Nothing is Ever as It Seems

Orthodox Observer

So, on the Facebook page of The Orthodox Observer yesterday, Archbishop Elpidophoros and Metropolitan Evangelos seemingly ended whatever differences they had in a fraternal hug.  

The story, in part, reads:  “. . . the two hierarchs discussed the practical issues of transmission and reception of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey, and the Archbishop had the opportunity to announce to his esteemed guest the conclusions of the Holy Eparchial Synod on his future presence and activity in America. . .  There was an agreement of views on all the issues discussed . . .” 

There may be a glitch in machine however. Yannaro, one of our blog commentators said the word on the street is that Metropolitan Evangelos has refused the transfer to the Metropolis of Sardis and has retired. 

But maybe that was before Elpi told the Met his real plan is to bring him back from Sardis as the new Archbishop of American when Elpi moves back to Istanbul (speculation on our part) once all the American barbarians are put to bed.  If that were the case, it might explain the smile on his face.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as they say, Metropolitan Tikhon has a pretty busy dance card.  He has several days scheduled with the “Executive Committee” of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops (10/16, 10/23, 10/30, & every other week into January).  No one has yet defined (for us) who is on this “executive committee,” but I suspect whoever they are, they are hammering out the new charter and clearly, the OCA (or at least Metropolitan Tikhon) is fully on-board.

There is nothing on the Antiochian website about the Assembly so maybe Metropolitan Joseph wasn’t invited to be on the Executive Committee of this little shindig. 

It looks like it’s a party of two: the OCA & the GOA.

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  1. Michael Bauman says

    George, reading eccelesial tea leaves is a fine old sport especially among the Greeks but it has always seemed a bit like self-flagelation to me. 

  2. If the two start the party…
    My predictions:
    1. Keep the name OCA
    2. Will recognize OCU
    3. ‘True’ Autocephaly of OCA, at long last 
    4. Pseudo-Autocephaly (like OCU, Czech, Polish, Finnish), dependant on the Phanar
    5. GOAA system will no longer be bankrupt
    6. The rest of the ethnic diocese under Phanar will also join

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Money? What money? The money we’ll take somewhere else? – I don’t think they’ve thought that part through.

    • Whatever this may (or may not) be, it isn’t about money – whether it is taken elsewhere or not.  There just isn’t much to be gained, financially speaking, from the OCA.  Certainly far less than what would be required to resolve the GOA’s financial woes..

      • Geez, I didn’t realize it was this bad. $1.8M in revenues during a full calendar year is a joke. Worse, it seems that close to half goes to supporting the executive and different fancy Synodal get-togethers. Although this is to some extent a function of the microscopic size of total income. Still, I can imagine the stink that would go up, for example, if the Pope spent half the Vatican’s revenue on supporting his office and official functions.  In this shape, the OCA definitely presents no “financial” interest to the GOA.

        I have no idea what the state of the MP’s finances are, yet I still imagine a few million dollars is small change for them. They should start funding/subsidizing the OCA, so it could be on a slightly more equal footing with the GOA. If the MP can’t/won’t, then the Kremlin certainly should through some cultural outreach vehicle as it did in France. The OCA and it’s members is probably, together with ROCOR, are probably Russia’s best “representatives” on US soil. In terms of buying influence, this seems like a huge bargain. Just $10M could change the entire direction of the OCA’s development.

        • Dan,
          For what it’s worth information comparison-wise, the GOA’s report is also easily available via a search.  Their budget is approximately $23M (down a bit from previous years), $1.5M of which goes to the Phanar (up from $1M a couple of years ago).  This, of course, is only that which goes there directly from the archdiocese, not other private donors.  I was frankly somewhat surprised (pleasantly so for the most part) to see that by comparison $2.5M goes to Holy Cross.  Nothing is mentioned of the St. Nicolas Shrine in New York, presumably because those are designated donations.  Funds budgeted for missions are a pittance, percentage-wise, but to be fair, the same is true on the OCA side.
 Adopted Budget.pdf

          I’m not sure I’d agree that $1.8M for the OCA is a joke (as in a low number) when you consider that this is only the budget at the archdiocesan level. How much money is really needed at that level? But I certainly agree that whatever this ‘thing’ is about, it isn’t the attraction of the OCA’s money. If the attraction was money, it would be coming from the other side (and I’m not suggesting it is).

          • Fr. Peter Andronache says

            Thr amount for HCHC was a significant increase this year and it was basically mandated by the accreditation commission. Without that increased commitment, the school accreditation would have been lost.

            • That makes sense, Father.  I noticed that in previous years the amount budgeted for Holy Cross was the same as that for the Phanar,  $1M to each.

              • Fr. Peter Andronache says

                I should say that my comment was not entirely correct as initially posted. There is a further increase for 2021 that was mandated by the accreditation committee. I meant to go back and check if that was also true for 2020, or if that was part of the archdiocese catching up on past due amounts, but I do not remember and did not have a chance to check

        • The OCA doesn’t represent anything of Moscow’s in the US. What makes you think it ever did?
          The small Archdiocesan budget is a feature not a flaw. The OCA is not a pretentious arrogant outfit but one that gets the job of church done in these lands without fuss.  

        • Dan,
          The OCA does not in any way represent the MP on American soil.  Since the grant of the tomos of autocephaly back in 1970, they have existed as separate entities (save for consecration of chrism, I believe, which must be done by a patriarch).  Relations are cordial, I’m told, but the OCA considers itself very American (with Slavic roots).
          Neither the OCA nor ROCOR is swimming in money.  Moscow is focused on continuing to rebuild what communism destroyed in the way of churches:

          Charity begins at home.  

    • Merging with the OCA will not get you more money. If the GOA thinks that their sinking ship will be saved…they are dead wrong. You’ll have a better chance of ‘acquiring’ more money buying lottery tickets, or ‘investing’ in an Albanian pyramid scheme.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Bob, interesting that you should mention the Czechoslovakian and Polish Churches.  I was not aware that their autocephalies were “dependent” upon the Phanar, in fact, I’m almost certain that it was Moscow which granted Warsaw its autocephaly.  (I could be wrong about that so if anyone has any info to the contrary, please supply it.)
      This is not my point however.  Regardless of the “degree” of autocephaly and who granted it, neither the Polish nor the Czechoslovak Churches have recognized the OCU.  
      In other words, once a Church become autocephalous, it doesn’t mean that it’s always on board with Istanbul’s agenda.  

      • The Moscow Patriarchate granted formal autocephaly to Poland in 1948.  Moscow also granted formal autocephaly to Czechoslovakia in 1951, and to the Georgian Orthodox Church in 1943, and then the OCA in 1970.   Of course all of these happened after Joseph Stalin restored the ROC Holy Synod in 1943.  
        That’s four autocephalies that Moscow has granted!  I’m sure they are perfectly willing to grant more of these when the time is right and the need arises.  The Moscow Patriarchate has shown itself to be fully capable of managing the affairs of the Orthodox Church under it’s jurisdiction.

      • On a somewhat related note, I’ve been trying to find the tomos of autocephaly (in English) that Moscow granted to Georgia, to Poland, and to Czechoslovakia.  Any help would be appreciated.  I can only find the OCA’s.  
        It would be an interesting project to compare them, and also to compare them with what Constantinople issued.

      • “The Patriarchate of Constantinople intervenes in the ecclesiastical affairs of not only Ukraine; for several years now, representatives of Phanar have been trying to take control of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia”

        • Perhaps I should make this more clear. The Phanar refused
          to accept the validity of the autocephaly of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia from Moscow. To ‘regularise’ the position it offered its own Tomos of ‘Autocephaly’ which, to reduce the hassle, the Czech and Slovak Church accepted.

          The result is more hassle from the Phanar.

    • I thought the Finnish church was autonomous under the EP whist the Polish and Czech/Slovak churches were autocephalous?  Or am I misremembering?

      • Anton, you thought correctly. I don’t want to go into detail; let those who wish do their own research.

  3. Evangelos does not look like he is smiling…

  4. As much as I knew it was a given…I still kept myself in partial denial.  But as I ponder on the situation…I have come to the realization…that they were made for each other.

  5. Sorry, my friends…I’m still not buying it. Not sure how they’ll get the parishes within the OCA to go along with this? I know that my parish won’t, and it holds a relatively high-profile position in our diocese. And, if by some strange chance that our universe has overlapped with the Bizarro one, then I would be highly confident that the vast majority of OCA parishes will gladly move under ROCOR (or the AOCA) when the time came. <Amen!>

  6. Ideally all churches in the US should merge as one autocephalous church.
    I don’t see the Greek Church in the US as joining the OCA to become autocephalous and leave the authority of The ecumenical patriarch. Likewise I don’t see the OCA going under the authority of The ecumenical patriarch and losing its own independent power. Why would they do that? The OCA has as its highest Authority the All American assembly made up of clergy and laity representing parishes. I don’t see this as something that parishes want. Nor do I remember hearing Metropolitan Ti k h o n wanting this.

  7. Taken from the Orthodox Observer home page
    The Orthodox Church
    The Orthodox Church today, numbering over 250 million worldwide, is a communion of self governing Churches, each administratively independent of the other, but united by a common faith and spirituality. 
    Question:   Is the American Greek Orthodox Church self governing?  

    How very telling. You are the company you keep..schismatics, pro abortion politicians, etc. Is this really the leader/patriarchate that Orthodox in America want to hitch their wagon to?

    I don’t even think the rabidly homosexual Jesuit, James Martin, is this close with Biden. How sad is that

  9. MomofToddler says

    Just saw that Pope Francis will be at this event, along with Patriarch Bartholomew.  They will be praying with Muslims, Buddhists, etc.

  10. jim of olym says

    I saw the pic of Biden and Bart. I commented on the Ortho blog: If Joe isn’t nice to him Bart will whop him with his big stick.

  11. “…first step towards transferring the See of the Patriarchs
    of Constantinople from Istanbul to the United States[?]”