would be amazed at his ability to listen to you. He has an ability to make you feel that you are to him the most important person in the world. It is difficult to realize how warm he can be when he is tired or is visiting a parish or at a convention when 100 or more people are trying to get his attention.
              You should also remember that the hierodeacon is a monastic. They have a whole different standard of dress than married clergy. They do wear cassocks all of the time even in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

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              • Michael Bauman says:

                Fr. John. It is unlikely that I will ever get the opportunity to meet with Met. Philip one on one. I am sure he can be quite charming and personable. I do not gainsay your experience with him.

                Let me stress that whether I like him personally or not is irrelevant. I can still honor him as a bishop and respect him as a Christian leader despite his failings.

                My failings are worse.

                So Father you no longer need to concern yourself with whether I like Met. Philip or not. He does not need me to like him. The only reason I mention it is to provide some contrast. Despite the fact I don’t have the warm fuzzies for him, I can genuinely appreciate his Christian leadership.

                Also, it is not just the hierodeacon who wears his cassock. As you have noted, Met Phillip does not micro-manage nor is the Archdiocese his fiefdom.

                We have a collection of bishops whose character, manliness and faith are stronger than any other Orthodox jurisdiction in North America. That is due, in no small way, to Met Philip.

                Glory be to God.

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                • If you are rich Michael you can meet with Met. Phillip as much as you would like….Trust me

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                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Stephen D, it is of no consequence. Why should Met. Phillip meet with me? I have two fine priests, a deacon and an exceptional bishop. The fact that I can see my diocesan bishop if I really need to is more than sufficient.

                    Met. Philip is not my pastor, he is the ruling hierarch of the Archdiocese of which I am a part. Unless I have something to offer for the Archdiocese as a whole, there is no reason to meet him personally.

                    Unfortunately, it takes money to maintain and grow the Archdiocese. I have no control over that as I have no control of most things.

                    I honor and pray for Met. Philip and am thankful, as a whole, for his leadership while realizing that it is easy to pick out things he has done that are capricious and hurtful to many. However, those that hate him do themselves no good.

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          • What an interesting standard of “Traditionalism,” quite fitting of “Orthodoxy.”

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    • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

      whether the EA is a sham or not, we know that Philip is…

      Well, now, I think maybe “sham” is someone claiming to be a priest (as in “GOAPriest”) but who uses anonymity to insult a bishop.

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  7. The reason explicitly given for this decision has nothing to do with affirming or negating the Assembly of Bishops of North And Central America. It is specifically in obedience to the Holy Synod of Antioch as part of its protest of the Jerusalem Patriarchate’s installation of a bishop in Qatar, which is in traditionally Antiochian territory. The synod explicitly suspends participation in all the Assemblies worldwide, no doubt to attempt to put pressure on the EP so that he will rein Jerusalem in.

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    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

      True, “Observer.’ What is there in your message that motivates hiding your name?

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    • Archpriest John Morris says:

      Qatar is within the canonical territory of the Patriarchte of Antioch as defined by the 4th Ecumenical Council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The actions of Jerusalem are completely uncanonical. Within the actual canonical territory of Jerusalem, the Greek Bishops treat the Palestinian people as second class members of the Church, but when the chance comes to use the Palestinians to gain additional territory they falsely portray themselves as champions of the Palestinian people. We can blame the failure of the Bishop’s Assembly on Jerusalem and Greek ethnocentrism.

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      • Far be it from me to defend “Greek ethnocentrism”, however, in reading Jerusalem’s replies to Antioch on this matter, to which I linked elsewhere in this thread, not only do they make a canonical argument but even offered to refer the dispute to a committee of canon law experts. Antioch refused. Constantinople already had a chance to settle it, but they declined. Hence Antioch’s pressure exerted by taking their marbles and going home.

        I’m not sure who’s in the right but the whole matter is quite strange.

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        • Isa Almisry says:

          “even offered to refer the dispute to a committee of canon law experts”
          The Metropolitan of Bursa?

          There is no dispute: Qatar, by NAME, was organized into the Patriarchate of Antioch in the Synod of Seleucia in 410, when the territories of the East were organized to conform with the structure codifed at Nicea and Constantinople.

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          • Isa Almisry says:

            “Isa, I will say again what I told you before – Things are NOT as Black and White as you make them. Why are you right and Jerusalem wrong? What if both are right? What if both are wrong?”
            Yes. I am telling everyone again it is black & white: Qatar lies in Antioch’s jurisdiction. No question can be raised on that.

            Things not up for debate shouldn’t be put to debate.

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            • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

              Yes they can. You just haven’t met a good lawyer, or canon lawyer in this case.

              Peter

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              • Isa Almisry says:

                “Yes they can. You just haven’t met a good lawyer, or canon lawyer in this case”
                Define “good.”
                Lawyer: hired liar. Even those guilty as sin are entitled to a defense. We are not bound to swallow it though.
                What is the difference between a lawyer and a philosopher? The philosopher is seeking the Truth.
                Why else does the politician corps recruit most from the piles of lawyers? Even the philosopher kings that they put on the bench.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              From the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, the 4th Ecumenical Council in 451.

              Decree on the Jurisdiction of Jerusalem and Antioch.
              Session VII.
              (Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 618.)
              The most magnificent and glorious judges said:…The arrangement arrived at through
              the agreement of the most holy Maximus, the bishop of the city of Antioch, and of the most
              holy Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem, as the attestation of each of them declares, shall remain
              firm for ever, through our decree and the sentence of the holy synod; to wit, that the most
              holy bishop Maximus, or rather the most holy church of Antioch, shall have under its own
              jurisdiction the two Phoenicias and Arabia; but the most holy Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem,
              or rather the most holy Church which is under him, shall have under his own power the
              three Palestines, all imperial pragmatics and letters and penalties being done away according
              to the bidding of our most sacred and pious prince.

              Arabia would include Qatar. I do not know how the 4th Ecumenical Council could have been more specific. Jerusalem has no canonical right to establish an Archdiocese in Qatar which according to the above belongs to the Patriarchate of Antioch. There is no way that Canon 28 of the same council could apply to Qatar.
              Our North American Bishops simply obeyed the instructions they received from the Holy Synod of Antioch. They really had no choice in the matter. We have self-rule status, but are still subject to the authority of the Holy Synod of our Patriarchate.

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              • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says:

                Father John:

                While I agree with you in rejecting Constantinople’s interpretation of the “barbarian” clause of c. 28 of Chalcedon, and I do not necessarily have a problem, per se, with Antioch having jurisdiction in Qatar, I will point out that Peter has a valid point.

                This is due to the simple fact that when the 4th Council stated that Antioch was to have jurisdiction in the two Phoenicias and Arabia they had in mind the geopolitical boundaries of those 5th century civil provinces that were part of the civil diocese of The East, not the political boundaries of the contemporary world. See this map for an excellent visual illustration: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/The_Roman_Empire_ca_400_AD.png

                Yes, each autocephalous Church evangelized the barbarians outside the bounds of the empire that bordered them but it is not clear whether Jerusalem or Antioch would/should hold his area.

                This is why it is so critical for the Church to come together in achieving a consensus on these jurisdictional issues.

                Until that happens we will continue to observe Constantinople claiming all “barbarian” lands and every other Church fighting Constantinople and each other as we unfortunately witness in the “diaspora”.

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  If you read the official response of Jerusalem to Antioch, you will find that Jerusalem states quite clearly that Qatar is part of Arabia, because they base their claim to Qatar on the title of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem which despite the clear decision of the 4th Ecumenical Council lists Arabia as one of the territories under Jerusalem. Jerusalem also makes the absurd claim in its official title to Syria, despite the fact that there is no question that Syria is under the jurisdiction of Antioch. The headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch has been in Damascus, which is the capital of Syria since the Patriarchate of Ignatius II (134-1386). Since ancient times, before the schisms following Ephesus and Chalcedon, all of the Bishops in the states on the Persian Gulf including Persia as far east as India were under the jurisdiction of Antioch. Even Jerusalem was under Antioch before Chalcedon. Historically Jerusalem’s claims have no basis.

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                  • Isa Almisry says:

                    The mendacity is even worse, Father.

                    “From Our Title also exhibits, that We are the Patriarch of Arabia, which has already been mentioned in the above interpretation of Theodore Balsamon, but also from the fact that the Arabian peninsula is a natural continuity of the third Palestine. In confirming this, We quote the ancient published catalogue by Veverigios, in whom all the eparchies of the Patriarchates are mentioned, just as our Patriarchate of Jerusalem. For reasons of brevity, We omit here the Metropolises and Dioceses of the three Palestines and We mention the disputed point, such as in the Arabian eparchy of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which has as follows:
                    Bostra, Metropolis – 2. Adrasos. – 3. Dia. – 4. Madaba. – 5. Gerasa. – 6. Nevi. – 7. Philadelphia. – 8. Esvous. – 9. Neapolis. – 10. Phillipoupolis. – 11. Fenoutos (Isos Fino). – 12. Constantina. – 13. Dionusias. – 14. Pentakomia. – 15. Trikomia. – 16. Kanothas. – 17. Salton. – 18. Vataneos or Kataneos. – 19. Eksakomia. – 20. Enneakomia. – 21. Komi Gonias. – 22. Komi Herous. – 23. Komi Stanes. – 24. Komi Xaveras (or Maxaveras). – 25. Komi Koreathis. – 26. Komi Vilvanous. – 27. Komi Kapron. – 28. Komi Pirgoareton. – 29. Komi Setnis. – 30. Komi Ariahon. – 31. Neotis. – 32. Klima Anatolikon and Dismon. – 33. Komi Ariathas Trahonos. – 34. Komi Vevdamous (see Ralli & Potli, “Constitution of the Divine and Holy Canons,” vol. 5, Athens 1852, p. 472).”
                    When one goes to see Ralli & Potli
                    http://books.google.com/books?id=ztk_AAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
                    to the page indicated, one finds out that-and NOT”for reasons of brevity” I am sure-it has omitted that the Metropolises and Dioceses of the three Palestines are listed, along with not only the Arabian eparchy but Jerusalem itself, for the Diocese of the East, i.e. the Patriarchate of Antioch (hence of “All the East”). THE JERUSALEM PATRIARCHATE IS NOT RECOGNIZED AT ALL.
                    (the list, btw, is that attributed to the Emperor Leo in 891)

                    Btw, to match the obscure references of the tomb worshipers’ response, Paul the Archdeacon of Aleppo records that Pat. Makarius of Antioch was greeted in 17th century Russia as “Patriarch of the great city of God, Antioch, and the provinces of Cilicia, Icaria, Syria, Arabia, and of all the East.”
                    http://books.google.com/books?id=xS86AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA387&dq=crosier+%22Patriarch+of+the+great+city+of+God,+Antioch,+and+of+the+provinces+of+Cilicia,+Icaria,+Syria,+Arabia,+and+of+all+the+East!%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PLzqUqP5CemQyAH6lYG4Bw&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=crosier%20%22Patriarch%20of%20the%20great%20city%20of%20God%2C%20Antioch%2C%20and%20of%20the%20provinces%20of%20Cilicia%2C%20Icaria%2C%20Syria%2C%20Arabia%2C%20and%20of%20all%20the%20East!%22&f=false

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                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                    The Ecumenical Councils could claim no authority or jurisdiction outside the Roman Empire except that voluntarily accepted without reference to Ecumenical Councils. They had no more jurisdiction over Christians in Persia than they did over Christians in Armenia: each of those two states had its own Catholicos. The Persian Catholicos was at Ctesiphon. It’s true that Jerusalem’s patriarchal status was at first rather honorary.

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              • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says:

                Forgive me, this is a better link to the map in that it is larger and allows one to zoom in on the relevant area(s) to see the boundaries that we are discussing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Roman_Empire_ca_400_AD.png

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              • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says:

                Ugh! For some reason the links do not appear to be functioning properly.

                You can easily access the map if you Google “Roman province”, open the Wikipedia page, then click on the 4th map down, which is the green & blue map located on the right.

                These boundaries are critical to the discussion / matter.

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  “These boundaries are critical to the discussion / matter”

                  Yes, but perhaps not as you think.

                  If you look at the map, you will see that the province of “Arabia” stands between the “Palaestina” provinces, outflanking it, and Qatar. Even if Canon 2 of the Second Ecumenical Council applied to Jerusalem, it would have to explain how it hopped over Antiochian jurisdiction.

                  Despite the sources that the Tomb worshippers cite, they overlook that of the Fourth Ecumenical Council: “Juvenal the most sacred bishop of the city of Jerusalem said: ‘I too have decided that the holy [church of the] Resurrection of Christ should have the three Palestines, and the see of Antioch the two Phoenices and Arabia. And I ask that this be confirmed by a judgement of your magnificence and of the holy council.”
                  Which the Council did, “which will last for all time.”

                  Jerusalem claimed Arabia, and took the title at Ephesus II, voided in its entirely by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, where Jerusalem, as cited above, acknowledged Antioch’s jurisdiction over Arabia as ratified by the common consent of the Church.

                  Hence the tomb-worshippers’ claims on Qatar lack canonical foundation.

                  Another map whose ” boundaries are critical to the discussion / matter,” you can find here:
                  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/NE_565ad.jpg
                  (NE_565ad, in the article “Persian Gulf” fourth image). Antioch had consolidated its jurisdiction over the Sassanid Empire’s Christians (including Qatar BY NAME, and including their federates the Lakhmids, in addition to Antioch’s jurisdiction over the Roman federates the Ghassanids, Antioch’s suffragan the Bishop of Bostra (capital of Arabia) residing in Jabyiah, capital of the Ghassanids) in 410. No change in that was approved at any Ecumenical Council, nor is any even cited by the tomb worshippers.

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          • monk chanan says:

            Holy Church from early centuries had a ready dispute mechanism, and still has if the spirit of fealty was alive and kicking. That mechanism is the ancient right and privilege of appeal to the Bishop of Rome.

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            • chanan,

              Rome having lapsed into heresy and left the Church of Christ, alas that option is no longer available unless the Church were to appoint an Orthodox Bishop of Rome which is perfectly possible but not too likely. However, appeal to the present first among equals is still a possibility, the Pat. of Constantinople, who would chair the council that tried the case. Of course, the case would need to be tried by bishops from the area in question.

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              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                Now there’s something that had never occurred to me. If various sees go around appointing bishops to tiny and remote Qatar, why not appoint one to Rome?

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                • Tim,

                  The reason I said it is not likely, apart from the Phanar’s sucking up to the RCC, is that according to Orthodox canon law, the Bishop of Rome is vested with certain prerogatives. Any Orthodox Bishop of Rome would automatically inherit those prerogatives unless we had another Great Synod and changed the order of the diptychs.

                  So, theoretically, it could easily be done. Other Patriarchs have been deposed and replaced, other vacant sees filled. However, as a practical matter, not gonna happen.

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  We have one: Bp. Siluan of Rome. Somewhere here I think I posted that the “Great Council” should put him or Met. Gannadios of Venice in charge of Italy, and move on without the Vatican.

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                  • anonymus per Scorilo says:

                    We have one: Bp. Siluan of Rome.

                    I think his official title is “Siluan of Italy” :-)

                    The Romanians are threading on eggs on this issue, since 95% of their churches in Italy are worshiping in RCC churches/basements/buildings/conference halls.

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                  • Isa Almisry says:

                    His see is officially Rome (it had been Luca).

                    They are treading on several eggs with the issue. I’m just glad they didn’t take the Vatican’s advice under its pontiff John Paul II “If they were really Roman, they would be Roman Catholic.”

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                  • Hegumen Ambrose says:

                    Dear Isa,
                    Bishop Siluan’s title is “Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese in Italy”. He has never had a formal title linked to any town in Italy, though he had one such title (Marseilles) when he was elected vicar Bishop in France in 2001. He actuallly lives in Rome, and Lucca was but the town in which his actual enthronement ceremony took place.
                    His biographical data (in Romanian) are here.

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                  • Isa Almisry says:

                    Thany you father (or should I say “padre”? “parinte”?).

                    “I do not see why Bishop Siluan (unlike his brethren of the Romanian episcopate) should necessarily be referred to with a title he has never had… correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t this be tantamount to define His Beatitude John X as “Patriarch of Damascus”?”

                    Actually, HB is: now the episcopal lines of St. Peter and St. Ananias are joined, Damascus being the Patriarchal Metropolis (its patriarchal vicar holds the title of Apamea, in the Diocese of Homs).

                    As to the particulars of titles of sees vs. regions, that might go way into the weeds. The Sacred Canons made a point of anchoring bishops in cities (in part to rein in the chorbishops of Antioch). It is not for nothing that even those designated by a region’s name nonetheless have their seat, i.e. see, mandated and named.

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  Father Ambrose?

                  The Constitution of the Romanian Patriarchate-not to mention the canons-mandate that a bishop bears the title of his see. The Charter of the Romanian Bishoprick of Italy mandates that that see is Rome. It had been Luca, where Bp. Siluan was enthroned.

                  For obvious reasons, this isn’t being made a big deal-at the moment.

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                  • Hegumen Ambrose says:

                    Yup, Father Ambrose, but not the good one from New Zealand… rather, the not-so-good one from Italy.
                    If we take the Constitution of the Romanian Church at face value, point 7.2 says “The title of the Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops is that of the Metropolitan See or of the eparchy in which they serve.” and the title of the Italian diocese is “Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy, seated in Rome”.
                    There is only one (fatal) flaw in your line of reasoning: assuming that the fact of being “seated” into a town automatically means that the bishop is the bishop of that town. It is simply not true: if you take the time to peruse that same Constitution, you will find bishops who do not bear the title of the town in which the diocese is “seated”. To name just one hierarch personally known to myself, Bishop Ioan of Covasna, ruling hierarch of the “Diocese of Covasna and Harghita, seated in Miercurea Ciuc city” is always referred to as bishop of Covasna, or as bishop of Covasna and Harghita, but never as Bishop of Miercurea-Ciuc. I do not see why Bishop Siluan (unlike his brethren of the Romanian episcopate) should necessarily be referred to with a title he has never had… correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t this be tantamount to define His Beatitude John X as “Patriarch of Damascus”?
                    There is no town in Italy called Luca (that’s the Italian for Luke the Evangelist…); the name is Lucca, and again, never ever has bishop Siluan referred to as Bishop of Lucca. I was not present at his intronization, but just for the sake of it, I can provide you with a humongous lot of boring Italian and Romanian sources of the event, which point to the choice of Lucca (where Bishop Siluan has never resided, whereas he lived for a while in the nearby province of Massa-Carrara) just a sign of hospitality and fraternal relations with the local R. C. diocese.
                    Thank you for your always most informative posts!

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                  • Isa Almisry says:

                    Thany you father (or should I say “padre”? “parinte”?).

                    “I do not see why Bishop Siluan (unlike his brethren of the Romanian episcopate) should necessarily be referred to with a title he has never had… correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t this be tantamount to define His Beatitude John X as “Patriarch of Damascus”?”

                    Actually, HB is: now the episcopal lines of St. Peter and St. Ananias are joined, Damascus being the Patriarchal Metropolis (its patriarchal vicar holds the title of Apamea, in the Diocese of Homs).

                    As to the particulars of titles of sees vs. regions, that might go way into the weeds. The Sacred Canons made a point of anchoring bishops in cities (in part to rein in the chorbishops of Antioch). It is not for nothing that even those designated by a region’s name nonetheless have their seat, i.e. see, mandated and named.

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              • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                yes it is it falls onto Constantinople, but because you don’t like Constantinople that mechanism is obviously invalid.

                Peter

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        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          Hopefully the dispute will be resolved soon, for Qatar is poised to return to Christianity after 14 centuries, awaiting only the decision of the venerable Orthodox jurists! Breaths are bated, here and around the world!

          It all reminds me of Chesterton’s poetic take on E.F. Smith and the Welsh disestablishment bill…..

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          • Peter Papoutsis says:

            Isa and Misha the great canon lawyers will set all us country bumkins straight on Qatar, canon 28, The third Rome theory of Moscow and the Ukraine, and all will be well in the Orthodox Church. Like I said I have to laugh.

            Peter

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            • Isa Almisry says:

              Conciliar decisions trump “great canon lawyers.” And the plain text of their decisions is quite plain.

              Another reason why never let a lawyer rule your life.

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            • I have to laugh too, Peter. Lawyers are mercenaries. I know, I am one. The responsibility to settle such questions is not given to canon lawyers. Any solution offered by them might be consulted by those who have the responsibility, but only at their own pleasure. Bishops in council are supposed to decide these matters.

              Beware the opinions of mercenaries, whether they are lawyers or scholars. Their opinions should be relentlessly scrutinized for bias and one must consider their background and loyalties before accepting word one they say at face value.

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      • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says:

        Yes, in part we can blame the failure of the Assembly of Bishops on “Jerusalem & Greek ethnocentrism”. However, let’s not for get that Constantinople’s interpreation of the “barbarian” clause in canon 28 of the council of Chalcedon, which according to the EP grants it a type of almost universal jurisdiction, as well as its claim to have the sole authority to grant & rescind autocephaly (as it has recently threatened the Church of the Czech Lands & Slovakia with) are equally important factors in the demise we are currently observing. In fact, many would argue that this is what prompted ROCOR to follow the US Bulgaria Bishop, +Daniil, in citing canon 39 of the VI Council as justification that overlapping jurisdictions are not uncanonical – never mind the fact that the canon actually demonstrates the exact opposite…trifling details really.

        Souls all around us are suffering in utter darkness & what do our hierarchs do? Why, they engage in incessant “pissing matches” over turf, of course. Is this what Christ called his Church to do?

        Lord have mercy on all of us: the faithful, the lost & especially our bishops who will stand in front of Christ at the judgment & be held accountable for the souls who perished because they put ecclesiastical politics above the Gospel.

        As an aside, its also a real treat when you have explain this mess to your wife & children, especially if their faith wasn’t particularly solid to begin with. This is truly a scandal, i.e., a stumbling block.

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        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          Yes, in the spirited discussions I have with friends about my conversion to Orthodoxy, I always turn the topic to the jurisdictional decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, and the fascinating disputes of old-world bishops over the finer points of how these apply to present-day Qatar! A lively and amiable discourse inevitably ensues, into which Christ need hardly enter!

          Not…..

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          There is nothing in canon 28 or any other canon recognized by the 7 Ecumenical Councils concerning how a local Orthodox Church becomes autocephalous. In every case of an Orthodox Church that has become autocephalous for the last few hundred years, the Church declared itself autocephalous. At first Constantinople refused to recognize the autocephaly, but eventually recognized it. However, in every case there existed a united Orthodox Church in the territory of the new autocephalous Church. That is our problem here in North America, before we can have a truly American autocephalous Church, we must first have a united Orthodox Church.

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          • GOAPriest says:

            One of the problems we have in this country, dear Father, is that we have priests such as yourself, who pontificate on things without having a wits idea what they are talking about, and who cannot read a single document related to the issue in the original language. What do you know about the history of the tomes of autocephaly and related documents that have been granted over the centuries by the Pat. of Constantinople?

            To understand an issue, you need to be able read the history.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              I am not going to get into a spitting match with an unknown person who hides behind a pseudonym. I find your attitude arrogant and profoundly un Christian. It is people like you who are preventing Orthodox unity in this country. The decision of the Council of Chalcedon is quite clear on this matter. You can read it yourself on page 266 of vol. XIV of the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Second Series.

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              • GOAPriest says:

                What does my identity have to do with anything?

                If I have spoken wringly, and you are able to read the sources in their original language, please pardon my error. But if not, why do you persist in your silly non logical argumentation? What does anything I have said do to prevent Orthodox unity in the United States?

                I find your prideful defense of things you do not understand to be ignorant and ridiculous. If you think the matter is solved by reading a single translation (made by Protestants) of a single document in the NPNF, then you are more deluded than I previously thought. Don’t you understand that there are centuries worth of documents, tomes, minutes, synodal decisions, and precedents that you are not even aware of? That you have not even considered when pontificating? You could not even name their existence, let alone hope to read them.

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                • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                  Protestants can’t translate?

                  As for the appeal to the authority of documents others cannot read, I am put in mind of this exchange between Guyal of Sfere and an augur such as yourself:

                  “What are your fees?” inquired Guyal cautiously. “I respond to three questions,” stated the augur. “For twenty terces I phrase the answer in clear and actionable language; for ten I use the language of cant, which occasionally admits of ambiguity; for five, I speak a parable which you must interpret as you will; and for one terce, I babble in an unknown tongue.”

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                  • Isa Almisry says:

                    Here’s a little interesting thing to translate:from the Alexandrine “Pharos” the Pope and Patriarch’s official organ:
                    http://books.google.com/books?id=YqpCAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA6&dq=%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%AC+%CF%84%CE%BF+%CF%80%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%AC%CE%B4%CE%B5%CE%B9%CE%B3%CE%BC%CE%B1+%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82+%CE%A1%CF%89%CF%83.+%CE%95%CE%BA%CE%BA%CE%BB%CE%B7%CF%83%CE%AF%CE%B1%CF%82&hl=en&ei=x9szTLiUKoOinQefrPSIBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

                    It’s a discussion of the Church of Greece in 1908, and it talks a bit about the Tomos of that year. Here’s the Greek with a rough translation. The last clause is what caught my eye.

                    Ἕτερον γεγονός ούχ ἥττονος σημασίας, διὰ τήν έν διασπορᾳ Έκκλησίαν ἰδίᾳ, εἴνε ή λύσις επί τέλους του μεταξύ της Μεγάλης του Χρίστου Εκκλησίας και της Εκκλησίας του Βασιλείου υφισταμένου επί μακρόν εκκρεμούς ζητήματος της εξαρτήσεως των εν διασπορᾳ Εκκλησιών. Από τοΰδε, δήλον δτι, καθ” ά αναφέρει ό «Ιερός Σύνδεσμος» (αρθ. 65, 1908), πάσαι αί έν διασπορφ έκκλησίαι θα θεωρώσιν έκκλησιαστικήν αυτών Αρχήν την Ί. Σύνοδον της Ελλάδος, είς πασαν δε χηρεύουσαν θέσιν θ’ άποστέλληται προϊστάμενος υπό της Συνόδου. Οΰτω θα κατορθωδη του διοικητικού τούτου κλάδου της Εκκλησίας ή συστηματοποίησις, ης ή κορωνίς έ’σται πάντως ή σύστασις νέου επισκόπου της εν διασπορφ εκκλησίας, κατά το παράδειγμα της Ρωσ. Εκκλησίας.

                    Another event of no less importance for the Church in diaspora itself, being at last the solution of the long pending problem between the Great Church of Christ and the Church of the present Kingdom of the administration of the Churches in diaspora. From now on, clearly that, according to what the “Sacred Register” ( Art. 65, 1908) references, all the Churches in diaspora shall look to the Holy Synod of Greece for ecclesiastical authority, but in all bereft of standing will forward their head to the Synod. So will result will set up the systemization of the management of this young shoot of the Church, however the final florish will be setting up a new Bishop of the Church in Diaspora, following the example of the Russian Church.

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      On September 5, 1921, Meletius Metaxakis who was then Archbishop of Athens used the Tomos of 1908 giving Athens jurisdiction over America formally organized the Amierican Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.. However, on November 27, 1921 he was elected Ecumenical Patriarch. On March 1, 1922, he revoked the Tomos giving Athens jurisdiction over the Greek Orthodox Churches in America and placed them under Constantinople where they are today. He is one of the first to claim that Canon 28 of Chalcedon gave Constantinople world wide jurisdiction over non-Greek lands which he considered “barbarian lands.” That is a real innovation, because from the context of the canon, it is clear that the reference to jurisdiction over the barbarians was reference to the barbarians on the northern boundary of the Eastern Empire in what is now northern Romania and Ukraine and not all non-Greeks in the entire world. The Holy Fathers of Chacedon had idea that America even existed. Thus it is a real stretch to argue that they gave Constantinople authority over the New World, especially since the Russian Church had established jurisdiction in the United States long before 1921. .
                      Metaxakis was a very controversial person. He had to leave Greece because he got involved in Greek politics as a supporter of Venizelos against King Constantine and went into exile after Venizelos lost power in 1920. He recognized Anglican ordinations in an effort to gain English support against the Turks, and was responsible for the whole fight and schism over the calendar. Finally, he was deposed from the Ecumenical Throne in 1923. In 1926, he became Patriarch of Alexandria, a post that he held until his death in 1935. He also was apparently a Freemason.

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  Basically all that you have said is that I know nothing because I am just an ignorant English speaking convert. You have provided no evidence that my argument that based on the decree of the 4th Ecumenical Council, Qatar belongs to the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Antioch is incorrect. You have also written some rather inflammatory attacks on the Antiochian Archdiocese and its practices, which to be perfectly frank are none of your business. Humility is much more important for an Eastern Orthodox Priest that obsession with 19th century Greek clerical attire. If you are really a Priest of the Greek Archdiocese take care of your own parish and Arcdiocese, and let us Antiochians take care of our own Archdiocese.

                  I am somewhat surprised that you do not realize that in the Eastern Orthodox Church the highest authority is an Ecumenical Council. As I have shown, the Council of Chalcedon, the 4th Ecumenical Council in 451, limited the authority to Jerusalem to what is now the Occupied Territories, Israel, and Jordan. Therefore, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem only has authority over these lands and has no authority over Qatar, which is in the Arabian Peninsula, which the Council of Chalcedon placed under the authority of Antioch, not Jerusalem.

                  Of course, I cited the English translation of the decree of the 4th Ecumenical Council. This is an English language site. One of the principles of modern American historical scholarship is that when an English language source of document is available it is cited, unless the writer is making the argument that there is a mistake in the English translation. I cited a scholarly work that is universally accepted by American church historians as the standard English translation of the decrees and acts of the Ecumenical Councils. It does not matter whether or not the person who translated it was a Protestant, all that matters is that the translation is accurate. If you can show from the original Greek source that the translation is incorrect please do so or admit that you are wrong.

                  Unlike you I give my name. You can do a Google search on Archpriest John Morris and see my academic credentials yourself. They can be found on the Amazon site for my latest book “The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History.”

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                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Fr, I beg you to rethink your arguments. Repeating the same, tired argument –that “you haven’t read it in the original language”–loses its force after the second time. (Have you read it? Can you show us where the English translation Fr Morris cites is incorrect?) Instead, what upsets me about this whole Qatari mess is it shows the complete lack of love between the various local churches and their American eparchies. If attitudes such as these don’t kill the Episcopal Assembly process, then whatever comes out of it will be horrendous indeed.

                  Personally, I think we can thank the Lord that the EA process is disappearing. At first it was just moving sideways, now it’s sinking like a stone. He certainly isn’t honoring anything that’s coming out of it. May the Lord forgive me but it’s best we agree to put this off for another few decades, until “this wicked generation passes away.” I only pray that He doesn’t withhold His divine mercy and let the judgment which we so richly deserve, fall upon us.

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                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    I don’t like to think in terms of “generations”, but I fear George may be right. The judgment on this generation may well be “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” when all has been said and finished.

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                • Michael Bauman says:

                  Matthew 5:20-26..

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            • And what do you say about Antioch’s granting autocephaly to the Church of Georgia….?

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              • When? Georgia has had autocephaly given and taken and given back so many times my head spins-by the Byzantines and then Russia. Antioch too you say?

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  “When? Georgia has had autocephaly given and taken and given back so many times my head spins”
                  Georgia had its autocephaly taken-rather, supressed-once: by Russia replaced the Catholicos of All Georgia by the Exarch of All Georgia who sat on its Holy Governing Synod, the organ of autocephaly in the Czar’s lands at the time. Once the Czar fell, Georgia was restored.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                That was in 1010, a long time ago. It granted by the Church of Antioch. Obviously that would be the preferred way that a local Church becomes autocephalous. However, in modern times, Constantinople has been very reluctant to grant autocephaly to the Churches placed under it in the Balkans by the Turks. Instead, after each nation gained independence from the Turks, the unified national Church declared itself autocephalous. Initially Constantinople refused to recognize the autocephaly, but eventually relented and recognized the autocephaly of the Church. There are exceptions for Churches that were not historically under Constantinople such as the Polish and Czech Orthodox Churches which Constantinople recognized as autocepalous under pressure from Moscow.

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  For starters, John quoted (allegedly) St. Nikodemus (an ahistorical-i.e. not historically accurate-explanation of the origin of the title “Ecumenical Patriarch”), but not from the Pedalion on the matter at hand. As I quoted to him there:
                  “What the Pedalion says on explaining canon 28 is this:

                  “Since at this Fourth Council c. III of the Second Council was read, which decrees that the Bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy priorities of honor with the Bishop of Rome, seeing that it is New Rome, therefore the fathers of this Council too, by means of their present Canon, renew and confirm the said Canon, and they decree and vote the same things as regards the priorities of the same city of Constantinople which is also known as New Rome. For, they say, just as the Fathers bestowed privileges upon the throne of Old Rome on account of the fact that it was the capital of an empire, and were fully justified in doing so, owing, that is to say, to his being first in point of order among the rest of the Patriarchs. In exactly the same way and motivated by exactly the same object and aim, the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved bishops of the second Council have bestowed exactly the same and equal privileges of honor also upon the most holy throne of New Rome[112] — of Constantinople, that is to say — deeming it quite reasonable that this city, in view of the fact that it has been honored by being made the seat of an empire and of a senate, in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, ought to enjoy the same and equal privileges in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, and to be magnified herself also in exactly the same way as the latter is in connection with ecclesiastical matters, with the sole difference that old Rome is to be first in order, while new Rome is to be second in order. In addition to these things we decree and vote that only the Metropolitans (but not also the Bishops, that is to say, that are subject to the Metropolitans; for each of these is ordained by his own Metropolitan together with the bishops of the province, just as the divine Canons prescribe, especially c. VI of the First) shall be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of Constantinople. Not only are the Metropolitans of the said dioceses to be ordained by him, but indeed also the bishops located in barbarian regions that border on the said dioceses, as, for instance, those called Alani are adjacent to and flank the diocese of Pontus, while the Russians border on that of Thrace. Nevertheless, the said Metropolitans are not to be ordained by the Bishop of Constantinople just as he pleases and decides, but he must take the votes of the Synod under him into consideration as reported to him in accordance with established custom, and then ordain those men on whom the voters have agreed, either unanimously or as a majority.”
                  http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0835/_P1W.HTM

                  “Canon 28 made” NO “provisions for all the lands under no patriarchal or independent jurisdiction to be under the EP.” Just those being incorporated into the new Patriarchate of Constantinople (the first such creation of the Church), or adjoining it. As I pointed out (but John did not answer):
                  “If it was always the “canonical position of the EP since the 5th century,” how is it that Antioch made Georgia autocephalous in 486? What was all the argument between Constantinople and Rome over Bulgaria in the 9th century? Why did SS. Cyril and Methodius get the blessing of Rome before proceeding to the Czech lands? How did Greece get its autocephaly? Why is it that the Pedalion, written when the Russians were founding their diocese, knows nothing of the novel interpretation of canon 28?”

                  And more importantly no example was forth coming to this:
                  “There is one question I don’t know the answer to, at least I am open to another answer: what evidence, what application, of the present EP interpretation of canon 28 do we have before the previous century? Because I’ve yet to see an example offered. Just one should suffice.”
                  Perhaps you can provide one.

                  Btw, as you quote is from a reply to our host here
                  http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/04/my-brief-reply-to-george-michalopulos.html
                  I can’t remember if George replied.

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    Georgia became autonomous in the about 480 under a Catholicos who could appoint the local Bishops. However, the Catholicos had to be confirmed by Antioch until the 740s. Thereafter the Catholicos only had to pay tribute to Antioch. In 1010 Antioch recognized the full autocephaly of the Church in Georgia.

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  “That was in 1010, a long time ago. It granted by the Church of Antioch.”
                  No, Father, 468: it was challenged in 1010, and Antioch backed up Georgia’s defense of its autocephaly.

                  Btw, Father, Peter’s post brought my attention to your post:
                  “In the turmoil following the Russian Revolution, the Russians Bishops in the U.S. gave up whatever authority they had over non-Russian parishes. After the pro-Soviet Living Church sent “Bishop” John Kedrovsky to claim authority over American Orthodoxy and successfully won control in a court case over St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York, the Russian Bishops encouraged each parish to incorporate itself as an independent unit and the non-Russians to seek episcopal supervision from Bishops from their mother Church. For example, the Patriarchate of Antioch assumed jurisdiction over parishes in America with the blessing of Moscow, the Synod of Bishops that formed the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and the Metropolia. Thus the successor to the Metroplia, the OCA has no grounds to claim to be the local American autocephalous Orthodox Church.”

                  To which I would reply: Although the bishops did encourage parishes to incorporate themselves separately, they did not renounce canonical authority over them-hence the long standing Antaky-Rusy schism among the Antiochians, the Antaky faction being founded by Met. Germanos not only in violation of canonical order, but in defiance of the Patriarch and Holy Synod of Antioch orders to return to his see in the Middle East. Moscow retained jurisdiction over North America and hence the OCA grounds to its valid claim to be the local American autocephalous Orthodox Church.

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    You are partially right, but you are also partially wrong. Metropolitan Germanos originally came to America to raise funds for an agricultural school. Due to the outbreak of the First World Was in 1914, he was stranded here. He then decided to organize an Antiochian Archdiocese by taking parishes from the Diocese of Brooklyn, that had been set up by the Russian Bishops with St. Raphael as Bishop to serve the Arab speaking Orthodox in 1904. However, because it recognized the jurisdiction of the Russians in America the Patriarchate of Antioch denounced Metropolitan Germanos and refused to recognize his archdiocese.
                    By 1924 the situation had changed. The Russian Revolution had taken place. The Living Church was causing all sorts of legal problems and the Russian Bishops in America were more than happy to get rid of their Arabic speaking parishes because they had enough problems taking care of their Russian parishes. Thus the Russians gave up jurisdiction over the Antiochian Churches in America. However before Antioch assumed jurisdiction over parishes here in America, it followed proper canonical procedures and received permission from Moscow, the Bishops of the Metropolia here in America and the Bishops of the Karlowitz Synod that formed the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The first canonical Antiochian Bishop in America was Victor Abo-Assaly who was consecrated in 1924 and formed the Antiochian Archdiocese of New York and all North America under the Patriarchate of Antioch. However, the group under Germanos refused to recognize Bishop Victor as did some of the parishes under Archbisop Aftimos Ofeish, the successor to St. Raphael. Thus there were three Antiochian groups in the United States. Bishop Germanos returned to the Middle East in 1933. That same year Archbishop Aftimos married and was succeeded by Bishop Sophronios Beshira who died in 1934. Bishop Victor died the same year. With the leaders of the three factions of Antiochians gone, The Patriarchate of Antioch sent Metropoitan Theodosios of Tyre to unite the Antiochian parishes into one Archdiocese. Unfortunately his efforts were unsuccessful. The convention of the Antiochians elected Fr. Anthony Bashir their Bishop. However another group favored the election of Fr. Samuel David of Toledo.
                    The result was the formation of two Antiochian Archdioceses in the U.S. In 1936 Bishops from ROCOR participated in the consecration of Metropoitan Anthony Bashir as the leader of the Churches in the U.S. and Canada under Antioch. Metropolitan Anthony organized the Archdiocese of New York. On the same day Bishops from the Metropolia consecrated Samuel David in Toledo who formed the Archdiocese of Toledo. At first Antioch refused to recognize Metropolitan Samuel, but in 1941, the Patriarchate recognized the Archdiocese of Toledo. In 1975, the Archdiocese of Toledo merged with the Archdiocese of New York to form a united Antiochian Archdiocese under Metropolitan Philip, who succeeded Metropolitan Anthony in 1966. Thus the Russians gave up their claim to jurisdiction over all Orthodox in America by giving their blessing to the formation of the Antiochian Archdiocese in 1924.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      Not quite. In 1924, then Bishop Aftimios (Ofiesh) was taxed with the creation of an American local church within the structure of the Russian American Metropolia. He took his consecration and blessing to mean that he had become “primate of North America” and broke away in schism from the Metropolia. The Metropolia was clear in denouncing his arrogation of this authority and its schismatic character. At the same time, Antioch seeing the turmoil in North American Orthodoxy caused by both the Russian Revolution and the activities of Ofiesh decided to create its own jurisdiction on this soil, as things were falling apart after the Detroit Sobor. It did so. The Metropolia never blessed this activity.

                      http://orthodoxwiki.org/American_Orthodox_Catholic_Church

                      The histories of the ROCOR and the Metropolia in the consecration of the various hierarchs following these events were done so in recognition of the realities of divisions caused by them, but not by acceptance of the premise of the divisions. No, it was hoped that these groups would eventually rejoin a “united Orthodox mission” in North America. They ministered to them and often provided Priests, literature, spiritual formation in a fraternal manner, for these bodies were without these resources. They treated these bodies as spiritual charges, not as parallel canonical structures to their own. From 1937 to 1946, the ROCOR and the Metropolia were united and worked toward Pan Orthodox unity as best as could be accomplished in light of their resources and the needs of the Russian and Ruthenian communities to which they pastored.

                      http://orthodoxwiki.org/ROCOR_and_OCA

                      But, no, the Metropolia (Nor did the OCA) never conceded its canonical rights as the successor of the Russian American mission as the canonical Orthodox administration on North American soil. Its agreement with the ROCOR cemented that fact. The Tomos of 1970 acclaimed it, calling all to its unity in working to affirm a native, autocephalous, united Orthodox church. Never once was the notion that the OCA (or the Metropolia) abdicated its canonical jurisdiction affirmed, nor is it anywhere found in any documents.

                      https://oca.org/history-archives/tomos-of-autocephaly

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      To Rostislav:

                      If you look at the sources for the article on the American Orthodox Catholic Church you will find my biography of Archbishop Aftimios listed. I wrote it over 30 years ago, using materials from the archives of the Antiochian Archdiocese as well as materials in the Harvard Library. I even interviewed Fr. Michael Gelsinger. Thus, this is a topic about which I am competent to write. The Russian Bishops idea was for the Archbishop to establish an autocephalous English speaking Orthodox Church that would eventually united all American Orthodox into one Church. Metropolitan Platon originally supported him until he began to convert some Episcopalians and the Episcopalians pressured him into withdrawing his support. As everyone knows eventually Archbishop Aftimios got married, ending his episocpacy. In the archives of the Antiochian Archdiocese, I found a document issued by Metropolitan Platon in the name of the Holy Synod of the Metropolia after the Archbishop Aftimos fiasco releasing the Arabic speaking parishes of the old Diocese of Brooklyn and instructing them to affiliate with Antioch. I also found documents from Moscow and the Karlovici Synod (the future ROCOR) authorizing Antioch to assume authority over the Arabic speaking parishes in America. These documents were quite clear that this was not a temporary measure, but that the Russians gave up jurisdiction over the parishes that became the Antiochian Archdiocese permanently. Throughout this whole period Antioch remained in Communion with Moscow. Thus, although I agree that the Russians originally had primary jurisdiction here, my research shows that they gave up jurisdiction over the parishes that became the Antiochian Archdiocese. Since our Archdiocese was formed with the full approval and cooperation of the Russian authorities, it is rather difficult to argue that our existence here in America is uncanonical, that the Russians or OCA have any legitimate claim of authority over the Antiochian Archdiocese or that they can take back the release given to the Arab speaking parishes to form the Antiochian Archiocese. I do not believe that the Greeks bothered to receive permission from the Russians to establish their Archdiocese here in America.
                      Regarding Canon 28 of Chalcedon, it is fantasy for Constantinople to claim that it gives the Ecumenical Patriarch authority over the entire world. The reference to barbarians in the canon was to the barbarian tribes north of the territory of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, not all non-Greeks in the entire world. The Holy Fathers of Chalcedon had no idea that America even existed. Even St. Cyril and Methodius sought the blessing of the Patriarch of the West in Rome for their mission to the Slavs in what is now the Czech Republic. Rome, on the other hand showed no respect for the territory that should belong to Constantinople by sending Latin missionaries to Bulgaria, an act that set in motion the events that led to the Western Schism.

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                    • Isa Almisry says:

                      Father, are any of these documents published?
                      Who was the issuing authority of the document from Moscow, and when was it issued?

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                    • Father John,

                      Is there a link to the ROCOR document of which you speak releasing the Antiochian parishes to Antioch? I would very much like to see it. Not necessarily doubting you but just have never heard of such a thing.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      No, the Holy Canons, in the context of Istanbul, require definite reassessment: there is no longer any empire, no longer a Constantinople, no more Romans, etc.: the very context for Canon 28 no longer exists, thus the presumption of its authority is nothing but laughable. If the EP wants to enforce this canon, let it obtain a modern map of the world and show us where the Byzantine Empire is, where the “Barbarian lands” are, and, indeed where Constantinople is to be found. Then let it find an emperor to enforce the Canon.

                      In other words, “presveia” arises in a historical context, declines as a result of historical context and is redefined in terms of historical context: Fr. Meyendorff’s treatment is rock solid.

                      No, the OCA’s autocephaly was not uncanonical (precedent for other local churches granting autocephaly to their missions is long established: there wouldn’t be a Constantinople today if that were not the case, as it was the daughter of the Patriarchate of Antioch and obtained its autocephaly from her): the EP’s presence on North American soil is, for at the outset of the Russian American mission, the EP (Authentically “Constantinople” AT THAT TIME) recognized the AUTHORITY OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH to administer her Western missions, including those which involved Greek speakers. The OCA is the lawful heir to the administration of the Russian American mission. This mission was administered by the Russian church and not the EP, BY THE EP’s (and other ancient patriarchates’) AGREEMENT (Nor would the EP of that era EVER DARED ENCROACH ON THE CANONICAL TERRITORY OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH) . The Russian Mother Church has entrusted her daughter, the OCA, with autocephaly and the creation of the local, autocephalous North American church.

                      The presence of other ecclesiastical bodies on North American soil is then akin to the intrusion of local churches setting up ecclesiastical administrations in the environs of Moscow or St. Petersburg and calling them “canonical” where the EP is saying it will administer them with an episcopal administration, despite the fact it recognized (its Patriarch once sat as Patriarch of Moscow) the canonical territory of the Church of Russia. The presence of these bodies is first an intrusion on the canonical territory of the Church of Russia, then on the territory of the OCA, her daughter; while the EP’s intended episcopal assembly is akin to the EP’s assuming control of the Moscow Patriarchate. The very presence of the EP and its unlawful administration of dioceses on North American soil (or the missionary soil/canonical territory of any other local church) is uncanonical interference in the affairs of a local church, something both the MP and the OCA can press to the canonical condemnation of the EP and its representatives on this territory. Inciting rebellions and creating schisms is canonical grounds for deposition and condemnation; the EP’s megalomania is no different than Greek Old Calendarist schismatic acts and pretensions, unilateral, uncanonical and schismatic thirst for power with neo-papalist arrogations. Eastern neo-papal encroachment is the type of hubritic breach of the Church’s administrative unity (schism) the Church rejected when then Orthodox Rome tried it to its condemnation. Istanbul, in all its tattered pretensions, is about to get a taste of reality when the Orthodox world rejects its pretensions and leaves it to realize that it is in captivity to the unsympathetic and Mohammedan Turk and alone (except for a papal, Uniate tiara it may hiding). The very example it set in its “disciplining” of the GOCs and the canonical case it is making against them is what is going to be thrown at it. These ecclesiastical disturbances by the EP have gone on long enough.

                      The Russian church is the preeminent Orthodox church in the world today and, historically, presveia has arisen to justify this claim and its clear reality.

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                    • Isa Almisry says:

                      “If the EP wants to enforce this canon, let it obtain a modern map of the world and show us where the Byzantine Empire is”
                      Not exactly a good challenge, as EP St. John the Faster, if shown a map of the world in the 6th century, could not show us where “the Byzantine Empire is,” as no such thing existed until a thousand years later when Renaissance Germans and Franks invented it to fit Vatican pretensions.

                      As for being a has been, that does necessary mandate a re-shuffling of the diptychs-Pentheke re-affirmed Old Rome’s status long after it ceased to house either an Emperor or Senate, and had shrunk to a few huts huddled around St. Peter’s. It still bore the legacy of SS. Peter and Paul, Clement, Leo and Gregory the Great, etc…

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      Well, let’s take your example of Rome for an instant. Its presveia even then was based on the fact it was the sole patriarchate of the West (along with its “Apostolic” foundation, it was the Western political outpost of the Empire): while it had assumed primacy of the Church because the Church in Jerusalem had been displaced and the Church at an early date agreed that SS Peter and Paul had both witnessed CHRIST there. Thus, even in the case of Rome, primacy was a result of historical circumstance: it arose after Jerusalem’s decline and was maintained due to its important relevance to the Empire until it finally fell away into heresy. There is no Orthodox church of Rome today and no longer any Roman primacy as a result.

                      Yes, Fr. Meyendorff does mention “apostolicity” as a constituent part of presveia, but he also is clear in stating that apostolicity alone is not the only determinant of primacy. If that were the case, Antioch would have a better claim to Petrine primacy while Jerusalem would claim, and rightly so, to be the first church of the Orthodox Church. No, historical circumstances are very much in the mix in determining the rise, maintenance, fall, dimunition, reassessment of presveia.

                      As far as the vision of a Saint is concerned, if there is some Saint talking about the Restoration of the Byzantine Empire, or more properly, “the Empire of the Romans,” when we reach that point, we can again reassess Constantinople’s presveia. As it stands today, there isn’t even a Constantinople to mention. The Holy Canons know no Istanbul. And of course, if you are talking about visions of Saints concerning “primacy” and “presveia” and maps, it might be best to tread lightly. After all, the Third Rome prophesy and its accompanying bases are cemented by the fact an Ecumenical Patriarch did for a time transfer the See of Constantinople to Moscow, sit upon its patriarchal throne, and did indeed acknowledge Moscow’s presveia`… Even St. Cosmas the Aitolean prophesies the Russians will liberate the City and restore its churches.

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                  • Rostislav says:

                    No, the Metropolia was trying to create a native American church UNDER its omophorion and Ofiesh went rogue and developed delusions of grandeur. And the ROCOR at the time was trying to assume control over the Metropolia and often acted to undermine Metropolitan Platon: the ROCOR had no authority on North American soil. Antioch would have needed the Metropolia’s authority to act on North American territory, which it did not seek. And, honestly, if you are going to cite what Moscow did during this period of persecutions, ie the Renovationists and finally the subjugation of the Patriarchate to the Soviet authorities, you are just looking for a reason to justify schism, and no good reason avails you.

                    Your continued disinformation is just wanton spin.

                    No, the wiki article on Ofiesh is accurate.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      BTW, Father, since you seem to want to acknowledge ROCOR’s authority in guiding Antioch and her spiritual children on North American soil (as you ground the foundation of your jurisdiction on its canonical authority), will you be sending your prospective clerics to Jordanville to renew the Antiochian Archdiocese in its more traditional witness, and will the Antiochian church then be readopting the Old Calendar and observing the canonical rigor of ROCOR in regard to the raiment of its clerics and the construction of its parishes, their interiors and liturgics? No? Why not then? Because, in that context, ROCOR is “interfering in the internal affairs of your Archdiocese”? Hmmm, but it you acknowledge that it “may interfere in the internal affairs of the Metropolia (OCA)” as it suits you? My, my, my, what a tangled web of double standards we weave which seems to unravel under some closer scrutiny.

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                    • “And the ROCOR at the time was trying to assume control over the Metropolia and often acted to undermine Metropolitan Platon: the ROCOR had no authority on North American soil.”

                      Rostislav,

                      Actually, the Metropolia attempted to seize ROCOR churches and US courts told them they couldn’t do it because they had already acknowledged that ROCOR represented the Supreme Authority within the Church of Russia. And, btw, if you are going to go after the MP during the communist period, you might want to attack their grant of autocephaly to the OCA.

                      Platon was a liar and forger. The first schism of the Metropolia from ROCOR occurred when he was Metropolitan of the Metropolia. Before the revolution Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky had given a seminary under Platon’s leadership a bad report to the Russian Synod and so there was already bad blood between them before they came to lead their respective entities. When Platon was gone, the two reunited. Then, later (1946), the Metropolia decided they wanted to go back under Moscow, so once again they broke away from ROCOR. Yet Moscow refused to give them autonomy so they decided to go it alone. You can see most of the documentation for all of the above on Orthodoxwiki at the article you cited regarding OCA and ROCOR. It’s not exactly flattering to the Metropolia/OCA.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      As you can tell, I have spent some time studying the history of the Metropolia/OCA, ROCOR, and the Russian Orthodox church so I thank you for the documents you send me to, but I probably beat you to them by more than a decade.

                      Firstly, the period in question here is the 1920s, there were no ROCOR parishes on American soil during the period in question (1924 – 25), and their appearance later constituted ROCOR “setting up a second altar” on the canonical territory of the Metropolia. Secondly, whatever one writes about +Metropolitan Platon, he was (1). the duly elected Metropolitan of North America, (2). recognized by St. Tikhon to administer this missionary territory, territory and persons St. Tikhon knew quite well and (3). Not placed under obedience by St. Tikhon to obey the ROCOR which St. Tikhon ORDERED DISBANDED AS AN “UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY.” Thus, to still maintain that we somehow were “responsible for schism” and the like is sheer nonsense. St. Tikhon ordered the ROCOR to SUBMIT to +Metropolitan Evlogy in Paris which it refused to do. So if anyone was being rebellious and perpetrating “schism.” (4). When approached by representatives from the YMCA about these matters, St. Tikhon quietly said that “we should sort these things out amongst ourselves,” and that certainly is not equated with “submission to a ROCOR” of which we were not a part.

                      You mention certain issues the Karlovchane had with the person of +Metropolitan Platon, but, in all actuality, you fail to note the issues ROCOR had with the very corrupt and Grabbe orchestrated administration of cliques and corruption there in Serbia. At least one luminary hierarch of merit, +Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (Of Blessed Memory), the Tsar’ Martyr’s Father Confessor, left it in disgust and wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Besides that, he and several other PROMINENT theologians came to have quite an issue with +Metropolitan Anthony’s (Khrapovitsky) heretical “dogma of redemption,” qv St. Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bulgaria and Fr. Georges Florovsky. In not many things were the Karlovchane as “pure as the driven snow” so their smearing of +Metropolitan Platon is, frankly, petty hypocrisy in a shameless, hypocritical degree.

                      When I wrote of the Patriarchate in this context, I wrote of the issues it was facing precisely during the 1920s, with the Renovationists seizing church properties and administration and promulgating all manner of Protestant “reforms” in the name of the “revolution,” “class struggle,” “liberation,” “progress” and the “proletariat” and then later with the coerced and lamentable Declaration of +Patriarch Sergius (Eternal Memory). I wrote what I wrote in the context of the Moscow Patriarchate being unable to freely administer anything at this time with the understanding that things were done in this era under the orchestration of the theomachists to promote schism and the dissolution of the Russian Orthodox church and its overseas missions.

                      Thus, anyone grounding their pretensions to “canonical presence” on the soil of the OCA citing either ROCOR uncanonical intrusions on to the territory of the Metropolia which constituted “promoting rebellion and schism” (which as you know is canonically condemned) or citing the acts of the Moscow Patriarchate of this era, which was enslaved and undergoing red martyrdom, is simply advancing a shameless argument for schism.

                      You curiously fail to note that in 1937, the ROCOR recognized the SOLE AUTHORITY OF THE METROPOLIA in administering Russian Orthodox parishes on North American soil and that it and Paris were seen in agreements as EQUAL METROPOLIAS to the ROCOR and to the Chinese Metropolia. Your Bishops and parishes here were in obedience to our Metropolitan and Holy Synod, whom they recognized as the sole canonical authority on North American soil.

                      The end of the reign of Joseph Stalin with WWII saw the Russian Orthodox church revived and in some ways restored to prominence in service to the Motherland. The Church at this time was rightly given a certain degree of breathing room, and as we were the North American mission of the Russian church, it was good and right for us to return to her omophorion. With the onset of the late 40s and the 1950s, it was clear that a new era of political strife was dawning in the West, the Cold War, where we petitioned the Mother Church for autonomy (the same type of autonomy ROCOR now enjoys and without which it would CURIOUSLY not have reconciled with the Mother Church). It was our intention to rise above the political climate and be faithful, yet not compromised in our witness and divided by Red, White, and Green ecclesiastical camps. The Mother Church at this time, due to pressures put upon it by the Stalinist government, did indeed seek to use us in the propaganda of this period, and thus we respectfully declined to involve ourselves in political intrigues, all the while praying and hoping for reconciliation. This we achieved in the mid to late 1960s and fulfilled our intention with the receiving of the Tomos of Autocephaly in 1970. In this era, there is neither black nor white, but strains of gray so for anyone to speak of “clear paths” through the muck of the Cold War speaks either to his lack of tempering and/or duplicity and/or lack of understanding of the political and ecclesiastical climate. We did the best we could in responding to both the needs of our flock and in acknowledging our fidelity to the Mother Church, and this the Mother Church acknowledged.

                      So, no, aside from ROCOR pretensions, which it was thought to have abandoned as erroneous and hopeless in its reunification with the Mother Church, the creation of Ofiesh/Antiochian administrations on the canonical territory of the Metropolia (OCA) constituted acts of rebellion and schism.

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                    • Isa Almisry says:

                      “Yet Moscow refused to give them autonomy so they decided to go it alone.”
                      Not quite: Stalin was demanding that the Patriarchate require an oath of loyalty to the Soviet State. The Metropolia said “no thank you” to that.
                      The rest is a little complicated.

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                    • “As you can tell, I have spent some time studying the history of the Metropolia/OCA, ROCOR, and the Russian Orthodox church so I thank you for the documents you send me to, but I probably beat you to them by more than a decade.”

                      All that I can tell is that you have been reading unsubstantiated OCA fictional revisionist accounts of its history.

                      “Firstly, the period in question here is the 1920s, there were no ROCOR parishes on American soil during the period in question (1924 – 25), and their appearance later constituted ROCOR “setting up a second altar” on the canonical territory of the Metropolia.”

                      False, ROCOR was the international body directing the free Russian Orthodox Church. It had many parishes here since the Metropolia was part of ROCOR from 1920-1926.

                      “Secondly, whatever one writes about +Metropolitan Platon, he was (1). the duly elected Metropolitan of North America, (2). recognized by St. Tikhon to administer this missionary territory, territory and persons St. Tikhon knew quite well and (3). Not placed under obedience by St. Tikhon to obey the ROCOR which St. Tikhon ORDERED DISBANDED AS AN “UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY.” Thus, to still maintain that we somehow were “responsible for schism” and the like is sheer nonsense.”

                      False, Metropolitan Tikhon forged a letter from the MP putting him in charge of the Russian Church in North America. It was found to be a forgery in an American court of law. He then called a sobor of the Metropolia breaking it off from the ROCOR. This is all documented on the Orthodoxwiki site on ROCOR and OCA which you first referenced here.

                      “St. Tikhon ordered the ROCOR to SUBMIT to +Metropolitan Evlogy in Paris which it refused to do. So if anyone was being rebellious and perpetrating “schism.” (4).”

                      Source? And what was the relationship of Met. Evlogy to the Soviet government?

                      “When approached by representatives from the YMCA about these matters, St. Tikhon quietly said that “we should sort these things out amongst ourselves,” and that certainly is not equated with “submission to a ROCOR” of which we were not a part.
                      You mention certain issues the Karlovchane had with the person of +Metropolitan Platon, but, in all actuality, you fail to note the issues ROCOR had with the very corrupt and Grabbe orchestrated administration of cliques and corruption there in Serbia. At least one luminary hierarch of merit, +Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (Of Blessed Memory), the Tsar’ Martyr’s Father Confessor, left it in disgust and wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. “

                      Relevance? Source?

                      “Besides that, he and several other PROMINENT theologians came to have quite an issue with +Metropolitan Anthony’s (Khrapovitsky) heretical “dogma of redemption,” qv St. Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bulgaria and Fr. Georges Florovsky. In not many things were the Karlovchane as “pure as the driven snow” so their smearing of +Metropolitan Platon is, frankly, petty hypocrisy in a shameless, hypocritical degree.”

                      Met. Anthony expressed that opinion of his as personal and never insisted on it and later backed away from it after consultation with other theologians. No one suggested ROCOR was pure as the driven snow. Met. Platon was found in court to be a liar and a forger. And the feud between them was quite real as you can see if you read biographies of either.

                      “When I wrote of the Patriarchate in this context, I wrote of the issues it was facing precisely during the 1920s, with the Renovationists seizing church properties and administration and promulgating all manner of Protestant “reforms” in the name of the “revolution,” “class struggle,” “liberation,” “progress” and the “proletariat” and then later with the coerced and lamentable Declaration of +Patriarch Sergius (Eternal Memory). I wrote what I wrote in the context of the Moscow Patriarchate being unable to freely administer anything at this time with the understanding that things were done in this era under the orchestration of the theomachists to promote schism and the dissolution of the Russian Orthodox church and its overseas missions.”

                      And I wrote what I wrote regarding the period when the Metropolia began to attempt seizing ROCOR churches here and were repeatedly rebuked by the court system since they had already recognized the international authority of ROCOR, of which they had been a part. No doubt the Moscow Patriarchate had been compromised by the Bolsheviks, that is why ROCOR was horrified when the Metropolia decided to return to it.

                      “Thus, anyone grounding their pretensions to “canonical presence” on the soil of the OCA citing either ROCOR uncanonical intrusions on to the territory of the Metropolia which constituted “promoting rebellion and schism” (which as you know is canonically condemned) or citing the acts of the Moscow Patriarchate of this era, which was enslaved and undergoing red martyrdom, is simply advancing a shameless argument for schism.”

                      You yourself cite the acts of the Moscow Patriarchate in condemning ROCOR! What shameless hypocrisy!

                      “You curiously fail to note that in 1937, the ROCOR recognized the SOLE AUTHORITY OF THE METROPOLIA in administering Russian Orthodox parishes on North American soil and that it and Paris were seen in agreements as EQUAL METROPOLIAS to the ROCOR and to the Chinese Metropolia. Your Bishops and parishes here were in obedience to our Metropolitan and Holy Synod, whom they recognized as the sole canonical authority on North American soil.”

                      Unless you support this with some documentation, I have to assume it is untrue. It flat out contradicts the well-documented observation on the Orthodoxwiki cite ROCOR and the OCA (which, again, you first cited). To my knowledge, ROCOR bishops were never under obedience to the Metropolia in any circumstance other than the time when the Metropolia was under obedience to the Free Church of Russia (ROCOR). ROCOR never ever stated in any document of which I am aware that the Metropolia was in any way superior to the ROCOR synod, but that it was either an integral part of ROCOR and thus its representative on American soil, or errant brethren who had left the Church of Russia for their own sinful motives, whatever these might have been.

                      “The end of the reign of Joseph Stalin with WWII saw the Russian Orthodox church revived and in some ways restored to prominence in service to the Motherland. The Church at this time was rightly given a certain degree of breathing room, and as we were the North American mission of the Russian church, it was good and right for us to return to her omophorion.”

                      Stalin gave a bit of breathing room to the ROC because Russians were surrendering to Axis forces believing that they would be treated better regarding their religion. If the Metropolia did decide to reunite based on this, it was foolish stupidity. The persecution was renewed after the war, especially under Krushchev who made a running start and trying to close as many churches as he could manage. Moreover, none of the breathing room involved lightening up on the infiltration and control of the ROC by the Kremlin through its security services.

                      “With the onset of the late 40s and the 1950s, it was clear that a new era of political strife was dawning in the West, the Cold War, where we petitioned the Mother Church for autonomy (the same type of autonomy ROCOR now enjoys and without which it would CURIOUSLY not have reconciled with the Mother Church). It was our intention to rise above the political climate and be faithful, yet not compromised in our witness and divided by Red, White, and Green ecclesiastical camps. The Mother Church at this time, due to pressures put upon it by the Stalinist government, did indeed seek to use us in the propaganda of this period, and thus we respectfully declined to involve ourselves in political intrigues, all the while praying and hoping for reconciliation. This we achieved in the mid to late 1960s and fulfilled our intention with the receiving of the Tomos of Autocephaly in 1970. In this era, there is neither black nor white, but strains of gray so for anyone to speak of “clear paths” through the muck of the Cold War speaks either to his lack of tempering and/or duplicity and/or lack of understanding of the political and ecclesiastical climate. We did the best we could in responding to both the needs of our flock and in acknowledging our fidelity to the Mother Church, and this the Mother Church acknowledged.”

                      A thoroughly whitewashed account. The Metropolia had been alienated from most of the rest of the Orthodox world after breaking with the ROCOR in 1946. ROCOR’s self withdrawal really dates only to the early 1960’s (see Met. Kallistos Ware’s book, The Orthodox Church or any number of articles on orthodoxinfo as well as the article to which you referred earlier). It began with the ROCOR’s condemnation of the ecumenical activities of certain other jurisdictions.

                      Now the truly comical punchline to the sordid tale of which you have rendered an unsubstantiated, fictional account:

                      In the late 1960’s, a group of Metropolia clergy decided it was time to obtain autocephaly from Moscow. This was actually bizarre for a number of reasons. First, they had not been in communion with Moscow since at least 1935, in the meantime denouncing it as an enslaved church incapable of responsible direction in order to justify its own independence from it. Secondly, the ROC was on highly questionable canonical status at the time inasmuch as they were openly communing Catholics. Later, their synod “suspended” this practice but it was policy at the time of the grant of autocephaly. Thirdly, basically, the Metropolia bought its autocephaly by trading the Church of Japan for it. Now, it may not be the most egregious bribe ever offered in such a situation, simony being a way of life for Constantinople from time to time. But when you put all that together with the fact that the ROC was, for all intents and purposes, operated by the KGB during this period, the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

                      “In October of 1970, the synod of the ROCOR sent the following declaration to the bishops of the Metropolia:
                      It is impossible for the Moscow Patriarchate, under the complete control of the Soviet atheistic regime which has set for itself the goal of destroying all religion, to do anything which could be to the overall benefit of the Church and it must be remembered that the Moscow Patriarchate cannot engage in foreign affairs without a direct order of the Soviet government…” – ROCOR and OCA, Orthodoxwiki

                      “So, no, aside from ROCOR pretensions, which it was thought to have abandoned as erroneous and hopeless in its reunification with the Mother Church, the creation of Ofiesh/Antiochian administrations on the canonical territory of the Metropolia (OCA) constituted acts of rebellion and schism.”

                      ROCOR never has and never will abandon its “pretentions” to be the free part of the Russian Orthodox Church during the entire period. In every reference by the (now free) ROC that I have seen to the reunion of the ROCOR with the MP, ROCOR is referred to as one of the “two parts” of the ROC which were reunited. The (now free) MP has not forced ROCOR to merge with the OCA, nor could it based on the Act of Unification which was signed. It is autonomous, not autocephalous and does not pretend to be an “American Orthodox Church”.

                      Now, apart from the biographical information regarding Met. Anthony and Met. Platon regarding their feud from before the Revolution, which can easily be found on Orthodoxwiki or elsewhere, most all of what I mentioned can be found well documented in the article on ROCOR and OCA. I would respectfully ask you for references to support what you have cited, ones quoting the documents, statements or materials that contain these allegations and their sources. Otherwise, it would be irresponsible for me or anyone else to take them seriously based on what has already been demonstrated.

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                    • Rostislav says:

                      I don’t intend to bother. What I wrote is common knowledge: you can write a letter to Fr. Luke (Murianka) in Jordanville and he can refer you to the ROCOR literature in Russian and English. Or better yet, write to Fr. Alexander Lebedeff and he will kindly tell you when, why, how by whom and where you can find it even in articles he has written on the web. There is no reason to beat the dead horse of the ROCOR’s pretensions when it has de facto surrendered them to the Mother Church and admitted its guilt for its activities. Whether or not you accept my explanation is your affair. It seems your own Bishops (and churchmen) have come to face this reality, and it is the reality that the OCA has worked out in her relationship with the Mother Church, which has provided for our autocephaly and our function as the canonical, North American local church.

                      I am not going to involve myself in the tedious and unbalanced silliness of the ROCOR and its delusions of grandeur: arguing with the dead is pointless.

                      St. TIkhon ordered the ROCOR disbanded as an “unlawful assembly” and ordered it to submit to +Metropolitan Evlogy in Paris. He never called into question the canonical election and authority of +Metropolitan Platon of the North American mission. He never blessed ROCOR’s creation of “second altars” on the territories of other metropolias. No act undertaken by them during this era has any canonical authority, especially schismatic acts of creating jurisdictions on North American soil. Moreover in 1936, under the direction of +Patriarch Varnava in Serbia, the ROCOR agreed that the Metropolia was the sovereign and sole ecclesiastical presence on North American territory and the ROCOR’s Bishops and parishes from that point were part of the Metropolia until 1946. If you don’t have this much knowledge about the situation, don’t trouble anyone any further, because you haven’t read enough.

                      The ROCOR is a dead organism in the process of dismantling. Before too long, there will be one Russian patriarchal administration in this country and in the West, and I would suspect that that administration eventually enters our OCA as a constituent Russian diocese. Historical inertia more than points in that direction.

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                    • Rostislav,

                      Until now, I never realized how completely delusional you are. ROCOR always from its inception desired to reunite with the Mother Church. Even the Mother Church itself recognized that ROCOR was the other part of the ROC. I know of no “surrendered pretentions” or “admitted guilt”. ROCOR’s entire separate existence was based on the fact that the MP was compromised by the communists. When that situation ceased to exist and the ROC returned to normalcy, it was perfectly reasonable for the free Russian Church to reunite with the newly freed Russian Church.

                      You have no earthly idea what you’re talking about and I agree, further discussion of this is pointless if you won’t even look at the evidence presented in sites you yourself cited. You know, but you just can’t face it.

                      ROCOR is quite happy being an autonomous part of the ROC. I know ROCOR priests who traveled to Moscow for the reunion event and even heard confessions that day. Far from being a day of shame for ROCOR, it was a fantastic occasion, its fifth anniversary was celebrated here, as I’m sure its tenth will be.

                      If this is the crap that some people in the OCA have to believe in order to live with themselves then that’s fine. I’d rather just say that the past was unfortunate, we’re all in communion and move on. However, taking potshots at ROCOR will only get the truth thrown in your face.

                      Best to let it go.

                      In his epistle to Russian Orthodox people in 1945, Metropolitan Anastasy wrote:

                      “Those who are in submission to the jurisdicition of the council of Bishops and Synod Abroad never regarded nor do they regard themselves as being outside the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church, for they never broke canonical, prayerful and spiritual unity with the Mother Church… We never cease to thank God that He destined us to remain as the free aprt of the Russian Church. It is our duty to guard this freedom until such a time when we shall return to the Mother Church that precious pledge entrusted to us by her. A wholly competent judge between the bishops abroad and the present head of the Russian Church could be only a freely and legally called All-Russian Church Council, fully independent in its decisions with the participation of all exiled bishops and especially of those incarcerated in russia, before whom we are ready to give an account of all our activities during the time of our sojourn abroad”.”

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      The Bishops of the Metropolia did instruct its Arabic speaking parishes to place themselves under Antioch. I have seen the document from the archives of the Antiochian Archdiocese when I was doing research for an article on Archbishop Aftimios. Antioch only assumed jurisdiction in the United States after receiving the blessing of the Metropolia, Moscow, and what became ROCOR. In answer to Rostislav, below, the Antiochian Archdiocese is in full Communion with both the OCA and ROCOR and never was out of Communion with Moscow. They have no problem with us and recognize us as fully Orthodox, so should you.

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      To those who have asked me if the documents that I cited concerning the release of the Arabic speaking parishes under the Russians. I wrote the article about Archbishop Aftimios over 30 years ago. I do not even know where to find my copy. Many of the materials that I used were unpublished materials from the archives of the Antiochian Archdiocese. I do remember holding in my hand the letter from the Bishops of the Metropolia instructing the parishes of the Diocese of Brooklyn that was set up for Arab speaking Orthodox under St. Raphael. However, the fact that the Bishops of the Metropolia have been in Communion with the Antiochian Archdiocese from the very beginning shows that they recognized the Antiochian Archdiocese as fully canonical. There was a lot of chaos and confusion in American Orthodoxy following 1917 that resulted in the divisions that we now have.

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            In case of a serious dispute, there is the possibility of a Pan-Orthodox Council. There is also the possibility of a more informal meeting of the Primates or their representatives to discuss a problem. There is such a meeting planned in March to discuss the issue of how a Church becomes autocephalous. I would not be surprised if the issue of Qatar did not come up during the discussions. Hopefully, they will resolve it.

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          • Isa Almisry says:

            “You think Constantinople would have put forward a claim under canon 28 if it didn’t have a valid basis?”
            That is what we see the Phanar doing. So we don’t have to think it. Just open our eyes.

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            • Peter Papoutsis says:

              Oh calm down francis.

              Peter

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            • I don’t think we will need to wait and see what a Great Synod will do. But you are certainly welcome to make your arguments and look forward to it if you like.

              Firstly, I seriously doubt there will be another Great and Holy Synod during my lifetime, or that of anyone reading this. If we can’t agree on whose omophorion Qatar is under . . . well, what are the odds?

              It was scheduled for 2012, then 2013, then 2015. It has been discussed since at least the 60′s. No hotels have been booked or other arrangements made.

              Secondly, and really, all these little disputes are just comic relief from the Russian perspective. If the ROCOR or the ROC issues a statement about this or that, all they have to do is pursue it. They don’t have to control anyone in order to pursue the plan that they are quite public about: caring for their flock, spreading the gospel, helping persecuted Christians and reasserting the profile of the ROC around the world. The Phanar needs others’ agreement to get what it wants: its version of primacy and jurisdiction over all unallocated territory on earth. No one seems interested in giving it that, so it can pout til the cows come home to no avail. H*ll, even Jerusalem has challenged it in North America.

              No, ROCOR is not going to enter into an American union under the Phanar, and no one can make them.

              Yes, the ROC is going to reassert its control over Russian Orthodox entities in Western Europe. They have a synergy with the Russian Federation and, as the song goes, “lawyers guns and money”. Good luck to anyone who wishes to stop them.

              No, the ROC is never going to take the Phanar’s arguments seriously. Who can make them?

              There is an old Sicilian proverb, “Don’t demand what you can’t take”. The Phanar can offer whatever silly, baseless arguments it wants, insist that it is correct in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and go on its merry way, unable to make much, if any, of it stick. And if this makes them happy, God bless.

              The ROC can move forward with its little projects, regardless of what anyone else wants, be politely dismissive of the Phanar’s protestations (and force it to be the one to break communion, if anyone does), get most of what it wants, and go on its merry way.

              That’s the real waiting and seeing and the only type that matters because it yields facts on the ground.

              Really, all these little communiques and hissy fits don’t amount to a “tempest in a tea pot”. It’s not about who’s right, but who’s left.

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            • Isa Almisry says:

              For starters, John quoted (allegedly) St. Nikodemus (an ahistorical-i.e. not historically accurate-explanation of the origin of the title “Ecumenical Patriarch”), but not from the Pedalion on the matter at hand. As I quoted to him there:
              “What the Pedalion says on explaining canon 28 is this:

              “Since at this Fourth Council c. III of the Second Council was read, which decrees that the Bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy priorities of honor with the Bishop of Rome, seeing that it is New Rome, therefore the fathers of this Council too, by means of their present Canon, renew and confirm the said Canon, and they decree and vote the same things as regards the priorities of the same city of Constantinople which is also known as New Rome. For, they say, just as the Fathers bestowed privileges upon the throne of Old Rome on account of the fact that it was the capital of an empire, and were fully justified in doing so, owing, that is to say, to his being first in point of order among the rest of the Patriarchs. In exactly the same way and motivated by exactly the same object and aim, the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved bishops of the second Council have bestowed exactly the same and equal privileges of honor also upon the most holy throne of New Rome[112] — of Constantinople, that is to say — deeming it quite reasonable that this city, in view of the fact that it has been honored by being made the seat of an empire and of a senate, in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, ought to enjoy the same and equal privileges in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, and to be magnified herself also in exactly the same way as the latter is in connection with ecclesiastical matters, with the sole difference that old Rome is to be first in order, while new Rome is to be second in order. In addition to these things we decree and vote that only the Metropolitans (but not also the Bishops, that is to say, that are subject to the Metropolitans; for each of these is ordained by his own Metropolitan together with the bishops of the province, just as the divine Canons prescribe, especially c. VI of the First) shall be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of Constantinople. Not only are the Metropolitans of the said dioceses to be ordained by him, but indeed also the bishops located in barbarian regions that border on the said dioceses, as, for instance, those called Alani are adjacent to and flank the diocese of Pontus, while the Russians border on that of Thrace. Nevertheless, the said Metropolitans are not to be ordained by the Bishop of Constantinople just as he pleases and decides, but he must take the votes of the Synod under him into consideration as reported to him in accordance with established custom, and then ordain those men on whom the voters have agreed, either unanimously or as a majority.”
              http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0835/_P1W.HTM

              “Canon 28 made” NO “provisions for all the lands under no patriarchal or independent jurisdiction to be under the EP.” Just those being incorporated into the new Patriarchate of Constantinople (the first such creation of the Church), or adjoining it. As I pointed out (but John did not answer):
              “If it was always the “canonical position of the EP since the 5th century,” how is it that Antioch made Georgia autocephalous in 486? What was all the argument between Constantinople and Rome over Bulgaria in the 9th century? Why did SS. Cyril and Methodius get the blessing of Rome before proceeding to the Czech lands? How did Greece get its autocephaly? Why is it that the Pedalion, written when the Russians were founding their diocese, knows nothing of the novel interpretation of canon 28?”

              And more importantly no example was forth coming to this:
              “There is one question I don’t know the answer to, at least I am open to another answer: what evidence, what application, of the present EP interpretation of canon 28 do we have before the previous century? Because I’ve yet to see an example offered. Just one should suffice.”
              Perhaps you can provide one.

              Btw, as you quote is from a reply to our host here
              http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/04/my-brief-reply-to-george-michalopulos.html
              I can’t remember if George replied.

              “Further, IF the Canon 28 issue is taken up by a future Great and Holy Council and is decided in favor of Constantinople’s what then, will you and others break off communion?”
              If the Church adopts a canon given Constantinople jurisdiction over diaspora (which hasn’t happened yet), within Orthodox ecclesiology.
              If Constantinople’s novelty is rejected, will you and the other Greeks break off communion? I know a lot of Orthodox Greeks who won’t.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                If one takes Canon 28 of Chalcedon literally Constantinople owes it status to its position as the Bishop of the New Rome the capital of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. Now that Constantinople is Istanbul a Turkish Muslim city and is no longer the New Rome or the capital of any empire, and only has a few thousand people Orthodox Christians, one might ask does Constantinople still deserve first rank among the Patriarchates and so much authority in the Eastern Orthodox Church?

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                • Protopappas says:

                  The Church honored old Rome long after it had ceased to be the imperial capital, because it once was. Jerusalem and Antioch have their current status for historical reasons. Should I start calling our Patriarch of Antioch “Patriarch of Dimashq” like so many say that the EP is patriarch “of Istanbul”? While we are under different jurisdictions now, with a particular patriarch of jurisdiction, they are all our Patriarchs, and we should honor them as such.

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                • Rostislav says:

                  “Presveia” has a historical character and relevance. It arises and it declines. The reason for the “presveia” of the See of Constantinople coming into existence was that it was the capitol of the Empire. There is no longer an empire. Constantinople is no more. There is an Istanbul. The Patriarch is no longer a Roman. He is a Turkish citizen. The canons make no mention of an Istanbul and definitely do not acclaim the “empire of the Turk.” Thus, the “presveia” of Constantinople in our day and age is subject to reinterpretation, even dimunition. The Holy Canons know no Istanbul.

                  As once the See of Constantinople displaced the See of Alexandria in prominence, today the captive church in Istanbul in all things practical and in “presveia” and any relevance is at least second to the Church of Moscow.

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                • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

                  The name “Istanbul” makes sense only when “Constantinople” is recalled and thus, ironically, preserves the original name.

                  Istanbul – ee-steen-bulee. Change the hard Arabic ‘b’ back to a Greek ‘p’ and the name becomes – ee-steen-polee or “to the city.”

                  “I’m going to the city.”
                  “Oh yeah? Which city?”
                  “The City of Constantine.”

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                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                  Constantinople remained Constantinople even when it was the capital city al of the Ottoman Empire. It was NOT a Muslim government that changed the name to “Istanbul”, it was the secular, agnostic government of Kemal Ataturk. likewise, it was not the Muslim government of the Ottoman Empire that closed Halki and so many Greek Orthodox monasteries and Churches, but the secular, WESTERNIZED government of Kemal Ataturk that did so. (By the way, all training schools for Muslim clergy were closed, not just Halki, and those who want to reopen it in a land with few Christians should realize that they’ll have to welcome SCORES of schools for mullahs as the price. The main impulse for opening Halki is really not religious, but national—restoring SOMETHING of the past glories of the Grecumenical Patriarchate.

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  “Grecumenical Patriarchate.”
                  LOL. I shall have to remember that, Your Grace.

                  Yes, the Empire that Ethnarchy is living post mortem is the Ottoman, not the Roman.

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              • Isa Almisry says:

                I said I would stick with Orthodoxy, whether Constantinople does or not.

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              • I’m curious as to the scenario that Peter sees as possible where this could happen. Bear in mind, between 1/3 and 1/2 of all Orthodox are under Moscow. Probably the majority of Orthodox are Slavs. On top of that, the Romanians and Antioch have rejected the Phanar’s position. I’m just wondering where these episcopal votes for the Phanar’s interpretation will come from., 500 new Greek bishops of titular dioceses in Asia Minor without a single Christian layman under them?

                Come on now.

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              • Peter, my dear boy, I have to say you are quite naive to suggest this without giving some support for it. No doubt he has allies in Ukraine, Greece, perhaps some fair weather friends in Washington . . . yet what do these “friendships” avail him. He can’t even get some little seminary open over there (with all this friendship) and they’ve made 7 attempts to kill him in his homeland. Even his own GOARCH in America resisted giving him land from each diocese so he could convince the Turkish government that he was more important than just an internal religious figure.

                Now, lets talk a moment about something a bit more concrete and “harsh”, Russia’s relationship with Turkey. At some point, if Bartholomew pushes it far enough, especially in the Ukraine, I can see that the Russians might go to the Turks and tell them that Russia will need to reevaluate its position vis a vis the Turkish government in light of the interference of certain Turkish citizens in the spiritual life of the MP’s UOC.

                Now, of course, you being a man of the world, will conclude that the Turks, being noble and incorruptible, will defend their fellow Turkish citizens from the complaints of these foreigners. I mean, its not like there are lots of Russians in Turkey and lots of trade going on, . . . well, hmmm . . .

                http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkey_s-commercial-and-economic-relations-with-russian-federation.en.mfa

                And what is a “so-called blog”? You seem to be putting on the air with me and others that you’re just too sophisticated for this site, too knowledgeable. Perhaps, yet I’ve seen no evidence of this so far.

                PS: As you may or may not know, the Russians are building churches in Turkey. At the moment these are under the omophorion of the Phanar.

                http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/changes-in-constantinople/

                In the event of a break between the MP and the Phanar, what do you think happens to these churches? You do know how much say the Turkish government has regarding the succession to the “throne of Andrew”, no?

                “The real world is much more different, complex and harsh. I highly suggest you look at things more deeply.”

                Indeed.

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              • Isa Almisry says:

                “if you only knew how powerful the Ecumenical Patriarch really is”
                HAH has shown how impotent and indifferent he is.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              I think that a more historically accurate interpretation of the achievement of autocephaly of the Balkan Orthodox Churches would not be that they eventually accepted the authority of Constantinople, but that Constantinople eventually accepted the reality of the new autocephalous Churches. Even the Church of Greece proclaimed its own autocephaly and was out of Communion with Constantinople for a time. It took Constantinople from the 1870s until the 1940s to recognize the autocephaly of Bulgaria. Despite Balsamon’s views reported by Peter A. Papoutsis, Constantinople does not have ultimate authority in the Eastern Orthodox Church. If the other Holy Synods of the autocephalous Churches or a pan-Orthodox councils disagrees with the Ecumenical Patriarch on an issue, they can override or ignore Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch has no choice but to yield to the verdict of the rest of the Church. Constantinople is not an Eastern Orthodox Pope.

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              • What Constantinople’s claims from all the sources I’ve seen amount to is that a) canon 28 of the IVth EC means something that it plainly does not, and b) that because Constantinople has chosen over many centuries to convey tomes of autocephaly on this or that local church that, therefore, they have the exclusive right to do so, and that c) primacy is somehow a doctrinal matter in that the synodal system, with mutual agreement between its hierarchs and its primate (this requirement of agreement being a creature of canon law) recognizes an underlying essential characteristic of the Church, i.e., that primacy is somehow intrinsic, not a creature of canon law.

                I won’t dwell on the first two but just remark on (c). If there were a primus in the earliest days of the Church, and there would have to have been under C’ple’s theory, then it would have been St. James the Just, who presided over the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem. Thus, either the primus was understood as the bishop on whose territory the council took place, or Jerusalem had some supraconciliar claim to primacy, or the council simply decided he would be the primate for the purposes of the council.

                None of those help C’ple’s case for the nature of primacy.

                Moreover, there is no evidence that a council cannot remove primacy from one see and bestow it on another, nor for the proposition that it cannot limit or change the “responsibilities” of a primate or even his jurisdiction.

                This does not sound like primacy is a matter of doctrine, but rather of the good functioning of the Church. If, for example, the Church wished to operate without a primate except as a chairman for an EC, this could easily be done. Synods could make their own rules at the local level and an EC, once called by the emperor or by the mutual agreement of its members, could elect a primate as its first order of business as do many parish councils.

                I’m not suggesting this as a way to proceed, but rather that Orthodox primacy as it has always existed appears to be much more of a creature of discipline than an essential doctrine. Now of course none of this challenges the dogma that Christ is the Head of the Church.

                Proposition (a) above has been debunked by many here and elsewhere, is accepted by no one outside of Greek circles (and apparently not even by Jerusalem), etc.

                Proposition (b) is simply a non-sequitur. That Constantinople has chosen to do something does not therefore mean it has the exclusive right to do that thing. There was a time when, in the East, Constantinople was by far the most powerful see, the others having been conquered by Islam. And at time, this or that local church has appealed to Constantinople for autocephaly. Other times, they have simply proclaimed it. Other times, sees other than C’ple have granted it.

                So, in summary, a) territory unallocated by canon law may be evangelized or settled by any see; b) autocephaly is really a matter of recognition, the closer to universal recognition, the more real the autocephaly (however, the decision of a mother church, or its apostasy which orphans the daughter church, is functionally decisive), and c) primacy is a creation of canon law for the good functioning of the Church. Orthodox primacy is fundamentally unlike that proposed by Rome since it is not of the essence, nor an individual chrism, nor one of a particular see, conveying particular prerogatives, but rather an administrative arrangement.

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              • Isa Almisry says:

                “But I, who am the most unmixed citizen of Constantinople, and have been part of the most holy throne of Constantinople, both want and pray that Constantinople has, by the grace of God and without any stumbling block, all the privileges bestowed upon her by the divine canons”-Theodore Balsamon “Patriarch of Antioch.” Rhallis & Potlis, “Syntagma” II pp. 285-286

                Did he ever set foot out of Constantinople?

                His blunder on the borders of his own supposed patriarchate-Antioch, not Constantinople-led to this blunder, not to mention the role his ignorance led to the suppression of the Antiochian rite in Antioch.

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  You must remember that at the time that Theodore IV Balsamon was Patriarch of Antioch, (1185-1199) Antioch was under Latin Crusader occupation. He could not have set foot in Antioch. When the Crusaders took Antioch in 1098, one of the first things that they did was exile the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, John VI and replace him with a Latin Patriarch Peter I of Narbonne. The Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs of Antioch remained in exile, mostly in Constantinople until the Crusaders took Constantinople in 1204, and did not return to Antioch until the Patriarchate of Theodosius IV (1269-1276).

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                • Isa Almisry says:

                  “You must remember that at the time that Theodore IV Balsamon was Patriarch of Antioch, (1185-1199) Antioch was under Latin Crusader occupation. He could not have set foot in Antioch.”
                  It wouldn’t have mattered: the Vatican, its Latins and their Crusaders do not bear the blame for everything. Old and New Rome both share some bad habits.

                  The Emperor forced the Crusaders in 1161 to receive the Patriarch back in Antioch, and Pat. Athanasius replaced the Latin usurper in the Cathedral in Antioch in 1165. He perished, along with most of the Orthodox clergy and many of the Faithful in the earthquake that destroyed the city and the Cathedral in 1170.

                  This present mess, however, we can thank the Vatican for: its Crusaders-based on the inflated and faulty episcopal lists (to which evidently Balsamon depended on and contributed to) and their intention to run Palestine for pilgrims rather than the populace, erecting sees like Mount Tabor and Nazereth, and misidentifyinig others-redrew the boundary between Antioch and Jerusalem for their Latin patriarch, not only taking Acre (and Lebanon for a time) but got the first toehold on Arabia, i.e. Northern Jordan, moving by misidentification its metropolis of Bostra/BuSrah (then, as now, in Syria, with a bishop in Antioch’s Holy Synod) over 200 km. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem became coterminous with how far the Crusaders string of forts extended. Once the Muslims expelled the Crusaders, the reconstituted Orthodox Patriarchal hierarchy of Jerusalem just filled in. Laying the groundwork for the present absurd claims of the tomb worshiping cartel.

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  8. + Basil has a problem! He has worked so hard for unity and now, + Philip pulls the rug out from under him. So much for unity under the Ep. Ass’. What SHOULD happen now, as should have happened with + Iakavos when + Bart retired him, he should have left and announced he would be joining the OCA taking as many parishes as he could with him. Today, the American church would be united. So, the Ep. Ass. is now dead; now what? How about all the bishops get together and say, “Enough is enough!” Unite and start their own autocephalous church in America or join the OCA!

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    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

      Sam Ting. Metropolitan Philip did not pull the rug out from under anyone: he merely distributed the decision of the Patriarchate of Antioch REQUIRING the Antiochians around the world to withdraw from these episcopal assemblies. It’s says NOTHING about pan-Orthodox relations in America.

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      • + Basil is the driving force behind the Ep. Ass. + Philip has in essence, pulled him out. ROCOR will not participate nor will Moscow. There you have it. DEAD.

        “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” MLK

        “Autocephaly is never voluntarily given by the oppressors; it MUST be demanded and TAKEN by the oppressed!”

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    • Sam,

      “Join the OCA?”

      Seriously?

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      • Rostislav says:

        I think the level of political statements is declining rapidly. For the record, the OCA is the only local church on this territory and is commissioned by its Russian mother church to missionize North America. Unfortunately, due to the vicissitudes of history, we experienced myriad divisions over the last hundred years , amounting to an “Orthodox denominationalism” really instead of a “jurisdictionalism”. That is an abnormal Orthodox model of witness on a missionary territory, really constituting nothing more than a free for all.

        That being said, you can’t really function canonically on another local church’s territory indefinitely: eventually you become part of it or fade away or leave Orthodoxy altogether.

        There is a standard for Orthodox Faith, worship, discipline, and it is easily seen by simply LOOKING at other parts of the Orthodox world. When one does, one will see that Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Georgian, and even Antiochian Orthodoxy (in its homeland) conform to this standard and it more or less differs only locally. Thus, to say the Russians are “archaic” leaves one wondering whether or not one really wants Orthodoxy on its own terms or would prefer something which is distilled, watered down, etc. … heterodox.

        I often hear some voices talking about the “American context” to justify all manner of intentional deficiencies and innovations which are not known in the Orthodox world generally. It seems as if some wish to create a Protestant denomination instead of witnessing Orthodoxy in traditional Faith and worship. What they often espouse is a model which ends up being a lot like Vatican II papal Christianity. That isn’t Orthodoxy.

        Pastorship creating a congregation-friendly compromise in discipline with allowances for peoples’ spiritual growth is a good reason to have a more broad approach to Orthodox mission. Using it as an excuse to denature and deform authentic Faith and practice to the point where it forgets and turns its back on faithful and traditional observance and teaching, however, is infidelity, is setting a standard for Orthodoxy which is not worthy of it.

        In other words, broad approaches are meant to be used to help congregations grow into richer Faith, discipline, observance, what some may term “archaic” (but is really “mere Orthodoxy”) to prevent the nominalization of worship and the secularization of faith communities whose Faith and discipline becomes “schizophrenic” and “Christmas and Easter” Orthodoxy to quote Fr. Schmemann. Because it is observed not as a holistically Eucharistic ontology, but as a past time, as divorced from ones life in the culture, as lacking all witness to the world in which we live. Nominalist models fuel the fires of secularization, lapsing Orthodox Christians and atheism. They produce enemies of the Church because the Church being a hobby becomes irrelevant, banal, pointless to people who come to neither understand nor appreciate its richness and whole life in CHRIST. They come to react to models which never presented these options to them, never nurtured them in more mature Orthodoxy. If that is the standard for “Americanized” or “modern”, I will honestly say that it is a standard that will empty churches and breed impiety and collapse of the Orthodox mission, and that has been seen as the trend for the last thirty years.

        Broad church observance must exist to witness to people coming out of post Christian culture, yes, but its responsibility is to nurture souls to return witnesses of Orthodoxy to that culture to redeem it in CHRIST JESUS, that means maturing them in Faith, Piety and Traditional worship. Some churches do not offer or offer a more complete “broad” model. The fact that their witness is more complete and faithful to the Tradition is not in any way a deficiency, but, rather, an example of a greater standard of fidelity. In other words, they are consciously acting to meet a more faithful Orthodox standard. When you celebrate that your Orthodox observance is incomplete and that is “great and modern”, what you are in actuality celebrating is your brokenness, an Orthodox fragment.

        It is ironic sometimes to consider that papal Eastern Rite communities like the Melkite church can be much more traditional in worship and flourish, meeting the needs of their communities better than the Orthodox churches from which they have divided: that is a sorry standard and not one to emulate. I find it a sad commentary that one can learn more about the piety and orthopraxia of this group of Christians by reading the Uniate Bishop Raya than by reading its English language Orthodox literature. That isn’t an “archaic” standard (while it is only obliquely “papal”), it is a failing modern standard. A modern standard failing to meet the standard of Orthodoxy. If you don’t live up to who you are, you never become whole as who you are.

        I think we could take a few good steps forward by integrating into one American church which is necessarily a local church with a local form of Orthodoxy, not a moment of least common denominator “Americanization”. That Orthodoxy necessarily will have to be a whole Orthodoxy to be considered “mature” and not fragmentary and nominal, secularized. We could really progress if the Slavic jurisdictions were to join with the Antiochians and Romanians where we could invite the Antiochian Patriarch to take up an exiled residence here to take our Orthodox Church in America (OCA) into a more established future, where we will eventually have unity of all Orthodox under our own Patriarch. We could create a fusion of established customs and ontological Orthodox observances as well as integrating customs from the Orthodox West to create a living, native and observant Orthodoxy.

        If anyone is becoming Orthodox or is Orthodox to be an automaton and stick ones head in the sand because stewardship of the Church is “above their paygrade” (or whatever), one is burying ones talent to hand the MASTER no increase. Every chrismated Orthodox Christian has not only a say in right adherence and piety in their parishes and dioceses, in the local church, but an obligation and responsibility in maintaining full fidelity to Orthodoxy. No one will ever be perfect in their moral life in CHRIST, for theosis is eternal; however, Eucharistic ontology is an obligation of every baptized Orthodox Christian in the perfection in holiness of all of creation. Tuning out means someone else is tuning in and as we have seen in the last thirty years with the more “modern” model followed, the ones tuning have nigh brought us to shipwreck, where Orthodoxy in North America numbered 5,000,000 in 1980 and is now approximately 1,500,000. It might be a sign that obedience to this trend, this leadership, this nominalism is actually disobedience to CHRIST. So, yes, you can be active and Catholic, assuming your role in the Catholicity of the Church, and also pray, fast, be obedient to your pastors and archpastors. It is one of those things you were told to do in Chrismation. Not doing so means risking offering obedience to disobedience of CHRIST JESUS.

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  9. I remember these statements of Metropolitan Philip from 2010

    http://members5.boardhost.com/STANDREWHOUSE/msg/1274574314.html

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  10. When will we see this “letter”? I am nort sure I will believe it until I see it. This will put Bishop Basil in a rather difficult position….like between a rock and a hard place.

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  11. Protopappas says:

    George, I really respect your point of view on many things, but your view on the EA is one that has had me befuddled for a while.

    “nothing but a ruse to cement GOA hegemony over North America ”

    I really don’t understand this point of view. The Patriarchs set up Episcopal Assemblies which, if formed into a Synod, the Greek Bishops are dominated by non-Greek Bishops. To every 1 Greek Bishop there are 5 non-Greek Bishops. This is why it was acceptable to the Patriarchs who were Patriarchs at that time.

    Why would anyone who is against GOA hegemony be against it?

    “and finally put paid the claims of the OCA”

    lol, I think that Moscow and ROCOR (and Moscow’s acceptance of ROCOR) already did that. Shall we mention the ridiculous amounts of direct “representation” Churches directly under Moscow here and in Canada?

    Going against the EA is a step backwards. Not even ROCOR withdrew, although it has reserve on forming a single jurisdiction.

    BTW, this is not the American Antiochians doing this. This is Patriarch John flexing his muscles, telling Met. Philip that he had better impose the withdrawal already ruled upon by the Antiochian Synod due to Qatar, or else he is at an end for disobedience.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      “lol, I think that Moscow and ROCOR (and Moscow’s acceptance of ROCOR) already did that. Shall we mention the ridiculous amounts of direct “representation” Churches directly under Moscow here and in Canada?”
      Well outnumbered by the parishes the Phanar has kept for itself in Greece.

      Ukraine should well promote the solution adopted in the OCA Tomos, for its own autocephaly.

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    • I do not see ++Philip doing anything “demanded” by Damascus unless he chooses to do so. Otherwise why would the Patriarchate have allowed him to reduce all his diocesan bishops (which he enthroned) to uncanonical “auxiliary” status just to unload Mark.

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        Metropolitan Philip did not change the status of our local Antiochian Bishops, the Holy Synod of Antioch did to make our organization conform to the organization of the other Metropolinates of the Patriarchate. It has now been several years since the change. Except for the titles of the local Bishops nothing has changed. Each local Bishop administers his diocese as before. One thing that people outside the Antiochian Archdiocese do not realize is that Metropolitan Philip is not a micro-manager.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      “BTW, this is not the American Antiochians doing this. This is Patriarch John flexing his muscles, telling Met. Philip that he had better impose the withdrawal already ruled upon by the Antiochian Synod due to Qatar, or else he is at an end for disobedience.”
      Even if true, what of it?
      The Greek jurisdictions in “diaspora” prop up the canon 28 myth for the Phanar, the real reason why the Phanar insisted on the chairman being of their number. Not directly, of course. “According to the diptychs,” i.e. the very thing that the Metropolitan of Bursa now says doesn’t make anything.

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  12. Geo Michalopulos says:

    You would think that the way the EA was set up that it would preclude GOA domination. The reality on the ground however was the exact opposite. It was obvious to Philip from almost the start and became increasingly so to all the other non-GOA bishops. Every year they’ve had less and less attend for one thing. It pretty much became obvious to others after this last meeting in September that the GOA expects to run the whole ball of wax.

    As for the OCA’s claims being “put to paid,” you are correct. Moscow did just that (as I’ve already commented on quite frequently as a matter of fact) so I can’t blame the GOA for holding the OCA in contempt, especially after our flamboyant self-immolation which we recently effected.

    Plus, I don’t think that Damascus has any effective control over Philip. Yes, Antioch is rightfully p/o’d over the Qatar thing but that’s just an excuse for them to pull out of the whole EA process. If Philp and the Antiochians here in the US were sitting pretty under this process, they would have found a way out of Damascus’ diktat.

    Be looking for more to bail. It seems like SCOBA was a golden age in comparison.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      The Holy Synod does have control over Metropolitan Philip and the North American Antiochian Archdiocese. Despite our self-rule status, we are still part of the Patriarchate of Antioch and must obey the decisions of the Holy Synod of our Patriarchate.

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    • DC Indexman says:

      George M. As we approach the Day of Orthodoxy, can we focus a little more on positive steps some are taking towards Orthodox Unity in this country? For example every year in Los Angeles for the last four years, at least five of the local Bishops in that area, including Archbishop. Benjamin, concelebrate together on that day (that is five different jurisdictions – Greek, OCA, Antiochian, etc.). This is a fabulous service and uplifting. At the same time, St. Nicholas Antiochian Cathedral in LA, is now offering three Liturgies on Sundays – one English, one Arabic, and one Spanish. They do this as missionary work.

      Yes, the bishops at the national and international levels are highly entangled in geo politics, But locally things are going on. Can you say more?

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  13. Stepping back for a moment, all a united Church in the so-called diaspora under the EP offers is autonomy from the Greeks in a ‘separate but equal’ (yeah, MLK!) structure led by the Greeks. So, everyone remains ethnically focused and organized, but under a Church that does not share their ethnicity. The Greeks are seen to be the only winner and everyone else basically treads water while losing a direct connection with their mother churches. Why would they bother? What does the Chambesy course offer? If there is a ‘good enough’ canonical argument one can leverage (just like the ‘good enough’ argument the EP utilizes regarding its jurisdiction among the ‘barbarians’), seems best to just keep control of one’s own diaspora or ties with one’s mother Church.

    The whole apartheid structure of Orthodox ecclesiology envisioned (and active in the EP and the OCA) shows the weakness of viewing the issue thru the lens of a diaspora. If ‘diaspora’ is the lens, then everyone wants to keep ‘their’ people and ‘their’ churches.

    Autocephaly and ‘independence’ runs aground various well-known rocks, too.

    I would suggest the more appropriate lens is simply ensuring the rule is that each parish/diocese/bishop is required to serve all Orthodox and responsible for all evangelism in a given area. We are currently losing Orthodox in areas where there aren’t enough people or resources to support a stand alone parish. We also water down our witness and influence in America when we can’t get a population to cooperate that is less than 1% of the US population and lacking even a significant minority in any but a handful of sparsely populated counties in Alaska.

    Practically, it would seem the EA (and the EP) needs to enunciate a potential structure that balances the authority of a bishop over a given territory with the needs of ethnic communities under that bishop which the bishop may have no experience with. Also, how to give influence to the Mother Churches in a united church in the diaspora. I would argue that explicitly ‘ethnic’ bishops need to be given voting seats on any local Synod, and this may or may not overlap with representation on the Synod from various Mother Churches. How monies are sent up to the diocesan, national church, and mother church levels will likely also need to be put in place.

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    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says:

      Interestingly, our nation’s military is comprised of less than 1% of the total population. Think of what could be accomplished by so small a group (proportionally), yet singularly focused and mobilized.

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      • Apt comparison when our funding rivals that of the Pentagon. All of American Orthodoxy is running on less than a single Joint Strike Fighter.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          I think that’s unfair. I’d say that the majority of Pentagon spending is not on the “tooth” of the tiger but the “tail.”

          Fr Peter’s point is very apt: our warrior class is not much more numerous than the total amount of Orthodox Americans. If we had their tenacity, fervor, and sense of mission, America would be a much different place today.

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          • Tenacious, fervent, committed soldiers are often canon fodder for better armed, better funded soldiers. The Russians against the Germans in WWI, the Maori in New Zealand and the Zulus in South Africa against the British, the Navajo against the US Army, etc. Esprit d’corps can do wonderful things, but in the main, “God fights on the side with the best artillery”. The same is true in the culture war.

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              What you describe in the ecclesial sense is martyrdom. (And for what it’s worth, I would not have used my soldiery in the way that Zhukov did but we forget that despite this horrible waste of blood, the Russians did win WWII.)

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              • I was referring to WWI and Russia’s cavalry on horseback fighting German tanks and machine guns. Numbers and chivalry do not guarantee success. In fact, as Christians, we are not promised success. We are promised to be treated as our Master was treated; and then he will treat us as His Father did, but only on the last day.

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            • Your Napoleonic cynicism is out of place for the Church Militant, albeit a tempting maxim.

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  14. It certainly sounds like this came from the Patriarch and was addressed to all not just the Antiochians here in America. Have not seen letter from either the Patriarch or Met. Philip but suspect that when we do that it will be obvious that Met. Philip was following orders.

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  15. The illusion is that there is a problem to be solved and that the AB is a way of addressing it. The only real problem from a canonical perspective, setting aside the utter contempt for orthopraxis of some jurisdictions, is the eparchial overlap. But GOARCH and the OCA have no intention of solving that “problem” even within their own jurisdictions.

    So just ignore it all and it will go away eventually. Буря в стакане воды (more or less, “a tempest in a teacup”).

    Pray, repent, live an Orthodox lifestyle, acquire the Holy Spirit. The politics are a distraction.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      I know of no contempt for genuine Orthodopraxis in any canonical Orthodox jurisdiction. The problem is that some people equate traditions with a small t with Holy Tradition. The more that I read from some of the writings of some self-proclaimed defenders of Orthodoxy or so called traditionalists, the more this concerns me. Orthodoxy is the Faith and practices of the Holy Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. It means faithful adherence to the doctrine and moral teachings of the Church with no room for deviation. It also means the reverent and proper celebration of the services with no innovation or excessive abbreviations of the services for our worship defines our Orthodox Faith. I write excessive abbreviations, because if we are honest we must admit that no parish follows all the directions contained in the Typikon. It does not mean making a doctrine of wearing a cassock all of the time, long beards and uncut hair. True Orthodox unity would require some tolerance for diversity on these external matters. It would mean that I would not judge a priest who does not trim his beard, cut his hair or wear a cassock where I would not wear a cassock. However, it would also mean that I would not be judged because I trim my beard, get hair cuts, and only wear my cassock at the Church and wear a clerical shirt and collar the rest of the time. In short, these externals would be considered at best theologoumena and not doctrine. Which calendar we use would also be a matter of theologoumena and not doctrine or Church dividing. It also means agreement on the nature of true Orthodox ecumenism, which is my opinion would not exclude dialogue with non-Orthodox or participation in ecumenical organizations that are not overly political as the National Council of Churches has become, but it would mean refusal to participate in so called ecumenical worship with non-Orthodox with some flexibility that would allow an Orthodox Priest to give a prayer at a community service organized by the secular authorities after some catastrophe such as a natural or man made disaster. In summary unity would require unity in essentials but diversity in non-essentials.

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      • Rostislav says:

        The writings of the Holy Fathers and the Holy Canons are normative expressions of Tradition which include “traditions,” ie orthopraxia. There seem to be quite a few persons putting their own spin to things in disobedience to the expression of the Church. Indeed, many think they have the right to speak in place of the Church in such disobedience and tell her what Canons they will obey and what Holy Fathers they will ignore, all on the shaky standard of when it suits them. Notice, they are telling the Church, not the Church is telling them: that is precisely the warning sign we all need to watch for. Strangely enough, they depose people for “disobedience” often when often offering disobedience to the Holy Canons and the Holy Fathers themselves as it suits them. Such a self-serving relativistic standard is an overthrow of “orthopraxia” and, indeed, tantamount to lawlessness, rebellion, even schism. It is nothing but cynical hypocrisy and disobedience where orthopraxia is no where to be found in spirit (definitely not in SPIRIT) or even as a guiding principle.

        There is nothing clever about duplicity and no justification for it. It certainly is not an expression of illumination in the HOLY SPIRIT. The spirit of such darkness could definitely be washed until Kingdom Come and thereafter. Moreover, standards of obedience to disobedience follow as disobedience to the Church to the condemnation of the parties involved. Indeed, a current out there seems to want to “play church,” spinning sophistries and half truthes to construct a very cafeteria, Protestant attempt at Orthodoxy, which, alas, all too often discredits itself as a very nominal and secularized, disobedient “Orthodoxy.”

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          The comment above shows a profound misconception of Orthodoxy. The issue is not now, nor has it ever been the authority of the canons. The issue is that some people consider 19th century applications of the canons as the norm and completely ignore the historical fact that there have been changes in how the Church has interpreted and applied non-dogmatic canons through the centuries. There are dogmatic canons that express eternal unchangeable truths that are the essence of Orthodoxy. Then there are disciplinary canons that have been applied and interpreted differently as the Church lives its unchanging faith in an ever changing society that are not the essence of Orthodoxy. I refuse to put Orthodoxy in a deep freeze by trying to recreate 19 century Greece or Russia in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Some people confuse their interpretation on how we should apply the canons with the canons themselves. More often than not that is the case when someone invokes the canons, they are not really invoking the canons, they are invoking their interpretation of the canons. Those who equate Orthodoxy with long beards, and cassocks in the grocery store completely miss the essence of real Orthodoxy which is centered on correct doctrine and worship, not how long a priest’s beard is or even if he has a beard or where he wears a cassock. People who confuse externals with Orthodoxy or dare to judge a priest who does not adhere to all the 19th century old country customs have a corrupt Westernized and legalistic view of Orthodoxy. Frankly, I would rather stay divided into separate jurisdictions than to submit to a mindless legalism distorted with the false idea that we must preserve every practice of the 19th century or we have betrayed Holy Orthodoxy that seems to dominate the thinking of some Eastern Orthodox. I emphasize that I do disdain or condemn those whose practice of Orthodoxy is different than mind, but I absolutely reject the opinion of someone who judges me by the length of my beard or the fact that I took off my cassock before I left the Church early this afternoon. Those who accuse me of picking choosing which canons to obey are themselves guilty of doing that by demanding that I, or more correctly, my Bishop must agree with their interpretation on how to apply the canons or they are not really Orthodox.

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          • Isa Almisry says:

            I dunno: when I’m in Egypt, I often wear a cassock (we call it a gallabeyyah), like everyone else. Just not in black.
            I don’t know how a cassock can be “priest’s clothes” when everyone is wearing a tunic.

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        • Rostislav says:

          No, this is again you branding something “nineteenth century” of practices which ARE OBSERVED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE ORTHODOX WORLD T-O-D-A-Y, save for a handful of ecclesiastical rebels in the West. Even your Melkite counterparts are very much observing “nineteenth century” clerical dress in the twenty-first century, because it identifies them as Easter Rite clerics. Orthodox is Orthodox. Heterodox attire is not Orthodox. Dressing like a papal pedophile priest diminishes Orthodox witness and confuses people as to your identity, having them associate you with heterodox clerics, AND IN A BAD WAY ASSOCIATING YOU WITH QUITE UNSAVORY OCCURENCES IN THE NORTH AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE WHICH IMPEDES YOUR WITNESS. Orthodox clerics dress and look like Orthodox clerics. They don’t pick and choose what they want to observe on the basis of their own proclivities in rebellion to the Church and her norms.

          The Holy Canons are not a matter of picking out what you like or wish to brand “archaic:” no one ceded that authority to either yourself or a rogue diocese of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Your ecclesiastical authority IS CONTINGENT UPON ITS FIDELITY TO THE HOLY CANONS, THE HOLY FATHERS, THE HOLY SCRIPTURE expressing the MIND OF CHRIST, and where it falls short of that mark, it is either diminished or nullified. You do not have the authority to either speak in place of the Church or “despite what the Church teaches and ordains.” That is lawlessness, rebellion, schism. No matter of spin is going to undo the FACT that you are in SELF-WILLED disobedience from the norms and practices of the Orthodox Church propagating your own notion of “Orthodoxy” in its place, in effect perpetrating by your quiet admission a religious counterfeit.

          Again, Fr. Morris, the Orthodox Church does not traffic in 3 dollar bills. If you wish to be taken seriously, be obedient to the Church. None of this Bagdad Bob humbug is convincing anyone. The more you write it, the more you say you are in disobedience to the Church and refuse to be humble and accept its ways and discipline. That is unworthy of an Orthodox cleric.

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  16. What’s really interesting regarding + Philip’s action is that this began in Qutar! The Jerusalem Pat. (under + Bart) decided to encroach on the ecclesiastical authority of the Pat. of Damascus (Antioch). So, they decided they would no longer play ball with Istanbul. Now, the so-called “self-ruled” Antiochian Archdiocese in America, ruled by + Philip and supposedly “makes it’s own decisions” (autonomous), decides to ALSO tell + Bart it won’t play ball either. We have a situation in little Qutar, a minor nothing in nowhere, causing an issue to disrupt American Orthodoxy? Really? How silly is this? Exactly the reason why every territory, every local church, under Orthodox Canon Law, rules itself and isn’t obliged to react to political issues outside it’s own territory. The Antiochian Archdiocese isn’t “self-ruled.” Maybe it’s “self-ruled” by + Philip who is still a member of the Synod in Damascus. True autocephaly for ALL the American Orthodox is way overdue!

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    • Disgusted With It says:

      I think it would be a bit naive to say that the problem is one of an overreaction by Antioch (Damascus) over Qatar. If you keep track of news overseas, it would appear that Jerusalem is ruffling other feathers too. Don’t be surprised if we see other patriarchates start to pull away from pan-Orthodox assemblies and meetings as a result of various disputes.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      The discussions on this thread show that we are not ready for autocephaly. Some people allow disagreement over minor externals that really have nothing to do with the doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Church to cause divisions. Only when we see ourselves as one and learn to respect each other will we be ready for autocephaly. We are a long away from the unity necessary for autocephaly. I am quite content to remain under Antioch until, we reach the point that we overcome all the divisions among us over non doctrinal matters and fights between the factions of Russian Orthodoxy or between the Greeks and the Russians. At least in Antioch, I am under a Patriarch who comes here and serves the Divine Liturgy in my language. I am also under a Bishop who understands the difference between Holy Tradition that does not change and traditions that have and will continue to change in the future.

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  17. Michael Bauman says:

    sam, unfortunately, we don’t have the roots in the tradition and this land that would allow such a thing. An autocephalous Church would rather quickly become a nightmare for all those who want to follow Holy Tradition, especially Orthodox moral teaching. A schism would quickly develop. You do realize that such schisms already exist, don’t you?

    We don’t know what Orthodox means in the context of the North American experience.

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    • Michael:

      You don’t understand. Orthodoxy can take-hold and grow in any culture and any country – read Florovsky. An “autocephalous” Church isn’t a nightmare and does not infringe upon moral teaching nor interfere with Holy Tradition. The OCA has already shown how this works. The Romanian Americans remain exactly that; same with the Bulgarians and Albanians; all teaching and following the Orthodox Faith. You speak of “schisms,” what schisms? Do you mean ROCOR isolating itself from other Orthodox?

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    • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

      An autocephalous Church would rather quickly become a nightmare for all those who want to follow Holy Tradition, especially Orthodox moral teaching. A schism would quickly develop.

      Bet on it!

      If jurisdictional unity arrived this very day, the only Antiochian parish within the city limits of Chicago (All Saints Church) would likely find itself under the authority of the Greek Metroplis of Chicago.

      The faithful of All Saints Church would never submit to that.

      Consequently Metropolitan PHILIP’s recent decision is the source of great relief and comfort in this parish.

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        It was not Metropolitan Philip’s decision. It was the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch. His Beatitude, Patriarch John X, met with the Ecumenical Patriarch and even met with representatives of the Greek government in an effort to resolve the problem. The fault for this lies solely on Jerusalem which clearly violated the canons by establishing an archdiocese in the canonical territory of Antioch as defined by the decision of the 4th Ecumenical Council that I quoted above.

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      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        Nobody seems too quick here to apply the lessons of Protestantism in America to the Orthodox church, but there are actually some valuable ones. Competition in “jurisdictions” is one of them. It has kept Protestantism far more vital here than it has been for generations in Europe.

        In our present, highly fraught, time and place, this “competition” among jurisdictions is one of the guarantees of Orthodoxy.

        My own personal take is that the lamentations over the “non-canonical” status of multiple bishoprics, etc, in North America over the last generation or two are mistaken, although it is only lately apparent that this is so.

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      • arthur simms says:

        Fr. Patrick(?),

        Autocephaly does not mean that there would be one bishop per city. Look at the OCA model. Each ethnic bishop controls and runs their own diocese, but sit on the Synod of all the bishops of the OCA. Eventually, one bishop per city may come about, but not initially. The key is that all the Orthodox Churches in America would not be under any foreign bishops. No ones money would find it’s way overseas unless the synod of bishops decided it. Self determination and real self-rule.

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        • Here is the thing about that, arthur: Is autocephaly a goal in and of itself or is it pursued in order to solve the problem of canonical anomalies?

          As has been pointed out here by a number of people including me, autocephaly, as you correctly observe, would not actually solve the problem of overlapping eparchies. The thing is, that’s really the only canonical anomaly (setting aside problems in orthopraxy – pews, calendars, dress, etc. – for a moment). The notion that one church should occupy all of one political entity is more customary than canonical or traditional. Greece itself is one example. The Archbishop of Athens is the head of the Greek Church but four provinces in the north plus Athos are under Constantinople which, incidentally, happens to be in the same present day country as Antioch.

          Now, obviously a patchwork of non-overlapping eparchies responsible to different synods would be, um, less than optimal. That, regrettably is the hand we might be dealt though if we simply solved the problem of overlap at the earliest possible convenience.

          If autocephaly is a goal in and of itself because we don’t like being under “foreign” bishops or primates, well, I suppose it depends on whom you call a foreigner. Lots of Greeks here do not think of Pat. Bartholomew as a ξένος nor do most Russians here think of Pat. Kirill as an иностранец. This is not really a problem as far as the Russians are concerned since the Church of Russia is far, far more wealthy than ROCOR. But for the Greeks and the Antiochians, it is serious. There simply isn’t much to the Church of Constantinople there in Istanbul besides the offices of the Patriarch and maybe 2000 Greeks. It’s like a large American corporation which happens to have its most senior executive offices overseas. America and its other overseas possessions are the Constantinopolitan Orthodox Church. What else is left? In a sense, that is the “reality” of which Met. Savvas spoke and in a sense he is correct. It would be deeply contrary to any dispassionate assessment of the interests of Constaninople to shrink its omophorion from a few million to 2000.

          Now Antioch is a bit different but a similar dynamic applies because of the resources of the AOCNA.

          I’m not even going to go into the ethnocentricity except to say than no one likes to be a little fish in a big pond if they can be a big fish in a little pond.

          That’s really why American autocephaly is unrealistic. The tribes and the cashflow are against it.

          This goes back to the beginning of the farce that is the AB. In order to placate at least some of the energy of the autocephaly movement, the Phanar launched a unity movement. Thus they started talking about the uncanonical situation here in America and the need to resolve it. However, if the only means of resolving it were autocephaly, they would not be discussing the canonical problem. Only with the view toward unity under Constantinople are the Phanar and 79th Street aghast at the alphabet soup of America.

          This too shall pass. Now GOARCH and the Phanar can say, “Well, we tried. Those *&%@$# Slavs and Arabs threw a wrench into unity. Not our fault.”

          And now maybe we can focus on something important.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      There is no schism over moral teachings, or there should be. The moral teachings of the Orthodox Church is divinely inspired and does not change. You cannot be faithful to Orthodoxy and support the normalization of homosexuality, same sex marriage or abortion. If there is a schism it is cause by self-righteous judgmental people who condemn anyone who does not follow their interpretation of Orthodox traditions as not faithful to the canons or Holy Tradition of the Church. What we have is some people with the mentality of the Russian Old Believers who consider any deviation from their idea of Orthodoxy heretical. These people become incredibly judgmental towards those who do not agree with them on externals like beards, long hair, cassocks in the grocery store and other non-essentials. These are the one who are creating a schism, or to put it more correctly making someone like me very leery about Orthodox unity. I would rather stay under our Antiohian Bishops who have a better understanding of the real meaning of Holy Tradition, than loose that by uniting with a Bishop who has the attitude that 19 century Orthodoxy is the model that we all must follow. Please, note that I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH A PRIEST WHO WEARS A LONG BEARD, LONG HAIR OR A CASSOCK AND RASSO WHERE I WOULD NOT. I ONLY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH SOMEONE WHO JUDGES MY COMMITMENT TO ORTHODOXY BY THE FACT THAT I HAVE SHORT HAIR, TRIM MY BEARD AND TOOK OFF MY CASSOCK OFF WHEN I LEFT THE CHURCH THIS MORNING. If an Orthodox Priest wants to wear a long beard, hair and a cassock outside of the Church, it is not my place to judge him, but it is not his place or the place of anyone else to judge me. I put the above in all capts to emphasize that I am not guilty of the same offense that those who judge me by externals by judging another priest by externals. I remembered this morning when I put on my vestments, that my short hair makes it possible for me to put on my vestments without worrying about messing up my hair.

      Fr. John W. Morris

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  18. And this is why the Church in it’s wisdom has always believed in “local autocephalous churches.” One local church in each territory (country). A centralized church, like Rome, often leads to the temptation of much money and some of it disappearing. Even the GOA under + Iakavos had real estate scandals where millions disappeared!

    Vatican monsignor arrested for money laundering

    Vatican monsignor arrested for money laundering: An undated photo of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano in Salerno, Italy.: An undated photo of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano in Salerno, Italy. Scarano, who is already on trial for allegedly plotting to smuggle $26 million from Switzerland to Italy, was ordered arrested in a separate case on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 for allegedly using his Vatican bank accounts to launder money. AP Photo: Francesco Pecoraro
    An undated photo of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano in Salerno, Italy. Scarano, who is already on trial for allegedly plotting to smuggle $26 million from Switzerland to Italy, was ordered arrested in a separate case on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 for allegedly using his Vatican bank accounts to launder money.

    A By Nicole Winfield of Associated Press

    VATICAN CITY — A Vatican monsignor already on trial for allegedly plotting to smuggle $26 million from Switzerland to Italy was arrested Tuesday in a separate case for allegedly using his Vatican bank accounts to launder money.

    Financial police in the southern Italian city of Salerno said Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, dubbed “Monsignor 500″ for his purported favored banknotes, had transferred millions of euros in fictitious donations from offshore companies through his accounts at the Vatican’s Institute for Religious Works.

    Police said they seized 6.5 million euros in real estate and bank accounts Tuesday, including Scarano’s luxurious Salerno apartment, filled with gilt-framed oil paintings, ceramic vases and other fancy antiques.

    A local priest was also placed under house arrest and a notary public was suspended for alleged involvement in the money-laundering plot. Police said in all, 52 people were under investigation.

    Scarano’s lawyer, Silverio Sica, said his client merely took donations from people he thought were acting in good faith to fund a home for the terminally ill. He conceded, however, that Scarano used the money to pay off a mortgage.

    “We continue to strongly maintain the good faith of Don Nunzio Scarano and his absolute certainty that the money came from legitimate donations,” Sica told The Associated Press.

    The Salerno investigation was already under way when Scarano was arrested in June in Rome on the smuggling accusations.

    Police and Sica have said the money involved in both the Swiss smuggling case and the Salerno money-laundering case originated with one of Italy’s most important shipping families, the d’Amicos.

    On Tuesday, financial police said more than 5 million euros had been made available to Scarano by the D’Amicos via offshore companies.

    Police and Sica described the laundering plot as follows: Scarano allegedly withdrew 555,248 euros from his Vatican account in cash in 2009 and brought it into Italy. Since he couldn’t deposit it in an Italian bank without drawing suspicion, he selected 50 friends to accept 10,000 euros apiece in cash in exchange for a check or wire transfer in that same amount.

    The money then went to pay off a mortgage on a Salerno property held in the name of a company Scarano partly owned.

    The D’Amico family, from Scarano’s hometown of Salerno, denied its involvement in a July 1 statement. Their communications firm did not immediately respond to a request seeking new comment Tuesday. No one in the family has been arrested in either case.

    Scarano was fired from his job as an accountant in the Vatican’s main financial office and Vatican prosecutors seized the 2.3 million still in his accounts after his arrest.

    The Vatican’s top prosecutor said last week that the Holy See had responded to two official requests from Italy for information about Scarano’s accounts, while making its own request to Italian authorities for help in its own money-laundering investigation of him.

    The Vatican’s own investigation into Scarano’s banking activity showed that some 7 million euros had come into and out of his Vatican accounts over the past decade.

    The Vatican’s documentation arrived on Salerno prosecutors desks in recent weeks, leading to his re-arrest on Tuesday, Italian media reported.

    Scarano’s original arrest in June led to the resignations of the Vatican bank’s top two managers and accelerated efforts to make the troubled institute conform to international anti-money-laundering norms.

    Pope Francis has made reforming the bank a priority and has named a fact-finding commission to look into its activities and legal structure.

    Scarano’s initial arrest in the smuggling case was reduced to house arrest because of his ailing health. Sica said the prelate would serve the new arrest warrant also under house arrest.

    In the Rome smuggling case, prosecutors say Scarano, a financier and a carabinieri officer devised an elaborate plot to transport 20 million euros in a private jet from Switzerland to Italy avoid paying customs duties. The plot fell apart because the financier reneged at the last minute.

    Sica has said Scarano in that case was merely acting as a middleman.

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  19. What a shock and a shame for the OCA that her historic high profile place at the annual DC March for Life on January 22 is over. It has always been the place of the OCA to offer the opening invocation at the March for Life but today that was done by a bishop of the Greek Archdiocese as the OCA bishops present looked on.

    Another indication of the OCA’s slipping credibility? Now that the Roman Catholic bishops have taken over the planning of the March and the close working relationship of the RC’s with the Greek Archdiocese, it appears that one of the only high profile opportunities for the OCA has ended.

    Too bad to see it slip under the waves but bad leadership tactics do have consequences and the OCA is paying the price.

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    • arthur simms says:

      James,

      The OCA hasn’t lost it’s spot at the March for Life. Rather, the Greeks have been non-existent! This is a way to engage the Greeks (with lots of youth) and bring them into the March.

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      • arthur simms,

        I must give a tip of the hat on that “glass half full” conclusion regarding the OCA and the March for Life. But the truth of the matter is that the OCA had to take a back seat at this year’s March because it is now a known entity, a little jurisdiction with an embarrassing group of bishops and little credibility. The organizing Roman Catholic bishops don’t need to have a questionable jurisdiction take center stage at such an important event.

        To assume that Greek clergy and laity don’t support the March in DC and just as important support local Marches in cities across the USA is myopic and ridiculous.

        The OCA had a nice working relationship with the late Nelly Gray but with her passing and a wider view of the Pro-Life movement demonstrated this year with Adoption not Abortion as the theme the OCA was in a diminished role as a jurisdiction.

        Let’s be clear, I applaud the OCA for its anti-abortion work but as a high profile media opportunity, not giving the opening invocation and being relegated to giving it at the non-covered Rose Dinner is a kick in the OCA gut. The pathetic pictures posted on the OCA website and their Facebook page reinforce this perception.

        http://oca.org/media/photos/orthodox-christians-at-dc-march-for-life

        https://www.facebook.com/orthodoxchurchinamerica

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      • Greek Orthodox Bishop Demetrios gave the opening invocation at the 2014 March for Life in Washington, according to Relevent Radio..

        Greek Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos spoke at the 9th annual March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza in the Loop.

        Not sure if they are mixing the two Bishops and events up.

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    • Priest Raphael says:

      A Greek bishop was not only there, but led the invocation? That’s so great! Anyone have any pics?

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  20. “Vatican monsignor arrested for money laundering”

    Church is good business! Lots of money; little regulation and opportunity for all at the top to dip in and take what they want. Just ask RSK; he took the OCA for millions. Just follow all the scandals in the GOA kept quiet over the years. How about the secret books of the Antiochians? Yes, Church is good business!

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  21. Antioch’s position may not be correct. Here is the response to Patriarch John from the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

    http://www.jp-newsgate.net/en/2013/04/29/2741

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    • Problem being, the “Arabia” that Jerusalem talks about is Provincia Arabia, which is basically Petra in Jordan. There is no history, Byzantine or modern, of Jerusalem having any territory outside the borders of the Empire (being territorially boxed in by the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria/Sinai), while several bishops from Antioch were present at the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon of 410 that organized territories to the east of the Byzantine Empire into regular dioceses– including explicitly Qatar. After the Church of the East went all ‘Nestorian’ in 435, the Patriarchate of Antioch ‘And all the East’ established a catholicos over all Church of the East territory by the 10th century at the very latest… The Arabian Gulf is long-time Antiochian territory, while there is no historical presence from Jerusalem in the region. Of course, the corrupt Wahhabi monarchy in Qatar prefer to sponsor the easily-bought bishops of Jerusalem at the expense of those from Syria who actually care about their flock….

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      • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

        “Patriarch of Jerusalem” was a purely honorific title.

        If memory serves—for I was young then—the Diocese of Jerusalem was part of the Metropolitanate of Caesarea.

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        Antioch has had a Metropolitan with jurisdiction over Qatar for a long time. Ironically he is a Greek. Jerusalem had no right to establish an Archdiocese in Qatar without at least consulting with Antioch over the matter. The title of the Patriarch of Antioch is Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Qatar is in the East and is also in the territory designated as under Antioch by the 4th Ecumenical Council, Chalcedon in 451.

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        I find myself wondering what role the US State Department has in this whole affair. It was the American ambassador to Qatar who first invited Jerusalem to Qatar. I wonder if he asked Jerusalem for a Priest to come because of the hostility of our government towards Syria. The Syrian Christians have long looked to the Assad regime to keep the radical Muslims under control. It is no accident that the US backed rebels have also been guilty of terrible atrocities against Syrian Christians. Our American government has never defended the rights of Orthodox Christians. They did not is Cyprus, they stood by and watched the near destruction of the Christian community in Iraq. Obama claimed that we can deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Coptic Churches burned. Had the Egyptian military not intervened against the will of the Obama administration, they would have Muslim Sharia Law in Egypt. Now we are doing the same in Syria. The rebels that began with US backing have declared that their goal is an Islamic stat ruled according to Sharia Law. Either our State Department is stupid, or it is guilty of helping groups allied with our enemies in Al Qaeda take over the Middle East. That used to be called treason.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      “Antioch’s position may not be correct. Here is the response to Patriarch John from the Patriarch of Jerusalem.”
      Antioch’s position is correct. Specious argumentation, propaganda and revisionism do not beat facts.

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      • Isa Almisry says:

        “You seem to care more about “Protecting Turf” than the Gospel….I would worry more about spreading the Gospel of Christ to the 80% and working together like Orthodox Christian Brothers”
        Said in defense of the tomb worshiping cartel, that is very rich indeed.

        As for agreeing on an “impartial tribunal,” only a complete fool turns his child over to a tribunal to arbitrate his parenthood.

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        • Isa,

          It sounds more and more to me like this is the Phanar trying to stir the pot in order to bolster its claim to universal jurisdiction. If the Czech-Slovak Church, the Ukraine, Qatar, etc are involved in turf battles, then the impression is created that if we all just recognized the universal jurisdiction of Constantinople that we’d avoid these problems. Notice, the Phanar is involved in the creation of crises in each of these locals, either directly or by proxy. They’re not welcome in the CS Church, they are divisive in the Ukraine and they’re pushing the bounds of tolerance in Qatar through Jerusalem, all at the time when Met. Elpidophoros is arguing for a doctrinal primacy for C’ple.

          Politics, politics . . . in confusion there is profit.

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          • Isa Almisry says:

            Yes, it is a co-ordinated attack on Orthodoxy to impose Ultramarism.

            The Episcopal Assemblies were supposed to drag in the window what the Phanar had the front door slammed in its face when it tried to sell it-the canon 28 myth.
            Alas! The other Churches didn’t play along for that aim, going along to give the Phanar just enough rope…In the US, Arb. Demetrios (Many Years!) stuck with Orthodoxy and invited the OCA: now that accord the Phanar says “every Orthodox Church has signed” recognizes the Church not under Moscow.

            So now the Phanar is frustrated and enraged, and is now pushing for a 2015 council in another attempt to rush a rubber stamping of its canonical novelty, and since it can’t hide behind the “ancient patriarchates” nonsense-now, thanks to the tomb worshipers acting out backed by omogeneia-the ethnarch is unmasked.

            Until the Phanar repents of Ultramarism by repudiating its canon 28, expect more stalling. I think that is what the ROCOR statement serves-just a warning to the Phanar that no rubber stamp awaits its paperwork. As long as Moscow doesn’t publicly embrace it but just lets it hang out there, we’ll be fine.

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            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

              Isa, what do you mean by “ultramarism”? The EP’s claim of dominion “beyond the sea”? Does anyone else use this term, or did you invent it? Not saying you can’t invent words, but I’d like to know if it’s defined anywhere.

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            • Isa Almisry says:

              “How utterly protestant we have become where we are jurisdictions instead of One Church”
              Yeah, and who did that?

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  22. Patrick Henry Reardon says:

    Father John Morris is a Ph.D. in history, has published—among other things—a history of the Orthodox Church, and reads ancient texts in both Greek and Latin.

    This is all a matter of record,

    On the other hand, we don’t know anything about this anonymous person who calls himself GOAPriest and spouts off about ancient documents with which we have no reason to believe he is familiar.

    So far, all his comments have been ad hominem (Check with Father John to learn what that means), and mostly insulting.

    By the way, those of you disposed to dismiss Isa Almisry, take care. Isa is a walking encyclopedia on the early
    Church and the Middle East; he is fluent in Arabic and has taught it for years. (His Turkish and Pharsi are slightly less fluent than his Arabic.) You are not well counseled to mess with him.

    I wouldn’t challenge either Father John Morris or Isa Almisry on much of anything, and certainly not on the subjects discussed in this thread.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      Thank you for your kind comments, but I cannot claim great competency in reading ancient texts in Greek or Latin. I know enough to check some texts for the meanings of a key few words and phrases, but am hardly fluent. One thing that the Greek Priest does not understand is that when writing in English, modern American historians always quote the text in English and give one’s readers a citation of an English source if a reliable translation if available so that the reader can check the accuracy of the citation. The Nicene Fathers volume on the Ecumenical Councils is much better than the Rudder, because it gives the text of more than the canons, but also includes the proceedings and scholarly commentary. I frankly doubt that there is any text in Greek that contains more or better information on the councils, because many of the minutes and documents have been lost. What little we still have is in the volume of the Nicene Fathers on the Ecumenical Councils. Thus, it is the most complete source available in any language on the councils. For example, we have very little from the 1st Ecumenical Council. One must also be careful with the English edition of the Rudder because it contains commentary that is just that, commentary and which has no official standing in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some of the commentary comes from followers of a man named Apostolos Makrakis who was condemned by the Holy Synod of Athens and the monks of Mt. Athos for teaching heresy.

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        The American English edition of the Rudder was published in 1957 by a group in Chicago called the Orthodox Education Society that was devoted to the teaching of Apostolos  Makrakis who was condemned for heresy by the Holy Synod of Greece and the monks of Mt. Athos. Part of the commentary comes St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain who was part of a group known as the Kollyvdies   They were called Kollvdies from the boiled wheat used during a Memorial Service, because they considered it un-Orthodox to serve Memorial Services on Sunday.   They had some good ideas like frequent Communion and using the “Jesus Prayer,” but went to extremes.  They had a very legalistic view of the canons.  They were vehemently anti-Catholic and Protestant. Patriarch Cyril V, who ordered that all converts must be received by Baptism was part of this group. The translations of the canons are correct, but one must take the commentary with a degree of skepticism. The volume in the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers on the Ecumenical Councils, is a much better source for information on the canons.
        By the way on that issue, the Holy Synod of Constantinople never approved the Oros of 1755 that required re-Bapism of Baptized Catholics and Protestants who convert to Orthodoxy. Thus it is technically un-canonical. The champions of “conditional Baptism,” do not realize that their whole argument that Catholics and Protestants must be received by Baptism is based on an un-canonical act by an Ecumenical Patriarch who was deposed by his Holy Synod, partially over this issue. Cyril tried to remove the Bishops who disagreed with his departure from the traditional practice of the Church which was to receive Baptized converts by Chrismation as was mandated by two Pan-Orthodox Councils, Constantinople 1485 for Catholics and Jerusalem-Bethlehem 1672 for Protestants.  Instead, the Holy Synod  removed Cyril V and exiled him to Mt. Athos.

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      • Christopher Jones says:

        Father: I don’t condone the style of attack leveled against you, but I must say that you are not at all helping your case as you make these follow up claims about sources in Orthodox canon law. There are in fact much better and more complete collections of canonical material, almost none of which are in English. Ignorance of these sources and the inability to read them is a major problem in Anglophone Orthodox literature and understanding.

        To get some small idea of the immensity of the sources, just look up any topic in Richard Potz and Eva Synek’s Orthodoxes Kirchenrecht: Eine Einführung. It’s written in the German handbook style by two leading scholars of the field, with ample references to the primary and secondary material in Greek, Latin, Church Slavonic, Russian, Serbian, German, French, etc. Keep in mind it is but a student’s *introduction* to the field.

        As for a better collection of the most basic texts, see Rhallis and Potlis’ Syntagma. It is six hefty volumes of primary sources. In Orthodox lands and in modern critical scholarship on Orthodox canon law, it is the basic source one quotes (no longer NPNF or such outdated and partial translations).

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          I make no claims to be an expert in Orthodox canon law. However, the Patriarchate of Antioch does have experts in Orthodox canon law and would not make an issue over Qatar unless the experts on the canon law in our Patriarchate did not believe that Antioch has justification to protest the invasion of its territory by Jerusalem. I do not have access to the materials that you have listed. However, I cannot think of any commentary, ancient, medieval or modern that could have more authority than the text of the decree of Chalcedon drawing the boundaries of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. If you can show that the translation that I am using is incorrect from your sources, please do so. If you can produce evidence that another Ecumenical Council changed the decision of Chalcedon on the areas under Jerusalem please do so. Claiming that I have not consulted the right sources means nothing, unless you can show that what you consider the right sources disprove my arguments. After the Jewish revolt of 70 AD and before Nicaea I, Jerusalem was merely a Bishop under Caesarea. At the 1st Council, the special status of Jerusalem was recognized by giving Jerusalem Metropolitan rank. However, Canon VII did not specify which areas were under the jurisdiction of Jerusalem which remained under Antioch according to Canon VI of Nicaea I. At Ephesus, the 3rd Council in 431, Juvenal, the Metropolitan of Jerusalem, claimed Patriarchal rank, second only to Rome. He also claimed authority over Phoenicia (Lebanon) and Arabia which belonged to Antioch. However, the council was too preoccupied with the problem of Nestorianism to deal with Juvenal’s excessive claims. At Chalcedon, Jerusalem was granted Patriarchal status, but as the lowest ranking Patriarch after Antioch and the authority of Jerusalem was limited to the “three Palestines,” modern Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Gaza, and Jordan. Thus Qatar was not included in the territory under Jerusalem according to Chalcedon. The council also rejected Juvenal’s claims to Phonecia and Arabia, recognizing that they are under the jurisdiction of Antioch. Qatar is part of the Arabian Peninsula. There is also ancient evidence that Antioch exercised jurisdiction over the Christians in Qatar such as the Council of The Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in 410. There is no historical evidence that Jerusalem ever exercised jurisdiction over Qatar. The self-proclaimed title of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem means nothing. These titles are always excessive in their language. The title of Jerusalem claims authority over Syria, but no one takes that claim seriously since Syria clearly belongs to Antioch. Once again the claim that my sources are inadequate carries no weight. Nothing in Eastern Orthodoxy carries more weight than the decree of an Ecumenical Council. I have the decrees of all the Ecumenical Councils as well as the local councils recognized by Trullo and other councils with ecumenical authority. I have copied above the decree from Chalcedon on the boundaries of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Once again if the translation that I am using is incorrect, you must show it by citing another authoritative translation of the decree. If a council with equal authority with Chalcedon, that is an Ecumenical Council, enlarged the territory of Jerusalem, please prove it from an authoritative source. The opinions of a canon law specialists or even a medieval or modern Ecumenical Patriarch contained in the works that you cited does not override the actual words of the decree of an Ecumenical Council. Thus, unless you can show that I am wrong, simply claiming that my Greek is not good enough to read Greek language commentaries on the canons is not enough. You must provide proof from authoritative sources that I am wrong, not accusations that I am unqualified to understand the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils or that the translation of the canons and commentaries in the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers is inadequate.

          Fr. John W. Morris

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          • Isa Almisry says:

            ” I cannot think of any commentary, ancient, medieval or modern that could have more authority than the text of the decree of Chalcedon drawing the boundaries of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. ”
            Exactly, Father. The fact that Jerusalem ignores the obvious and has to resort to obscure texts concedes as much.

            For the record, I have a copy of R&P Syntagma, among others, and can read them. The appeal to obscure authority is an admission of defeat.

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  23. I just saw a statement from Met Demettrios on the Assembly Facebook page that finally acknowledhes the “temporary” withdrawl of the Antiochian Bishops. He wrote:

    Assembly Faces Temporary Withdrawal of Participation by Hierarchs of Patriarchate of Antioch

    Archbishop Demetrios of America, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, has issued the following statement in response to the temporary withdrawal of the Hierarchs of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America from their participation in the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. The Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch, in October 2013, decided to temporarily withdraw from all Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops around the world because of a jurisdictional issue in the Middle East.

    The statement of Archbishop Demetrios is as follows:

    “We are deeply grieved that this temporary withdrawal has occurred, and we pray for a swift resolution. We hope that the Antiochian faithful who are participating in the many good works under the aegis of the Assembly—the philanthropic activities of IOCC, the prison ministries of OCPM, the college work of OCF, the missionary efforts of OCMC and the work of other Assembly Agencies—will be encouraged to stay involved. While it is true that from time to time throughout the Church’s history jurisdictional issues have caused unintended consequences, we pray that the particulars of this matter, which have nothing to do with the situation here in North and Central America or in other global regions with Assemblies of Bishops, will quickly be resolved. Until such time, the Assembly, as established by a unanimous consent of all the Autocephalous Churches, will continue to serve the faithful and its mission to foster the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3), and we continue to pray that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will guide the work of the Assembly and inspire unfeigned brotherly love among all Orthodox Christians.”

    As this action has precipitated the temporary absence of the Secretary, the Chairman of the Assembly has named an interim Secretary, the Very Rev. Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides, to ensure that the work of the Assembly continues uninterrupted.

    - See more at: http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2014/assembly-faces-temporary-withdrawal-of-participation-by-hierarchs-of-patriarchate-of-antioch#sthash.H8UxFRPy.dpuf

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  24. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    Although I am not an expert in canon law and do not have access to the materials cited by Christopher Jones and the unidentified GOAPriest, one thing that they apparently do not realize is that while earning my PhD in history, I learned how to do research and where to find materials written by people with a greater knowledge than I have on any historical subject. In this case, after some research in my office, I was unable to go there yesterday because of the small snowfall that we had. In the North where people know how to drive on icy roads, it would be nothing, but here in the South where people do not , even a light dusting causes panic and people stay home. Anyway, the most authoritative history of the Christian Church in the East, that is further East than Syria, and Palestine is Aziz S. Atiya’s A History of Eastern Christianity Published in 1968 by the University of Notre Dame Press. on page 176, he wrote, “In spite of the swelling tide of heresy and schism, Antioch retained its ecclesiastical authority over all the province of the Orient, Nicaea had confirmed its rights over Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, Arabia and Mesopotamia including Persia and India. The Church of Caesarea, Nisibis, Selucia-Ctesipon and Malabar looked to Antioch for spiritual leadership, at any rate, in the early centuries. That authority was again ratified by the Council of Constantinople in 381. Antiochian jurisdiction in the period from the fourth to the seventh century has been calculated to embrace eleven metropolitan provinces and one hundred and twenty-seven episcopal dioceses.

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  25. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    I cannot help that since I asked him to prove from his sources that my conclusions are wrong that our Greek Orthodox Priest friend has been strangely silent. I think that is because the weight of the historical evidence to far too great to overcome.

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  26. GOAPriest says:

    Peter,

    The response is good, because unlike John of Antioch, the Patriarch of Jerusalem knows his history! The lack of which knowledge is a terrible affliction for many in the church today, as evidenced by the many uninformed, ridiculous comments in this thread!

    Thanks for posting the letter.

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  27. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    How can Jerusalem claim to be Patriarch of Syria? Antioch was the capital of the ancient Roman province of Syria, the see city of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Patriarch Ignatius II (1342–1386) moved the seat of the Patriarchate of Antioch to Damascus, which is the capital of modern Syria. Jerusalem has never been Patriarch of Syria. Antioch is one of the 3 original Patriarchs recognized by the 1st Ecumenical Council, Nicaea I in 325. Jerusalem only became a Patriarchate at the Council of Chalcedon, the 4th Ecumenical Council in 451 and is the lowest in rank among the ancient Patriarchates. As I mentioned earlier, the Patriarchate of Antioch has had a Metropolitan with jurisdiction over Qatar for many years. There have been tensions between Antioch and Jerusalem for years because the people are Arab speaking Palestinians, but the administration of the Patriarchate is controlled by Greeks who treat their flock as inferiors. At one time, the at least one parish in Jordan asked to be placed under Antioch. Antioch, following the canons refused the request. The present Patriarch, Theophilos III was elected after the Holy Synod removed Patriarch Irenaios I for corruption. For years Jerusalem refused to ordain a celibate Palestinian because they would not allow a native Palestinian to become a candidate for the episcopacy.

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  28. GOAPriest says:

    Please stop father…you are totally ignorant of the history of the situation. It’s embarrassing.

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  29. What is embarrassing, and patently characteristic, is for Greek clergy to make erroneous, bad faith statements, give little in the way of support for them, and expect everyone else to defer because of their alleged superiority. This is an unconscionable arrogance which breeds utter contempt in the hearts of others.

    If you aren’t competent to argue the facts and can only claim the other side is ignorant and/or unscholarly and leave the debate, you should never have offered the proposition or engaged in the first place. It simply embarrasses you and makes you look like a greedy, reaching little tin god.

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  30. Isa Almisry says:

    “Please stop father…you are totally ignorant of the history of the situation. It’s embarrassing.”
    If Father is, he is hiding it very well.

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  31. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    No it is the truth. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is an embarrassment for Orthodoxy. It is wrong the way the Greek hierarchy treats the Palestinian Orthodox in their own country. I have a friend who went to the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. When he stood before the tomb of Our Lord, he was so moved that he began to chant “Christ is risen….” in Arabic. A Greek monk came up to him and told him to stop because this is a Greek Church and Arabic is not allowed there. Think of it; a Church that is supposed to serve all Orthodox Christians will not allow the language of the faithful in its Patriarchate in its most important Church.
    A few years ago Jerusalem tried to interfere in the American Church by setting up a jurisdiction by taking Palestinians from Antiochian parishes. Several years ago our Metropolitan laicized a Priest. . Despite the fact that he appealed to the Patriarch of Antioch, which confirmed the Metropolitan’s decision, Jerusalem re-ordained him to the Priesthood. In another case Jerusalem set up a parish made up of people who left the Antiochian parish because the Priest would only allow Orthodox Christians to sit on the Parish Council. Finally, Constantinople stepped in and stopped Jerusalem from setting up parishes in the United States.
    I can assure you that we will not let what has happened to the Palestinians happen to American Orthodoxy.

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  32. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    All of the arguments in the Patriarch of Jerusalem’s letter ignore the decree of the 4th Ecumenical Council, Chalcedon in 451, that limited the authority of the Patriarch of Jerusalem to what is now Israel, the Occupied Territories and Jordan. The decree of Chalcedon clearly places Arabia, which would include Qatar which is part of the Arabian Peninsula, under Antioch. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, there is no higher authority than an Ecumenical Council.

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  33. Isa Almisry says:

    “The response is good, because unlike John of Antioch, the Patriarch of Jerusalem knows his history! ”
    All you showed by this comment is that you don’t know your history.

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  34. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    I read the letter of His Beatitude to the Patriarch of Antioch. It is inconveniencing because it completely ignores the decree of the Council of Chalcedon, the 4th Ecumenical Council, which limited the territory under Jerusalem to what is now Israel, the Occupied Territories and Gaza, and Jordan. Chalcedon placed Arabia which would include Qatar because it is geographically part of the Arabian Peninsula under Antioch. There is no higher authority in the Eastern Orthodox Church than an Ecumenical Council. Jerusalem must obey the Council of Constantinople and honor the boundaries of its Patriarchate set by Chalcedon.

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