Stacking the Deck?

oca-logo-thumbMany have hoped that with the relatively quiescent tenure of Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard that the OCA had started to turn the corner. In the colorful parlance of Chancellor Jillions, we are constantly being told that “the OCA’s Time of Troubles” is over.

This comparison though is absurd. Any person who believes this has no sense of proportion. To compare the supposed maladministration of Metropolitan Jonah with the strife and trauma of the original Time of Troubles that obtained in Russia following the end of the Ryurikid dynasty in 1598 is ridiculous on its face. During the eponymous Time of Troubles, the Russian land was reduced to starvation –it’s estimated that one-third of the population perished due to famine. Nothing like that occurred during the pre-Mollard era in the OCA.

On the other hand, it’s premature to state that the OCA has its act together.

Case in point: the Romanian Episcopate is planning on ramming through an election of two new bishops in what can only be called the Soviet style of electioneering. This is reminiscent of recent episcopal “elections” in Philadelphia, Chicago and Alaska, where only one candidate was presented to the respective dioceses.

To be fair to the territorial dioceses however, the candidates’ biographies and curricular vitae were at least presented ahead of time to the delegates. No such consideration is given to the Romanian delegates.

Indeed, the situation is even more curious than that. Archbishop Nathanael Popp (the head of the Romanian Episcopate) is the Chairman of the OCA’s statute revision committee. These revisions will have far-reaching consequences for the OCA’s territorial dioceses; however he does not have to abide by them. Furthermore, the ethnic dioceses contribute nothing in the way of monies to the Central Chancery in Syosset. Yet Nathanael, the most powerful of the ethnic bishops is allowed to call the shots on this most important of committees. This is all most curious to say the least.

As to the upcoming Romanian Convocation however, the most curious thing is the total embargo on any information about the prospective candidates. Why? what has the Romanian Episcopate to hide? Shouldn’t these men’s biographies be posted somewhere? Again, the biographies of all recent candidates for the territorial dioceses (as well as the Bulgarian diocese) were published months in advance. And they were exhaustive. On another note, why are the ethnic dioceses still allowed to exist? Shouldn’t they have been folded into the territorial dioceses by now?

None of this sounds like a mature Church to me.

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Comments

  1. G. Michalopulos:

    As to the upcoming Romanian Convocation however, the most curious thing is the total embargo on any information about the prospective candidates. Why? what has the Romanian Episcopate to hide? Shouldn’t these men’s biographies be posted somewhere?

    Could it be that the information has not been publicized because the OCA, its Holy Synod, and its individuals bishops have not been asked to publicize it? Has G. Michalopulos asked his bishop?

    • George Michalopulos says

      That’s an extremely weak argument. In every territorial election/nomination for the Episcopate, the various candidates have their CVs and bios printed out and available months before the selection process. Even those nominations in which there is only one candidate? Are the territorial dioceses more mature or is the upcoming Convocare more “special”?

      • anonymus per Scorilo says

        Maybe it is because both candidates are born and raised and known by more or less everyone in the Romanian Episcopate.

        Or maybe it is because the Chancery of the Romanian Episcopate is severely understaffed and they have more urgent things to do (most likely the person in charge of publishing the CV and bio is one of the candidates).

        I am also sure that if one of the candidates or had spent 15 years in a non-canonical structure, a CV and bio would have been provided much faster.

        • George Michalopulos says

          This sounds like special pleading. It most certainly is a double standard.

          • Pere LaChaise says

            While we may very well have serious misgivings about the ROEA’s relationship to the (rest of the) OCA, lack of biographies of candidates to Auxiliary Bishop is among the least of them. As George cites above, the ROEA still does not contribute manfully, fairly or adequately to the upkeep of the (rest of the) OCA. Worse, Abp. Nathaniel actively discourages his Romanian clergy (many of whom remain Romanian nationals) from participation in such signal conventions as the AAC.
            At the AAC, when His Eminence was confronted with questions regarding the adequacy of ROEA contributions to Syosset, he told the convention that it was frankly none of their business. One of the few sour notes of the whole event.
            The palpable lack of ROEA clergy at AACs doesn’t seem to bother many – I seldom hear a word of it – but I find it troubling. Then I learn that Abp. Nathaniel actively discourages any involvement of his clergy, in order to keep them under hi sown control. A personal observation is that Romanians are not noted for their passionate involvement in OCA life beyond the ROEA, and that their native chauvinism (using the term a neutrally as possible here) prevents them from mustering interest in the ‘Russian Church’.

            I would hazard that the ROEA exemplifies the many problems of ethnocentrism that the OCA is mostly done with, thank God. I know of many Romanian clergy who are looking for exit routes from that Episcopacy. ROEA’s head shows his insecurity through his lack of openness. The OCA is indeed growing spiritually stronger, but I fear the ROEA is becoming vitiated.

            Abp. Nathaniel has thus far kept his Archdiocese out of the hands of the Romanian Patriarchate, who have been seeking to incorporate (swallow whole) the ROEA since its inception. He’s played a very canny game with them, leading them to think he may hand over his churches to Bucharest ‘at some future point’ only to frustrate their plans. I give him lots of credit for this. But how long can he emphasize the narrowly Romanian mission of his churches before Bucharest is able to foment a ‘coup’ to seize them? If eventually all ROEA priests are Romanian expats, how will they manifest and loyalty to a vision of a Romanian Epsicopacy in America promulgated in the early XX c. when Bucharest’s own Patriarch was a freshman of a fledgeling Autocephaly?

            Loyalty to the OCA is the serious issue here. There is absolutely nothing we can do about its absence. Let’s just pray that we are on the right side of God’s plan for Orthodoxy in America. Whether the ROEA is really engaged with the territorial Autocephalous Church or is just fulfilling their mission according to a chauvinist definition of church life will be seen in Abp. Nathaniel’s actions in coming months. Hopefully it won’t be along the lines of, “the dwarves are for the dwarves”.

          • That can be an accurate and logical statement, AND a bad thing. It can be both.

  2. G. Michalopulos:

    Furthermore, the ethnic dioceses contribute nothing in the way of monies to the Central Chancery in Syosset….This is all most curious to say the least.

    What’s “curious” about that? They’re broke. Read the financial report in the document.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Yeah, so? Then by what right do they get to vote in the All-American Councils?

      Why doesn’t Syosset shake them down for money regardless? If they’re non-viable they should be folded into the various territorial dioceses in which they reside.

      • Why are you making such a mountain out of this molehill? The whole situation of jurisdictions in the U.S. is fouled up beyond all recognition. Trying to force change on the OCA’s Romanians won’t alter that fact. Take it far enough, and it might just drive them to seek a measure of autonomy under the EP. I take it you’re no fan of +Bart.

  3. G. Micalopulos:

    Many have hoped that with the relatively quiescent tenure of Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard that the OCA had started to turn the corner. In the colorful parlance of Chancellor Jillions, we are constantly being told that “the OCA’s Time of Troubles” is over.

    Financial transparency and stability? Check. Harmony on the synod? Check. That’s improvement, isn’t it?

  4. anonymus per Scorilo says

    I do not understand why you try to resurrect dead horses with the Romanian contributions to the Central Chancery. This was part of the deal negotiated more than 40 years ago, when the Romanian Diocese joined the OCA.

    The dues a typical parishioner pays the Romanian Diocese are about 1/3 of what the typical OCA-non-ethnic parishioner pays to the Chancery, and the services they get are more or less the same, except that instead of getting nice shiny copies of “the Orthodox Church” magazine they used to get copies of Solia (printed on cheap lousy-quality paper), instead of having their headquarters at fancy expensive places in Long Island they have them on a farm with a barn in Middleofnowhere, Michigan, and instead of staying in various fancy convention centers (like those where the AAC is held) most of the delegates to the Romanian Diocese Congress stay in cheap motels near the same farm. This is also why most of the Romanian parishes do not bother about the AAC – sending delegates there would bankrupt them.

    So overall I think a much better solution would be if the OCA non-ethnic dioceses started functioning on the model of the Romanian Diocese rather then the opposite.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Out of gratitude to the OCA for giving them canonical cover (and freedom from a communist-dominated regime), they should have returned the favor, now, forty years later and assimilated into the territorial, American Church. Otherwise, let’s just be ethnic ghettos forever.

      • anonymus per Scorilo says

        Out of gratitude to the OCA for giving them canonical cover (and freedom from a communist-dominated regime), they should have returned the favor, now, forty years later and assimilated into the territorial, American Church.

        I think this was the original plan, and many of the parishes were on a path to becoming non-ethnic and OCA-like. The problem is that after the massive emigration since the fall of communism, they have woken up with a huge chunk of ethnic Romanians at their doorsteps.
        They had 2 choices:
        1 – ignore these ethnic guys and force the ones who wanted to come to church into the existing ethos of the diocese (this is what the OCA territorial dioceses did to the Russians who arrived recently, with very few exceptions in big cities).
        2 – reset the ethos 50 years back, to an immigrant-oriented one, and cater to the religious needs of the newcomers.

        You may argue whether it was or not a good idea, but, fact is, most of the parishes chose the second. As a result most of the diocese has been re-ethnicized, and in many a parish people make noise even if the priest puts a few litanies in English. So, in the present situation, your suggestion to go under a non-Romanian-speaking “territorial bishop” would be perceived as beyond preposterous. Do not forget the ethnic chunk even voted against a (romanian-speaking) convert auxiliary bishop a few years back, essentially because he was a convert (and this time Abp. Nathaniel did not try proposing another one).

        It is quite unfortunate, but this is how things are. Maybe in 50 more years . . . Also in the meantime you do not have to worry about them coming “en masse” to the AAC and changing the balance by voting in one direction or another – they are largely impervious to that.

    • anonymus per Scorilo,

      I believe that George offers a POV shared by the majority of OCA members that the ROEA impacts the OCA in an adverse manner since its reception into the OCA. Yes, Archbishop Nathaniel has played by the rules but the bigger question is, are the rules actually fair? His suggestion that +Nathaniel chaired the revisions to the OCA Statute, revisions and rules that he and his diocese are under no obligation to follow more than seems unfair. He has a full vote on the Holy Synod, by the rules, but can leave a Synod meeting knowing that whatever he approves, again has no bearing on his diocese.

      The pittance that his diocese offers the OCA for its fiscal wellbeing while at the same time takes full advantage of his influence on the wider OCA, has been and continues to be a bad deal for the rank and file of clergy and faithful that he could care less about, unless it is to his advantage.

      It is very clear that the ROEA, already once attempting to leave the OCA and join the Romanian Patriarchate but failing to do so because the RP would not name +Nathaniel primate of their “united” parishes in North America, now attempts to add bishops so that their combined impact would be more acceptable to Bucharest.

      Let’s not try to call this anything more than the latest attempt for the ROEA to feather their bed, increase their foreign influence and stick it to the poor OCA who gave them canonical cover when they came into the OCA under the leadership of a pro-Nazi Archbishop.

      I, of one, would be glad to be rid of the ROEA, a diocese within the OCA that has done little to foster its vision of Orthodoxy in North America.

      Kudos to George for bringing up this topic, once again. A topic that has been championed for at least two decades by people who have seen the one-sided gaming of the ROEA at the expense of the OCA.

      • anonymus per Scorilo says

        I do not think Abp. Nathaniel takes any pleasure in his involvement in the reshuffling of OCA’s bureaucratic garbage – no sane person would.

        Your information is wrong on several other fronts:

        The ROEA never agreed to leave the OCA, they only voted to form a dialogue committee with the Romanians under Bucharest, to examine some unity proposal from Bucharest. This was done to placate a bunch of the deans who had been agitating people about it. Since then, most of these deans have retired, Bucharest has switched from a “people+priests+bishops elect bishops” model to a “only bishops elect bishops” model, and as a result nothing more was heard of the commission. Even “chauvinistic Romanian” priests are not stupid enough to get under Bucharest in these circumstances, so there is nothing to fear there.

        Bucharest was so eager to swallow the ROEA that they would have named even Mickey Mouse as Metropolitan in exchange. They agreed for example to a form of “maximal autonomy” that was de facto stronger than the “weak autocephaly” OCA enjoys (for example Bucharest would not have had any other parishes in parallel to this structure, unlike Moscow).

        Archbishop Valerian of blessed memory was not “pro nazi.” This was a made-up charge by Ceausescu’s secret police, who doctored a photo showing Abp. Valerian next to Jews killed by some rogue members of a Romanian right-wing organization in the 1940. This photo was fed to various nazi-hunting organizations, who proceeded to harass Abp. Valerian and his collaborators, bombing for example the Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church in Los Angeles, trying to assassinate Mother Alexandra (the ex-princess of Romania who founded the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA), etc. After the general Pacepa defected to the US, he revealed that the photo was doctored and therefore the whole thing was a which hunt against an innocent man.
        It is sad people are still repeating these calumnies after all these years.

        • Texan Orthodox says

          This is very interesting what you write about Archbishop Valerian (Trifa). I had always heard and read that he was pro-Nazi, and after this was discovered in the 1970s, he had to flee the United States. He died in exile in Portugal in the 1980s.

          I could never understand why the OCA would have been eager to accept the Romanian diocese with its pro-Nazi Archbishop under its omophorion.

          Even the Wikipedia entry for Archbishop Valerian mentions his “pro-Nazi” affiliation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerian_Trifa)

          If this is a made-up charge and he is truly innocent, can someone correct his Wikipedia entry?

          • Pere LaChaise says

            Abp. Valerian Trifa was ‘conservative’ and a Legionnaire between the wars. Many Romanian expats here are very sympathetic to the Legionnaire cause. They, like all the nostalgic loyalist movements on the right in Europe between the wars, fell when the Nazi empire collapsed. The Nazis used such rightist movements to their own benefit and promoted their worst elements. the Romanian Legionnaires were not ‘pro-Nazi’ though there may have been fascists and Nazi types among them. All these loyalist patriots – chauvinists you may accurately call them – were persecuted by post WWII communist regimes supported by the ascendent Soviet Union, who had a big interest in purging cultural and political resistance to their regime.
            Trifa was calumniated by Ceaucescu and the U.S. drove him out despite any real evidence of criminality, because they favored Romania diplomatically and economically, despite its criminal government, as a foil against the USSR. That’s geopolitics. Don’t believe the hype.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Pere LaChaise,

              You have expressed what I want to believe about about Abp. Valerian Trifa, whom I met exactly three times as a high school age adolescent, and who was equally inspiring each time I met him.

              One of the occasions was a lunch with him, Archimandrite Roman (Braga) (who only recently fell asleep in the Lord – Memory Eternal! – and many believe to be a saint), my parish priest, and the Archbishop. As it happened, no one answered the door at the Vatra when we arrived, so I asked an older man in a large straw hat and bib over-alls driving a tractor if he knew where the Abp. was, and he told me to use a side entrance and ask for Fr. Roman. Fr. Roman greeted us warmly, served us tea, and spoke very dearly of the Abp., his piety, the monastic life of the Vatra, his wisdom, and his discernment as a bishop. And of course, when the Abp. entered in his riasa and panagia, it was the same man who who had been driving the tractor. All I can say is that his presence was genuine and inspiring. When Fr. Roman left he told us the story of the severe torture he had undergone in Romania for providing religious instruction to children.

              When the story broke about the Justice Dept.’s decision to rescind his citizenship and deport him, I was astonished. And, of course, in the insular world of SVS, everyone had an opinion and it was next to impossible to get your hands on the single copy of the NY Times delivered to the “Common Room.” I was on the side you suggest that “the U.S. drove him out despite any real evidence of criminality, because they favored Romania diplomatically and economically, despite its criminal government, as a foil against the USSR. That’s geopolitics. Don’t believe the hype.” Then, years later, I was taking a forensics course at John Jay College in NYC – a renowned institution in the US for the training of forensic experts – and the (grossly expensive) textbook for the course included a chapter on the process of tracking down of Valerian Trifa. And to my surprise, many forensic textbooks include commentary, if not a section or entire chapter on the successful forensic investigation (e.g. fingerprints, photos, handwriting, etc.) leading to the deportation of Valerian Trifa. All I can say is this: there is evidence, and at face value, the evidence is convincing. I am not astute or learned enough to determine if the interpretation of the evidence is correct, but hype it is not.

        • Pere LaChaise says

          Thanks, Scorilo for seeting the record straight about Abp. Valerian Trifa to people here. I never met a patriotic Romanian who would call him ‘pro-Nazi’, which is a libel straight from Ceaucescu to the U.S. State Dept who extradited Trifa to please the tyrant.

          I had understood previously that Abp. Nathaniel had ‘played’ Bucharest for a good 20 yrs., leading them on to think they might eventually possess all his parishes. Any indications that he was indeed leading them on and that no merger is proposed for the future are most welcome.

          But the problem of Romanian chauvinism remains, ghettoizing the ROEA and preventing the formation of a stronger Autocephaly here. Only spiritual maturation and education can enlighten the benighted who assume some kind of threat coming from the OCA.

          By the way, your comment about the ‘bureaucratic garbage’ of the OCA is most unkind and not at all realistic. The revisions to the OCA statute are perfectly rational and make for a much stronger document stating the purpose and function of the human institution of this sacred body we call the Orthodox Church in America. Please don’t encourage crummy attitudes here – you have much else good to offer.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        As ROEA writes above, the Archidocese would seem to be making ready to join Bucharest with the election of sub-archdiocesan Vicars giving Abp. Nathaniel better standing as a Metropolitan of an overseas Eparchy. In a way, I’m glad to hear that this is the meaning of this development. I don’t suppose the rest of the OCA’s Synod is ignorant of this significance either.
        Romanians by and large despise the OCA and consider it ‘Russian’ by some odd stretch of the imagination. Romanian churches will always be Romanian first, dwarves being for the dwarves.

        • anonymus per Scorilo says

          In a way, I’m glad to hear that this is the meaning of this development.

          It is not, and ROEA has gotten that wrong also.

          The only bishop who is pro-Bucharest is Bp. Irineu, and this move will put him in minority, even after Abp. Nathaniel retires – the two proposed auxiliary bishops are not from the pro-Bucharest camp, they are from the pro-OCA one. Let’s just hope that this will not count against them when the votes are tallied and that their pure-Romanian-blood status will be enough to pacify the ethnic guys.

          Also, the only Romanians that call the OCA “Russian” are the ones under Bucharest, and a few of their moles inside the ROEA. They do this to attack the ROEA for betraying their Romanian-ness and siding with the Russians and to push it back under Bucharest, but nobody is stupid enough not to see this game.

          • Synonimus per Scorilo says

            Dear Anonymus per Scorilo,
            Please do not be surprised at the time you will be reading this comment. It is comming from someone belonging to the ROEA as your brother in Christ the Lord. It is a response to your ”Anonymus per Scorilo” comments, ”The only bishop who is pro-Bucharest is Bp. Irineu, and this move will put him in minority, even after Abp. Nathaniel retires – the two proposed auxiliary bishops are not from the pro-Bucharest camp, they are from the pro-OCA one.” (anonymus per Scorilo says: August 19, 2015 at 8:34 am).

            The purpose of sending out this comment to you all is, to properly inform you about what is going on at the ROEA (Vatra Românească) since 2014 ROEA Congress. In order for you to better understand the content of this letter, please read the 2014 ROEA Congress Minutes (http://roea.org/files/Congress/2015/83rd-Episcopate-Congress-Delegate-Packet.pdf.). Some of the materials related to the election of 2 ROEA Vicar Bishops are already posted, but the upcoming ones will be breathtaking. They are from the ROEA files / offices. Nobody can accuse anyone of thievery. We are honest and transparent.

            It is a blessing to see Monomakhos making the step in the right direction on August 16, 2015, by posting “STACKING THE DECK” and “breaking the ice of intimidation of most of the Romanian clergymen and laity, prior to the less famous 83rd ROEA Congress.” The ROEA Archbishop will be very much disturbed following the posting of comments over the Internet, totally against the plans of his inner circle and the records hidden to the ROEA people and not only.

            In the light of biblical statement: “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Matthew 10, 26.), everything that was diabolically orchestrated by the ROEA Archbishop Nathaniel Popp, Rev. Frs. Remus Grama, Ian Păcurar (alias anonymous per Scorilo) … et al, in regards to the ROEA Archbishop succession will be briefly presented / posted on Monomakhos blog.

            It is important to keep in mind that most of the ROEA clergymen (93 %) came from Romania, following the 1989 Romanian revolution. Romania was not completely liberated of the Comunists, due to the fact that after 26 years many politicians of Romania’s leadership have been educated under the Comunism Regime, and they still in power as it can be seen, due to cronism, nepotism, alliances, the “Securitate” connection, etc. Some ”securitate agents” are part of Nathaniel’s inner circle.

            Unfortunately, so many ROEA clergymen do not know the truth about the ROEA, its Archbishop, persecution of Romanian clergymen and defrocking, initiated and executed by the ROEA Archbishop, less Romanian by origine. Nobody in Romania or here in the USA is telling you the truth about the sovietic / dictatorial style in administrating the ROEA parishes of Archbishop Nathaniel. Please, do not forget that all clergymen came here to minister God, the Romanian Orthodox Church in Diaspora, and the faithful people are looking for their own salvation, and not to serve the Vatra’s dictator and his cronies, who are poorly educated theologically, and pleading alleagence to the Vatra’s dictatorial regime.

            The duty and mission for every Romanian clergymen on the American Continent is to minister God, by putting first God, Holy Bible, Church Canons and Traditions, and not any mortal man.

            Everyone should know that ”Vatra Românească” … from Grass Lake, close to Jackson, MI, has been purchased by the Romanian Patriarchate with Romanian money. The “Vatra” belongs to the Romanian people, regardless where they were born, whether in Romania, USA, or Canada.

            According to the records, 35 years ago the current Vatra’s satrap Bishop Nathaniel Popp, was elected to the episcopacy, therefore succeding Valerian Trifa and Policarp Moruşca to the throne of ROEA.

            Archbishop Nathaniel, born as William Popp, from a Greek – Catholic (Uniate) family in Aurora, IL, according to his biography attached hereto this letter (See: http://www.roea.org – hierarchs). He never studied the Orthodox Theology. His “Naşu” – Godfather at the time of his conversion into Orthodox Faith, (Rev. Fr. Vasile Haţegan of Cleveland, OH), did the best to see his “Finu” – Godson elected as a bishop, succeeding Valerian Trifa in the Leadership of “Vatra”.

            Based on his records, no other OCA bishop has defrocked, suspended, or kicked out from his diocese more clergymen as the ROEA Archbishop. These records related to the status of the ROEA clergy could be found and seen on the Annual Reports of ROEA Congresses and OCA Clergy changes throughout the years.

            It is very interested to read the comments of “Anonymus per Scorilo” and to realize how he got the blessing from Nathaniel to mislead all readers of this blog. Not everyone is so naïve to believe whatever he is saying in his comments. It is true: Trifa was pro – Nazi. Nathaniel [is not anti]-gay. Am I wrong?

            Synonymous per Scorilo

            8/19/2015

            • anonymus per Scorilo says

              You are shooting a lot of blank bullets here. I have never met Fr. Pacurar in my life, and I have not communicated with Abp. Nathaniel in many months. I am just disgusted by the dirty maneuvers of the pro-Bucharest camp and I have seen enough Securitate intoxications against the ROEA and Abp. Nathaniel to be able to recognize and dismantle them.

              The game is clear – the pro-Bucharest camp (which controls a sizable chunk of the 93% Romanian-born clergy) will try to boycott the election of ANY auxiliary bishop until Apb. Nathaniel retires, so that the delegates to the congress after that will be more or less forced to elect Bp. Irineu as Ruling Bishop and he will be able to hand over ROEA to Bucharest (in exchange of course for him being elected Metropolitan, which Bucharest would do without blinking).

              This is what the pro-Bucharest camp did a few years ago, when they blocked the election of Fr. Joseph Morris, and this is what they are trying to do right now by pulling whatever dirt they can against the two new candidates, and this is what they would do it Abp. Nathaniel proposed anybody else.

              Your message also explains how they are planning to do that – by stealing files from various ROEA departments, perhaps even church tribunal ones (there is a glorious tradition of that, going back many many years):

              They are from the ROEA files / offices. Nobody can accuse anyone of thievery. We are honest and transparent.

              and of course calling the theft “honest and transparent”

              Now of course, if these files had any value in them, they would have been kept until AFTER the elections, when they could have been used to blackmail the new bishop into submission to Bucharest (this is probably what is happening to the info on Bishop Irineu that derailed his episcopal candidacy in Romania – they are well guarded in the deep vaults at Bucharest and used to force him to dance on the tune).

              The fact that the pro-Bucharest people are so panicked that they have to resort to gross insults (satrap), make phantasmagorical statements (like the fact that Nathaniel’s inner circle is full of Securitate agents) and resort to theft of internal documents before the election is a sign they are losing the game.

              • synonimus per Scorilo says

                Dear Anonymus per Scorilo,

                This is what you’ve said:
                ** Hip Hip Hurrah for Bishop Irineu !!! (February 12, 2015 at 9:26 am).
                ** ”some of them very strong, such as Archpriest Calinic Berger, a surprise candidate” … Are you sure of this ? He does not appears on George’s list but appears on the one at 02varvara … He is indeed an excellent candidate – I think Abp. Nathaniel would have pushed him as auxiliary bishop to the Romanian Episcopate many years ago were it not for the pro-Bucharest mafia that derailed the previous election of Fr. Joseph Morris for being “too American”.

                I’m surprised to see Abp. Nathaniel is ok with him running, as many were hoping he would be Abp. Nathaniel’s successor. It would be quite a loss for the Romanian Episcopate if he gets elected to the South . . . all the more reason to cheer for Bp. Irineu. (Anonymus per Scorilo says: February 13, 2015 at 3:39 am).

                It is not fair to ignore the “anti – Romanian” feeling of this “Anonymus per Scorilo”, especially in regards to Bishop Irineu…Why did you wish for Bishop Irineu to be gone from the ROEA long time ago? How can you prove that he is pro – Bucharest? Why do you hate him so much? Is he not a ROEA Bishop you suppose to give much more respect, than the one presented in your comments? What world do you live in? Have you been instructed by Archbishop Nathaniel to articulate your ferocious criticism of Bishop Irineu to such degree? What did Bishop Irineu do wrong to you, to Archbishop Nathaniel, or to the ROEA?

                If you said “the pro-Bucharest mafia that derailed the previous election of Fr. Joseph Morris for being “too American”, then, are you associating Bishop Irineu to the pro-Bucharest mafia that derailed the previous election of Fr J. Morris? Are you associating yourself, the ROEA Archbishop and his inner circle to the pro-OCA mafia?

                Once again you have said, “Abp. Irineu has been fighting to shut down the “american church vision” and re-ethnicize the ROEA ever since his election: he refused to learn English together with the other monks in his monastery when they came to America (at least once he ordained reading everything in romanian a convert who did not understand a iota of romanian), and he was walking around for a long time awarding priests “the cross of bishop Irineu”, “gramatas of appreciation” and other crap like this. Furthermore, he has filled many parishes with hard-core-romanian priest buddies of him, who have re-plunged these parishes into the ethnic ethos, and he and his friends have sabotaged the election of a convert to the episcopacy by pumping up the pro-romanian anti-convert sentiment.
                His goal throughout has been to become ruling bishop and to offer the ROEA on the platter to Bucharest. He did try once to make it to the Romanian holy synod and he failed, and now he is trying to get in on the back door.” (anonymus per Scorilo says: August 20, 2015 at 8:16 am).

                It would be in the best interest of all readers of this blog to ask you “anonymus per Scorilo” to provide hard proof evidence regarding your statements such as “Irineu has been fighting to shut down the “american church vision” and re-ethnicize the ROEA ever since his election” or “His goal throughout has been to become ruling bishop and to offer the ROEA on the platter to Bucharest. He did try once to make it to the Romanian holy synod and he failed, and now he is trying to get in on the back door”.

                Are these allegations true or are they false? Be honest, you are a priest of the ROEA … and not an …”anonymus per scorilo” only. We still have respect for you, your family and your comments. In case, from now on you are facing hard time by making stupid comments, it is your fault. It is better for you to have the ROEA served on the platter to the OCA whose Synod has a pro- gay vision? Or, one of its former members namely Canadian Archbishop Seraphim had been jailed and now released from jail for sexual misconduct concretized in criminal charges! BTW, how many other OCA clergymen of any rank and not straight guy, but straight gay, and what can you say? The ROEA homosexual under the name of Fr. G. B. is living in your state of OH, in Youngstown, serving the Ukrainian Church … mr. anonymus per scorilo, and you know very well the case of some other protected by your Archbishop without any doubt. Is it not true?

                The ROEA revived because of the infusion of new Romanians coming from the mother land and the new missions and parishes of the ROEA within the last 20 years are made up by Romanian immigrants, and “they are ethnic” in paying dues to the ROEA, and making up salaries to the ROEA headquarter personnel. In case you have hard proof evidence regarding you statement presented above related to Bishop Irineu conduct, then why no action was taken by the ROEA Spiritual Consistory whose president is Rev. Fr. Ian Păcurar or by the OCA Synod against Irineu, or by Archbishop Nathaniel for breaching the “oath of loyalty” he did sign at the time of being accepted into the ROEA? Please substantiate your allegation with credible and critical hard proof evidences and do not speak hypocritically about this bishop.

                It is true, that there are hard proof evidences presented on this blog by the “anonymus per scorilo” and his friends which speak about Bishop Irineu not being treated fairly. Archbishop Nathaniel and his inner circle, have a high degree of hatred against Bishop Irineu, Romanians as a whole, especially following the proposal for the election of the 2 new Vicar Bishops, according to the “anonymus per scorilo” comments.

                Just let’s go back to his election time as ROEA Auxiliary Bishop, and realize that surprisingly, in 2002 Archbishop Nathaniel ambitions made him to elect His Grace Irineu Duvlea as an Auxiliary Bishop of ROEA. The records of the ROEA show in details the great trouble which his election was engulfed, before and during that Electoral Session. In fact, the reality of this event is that Bishop Irineu was not elected by votes, but by the Archbishop’s own acclamation. He did not gather the necessary number of votes (less than ¼ of casted ballots according to +V. Rev. Fr. Constantin Tofan) to be elected by the Electoral Congress in 2002, and Canonical Provisions were grossly and intentionally violated at that time.

                Ever since, Bishop Irineu is suffering a lot due to the abusive power and dictatorial leadership style of the ROEA Archbishop. For a number of times he was taken to the former OCA Metropolitan Herman, with the intent to be kicked out of the ROEA. Nathaniel has no authority, nor the power to terminate Bishop Irineu, because he was elected by the ROEA Congress (although in a fraudulent way according to the outspoken witnesses).

                Bishop Irineu’s, biography does not say the whole truth about him. At this point he seems to be terrorized and therefore afraid to tell the truth about the surrounding environment at the “Vatra”. For better or worse, he is exercising his duties as an Auxiliary Bishop for quite some times now, especially during these tumultuous days. Bishop Irineu was born of a Romanian Orthodox family. (See: http://www.roea.org hierarchs), and 2002 SOLIA May issue page 6, 7, 8.

                Once again, at no surprise, in 2005 Nathaniel’s personal ambitions made him to try electing another Auxiliary Bishop for ROEA, at this time in the person of Archimandrite Joseph Morris. All details including the biography of Fr. J. Morris were published prior to that election (which finally failed) in 2005 SOLIA May issue page 3 & 5. He was not elected due to the fast that he was not speaking or feeling Romanian at all. The Romanians sent an important signal to the ROEA Archbishop at that time, from which he did not want to learn any lesson. Finally, Fr, J. Morris left the ROEA for good.

                After 13 years of thinking and re-thinking, finally Archbishop Nathaniel is “Stacking the Deck.” The plans started in 2014 as per the ROEA Congress minutes. The orchestrated “ROEA Vicariates” is nothing else but a joke to accomplish the goal regarding Nathaniel succession and re-orientation of the ROEA vessel to the OCA and Moscow. The truth of the matter is that Bucharest does not need any involvement with the current Archbishop whose pro gay orientation kicked him out from the Bucharest table.

                The Romanian hierarchs know very well Nathaniel’s character and they did not make room for him at their table. A pro gay visionary as is the ROEA Archbishop Nathaniel, cannot and would not be made Metropolitan for the Romanian Americans. The anti – Nathaniel sentiments were made in time by Nathaniel himself and his dictatorial conduct. The ROEA Archbishop’s conduct related to the abuse of Bishop Irineu and some other Romanian born priests are hard proof evidences and there is “no need” for such a hierarch to be part of the Romanian Orthodox Church Synod. Nathaniel character and conduct compromised him during the years, and no detailing would be necessary at his age. So, it is better for him to think about his pro – OCA mafia.

                Before closing this comments, let see some outsider opinions about Bishop Irineu, such as of Monk James says: August 19, 2015 at 7:40 pm “As I have it, Bp Ireneu balked at all the personal corruption of Abp Nathaniel and other bishops in the OCA, and was therefore shut out of any possibility of succeeding AbpN, who (they say) then threatened BpI with deportation unless he shut up. It seems that this is why BpI is not in the running to succeed AbpN. May the Lord convert them and have mercy on them all.”

                Bishop Irineu in his humbleness is praying the Almighty God for divine intervention in saving Vatra from more corruption and immorality. He is feeling the weight of his heavy cross on a daily basis. Only God can save him from the ROEA hyenas. It is better for Bishop Irineu to keep his humble profile and to see the proud pro-OCA mafia falling down, because God is in charge of His Church. The comments posted on this blog are telling the truth about this ROEA Auxiliary Bishop Irineu Duvlea, and the ROEA Archbishop(s) as well too. Bishop Irineu labor and dedication to the best interest of the Romanian flock is outstanding and it would be well regarded by God. God will reward him according to his divine judgment, regardless the way he was elected Bishop by acclamation only.

                Synonymous per Scorilo

                …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
                8/22/2015

                • anonymus per Scorilo says

                  Your bed-time stories about the pure holy blameless bishop Irineu locked in the tallest tower by the big bad wolf and praying with bitter tears for the delivery of the ROEA from said big bad wolf would be so much more credible if you did not include in the same message personal threats and menaces that sound as if taken from a cheap mafia movie:

                  We still have respect for you, your family and your comments. In case, from now on you are facing hard time by making stupid comments, it is your fault.

                  I love you and your family Giovanni, but ya disappointed me Giovanni. So now I’ma gonna have to hurt you Giovanni, and it is all your fault Giovanni.

                  Anyway, what you reveal between the lines confirms what I said exactly: Fr. Joseph Morris was not elected to the episcopate because he was not “feeling Romanian at all” and Bp. Irineu and a few “persecuted Romanian priests” are running a pro-Bucharest campaign behind the scenes, which Abp. Nathaniel has tried to stop in the past by taking Bp. Irineu to Metropolitan Herman for a number of times.

                  Think about it – what interest would Abp. Nathaniel have had to bring in a third party in the game if he is such an evil abuser ? Or maybe your hatred against Abp. Nathaniel shuts down the thinking capacity as well – I cannot explain otherwise how you can “deduce” that I am a ROEA priest (an in Ohio for that matter) from the fact that I have never met Fr. Pac-Urar in my life.

            • Decebalus Per Scorilo says
        • Pere LaChaise:

          As ROEA writes above, the Archidocese would seem to be making ready to join Bucharest with the election of sub-archdiocesan Vicars giving Abp. Nathaniel better standing as a Metropolitan of an overseas Eparchy.

          The notion that a THREE-BISHOP outfit is so much more prestigious(?)/legit(?) than a SINGLE-BISHOP outfit, and therefore by that measure, more worthy of “elevation” to independent overseas eparchy, is pathetic.

        • Pere:

          Romanians by and large … consider [the OCA] ‘Russian’ by some odd stretch of the imagination.

          There’s nothing odd about it at all; for all kinds of reasons – historical, liturgical, architectural, musical. The Ukrainians at the UOC church near me consider the nearest OCA church “Russian,” too, and wouldn’t be caught dead in it, even though not a single Russian had a part in founding it, and no Russians attend, the occasional straggler aside.

      • ROEA:

        I believe that George offers a POV shared by the majority of OCA members that the ROEA impacts the OCA in an adverse manner since its reception into the OCA.

        I believe that George offers a POV of no concern to the overwhelming majority of OCA “members,” most of whom have never even heard of the ROEA.

      • calling Abp. Valerian an pro-Nazi is wrong

    • You pay “dues”to belong to a club not to a church so I assume the Romanian AD is a club.

  5. Pere LaChaise says

    Recall that the Bulgarian and Albanian ethnic dioceses are fairly well integrated into the OCA. Bulgarian internal governance is anomalous (with its Spiritual Council hamstringing the Diocesan Bp.) and should be regularized but Albanians show readiness to functionally join New England.

  6. ReaderEmanuel says

    I know several people mentioned in the document, including Fr. Ian Pac-Urar and his Preoteasa, Mary Lynn (in fact, I went to high school with her!). His parish is about a 5 minute drive from my home. I can only say that I agree with SOME of what has been said above, both pro and con. Perhaps the next time I see Fr. Ian or his deacon, I can ask them. The document says “pending completion of examination…”. Perhaps they will come out with complete bios of the candidates at that time and present them at the Congress. I just can’t believe that Archbishop Nathaniel would do things in an underhanded manner.

    But has anyone ever thought that perhaps the fact that Archbishop Nathaniel is by no means a young man, and also has jurisdiction in Canada, that he may just need some help and may want to have someone already in place in the ROEA that could be his successor?

  7. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    When Metropolitan PHILIP assigned me to pastor an ethnic parish in Pennsylvania 23 years ago, the parish immediately dropped the lamentable custom of “dues.”

    At the same time we also removed both the American and Syrian flags from the sanctuary.

    Even then, neither action was unusual in the polity of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

    By the way, I believe the Antiochian Archdiocese is still the only Orthodox jurisdiction in this country that has no national identification in its title.

    If we are serious about evangelizing the country we live in, the lessons here seem pretty elementary.

    • Monk James says

      Completely ignoring the Orthodox Church in America?!

      • “America” in the singular refers to the USA (a nation, BTW) for everyone on the planet who isn’t being tendentious. If it were the “Orthodox Church in North America” or the “Orthodox Church in the Americas,” you would have a point, but it isn’t and you don’t. Fr. Reardon is correct on this point, even if I don’t necessarily think that any conclusions can be drawn from it. The Antiochian Archdiocese certainly seems to be healthier than much of the OCA at the moment, something that I wouldn’t have said 20-30 years ago.

        • Pere LaChaise says

          I assume you attend AOCNA convocations and not the OCA’s AAC. If you had the latter, you might change your opinion, which sounds very subjective, in an ‘out in the weeds’ kind of way. We feel very good about the OCA as a whole and experience much grace and spiritual encouragement in gathering to do its business. The Romanian anomaly will not sink this ship that God has built, and the admittedly provisional moniker OCA does not define us, but rather our Communion in Christ and our commitment to fulfilling His Great Commission. ‘Nuff said.

          • anonymus per Scorilo says

            The Romanian anomaly will not sink this ship that God has built,

            I do not think having ethnic dioceses is an “anomaly” – on the contrary, it is an essential part of the ministry of an autocephalous church in a country where lots of people immigrate.

            It is crucial to have structure that caters to the religious needs of the new immigrants, makes sure they are not grabbed by the Pentecostals or Baptists, and encourages them to live the fullness of the Christian life, switching them from the ethnic paradigm (we are Orthodox because we are Romanian, and we fast because our grandparents did) to the paradigm: we are Orthodox because this is the True Faith and we fast because we love Christ.

            What is anomalous is when these people are kept forever in the ethnic paradigm, and you end up with their kids leaving the church and with parishioners who have never heard of St. Herman or St. John Maximovich after 20 years in America.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Father James accuses me of, “Completely ignoring the Orthodox Church in America?!”

        “America” is not a “national identification,” Father?

        • Monk James says

          That was not an accusation but a question asked with some surprise, which I attempted to express with the ‘?!’ at its end.

          There’s no doubt that ‘America’ (short for the USA) is a nation — even I know that — but that’s not the point I was questioning.

          Rather, I was wondering if, when Father Patrick wrote earlier that ‘the Antiochian Archdiocese is still the only Orthodox jurisdiction in this country that has no national identification in its title.

          If we are serious about evangelizing the country we live in, the lessons here seem pretty elementary.’

          he meant to imply that having no national designation in the name of a church in the United States was better than having one, as does say, the ‘Greek Orthodox Church’ in Greece, the Serbian Orthodox Church in Serbia, etc. (This is very different from, say, the descriptors of such a polity as ‘The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada’.)

          And additionally, that having a national designation would somehow suggest that we might not be ‘serious about evangelizing the country we live in’.

          Hence my question about the Orthodox Church in America.

          The OCA is where it is, when it is, and its official name doesn’t (to me, at least) seem to detract from the seriousness of its mission. Can we do better? Certainly, and we’re working on it, by God’s mercy.

    • Patrick H.R.:

      By the way, I believe the Antiochian Archdiocese is still the only Orthodox jurisdiction in this country that has no national identification in its title.

      If we are serious about evangelizing the country we live in, the lessons here seem pretty elementary.

      You mean, here in the barbarian lands, all should unite under the EP, right?

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        OOM has the audacity to ask me, “You mean, here in the barbarian lands, all should unite under the EP, right?”

        That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

    • Patrick:

      By the way, I believe the Antiochian Archdiocese is still the only Orthodox jurisdiction in this country that has no national identification in its title.

      FYI: the Patriarchate self-identifies as the “GREEK Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East.”

    • r j klancko says

      so why is the antiochian archdioces becoming more ethnic, replacing western music with byzantine chant, using more arabic in the services, not creating american institutions but send valuable resources constantly off shore – we have no eastern orthodox hospitals in america, no eastern orthodox colleges in america, so are we here only temporarily? when are we planning to leave? we are not part of the fabric of this country as the jews, roman catholics, episcopalians and, lutherans etc are.
      if one man of lebanese extraction – amos jacobs – can establish a world renown hospital – how come there is no antiochian wing to it — i speak of danny thomas and st judes – i truly believe that the vision of met anthony has been tanked, and the future of american eastern orthodoxy is far from being with the antiochians – especially because they lost the true vision by not making a widowed american born cleric as metropolitan but just another foreigner aligned with the old country and not the new country. we are truly in a sad state of affairs, as attested to bynthe fact that our yiung people are not staying with us – can’t we realize what reality actually is?

      • Michael Bauman says

        klanko not wholly correct: We do have an Orthodox college, and my parish has created a growing elementary school plus a monastery as well as a center to help women keep their babies and not abort.

        Drop in the bucket to be sure. There are a lot more of every other type of Christian. At this point it is unlikely we will ever be a part of the fabric of the American culture. Not sure that is a bad thing. In any case you don’t accomplish the Gospel that way. You become the fabric by living the Gospel.

        As far as an Orthodox hospital under current laws such a thing would be impossible. To stay alive current hospitals have become behemoths marketed like cars and managing patients like car washes. Nurses spend more time on the computers documenting than they do caring for patients. The new ideal is to automate and replace as many functions as possible with computers. Even without the social and legsl pressurers to do things like abortion. Even the Catholics are having difficulties maintaining actual Catholic hospitals.

        Course that is not just in medical care. Serious discussions going on about what happens when there ate no jobs humans can do as well as AI computers.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I do not like this recent development either, but I think we should give Antioch some slack. The Patriarchate is in mortal danger in the Middle East. I pray that the existential crisis will pass and then this “circling of the wagons” will cease.

      • Estonian Slovak says

        Hey, I’ll be happy to leave for Slovakia tomorrow! We are only here on this earth temporarily. I’m 63, so I need to prepare for the next world.
        But if failed US policies hadn’t resulted in a mass of refugees fleeing militant Islam, perhaps the Arab language services wouldn’t be needed. What on earth is wrong with keeping pride in one’s ethnic heritage? I find it fascinating that the political liberals are ok with multilingual instructions in public, whereas the Orthodox religious liberals blubber when they hear any language other than English in the services.

  8. “But has anyone ever thought that perhaps the fact that Archbishop Nathaniel is by no means a young man, and also has jurisdiction in Canada, that he may just need some help and may want to have someone already in place in the ROEA that could be his successor?”

    No, I think you have to approach this very much like a business would. I know many “churchy” people are loath to do so because they have this irrational fear that if they adopt tried and true practices that the business community uses, somehow, that’s going to magically turn the Church into a business. We Orthodox don’t have to worry about that. Our own ineptitude will prevent us from becoming a successful business even if we tried!

    But anyways, the OCA should cut ties with anything that is hindering them from successfully being the Church in this country. So, They should let the ROEA be on its own, along with any other ethnic eparchies, and be the strongest OCA it can be. I don’t mean to sever communion with them, just not have them be under the wings of the OCA.

  9. Thomas Gorbick says

    All of the Ethnic dioceses have no place in an Orthodox ethos. I have heard all the arguments over the years about helping immigrants assimilate. Sorry, none of it holds water. After fifty years of watching this assimilation, isn’t it amazing that just like the Romanians, their churches are dying ethnic ghettos. They don’t contribute to the OCA because they have no money. They have no money because the churches fostered not a life in Christ but a life in some sort of pseudo-Christian/Ethnic hybrid. The children of many of those who stayed in these ethnic ghettos now live lives of poverty with relatively little education and bleak prospects for improvement. Instead of focusing on living a Christian life in America, these communities have found it more important to retain some sort of historical reenactment society. If you love Romanian, Russian, Georgian, Bulgarian culture so much, either move back to your beloved country or have your ethnic fair at a picnic. It just doesn’t belong in a church.

    Take a good hard look at the churches that are growing and the ones that are dying in America. The overwhelming majority of the Orthodox churches that are struggling are ethnic. Sadly, archbishop Nathaniel is also part of the problem for continuing to foster his own brand of ethno-phyletism.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Right, in the meantime, the Romainian Pentecostals seem to be growing. I suspect someone like Soros with deep pockets and an agenda is backing them. I also understand that of all Eastern Europeans, they seem to be building the most churches.At least, they use a spoken language. I like the Slavonic, but think the vernacular important, especially for Scripture readings.
      As far as the late Archbishop Valerian,the OCA made a lot of talk over ROCOR support of the Nazis,yet here you have one of their bishops accused of the same thing.Not to condemn the late Archbishop, in both case, you had people supporting Hitler against an equally bad tyrant
      Stalin.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        Est. Slo.,
        The Romanian language used in Orthodox churches is of a modern recension, product of ongoing editorship over the last century or more. To accuse the Romanian church also of medievalism or obscurantism vis. some heretical outfit like ‘pentecostals’ is totally out of place and shows your ignorance of real problems facing Romanian Orthodoxy.
        But the overt chauvinism of Romanian Orthodox parishes in North America has indeed cost their witness dearly, hence the folding up of so many of them. I know so many 2nd-gen and even emigres who have opted for judaizing cults like SDA, ‘pentecostalism’, ‘baptism’ etc. because they see no point in continuing to wave Romanian flags in America.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Are you then a priest in the ROEA that you DO know the problems? I guess I should have made my post clearer. Of all the ORTHODOX Eastern Europeans, the Romanians are the ones building the most churches.
          I know what I see with my own eyes, that is that the local Romanian Pentecostal churches draw crowds when they have services. Furthermore, my informant is the son of a local priest of the ROEA. He says that the Pentecostals manage to set up the Romanians with jobs. Then when they ask about an Orthodox church, they are threatened with losing their jobs.

      • anonymus per Scorilo says

        At least, they use a spoken language.

        The Romanian Orthodox use the same spoken language as the Pentecostals, and they are still losing people to them and to the Baptists massively (and without Soros helping at all).

        This is what happens when you tell people all the time “Orthodox = Romanian.” When they arrive to the US they have some guys using the same logic to tell them “most of the Americans are protestants, so if you want to become American you have to become protestant.” If they have bought the first statement, it will not be easy to reject the second. Those who reject it and who remain Orthodox, do it in large part because of their nationalist feelings, and because they are convinced that their children will remain Romanian forever, up to the 100’th generation.

  10. Trifa was deported because of his pro-Nazi activities during WWII. He lied to US immigration when he first came to the USA about his past, concealing his involvement. I don’t say that he did not repent of his misdeeds and tried to live the rest of his life in a moral and just manner. In the end, God will be the Judge of him and all of us, but he was a member and leader of the Iron Cross, a pro-Nazi group and thus it is not wrong to call him what he was in his youth.

    With reference to the ill informed statement of anonymus per Scorilo, +Nathaniel was indeed in secret negotiations with the Romanian Patriarchate in the early 2000’s, negotiations not sanctioned by the OCA Synod nor with their knowledge. The exploratory committee mentioned was after the fact when his under the table dealings were brought to light.

    The entrance of the OCA ethnic dioceses were done at a time when the OCA was desperate, eager to include any other non-Metropolia entities to promote their “autocephaly.” The OCA fully expected that the original terms of the ROEA entry into the OCA would be revised for mutual benefit. But when +Nathaniel, a Uniate Roman trained cleric became Trifa’s successor, he has been steadfast in flatly refusing any renegotiation of the original ROEA/OCA document. His recent comment to the AAC to “butt out” of the internal affairs of the ROEA has been repeated at almost every AAC in the past 20 years.

    There is much more to tell about +Nathaniel and his now strained working relationship with his Aux. bishop Ireinu, a man of the highest moral caliber who does not stand for any immoral and unnatural behavior, even from a brother bishop. He has paid dearly for that high moral standard over the past 10 years and his willingness to expose such misdeeds.

    As I said previous, the OCA would be better off if the ROEA, which is part of the OCA in name only, attested to by signatures on a piece of paper, but never a willing or supportive member of the OCA vision. Unlike the Albanian and Bulgarian ethnic dioceses which have worked over the years to be more integral parts of the OCA, the ROEA has taken full advantage of their one-sided agreement to enter the OCA. It is a shame to see the isolationist attitude of +Nathaniel and how he has used the OCA to feather his own bed.

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      Sorry, but you are just repeating the lies and intoxications that the Romanian secret police has spawned over the years against the ROEA.

      There was never any organization called “Iron Cross.” There was one called the “Iron Guard,” which was linked to a youth christian group called “Brotherhood of the Cross” (fratiile de cruce). Viorel Trifa (the future Abp. Valerian) was a leader of this group, in which hundred of thousand of the youth at the time participated, including at least 3 or 4 of the future Metropolitans of the Romanian Orthodox Church during communism. So not even the communist regime bought into the “membership of the Brotherhood of the Cross = pro nazi” paradigm that you are selling (otherwise they would not have allowed pro-nazis in high church positions).

      Furthermore, during the war Viorel Trifa was imprisoned by the nazis in the Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Dachau. So there goes the “Abp. Valerian was pro-nazi” lie to the garbage.

      • So his deportation was just a big mistake? Sure. I guess this is just another “butt out” of roea internal affairs. Such an off limits approach has made it easier for +Nathaniel to run his immoral and colorful leadership over the years and when his lifestyle was exposed he threatened Bp. Irineu with deportation for speaking truth to power.

        • anonymus per Scorilo says

          There is as much truth in your statement that Abp. Valerian was deported as there is in the statement that Abp. Nathaniel could have had Bp Irineu deported, as there is in the statement that he has an immoral lifestyle. None, none and none.
          By the way, friendly advice from someone who has seen a lot of romanian secret police intoxications: your lies about Abp. Nathaniel’s lifestyle would be much more credible if you delivered them alone and did not mix them with lies that can be dismantled in 2 minutes by reading some history or by asking anybody who has immigrated to the US recently.

    • Monk James says

      As I have it, Bp Ireneu balked at all the personal corruption of Abp Nathaniel and other bishops in the OCA, and was therefore shut out of any possibility of succeeding AbpN, who (they say) then threatened BpI with deportation unless he shut up. It seems that this is why BpI is not in the running to succeed AbpN. May the Lord convert them and have mercy on them all.

      Now, all this back-room politics notwithstanding, there are canons still in force which forbid bishops to do ANYTHING about determining their successors.

      May the Lord bless even the OCA’s Romanians to do the right thing.

      • synonimus per Scorilo says

        Dear Monk James Silver,

        Thank you for making good point in your comment, serving a lesson to those who are ignoring the canonical provisions regarding the election of “a bishop successor”. You could make your point clearer by bringing your comments in case the comment posted below in lacking some important canonical provisions you can think about. The canonical provisions presented below are selected from the Internet and they were posted on ocanews.org or on this blog during the years. Monk James Silver is a brilliant man, speaking truthfully and in the best interest of the Orthodox Church

        Monk James says: (August 19, 2015 at 7:40 pm), “Now, all this back-room politics notwithstanding, there are canons still in force which forbid bishops to do ANYTHING about determining their successors. May the Lord bless even the OCA’s Romanians to do the right thing.”

        This year (2015), during the ROEA Council Meeting in July, the ROEA Archbishop is desperately attempting again to impose his wish, by electing 2 Auxiliary Bishops for ROEA, as per the 2015 ROEA Congress Convocation. This announcement was not published in 2015 SOLIA May, June, July issue, and no information about “WHOSE WHO” regarding both candidates: Rev. Fr. Dan Hoarşte and Deacon David Oancea. Both of them are unfeasible for the episcopacy within the ROEA, according to the information the ROEA provided for them as of this time.

        Regarding Deacon David Dancea there are some information in SOLIA Almanac 2001, page 275…There are some reasons which is kicking him out of this election, as follows:

        — He was married to a divorced woman, and he was ordained into Deaconate contrary to the Canonical Provisions;
        — He is divorced and has a daughter he should take care of her for the upcoming years;
        — His ex wife is living close to the Vatra and close to her ex husband, Deacon David Oancea;
        — He is not a monastic and he never made any monastic vows to be qualified for the episcopacy;
        — He did not make known his biography and especially the real reasons he was divorced from his wife;
        — He does not have theological training or administration skills to be qualified for Episcopacy;
        — He cannot get along with the Romanians born in Romania and with the Romanian Orthodox Culture;
        — He is pushed by the Archbishop Nathaniel to be elected, to make sure nobody will be able to discover and reveal any wrongdoing committed by Archbishop Nathaniel since his election, 35 years ago.
        — He is pushed by the Archbishop Nathaniel to be elected as Auxiliary Bishop and then to be his successor, contrary to the Canonical Provisions:

        *(CANON XLVIII. 1st Ecumenical Council, Nice, 325 A.D. “No bishop shall choose his own successor.”

        *CANON XXIII. The Synod of Antioch in Encaeniis, 431 A.D. IT shall not be lawful for a bishop, even at the close of life, to appoint another person as successor to himself; and if any such thing should be done, the appointment shall be void. But the ecclesiastical law must be observed, that a bishop must not be appointed otherwise than by a Synod and with the judgment of the bishops, who have the authority to promote the man who is worthy, after the falling asleep of him who has ceased from his labors.).

        *CANON LXXVI. The Canons of the Holy and Altogether August Apostles.

        A bishop must not out of favor to a brother or a son, or any other relation, ordain whom he will to the episcopal dignity; for it is not right to make heirs of the bishopric, giving the things of God to human affections. Neither is it fitting to subject the Church of God to heirs. But if anyone shall do so let the ordination be void, and the ordainer himself be punished with excommunication.

        Regarding Rev. Fr. Dan Hoarşte there is any information in SOLIA or in some other ROEA publications. Just bear in mind that between May 8 – 10, 2015, at the Annunciation Cathedral in Montreal, Quebeck Canada, took place the 1st meeting of the Vicariate of Canada, whose vicar is Rev. Fr. Dan Hoarşte. The event was attended by the majority of priests and their family, and a large number of the members of Parish Council in Canada.

        HOARŞTE, Dan was ordained by Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit to the: Holy Diaconate on September 29, 2012 at St. George Cathedral, Southfield, MI, and to the Holy Priesthood on December 23, 2012 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Dearborn Heights, MI. He was born in the village of Hurez (near Făgăraş), Braşov County, Romania and emigrated to the USA with his familz. Hope this information is correct. In case it is not, then correction are accepted.

        He does not have good theological training, administrative skills, and pastoral experience. As for the Church services he is very much unexperienced and a novice in this field. He is the worse candidate for such a position.

        The meeting was chaired by the ROEA Archbishop Nathaniel Popp, assisted by Rev. Fr. Dan Hoarşte.
        At that time it was proposed by the clergy and laity to create the position of the Vicar Bishop for Canada, as an extension and administrative help of ROEA (See SOLIA May / June, 2015, page 21). During that meeting, it was said by the ROEA Archbishop that, Deacon David Oancea will be elected as a Bishop, and more likely to his successor. The information came out from the people who attended the meeting mentioned above.

        The secrecy of electing and publishing biographical information of the candidates will be very soon turned upside down by the comments / postings to the Monomakhos. It should be noted that in total secrecy the OCA Synod made the “canonical examination” of Deacon David Oancea and Rev Fr Dan Hoarşte during the 18th AAC in Atlanta, GA, July 20 – 24, 2015. The election will be done “pending completion of canonical Examination by the Holy Synod of Bishops”, as posted in the Convocation of the 83rd ROEA Congress.

        The OCA Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard, was approached at the past AAC in Atlanta, GA. regarding the issue of election of 2 vicar Bishops for the ROEA. He said: It was made an exception as a brotherly gesture for the loyalty of the ROEA Archbishop Nathaniel to the OCA. Nathaniel is afraid that any other successor will take the ROEA out of the OCA, and Deacon David Oancea is the most loyal successor of Nathaniel. Nathaniel is a notorious manipulator. He lost in 2005. He will be the big loser at the upcoming 83rd ROEA Congress as well.

        ATTENTION 2015 ROEA CONGRESS DELEGATES!!!

        You are misled by the ROEA Archbishop and his cronies.

        The ROEA Archbishop is afraid to make the information regarding the candidates publicly in order to protect them. More information regarding the true reasons of Deacon David Oancea divorce will be published in October, including his divorce court records. It will be better for Deacon David Oancea to willingly withdraw his name from the list of candidates and be the same man in charge for the ROEA SOLIA, and even give up his position of “Vicar”. He is advised to do so at this time until the bomb will be detonated. In case that he does not listen, then he will see how much he compromised himself. He will not be a ROEA bishop in any circumstance.

        CLERGY and LAY DELEGATE!!!

        You have two (2) options in order to avoid such lawlessness action and a catastrophe for this Episcopate.

        You either: 1 – DO NOT enter to vote for any of the candidates during Electoral Session;

        Or: 2 – Make sure to leave the Voting Ballots blank and tear them apart before putting anything in the box in order to make them VOID and NULL.

        In case you are afraid to speak up, then better stay home and pray for those who have a backbone and responsibility to the “Vineyard of God.” There are so many other potential candidates, PHD theologians and Archimandrites as part of the ROEA which were not considered for the position of the Vicar Bishop for the ROEA. Does anyone asked this question: WHY? Why is Archbishop Nathaniel against the highly educated Romanian born theologians more suitable for such position? He is anti-Romanian and he cannot trust Romanians any more.

        How can you vote without having knowledge about anything regarding the 2 candidates?

        Prior the 83rd ROEA Congress in Cleveland, OH, clergy and faithful belonging to the ROEA would be properly informed about the abuses of the ROEA Archbishop Nathaniel in regards to the proposal for the election of the 2 Vicar Bishops, and peaceful demonstration will take place in front of the location where the delegates will get together for the annual ROEA Congress. The reporters of the local newspapers and TV station will be invited to care on the events as they are planned at this time. We are prepared to make a difference and say “NO / NIET” to the Vatra dictator. It is the proper time to go and leave us alone. We are sick and tired of him and his cronies.

        According to oca.org (http://oca.org/media/photos/metropolitan-tikhon-presides-at-dormition-monastery-pilgrimage) between August 14 – 16, 2015, the OCA Metropolitan was the guest of honor of the ROEA Archbishop and the Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, MI. From the “photo galleries” the candidates for the ROEA Vicar Bishops can be identified (David Oancea & Dan Hoarşte), as well as of some ROEA Archbishop Nathaniel inner circle and cronies such as: Rev Frs. L. Lazar, Ian Păcurar, Dimitrie Vincent, etc.

        Plans have been made in regards to the day of consecration following their election. It is our hope that God Almighty will not help the Vatra’s manipulator and dictator to fulfill his plans, and his dreams will be a historical utopia. We are so glad “anonymous per Scorilo” stepped in to post some of his comments before the posting of this one.

        I hope he can give a different explanation regarding the information of Deacon David Oancea and Fr. Dan Hoarşte’s forthcoming curriculum vitae. Just take a look at his posted explanation … ”Maybe it is because both candidates are born and raised and known by more or less everyone in the Romanian Episcopate. Or maybe it is because the Chancery of the Romanian Episcopate is severely understaffed and they have more urgent things to do (most likely the person in charge of publishing the CV and bio is one of the candidates). I am also sure that if one of the candidates or had spent 15 years in a non-canonical structure, a CV and bio would have been provided much faster.” (anonymous per Scorilo says: August 18, 2015 at 4:03 am.)

        In 2002 and 2005 the SOLIA published some biographical informations regarding both candidates to episcopacy: Archimandrite Irineu Duvlea and Archimandrite Joseph Morris. At this time nothing was published due to the fact that the ROEA Archbishop is hiding the truth about both candidates regarding their theological schooling, priestly training, administrative skills. None of the candidates at this time is suitable to the ROEA Vicar Bishop position. Imagine a candidate who was ordained deacon and priect less than 3 years ago, how much he knows regarding priesthood, ministry, preaching,administration. He is guilty for accepting such a burdan being poorly prepared. Then, the canons are grossly violated in regards the number of at least 2 candidates, to be able to chose / vote for one of the best. At this time nobody can chose / vote for one of the best, because they are both the worse. To force delegates to chose / vote for 2 candidates in the mean time it is a ”devilish maneuver” … only the ROEA Archbishop and his cronies can orchestrate and serve on the platter fo the ROEA at large of Congress delegate. Are we living the ”COMMUNIST ERA OF NATHENIEL THE DICTATOR” or something else?

        This anonimus per Scorilo who is posting his commenst on this blog, is the ”main mouth piece of the ROEA dictator” … and his explanations posted on this blog are very childish … sounding like‚ ’’selling vegis to the farmer.” This could happen in Akron, OH, area but not in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Detroit, etc. His explanation cannot be bought by any Romanian readres of this blog, but all non – Romanians. The ROEA must post the ”curriculum vitae” for the 2015 two candidates for the position of Vicar Bishops, as they were posted in 2002 for Irineu Duvlea and 2005 for Joseph Morris. It is our hope that both the ROEA dictator and his crony ”anonymus per Scorilo” will agree to this request. In case nothing they’ll post on the roea.org, then we can post much more, but in October only. Everything will come out from the ROEA files / offices. Just wait and see.

        ROEA clergy should speak up during the 2015 Congress Clergy Conference about the violations of Canonical Provisions in regards to the election of Fr. Dan Hoarşte and Deacon David Oancea, as well as about the violation of the ROEA Constitution and By – Laws. Documentation should be distributed to all 2015 Congress regarding both candidates at the Clergy conference. The best scenario and in the best interest of the ROEA would be ”to call off this electoral congress” … and deligently look for some other candidates, as the other ”ethnic Churches” are doing in America or in other parts of the World.

        At the present time, there is a case in the Church of Moldova where the Bishop of Edineţ and Briceni (Nicodim Vulpe … born under the name of Ioan Vulpe on September 4, 1956), who was ordained as Bishop by the Russian Patriarch Kirill on December 2010, after he divorced his wife Ludmila, and left alone his children Maria, Vasile and Petru. He is a good friend of Archbishop Nathaniel, and got his permission to celebrate the wediing of one of his son in Portland OR, along with Bishop Irineu of the ROEA. He was doing business with the ROEA in his own interest by selling books printed in Moldova. Is the ROEA Archbishop following ”the pattern” of Russian Patriarch Kirill” by imposing 2 candidates to be bishops regardless the canonical provisions and Church practice? Why is nathaniel so afraid in doing this kind of dirty business, puting the ROEA and the Romanian community on the North American Continent in a dark picture. Quo Vadis ROEA without Nathaniel? Let’s hope not to ”hell”.

        First of all, “Solia” must publish all information regarding the candidates, and then call the Electoral Congress in session. Who changed the Order of Rule of this publication in 2015, compared to 2002 and 2005 and for what reasons? May God be with all of us and help us in this critical time.

        … Synonymus per Scorillo …

        08/24/2015

        • Monk James says

          It was excessive of ‘Synonymus per Scorilo’ to describe me as ‘brilliant’.

          Were it up to me, I’d like to be regarded only as someone who has a bit of common sense, who loves God, and who is deeply committed to the ideal Church, Christ’s own Body and Bride on Earth, and to keeping The Church as perfect now as our Lord Jesus Christ established it at the beginning.

          In the meantime, though, people who are unfamiliar with the history of Romania and of orthodox Christianity there, would do well to research — even on Google — terms such as Scorilo and Dacia and Decabulus and other unfamiliar words which have appeared in this thread.

          Please — let’s not be so intentionally ignorant. Much can be learned from the way in which people use words.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Then please, be true to your word and apologize for the error in in judgment you made for entering into a discussion of human medicine for which you were not qualified and provided erroneous information not once, but twice. I would hate to image that, for example, a woman who was provided a low-dose emitting IUD like Skyla for the treatment of endometriosis and to prevent cervical cancer had it removed based on your pronouncement that it was immoral. Words have meaning, I agree, and you are responsible for your intentional ignorance. That you refused and refuted my common sense is not important. It is your use of words and your responsibility for accepting your error that is at issue here.

            • Monk James says

              Non sequitur.

              • M. Stankovich says

                A non sequitur is an unrelated, absurd, even comical statement with lack of connection to the statement that proceeded it. You said you wished to be “regarded as someone who has a bit of common sense,” and you called upon the members of this forum to “not be so intentionally ignorant. Much can be learned from the way in which people use words.” My request is relevant, justified, and deserves an apology at face value, and secondly, because you personally accused me of misconduct and were in error, which speaks to your statement that you are “deeply committed to the ideal Church,” and “keeping the Church as perfect now…,” You set the context & criteria for my appropriate request for an apology for your documented errors and insult which anyone can read. In my estimation, one who who holds himself out as as a monk should either apologize for his error or clearly state he has no intention to do so, and let others remember him as they will.

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      You are not being too self-consistent here, on one hand decrying the ROEA’s lack of integration and OCA vision, and on the other you are praising Abp. Irineu who is perhaps the strongest driving force in the pro-ethnic direction.

      Abp. Irineu has been fighting to shut down the “american church vision” and re-ethnicize the ROEA ever since his election: he refused to learn English together with the other monks in his monastery when they came to America (at least once he ordained reading everything in romanian a convert who did not understand a iota of romanian), and he was walking around for a long time awarding priests “the cross of bishop Irineu”, “gramatas of appreciation” and other crap like this. Furthermore, he has filled many parishes with hard-core-romanian priest buddies of him, who have re-plunged these parishes into the ethnic ethos, and he and his friends have sabotaged the election of a convert to the episcopacy by pumping up the pro-romanian anti-convert sentiment.

      His goal throughout has been to become ruling bishop and to offer the ROEA on the platter to Bucharest. He did try once to make it to the Romanian holy synod and he failed, and now he is trying to get in on the back door. By the way, if you want more details about his “highest moral caliber” and “high moral standard” feel free to ask any member of the electoral assembly (made at that time by laity, priests and bishops) that refused to elect him bishop in Romania. He had thus the “damaged unwanted goods – archimandrite for life” label when he came to America, and Abp. Nathaniel was weak enough to give him a second chance at being a bishop, and woke up quite late to stop his machinations.

      All the rest, about the holy hi-moral-caliber Bp. Irineu exposing Abp. Nathaniel’s moral failings, and being sidelined and threatened with deportation because of that, are just blatant lies that are being fed to people who have a bone to grind against Abp. Nathaniel and are willing to believe anything against him, even if it involves shutting one’s brain down. Just think about it (or ask any immigration lawyer) – how can anybody threaten with deportation a person who has been in the US for 15 years and has a green card (and maybe even citizenship).

      • Scorilo scorilo… please stop writing here lies about the romanian community, romanian churches, romanian clergy and bishop Irineu.
        Policarp came here to raise a community, founding the romanian episcopate. Let me ask you Scorilo…:
        – who foundate the romanian episcopate? Answer: romanian people
        – who build churches in this country? Answer: romanians
        – who is contribuiting to the episcopate? Answer: 80% romanians
        – who is close to the church and are financing the church? Answer romanians
        – who build the first romanian monastery? Bishop irineu with the romanians
        Remeber, the romanian community did all this for the church for the episcopate and tradition.
        As communist as you said we are we did something here for the community and for.this country. I saw what Bishop Nathaniel did, vatra is almost done there is nothing to do there, the house where policarp lived looks like a ghost house. Look at the churches that were recently build, these are with the support of the romanians… sorry i presented here just few facts to remember because the romanians are good just to pay the membership but when it comes to elections just the americans are asked and counts. Cheers

  11. Fr. Reardon:

    Regarding the Antiochian Archdiocese; it has gone back to 1940. With the “appointment” of Met. Joseph, the AOCA has retreated from an American type Orthodox Church to a Syrian Ethnic type Orthodox Church. It is truly unfortunate that the American Arabs have allowed this to happen. With more & more refugees coming to the US, the idea is to cater to them and 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation American/Arabs are 2nd class citizens. If you are a convert, forget it, you are not even in their circles. You are their janitors.

    Regarding the Romanians; nothing new here. Most enlightened Romanians want to be separate from overseas bishops as Orthodox Canon Law dictates. Why should any church in America take orders from old country bishops who want to take American money? Canonically, foreign bishops have no authority outside their own local territory. The Romanian new bishop candidates are well-known to Romanians and it is true, the Pat. overseas will try and stack the deck in the US to reclaim the assets of American Romanians. Hey, why shouldn’t he? The Arab Pat. takes millions; the Greek Pat. takes millions; etc. Stupid American Orthodox can’t see this!

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      I can speak only for myself.

      But, for myself, I want the ties between the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Patriarchate of Antioch to be strengthened, not weakened.

      For several years I had complained about the designation “self-ruled” in reference to our Archdiocese, so I am glad the expression seems to have disappeared since Metropolitan JOSEPH became our chief pastor.

      Anyway, if I am only a “janitor” in this Archdiocese, I thank God for the blessing. My family and I—along with our largely convert parish—are VERY happy here. I can’t imagine belonging anywhere else.

      • The Antiochian future is its priests and soon monks. One cannot look at the thriving parts of the archdiocese and not see the DNA of the convert-friendly era. Although I recent moved out of an Antiochian parish and into the OCA Diocese of the South, I see no major changes in Antioch on it being a missions oriented and convert-friendly (not the same as a convert-driven) church. Where are the new priests? Where are the signs of growth? Always the key questions to ask.

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          Right you are Terry. The first thing that struck me about the AOA was the caliber of the priests, especially the younger ones. They are serious and capable men. We older types (seems strange to refer to myself that way) are confident the Church is in good hands as the younger priests gain more experience and maturity.

          Second was the overall stability of the jurisdiction. The men who know only the AOA have their complaints of course, but that’s because they know only their side of the fence. It’s a very good place to work.

          Third, was the overall emotional health of the priests. No real problems with chronic obesity and other stress related maladies. This is indicative of a better interior life which I attribute to more consistent leadership from the top.

          Fourth, the jurisdiction is growing. The emphasis placed on mission work is authentic and sober, and by sober I mean that three guys and a priest do not a mission make. The standards are demanding but doable and ensure that missions do indeed succeed — and most do.

          Fifth, support among the priests (the “brothers” as we priests call each other) is tangible and real. Like I said above, they are good men.

          And, yes, monasticism will increase in the AOA as Met. Joseph indicated in Boston at the National Convention recently. BTW, Pat. John spoke too. Outstanding talk about life in Christ. It fostered a great deal of confidence.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’d like to pick up on this thread and tie it in to the argument regarding “birthright citizenship” and “foreign bishops.”

        Much has been made in another post that the Russian Church was ruled by “foreign” bishops, mainly from Constantinople for the first 500 years. This is only correct in the sense that these bishops were foreign born. Once they went to Kiev, Suzdal, etc., they were no longer “foreigners” in the legal sense but subjects of the local prince.

        This is because the Russian principalities were not republics (as is the USA) but hereditary monarchies. This is an important distinction: in monarchies, all things located therein belong to the monarch (whether he is a hereditary prince or not). That is why they are subjects. Instead, in a republic we have citizens.

        Therefore whenever a foreign national comes to America to become a bishop we can properly call him a “foreign bishop” at least up until that time he takes on American citizenship. If he never does then he will always be a foreign bishop who is a resident alien of the US. A Syrian bishop (for example St Michael, the first Metropolitan of Kiev) is not a foreigner because he owed his allegiance to the Grand Duke of Kiev and was subject to him and his laws.

        Wong touches on this in its reference to Coke’s ruling but this is part of its problematic nature (and probably why it was never viewed as the be-all and end-all regarding citizenship-by-birth in America). Namely that Coke was the Chief Justice of a monarchy (England) and he was speaking in the context of a monarchy and not a republic. (The US was not established as a sovereign nation at the time.)

        Thus it was disingenuous (at worst) or naive (at best) for the Supreme Court to include Coke’s verbiage as a reason to grant Wong American citizenship.

        • George Michalopulos says

          To drive home the point further about foreign bishops vs local bishops and the degree to which the laws of a republic distinguish between them, consider the fate of the two bishops at the center of the Astoria mess. If memory serves, they were both Greek citizens, hence Pat Bartholomew was able to yank them out of the US so they could escape prosecution.

        • George,

          Regarding “foreign bishops”:

          What most in the OCA object to about “foreign bishops” has little to do with their location, ethnicity, political status, etc. The objection is that they represent foreign jurisdictions; i.e., that, for example, Greek Orthodox here are under the Patriarch of Constantinople and his Synod (rather than under Syosset). Yet that is precisely the situation that obtained in Russia up until its autocephaly. Political citizenship is not the point at all. The point of OCA apologists is that the OCA is the sole canonical jurisdiction in North America due to its autocephaly and bishops of foreign jurisdictions should have no dioceses here.

          The fact that no one, including the OCA itself, takes this autocephaly seriously seems lost on them.

          • Daniel E Fall says

            It seems wise that foreign bishops might have no clue about life in another country. If the autocephaly were nothing more than a robin kicking her young from the nest, then what is wrong with it?

            Men enjoy holding onto power. The notion the OCA is going to be the patriarchy of North Americ is absurd. The real story is that is a great excuse for the former.

            And, of course, the oca failings of late have added another excuse for the same.

            • what seems, sadly, more absurd is when “local” (not “foreign”) bishops have even less of a clue about life in their supposed own country. How could a bishop, like Mark Maymon, not know that one of his clergy and his family were seriously contemplating and then apostatized the Faith and converted to Islam?

              I guess he was too busy persecuting an 80 year old priest for wanting to leave the OCA and go to ROCOR.

              You can’t change the stripes on a tiger. He was bad when he was Antiochian and he is even worse in the OCA.

              • Daniel E Fall says

                Maybe they just were not pork eaters.

                The worst nation on the planet for like ten years is Muslim majority.

                If someone wants to trade in Christianity for Islam – what in the world measure of insanity would stop them?

                I don’t know the bishop in question, but your arguments are weak.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Mr. Simon the AOCA is not at all as you describe in my part of the country. Get out if the Northeast and the Wrst .

      • Michael:

        The AOCA is about to be invaded by thousands of refugees from the Mideast mess. All of these Orthodox Christians will have to be administered to. With Met. Joseph, the AOCA reverts to the 1940’s. You should learn your Arabic now and study up on Byzantine Music. All Americanized parishes will be invaded; especially if your area offers opportunities for work.

  12. Serbian Orthodox Church One of the Most Successful “Companies” in Serbia
    Serbian Orthodox ChurchSource: InSerbia News

    BELGRADE – Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is one the most successful “companies” in Serbia, and according to revenue is in third place, just behind NIS (Oil Industry of Serbia) and EPS (Electric Industry of Serbia), writes Serbian daily “Blic”.

    Of course, SPC is not registered as a company, but 40 dioceses annually collect about 140 million euros, according to a survey conducted by “Blic”.

    The Church is unaccountable for its financial statements, not even to the public. That is why, with the help of insiders in the top of the Patriarchate of the SPC, the daily tried to discover one of their biggest secrets.
    When it comes to SPC financies, only a few details are known to the public. Metropolitan Amfilohije revealed that the Monastery Ostrog in 2014 earned 2.4 million euros, and that this year the budget of the Metropolitanate is 770,000 euros. And bishop of Zica Justin dismissed the abbot of the Monastery Zica because she did not pay the “tax” of 30,000 euros per year to the eparchy.

    In times of crisis eparches of the SOC were one of the biggest investors. The money was invested in hotels, wineries, agriculture, because the state does not charge taxes on the revenue from selling candles, religious rites, space rent. Of all of these revenues in 40 dioceses annually comes between 130 and 150 million euros, reveals one of the insiders from the top of the SPC.

    Another insider explains that “an eparchy can earn up to five million euros per year” just from selling candles and religious rites.

    A business developed by the majority of dioceses, from which they earn well, should be added here. Within the church complex buildings are rented, land is leased, industrial facilities, wineries are opened. Only the Diocese of Zahum-Herzegovina exports to the USA about 100,000 bottles of its wine, explained the insider.
    Regardless of the crisis, most of the money comes to the Church from donors. Specifically, “a religious fad” has brought prosperity to the Church.

    New believers belive that they will wash away their sins if they donate to the church, so large amounts of money goes to the diocese. In one Belgrade church, a known criminal found his name on the list of donors, the same one who a few years ago was killed in an ambush. This honor was given to him on the basis of the donation of 500,000 euros, explained one of the most respected bishops of the Serbian Orhotodox Church, who insisted to remain anonimous.

    The state budget pays for social and health insurance of SPC priests, and 9 million euros will be allocated from the budget for this purpose this year. This is the only official data on income of the Church, when it comes to the public money.
    And if the Church would pay taxes, as is the case in many European countries, ten schools or two hospitals could be built annually. However, the Ministry of Finances says that the Church is exempted by law of tax duties. The VAT law stipulates tax exemption for the services of religious character by registered churches and religious communities.

    In addition, churches are also exempted from the payment of property tax.
    The attitude of the state is that the SPC and other religious communities should not pay property tax until all their property seized after the war is returned to them, said Mileta Radojevic, director of the Directorate for cooperation with churches.

    How much money has the SPC shows also a case from February 2013, when the chief treasurer of the Archbishopric of Belgrade-Karlovac, S.Z., was arrested for stealing nearly a million euros in cash from the Patriarchate. He took 19.5 million RSD, 40,000 Swiss francs, 50,000 dollars and 890,000 euros.
    Bishops invest in new business projects

    According to the Serbian Daily “Blic”, Church profit is invested in hotels, wineries, agriculture and tourism, ranking Serbian bishops among the largest investors.
    It is estimated that bishops have invested, in the last few years, several hundred million euros in facilities that do not have a church purpose.

    Only Metropolitan Amfilohije confirmed that the Church is making profit. He does not hide that he does not keep believers’ money in the Episcopal account, but seeks to make profit by investing it.
    This metropolitanate, according to Montenegrin media, has in recent years invested a lot more money in the construction of tourist facilities, than the Montenegrin state.
    Amfilohije says that this is not a sin.

    “Church building apartments and runs hotels is metropolitanate’s business, in the glory of the God, and to the good of the people,” said Metropolitan.

    Unlike him, other bishops do not want to comment on their business ventures.
    It is estimated that a better standing diocese can earn about five million euros, of which the most is in cash. Bishop decides where will the money end up.
    Religious analyst Zivica Tucic says that under the church law dioceses are those that collect revenues.
    “Each diocese has to set aside four percent of their income for the Patriarchate. The main income of the diocese comes from selling candles, but in recent years also from developing economies. Part of the money is set aside for the construction of facilities which are not in the service worship, while these decisions should be made by diocesan committees that need to control the flow of money. However, in practice it is not controlled,” said Tucic.
    Nemanja Nenadic from the organization “Transparency Serbia” says that the control of the flow of money, including the money of the Church, must exist.

    “Otherwise, it opens the risk of corruption and the gray economy,” said Nenadic.
    Tucic believes that the corruption is present in the Church, but that it should not be generalized.
    “Some dioceses are full of money, but there are those that are not and whose priests cannot earn a living because their salary is paid by the ceremony. Such is the case with the parishes in the Diocese of Timok, but also in Raska-Prizren. Not only rich bishops make the Church, but also the poor priests,” said Tucic.
    Such division is confirmed by priest in Negotin, Dragoslav Glisic.

    “I have five children. I serve in the Diocese of Timok. Those villages are deserted and you cannot feed your family from rituals. I barely earn 5,000 dinars (approx EUR 40) per month,” said Glisic.
    As “Blic” has learned, a Belgrade priest, who in his parish has about 200 households, only from religious rituals can earn up to 16,000 euros annually.

    “That amount of money is not small and that is why the majority of priests are struggling to spend their working life in the big city and parish. In addition to that money, there are other revenues that can be earned in churches in big cities. These are primarily donations from believers, which can daily amount to 50,000 dinars. When it comes to religious holidays, donations are tripled. Part of this money should go to the Diocese, but these revenues are always reduced, or part of them ends in priests’ pockets,” said priest D.M. from Belgrade for the daily.
    He said that the Bishop determines how much each parish must give to the diocesan coffers.
    “For our church it is 12,000 euros per month. In previous years it was less, but after the Bishop conducted a control and determined that the priest was hiding part of his earning, the diocesan tax for our parish was increased for 3,000 euros,” he said.

    In addition, each church has its donors, who increase revenues.
    “A donor plate, that stands in the church, give huge amounts of money, mostly from businessmen, but also so-called controversial businessmen. In 2013 our church received 600,000 euros this way,” he said.
    “I did not know that I need to pay for faith”

    “These three fingers I use to cross myself and when I say “God help” are the same as in the one who has money or doesn’t have it. Then why the priest looks differently at us who don’t have it than at those who have it,” says Mirjana Ercegovcevic (46) from Dublje near Sabac for “Blic”.

    She says that local priest Uros Zivkovic omitted them when he consecrated the water for Easter and only because they did not have the money to pay him. Priest Zivkovic dismissed the charges, but confirmed that family Ercegovcevic “owns him money for services.”

    “We do not have the money, we work in wage and everything we earn there is what we have. It is true that we have not paid the priest in the last two years when he came to consecrate the water for Slava and Easter,” said Mirjana who lives in a household with her brother Zoran (51).

    She says that she was unpleasantly surprised and hurt when the priest did not visit their house before Easter.
    “The priest did not come to consecrate the water for Easter. Why he omitted only our house? When he came a few days ago to consecrate the waer for our slava – Djurdjevdan, I asked him, and he replied:’How long do you think I will work for you for nothing?’ I told him that I did not know that I need to pay for faith, and he brazenly replied that it is exactly so,” said Mirjana.

    Although they are very poor, they don’t ask anyone for help.
    “I’m not asking for help, but is it possible that a priest has so little understanding for us? I am aware of my situation, but it hurts when others humiliate you because of it,” said Mirjana.

    Priest Uros Zivkovic dismissed the charges and added that he is not obliged to work for free.
    “It is not true that I did not go to consecrate water for Easter. I went three times and I haven’t found them at home. I went to visit them before slava, and Mirjana began that conversation when I finished the consecration ritual,” said Zivkovic and added that Ercegovcevic family “are not strong believers.”
    “I have never seen them in the church. Until a person goes to the liturgy, fasts, communions, I cannot accept him as a beliver,” he said.

    He added that although priests do not have a salary they have to pay for social and health insurance. He expect Ercegovcevic family to pay its debt, but not to him but as a voluntary contribution to the church. Then, he said, he will decide to consecrate the water in their home again.

    He added that the Bishop of Sabac Lavrentije told the clergy not to go to those who do not pay them.
    Price of the consecration of water for slava is 1,500 dinars (1 EUR = 120 RSD) and for Easter 500 dinars, Serbian Daily Blic wrote.

  13. “Blic” is a more or less spineless mouthpiece for German/Swiss (EU) interests, owned and controlled by non-Serbs and, naturally, not favorably disposed toward the SOC. Most of the old world patriarchates have comparably opaque financial structures.

    http://english.blic.rs/News/10837/German-ambassador-European-Union-is-incomplete-without-Serbia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blic

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringier

    Also see:

    http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/at-political-rally-serbian-church-crosses-sensitive-line/

    Two Serbian hierarchs appeared at a rally against ceding Kosovo to the Muslims. They prayed for the souls of past Serb leaders and warned that one contemporary leader (former PM Zoran Djindjic) had been assassinated after using language about “realpolitik” currently used by the present PM.

    Blic commented:
    “‘It’s high time the SPC [ie, the SOC] stopped meddling into affairs of state,’ commented leading Belgrade daily Blic. ‘The reputation of this institution has now been burnt to the ground, and its hate speech should be sanctioned.’” – http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/at-political-rally-serbian-church-crosses-sensitive-line/

    I.e., the Church should be silenced (and Blic intends to work aggressively toward that end).

  14. Michael Woerl says

    This exchange reminds me of nothing more than Progressive Liberals berating Conservatives … apoarently, as with the perceived “enemies” of Progressive Liberals, any “perceived enemies” of the “OCA Vision” are relegated to ridicule as “unenlightened.” The “OCA Vision” seems to be a mixture of bluster, self proclaimed canonical righteousness, and general incompetence. Why any “ethnics” would be attracted to the “OCA Vision” beats me.

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      Why any “ethnics” would be attracted to the “OCA Vision” beats me.

      Oh, I don’t know …why would ethnic parishes join a vision that does not involved being Orthodox because your grandparents were Orthodox, but because Orthodoxy is the true faith ? … why would they like to stop losing more than 90% of their youth because “they are now americans” and since they are not Slobovian anymore they do not go to the Slobovian church ? … why would they rather avoid living in the fear that some moronic bishops from the synod in the old country will decide one day to forbid frequent communion or reading aloud the eucharistic prayers ? (because these are, of course, Catholic inventions 🙂 ) … why would they prefer electing their own bishops and not have the synod in the old country push down their throats as bishop some guy whose only quality is that he spent all his life kissing the dorsal parts of various powerful people in the synod in order to get elected bishop ? … you get the idea 🙂

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Excellent reply! I would add this: Why would they replace, disregard or corrupt the Great Commission to emphasize instead Hellenism, Holy Rus, or Romanian/Serbian/Bulgarian/Albanian/Arabic solidarity? I am not at all saying that one should quit being a hyphenated American; I am saying that it is simply wrong to elevate loyalty to one’s ethnicity and even to the local churches in the Old World over loyalty to the Lord. If they can do both, more power to them. If not, shame on them.

      • some moronic bishops from the synod in the old country will decide one day to forbid frequent communion or reading aloud the eucharistic prayers ? (because these are, of course, Catholic inventions 🙂 )

        Or maybe sometimes those “moronic bishops” see that parishioners are trotting up for communion every Sunday without preparation — at least as unhealthy spiritually as is communing only a couple of times a year. Maybe if they knew that people were fasting on the appointed days throughout the year, were attending the services the night before and had spent their time quietly between then and the next day’s liturgy, had been to a recent confession, had read all the prayers of preparation the night before and the morning of, had come on time to hear and pray at the Hours or Orthros prior to Liturgy (depending on the tradition) — perhaps those “moronic bishops” would give an answer that seemed a bit more wise to you.

        Or perhaps the “moronic bishops” have noticed that the same priests and parishes who insist on having the normal flow of the Liturgy as it has been served for many hundreds of years grind to a halt so the priest can yell the long secret prayers out loud for all to hear, are often the same ones who are most likely to find reasons to cut cornera and abbreviate the services elsewhere to save time, and tend to serve on the fewest feast days.

        Maybe, just maybe, the “moronic bishops” might have something valuable to teach you, if you had the humility to listen. And perhaps you might rethink labeling such bishops in the vulgar terms with which you conclude your post.

        I’m not naive to Old World politics, the corrupting influence of the flow of money from America across the Atlantic, etc. But your examples of what the “moronic bishops” will force on poor “American Orthodoxy” are silly and right in line with what Old World bishops often see in America — spiritual adolescents still going through puberty.

        I have met a couple of bishops born overseas and serving here who I would trustingly follow to the ends of the earth — I expect both are on the path to sainthood. And I have encountered thoroughly Americanized bishops who I wouldn’t follow across the street. If we really want an “American Orthodoxy, ” it will come through paying attention to the second word, not the first.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Agreed.

        • anonymus per Scorilo says

          I agree frequent communion without preparation is a problem. However, from the perspective of the Romanians this is a bit like preaching to Somalis and Ethiopians about the dangers of obesity and high-cholesterol foods.

          The kind of anti-frequent-communion types you find in Romania are against a layman receiving communion even if he has the same prayer regime as a member of the clergy. Somehow being a clergy is supposed to give one the right to communion without confession, which a lay person can never achieve, regardless of what he does.

          Furthermore, laymen are asked in many places to fast 5 days before and 3 days after, including from marital relations, which is a higher “burden” then the clergy have (this would effectively make them celibate).

          Moreover, if one receives communion on Sunday and there is a big holiday on Monday, one cannot receive again. The common answer you get is: “you already received yesterday, why do you need to receive again”. I will not even mention the second day of Christmas or of Pascha, when you get asked whether you fasted on the day before, and upon answering you did not you are told you cannot therefore receive communion. This happened to a friend of mine 🙁 (who is a subdeacon).

          I hope you agree with me that people who support such aberrations and moreover want to impose them on everybody else (because they believe they are fighting against “Catholic influences”) are moronic.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            In my case, your hopes are realized!

          • I am not familiar with the Romanian ethos — but I quote agree with everything you say. One of my problems with the Ephrem monasteries here in the US is that they hold those who confess at their monasteries to a similar fasting regimen that makes frequent communion nearly impossible unless one lives a virtually monastic and celibate life.

            That simply isn’t healthy, and it creates a discouraging environment for laity. It would help explain what I learned in my one conversation with a priest Iwho had spent time in the Romanian diocese — what sounded like a virtual lack of any preparation for communion. Perhaps an overreaction in the other direction.

            My main concern is that I felt that all old world bishops, regardless of nationality, were being tarred with the same brush by your statements, and that the concerns you mentioned had other possible explanations. I now understand that you were speating specifically to the Romanian situation. Even amongst the Romanians, I would hope that there are some bishops who don’t fit the profile you paint, and whose concern is preparation, not frequency in and of itself. But maybe not.

            The American Orthodox scene, you must admit, is one where there tends to be too much of the latter, too little of the former. I agree however, that the answer to that is not to emphasize infrequency, but rather to get serious about teaching preparation. Most would, one hopes, eventually hit a happy medium. Communing weekly or more is a significant discipline, although not at all an impossible one as long as fasting rules stick to requiring only the eucharistic fast and the normal Lenten and Mon and Wed fasts.

            The Russian service books give specific instructions that priests are to make sure that the rule of preparation is read aloud in church for parishioners the night before and the morning of, so that those who are unable to read can listen and pray the prayers. Few are unable to read these days, but I can say from personal experience that we as Americans have a hard time with personal discipline at anything, and some might be able to stay late or come early to listen easier than making themselves carve out time to read them.

            Interestingly, for me, I learned discipline when I was in a situation where I communed infrequently. It just didn’t seem right to me to commune only a few times a year and not read all the prayers when I did commune. It revolutionized my eucharistic life. When I transitioned back to frequent communion, I brought those good habits with me, and found it wasn’t as impossible as I had previously thought.

            For those who follow the Russian discipline, it takes about 20 minutes to read the three canons the night before and a little more than that to read the rule the morning of, in addition to the usual morning and evening prayers. A small investmest of time to prepare for receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. I know of one parish that provides these public readings of the rule, and there are probably more who do so. Many parishes read the prayers of thanksgiving aloud after Liturgy (although in all too many, communicants seem not to stand and listen attentively to them). A public reading of whatever rule that one’s bishop considers normative is a practice that, if nothing else, models good habits for us as the faithful — and helps create an atmosphere where one is constantly in a state of either giving thanks for the Holy Mysteries or preparing to receive them. As someone pointed out to me some time ago, it can be beneficial to read the prayers after communion multiple times over the days after receiving — quite helpful advice, that.

            I apologize for coming across harshly. I am not in favor of unreasonable rules that have the net effect of discouraging the faithful of communing at all. I just think that if one is to convince rigid old world bishops, it should be through demonstrating a mature spiritual discipline that shows them another way to think about things.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I understand and appreciate your point of view. However, you also said this in your initial reaction “Or perhaps the “moronic bishops” have noticed that the same priests and parishes who insist on having the normal flow of the Liturgy as it has been served for many hundreds of years grind to a halt so the priest can yell the long secret prayers out loud for all to hear..” (my emphasis). At least for me, the Divine Liturgy flows better, is more logical and also more complete, when the so-called secret prayers are read or chanted. As an analogy, the Divine Liturgy without those “secret” prayers look like a cubist painting: limbs truncated, face skewed, distorted.

              • Reasonable people can disagree on that point. I obviously feel differently on what is a normal flow. I am certainly correct that from the perspective of the last many hundreds of years in every national tradition, this is an extremely recent innovation. That doesn’t make it wrong, but the onus is on those who want to push the innovation. Abp. Dimitri and Bp. Tikhon, whose liturgical sense I respect, did at least some of the Anaphota prayers out loud. I do have a problem with turning the last section, which is a dialogue between bishop (or priest) and deacon into something that reminds me of a Protestant “responsive reading” that renders the deacon superfluous and gives the people a role in the consecration that the service books nowhere authorize, but again, that’s me.

                My main point was not the practice, but rather that with notable exceptions such as noted above, by and large, I have observed that the same folks who are most adamant about the crucial importance of having secret prayers read out loud tend to be the ones least likely to serve Matins or sometimes even Vespers, and tend most to feel the need to abbreviate the services. I personally have no problem with reading the prayers out loud, as long as all of the things that the people are supposed to be hearing are first put in without abbreviation: a full unabbreviated Vigil with all the stichera clearly sung slowly enough to hear them, unabbreviated Psalter readings and canon that are read slowly enough to hear them, unabbreviated Hours, unabbreviated reading and singing of Psalms at the Liturgy slowly enough for them to sink in, all the appointed Beatitudes verses, all the litanies, etc. But somehow the ardent enthusiasm for having the people hear everything curiously and dramatically wanes when such things are considered.

                And finally, for the love of people’s ears, if a priest absolutely must say them out loud, either do it in a normal spoken voice that people in the back may or may not be able to hear, or intone it if you want volume –don’t yell it like a town crier.

                Metr. Hilarion (Alfeyev) has written in favor of saying the Anaphota prayers out loud for people to hear, and I like best the way he does it, if one chooses to do it at all. The normal “covering” hymns are sung while he reads them, and he does them in a prayerful, normal, even soft, spoken voice — which the careful listener can hear through the hymns via the wonders of modern amplification. This is the experience that those serving in the altar and standing up close to the iconotasis get, and Metr. Hilarion democratizes that experience, while not inviting the people to usurp the deacon’s role.

                • Edward,

                  I had a strange experience a couple of years ago at a Greek Orthodox parish. There was a pan-Orthodox Divine Liturgy in the works, I forget the occasion. There were participants from the Greek parish, an AOCNA parish and an OCA parish. A lady who had learned Byzantine chant at an Antiochian parish (not the parish participating in this liturgy) was in charge of the music for the day.

                  Now, the priest and khouria at the Antiochian parish had been trained at SVS. Thus, they were used to the priest and choir leading the people in reciting the prayers out loud beginning, “I believe O Lord and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God . . .”. The Antiochian trained music director did not want to do this since it is not normal Greek practice, was not the practice in her Antiochian parish, etc. The Greeks sing part of this prayer during communion (“Of your mystical supper . . .”) and the liturgy was at a Greek church. There was a little feather ruffling regarding the issue.

                  Just out of curiosity, I did a little research on the matter. Apparently this is an OCA/SVS phenomenon. The Greek service book has the priest reading the prayer and the people reading it to themselves silently (see, for example: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/liturgy_hchc). The Russian practice (i.e., ROCOR) has the priest reading it. As does the Antiochian one (see http://www.orthodoxyork.org/liturgy.html).

                  It does remind me, however, of a shorter prayer that Catholics and some Anglicans read at approximately the same point in their services (see http://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/Mass.htm#Eucharist – “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you . . .”), which might explain the practice in the OCA. It is also done that way apparently in ACROD although I don’t know for sure if Ukrainian Catholics do it.

                  Seems out of place to me. Beautiful sung liturgy going on in the nave, priest saying things in the altar, then everything stops and the nave erupts in spoken recitation. The theory seems to be that no one reads the preparatory prayers the night before. Kind of like the Greek practice of kneeling at the consecration on Sunday liturgy since no one comes to weekday services where kneeling is done appropriately.

                  To each his own, I suppose.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    We say/read the prayer at my Greek O church.

                  • Misha, I quite agree. And yes, it seems to definitely be an SVS thing. Having everyone recite it together makes no sense, and is nowhere appointed in the service books. The prayer is one that is appointed to be read quietly by clergy in the altar before their communion. The Greek practice in this regard is most in line with the service books. The ROCOR practice is also fine to me — with the priest reciting the prayer while the faithful listen, imediately before the communion of the faithful. I think this is a liturgical remnant fragment of the practice required by the Russian service books — namely of having the priest read all of the precommunion prayers in church for the illiterate to hear (presumably in the morning prior to Hours). If the faithful know the prayer by heart well enough to recite it out loud with the priest, then they know it well enough to have recited it many times that morning on their own. It has been shortened in Russian practice and moved to just before communion, just as sermons have been moved to various places. If the faithful were to read the appointed prayers at home, there would be no liturgical rationale to have that prayer in that place, for it is not appointed.

                    The ROCOR practice is a good one, ensuring that all have listened to at least that one short precommunion prayer. The practice that I find to be without justification is the practice one encounters in the OCA of having the priest yell that prayer of his out from behind the iconotasis and curtain just before he communes — with the people joining in. What is supposed to be an extremely quiet, reverent and holy time in the altar is disrupted, and it is separated from the communion of the faithful by whatever the choir sings during clergy communion. I know all of the arguments, I just find them unconvincing. The worst argument I’ve heard is that it saves time, since the priest doesn’t have to repeat it. It literally takes about 30 seconds to read. Really? A priest doesn’t have 30 seconds? If he doesn’t, he definitely shouldn’t be taking the time to read all of those secret prayers out loud.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      I can’t speak for all of ROCOR, but at the ROCOR cathedral where I serve, the clergy recite the prayer quietly together in the altar before they commune, and then they lead the people in reciting the prayer in unison just before the people commune. The people do not just listen; they do just what the clergy do in their turn. Who can object to that?

                    • Monk James says

                      It’s a bit of a caricature to describe a priest as yelling his prayers, don’t you think?

                      When I was a boy (admittedly in a very russian-style practice), it was the custom for the priest to emerge from the altar with the Holy Gifts and start the prayer Veruyu Gospodi I ispoveduyu (‘Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly the Christ,….’) and all of us who were to receive Holy Communion would recite that with him aloud and together. I still remember it in Church Slavonic after all these years.

                      In the parish where I usually participate in the Divine Liturgy, this prayer is often sung by everyone, or at least recited, at the same time as the clergy are preparing to receive holy Communion.

                      Why is it being questioned now, here? Is this really an issue?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      The details under discussion here obviously speak to examples of the “Living Tradition” of the Church. The singing of “Verses on the Beatitudes” (drawn from the Matins Canon) is an obvious late “innovation” to the “innovation” of singing the Beatitudes to begin with; in most parts of the Orthodox world they are not sung at all. Secondly, we have the direct instruction of, for example, St. Basil the Great, that the newly illumined memorize the Creed and the Mysteries of the Church, and to commit nothing to a written form so as not to allow it to fall into the hands of persecutors and the heathen. By this rationale, the most sacred moments of the Liturgy were “secret,” limited to the celebrants of the Mysteries, protecting them from the persecutors. Today, most parishes provide the texts for anyone who wishes to follow along with the service, and we seem to be ascribing an allusion of significance to “secrecy,” preferences to reading aloud, or reading together at the direction and approval of one bishop or another. It would seem these speak to the fact that they all are evolutional “innovations” that do nothing to impact the theological integrity of the Liturgy one way or another. With this in mind, it strikes me as much more significant that one is in obedience to the directive of Met. Hilarion than whether something personally strikes me as “odd” or “against the flow.”

                    • Michael, I quite agree about following a bishop’s directives. Back when I was in the OCA DOW, I did everything in my power to make sure that Bp. Tikhon’s quite clear liturgical directives were followed — not a few other priests and laymen, quite capable of reading them for themselves, chose to ignore them precisely because of their own ideas about the Liturgy.

                      In contradistinction to that (I didn’t necessarily agree with every single instruction of Vladyka Tikhon, but I thought they should be followed), I am merely expressing opinions here, and identifying them as such. It would be an odd world in which people are not allowed to have, express, and defend a personal opinion — even about a bishop’s policies. You will note that I didn’t tell the OP that he was committing a sin by having an opinion different from the bishops he fears.

                      And obviously everything we do liturgically is ultimately an innovation, down to the ancient Biblical canticles underlying the canon — someone at some point sang them for the first time, back in the mists of time. The concept of liturgical development was not suddenly discovered in Paris. Back in the 1600s when Nikon was corresponding with the Greek patriarchates about his liturgical reforms, they tried to gently give him some perspective about the history of liturgical development (to no avail).

                      In fact this brings us neatly back to the beginning point of the discussion, where the instructions of “moronic” old world bishops was what set me off on a mission to explain possible reasonable explanations for why a moron would perhaps not be as moronic as he was thought to be, simply because he disagreed with OCA fashions.

                      As I said before, reasonable people can disagree about their perceptions of flow and other aspects in the Liturgy. But opinions don’t come from nowhere. For instance, I personally find the insertion of a sermon after the Gospel to be a jarring disruption of the service that rivals having a priest lead the people in a precommunion prayer from behind the altar during his own communion. I interestingly once read a journalist’s description of an Orthodox service, which he was attending for the first time. He didn’t exactly say “I knew not whether I was in heaven or on earth,” but it was close — at least for the first 20 minutes. His description of his visceral negative reaction to a sermon appearing in the middle of the liturgy was about like mine: it stuck out to him as something that didn’t fit, and that disrupted the prayer. When one recalls that St. John Chrysostom’s great sermons were preached at Matins (note where we read his sermon at Pascha — it ain’t at Liturgy), there is some historical ballast for this opinion. No-one today is going to preach at Matins, but the solution of preaching at the end of Liturgy accomplishes the dual goals of not disrupting the flow and of preaching when a maximum number of people are there. One does what the bishop says (and with time more often than not comes to see the wisdom of the bishop), but I still think it is OK to have an opinion.

                      Yes, Monk James, it is a bit of a caricature to talk about “yelling,” but I am making a serious point with what is intended to be light-hearted irony. Raising one’s voice for a prayer to be heard throughout a church without it being intoned in a “singing” voice is generally foreign to Orthodox liturgics, at least in the Russian tradition. For a priest to lead the people in the prayer while at the Holy Table from behind the iconostasis with closed doors and curtain in anything but a quite small church requires something uncomfortably close to yelling. I have, like you, often encountered the priest starting the first few words from the solea, chalice in hand, and the people all join in and say it. This a common variant Russian practice, and it is respectful and generally fits liturgically just fine. It did always stick out to me as being an oddity — not odd in the sense of it being wrong or bothersome, but odd in the sense that nowhere else in Russian liturgics is something done like that in a spoken voice. I wondered “why?” and when I learned that leading the people or reciting the prayer for them isn’t in the service books, I got more curious. When I realized it seemed to be just a way to make sure that communicants have read or heard at least one prepatory prayer before communing, it made sense.

                      It is absolutely not an “issue” — like so many Monomakhos threads, it started one place and ended in another. I don’t think any of us are particularly worked up about any of these things. It’s just an internet discussion.

                    • Edward,

                      I’m aware that some in other jurisdictions also have the people say this aloud. I know of a Greek parish with a Romanian priest who was formerly in the OCA who introduced the practice there. Also, as I described above, it is done in an Antiochian parish I have visited where the priest and khouria were trained at SVS.

                      My point was only that it is not standard Greek/Antiochian/Russian practice as reflected in their service books and, by and large, their services.

                      I quite agree with you about its specious justifications. My only real objection to it is that it is very clumsy and inglorious at that particular place in the service. While it is a good idea for all to memorize the Creed, Our Father, etc., there is no good reason to memorize this prayer or say it aloud at that time. Nonetheless, as I remarked, “to each his own”. As long as we are clear that it is not standard practice anywhere but OCA and SVS influenced parishes, I couldn’t care less if some feel it “appropriate”.

                      I simply found it presumptuous that someone from another parish would come to a parish where it is not done (and not having the people say it aloud is in accord with the service books of the parish visited and also with the service books of the visiting khouria’s home parish, btw) and try to insist on a non-standard practice as if it were necessary or commendable.

                    • “For instance, I personally find the insertion of a sermon after the Gospel to be a jarring disruption of the service that rivals having a priest lead the people in a precommunion prayer from behind the altar during his own communion.”

                      There is a pattern I have noticed. Essentially, it is attempting to correct laxity in the laity by screwing around with church order. Often, I think it is an excuse for doing what the clergy think is fashionable or “a good reform” and simply justified as compensation for lack of lay motivation. However, even assuming the best of motives, I wonder if two wrongs make a right.

                      Essentially, this whole thing with pre-communion prayers is compensation for the fact that the laity often do not read the canons of preparation. At least that is how it was explained to me. I also think there is an aping of western practice to which I alluded above.

                      We see this in other customs as well. For example, in the GOAA, a former archbishop directed that everyone kneel at the epiklesis since they were only in church on Sunday and thus seldom knelt otherwise. That this contravenes canon law did not seem to matter. It does, however, mirror Roman Catholic practice. I had a Greek priest take offense in a sermon to the notion that we should not be kneeling on Sundays. He went on about the Body and Blood and how we should all be on our knees, etc. That’s fine and very emotionally satisfying. Yet we are exhorted by canon law not to kneel on Sundays as a remembrance of our adoption in Christ, to act like children rather than servants, etc. Emotionalism is more characteristic of low church protestantism.

                      We see this with the sermon in the middle of the service as well. The Divine Liturgy is a sermon in and of itself, as well as other things. The idea seems to be that some will leave directly after communion and thus miss the sermon. I.e., we again are compensating for laxity of the laity by destroying the glory and flow of the service. Even assuming that the priest’s “weekly message” is that important, why interrupt the service, winding down what was intended to build up through the reception of communion?

                      I wonder how deeply clerics actually think about these matters. For example, there are considerably more different translations of hymns and services than there are jurisdictions in the US. In fact, some jurisdictions seem to get off on issuing new translations of this or that on a regular basis. Yet this is truly foolish. These words are supposed to become written on our hearts, the same at age 3 as at age 93. I recall a priest who visited Russia and taught a bible study. He had thought that the laity present would not be familiar with this or that passage. He would give the citation and they all gave him a blank stare. But when he began to read the text, they could finish it from memory. They had heard the same version of the same text all their lives (we are talking mostly about babushki here). Yet this is completely destroyed by changing translations every few years.

                      Part of the problem is the liturgical, reformist ferment in the West over the last several decades. It has resulted in a clergy that do not know how to “do” Orthodoxy, just modernist reform.

                    • Monk James says

                      .

                      Edward (August 27, 2015 at 7:50 am) says, among many other things:

                      SNIP
                      …I personally find the insertion of a sermon after the Gospel to be a jarring disruption of the service that rivals having a priest lead the people in a precommunion prayer from behind the altar during his own communion. I interestingly once read a journalist’s description of an Orthodox service, which he was attending for the first time. He didn’t exactly say “I knew not whether I was in heaven or on earth,” but it was close — at least for the first 20 minutes. His description of his visceral negative reaction to a sermon appearing in the middle of the liturgy was about like mine: it stuck out to him as something that didn’t fit, and that disrupted the prayer. When one recalls that St. John Chrysostom’s great sermons were preached at Matins (note where we read his sermon at Pascha — it ain’t at Liturgy), there is some historical ballast for this opinion. No-one today is going to preach at Matins, but the solution of preaching at the end of Liturgy accomplishes the dual goals of not disrupting the flow and of preaching when a maximum number of people are there.
                      SNIP
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      The referenced journalist’s experience was personal, not liturgical. The difference is between what we experience in individual prayer and our experience as a group in corporate worship. That fellow’s unfamiliarity with the style and structure, even the very purpose of liturgical prayer left him ‘feeling’ the service in what might be described as some sort of holy-flavored entertainment. But that’s just a guess — I wasn’t there. Still, it’s clear that the man didn’t ‘get it’.

                      Perhaps a bit like that disappointed visitor, ‘Edward’ doesn’t understand the Liturgy’s structure. Far from being an interruption, the ‘sermon’ is an integral part of the service.

                      More appropriately, this is called a ‘homily’, from the greek word homilia ( ‘explanation’, etymologically related to a word meaning ‘crowd, assembly’ — a synonym for ‘church’) . But an explanation of what? The homilist’s primary responsibility is to explain the readings from the scriptures which we have just heard, before their words begin to fade from our minds.

                      Preachers who tell us about the saint of the day, or their recent pilgrimages, or how Christianity in general is to be actuated in our lives are doing wonderful work — but the time after the Gospel is NOT the time for that. Then, we must learn how to apply in our daily life the words of the apostolic letters and of the gospels for the day.

                      The homily itself is not an intrusion; it is the next-to-last part of the ‘Liturgy of the Word’, the first of the Divine Liturgy’s three distinct sections, the other two being the Offering (anaphora) and the Communion (metalepsis).

                      Pastors who do not teach their people the meaning of the scriptures at every opportunity are not thinking with the mind of The Church. But just after the readings is the privileged time for that, and they really must preach at least then.

                      I’ve been greatly blessed to participate in the divine services for many years in a parish where a homily is given at every service, and there are over 300 services a year there. Usually there’s a homily at the end of Vespers or Vigil, but the Divine Liturgy’s homily is always given immediately after the Gospel, and the preaching is usually pretty good.

                      May the Lord bless His faithful pastors abundantly as they ‘rightly mete out the Word of His truth’.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Edward,

                      Again, I am not attempting to address your particular comments – although I would note the difference in what always seems to be Misha’s Google-scholar driven need to associate “laxity” and stupidity with one group or another – but “innovation” frequently has also taken the form of of “utility,” and “utility” has frequently taken the form of “reality.”

                      I know you are familiar with with Fr. Florovsky’s essay The Lost Scriptural Mind in which he emphasizes that the clergy must preach the Gospel lessons – and of course, Florovsky himself preached immediately following the reading of the Gospel at the Liturgy. Was this his directive? No. The best you can say is that is when he thought it best in consideration of his own “theology.” I am sure we have seen many Bishops preach at this same point. Nevertheless, I have seen priests preach before the conclusion of the liturgy, but with no other reason in mind than – utility turned reality – people literally did not arrive until nearly the Cherubic Hymn to make preaching “worth it.” I’ve seen others preach during the period between the time they have communed and before they commune the faithful because so few were present at the time of the Gospel reading. Utility turned Reality.

                      If the Church is to be truly Patristic, as Fr. Florovsky suggests, then the preaching of the clergy is to be a re-articulation of lessons prescribed for the day – which could include the readings for the Pre-Feast, Ante-Feast, the Saint, and so on – and logic & expediency (“fresh in the mind”) would suggest “why not immediately after hearing it?” Nevertheless, utility and reality are what they are. But I still believe the only consideration of substance is the Patristic mission, not “flow,” or agenda. As to your example of St. Chrysostom’s Pascha Homily, having attended the Pascha services at a large Greek parish the past 2 years, I witnessed the mass exodus of humanity following the reading of our Blessed Father’s “welcome” to the Feast! Go figure. While at SVS, the tradition followed Fr. Schmemann’s dictum, “Bernard Shaw once said, “in the presence of great art, a wise man merely removes his hat and shuts up, allowing the art to speak to him.”

                    • Stankovich,

                      Your hostility toward technology (”google scholar”) is unbecoming for such an avowed modernist and just one of many reasons (insufferable arrogance being another, slavish adoration of letters after a person`s name, etc.) that it is impossible to take you seriously.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      I agree with what Edward wrote. Moreover, I find it mildly amusing that here on a blog once called the Cathedral of Laity Maximalism, some surmise that the educated and enlightened by the Holy Spirit laity NEED to have the Scriptures explained to them by the clergy! And we’re not speaking of just Scriptures in general but of selections of Scripture with which almost all of the laity are completely familiar having heard them over and over every year; moreover, having had professional clergy explain them over and over every year! I think an awful lot of our laity are as good at interpreting the Scripture as the priests are. I realize some priests and maybe some proto-deacons that preach feel threatened by that!

                      One of my favorite anecdotes on this topic of sermons was provided by the very esteemed Prof. Gregory Freeze: the Archbishop of Canterbury was once given a VIP tour of the city of St. Petersburg by thei very Metropolitan of St. Petersburg. He was not only wined and dined and he was taken all over the place. As his day of departure neared, he spoke to the Metropolitan, : thank you Metropolitan for this wonderful tour; you’ve shown me so much of the ecclesiastical life in your diocese! I’ve been shown cathedrals monasteries seminarians I’ve been to liturgies and the office but one thing you have not mentioned: you have not discussed this place of the sermon in your divine liturgies.” The kindly Metropolitan replied,”Oh, Archbishop, our priests don’t always indulge themselves in sermons.”

                      I would also like to point out that our liturgical service books which contain extremely detailed instructions, as well as the Typicon, which also contains extremely detailed instructions, nowhere mentioned in a sermon in the course of the Divine liturgy, no not even calling it a homily! In fact the bishops service book called an Arkhieratikon or Chinovnik, provides only one point during the Divine liturgy where a Bishop may address the laity in a plain voice; that is, without chanting. At the end of the Divine liturgy AFTER Blessed be the name of the Lord henceforth and forever more, and the psalm (often omitted), the hierarch may deliver his “instruction.” (pouchenie)

                      Oh well if there’s anything American, it’s going to church to hear a sermon. “Oh, that was a good sermon!” “Oh that was not a very good sermon!” That’s what some people GET OUT OF GOING TO CHURCH, “Going to Church” is very American, but it does not compare with experiencing the Divine liturgy!

                      Of course the Russian Imperial family of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov, like all middle-class Germans, liked to go to church and hear a sermon, the hierarchy after a while caved in but prevented prima donna, virtuoso, and fanciful flights by issuing instructions that any sermon given after the gospel would not be composed by the priest but be taken from printed collections of sermons of the fathers..

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Wow, Misha, my iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro Retina, Cerner Electronic Patient Data Management Sytem, etc., etc., would seem to contradict your statement that I am “hostility toward technology.” I believe I have more that once clarified my distaste to “internet-educated poseurs.” Neither am I much impressed with alphabet soup following one’s name, as I’ve met many a jackass of lettres. But you knew all this without my explaining. The issue is qualification, obviously, and the internet and the grand “wikis” of its creation apparently makes anyone qualified – yourself included – to speak to issues of which they not taught, learned, experienced, and most importantly – such as the monk James, a proud graduate of the Google school of medicine – who suffer no consequence for your mistakes. I speak to nothing to which I am not reasonably assured I am correct.

                    • Vladyka Tikhon beat me to the quite obvious response to Monk James’s assertions that the sermon/homily is an “integral part” of the Divine Liturgy. Were it “integral,” one would expect that it would be somewhere mentioned in the service books or Typikon.

                      I thank Vladyka for noting that the Arkhieratikon (of which I do not have a copy) does mention that a bishop may deliver an “instruction” at the end of the liturgy (one notes that the priest’s Sluzhebnik has no such instruction regarding any kind of homily whatsoever).

                      And while I mentioned the specific reading of St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal homily at Matins, I pointedly used this only as a liturgical remnant example of a patristic practice. I will welcome any evidence that sermons in the patristic era were given at the Divine Liturgy. I have never read anything but that the Chrysostom sermons were given at Matins. This is still reflected in the instructions in the service books and the Typikon for reading these sermons — which are nearly all during or immediately after Matins (and none are in the Divine Liturgy), Matins being a service that is quite plainly of a heavily catechetical and expository character. To appeal to the Patristic witness while ignoring what at least some Fathers actually did seems disingenuous.

                      By contrast, the Divine Liturgy is not particularly catechetical — what variable hymnology is brief and was added to the Liturgy relatively late in the process of liturgical development. Alone in the daily liturgical cycle (actually standing outside the cycle), it centers on a Holy Mystery. While Scripture is read at the serving of many of the Holy Mysteries at which of them is an expository sermon given after the reading of the Epistle and Gospel? At Baptism? At a wedding? Is an expository sermon given after each of the seven Epistle and Gospel readings at Holy Unction?

                      There seems to be fairly convincing internal evidence of the service books and Typikon (as well as of the texts of the sermons themselves) that the faithful were intended to receive their catechetical and expository teaching outside of the Liturgy. Far from exposition happening in the Liturgy immediately after the reading of the Scriptures, the detailed instructions of the Typikon indicates that the faithful are actually to receive their instruction on the meaning of these readings before they are liturgically and formally proclaimed in the Divine Liturgy. Following the Typikon, one would have heard an exposition of the Epistle, of the Gospel, and (through the Synaxarion reading) of the saints or event being liturgically commemorated that day — all at the previous night’s Vigil service. (We also have a liturgical remnant of the practice of the Synaxarion reading — the reading of the life of St. Mary of Egypt — again, at Matins.)

                      By the time the faithful heard the troparia and kontakia of the feast and heard the Epistle and Gospel solemnly intoned from the center of the church, the hearing of those texts would be the final liturgical capstone of the experience, not its starting point.

                      As I said before, I have no delusions that in an era when many cannot be bothered to serve Matins at all (let alone a reasonably complete Matins) that expository readings or homilies will be restored to the Matins service. I quite agree with M. Stankovich that the question then becomes one of a practical and theological nature, and different bishops and priests will arrive at different conclusions regarding what is best. I obviously believe that since we cannot have sermons is at Matins, that the best place for them is at the end of the Liturgy. I find it interesting that Bp. Tikhon provides some rubrical evidence that if it is to be done, the end is the place for it (unless one is to make the case that priests have more of a right to interrupt the Divine Liturgy with their pedagogical thoughts than do bishops).

                      Unlike Monk James, I am not claiming that anyone with a different opinion from me simply doesn’t understand the Divine Liturgy. Anyone familiar with liturgical discussions knows that there are very few opinions that have all the evidence on one side rather than the other.

                    • Vladyka Tikhon wrote: “…would not be composed by the priest but be taken from printed collections of sermons of the fathers.”

                      I recall with a smile an experience I had some time ago. I had the privilege of serving with a highly respected, intelligent, and well-educated bishop. He gave a brief sermon (after the singing of the 33rd Psalm). My wife remarked to me afterwards that it was one of the most moving sermons she had ever heard (and indeed it was). I had happened to catch a glimpse of what was in one of that bishop’s bags back in the altar. I went to our library, pulled that particular book of sermons by a departed hierarch of blessed memory off our shelves, looked up the sermon on that day’s Gospel, and brought it to her.

                      “It’s almost word-for-word,” she exclaimed, after reading it. Indeed — and that departed hierarch had simply condensed and distilled St. John Chrysostom’s commentary. One only wishes that more clergy would follow the example of that particular hierarch. As well as insuring that the faithful would get the real patristic witness, it would save the clergy a lot of time and energy currently spent on composing “original” sermons.

                    • Edward (August 31, 2015 at 8:18 pm) says:

                      Vladyka Tikhon beat me to the quite obvious response to Monk James’s assertions that the sermon/homily is an “integral part” of the Divine Liturgy. Were it “integral,” one would expect that it would be somewhere mentioned in the service books or Typikon. SNIP

                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      There are several service books in my library here which do indeed mention that a homily is to be given after the Gospel of the Divine Liturgy. These books include two editions of the greek hieratikon (one from around 1950 and the other from 1967), and Bp Basil Essey’s The Liturgikon (1989), and the 1967 OCA Divine Liturgy book.

                      Generally, my slavonic and slavonic derived books don’t mention the homily at all, although my 1965 Jordanville chinovnik (bishop’s service book or arkhieratikon) indicates that the bishop might give some instruction(pouchenie) at the end of the DL

                      Alogether, though, an argumentum a silentio isn’t strong enough to be invoked here, considering how many things are not mentioned in the rubrics of our service books.

                    • Stankovich,

                      One does get the impression from your posts that it is the “credentials” which impress you as a qualification to address any given issue. It was to this I was referring when I brought up your servile adoration of letters after names. Of course, if they come to conclusions to which you object given your ideological commitments, these credentialed wise men must be corrupted . . .

                      What it all appears to indicate is that you are incapable of evaluating an argument based on the evidence provided but rather need to look to a person’s degrees and political pedigree to tell if their writing has merit – “ad hominem” reasoning, if you will. That is fairly pathetic.

                    • Micheal Stankovich wrote,

                      I speak to nothing to which I am not reasonably assured I am correct.

                      Yes, that much is clear.

                    • Monk James wrote: Alogether, though, an argumentum a silentio isn’t strong enough to be invoked here, considering how many things are not mentioned in the rubrics of our service books.

                      Except that my argument isn’t exactly one of silence. I have pointed out the fact that the Typikon and service books are full of instructions on when to read sermons and explanations of the Epistle and Gospel for that day’s Liturgy. And none of those instructions appoint any such explanations to be read at Liturgy — they are all appointed to be read at or just after Matins, that I have seen. And I cited the example of St. John Chrysostom giving his famous expository sermons at Matins, not at Divine Liturgy — inviting you to produce similar evidence for sermonizing at the Divine Liturgy in the patristic era.

                      You have claimed that a sermon, explaining the day’s Scriptural readings, and that must be given immediately after the Gospel is read at Liturgy is an intrinsic part of the Divine Liturgy itself. My point (and, I believe, Vladyka’s) is that were this true, one would expect a vital and intrinsic part of the service to be somewhere mentioned in the Typikon or traditional service books. It is true that there are many things that are not in our service books — but I am hard-pressed to think of anything that could be termed “intrinsic” that goes completely unmentioned. I would add that besides the Typikon and the service books themselves, there are plenty of old-school handbooks, such as the Bulgakov handbook, that you are welcome to appeal to.

                      I am of course aware of the fact that recent books like the 1967 St. Tikhon’s book indicate a sermon at that point, but this reflects modern practice, most likely influenced by heterodox practices (as is calling the Liturgy of the Catechumens the “Liturgy of the Word,” I would think). If if is an intrinsic part of the service, you should be able to come up with something traditional to back up your point of view, just as I have done so to back up mine.

                      Or you could possibly simply consider apologizing for saying that I don’t understand the Liturgy’s structure. I actually understand it quite well, and understand that the Divine Liturgy is a thing of wonder. With every year that passes, I am more in awe of what I am a part of when I am there. I have said that as a practical matter, a sermon can be put any number of places in the Divine Liturgy — and that includes after the Gospel. But that is all it is — a practical decision on the part of a priest or bishop.

                      You have yet to provide any convincing evidence that a sermon at that point is “intrinsic” and necessary.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      And that would be “Michael,” as in the Archangle… Pardon me, “Archangel.” Clarity is, indeed, fleeting.

                    • Edward (September 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm) says:

                      Monk James wrote: Alogether, though, an argumentum a silentio isn’t strong enough to be invoked here, considering how many things are not mentioned in the rubrics of our service books.

                      Except that my argument isn’t exactly one of silence. I have pointed out the fact that the Typikon and service books are full of instructions on when to read sermons and explanations of the Epistle and Gospel for that day’s Liturgy. And none of those instructions appoint any such explanations to be read at Liturgy — they are all appointed to be read at or just after Matins, that I have seen. And I cited the example of St. John Chrysostom giving his famous expository sermons at Matins, not at Divine Liturgy — inviting you to produce similar evidence for sermonizing at the Divine Liturgy in the patristic era.

                      You have claimed that a sermon, explaining the day’s Scriptural readings, and that must be given immediately after the Gospel is read at Liturgy is an intrinsic part of the Divine Liturgy itself. My point (and, I believe, Vladyka’s) is that were this true, one would expect a vital and intrinsic part of the service to be somewhere mentioned in the Typikon or traditional service books. It is true that there are many things that are not in our service books — but I am hard-pressed to think of anything that could be termed “intrinsic” that goes completely unmentioned. I would add that besides the Typikon and the service books themselves, there are plenty of old-school handbooks, such as the Bulgakov handbook, that you are welcome to appeal to.

                      I am of course aware of the fact that recent books like the 1967 St. Tikhon’s book indicate a sermon at that point, but this reflects modern practice, most likely influenced by heterodox practices (as is calling the Liturgy of the Catechumens the “Liturgy of the Word,” I would think). If if is an intrinsic part of the service, you should be able to come up with something traditional to back up your point of view, just as I have done so to back up mine.

                      Or you could possibly simply consider apologizing for saying that I don’t understand the Liturgy’s structure. I actually understand it quite well, and understand that the Divine Liturgy is a thing of wonder. With every year that passes, I am more in awe of what I am a part of when I am there. I have said that as a practical matter, a sermon can be put any number of places in the Divine Liturgy — and that includes after the Gospel. But that is all it is — a practical decision on the part of a priest or bishop.

                      You have yet to provide any convincing evidence that a sermon at that point is “intrinsic” and necessary.
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      For some reason, ‘Edward’ has chosen to ignore the sources I adduced earlier.

                      Reading this post again, though, it began to dawn on me that my attestations were greek or antiochian except for the 1967 OCA DL book ( which he thinks is infected by heterodoxy) — and none of my adduced sources is russian. His reference to Bulgakov strengthened my impression.

                      I’ve got some news for ‘Edward’: The russian style of worship is not the only one in the orthodox world, and it’s riddled with inconsistencies, absurdities, and errors; perhaps failing to mention the homily is one of them.

                      I pretty much grew up with russian liturgical customs. I’m used to them, and russian practice pretty well formed me. It was only after years of study that I came to appreciate the variations between what I was familiar with and the way(s) in which the other churches did things. Sometimes, studying these differences allows us to see that one way is logically or historically correct and that the others are not. Sometimes they’re just different, but omitting the homily after the Gospel is wrong.

                      BTW: The first of the DL’s three parts is properly called the ‘Service of the Word’. Referring to it as the ‘Liturgy of the Catechumens’ is actually a later development, and is largely avoided by scholars of worship because of its inaccuracy. When apposed to the ‘Liturgy of the Faithful’, during which (historically) no catechumen could be present, the term suggests that no one but the catechumens could be present for the first section of readings and preaching. I found corroboration for this in Juan Mateos’s 1971 study ‘La Celebration de la Parole dans la Liturgie Byzantine’.

                    • Monk James thinks I need to get out more. I have been a member of both Greek and Serbian parishes. Neither ever had a sermon after the Gospel.

                      As I made clear, my questioning of his selected sources was that they are recent, not that they aren’t Russian. Monk James is still invited to provide historical evidence from patristic times or cite references from any service books or manuals of any tradition predating the 20th century that backs up his assertion that a sermon is an integral part of the Divine Liturgy.

                      He knows exactly what I am asking him to produce, and I suspect that his resorting to changing the subject and (again) casually accusing me of ignorance is a sign that he cannot.

                      I would finally point out that it is rich that Monk James lectures me on needing to appreciate the diversity of liturgical practice in different traditions. My whole argument has been predicated on the observation, based on 30 years of experience in a variety of parishes and jurisdictions, that sermons at the Divine Liturgy are, first of all, optional. And, secondly, that if given, they can be given at a variety of points in or after the service. I expressed a personal preference that it not interrupt the Liturgy by being delivered after the Gospel.

                      By contrast, Monk James is the one who dogmatizes his own idea and ignores the wide variety of Orthodox practice on this point, saying that it is integral to the Divine Liturgy and must be given at the point he specifies (a point neatly refuted by a hierarch of his own jurisdiction).

                    • It seems that I get moderated when I follow Monk James’s lead and place something I deem dubious in quotation marks. Let’s try again, this time giving the benefit of the doubt, in spite of the fact that Monk James consistently ignores my questions and substantive points, as well as my suggestions when an apology is due. I begin to see where Michael Stankovich’s frustrations come from.

                      Monk James thinks I need to get out of my Russian world more. I have news for Monk James. I have been a member of both Greek and Serbian parishes. Neither ever had a sermon after the Gospel.

                      As I made clear, my questioning of his selected sources was that they are recent, not that they aren’t Russian. Monk James sidestepped that and threw up dust to obscure the isue instead. Monk James is still invited to provide historical evidence from patristic times or cite references from any service books or manuals of any tradition predating the 20th century that backs up his assertion that a sermon is an integral part of the Divine Liturgy.

                      If he is correct, as he continues to adamantly assert in black and white terms, there should be an overwhelming amout of evidence for him to draw on in all eras of the church across all national and regional lines, because everything else that is integral to the Divine Liturgy is present whether one walks into a Greek, Russian, Georgian, Syrian, whatever… church, and one reads about these integral things in the commentaries, regardless of where and when they were written. That is what happens when something is integral to the Liturgy in the Orthodox tradition, and when it’s omission would be not just a variant, but wrong, as Monk James asserts is the case whenever a priest or bishop doesn’t preach after the Gospel reading at the Divine Liturgy.

                      Monk James knows exactly what I am asking him to produce, and I suspect that his resorting to changing the subject and (again) casually accusing me of ignorance is a sign that he cannot.

                      I would finally point out that it is rich that Monk James lectures me on needing to appreciate the diversity of liturgical practice in different traditions. My whole argument has been predicated on the observation, based on 30 years of experience in a variety of parishes and jurisdictions, and long familiarity with service books from a variety of traditions, that sermons at the Divine Liturgy are, first of all, optional. And, secondly, that if given, they can be given at a variety of points in or after the service. I expressed a personal preference that, since there are choices, it not interrupt the profound liturgical act that is the Divine Liturgy by being delivered after the Gospel. That was all.

                      By contrast, Monk James is the one who dogmatizes his own idea and ignores the wide variety of Orthodox practice on this point, saying that it is integral to the Divine Liturgy and must be given at the point he specifies (a point neatly refuted by a hierarch of his own jurisdiction). One can only be glad that this dogmatism is restricted to his monastic internet postings, and that he isn’t actually in charge of anything.

  15. Michael:

    We aren’t talking about what you say is “the OCA Vision,” although it is. What is being said here is “ORTHODOX CANON LAW.” Foreign bishops have no authority outside their own local territory, even Patriarchs. This is why the entire Assembly of Bishops is a ridiculous sham. Their entire goal is to organize all the Orthodox around the world, including North America, under + Bart. This is non-canonical. Canon 28 does not give + Bart authority over the entire world. That particular canon only gives the Pat. of Istanbul authority around certain areas of the Black Sea. People, get a copy of Orthodox Canon Law and read it. Foreign bishops are just taking as much money as they can from Americans and stupid ethnic Orthodox smile and say, “Yes Vladika, take more!” IDIOTS! A local church, the American Church, is canonically responsible to organize itself without any foreign intervention.

  16. Seeingthrough says

    The entire subject on the so called “ROEA Ellection” is just a sham.
    The Romanian saying in a case like this is: “The interest changes the hat” =” Interesul schimba fesul”.
    The interest of AB Nathaniel is to control the upcoming and continue to control the ROEA.
    Why??? From the discovering of embezzling millions of dollars from ROEA donations and from his position as the head of the Episcopate receiving funds; cooking the books; etc. etc. . “De ce i-e frica nu scapa” =”what is he afraid of will not go away”. and the Americans are so gullible that they believe everything said by ABN. And if they accept the truth which they know better than Romanians, they are not even Christians, nor Orthodox practicing the faith. “Money talks” and here they do for sure!!!
    Deacon David Oancea is a good person, but he is not qualified for that position. No education; no experience, not canonically sound etc. etc. but is qualified because he seen and know lot of things what ABN did, just like M— C—, married to a Jewish man in Amsterdam, and the head of financial department.
    [No deacon should be made a bishop if he was] married to a divorcee. For the position of Bishop his wife should be dead but she is not. She lives close to his address.
    Bishop Morusca, first Romanian bishop in USA was married and his wife was still living while he was made bishop. That is true but his wife was mentally sick and she was confined in a mental institution for the rest of her life. The recommendation for him to be ordain bishop to the Patriarch of Romania was made by her brother Metropolitan Nicolae Balan of Transylvania. Here is a big difference!!! (If you have the dispensation from a metropolitan and a patriarch we could close one eye on David).
    Living in a democratic society we Romanians cannot understand that the minority should leat the majority. Americans born in USA are 5% of ROEA and 95% are Romanian born in Romania and the only ones who open new churches in USA. The American-Romanian churches are dyeing, Canton, Akron, Southfield, etc. but the Romanian churches are flourishing left and right. Their children are “in poverty” and became lawyers, teachers, priests and filled the churches in USA and Canada!?!? .
    This hoopla is not over yet.

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      The interest of AB Nathaniel is to control the upcoming and continue to control the ROEA.

      I think the only entity interested in controlling the ROEA and its money has its headquarters across the ocean (hint – not the Indian one) and the fact that its supporters always bring up issues of “control and money” in their accusations against Abp. Nathaniel is a projection of their own desires.

      The issue, as I said earlier, is the blocking of the election of ANY auxiliary bishop until Abp. Nathaniel retires, so that Bp. Irineu will get elected and bring the “control and money” to Bucharest. And of course any dirt is as good as any other. For Dc. David it is that:

      Deacon David Oancea is a good person, but he is not qualified for that position. No education; no experience, not canonically sound

      When Fr. Joseph Morris was proposed a few years back, he had both the education, and the experience, and the canonical soundness, but the pro-Bucharest troop attacked him because he was a convert. If anyone else is proposed, I am sure they will find dirt on him to try to derail his election.

      Here is a big difference!!! (If you have the dispensation from a metropolitan and a patriarch we could close one eye on David).

      There is no difference: If the synod of the OCA decides that the fact that Dc. David Oancea is divorced is no impediment for his episcopal consecration, this has the same validity as the fact that the synod of the Romanian Patriarchate considered Bp. Policarp’s divorce to be no impediment to his ordination back 80 years ago.

      Now if you consider the OCA synod to be of a lesser standing than the Romanian one, and you belong to the Greek Archdiocese, you are more than welcome to do so. However, all the Romanian clergy that joined the ROEA signed an oath that recognizes it as part of the OCA Autocephalous Church. And if one of them is of the opinion that there is a big difference between the two, he is denying OCA’s autocephaly, and thus breaking his oath.

      but the Romanian churches are flourishing left and right.

      Yes, and so they will for another 30-40 years. When they will lose 90% of their youth and there will be no more immigration to replenish them, they will wither with the same speed as the Canton, Akron, and Southfield ones, who started on the ethnic ethos and moved out of it when it was too late.

  17. Patriarch Irinej of Serbia to Deliver Address
    Date: September 11, 2015

    On Friday, September 11, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will bestow a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, upon His Holiness Irinej (Gavrilovic), archbishop of Peć, metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci, and patriarch of Serbia. Patriarch Irinej will also deliver a presentation titled “Theology as a Hope for the Future of the Church.”

    The patriarch will arrive on the seminary campus, briefly visit Three Hierarchs Chapel, and then proceed to the Academic Convocation. The public ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building, and will include a Q & A session between the patriarch and attendees. An open reception will follow.

    His Holiness Irinej, the 45th Patriarch of Serbia, was enthroned in his position on January 2010. His Holiness was ordained as a Hieromonk in 1959, and was both a professor and rector of Prizren Seminary. He also served as Bishop of Moravica and Nis prior to his election as patriarch.

    In the Patriarch’s entourage will be His Grace the Right Reverend Maxim (Vasiljevic), bishop of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America and seminary Trustee; His Grace the Right Reverend Dr. Mitrophan (Kodic), bishop of the Eastern American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America; and His Eminence the Most Reverend Jovan VI (Vraniškovski), archbishop of Ohrid and metropolitan of Skopje, which is under the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć.

  18. Michael Woerl says

    I don’t buy the “American Church” Mania at all. First of all, the perennial critique of an “Autocephalous American Church” is that Orthodoxy in America is not “mature” enough to succeed as an “Autocephalous American Church.” Met. Platon (Rozhdestvensky, +1934) founded one in 1927 (which would NOT include his diocese!); it was recognized by no one … and, eventually, due to financial pressure from the Protestant Episcopal Church, Met. Platon withdrew his own recognition. Of course, then we have the OCA “Autocephaly” of 1970. Engineered largely by Fr. Schmeman, negotiated with the Moscow Patriarchate, which was undeniably under the control of the Soviet regime at the time. Throughout its “Autocephalous existence,” the OCA has itself provided the evidence that “America” is not ready for an Autocephalous Church. From Fr Schmeman riding roughshod over the Bishops, to the ongoing Episcopal Antics of the past several years, to the “Administration” riding roughshod over the Bishops today, to SVS Antics, to the “Arida contingent,” to who knows what next … To a jurisdiction which excuses nearly everything with, “Patriarch Tikhon said so!” to its support of just about every point of the program of the Renovationist “Living Church” which the Holy New Confessor of Russia Patriarch Tikhon declared as a heresy. To largely fabricating their history … All in the name of a “culturally American Orthodoxy,” largely the creation of French “theologians.” How 1930s Catholic and Anglican “liturgical renewal” with a large dose of anti-monasticism equates with a “culturally American Orthodoxy,” I have no idea. As has been noted on more than one occasion, the powers that be seem to have Eastern Rite Episcopalianism more in mind … We keep hearing, “American! American!” We do have religious freedom in America, no? Then why is it “UNAmerican” for people to have the right to choose which Church they belong to? And, please, don’t wave the “Canons!” As if the OCA is a most scrupulous “observer” of Canons. They’ve been replaced with “Economia,” which translates as, “We can do anything we want.” That is, as long as the Administration agrees!

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I sure hope you are not in the OCA!

      I am, and I love my parish, my diocese and the Orthodox Church in America. I could, but will not rebut your accusations as I suspect that my argumentation will fall on deaf ears. I wish you the best.

    • Unity is God’s will, period. Read John 17:20-26. The current situation in Orthodox America is not consistent with God’s will. Some say we have doctrinal unity and don’t need administrative unity but that is just an excuse for not doing what God wills for the church.

      The church was created by Christ in order that people may become convinced: That Jesus Christ is the authentic voice of God; that he is the authoritative utterance of what God intends to do in human affairs; that he is the key to world history and reality, the revelation of the invisible God and therefore the only way from man to God.

      When people become convinced of this, the rest is up to them. Our task, as believers in Jesus Christ, as Orthodox Christians, is not to save the world. Our job is to bring it to an awareness of who He is, and when men and women come to that awareness they will do one of two things: they will either accept Him , repent of their sins, get baptized and choose to strive for holiness, or they will reject him and continue to live outside the saving grace of the Church. We can only be effective in accomplishing our God given task if we are united.

      • George Michalopulos says

        jonkal, you are right: Unity is God’s will. But do you blame those of us who shudder at the thought of “unity” under some of the compromised men who currently inhabit the EAUSA? The current dust-up over the upcoming Romanian Convocare (both pro and con) is indicative of this very real fear.

        Let’s be clear, if we didn’t have this problem, then the foreign patriarchates wouldn’t be feared. Instead both the American laity as well as the foreign-appointed compromised bishops are being played.

        • George, if we wait for the perfect cadre of Bishops it will never happen. We seek and do God’s will because it is God’s will not because the circumstances are perfect. God works in spite of sin and our human frailty not because of our perfection.

          • johnkal said, “George, if we wait for the perfect cadre of Bishops it will never happen.” You are correct. But is it too much to ask, for example, in the OCA, to expect Orthodox seminary trained bishops? Currently the OCA has three, if not four, who never went to or graduated from Orthodox seminaries. Archbishop Nathaniel’s theological education is Roman Catholic. Same with Bishop Daniel Brum. Archbishop Nikon never graduated from an Orthodox seminary (attended SVS) and Bishop Irenee studied at Holy Trinity, Jordanville. I am not sure if he ever graduated.

            It is interesting that the two major figures on the recent OCA Statute rewrite never attended an Orthodox seminary (+Nathaniel and +Brum). Neither are trained in Orthodox Canon Law, yet they are largely responsible major changes in the OCA Statute. Is the OCA that bereft of candidates for the bishopric that they have to historically raise up non-Orthodox educated men to their Synod?

            No doubt over the decades, +Nathaniel has stuck to his RC training following the letter of the law and ignoring the spirit of the law in his dealings with the OCA and the ROEA/OCA agreement.

            There will never be a perfect set of bishops on any Synod, anywhere or anytime, this side of the Kingdom, but can’t we at least expect Orthodox theologically trained men, not too mention morally straight?

      • Christ will unite us. It won’t happen merely through our own desire or effort and it sure will not come about as a result of the empty words of the online Anglophone Orthodox community. The Lord wants to see our repentance.

        Under the cover of obedience we think that we can hide our apathy, indifference and laziness. Our churches have been devastated by the spirit of the world an yet we are sleeping. Christ will not bless our efforts if we’re not willing to lift a finger.

        Are we willing to fight to clean up our churches? That OCA monastery in the North and that defrocked “Archbishop” among many other things are open sores on the body of Christ but only a few “extremists” seem to even care.

        You who demand unity should be the first to be fighting to clean up our churches. There will be no American Orthodox Church and that’s your fault fellas.

      • Another thing to keep in mind is the providential nature of the current administrative landscape. Given the overall frailty of the Church in America from top to bottom, can you imagine how easy it would be for ecumenists/progressives/etc to destroy an administratively unified church?

        In fact, one of the things that Roman Catholic Ecumenists lament about is that the “fragmented” nature (to them at least since they do not want to understand what truly unites us) of the Orthodox Church is suppressing their efforts at union.

    • Uncomfortable truths, and not perhaps the whole story — the OCA has very healthy corners and does have strengths. But truths nonetheless that cannot be brushed off. But as Fr. Reardon notes, the idea of American Orthodoxy is not limited to the OCA. He points to the Antiochians as a good model. Perhaps it is.

      I can’t imagine being anywhere but the ROCOR, but that is me. I personally have seen that every jurisdiction has healthy, diverse, and growing parishes. I suspect that if you look at those spiritually serious and spiritually thriving parishes, whether they are in the ROCOR, with the Serbs or Greeks, in the OCA, wherever, I think they would look far more alike than they would look different.

      That is true American Orthodoxy, it organic, it is authentic and it is happening without any plan or strategy or braying whatsoever. It centers on building parishes and dioceses (because without the involvement of a loving bishop who is utterly dedicated to preserving and living the full traditional faith of the Church, parishes are fighting uphill battles — they are functionally spiritual orphans. American Orthodoxy is found where the faith is being lived within the tradition of our forefathers in the faith. Some worship in English, many don’t. American Orthodoxy is happening. No one can stop it from happening.

      Aming those who like most to yak on about “American Orthodoxy,” I suspect that most don’t much care for the real American Orthodoxy of which I speak. These parishes are generally among the more traditional ones in their respective jurisdictions, probably fast too much, their services are probably too long and are held too often. Many of the women may (eghad!) cover their heads and never darken the door in a pair of slacks. Too many of the parents probably home school their kids. Parishioners probably have a curious lack of interest in going to things like the AAC, and instead make their pilgrimages to traditional monasteries. They read prayer books, old school spiritual writings, and lives of saints — Schmemann and Meyendorff… perhaps not so much.

      You get the idea. That which is living and growing ends up as what is left standing.

  19. My, my, Mr. Michael Woerl, such anger within you. All of your arguments are directly from the ROCOR Play Book and very distorted, of course. Again, we are referring to Orthodox Canon Law, not your own distorted perceptions of an American Church. Orthodox Canon Law is clear, foreign bishops have no authority in America nor anywhere outside their own local territory. In fact, here in the US, a bishop has no authority outside where their territory is. The bishop of Chicago has no authority in NYC. Same with priests. A priest is appointed to serve one parish and outside that parish, he has no authority. What the former Metropolia, now OCA did was to adhere to Orthodox Canon Law. In 1961, SCOBA, all the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America, said they all wanted to work toward and become part of an American autocephalous church. Fr. Schmemman, who was asked to be SCOBA’s theological adviser, was prime in obtaining the Tome of Autocephaly from Moscow for its daughter church in America, the Metropolia. Please note, ROCOR was left in limbo because it had no canonical standing. The Tome created the OCA, the only autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, as SCOBA wanted. The Romanians followed the canons and joined the OCA; the Albanians followed canon law and joined the OCA; the Bulgarians followed canon law and joined the OCA; but the Greeks and Antiochians reneged on what they agreed on within SCOBA. So, here we are, 45 years later and the Antiochians have reverted to 1940 becoming more of an ethnic ghetto and the Greeks are falling apart with scandal after scandal while they continue to believe + Bart is some sort of savior. Stupid Orthodox in America and Michael, ROCOR toadies like you are totally brainwashed.

    • Joe,

      If you actually want to know the story behind the OCA, you might start here:

      http://orthodoxwiki.org/ROCOR_and_OCA

      It is the laity of the OCA which have been sold a bill of goods.

      And all this nonsense about “foreign bishops” having no jurisdiction here either stands or falls on the legitimacy and nature of OCA’s alleged “autocephaly”. You might examine the Tomos on this matter:

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

      You will notice that the MP purported to grant the Metropolia a very strange type of autocephaly. It specifically excluded all other Orthodox presences in North America which were not at that moment part of the Metropolia and it recognized the legitimacy of those presences.

      “7. The Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America shall have exclusive spiritual and canonical jurisdiction over all bishops, clerics and laymen of the Eastern Orthodox confession in continental North America, excluding Mexico, and including the State of Hawaii who are presently part of the Metropolitanate, or who shall later enter the Metropolitanate; and over all parishes which now belong or later shall be accepted into the Metropolitanate, excepting the entire clergy, possessions and parishes enumerated in Paragraph 3, points a,b,c.”

      * * *

      “The newly-established local Orthodox Autocephalous Church in America should abide in brotherly relations with all the Orthodox Churches and their Primates as well as with their bishops, clergy and pious flock, who are in America and who for the time being preserve their de facto existing canonical and jurisdictional dependence on their national Churches and their Primates.”

      This, of course, includes the GOAA which had/has an archdiocese in North America at least twice as large as the OCA/Metropolia.

      Now, Pat. Bartholomew is no savior, hero, etc. I know of no one in ROCOR or the MP who thinks he is. Nonetheless, “foreign bishops” had jurisdiction in Russia up until Constantinople signed on to the Council of Florence. “Foreign bishops” from Russia had jurisdiction in America at the very least up until the OCA’s Tomos was issued (and even then, if one rejects that actual autocephaly was validly granted). So all of this nonsense about “foreign bishops” is pure OCA tripe. No reason to take it seriously any more than their cries of “Phyletism!”. If they don’t like phyletism, then the first thing they should do is abolish their non-geographic, ethnic dioceses. If they don’t like “foreign bishops”, then they should take their own autocephaly more seriously and break communion with all of the other jurisdictions which disregard it with utter contempt, including their mother church (Russia).

      Or maybe they should just shut up.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      So, here we are, 45 years later and the Antiochians have reverted to 1940 becoming more of an ethnic ghetto and the Greeks are falling apart with scandal after scandal while they continue to believe + Bart is some sort of savior. Stupid Orthodox in America and Michael, ROCOR toadies like you are totally brainwashed.

      Why do you care? Why? Go to Church, participate in the holy Mysteries and raise your family. A Bishop is a Bishop. The EA is working it out. Do you think American Bihsops are some how better then Non-American Bishops? The scandals here in America, especially with the OCA, have involved American Born Bishops so what are you talking about?

      Be at peace and follow Christ and live in his Gospel because what I read above is a very poor witness of the Gospel. Let go and let God. Simple little saying, but so hard to do.

      Let go buddy and live in the Gospel and radiace that is Jesus Christ. You cannot do that you got bigger problems than Foreign Bishops.

  20. M. Stankovich says

    Please, brothers & sisters, remember in your prayers Archpriest Thomas Succoratte, a dear schoolmate of mine at SVS who I only discovered today fell asleep in the Lord on August 8, 2015. He was a kind, gentle, pious man, with an enormous heart! He was assigned to a parish outside St. Louis, MO immediately upon graduating from SVS, and over the years when I saw him at the SVS Summer Institutes, he always said the same thing: “I love my parish and my parishioners.” And he never left. May his soul rest with Saints, and may his Memory be Eternal!

    • May his memory be eternal.

      • V. Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

        Michael,
        My condolences to you and to Fr. Thomas’s family! I see that once again, some jerk voted thumbs down on a “Memory Eternal”! I am reminded of a sermon given by Bishop Peter of Cleveland a few years ago on the eve of the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee.
        I can’t recall the name of the Saint, but he was a man who had been at enmity with a certain priest. Hearing that the priest was about to be martyred on the village square, he ran to the scene to beg forgiveness of the priest. So great was the priest’s enmity that he immediately renounced the faith rather than reconcile with the saint. Thus, the saint received the martyr’s crown instead of the unfortunate priest.

        • M. Stankovich says

          You are a flame, Fr. Andrei, and have attracted the “dislike” moth yourself! I would laugh, but it is so ridiculous. Fr. Thomas was a faithful man, and from what I’ve learned endured suffering in his final illness. Now, he suffers no more. I am not a gambler, but I foresee matching your “dislikes” 3 to 1. And so it goes… I thank you for your comment.

        • David Black says

          Father Andrei may be remembering the story of Saint Nikiforos and the Priest Saprikios in his post of August 23 2015 at 2:25 pm.

  21. Misha:

    You don’t understand. Every Orthodox bishop understands that the situation in the US is an irregular, anomaly to normal Orthodox Canon Law. Why? When the Russian Revolution began; monies, bishops & priests ceased coming from Russia. All ethnic churches turned to their own old country bishops for help in the US. Therefore, our present non-canonical situation. In any territory, canonically, ONE local church is to be established. As I outlined above, SCOBA wanted to correct this in 1961 following. In 1970 the solution was made possible with an autocephalous church that the Antiochians & Greeks reneged on joining. Regarding “Foreign Bishops;” established churches were given the Apostolic directive to “go and baptize all nations.” Missionary work by Russia, Byzantium, etc. was a normal church activity. However, once a church in a territory was established, as did the Holy Apostles, Bishops were chosen to lead and grow that “independent,” local church; not to retain these new territories as extended dioceses forever – colonialism. The establishment of an autocephalous Orthodox Church in every territory and country is the canonical responsibility of the one, holy, apostolic church.

    • Joe,

      I understand perfectly. While it is true that “every Orthodox bishop understands that the situation in the US is an irregular anomaly”, they most certainly do not agree on the solution or that the Church in America should not be under “foreign bishops”. And the reason they do not agree on this is that most of them simply do not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA or, at the least, think of it as a very strange, perhaps provisional, autocephaly which is unique to the OCA itself – i.e., not like other autocephalies, perhaps a “semi-autocephaly”.

      One can easily get this impression from the OCA Tomos. It is confirmed by the behavior of every other local church (including its mother church, Russia) and by the OCA’s lack of protest or severing of communion with the other churches.

      “In 1970 the solution was made possible with an autocephalous church that the Antiochians & Greeks reneged on joining.”

      No one “reneged”. The Greeks rejected OCA autocephaly from day one, as did ROCOR. Antioch has rejected it by not joining and by maintaining its archdiocese here in America. None of the other jurisdictions ever committed to joining the OCA, thus there was nothing to “renege” on.

      “The establishment of an autocephalous Orthodox Church in every territory and country is the canonical responsibility of the one, holy, apostolic church.”

      That is nonsense. While it is true that the organization of synods and thus “independent” or “autocephalous” churches has generally reflected political boundaries, there is no canonical necessity for this. Otherwise, autocephaly would be dependent on the winds of political change.

      “Empire breaks up? Gotta have new autocephalous churches.” “Revolution? Must be a new synod.”

      No. No thank you. The Church has never followed that prescription for chaos.

      Moreover, there is a misunderstanding here about the function of canon law. It is not like American or Western European civil law. We often say that “no one is above the law”. Well, in Orthodoxy, bishops individually on certain matters most certainly are above the law and, collectively, they are obviously above the law. They are its sole enforcement mechanism. Moreover, canon law was never intended to be a straightjacket for bishops but a norm which they were to apply with discretion. There are, of course, restrictions in canon law on the actions of bishops. Yet these are designed to be applied with discretion by their brother bishops, their synods and by a Great and Holy Synod if it were called.

      Blathering on as if someone had broken a law is just silly and betrays a misunderstanding of the whole matter.

  22. seeingthrough says

    To: anonymus per Scorilo
    I could see a fight between American born and Ethnic born in all the discussions for no reason at all.
    We all are Orthodox!!!
    Let’s separate the American born from the ethnic born in USA and Canada and the rest is:…a bunch of nothing, no schools in Orthodox theology, no standing for Orthodoxy, no new churches and all the old churches are built by immigrants, no places to go. But want to have Autocephaly?!? It is just like you want to pilot a jet but you don’t know how to ride a bike, for God sake. You want to be a grown man but you are a child with a long bear, no maturity as the Pat. of Constantinopole and other Pats consider orthodoxy in America.
    It’s interesting enough that you want to lead others, to take their money, but you don’t see the spike in your eye.
    This is just like the politicians in USA and the wars in Iraq, Afganistan etc. a dizzy aster.
    We the Romanian don’t make differences but you do, why???
    For no real reason, but “your american reason” which don’t make sense you want to control, just like the masons in churches,( I wonder if you are not mason) want to have a foot on the money.(By the way is ABN a mason??? The answer is: HE IS).
    Related to holy synod in Syosset confirmed Dn. Oancea,is lead by Nathaniel, as a the head of investigating committee. LOL. Do you compare that synod with a patriarchal synod from any Orthodox country?
    No one, including Russian Patriarchate, recognized the OCA. A ‘CANONICAL ANOMALY” = a blided man wants to lead other toward salvation in a Russian style (no American style because is none), Russian vestments, Russian music, Russian traditions, but English language. To seal all these “american orthodox style” at Fr. Hopko funeral service ended with “Vecinaia Pomeia”. Is that American??? A Russian bear clothed in american sheep skin. Lol. You have to be stupid to belief that OCA is American.
    Why the Protestants who want to convert to orthodox church joined the Antiochians, not the OCA?
    Why the orthodox ethnic groups in USA are progressive and flourish?
    Why the OCA is shrinking? Because the old Russian members died off and the Americans will not join, as they proclaimed to be the missionaries in USA. Lol.
    Look in your house first than talk about neighbors!
    Take care of your Americans and leave us along, we know what to do, we don’t need your lies and stupidities.

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      It is deceptive to label this as a fight between Romanian-borns and American-borns,
      or between Romanian and Americans, or anything else like this. It has nothing to do with this.

      The fight is between going back under the Bucharest and staying in the OCA, between repeating the mistakes that the immigrant orthodox (including many in the OCA) have made in the US in the last 100 years and consequently losing 90% of the youth, or learning from these mistakes.
      Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum

      • Of course. Stay in the OCA where you are accountable FOR NOTHING. If you go back to “Bucharest” you won’t be able to get away with the shenanigans you all have been foisting on the rest of the OCA for decades.

  23. Tim R. Mortiss says

    American-Romanian Orthodox internal clashes…the microcosm within the microcosm. A nanocosm?

    An interesting thread, though, for all that.

  24. seeingthrough says

    According to Fr. Romey Roscoe, Abp. Nathaniel took 2 million dollars from OCA during the time of Herman, no wonder they are in debt since.

    I was told that Nathaniel asked Nicolae Condrea from the other Romanian diocese a million dollars to join and to form the Romanian Metropolia in USA and Canada. THIS IS NOT A RUMOR !!!

    How much did you receive from ABN, who splits the money of the immigration fees from the priests with [other well-connected priests]? At one time the department of Immigration was formed by a priest who is no longer with ROEA and everything was FREE of charge [under him].

    Why are so many Romanian priests not serving OCA/ROEA but the GOA?

    They are so many question which you the Americans cannot answer that is pity of you to compare yourself with a Romanian priest from the old country .
    Daca taceai filizof ramaneai! Scorilo

  25. M. Stankovich says

    This whole thread is so painfully reminiscent of my childhood, where every Sunday was characterized by coffee hours of “discussions” between grown men that began calmly enough, but true to form, always ended in shouting matches mixed with Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and whatever the hell the Macedonians were speaking that particular day, claiming they had “pictures of the bishop [archbishop, metropolitan, patriarch] in a Communist Commissar’s uniform,” “drunk and kissing women” (or worse), accepting bribes from the Communists, on and on. I would pull at my father’s pantleg, “Please, can we go home now?” I once asked my father why he was so particularly angry as we drove home, and he said, “I had to defend a bishop who led many of our people into schism because he is disobedient and will not return to Serbia to answer for his behaviour. Then I came upon him at a Lodge picnic, drunk, and singing the filthiest & vulgar of sailor songs with a group of men, so I slapped him so hard across the face he fell down. I yelled at him, ‘You are an Orthodox Bishop!’ and walked away.” I asked him why he had defended the man and he said, “Because he is a Communist fighter.” Most of my generation had stopped coming to church except for holidays by high school.

    My parish priest started talking about autocephaly approximately six months before it happened, and ironically enough, when he announced that a unified Great Vespers would be served at our parish to celebrate the granting of autocephaly it would be led by none other than… Archbishop Valerian (Trifa). What he said on that Sunday evening in 1970 is lost to my adolescent consciousness, but I can tell you that it was dramatically inspirational, and for me instilled a hope of an American Orthodox Church – that I have accepted I will not see realized in my lifetime – but I have not relinquished that hope. While I believe the purpose of this thread was to be purposefully discouraging – and of course provide the opportunity for a few unsubstantiated statements of murderous gossip regarding the “corruption” of bishops – it reaffirms the fact that forty years is an insignificant time to measure either success or failure; that only a fool believes he can either hasten or impede the Will of the Father in the Vineyard He has planted with His right-hand; or any of us may predict the Holy Spirit Who goes wherever He wishes.

  26. Disgusted With It says

    M. Stankovich is right. This moronic nonsense needs to stop.

    (Mr.) anonymus per Scorilo is leading everyone on just like a certain editor of ocanews once did. Don’t buy into it people. You’d be amazed at the similarities. No, he’s not Fr. Pac-urar. You can put that one to rest. In fact, I don’t believe he’s even a member of a Romanian Episcopate parish anymore (however I wish he’d list all his organizational and scholarly “titles” again). While he likes to tell people he meets that he’s a “close personal friend” of Archbishop Nathaniel for many years, he gets his “insider information” mostly through gossip from another paranoid, self-styled “intellectual” who also goes on and on about Bucharest mafias and the like. Birds of a feather…

    And on the other hand, people need to stop overreacting and accusing Archbishop Nathaniel of things like embezzling millions of dollars. Seriously. It didn’t happen. If you want to criticize decisions, or how money was spent, or other actions, that’s fine. Constructive discussion is a good thing and I for one am certainly glad that Monomakhos exists to provide a place for that. But let’s not all lose our minds and start acting like kids on the playground seeing who can come up with a bigger story. That’s the kind of blow-back that (Mr.) anonymus per Scorilo and his breed love to see so that they can misdirect people’s attention to the crazy responses so that their ridiculous accusations go unchecked.

    Sure, it’s easy to spread all kinds of accusations against Bishop Irineu to a bunch of people who are already wary of “those ethnics”. Pro-Bucharest camp? Deep vaults at Bucharest? Really, how old are we? “There are more Romanians than Americans in churches, blame those Romanians and Bishop Irineu.” “Archbishop Nathaniel let Fr. Morris hang in the wind at a ‘vote-because- I-tell-you-to-and-there-will-be-no-discussion’ election, blame those Romanians and Bishop Irineu.” What’s the next headline, “Doughnut-eating among Americans at Romanian church coffee hours falls to all-time low because of Bishop Irineu and pro-Bucharest camp!”? The propaganda really is disingenuous and evil. Those who claim to be such anti-communist champions have truly become that which they claim to despise.

    Do you see how people like this try to touch certain nerves? (Mr.) anonymus per Scorilo knows that the majority of us on this site are pro-frequent communion, so of course he was sure to go off about how those Romanians are against frequent communion. That’s how it used to be. What he neglected to mention was that the Church of Romania, through the efforts of many of its bishops, priests and theologians, is encouraging frequent communion more and more. He’s trying to dishonestly manipulate public sentiment through the reporting of half-truths and even outright lies on an internet website. Sound familiar? Let’s not all fall for it again.

    We have enough Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons in the world. We don’t need anyone else in the business of Romanian vs. American, or Romanian vs. Russian, or Greek vs. American, or even American vs. American “race baiting” in order to feed their own egos. I pray that those participating in the upcoming election will remain above this nonsense and do what is best for the Church, whatever that may reveal itself to be.

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      While he likes to tell people he meets that he’s a “close personal friend” of Archbishop Nathaniel for many years, he gets his “insider information” mostly through gossip from another paranoid, self-styled “intellectual” who also goes on and on about Bucharest mafias and the like. Birds of a feather…

      You are raving beyond measure. I have not met Abp. Nathaniel for more than five or six times in my whole life. And all my “insider” information is stuff that almost everybody who is a bit familiar with what is going on in the ROEA and in Romania knows.

      You guys just cannot fathom that somebody can be fighting against the manipulations, calumnies, lies, blackmail and mafia-style threats of the anti-Abp.Nathaniel camp just from pure disgust and without having any interest in the game.

  27. Seeingthrough says

    Recently I received the information related to former wife of Dn. David Oancea
    NICOLETA-LILIANA OPREA
    DOB: 05-12-1965; POB: Brasov (Romania)
    Parents: Nicolae Oprea, Ioana Oprea.
    Married to VLAICU-OCTAVIAN TODOR on September 27, 1986.
    Godparents: Bujor & Creola Manescu
    The marriage was performed in the ANNUNCIATION ORTHDODOX CHURCH (Biserica Bunavestire)
    30 Nicolae Iorga Street, Brasov (Romania).

    The DIVORCE sentence was performed by the Civil City Court of Brasov (Romania) on January 26, 1988
    between NICOLETA-LILIANA OPREA and VLAICU-OCTAVIAN TODOR.
    Sentence was recorded at Nr. 562/ 01-26-1988.

    Now she lives in Jackson Michigan with her parents and daughter.

    Even St. Spiridon from the First Ecumenical Council 325 AD, Niceea was married but his wife died and than he became a bishop. Metropolitan Laurentiu Streza of Ardeal, Sibiu, Romania was married and his wife died before. This is just one impediment to bishophoric seat.

    All this information will be published for knowledge to all the Romanian and American in ROEA episcopate.

  28. Seeingthrough says

    “The hoopla is not over yet” now we are coming with FACTS about ABN being mason, embazzaling money form ROEA and her people. We may come with proofs, just like Bishop Seraphim of Otawa etc.
    No one try to drag anyone into the mud, they are all ready there, but with lot of masks on their faces and only the American blind people don’t see through.
    If Oancea refuse the position everything will be OK, before hand if not we don’t “stack the deck” we DISPLAY IT AND WE DON’T HAVE NOTHING TO LOOSE.

  29. ROEA Historian says

    All of this negative stuff is nothing but disinformation. Why? Because the overseas Romanians want the American Romanians to distrust their American leaders. Same thing any opposition party does. Look at the Republicans painting Hillary as Beelzabub’s Wife. The overseas Romanians want everyone to believe + Nathaniel is corrupt. Yet, they also want everyone to believe that the only salvation for American Romanians is to return to the corrupt old country with clerics who are totally uneducated and ignorant to the American Church. It’s all about money and control. Going backward to 1930 is not the answer for American Romanians. The answer is a strong American Church with extensive education and encouraging youth to be active within their churches.

    • ROEA Historian writes: Yet, they also want everyone to believe that the only salvation for American Romanians is to return to the corrupt old country with clerics who are totally uneducated and ignorant to the American Church.

      If these clergy from Romania are so uneducated and ignorant why has the great American bishop +Nathaniel imported so many of them from Romania? Aren’t nearly if not a clear majority of ROEA clergy from the “Old Country?”

      You can’t have it both ways, extol an American Church, but then fill it Romanian born clergy. Or maybe you can? +Nathaniel has had it both ways for decades.

      And as far as the bad old Romanian (read Communist) Church in Bucharest, it seems to me that vilifying Bucharest plays more into the game plan of the ROEA than it does the RP.

      Better brush up on your history ROEA Historian. Your slip is showing.

  30. ROEA Historian says

    Dear Vatra M,

    Nice name; the Vatra is a very nice place. The reason + Nathaniel has brought more clergy to America from Romania is two fold: 1) the people wanted them feeling they were losing their customs, etc. 2) not enough American/Romanian boys wanted to attend the seminary or become a priest – discouraged by their parents. So, he’ll have to contend with mostly uneducated priests who have “form, but no content.” The Serbs are like this; ROCOR is like this and this only presents more problems down the road. More ethnic ghettos Parishes find it cheaper to have old country priests. They aren’t Americanized and are happy to live in a shack, earn $200 a month and have some food. American boys want an education; as a priest they want a salary large enough to own their own home; benefits; treated like a professional; etc. Why do you think American corporations hire more Indians, Chinese, etc.

  31. seeingthrough says

    The actual leadership of ROEA is destroying the Romanian orthodox ethnic group here, because Nathaniel have no vision and see no future, but he does his own interest, milking…
    Romanian orthodox population here in USA and Canada is more than 2 million strong and Vatra from 11 thousand members in the time of Valerian shrank to less than 6 thousand. WHY????
    The new churches are opened by new comers and poor Romanian priests who have a miserable salary and work two or three jobs to keep up with the demands of the church, community and family. Nathaniel has a salary of + 80 thousand per year, no donations to any churches or to a missionary fund etc. M C a non Romanian, living at Vatra (homo as they come) has at least 60 K/year and the auxiliary bishop 15,000/month. B Irineu built a new monastery with the help of Romanians “honkeys” and the Americans milks the ROEA and the parishes. This is why we want to have our own leaders to be more progressive and to integrate the rest of the Romanians in the Orthodox American”Patriarchate” here. We take care of us for orthodoxy not for Bucharest or other countries, just like Greeks, Antiochians etc. We want to be canonical not “canonical anomaly”. and take care of our mission and the actual leaders give a damn to our vision.
    We sick an tire to fight for what is ours with non Romanians and hypocrites called “American orthodox”.
    To pretend that you are orthodox and christian fighting for what in not yours is stupid and have no description.
    It is so pattetic!!! God have mercy on them!!!

  32. M. Stankovich:

    having attended the Pascha services at a large Greek parish the past 2 years, I witnessed the mass exodus of humanity following the reading of our Blessed Father’s “welcome” to the Feast!

    Perhaps I am misinformed, but I was always led to believe that for many Greeks, one could dispense with Great Lent, most of Holy Week, and Pascha itself. Great and Holy Thursday is when you go to church for communion! At least that mob showed up, if only for a little while.

    • OOM, as you doubtless know, most customs dont come out of nowhere. As I understand the (doubtless simplified) explanation, this one goes back to the time when various factors in Ottoman rule had led to the near disappearance of the availability of confession. Unction, which is for forgiveness of sins as well as healing, came to take its place. So it is quite natural that the most logical time to commune was immediately after the previous day’s Unction service. Or perhaps the placement of Unction on Wednesday was driven by the fact that it was a place one could put the service immediately prior to a Holy Week Liturgy without displacing major Holy Week services (Holy Friday and Holy Saturday are already packed).

      Unction was never a feature of Holy Week outside of Ottoman controlled territory, and hence that whole Wednesday Unction/Thursday communion combo doesn’t appear there. The unfortunate (in my view) practice of Holy Wednesday Unction has crept into OCA practice, but I believe this is an American phenomenon that developed because of the influence of Byzantine usage here.

      • Edward:

        this one goes back to the time when various factors in Ottoman rule had led to the near disappearance of the availability of confession. Unction, which is for forgiveness of sins as well as healing, came to take its place. So it is quite natural that the most logical time to commune was immediately after the previous day’s Unction service…Unction was never a feature of Holy Week outside of Ottoman controlled territory, and hence that whole Wednesday Unction/Thursday communion combo doesn’t appear there.

        If this explained the phenomenon, one might expect more of showing at Wednesday Holy Unction by those communing on Thursday. In my experience, this isn’t the case. At my church, a small army of Greeks will show up on Holy Thursday morning – their only appearance all year. They consider my OCA church “Russian” and therefore, to them, showing up at it reflects a degree of desperation. But it’s closer than their Greek parish; I get the feeling they want to get to work ASAP after receiving communion; they never stick around. The point is that they don’t show up at the unction service the night before.

        Edward:

        The unfortunate (in my view) practice of Holy Wednesday Unction has crept into OCA practice…

        It’s done at many ROCOR churches and at Jordanville, too.

    • Gregory Manning says

      OOM,
      Back in the early nineties I attended the Pascha services at the Russian cathedral (Diocese of Sourozh) in Ennismore Gardens in London. As I recall, somewhere in the middle of Matins, everything came to a halt while a group of VIP”s (mostly really old rich guys with babes on their arms) entered from the south side of the cathedral and took their places in seating which had been provided for them ON THE SOLEA. They sat while everyone else stood. Once the Metropolitan had proclaimed “Christ is Risen” and the congregation (and the VIP’s) responded, everything again came to a halt while the VIP’s departed. As they departed, maybe a third of the congregation did as well. Once most had gone the Liturgy began. Having been in ROCOR for a few years by that time I had seen stateside Russians do the same thing but I had never seen the Church accommodate them like that.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        I myself in the last few years been surprised to see how many empty seats show up after the procession around the church at midnight has ended and the liturgy begins. When I first attended Pascha services at the same church 30-35 years ago, the place was packed all the way through. Lot of people not going back into the church at that point now…..

        Of course, in this particular church, way back then at the conclusion of the liturgy, the big feast started downstairs: the whole feast, roast lamb, everything, starting at about 1:30 a.m. I’d get home when the birds were singing.

        So I think people stayed for that. They ended that custom long ago, moving the feast to Pascha afternoon.

        I will never forget the first time I went. It was 1979 or ’80. The fantastic service, lasting a couple hours (I knew no distinctions between vespers and liturgy). Then downstairs; roast lamb with all the trimmings, red wine….I was like the Rus delegation in Hagia Sophia!