Yet Another Indication that the Tomos is a Dead Letter?

This is gratifying on many levels. I particularly like the close cooperation between the Catholic Church in Mexico and the Russian Orthodox Church. This is a display of Christian charity and fellowship that we would do well to encourage in other lands. It’s a good type of ecumenism, what I call an ecumenism of the trenches.

I’m especially gladdened to see that Bishop Alejo of Mexico City participated in the service. From what I gather, His Grace “gets it” regarding evangelism. I was also overjoyed for that matter when I heard that the Central American dioceses broke off from the North American Episcopal Assembly, which has barely a pulse. (I know, I know, they’re going to meet at another fancy airport hotel, this time at Dallas/Ft Worth. I guess a quick in-and-out is the operative principle with the Episcopal Assembly of the United States.) It’s also nice to see His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow flexing his muscles south of the border.

Of course this brings up uncomfortable questions regarding the OCA’s tomos of autocephaly. My guess is that cooler heads have prevailed in Syosset; that it’s better to make a virtue of necessity. Anyway, it’s good for Syosset in this sense: they make nice to Russia (which they’ve royally pissed off with their treatment of Metropolitan Jonah). It’s also a two-fer for Orthodox Trads, in that the increased presence of the ROC in Central America makes it impossible for Lefty Kishkovsky to screw things up there as he has north of the Rio Grande. Secondly, it checks the ecumenist trajectory that takes place wherever the Phanar plants its worldly flag over some region belonging to “the Barbarians.”

My impression is that it telegraphs to the Orthodox world that the OCA’s days are numbered.

moscow-patriarchal-parish-in-mexico-city

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Comments

  1. Johann Sebastian says

    George Michalopulos wrote:

    “This is gratifying on many levels. I particularly like the close cooperation between the Catholic Church in Mexico and the Russian Orthodox Church.”

    No it isn’t. Coziness between an Orthodox Church and the Roman Church is strange, and it puts one on the slippery slope toward Uniatism.

    Furthermore, reaching out to Latin Rite Papists while condemning Uniate Greek Catholics smacks of hypocrisy. You don’t shun your brother while making nice with the one who put a wedge between you and him.

  2. Timothy Wearing says

    George,

    You are so wrong on so many levels. Central America did not really “break off” from the EP. Ass. Initially Istanbul grouped them in with North America and everyone said they should be grouped with South America and so this was done. Russia, the ROC, could care less what happens to + Jonah. The guy was a loose cannon and a change was made; end of story, yet, you continue to bring this up as if + Jonah was any kind of issue. The OCA’s days aren’t numbered nor will it be absorbed or disappear. Canonically, it is the ONLY proper canonical Orthodox Church in North America. Foreign bishops have no authority outside their own territory, therefore, the OCA is the ONLY legitimate church. Istanbul, nor Moscow, nor Damascus has any real legitimacy in a territory where a canonical, autocephalic Orthodox Church is established.

    • Alexander says

      ” Foreign bishops have no authority outside their own territory”

      This implies that the MP had no authority to grant the Tomos. If we go down this route then nothing would ever get done.

      • Timothy Wearing says

        Alexander,

        At the time of autocephaly, 1970, all the Orthodox Churches in North America were under a foreign bishop except the Metropolia. It was an independent entity since Pat. Tikhon in 1917 told all Orthodox diocese of the ROC to operate independently until the ROC could re-establish itself – this didn’t REALLY happen under Communism. In 1970, the OCA was granted autocephaly from the ROC although the Metropolia/OCA was virtually independent since 1917.

        • Patriarch Tikhon never ordered any such thing in 1917; and he never ordered anything granting “autonomy” to the North American Diocese .You are speaking of (apparently without knowing it) of Ukaz Number 362, issued 07 Nov 1920 (old style). Interesting that the Metropolia/OCA would refer to this document, as it states:
          “2) In the event a diocese, in consequence of the movement of the war front, changes of state borders, etc., finds itself completely out of contact with the Supreme Church Administration, or if the Supreme Church Administration itself, headed by His Holiness the Patriarch, for any reason whatsoever ceases its activity, the diocesan bishop immediately enters into relations with the bishops of neighboring dioceses for the purpose of organizing a higher instance of ecclesiastical authority for several dioceses in similar conditions (in the form either of a temporary Supreme Church government or a Metropolitan district, or anything else).” Which was the basis for the formation of ROCOR, not “independent diocesan churches,” or “free metropolias.”

          • Isa Almisry says

            Read something other than ROCOR spin, Mr. Woerl.
            Yes, I’m aware that ROCOR claims to identify itself with a “Supreme Church government,” but I also know it has no canonical basis to do so, not to mention the fact that the Supreme Church Administration, i.e. Patriarch St. TIkhon ordered the early organization of ROCOR to disband, which it did.
            The OCA (or North American Archdiocese/Metropolia if you prefer) was not “in similar conditions” as the bishops of ROCOR were. They had been expelled/abandoned their sees. The bishops of the OCA were still in theirs, forming a “Metropolitan district” i.e. the Metropolia. And that by the ukaz of the Supreme Church Administration i.e. Patriarch St. Tikhon, who appointed Met. Platon as Metropolitan of North America in 1922:

            To the Most Eminent Platon, Metropolitan of
            Kherson and Odessa, pro tempore Ruling the
            North American Diocese.

            By a resolution of the Sacred Synod dated April 14 /27th 1922 Your Eminence were appointed a pro tempore Ruler of the North American Diocese, and the Archpriest Theodore Pashkovsky— bishop of Chicago, to be consecrated in America.
            Now having taken cognizance of the situation of the American Church we deemed it necessary to appoint you to rule the North American Church releasing you from ruling the Diocese of Kherson and Odessa.
            Signed: TIKHON PATRIARCH of Moscow and All Russia.
            September 20th
            1923
            No. 41
            Moscow, Monastery of Don.

            The Ukaz i was speaking of, and knowing it.
            http://www.lawofcanada.net/cases/onca/1935canlii88
            http://books.google.com/books?id=6tooAQAAMAAJ&q=%22The+authenticity+of+this+ukase,+called+in+question+by+certain+Russian%22&dq=%22The+authenticity+of+this+ukase,+called+in+question+by+certain+Russian%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Oh46U7mfLMnY2QWX84CICg&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA

          • Timothy Wearing says

            Mr. Woerl:

            As the clergy of the Synod abandoned their parishes and dioceses and ran to save themselves thus leaving Russia and abandoning any ecclesiastical authority they had, Pat. Tikhon remained steadfast. He understood that many dioceses were separated from him due to the ongoing civil war. He, therefore, gave ALL dioceses of the ROC the latitude to organize themselves INDEPENDENTLY. This is the meaning of his decree No. 362, issued on October 7/20, 1920. It directed each diocese unable to have regular communication with the proper Church authority (MP), to conduct its own affairs independently. Exactly what the ROC diocese in the U.S. did until it received canonical autocephaly from the MP in 1970.

            • Yes, well, Timothy, you’re problem is with the Orthodox canonical tradition which distinguishes between voluntarily leaving ones see and being coerced away from it by violence et al. And apparently you are ignorant of how this distinction plays out in real life, cowardly accusing others of cowardice from your own sense of spite. Pathetic.

              As to 362, it was claimed as the basis of the Metropolia’s independence, yet they (then) admittedly belonged to ROCOR which claimed the same basis. As to leaving ROCOR and declaring their own autonomy independent of the Church Abroad and the MP (which later rejected them in 1946), they had no justification at all. And of course, still later, they were purportedly granted autocephaly by the MP/KGB:

              “In the June/July 1995 issue of the official newspaper of the OCA, The Orthodox Church, there were a number of articles written celebrating the 25th anniversary of autocephaly. In the article signed by the Metropolitan himself, he candidly admits to the connection between autocephaly, the OCA, and the KGB.

              “Metropolitan Theodosius writes,

              ‘Personally, given the political situation of the Soviet Union at that time, I am amazed that the autocephaly was granted at all. How the Russian Church was able to do this, how it negotiated with the Soviet Government’s Council on Religious Affairs— these are things I did not ask’ (p. 10).

              A proper discussion of the significance of such an admission is beyond the scope of a short comment by the editor. One can only wonder at the reason for consciously linking a church organization in the free world to international criminals, and then admitting the connection as part of the anniversary celebration of such an obviously shameful event and betrayal.”

              http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/bookrev_woerl.aspx

              It’s not rocket science. The price was right (the Church of Japan). Stalin had wanted and been denied control of Japan at the end of WWII. From the perspective of the KGB, it was a good deal. The Metropolia was not helping the MP at the time and historically could get along with no one. Better to have agents in (and possibly income from) Japan.

      • Isa Almisry says

        ” Foreign bishops have no authority outside their own territory”

        This implies that the MP had no authority to grant the Tomos. If we go down this route then nothing would ever get done.”

        George III wasn’t foreign until the Treaty of Paris. Of course, His Majesty still had authority in Canada after that.

    • Timothy is delusional.

    • The OCA — an entity unilaterally granted autocephaly by the mother church of only one jurisdiction — is “the only proper canonical Orthodox Church in North America?? Surely you must be joking. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t care for the pettiness and byzantine intrigues of the EP — which acts like it’s living in its glory days of A.D. 1014 instead of A.D. 2014 and has done much to forestall unity among the Orthodox in this country — but I care just as little for the pathetic politics and jockeying for position of the other Orthodox jurisdictions in the U.S. It’s all so unseemly. No wonder the Roman Church for centuries called us Orthodox schismatics. We often act like schismatics, concerned more weaving clever arguments about who’s the “most canonical,” who’s the “most traditional,” who’s got jurisdiction over whom, blah, blah, blah. Juvenile antics from men with cassocks and beards.

    • Jim of Olym says

      Yeah, Tim, tell it to the marines!

  3. Fr. James Parsells says

    The Tomos of Autocephaly of 1970 excluded Mexico (section7) from being solely part of the OCA.

  4. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    The Tomos of autocephaly did not grant Mexico or Canada or any Latin American land to the exclusive canonical purview of the United States. Canada, for example, has had a DIOCESAN Bishop from the start, unlike the U.S. The Church of Russia’s claims outside the U.S. have never been diminished. Both the Greeks and the Antiochenes had ruling bishops in Mexico before the OCA existed. The OCA discomfited the Antiochenes mightily by “grabbing” the Mexican National Catholic Church and Antioch didn’t get payback until the EOC came along.

    • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

      Dear Vladyko,

      Master, bless.

      Respectfully, if Your Grace is contending that the Russian Orthodox Church has a diocesan Bishop in Canada, that contention is incorrect. The formal title of His Grace, Bishop Iov, is “Bishop of Kashira, Administrator (управляющий) of the Patriarchal parishes in Canada.” I’m not sure that in practical terms it makes much difference; even in the age of instant communication, God is still high above and the Centre is still far away. But at least on paper, the technicalities remain.

      Fr. Philip

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Fr. Philip. delete the part of the sentence beginning with “For example,” OK? I stilll believe that the limitations on Russian Church in the U.S.A . by the Tomos did not apply to Mexico or Canada, or anyplace outside the U.S.

        • Isa Almisry says

          The Tomos explicitly refers to applying to Canada (Art. 7-and referring to Metropolitan Ireney as Metropolitan of All America and Canada, excluding only the Edmonton diocese “until such time as these parishes express their official desire to join the Autocephalous Church in America”) and expressing excluding Mexico. The Patriarch’s vicar in Canada (Edmonton) cannot have a local see, but must be titular to some see in Russia.

          The Canadian government vested jurisdiction in Met. Tikhon’s predecessors in 1903.

          • Canadian approval! Hhhmmmm … given Patriarch Bartholomew’s apparently close relationship with President Obama, maybe those two can “work something out” for the US … jurisdiction “vested” in the EP by “the American government!” Couldn’t be more canonical! Eh?
            Also, Holy Patriarch Tikhon was made Archbishop in 1905 … and was not elevated to Metropolitan until 1917 … so the reference to “Met. Tikhon” and “1903”is a bit curious ….

            • Isa Almisry says

              “Canadian approval! Hhhmmmm … given Patriarch Bartholomew’s apparently close relationship with President Obama, maybe those two can “work something out” for the US … jurisdiction “vested” in the EP by “the American government!” Couldn’t be more canonical! Eh?”
              Perhaps you would like to have the actions of Grand Prince/Duke Basil II of Moscow undone, Isidore the Apostate exonerated, Moscow’s autocephaly voided until 1589. And then there is that issue of Emperors presiding at Ecumenical Councils….
              A rather odd complaint of yours to have, given that the Ober-Prokurator-the secular “minder” of the “Most Holy Governing Synod,” set up by Czar Peter’s decree-was called the de-facto Patriarch of the Russian Church at the time. That, and that ROCOR got itself dissolved by devoting its first official act to calling for a restoration of the Romanovs, a political, not ecclesiastical issue, and one not involving them outside of Russia. Particularly as the monarchy had been abolished before the communists took over.
              Unlike ROCOR’s self created jurisdiction, the OCA’s jurisdiction came by Church canon. The acknowledgement of the nations in question just underscores that no one recognized ROCOR’s claims.
              The Canadian ordinance in question refers to Patriarch St. Tikhon (at the time, as you state, “Bishop”) as “the Bishop of the Russo- Greek Catholic Orthodox Church for North America and tne Aleutian Islands, has petitioned that he, his successors in office having iurisdiction over the said church in Canada…”

              But you can maybe suggest to Obama that he can abolish ROCOR for the Phanar if you want. As for the OCA, the Alaskan Cession Treaty forbids that (that and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution), but I’m sure Hussain will make an exception for the Phanar too if you put in a good word-the “Constitutional scholar” in the White House at present not being very good at following the Constitution.

  5. Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov says

    Or.. the Tomos doesn’t cover Mexico. In fact, it says “excluding Mexico.” So a creation of a parish doesn’t really say anything about our autocephaly. On the other hand, the regular way that Abp. Justinian concelebrated with Abp. Alejo shows.. regularity.

    Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov

    • Archdeacon Kirill, the OCA didn’t even have a presence in Mexico when the Tomos was granted. The OCA made Mexico an Exarchate in 1972, then an OCA Diocese in 2008. Now the MP starts a parish in the same city as where the OCA’s archbishop is seated. That’s a bit strange. Is this parish meant to be yet another metochion?

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Whatever else it is, that parish is NOT a violation of any tomos whatsoever, in fact or in spirit..

  6. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    When I read this as a newswire release on another Orthodox site, I thought to myself, any Russian with common sense will glance over this and pay it the scant attention it deserves, and I was correct in my prediction. You, on the other hand, with your typical lack of appreciation for history or knowledge of the contributing circumstances, jump headlong into a riff-rife-raff of, yet again, the church for whom the bell tolls. And not satisfied with the stinking remains of your necrology, you go the next step and again wipe yourself with the “Tomos” as if were revocable “lease” (any historical precedent for this continuous insinuation?) and foul the usual suspects and “elevate” – in his own words – the “four years of disaster” another inch along the path of mediocrity. Madonna mia, it’s a broken record!

    Mr. Michalopulos, are you aware of the the ribald scandal that is the history of the ROC in Mexico? The type of evangelization that involved the “communion” of anyone and everyone Roman Catholic, to the point that the “groomed” Orthodox natives ordained to “illuminate” South of the Border – thanks to God – could not and would not tolerate. End of story. Such things were commonly in print – one outstanding doctoral dissertation comes to mind – that will never be found in print again after 1975. Only the ghosts remain, and trust you won’t hear the details from me. “His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow flexing his muscles south of the border!” His charitable RC benefactors are laughing to themselves because they “forgot” to tell him not to use the water in the Liturgy…

    Seriously, Mr. Michalopulos, there are many reasons to avoid Mexico – the Arellano Felix Cartel, Nuestro Familia, tarrifs & taxes, pollution, and so on – but it is a true shame and disgrace that you cannot find it in your heart to take the time to write something truly good: our own Project Mexico, St. Innocent’s Orphanage which has existed for years. Perhaps this will help help you sort out the location of your treasure.

    • A bit harsh Michael…but deserved.

      Maybe Putin will recall the Tomos himself.

      George…do try to stop being vindictive. It doesn’t help Jonah look retrospectively better even a tad. In fact, it makes a third party fool like me think, ‘no wonder’.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’m not being “vindictive.” I’m in the OCA. I’m also a quasi-historian who is chronicling the decline and possible fall of what was once an honorable experiment in autocephaly. If any bitterness exists on my part, it is due to the fact that Syosset has consistently blundered its way into Phanariote subjugation. While this may not have been the game plan all along for the autocephalists (think Mark Stokoe and The Appalled Four), it has been the game plan for globalist moles like Kishkovsky.

        Nor should we forget Uniatophiliacs like Jillions. If an when the EP signs a writ signalling his acceptance of the Unia, you can be sure that the combined forces of these two named priests will move heaven and earth to force the OCA under the Phanar.

        It’s a very clever two-pronged approach. All things being equal, it may very well work. Especially if the EU finally succeeds in provoking Putin into military action.

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Props to St Innocent’s outside Tijuana. If Bp. Alejo ‘gets’ evangelism, one would think he’d visit there once in a while, unless the Antiochian Bp.(who never visits either) won’t allow him.
      The St. Innocent orphange effort is basically a solo gig run manfully by GOARCH Priest Nicholas Andruchow. Address prayers and send checks to his ministry.

  7. “Autocephaly” in name only. Other Orthodox Churches do not recognize the OCA’s “autocephaly,” either officially or in practice, even the MP who “granted it.” To imagine the OCA as “the only canonically correct” Orthodox Church present in the US takes some imagination!

    • The really funny thing about your statement is the suggestion that any other churches in the US governed by foreign patriarchs are more or less canonically correct than the OCA. And the best part is you missed the essence of the essay which had nothing to do with autocephaly whatsoever, and everything to do with an attempt at disparaging the existing Syosset administration.

      I could have said it more simply; sucker.

    • Isa Almisry says

      ““Autocephaly” in name only. Other Orthodox Churches do not recognize the OCA’s “autocephaly,” either officially or in practice, even the MP who “granted it.” To imagine the OCA as “the only canonically correct” Orthodox Church present in the US takes some imagination!”
      The plurality of Orthodox Churches recognize the OCA’s autocephaly, i.e. 6 of the 15. 4 take no stand (of them Albania can’t say much, as the OCA’s Albanian Diocese of Boston is its Mother Church, Antioch bowed to the OCA glorifying St. Raphael, and Serbia has admitted in court its Diocese’s growth out of the OCA. Romania doesn’t recognize, it seems, anyone’s autocephaly and jurisdiction, hence its recent problems in Jerusalem). Only 5-the Greek Church-are committed to not recognizing it, but Archbishop Demetrius (Many Years!) in the implementation of the Chambesy accords, pulled the rug out from their head in the Phanar.
      Since the OCA is the only Church which sees itself actually where it is-and not in some homeland across the seas-it doesn’t take much imagination at all.

      • Isa Almisry writes,

        Only 5-the Greek Church-are committed to not recognizing it, but Archbishop Demetrius (Many Years!) in the implementation of the Chambesy accords, pulled the rug out from their head in the Phanar.

        “The Greek Church”, huh? As opposed to the “Soviet Church” that recognizes the autocephaly?

        • Isa Almisry says

          ““The Greek Church”, huh? As opposed to the “Soviet Church” that recognizes the autocephaly?”
          Yes, as it opposed autocephaly, that would be it. If you want to call it the “Muslim-EU Church” be my guest.

      • Isa,

        That’s sheer fantasy. No other churches besides the Soviet dominated churches even claim to recognize the OCA’s autocephaly. Antioch most emphatically does not, nor does Serbia. Each have archdioceses on OCA’s claimed territory. There is no neutrality, only official recognition or not. Moreover, Russia, the mother church from which OCA claims autocephaly, does not even respect that autocephaly in that it has an entire archdiocese on OCA territory.

        I suppose you could argue that since Moscow claims to acknowledge OCA’s autocephaly but has an archdiocese in America, that means that Antioch and Serbia can both do the same. However that is logic twisted to the point of being ludicrous.

        It is comical if you really think about it. OCA is autocephalous, except that no one actually behaves as though that were the case, least of all the OCA.

        • Isa Almisry says

          “That’s sheer fantasy. No other churches besides the Soviet dominated churches even claim to recognize the OCA’s autocephaly. ”
          You mean, the Muslim and EU dominated Churches? OK. That still leaves the OCA with a plurality, and ROCOR with no one.

          As for the Church of Antioch, I know my people. If Antioch “most emphatically did not recognize” the OCA, we would not have let the OCA glorify St. Raphael. At the very least we would have done what ROCOR did with its own glorification of Herman of Alaska, to counter the canonical one done by the OCA.

          Serbia? Soviet dominated Serbia? Who had ROCOR pack its bags so the Russian Orthodox Church Outisde of Russia outside of Constantinople became Outside of Karlovsky as well? And even during the Kingdom issued directives to the Karlovsky Synod which it had to obey, being dependent on the Serbian Patriarchate in whose jurisdiction it lay?

          Antioch has dioceses in territory claimed by Jerusalem, and Serbia has dioceses in Romania, the Czech Lands and Slovakia and both have dioceses in territory claimed by the Phanar-does Jerusalem, Romania and the Czech Lands/Slovakia not exist? In fact, Jerusalem has a diocese in Antioch’s territory, Bucharest, Moscow, and the Phanar have dioceses in the territory of Serbia, so then neither the patriarchates of Antioch or Serbia exist. The Phanar and Romania have Metropolises in Moscow’s territory and claimed territory, so ROCOR’s Mother Church would be wandering in non-existence as well.

          Holy Mother Russia shows far more respect in its Tomos for the OCA than, say, the Phanar showed in its Tomos to the Church of Greece. The Patriarchate of Moscow requires its bishops in the OCA territory to commemorate the primate of the OCA; a few years ago the Phanar struck the primate of Greece from its diptychs because of recognition given him by bishops in Northern Greece.

          “I suppose you could argue that since Moscow claims to acknowledge OCA’s autocephaly but has an archdiocese in America, that means that Antioch and Serbia can both do the same. However that is logic twisted to the point of being ludicrous.”
          Yes, your twisted logic is ludicrous: the Serbian Church recognized its origin in the OCA (IIRC, the term used in the court decison was “Russian Metropolia”) in its own jurisdictional battle with its own “Serbian Church outside of Serbia”-both sides in fact acknowledged and stipulated that origin. The Antiochians acknowledgement of the OCA’s glorification of St. Raphael, regarded as the founder of the Antiochian Archdiocese (in fact, it was really, as presently constituted, Met. Germanos Shehadi, the founder of the UOCC/UOCUSA/UAOC), the Antaky-Rusy split (the OCA being the Rusy) continuing until the Toledo jurisdiciton gave Antioch not one but two jursidictions in the New World (sound familiar? In fact, Serbia, the Phanar, etc. had/have multiple jurisdictions in the New World: does that void them and their Mother Church?) in 1941, which united with the Antaky faction in 1975…the Antiochian Archdiocese would have to deny the roots it claims-including its Cathedral in which the Metropolia installed its primate.

          None of which, of course, helps ROCOR’s cause in the slightest.

          “It is comical if you really think about it. OCA is autocephalous, except that no one actually behaves as though that were the case, least of all the OCA.”
          If that were true, per the Chambesy agreements which they all signed, Met. Tikhon would be ex officio Vice-Chairman, and the OCA bishops seated with Russias. Abp.Demetrios (many years!) behaved as though that were the case, and now they are stuck with the OCA.

  8. A supposedly “canonical, autocephalic church” was established by the N. American Metropolia and its head, Met. Platon (Rozhdestvensky, +1934) in 1927. No one recognized it either … It no longer exists. A Mr Bogolepov of the Metropolia/OCA claimed that the Metropolia “really declared itself autocephalous in 1924.” Guess “third time” wasn’t a “charm!” Dropping the extreme modernism, and the “actually, in the third century” jazz might be a positive direction, but it is extremely doubtful that will happen …

    • M. Stankovich says

      M. Woerl,

      I had suggested to you that your sarcasm was not only ignorant but, in fact, offensive, and that you would benefit from better investing your time studying the history of the architects of American Orthodoxy. Your reply to me was equally sarcastic, and you have resumed your sale of ROCOR-themed t-shirts and coffee mugs, all-the-while seated in the nest of the former “Soviets,” apparently with no appreciation for the many unanswered and unresolved issues regarding how you got there. If you still hear the grumbling, consider that ignorance is not always bliss.

      The “Mr. Bogolepov” of your cavalier remark is actually the renowned Russian theologian and Professor of Cannon Law, Alexander Bogolepov, author of the volume Toward an American Orthodox Church, published in 1965. He reposed, as retired Professor of Canon Law at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, on August 31, 1980, and you may read a memorial here.

      I will continue to suggest that the depth of the wisdom of God and the fundamental trust we are to have is that the “vineyard” He planted is assuredly with His Right Hand. The “idea” of an American Orthodox Church separate from the intrusion of foreign influence long pre-dated discussions of “autocephaly,” and was the dream and inspiration of the fathers and teachers of our generation, too many of whom are literally unknown to people like you. They lived through periods of conflict that literally tore apart the Russian-American Orthodox presence in this country, not only across “jurisdictions,” but even to the level of individual families. But nothing dissuaded their persistence and inspiration as God-chosen leaders and architects. To refer to autocephaly in America as an “experiment,” and 40-years as a sufficient “test” of the limitation of the Energy of God is a shameful and ignorant judgment. The ROC has barely begun to repent for its decades of collusion with darkness, and it seems to me that someone needs to remind them – and those who have aligned themselves with the ROC – that the shadow remains cast in the minds of generations. Those who propagate the notion that we are somehow “indebted” to Moscow – that our “longevity” is dependent upon the good will of the Patriarch of Moscow – obviously do not have “the memory” of the Russian Martyrs. And shame on you.

      I say to you again, M. Woerl, your ignorance of history and appreciation for the struggles of the architects of American Orthodoxy is an embarrassment. You snipe and issue sarcastic comments as if any Russian jurisdiction is free from the judgment of God. Your “pride” is fool’s gold.

    • Isa Almisry says

      A supposedly “canonical, autocephalic church” was established by the N. American Metropolia and its head, Met. Platon (Rozhdestvensky, +1934) in 1927. No one recognized it either … It no longer exists.”

      Aftimos claimed autocephaly that Met. Platon did not grant. It was reabsorbed into the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese, e.g. Met. Tikhon is now the bishop of its see of Washington, but the faithful of the see are now in the Antiochian WRO Vicarate.

  9. Carl Kraeff says

    George–The only thing that is amiss in this is that a church had to be opened to serve Russian-speaking Orthodox. That factoid by itself could not lead a reasonable person to conclude that it was the final nail in the coffin of the Tomos. But, it could lead one to question whether the the regional assemblies are dead or not. If all Romanians, Bulgars, Serbs, Russians, Arabs, Greeks, etc. in the so-called diaspora belong to exarchates of their respective mother churches, there are only two possible realistic outcomes from the Regional Assemblies: 1) some sort of autonomy under the EP or 2) continuation of the current chaos. I have a feeling that the latest wave of ethno-phyletism is not only a reaction to the EP’s attempt to grab the faithful outside the normally Orthodox countries. I think that the circling of wagons under the ethnic/nationalistic/imperial banners also represent the geopolitical realities and aspirations of the various churches. In the case of Antioch, it is an existential crisis. In the case of Moscow, it is reflective of the subservience of the Church to yet another Russian Empire in the making. In the case of Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, it is part of the strange situation they find themselves in modern Europe, where supra-national entities are challenging the post-Soviet reconstructions of their nations. In these circumstances, the OCA remains the only tangible witness to true Orthodox ecclesiology in the modern world. It is really too bad that it has had a troubled history since the granting of autocephaly. However, those who have given up on the OCA and chosen greener pastures may one day regret taking the easy way and not working for the betterment of the only jurisdiction in the “diaspora” world that represents traditional canonical order. I am using “regret” here not to denigrate the jurisdictions in which they now find themselves nor to condemn their decision to leave the OCA, but to raise the possibility that, sometime in the future, they may feel sorrow if they come to the belief that they should have continued to fight the good fight in the OCA.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I never said it was the “final” nail in the coffin of the Tomos. Just possibly, another one.

    • Carl,

      Check out the pictures of the opening of the Church in Mexico. It is not just for Russians and the Mexicans in attendance would take exception to your statement. Also to say that only the OCA is for “non-ethnics” is absurd. It’s own “ethic” dioceses attest to the fallacy of your statement. The OCA is just as “ethnic”as any other Orthodox Church in the USA. It just masks it better with the “auto- cephalic” brand.

      • Carj Kraeff says

        Dear James–I relied on the referenced article that ended with “After the Liturgy, Archbishop Justinian greeted Fr. Eduardo and on behalf of the Russian-speaking Orthodox community expressed his gratitude to the Primate of Mexico for his help in establishing the Moscow Patriarchate’s parish in the centre of the capital of Mexico.” The article also pointed out that Archbishop Justinian had concelebrated with Archbishop Alejo of Mexico City and All Mexico (OCA). Indeed, the title of the article is “Moscow Patriarchal parish in Mexico City.”

        This is a representational parish of the Moscow Patriarch, just like St Catherine’s in Moscow is the representational church of the Orthodox Church in America. I stand to be corrected but the idea of these representational churches is to provide (a) a home for members of the mother church and (b) act in a liaison capacity between local churches. It goes without saying that any Orthodox Christian may attend. The point here is that these representational churches underscore the reality of local churches and are in accord of the Holy Canons.

        I do not believe that I asserted that only the OCA is for the non-ethnics. You are correct; that would be absurd indeed. The OCA was founded by the Russian Orthodox Church and certainly was not the first jurisdiction to start using English in the services–that honor belongs to the Antiochian Archdiocese. The OCA welcomes converts, but so do almost all of the jurisdictions on North America. What is distinctive about the OCA, however, is that it is the only jurisdiction that can claim to be autocephalous, which was given to her by Her Mother Church–the only local Orthodox church in the world that had on ongoing and viable diocesan structure in North America before the Russian Church was nearly destroyed by the Bolsheviks. I also believe that it is the only jurisdiction that has made allowances for the reality on the ground by establishing ethnic dioceses. At issue is not the cradle/ethnic and convert/non-ethnic make up of Orthodoxy in North America. The issue is how to correct the canonical anomaly that has existed since the establishment of multiple jurisdictions here since 1920. I know that this anomaly is not important to some folks. However, if anyone cares for correct Orthodox ecclesiology, the OCA offers a prototype. Autonomy or self-rule under a foreign church is not optimal, although that may be the best that some folks may experience in their lifetimes. We should all strive for an administratively united AND autocephalous church, whether or not that happens under the aegis of the OCA or another purely local entity.

    • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
      It is good also for us in the OCA not to glory in claiming to be “the only tangible witness to true OCA ecclesiology in the modern world.” I’m really scratching my head about that one. I’m assuming Mr. Kraeff is somehow applying Occam’s Razor here again from a Western nominalistic organizational logic, when from an Orthodox standpoint instead we need to apply Dostoevsky’s Rule: We’re all responsible for one another’s sins.
      We’ve been over this before again and again, and maybe should just take this up on some kind of Dr. Who-style parallel-universe thread of online discussion instead of going around one more time. But just to recap a few high points from older discussions:
      –We are all in one sense divisive schismatics as Orthodox Christians in North America, in that we all accept a situation of multiple bishops in the same territory with different hierarchies, including those of us in the OCA.
      –Our OCA received her Tomos from the MP during the period of Soviet control and in arguably ambiguous circumstances. None of the other historic Patriarchates of the Church recognized our autocephaly in conciliar fashion. Even before that, the Metropoliia’s situation vis-a-vis ROCOR, the Greek Archdiocese, and the MP was far from clear.
      –The OCA since the Tomos also arguably has had issues within its ecclesiology with its peculiar administrative structure. We struggle to be an “American Orthodox Church” amid an American society whose organizational sensibilities are infused with secular corporate and psychological approaches to management, and a consumerism at odds with the noetic core of ascetic-monastic leadership in the Church.
      Not unrelated to all of the above, probably, is our distinctive revolving door of Metropolitans and scandal in the past decade.
      So I’ll go out on a limb and say that most of us in the OCA would avoid taking a victory lap around world Orthodoxy while proclaiming our superior ecclesiology, as if we have garnered more wisdom from our 45-year legacy than other ancient jurisdictions more watered by the blood of martyrs. Such abstinence from bragging seems especially pertinent now in a time of American decline when the need for humiility and repentance is highlighted for us. Any triumphalism about the OCA’s ecclesiology, despite its troubles, history, and small size, itself risks being an expression of a kind of American phyletism: Potentially colored by the assumption of a superiority of American exceptionalism that is as irrelevant to our Lord’s Church and the oikumene of humanity worldwide as the contention among some Protestants in the past century that the Anglo-Americans were the lost tribes of Israel and thus the truest representatives of the Church.
      What we really need is more prayer and ascetic struggle in our Church work, and a humbly repentant owning of our sins and shortcomings, rather than claims to be in effect the one true jurisdiction.
      Please pray for me the sinner,
      Kentigern

      • Carl Kraeff says

        “It is good also for us in the OCA not to glory in claiming to be “the only tangible witness to true OCA ecclesiology in the modern world.” I’m really scratching my head about that one. I’m assuming Mr. Kraeff is somehow applying Occam’s Razor here again from a Western nominalistic organizational logic, when from an Orthodox standpoint instead we need to apply Dostoevsky’s Rule: We’re all responsible for one another’s sins.”

        Nothing so dramatic and profound. Just merely observing that in the so-called diaspora we are violating the Canon on having only one bishop per city. If you think about it, that canon translates to one local church per nation in our age. Thus, OCA’s autocephaly is a reminder that the current situation must be changed; indeed, one of the reasons for gathering the local assemblies was to regularize the situation in the so-called diaspora.
        Finally, if any church can glory in OCA’s autocephaly, it is the Russian Orthodox Church–it is She who gave birth and nurtured the mission to Alaska and than to the United States. Finally, history is replete with OCA hierarchs proclaiming the OCA’s willingness to give up her autocephaly in favor of an administratively united autocephalous church. Until that happens, the OCA remains autocephalous, even though She does not reflect an administratively united church.

    • Jim of Olym says

      Kar and others, if by some chance I moved to Russia or another Orthodox country (Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece?) would I find a parish who catered to my anglophone prejudice? Just wondering….

      • Jim,

        Probably not. In countries where the Church has taken itself seriously enough to treat all other religious expressions as invalid and evangelize as the (only) Church, i.e., countries where Orthodoxy has prevailed, they do not normally behave as in the diaspora where the Orthodox habitually see themselves, or at least behave,as just another denomination.

  10. The OCA Diocese of Mexico is an after thought and always has been. It’s current bishop’s consecration was ironically boycotted by Archbishop Job and Bishop Mark (Forsberg), you can figure out the irony. But not to worry, when everyone has background checks in the OCA, it will grow and prosper!!! 😉

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      “Boycotted by” the ultimate in “birds of a feather!” By the way, Metropolitan Herman allegedly granted permission to ever-memorable Archbishop Job to absent himself out of fear of a nasty backlash reaction from fr. Michael Simerich in Detroit, who had his own Latino candidate.aa If Archbishop Job and his close friend Bishop Mark Forsberg came late into the Altar for the consecration Liturgy and whispered and giggled together from time to time, that’s no big deal—ancient history! It was not clear to me how this “boycott” could be justified after Archbishop Job had already participated in the Vespers and canonical election on the EVE! I can’t believe Fr. Simerich could have been placated by such an ambiguous, even puerile, ploy!

  11. In George’s defense, it is rather odd that the ROC and the OCA do not agree on the respective territorial jurisdiction of the two entities, having parishes in the same areas. That is a continued anomaly which works toward discrediting the autocephaly of the OCA, allegedly a daughter church of the ROC. It matters not whether it is here in the US or in Latin America.

    As to the OCA being somehow regularly established, this is either the product of serious ignorance or an observation designed to be facetious. There was nothing regular about the grant of autocephaly to the OCA.

    • Timothy Wearing says

      Misha,

      Apparently you don’t know your church history. There was nothing “irregular” regarding the granting of the OCA’s autocephaly. Of course, those in ROCOR want you to believe there was. Furthermore, it is quite clear that the ROC and therefore ROCOR are directly under the thumb of Putin. He is using the Church as a political arm for his own political purposes. Why should ANY Americans be subjecting themselves to a foreign power? Same with Damascus or Istanbul or Bulgaria, etc. Why should ANY American be subject to foreign bishops? Even Canon Law of the Orthodox Church clearly states this is wrong & non-canonical. When an “independent” Orthodox Church is established in a territory i.e. the OCA, ALL other Orthodox Churches are obligated to come under it’s omophor. Failure to recognize and operate within this canonical reality is pure hubris. Certainly unity will not happen under Istanbul nor Moscow and these two can continue to fight it out. In the mean time, the OCA will continue to gather converts and flourish as the ONLY, REAL American Orthodox Church.

      • This post is an excellent illustration of what Kentigern talks about above: “Any triumphalism about the OCA’s ecclesiology, despite its troubles, history, and small size, itself risks being an expression of a kind of American phyletism…”

    • Carj Kraeff says

      Dear Misha–I agree with the main thrust of your remarks but the way you express them is unfortunate. If you read the Tomos, you will know that an agreement was made for Moscow to retain a number of parishes that go beyond that required for representational churches. The current ambiguous situation started with the union of the ROCOR with the ROC. One would think (I am agreeing with you here) that the spirit of the Tomos would have made non-expansion of ROCOR parishes a fundamental element of the unification agreement. Thus, we do have anomalies all over the place with ROCOR parishes established sometimes within blocks of the local OCA parish. In practical evangelical terms, this anomaly is not a bad thing as the number of Orthodox churches are increased and more converts are received by both parishes.

      As for the OCA being regularly established, are you saying that the ROC was wrong in granting autocephaly to her daughter church? You must know that ROCOR at that time was not the daughter church but was claiming to be THE Russian Church, albeit in exile, and that the Metropolia was in fact the continuation of the Russian Orthodox Diocese in North America. Are you saying that Moscow, number five in the diptychs, did not have the right to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly? If so, on what basis? It would seem to me that if this action was such a transgression of Orthodox ecclesiology, the sister local churches would have at least censored Moscow and/or broke off communion with Her. Or perhaps you are arguing for the revocation of the Tomos. That was done in the past by Constantinople to the Bulgarian Church. However, I do not feel that Moscow is eager to emulate the Phanar. Am I missing something here?

      • Carl,

        Yes, I believe you are missing a few things:

        1. According to the repeated statements of the hierarchs of both the Metropolia and ROCOR at the time (1921-1946), the Metropolia was part of the ROCOR for two significant periods. In fact, this was one of the facts pointed to in the letter of the professors suggesting that the Metropolia break communion with ROCOR and reunite with Moscow (ca.1946).

        2. The Metropolia, after breaking off from ROCOR a second time, demanded from Moscow that they be recognized as an autonomous church. Moscow declined.

        3. So, for several decades before the alleged grant of autocephaly, the Metropolia was not even in communion with its mother church.

        4. Moreover, part of the bargain apparently was that the Metropolia would turn the Church of Japan over to the MP. This, although a rather substantial bribe, is not totally unprecedented according to Byzantine “practice”.

        5. And yet more moreover, Moscow was, as a rule, communing Catholics at the time it purported to grant autocephaly to the Metropolia. If any the rest of the Church had cared to, it could have excommunicated Moscow for heresy.

        If you wish to read more on any of this, a site that has come up often in these discussion is:

        http://orthodoxwiki.org/ROCOR_and_OCA

        Also:

        http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/bookrev_woerl.aspx

        Now, that constitutes “unusual” in my book. Perhaps not in yours. In any case, the present situation is even more “unusual”. Moscow has an entire autonomous province on the alleged territory of the OCA which apparently is expanding into territory claimed (either exclusively or not) by the OCA. No single Orthodox church other than those that were under communist domination at the time autocephaly was allegedly given actually recognize the OCA’s autocephaly. In fact, in addition to Russia, several ethnic churches actually have parallel jurisdictions, one within the OCA and one attached to their mother church.

        I could go on, but given the OCA’s present internal political follies, it might be in poor taste. I have no bone to pick with any pious Orthodox Christians within the OCA or in other jurisdictions. I am not a recruiter for ROCOR or any other jurisdiction. I have been involved with several new church openings recently, one was OCA and one was Greek. Unless and until there is a schism, I do not normally encourage jurisdiction jumping. Nonetheless, this pie in the sky ignorance on the part of some OCA “no foreign bishops” types does need to be addressed. As a practical matter, any number of Orthodox jurisdictions are behaving as if they do not recognize the OCA’s autocephaly, regardless of their lip service.

        I for one am not hung up on the matter of jurisdiction. I sense that no one really knows what to do about the OCA and that it may limp along for some time to come. I do not see it becoming the recognized American Orthodox Church. The Greek situation alone will prevent that indefinitely. Most Orthodox in America do not belong to the OCA but instead belong to a jurisdiction which categorically rejects the OCA’s autocephaly.

        Will the OCA fold up its tent? That is hard to say. If Kishkovsky leads an exodus to the Phanar and the Russophile’s depart for the MP, I think that is a distinct possibility. Yet those are just rumors at this point. The safest bet is that the OCA will linger on without making a positive change in its percentage of the Orthodox in America for decades to come.

        Its problem is this: Time and the movement of laity are not on its side. This does not mean that its demise is imminent. But it does mean that the prophesied acceptance of its autocephaly by the rest of the Orthodox world is increasingly, not decreasingly, unlikely.

        PS: Of course, looking at it from OCA’s bright side, one could suggest that the fact that there is a separate patriarchal parish for Russians abroad on territory occupied by the OCA actually underlines that fact that the OCA is an independent church, not just a franchise of Moscow.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Dear Misha–I truly appreciate your considerate reply. I am not going to counter your post point by point, except to say that you are correct in your last paragraph in acknowledging that some folks look at this as a glass half full rather than half empty. I suppose that if I were in another diocese, I would not be the optimist that I am; from where I sit, I see the OCA growing and the recent unpleasantries finally behind us. Glory be to God!

        • Isa Almisry says

          “So, for several decades before the alleged grant of autocephaly, the Metropolia was not even in communion with its mother church.”
          Rather an odd statement to make arguing ROCOR’s case.

          • Not at all, when did ROCOR claim autocephaly, btw?

            • Isa Almisry says

              “Not at all, when did ROCOR claim autocephaly, btw?”
              It did’t. It would be in a better position canonically-such situations having canonical precedence, not least of all the Church of Moscow-the several decades it was not in communion with its Mother Church, if it had.

              • I can’t imagine how it could be in a better position. It was the free Church of Russia, acknowledged by the Metropolia (during its more reasonable periods) as “the highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad”. It never considered itself as anything other than an integral part of the Church of Russia, separated only due to the fact that the Bolsheviks ran the Church in Russia, a fact also acknowledged, at least from time to time, by the Metropolia. Regarding its reunification with the MP, the Act of Canonical Unity explicitly states that the ROCOR has always been a part of the ROC and leaders of the MP spoke and wrote of “the reunification of the two parts of the Russian Church”:

                ” . . . the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, conducting its salvific service in the dioceses, parishes, monasteries, brotherhoods, and other ecclesiastical bodies that were formed through history, remains an indissoluble, self-governing part of the Local Russian Orthodox Church” – Act of Canonical Unity (emphasis added)

                • Isa Almisry says

                  “I can’t imagine how it [ROCOR] could be in a better position.”
                  Let me help you.

                  “It was the free Church of Russia, acknowledged by the Metropolia (during its more reasonable periods) as “the highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad”.”
                  LOL. Odd that you place so much stock on the alleged recognition from the Metropolia, given that none of the autocephalous Churches so recognized ROCOR. They all, for instance, celebrated the 500th anniversary of the autocephaly of the Rus’ with Patriarch Alexei in Moscow in 1948.
                  Alleged agreement-even if feigned-with ROCOR does not define “reasonable.”
                  Metropolitan Platon and Metropolitan Evlogy received their position confirmed by the highest ecclesiastical organ of the whole Russian Orthodox Church (NOT just Abroad). (In the case of Met. Platon, the ukaz of his appointment, disputed by ROCOR and some US courts was accepted by other US courts, the Canadian courts, and was, decades later after the controversy, published by the Moscow Patriarchate itself. It had been attested by eyewitnesses of Patriarch St. Tikhon making it previously in US court). Unlike ROCOR, they were in their sees, putting them in the better position. ROCOR, worked in the untenable position of having not jurisdiction, and hence having to move from Constantinople to Karlovsky to New York, a region that ROCOR, during its more reasonable period, acknowledged as Metropolitan Theophil’s. No one recognized it as ROCOR’s, except, of course, ROCOR.

                  “It never considered itself as anything other than an integral part of the Church of Russia, separated only due to the fact that the Bolsheviks ran the Church in Russia”
                  That fell apart in 1990, when it started to set up parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in Russia, and, once the Bolsheviks stopped running Russia (as if the enlightenment Oberprokurator was an Orthodox institution), they did not go back. The Church of Cyprus, whose example has been cited, provides no precedent for that.

                  Of course the Metropolia acknowledged that it was part of the Russian Church, just as the letter of Grand Princed Basil II to Constantinople (written between the deposotion of Isiodore the Apostate in 1441 and the consecration on Met. St. Jonah in 1448) acknowledges that Russia was part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Once autocephaly is gained, that becomes history.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          I enjoyed this expression of Misha’s: ” And yet more moreover, Moscow was, as a rule, communing Catholics at the time it purported to grant autocephaly to the Metropolia. If any the rest of the Church had cared to, it could have excommunicated Moscow for heresy.”‘
          I’m sure Misha did not mean to equate an uncanonical action with heresy!! But I liked this reference to communing RCs! I remember that when Cardinal Lefevre (sp?) of Quebec was communed at a big Antiochian Liturgy there, Father Alexander Schmeman claimed that Metropolitan Philip Saliba of blessed memory telephoned him and said ‘ If you bad-mouth me about this, you can forget any more financial support for St. Vladimir’s!!!!!”

          • “If anyone prays with heretics, he is a heretic.”

            -Roman Pope St. Agatho I

            • Michael Bauman says

              Michael C,

              Ah yes, to be sure, but what/who is a heretic?

              Assuming they can be accurately and properly identified:

              Is it one prayer at supper or attendance on the marriage/baptism/funeral of a friend that makes us one?

              Praying with them as they are dying?

              Are mercy and friendship ever heretical?

              There are weekly in my parish folks who come from heretical denominations and I am praying with them. Does their presence make all of us condemned?

              Is Met. Demetrious of the GOA a heretic because he opened both the Democrat and Republican National Conventions one year with a prayer?

              Now, if I were to eschew my attendance and communion in the Orthodox Church and went across the street to the Lutheran Church where the abortionist Tiller attended as a member in good standing and was murdered, that might very well make me a heretic, but what of those who still commune in the Orthodox Church who support a “woman’s right to choose”?

              All of us in the secular world are infected with heretical beliefs. The list is pretty much endless. IMO, heretic hunting is one of those beliefs.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Michael C. I just thought of a book I could write.

              “You might be a heretic if……”

              My apologies and thanks to Jeff Fox worthy.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              I had never before heard of St. Agatho. Nonetheless, I shall ignore his rubric the next time I pray with my non-Orthodox Christian children and grandchildren, which will probably be tomorrow or the next day!

              • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                Tim, this has been discussed before. I don’t believe any reasonable Orthodox would condemn you for praying with your family. I thank God that you have children and grandchildren that do believe in Christ.
                What I DO condemn is the attitude all too prevalent among many cradle Orthodox is that the Orthodox Church is only one church among many, that there is no one true faith.
                I recommend to you the life of Fr. Seraphim Rose, perhaps the most famous convert. When some Protestant posed to Fr. Seraphim the question, “Do you believe I will go to hell because I’m not Orthodox?”, Fr. Seraphim replied ,”Who am I to determine whether or not you will go to hell?”

              • Michael Bauman says

                Timor: As you should. My wife is the only one in her extensive family who is Orthodox having come into the Church in marrying me. Yet, at the family gatherings I am the appointed prayer giver given the job by my mother-in-law, the family matriarch. At one point, some behavior and stated beliefs of the rest of the family made me question whether or not that was a good idea. I asked my priest about it. He left it up to me to decide if the line had been crossed or not. Since there is at least no opposition to my offering a blessing for the meal in an Orthodox manner, I take it that they are, for that moment at least, praying with me–not the other way ’round.

                The prohibition against praying with heretics is a real thing and must be considered. However, it seems to apply to actual worship and frequenting the worship of heretics as if it were equal and equivalent to our own.

                Nevertheless, there are some places we ought not go at all. I will never attend another Mormon funeral for instance. I made the mistake once for a good friend who’s wife had died. While my intent was to support my friend in his grief, it was not a good thing for me to be there.

                There are also times when family is so far off that a distancing has to occur. Doubt that is true with your family from the sounds of it.

          • “I’m sure Misha did not mean to equate an uncanonical action with heresy!!”

            Prayer with heretics or schismatics is uncanonical. Intercommunion with heretics is heresy. Intercommunion proclaims that the communicants share a common faith.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              “Uncanonical”! Say it ain’t so!

              There was a time when everyone was a believer, and most were Christians of some kind. Then it was necessary to combat deficient and wrong-headed “Christianities”. No doubt, there remains concern about this. But atheism is now ascendant, and apostacy from any kind of Christianity is found in countless “churches”. That is where the great battle is, not with our “schismatic” friends.

              This world of ours is one unimaginable to the heresy-combatants of yore. But let’s keep worrying about praying with heretics!

              American Orthodoxy is a tiny drop in a sea of Christian “heretics” and “schismatics”. If we want to bring any of them into the Church, refusing to pray with them will assure that never happens.

              I thank God for the Orthodox who prayed with me over the decades before I finally asked to be received into the Church.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Misha, not only sharing a common faith but committed to bearing the burdens of that faith with us in an Orthodox manner. It is for that reason that my priest has public stated that anyone in our parish who believe in “a woman’s right to choose” should not approach the cup.

    • Isa Almisry says

      “As to the OCA being somehow regularly established, this is either the product of serious ignorance or an observation designed to be facetious. There was nothing regular about the grant of autocephaly to the OCA.”
      Other than the Serbs, can you come up with another Church with a “regular” grant of autocephaly?

  12. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Does anyone know why Archbishop Justinian, who was in charge of the Patriarchal parishes in the United States (MP) was suddenly transferred to Kalmykia?

  13. Timothy Wearing says

    Misha,

    Someone has been feeding you lots of bullkaka. Orthodoxwiki is hardly objective and filled with inaccuracies.

    1) The American branch of the Church of Russia existed since 1794. The Metropolia was NEVER under ROCOR.

    2) Since the Metropolia was never under ROCOR, it never broke from it. In fact, Pat. Tikhon dissolved the “Karlovtsy” Administration in 1922 on May 22/5, 1922, No. 349

    3) The truth is that ROCOR broke all sacramental ties with the ROC while the Metropolia did not.

    4) Pat. Tikhon issued a decree, No. 362, on Oct. 7/20, 1920 that directed all diocese to conduct its own affairs independently until “normalcy” could be re-established with the Pat. of Moscow. The Metropolia did this. ROCOR wasn’t even in North America, but it’s rogue bishops were hiding in Serbia.

    5) The Metropolia operated independently until 1970 where it was granted “autocephaly” by the Pat. of Moscow.

    • Your asserting it doesn’t make it true. It is true that the Russian Orthodox Church, not the OCA or Metropolia, has been in North America since the 1700’s. It is also true that the ROCOR first organized of its own accord, was voluntarily disbanded, and then re-formed under uk. 362 and never subsequently disbanded. From 1921-1926 and from 1935-1946, by the repeated statements of hierarchs of both churches (quoted in the Orthodoxwiki article which you dismiss but which was quoted to me several times to support anti-ROCOR contentions on this very site), affirmed that the Metropolia was subject to ROCOR. For example:

      ***

      With great joy, we inform you, beloved, that at our Bishop’s Sobor in Pittsburgh, the ‘Temporary Statue of the Russian Church Abroad,’ worked out in November 1935 by our Hierarchs at the conference held under the presidency of His Holiness Patriarch of Serbia, Kyr Varnava, was unanimously accepted by all of us…. All of our Archpastors [the Metropolia bishops], headed by our Metropolitan [Theophilus], enter into the make-up of the Bishops’ Council [in Karlovci] of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which is the highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and which remains, at the same time, an inseparable part of the All-Russian Church [in the homeland] (quoted in Young, p. 41). – declaration of the hierarchs of the Metropolia Synod to their faithful after the 1935 agreement in Serbia.

      Furthermore:

      ” In 1935 Metr. Theophilus went to Sremsky Karlovits in Yugoslavia at the invitation of the Patriarch of Serbia Barnabas and under his chairmanship an agreement was worked out dividing the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad into four Metropolitan Districts: Eastern European with Metr. Anastassy as the ruling Hierarch, Western European with Metr. Evlogy as ruling Hierarch, North American with Metr. Theophilus as ruling Hierarch, and Far Eastern with Metr. Meletius (in Harbin) as ruling Hierarch… There has long been a debate as to whether Metr. Theophilus subordinated himself and the Metropolia to the Karlovits Synod by this agreement. On the principle that actions speak louder than words, note has to be taken of the fact that Bishops previously under the Exile Synod [in America] accepted the authority of Metr. Theophilus and by the same token Metr. Theophilus was very careful to follow the proper ecclesiastical protocol in asking permission of the Karlovits Synod to give the higher church awards to clergymen as well as in submitting regular reports on the life of the Church in America to Metr. Anastassy and finally in having representation up to World War II in the person of a Hierarch at the regular meetings of the Exile Synod. It is further a matter of fact that at no time did the Exile Synod see fit not to honour any of the requests of Metr. Theophilus (at the same time, in this period, there [was] no acid testing of the arrangement in terms of requesting permission for the consecration of a new bishop) (Surrency, p. 45).

      Permission to consecrate a hierarch for the Metropolia was eventually requested from the Synod Abroad, however:

      …in a letter to Metr. Anastassy dated the 22nd of December 1945, permission was asked to consecrate Archimandrite John (Zlobin) as the new Bishop of Alaska. Permission for the consecration was received and it took place on the 10th of March (Orthodoxy Sunday) and the new Bishop promised obedience both to the Metropolia and to the Synod of Bishops Abroad (ibid., pp. 54-44).”

      * * *

      Also, the Letter of the Five Professors (which I erroneously referred two in a previous post as the “Three Professors”), clearly indicated that the Metropolia was part of the ROCOR:

      “Popularly known as the Letter of the Five Professors, the document analyzed the position of the Metropolia and proposed a course of action. The authors recognized that the difficult position of the Metropolia was determined by two major facts. First, it had broken its ties with the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1933 and was viewed by the mother church as being in schism. Second, the Metropolia had subordinated itself to the Synod Abroad in 1937 (FitzGerald, 66).” . . .

      ” . . . Subordinating ourselves to this Synod, our Church (the Metropolia) in substance subordinates itself to a group of bishops who really have no jurisdiction themselves. Because of this, some people are inclined to speak only of our cooperation with the Synod. This term “cooperation,” however is not correct because the acts of 1936-1937 definitely subjected our Church under the Synod Abroad (quoted in Thomas FitzGerald, The Orthodox Church, p. 67).

      Note: FitzGerald is a professor at Hellenic College. Hardly a ROCOR sympathizer.

      The Metropolia or, more correctly, the Russian Orthodox Church in North America, was part of the ROCOR during the early 1920’s as well. This bond was only broken when Met. Platon took over the American territories, appointed by ROCOR on whose synod he and Bp. Apolinary sat from at least 1921. Platon also secretly appealed to Moscow but Moscow refused to interfere. Then Platon forged a document from Moscow appointing him sole head of the American church and later, in 1924, declared autonomy. That is the real genesis of the Metropolia. ROCOR and the Metropolia then later severed relations and, after Platon’s death, the synod of the Metropolia one again subordinated itself to the synod of ROCOR, once again breaking off in 1946.

      Interesting to note that in 1929, Platon offered to ROCOR to subordinate the Metropolia to it again if it recognized his sole right to rule in America. Also, in 1946, the Metropolia again broke with ROCOR but briefly appeared to seek to reunite under Moscow. However, the autonomy they demanded was rejected by the MP (as opposed to a mere 24 years later when, under different circumstances [Japan, different directives from the KGB, etc], the MP purported to grant the OCA not just autonomy but autocephaly).

      The entire thing seems like a crazy case of self-will run amok until you consider the ethnic composition and leadership of the Metropolia.

      • Isa Almisry says

        “The entire thing seems like a crazy case of self-will run amok until you consider the ethnic composition and leadership of the Metropolia.”
        They were Russians, like Metropolitan Platon, Abp. Alexander Nemolovsky, who was a Russian chauvinist from Ukraine and Met. Theophil, a Ukrainian who worked with ROCOR, and then tried to unite directly to Moscow.
        As for composition, they were Russians, Russophliles, Serbs and Arabs-the last two very found of Russians. And of course the Alaskans.

        • Isa,

          So we’ve established that Abp. Alexander and Met. Theophil were Ukrainians. Thanks.

          I don’t think that you are disputing that the leadership in the Metropolia/OCA, i.e., the real players, have been predominantly Ukrainian/Polish of various stripes (Ukrainian, Galician, Volhynian and immigrants from areas now in Poland). I could post some biographies if you wish. I also don’t think you would dispute that there was a large influx of Ukrainian Uniates in the late 19th and early 20th century, mostly because American Catholics thought they were strange, disfavored or refused to recognize them, and refused to allow them to have married priests.

          One should note, none of these are theological reasons.

          Some Russians tend to look at Ukrainians as being independently minded (or “defiantly obstinate”, in less polite language) and mercurial in contradistinction to Great Russians. It’s a cultural thing. That has really been my point about them. Is it true? Who can say? One should note however that a number of OCA clergy, or clergy who are alumni of St. Vlad’s, penned a letter to Pat. Kirill asking him to intervene on behalf of Kiev. That is quite indicative to me.

          • I should say one other thing so that no one mistakes my intentions:

            I have friends in the OCA, good Orthodox Christians, for whom I wish the best. I have nothing against the OCA other than that I do not believe its contrived pseudo-history. That does not mean that I don’t think that much good work in service of Christ is done within it. It is a valid jurisdiction of the universal Church and deserves respect on that basis.

            Regarding autocephaly, an American Orthodox Church is a good idea, if and when it comes. What I see the problem to be is that not enough Americans are committed to establishing an American Orthodox Church that is thoroughly American, thoroughly immersed in orthopraxis (as defined by the Church, across cultural boundaries, before the 20th century) and committed to evangelizing Americans as if they were outside the Church rather than just belonging to “other denominations”.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Misha says:

              What I see the problem to be is that not enough Americans are committed to establishing an American Orthodox Church that is thoroughly American, thoroughly immersed in orthopraxis (as defined by the Church, across cultural boundaries, before the 20th century) and committed to evangelizing Americans as if they were outside the Church rather than just belonging to “other denominations”.

              Ah, there is an interesting problem. In egalitarian North America how can anyone really think that someone is “outside the Church” and be taken seriously. That is such an archaic idea to most folks–even for many of those who have come from outside. We recite the Creed, but to really commit to the reality of “one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” ….that is a tough sell. It is just so gauche to tell someone that their faith, the faith of their family perhaps is not sufficient at best often drastically wrong without entering the triumphalist region.

              Minimalism, reductionism and relativism rule our minds no matter how much we think they don’t. I certainly have to fight them.

              Until we start producing more saints from this land, we don’t have much to demonstrate. So traditional orthopraxis in prayer, worship and ascesis is where we must start.

              And guess what….each of us can do that no matter what our bishops are doing or not doing.

          • Isa Almisry says

            “So we’ve established that Abp. Alexander and Met. Theophil were Ukrainians. Thanks.”
            Hardly-Abp. Alexander denied the existence of Urkainians, denouncing Ukrainstvo from the pulpit of his Sobor in Winnipeg, one of the events that set in motion the rise of the UOCC/UOCUSA and UAOC. But under a renegade Antiochian bishop, not an OCA one.

            “I don’t think that you are disputing that the leadership in the Metropolia/OCA, i.e., the real players, have been predominantly Ukrainian/Polish of various stripes (Ukrainian, Galician, Volhynian and immigrants from areas now in Poland). I could post some biographies if you wish. I also don’t think you would dispute that there was a large influx of Ukrainian Uniates in the late 19th and early 20th century, mostly because American Catholics thought they were strange, disfavored or refused to recognize them, and refused to allow them to have married priests. One should note, none of these are theological reasons.”
            No, I don’t dispute most of the above, but, however, having known a lot of OCA Russians/Carpatho-Russians, who identified themselves with Russia (before the fall of communism, so at a time when that wasn’t an issue)-although their language sounded like Ukrainian and their ancestral villages were in Czechoslovakia (present Slovakia) and Ukraine or Poland, the emphasis-theological or otherwise-is misplaced. Those who didn’t identify with Russia ended up with the Ukrainians or ACROD.

            “Some Russians tend to look at Ukrainians as being independently minded (or “defiantly obstinate”, in less polite language) and mercurial in contradistinction to Great Russians. It’s a cultural thing. That has really been my point about them. Is it true? Who can say? ”
            I’m interested in history and Orthodox ecclesiology, not pseud-history and stereotypes. If the stereotype were true, then it would show up in the history of the Russian Church, as the Ukrainians dominated it well into the 1700’s and beyond.

            “One should note however that a number of OCA clergy, or clergy who are alumni of St. Vlad’s, penned a letter to Pat. Kirill asking him to intervene on behalf of Kiev. That is quite indicative to me.”
            Indicative of what?

      • Isa Almisry says

        ” FitzGerald is a professor at Hellenic College. Hardly a ROCOR sympathizer”
        When it comes to the OCA, the Greek Church will readily hop in bed with ROCOR. The OCA threatens both of their world views at their extreme ends, although they both contradict each other.

        • Well, it’s not much of a “threat” to anyone these days. And if you think there is any remote chance of the new calendar Greeks and ROCOR hoping into bed for any reason, you are delusional. It is simply that neither one has any interest in drinking OCA kool aid.

          • Isa Almisry says

            Alas! Given the temporary status of ROCOR, outside, by definition, of its Church’s canonical boundaries, and the rejection of the Phanar’s canon 28 myth, both have no permanent claim to uphold its jurisdiction in the US, and its shows. No matter what they spike their Kool-Aid with, 21st century North America lies neither in 19th century Czarist Russia nor the Ottoman Empire.

            Birds of a Phyletist feather flock together, no matter how much the feathers fly when they nest together.

            • Ok, Isa,

              No argument here. Do your best to pursue the OCA’s little project and ROCOR and GOARCH will do their best to pursue their respective little projects. If OCA survives and becomes what it has aspired to be, you will be vindicated. As it stands, even its mother church doesn’t take its autocephaly seriously enough not to maintain an entire archdiocese on OCA’s alleged canonical territory. Nor does GOARCH, nor does Antioch, nor does Romania, nor does Serbia, etc., . . .

              That’s not a favorable omen.

              • Isa Almisry says

                In that case Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Romania, the Church of Greece, the Czech Lands and Slovakia are doomed with the OCA, as their autocephaly isn’t taken seriously-by your criteria-by their Mother and Sister Churches, having entire dioceses (btw, the Russian Patriarchate does not have an Archdiocese in North America) and jurisdictions etc. in each others’ canonical territory. Estonia ring a bell?

                The GOARCH is even in worse shape, given its dismemberment after Ligonier and the fact that no one recognizes the exclusive claim made for it by its Mother Church-and by that I mean the Greek Church, various members (e.g. Alexandria, Jeruasalem etc.) of which have set up their own jurisdictions in its claimed territory.

                And last of all would come ROCOR-whose ipso facto foreign bishops have no jurisdiction ipso facto being outside of their canonical territory, and whose statute lacks a foundation in the Sacred Canons-at least as far as North America and Europe are concerned (South America, Australia and other areas might be a different story).

                • http://eadiocese.org/News/2014/aug/miami.en.htm

                  And the work of Christ goes on.

                  • Isa Almisry says

                    Glory to God!
                    however

                    Demonstrating the fullness of their sacramental participation in the Orthodox Church, several of those who had been baptized in June even became the godparents for those baptized in August.

                    Not sure that is the best idea. The Fathers frown in the canons on putting neophytes into positions of authority and teaching. Baptism is a Holy Mystery, Godparenthood is not.

                • I gathered all of Isa’s responses to my comments into one little tome, marking each comment as either my initial one (MISHA1), Isa’s follow up (ISA1) and my new response (MISHA2).

                  Really, I don’t see that such exchanges are particularly productive. I reacted this time out to the comments of a hardcore OCA fanatic and Isa chimed in.

                  These things are really better left to the Providence of God. If He wants the OCA to succeed and all the jurisdicitons to fold up and join it, then that will happen. I don’t see it but time will tell. In the meantime:

                  MISHA1: “I’m sure you must have researched the issue enough to know that the original ROCOR synod dissolved, then reconstituted under uk. 362. Or maybe not, you are rather poorly informed.”

                  ISA1: or maybe he recognizes that the “reconstitution” meant nothing.

                  MISHA2: “With great joy, we inform you, beloved, that at our Bishop’s Sobor in Pittsburgh, the ‘Temporary Statue of the Russian Church Abroad,’ worked out in November 1935 by our Hierarchs at the conference held under the presidency of His Holiness Patriarch of Serbia, Kyr Varnava, was unanimously accepted by all of us…. All of our Archpastors [the Metropolia bishops], headed by our Metropolitan [Theophilus], enter into the make-up of the Bishops’ Council [in Karlovci] of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which is the highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and which remains, at the same time, an inseparable part of the All-Russian Church [in the homeland].” (quoted in Young, p. 41). – declaration of the hierarchs of the Metropolia Synod to their faithful after the 1935 agreement in Serbia.

                  Or maybe it means as much as the Metropolia’s claim to legitimacy thereunder. Actually, more, if you consider that the Metropolia’s bishops sat on the “reconstituted” ROCOR synod and that they announced to their faithful after the 1935 accord that they were once again part of ROCOR, “which is highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.”

                  MISHA1: “Regardless, the Metrolpolitan hierarchs most certainly believed that they were under the ROCOR synod, as I have demonstrated. ”

                  ISA1: No, you have asserted. The Metropolitans Evology and Platon-and for that matter Theophilos-worked with ROCOR, but that is not the same as working under it. Otherwise Chambessy has already given the Phanar the Universal jurisdiction it claims.

                  MISHA2: Again, you’re not doing to well at this, Isa. Is the AB here a synod? Have the other jurisdictions stated that the Phanar has supreme authority in the diaspora? The Metropolia explicitly told its own faithful that it was once again part of the ROCOR which they explicitly recognized as the highest authority in the ROC.

                  MISHA1: “The Metropolia/OCA maliciously lie regarding their history.”

                  ISA1: you are going to wear out your projector.

                  MISHA2: Not at all. He who has the information and yet maintains that the Metropolia was not part of ROCOR is a liar. The Metropolia hierarchs believed they were. Their bishops sat on the ROCOR synod. Their hierarchs announced to their faithful that they were once again part of ROCOR which is the supreme authority for the Church Abroad. The courts in America agreed that the Metropolia had submitted itself to ROCOR as did their own scholars (the “5 professors”). Assertions to the contrary are just sophistry and contrived nonsense.

                  MISHA1: “The documents are all in public”

                  ISA1: That includes Ukaz 41 confirming the appointment of Metropolitan Platon over the Metropolia by the Supreme Church Administration of Ukaz 362, and that’s not the Karlovsky Synod.

                  MISHA2: You mean the forged one? Your point?

                  MISHA1: “Now, Isa has a problem with the canonicity of the whole thing. That’s fine. He’s welcome to his own opinion. But that is all it is, his opinion. The personal opinion of one Orthodox believer is irrelevant in a situation like this. The question is what did the bishops at the time believe was the case, taking into account canon law.”

                  ISA1: That makea it an even easier case, given that canon law-at least Orthodox canon law-knows nothing of Synod of Bishops who abandoned (for whatever reason, voluntary or involuntary) outside their jurisdiction having jurisdiction over Bishops in their sees. Organizations who lack a canonical basis for their existence have no standing, and hence no authority nor jurisdiction, under canon law.

                  MISHA2: Yet that is only Isa’s personal opinion. Moreover, it has some interesting results for Antioch/Damascus. It is for the bishops to apply canon law, not Isa. What is beyond question is that the Metropolia submitted itself to ROCOR, whatever lies they later chose to propagate about it.

                  MISHA1: “That is completely settled. The Metropolia hierarchs believed they were, for certain periods, under the ROCOR synod – an integral part of the Church Abroad. That’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned. The OCA can invent any fantastic rationalizations they wish but they simply can’t change history, documents or the known facts.”

                  ISA1: I think I smell your projector burning out. “That’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned.” Well, I guess Rome has spoken. Infallible pontiff completely settle things-at least in their own minds and those who adhere to their presuppositions-no matter what the facts say.

                  MISHA2: The facts that are decisive are all on my side. You have provided interesting footnotes regarding the history (and I’m being generous). You just have failed to refute anything I’ve said.

                  ISA1: In that case Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Romania, the Church of Greece, the Czech Lands and Slovakia are doomed with the OCA, as their autocephaly isn’t taken seriously-by your criteria-by their Mother and Sister Churches, having entire dioceses (btw, the Russian Patriarchate does not have an Archdiocese in North America) and jurisdictions etc. in each others’ canonical territory. Estonia ring a bell?

                  MISHA2: Isa, are you ok? The MP’s archdiocese in America is called ROCOR, silly. It is autonomous but still under Moscow.
                  Now, back to reality: When someone poaches on Constantinople’s territory, they fuss. Antioch and Jerusalem as well. However, the OCA basically says, “Come one, come all!!! Our autocephaly? Oh, peeshah!!, get real!!! Set up what you want here, when you want, as long as you want. “
                  And practically everyone and his sister does. That does not sound to me like autocephaly.

                  ISA1: The GOARCH is even in worse shape, given its dismemberment after Ligonier and the fact that no one recognizes the exclusive claim made for it by its Mother Church-and by that I mean the Greek Church, various members (e.g. Alexandria, Jeruasalem etc.) of which have set up their own jurisdictions in its claimed territory.

                  MISHA2: Yes, I agree Constantinople’s position is equally compromised here. Of course, no one disputes the fact that Constantinople is an autocephalous church. But that does not help the OCA at all, in fact it hurts it even more. As I remarked above, “the more the merrier”.

                  ISA1: And last of all would come ROCOR-whose ipso facto foreign bishops have no jurisdiction ipso facto being outside of their canonical territory, and whose statute lacks a foundation in the Sacred Canons-at least as far as North America and Europe are concerned (South America, Australia and other areas might be a different story).

                  MISHA2: And thus, Isa, the incarnation of canon law has spoken . . .
                  Hmmm . . . well, you’ll need to convince Moscow that ROCOR is an uncanonical aberration and needs to join the OCA. It seems like their present position is that ROCOR “remains and integral part of the Church of Russia” and that the Act of Canonical Unity was the joining of the “two parts of the Church of Russia”. I think their canon lawyers might differ with your analysis. And since they have bishops behind them, well, . . . there you go.

                  MISHA1: “362 granted the Metropolia autocephaly?. That’s simply a willful lie.”

                  ISA1: About as willful as mendacious as claiming I said it did. The Tomos did that.
                  What 362 also did not do was make the Karlvoski Synod the Church of Russia/Patriarchate of Moscow.

                  MISHA2: You may want to re-read what the hierarchs of the Metropolia said to their faithful around 1936 after they rejoined ROCOR.

                  MISHA1: “Your problem is not me, Isa. It is Metropolitan hierarchs of ages past who refute what you say by their statements.”

                  ISA1: The statements of Metropolitans of Kyiv and Chișinău who failed to hold their sees and lacked jurisdiction in North America have no bearing under Ukaz 362 on the OCA. The Patriarch of Moscow and his Holy Synod do, and they have spoken.

                  MISHA2: The bishops to whom I was referring were theMetropolia ones who agreed to rejoin ROCOR and described it as “the highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad” to their All American Sobor.

                  What has actually happened, Isa, is that the MP, when it was under the management of the KGB and engaging in otherwise heretical activity (the communing of Catholics), purported to grant autocephaly to the Metropolia in exchange for the Church of Japan and God knows what else. This is the same MP which the Metropolia had believed was incapable of leadership right up until the MP accepted the autocephaly deal.
                  Now, the MP, being once again free, has to deal gracefully with the bed that it has made for itself. It erroneously granted autocephaly to an errant little entity and has to live it down so long as this little entity manages to survive and does not upset Moscow beyond the breaking point (which is probably quite near). In the meantime, the free part of the Church of Russia has been reconciled along with its faithful and dioceses in America. The MP simply refuses to choose and is allowing the situation to play out.
                  Yet refusing to choose is itself a choice. A choice which reflects very, very poorly on the OCA since Moscow is the only real voice in the Orthodox world legitimizing the OCA. And yet, even so, by Moscow’s own actions the rest of the Orthodox world has been provided the example that there is no need at all to take the OCA’s autocephaly seriously since Moscow really doesn’t do anything but pay it lip service.

                  MISHA1: “That’s sheer fantasy. No other churches besides the Soviet dominated churches even claim to recognize the OCA’s autocephaly. ”

                  ISA1: You mean, the Muslim and EU dominated Churches? OK. That still leaves the OCA with a plurality, and ROCOR with no one.
                  As for the Church of Antioch, I know my people. If Antioch “most emphatically did not recognize” the OCA, we would not have let the OCA glorify St. Raphael. At the very least we would have done what ROCOR did with its own glorification of Herman of Alaska, to counter the canonical one done by the OCA.

                  MISHA2: Are you seriously suggesting that the canonization of an Arab saint constitutes recognition of autocephaly when Antioch has, essentially, one huge diocese on OCA territory and has shown not the slightest inkling of changing that fact? That’s really reaching and doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

                  ISA1: Serbia? Soviet dominated Serbia? Who had ROCOR pack its bags so the Russian Orthodox Church Outisde of Russia outside of Constantinople became Outside of Karlovsky as well? And even during the Kingdom issued directives to the Karlovsky Synod which it had to obey, being dependent on the Serbian Patriarchate in whose jurisdiction it lay?

                  MISHA2: Serbia (and Jerusalem) stuck with ROCOR during its more isolated periods. It has an entire archdiocese here too. I’ve been to one of their parishes. Very nice. I have no quarrel with them, especially since they have offered their moral support in the present Russian-Ukrainian situation.

                  ISA1: Antioch has dioceses in territory claimed by Jerusalem, and Serbia has dioceses in Romania, the Czech Lands and Slovakia and both have dioceses in territory claimed by the Phanar-does Jerusalem, Romania and the Czech Lands/Slovakia not exist? In fact, Jerusalem has a diocese in Antioch’s territory, Bucharest, Moscow, and the Phanar have dioceses in the territory of Serbia, so then neither the patriarchates of Antioch or Serbia exist. The Phanar and Romania have Metropolises in Moscow’s territory and claimed territory, so ROCOR’s Mother Church would be wandering in non-existence as well.
                  Holy Mother Russia shows far more respect in its Tomos for the OCA than, say, the Phanar showed in its Tomos to the Church of Greece. The Patriarchate of Moscow requires its bishops in the OCA territory to commemorate the primate of the OCA; a few years ago the Phanar struck the primate of Greece from its diptychs because of recognition given him by bishops in Northern Greece.

                  MISHA2: All of the above is completely irrelevant. There is no other Orthodox church on earth that has the entire gamut of other jurisdictions operating on its presumed territory the way the OCA does. It’s as if it doesn’t even exist, or exists as only one of a number of foreign jurisdicitons.
                  All Moscow would have had to do to signal to the rest of the world that it was serious about the OCA’s autocephaly was to tell ROCOR that all of its churches in “OCA territory” would have to come under Syosset. It did not do that. Thus none of the other jurisdictions have reason one to take the OCA seriously since its mother church does not.

                  MISHA1: “I suppose you could argue that since Moscow claims to acknowledge OCA’s autocephaly but has an archdiocese in America, that means that Antioch and Serbia can both do the same. However that is logic twisted to the point of being ludicrous.”

                  ISA1: Yes, your twisted logic is ludicrous: the Serbian Church recognized its origin in the OCA (IIRC, the term used in the court decison was “Russian Metropolia”) in its own jurisdictional battle with its own “Serbian Church outside of Serbia”-both sides in fact acknowledged and stipulated that origin. The Antiochians acknowledgement of the OCA’s glorification of St. Raphael, regarded as the founder of the Antiochian Archdiocese (in fact, it was really, as presently constituted, Met. Germanos Shehadi, the founder of the UOCC/UOCUSA/UAOC), the Antaky-Rusy split (the OCA being the Rusy) continuing until the Toledo jurisdiciton gave Antioch not one but two jursidictions in the New World (sound familiar? In fact, Serbia, the Phanar, etc. had/have multiple jurisdictions in the New World: does that void them and their Mother Church?) in 1941, which united with the Antaky faction in 1975…the Antiochian Archdiocese would have to deny the roots it claims-including its Cathedral in which the Metropolia installed its primate.

                  MISHA2: But you’re ignoring the only really significant element: None of these churches respect the OCA’s autocephaly enough to make their American possessions join the OCA. Autocephaly means that an independent church has its own territory over which it exercises jurisdiction. In practice, all of these churches actually reject the OCA’s autocephaly, or treat it as if it’s an experiment they expect to shortly pass away.

                  ISA1: None of which, of course, helps ROCOR’s cause in the slightest.

                  MISHA2: ROCOR’s cause needs no help. Whether the OCA survives or not or whether it continues to lie about its past or not is really not of much concern to the ROCOR. They continue to build churches, evangelize and witness to the faith. They are recognized by Moscow (now free of communist domination) as a part of the ROC. They are in no jeopardy of any sort. They even politely explained to the AB why they have no interest whatsoever in joining with any other jurisdiction on American soil, though they are happy to attend whatever social events the Phanar organizes.

                  MISHA1: “It is comical if you really think about it. OCA is autocephalous, except that no one actually behaves as though that were the case, least of all the OCA.”

                  ISA1: If that were true, per the Chambesy agreements which they all signed, Met. Tikhon would be ex officio Vice-Chairman, and the OCA bishops seated with Russias. Abp.Demetrios (many years!) behaved as though that were the case, and now they are stuck with the OCA.

                  MISHA2: Actually, it was Abp Demetrios that secured a place for the OCA at the AB. The Phanar did not want them involved at all. Nonetheless, Russia, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and others maintain entire jurisdictional apparatuses (whether dioceses or archdioceses, etc.) on what is purported to be the canonical territory of the OCA. And, last I heard, the OCA was just fine with this very odd state of affairs. Thus my sentence above is quite verifiably true:
                  “OCA is autocephalous, except that no one actually behaves as though that were the case, least of all the OCA.”

                  • Isa Almisry says

                    “I gathered all of Isa’s responses to my comments into one little tome, marking each comment as either my initial one (MISHA1), Isa’s follow up (ISA1) and my new response (MISHA2).”
                    I’m afraid I never like the monologue disguised as a dialogue-too much straw.

                    ““I’m sure you must have researched the issue enough to know that the original ROCOR synod dissolved, then reconstituted under uk. 362. Or maybe not, you are rather poorly informed.”
                    All the information I need is that the general provisions Ukaz 362 contained were issued before the Supreme Church Administration-i.e. the Patriarch of Moscow and the Russian Holy Synod-issued the specific and direct command to the Karlovski Synod to disband.

                    “With great joy, we inform you, beloved, that at our Bishop’s Sobor in Pittsburgh, the ‘Temporary Statue of the Russian Church Abroad,’ worked out in November 1935 by our Hierarchs at the conference held under the presidency of His Holiness Patriarch of Serbia, Kyr Varnava, was unanimously accepted by all of us…. All of our Archpastors [the Metropolia bishops], headed by our Metropolitan [Theophilus], enter into the make-up of the Bishops’ Council [in Karlovci] of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which is the highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and which remains, at the same time, an inseparable part of the All-Russian Church [in the homeland].” (quoted in Young, p. 41). – declaration of the hierarchs of the Metropolia Synod to their faithful after the 1935 agreement in Serbia.

                    Or maybe it means as much as the Metropolia’s claim to legitimacy thereunder. Actually, more, if you consider that the Metropolia’s bishops sat on the “reconstituted” ROCOR synod and that they announced to their faithful after the 1935 accord that they were once again part of ROCOR, “which is highest ecclesiastical organ for our whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.”

                    Metropolitan THEOPHILUS had traveled to Serbia where, under the leadership of the Serbian Patriarch, an agreement was signed by the leading hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) along with other exiled Russian hierarchs throughout the world forging a peaceful coexistence. Under this agreement, the American Church was to retain her administrative autonomy while maintaining close relations with the ROCOR Synod and being accountable to it only in matters of faith. The parallel jurisdictions of the Metropolia and ROCOR were thus eliminated and the four ROCOR hierarchs in North America along with their clergy and parishes were integrated into the Metropolia. The vote of the Sixth Sobor on this loose affiliation with the ROCOR was as follows: 105 for, 9 against, 122 abstentions. The large number of abstentions reveals that there was much apprehension on this issue at the council. However, in approving the matter, the council delegates showed respect and obedience to Metropolitan THEOPHILUS’ primatial leadership.

                    http://oca.org/history-archives/aacs/the-6th-all-american-sobor
                    Somewhere I have the text of the Sobor’s deliberations, I’ll have to find it. In the meantime, I’ll point out that this rapprochement with ROCOR fell apart when the OCA/Metrpolia sent delegates to the Supreme Church Administration for the whole Russian Orthodox Church to participate in the election of the new Patriarch Alexei I, and ROCOR refused to recognize the election or the Patriarch. The subsequent chain of events from the ROCOR side shows that the apprehension of the Sobor was well founded.

                    • Yes,

                      I know the MP ordered the Karlovtsy synod to disband, it did, and then reconstituted under another ukaz. It also ordered the Metropolia to disband.

                      At some point it becomes meaningless because these directives were coming from the Soviet government, not any free church leadership, which was the point of 362 all along.

                      As to all the documentation out there showing conclusively that it was more than cooperation on the Metropolia’s part – numerous statements, hierarchs named in church calendars and other circulated document , requests to ROCOR by the Metropolia to confirm the movement of bishops and to ordain bishops, the letter of the 5 professors, the American court cases regarding Platon’s forgery. etc. – it’s all out there. Only a dishonest person could come away with the conclusion that this was a loose affiliation.

                      And I just realized something:

                      A vociferous defense of this silly fiction must appear to be a make or break matter to some in the OCA. That’s the only reason you get otherwise candid people defending such an indefensible lie. They probably believe the legitimacy of something they think is a very good idea (OCA) depends on the lie being seen as true.

                      Remember all the respect that Ann Coulter lost while trying to sell Mitt Romney as a (“severe”) conservative? She could have just said that this is the best we can do for the time being.

                      Well, no matter to me.

                  • Isa Almisry says

                    MISHA1: “The documents are all in public”

                    ISA1: That includes Ukaz 41 confirming the appointment of Metropolitan Platon over the Metropolia by the Supreme Church Administration of Ukaz 362, and that’s not the Karlovsky Synod.

                    MISHA2: You mean the forged one? Your point?

                    ISA 2 (actually pre-Misha 1, as I had posted this already):
                    Btw, on that the Canadian courts didn’t think much of the American court’s finding on that:

                    The plaintiffs [i.e. OCA] claim that he was elected at a Sobor held in Pittsburg early in 1922 and that in April, 1922, he was appointed temporary, and in September, 1923, permanent Administrator for North America by direct authority of the Russian Supreme Administration. In proof of this appointment they produce a document (exhibit 10) which they say is signed by Patriarch Tikhon himself. They assert, therefore, that he was entitled to rule, as he claimed to do, until his death in 1934, when he was succeeded by Archbishop Theophilus Paschkovsky.

                    The defendants [i.e ROCOR] contend that exhibit 10 is a forgery, that Platon was never appointed by the Russian Supreme Administration, that the authority he was recognized as exercising came from his appointment as Archbishop of North America by a special Synod of Bishops (to be described later), and that in 1927 the same Synod dismissed him from his office and later appointed (exhibit 25) as the lawful successor to Alexander another archbishop, Apollinary, who in turn has been succeeded by Archbishop Tikhon Troitsky.

                    Again, Platon claimed to be Administrator for North America by virtue not of any appointment by the Synod but of his appointment by the Russian Supreme Administration itself in April, 1922, and September, 1923. If the claim was valid, it would seem that his position, as independent of the Synod, was secure. The defendants recognize this, for to defeat the claim they declare the document produced in support of it (exhibit 10) to be a forgery. But in proof of its being a forgery they offer only the fact that Platon took some considerable time in obtaining it and the statement that it was not the sort of document that the Patriarch would sign.

                    Exhibit 10 reads:

                    “November 3, 1923.

                    “To the Metropolitan of Kherson and Odessa, the Most Eminent Platon, who is administering temporarily the diocese in North America.

                    “By the Decree of the Holy Synod, of April 14/27, 1922, Your Eminence has been appointed to temporarily administrate the diocese of North America, and the dean Theodar Pashkovsky has been appointed as the Bishop of Chicago; his promotion to the order of Bishop will take place in America.

                    “To day, after having examined the situation of the Church in North America, we find it necessary, after freeing you from administrating the diocese of Kherson and Odessa, to appoint you as the administrator of the North America Church.

                    “Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

                    September 29, 1923.

                    N. 41

                    Moscow, The Don Monastery.”

                    The defendants say that the Patriarch would have no power himself to make such an appointment; that it could be made only in conjunction with his Holy Synod; and that he would do nothing so unconstitutional as to execute a document of this sort; therefore it must be a forgery. But is this necessarily the case? By 1923 it was impossible for the Supreme Administration to function regularly; but that is not to say that it could not function at all. Might not, then, the Patriarch have acted as best he could from his prison, using such limited communications as were available? It seems not only possible but likely that he would do so. And the document fits in with the events of that time. Platon was elected as head of the Church in America by a Sobor at Pittsburg in March, 1922. The Holy Synod may well have acted upon this in April, 1922, though appointing him not Archbishop but only temporary Administrator. In that month the Supreme Administration for the Church Abroad, set up by the Karlovtzi Synod, was dissolved. Immediately afterwards the Russian Supreme Administration itself was broken up. Platon no doubt would want his appointment made permanent. May not exhibit 10 then be the proof of what he was able to obtain? At any rate no sufficient proof is given that the document is a forgery.

                    This is not to say that exhibit 10, even if genuine, represents a constitutional appointment of Platon as permanent Administrator. On that point I express no opinion. How the Patriarch came to sign the document, what authority or advice he had, whether he considered that under the proper interpretation of decree 362 he was entitled to exercise the power of making an appointment, is not in evidence. But treated as genuine, the document indicates at least that in April, 1922, Platon was by the action of the Holy Synod itself duly appointed temporary Administrator. His position in North America, therefore, did not rest upon his appointment by the Karlovtzi Synod. And whether or not he was ever duly appointed permanent Administrator, he appears never to have been legally dismissed from his temporary office.

                    In the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York a judgment was delivered in October, 1925, in an action brought between Platon and one John S. Kedrovsky to determine which of them was head of the Church in North America; and several of the findings of the Court are interesting. For one thing, the document that appears in the case at bar as exhibit 10 was considered. The allegation of forgery had been made, but the Court made no finding on the score. What it did find was that by September, 1923, the office of Patriarch had been abolished (a finding which all parties in the case at bar repudiate), that even if the office had continued, the Patriarch had no power to appoint an Archbishop, such power residing only in the Holy Synod of which he was president, and that in any case the document did not purport to make Platon Archbishop but only Administrator, which is a different thing. It was therefore held that Platon had not been duly appointed Archbishop. With this conclusion we may agree;but for the reasons given earlier it may nevertheless be held that he had been duly appointed temporary, if not permanent, Administrator and that he had never been removed.
                    Still more interesting is the finding of the Court that Kedrovsky had been legally appointed Archbishop. The Court held that a Sobor called in Russia in 1923 had been legally convoked and that the appointments made by its Holy Synod, among which was that of Kedrovsky to be Archbishop of North America, were valid. This may be corredt, and if it is, clearly Platon was succeeded by Kedrovsky. But all parties to the present action repudiate Kedrovsky’s claim. They repudiate the Sobor of 1923 and all its works. They say that it was called by the Bolsheviks for the purpose of subverting the old Church and in its place establishing what is known as “The Living Church”, and that Kedrovsky was nothing more than an emissary of the Soviet Government. Neither Kedrovsky nor any one associated with him is a party to the present action. It proceeds on the footing that he is not concerned. The decision of the New York Court, therefore, is of little assistance.

                    In the State of Connecticut in 1931 an action was tried between the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic All Saints Church and Kedrovsky et al. (1931), 156 Atl. Rep. 688. In it evidently the claims of Platon, Apollinary, and Kedrovsky to supreme authority in North America were put forward; but Kedrovsky, though he appeared, did not defend and the Court treated the matter as being really a contest between the adherents of Platon and those of Appollinary and determined the action on that footing. After observing that “both the plaintiff and defendant corporations now repudiate Kedrovsky’s pretensions”, it proceeded as though Kedrovsky were not concerned. In this respect the case was similar to the one at bar.

                    As between the adherents of Platon and those of Apollinary, the Connecticut Court evidently inclined in favour of the latter. But it made no conclusive findings. In the end it based its decision simply upon the ground that the plaintiff had failed to prove any higher right than the defendants. It did find that Platon’s appointment by the Karlovtzi Synod had “become ineffective by his removal from office by that body”; but the withdrawal of Platon, his right to withdraw, and the right of the Synod to remove him, appear not to have been discussed. So far as the appointment by the Patriarch is concerned, it found that the Patriarch had “no power by himself to make a personal appointment of an Archbishop”; but what action the Holy Synod may have taken and what right Platon had to continue as Administrator seems not to have been considered. Further, it frowned on Platon’s activity in connection with the new Church. On the other hand, it did not find that the Karlovtzi Synod had any particular status of legal jurisdiction. It said merely:

                    “The Karlovtzi Synod is attempting to carry out as best it may, in view of the disruption of the Church, a central organization representing the traditional polity of the Church, and it is the only body which apparently is attempting to do this. Allegiance to that body by any branch of the Church goes as far toward preservation of the unity of the Church general as it is now possible to go. One can only hope and expect that the present situation of the Church marks a transitional period, out of which will ultimately emerge a settled form of organization in accordance with its traditional polity.”

                    This being its view, the Court concluded that “in the meantime the plaintiff association has failed to show any higher right to represent the parish in the management and control of the church property than the defendant corporation has” and consequently the action was dismissed.

                    In the case at bar the situation is quite different. The plaintiff Arseny comes, not from outside asking that someone already in possession of the diocese be ousted, but as the Bishop of Canada, duly appointed in 1926 and in practical occupation of the diocese since that time, asking that others be not allowed to usurp his position. The claims of those others are based upon the authority of the Karlovtzi Synod; and there is no proof that the Synod possesses the authority claimed for it. The plaintiff would therefore seem to have the higher right.

                    In the result it must be held that the plaintiff Arseny is the lawful Bishop of Canada. The plaintiffs therefore are entitled to the declaration asked for in the pleadings and the defendants’ counterclaim must be dismissed. Costs will follow the event.

                    http://www.lawofcanada.net/cases/onca/1935canlii88
                    Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate 1991:

                    After his release from prison Patriarch Tikhon issued an official ukase dated September 29, 1923, in confirmation of his oral appointment of Metropolitan Platon to America. The authenticity of this ukase, called in question by certain Russian church circles, was substantiated in an article that appeared in The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1957 and described the legal trial between the American Metropolitanate and the Patriarchal jurisdiction over the possession of the St. Nicholas Cathedral

                    http://books.google.com/books?id=6tooAQAAMAAJ&q=%22The+authenticity+of+this+ukase,+called+in+question+by+certain+Russian%22&dq=%22The+authenticity+of+this+ukase,+called+in+question+by+certain+Russian%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Oh46U7mfLMnY2QWX84CICg&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA

                    • Yes, you’ve mentioned that before. I don’t think it’s really worth looking up American court documents. Platon went on a church seizing expedition and the conclusion of the American courts was the same as mine: the Metropolia had acknowledged the supremacy of the ROCOR synod so the churches were the property of the ROC(OR).

                    • This is from a discussion group on Yahoo regarding the ukazy in question. I found it interesting. Bottom line, there is a general indication that the Church Abroad should organize itself during the new “time of troubles” and beyond that I’m not sure you can accord much weight to edicts abolishing this or that which were done outside of procedural norms and under duress:

                      416Re: Sv: Sv: [orthodox-synod] Fr. Stephan Krasovitsky’s “Open Letter…”
                      Expand Messages

                      Fr. John Whiteford
                      May 31, 2001
                      In response to Fr. Mihail Rahr’s post. First I would
                      say that I think we would all enjoy this list more if
                      we don’t import nast discussions from other lists.
                      🙂

                      Secondly, you raised the question St. Tikhon’s alleged
                      abolihsment of the ROCA. And so here is an old post
                      of mine which addresses that point.

                      ********************************************

                      A few facts here:

                      “Again we read in a letter, passed on to Metropolitans
                      Anthony and Evlogy by Patriarch Tikhon together with a
                      confimation of decree no 362 on Novemeber 7/20 1920,
                      containing the warning, “Be very cautious of all acts
                      which proceed from my name and even those signed by
                      me.
                      Always remember the words of Peter the Great when he
                      was threatened with Turkish captivity. In case of my
                      capture do not filfill any of my directives since loss
                      of freedom would be the cause of anything.” [Orthodox
                      Life, Vol 20, No. 6 Nov – Dec 1990, p. 16].

                      Though OCA apologists are quick to scoff at claims
                      that the decree abolishing the ROCA was a forgery,
                      they shameless make the same claim when it concerns
                      the decree abolishing the Metropolia (now OCA):

                      “On January 22, 1924, in the Soviet newspaper
                      “Isvestia” (no. 18/2053), there appeared a decree of
                      January 16, 1924, No. 28, allegedly signed by Patriach
                      Tikhon, denying Metropolitan Platon the authority to
                      govern on the grounds of “counter-revolutionary
                      activities against the Soviet power.” According to
                      this decree Metropolitan Platon was to
                      be relieved of his position by a newly appointed
                      bishop from Russia, who then was to deliever the
                      decree to Metropolitan Platon” [Afonsky, 1994, p 90].

                      Let us compare the two decrees, and the responses
                      consider the responses to both:

                      1) 5-5-1922, DECREE ABOLISHING THE HIGHER CHURCH
                      ADMINISTRATION.

                      Met. Evlogy (whom this decree placed in charge of the
                      Western European parishes) reacted with alarm, and
                      considered it either a forgery or a forced statement
                      that had no canonical significance [though as time
                      went on, he began to change his tune somewhat]:

                      “There is no doubt that the decree was issued under
                      pressure by the Bolsheviks. I do not recognize this
                      document as having any authority even though it might
                      have been written and signed by the Patriarch” [letter
                      to Met. Anthony after receiving this decree, trans. in
                      Orthodox Life, Ibid, p 14].

                      There are a few things that, if the Synod had known
                      about them at the time, would have left them no doubt
                      as to the fact that this was a forced document. I
                      again quote from Mr. Colton, who was visiting the
                      Patriarch as Met. Platon’s representative:

                      [Quoting again from Bishop Gregory (Grabbe)’s “Toward
                      a history of the Ecclesiastical Divisions within the
                      Russian Diaspora” (serialized in english, in “Living
                      Orthodoxy” 9/92 #83, vol xiv, no. 50, pp 25ff)]:

                      “…I think it is important to cite in full here what
                      Mr. Colton wrote to Boumistrow on the second day after
                      his meeting with the patriarch. This document was
                      obtained by us during the court case over he
                      possession of the church in Sea Cliff, New York, when
                      we had access to the archives of the American
                      Metropolia; I copied it at the time:

                      [I wont cite the entire letter, but only the pertinant
                      part to this point. The letter is dated May 4, 1922,
                      only one day before the decree in question was dated]:

                      “The Patriarch expressed it as his wish and
                      recommendation that the Supreme Church Administration
                      Outside of Russia request Metropolitan Platon to
                      remain in America with the full authority asked for,
                      detailing to the Administration in Canada Archbishop
                      Alexander and to the U.S. Anthony. He chose to make
                      this in the form of a recommendation since the matter
                      was already in the hands of the Administration, and he
                      did not wish to go over their heads.”

                      Once again quoting from Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), ibid.
                      p34):

                      In the archive of the Orthodox Church in America, in
                      connection with the litigation over the catherdral on
                      97th Street in New York City, there is an affidavit
                      written by Archpriest Theodore Pashkovsky (later
                      Metropolitan Theophilus [me: of the Metropolia]) and
                      the text of a telegram sent by a Mr. Kolton. From
                      other documents it is known that just before the
                      decree concerning the disbanding of the Supreme
                      Ecclesiastical Administration, Fr. Pashkovsky and Mr.
                      Kolton visited the Patriarch. They asked him to
                      appoint Metropolitan Platon as ruling bishop in
                      America. The Patriarch was not opposed to this
                      suggestion, but. being already under guard, he said
                      that he could not put this in writing but was
                      entrusting to them the task of conveying his desire to
                      the bishops administering the church abroad. Not a
                      single word was said of his intent to abolish the
                      Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration. Two days
                      later, on 5 May, Archpriest Pashkovsky wanted
                      to visit the Patriarch again, to say goodbye, but was
                      denied entry, the Patriarch’s residence being
                      surrounded by the GPU (the secret police).

                      Can one really believe that under such circumstances
                      the Patriarch freely signed a document….”

                      I would add that it is even more certain that the Holy
                      Synod was not able to meet on the date this decree was
                      issued, much less decide anything — since most of
                      them were in prision or dead, and the Patriarch and
                      what was left of the Holy Synod were under house
                      arrest
                      and being interigated by the GPU.

                      “Further proof of the irregularity of Patriarchal
                      decree no. 342 comes from Archpriest Vasilly
                      Vinogradov, a member of the Holy Synod under
                      Patriarch Tikhon and the head of the Diocesan Council
                      of Moscow. He reports that the Patriarch and members
                      of the Holy Synod were put under house arrest until
                      they agreed to publish the above decree. The Soviet
                      Government demanded the defroking and excommunication
                      of the clergy abroad because they felt threated by the
                      decision of the Council of Bishops of the Russian
                      Church Abroad to appeal to the Genoa World Conference
                      of Churches to fight Communism. Patriarch Tikhon and
                      his Synod did not comply with the Soviet demands. The
                      government then threatened to execute large numbers of
                      clergy in Moscow if there was no cooperation. This
                      forced the Patriarch to publish the decree, which
                      INCIDENTLY WAS NOT SIGNED BY THE PATRIARCH HIMSELF BUT
                      BY AN ARCHBISHOP THADDEUS [empasis mine, Orthodox
                      life, ibid., p 15. [the article here references
                      Archpriest I Chernavin, The Russian Church Abroad and
                      the Moscow Patriarchate, New York, 1945, p.6, see also
                      p. 56 of Bishop Gregory’s book, to see who signed the
                      decree).

                      2) THE DECREE ABOLISHING THE METROPOLIA, A COMPARRISON
                      OF RESPONSES:

                      Bishop Gregory scoffs at the ROCA’s attempt to comply
                      with the decree while at the same time, not allowing
                      it to stop the functioning of the Administration of
                      the Church outside of Russia:

                      “As we can see, the decree of Patriarch Tikhon –
                      notwithstanding the “blessing” and “epression of full
                      obedience and filial devotion” – was not obeyed”
                      (Bishop Gregory (Afonsky), p 61). And he goes on to
                      cite an Ukaz issued by Met. Segei which in 1934
                      “suspended the whole clergy of the “Karlovtsy Group””
                      (Ibid., p 66).

                      But when faced with the Patriarchal Decree of
                      1-16-1924 (no. 28)Bishop Gregory cites the following
                      reactions of the American Church, which he quotes
                      approvingly:

                      “In the Russian Church there is now chaos, and
                      therefore it is necessary finally “to create our own
                      firm Church Authority, absolutely insured against any
                      direct or indirect influence of the Soviet Regime” (p.
                      91).

                      On P. 93 the Decree No. 362 or 20 Novemer 1920 is
                      invoked — which decree only applies to diocese on
                      Russian soil, and only during the Russian Revolution
                      — according to Bishop Gregory when he says that
                      the Russian Church Abroad abused this decree… more
                      to come on this).

                      The following come from the resolutions of the
                      American Council of 4-2-1924:

                      “2. To recognize that the order of the Patriarch, if
                      it was indeed given, cannot be executed, since it is
                      beyond the bounds of the authority which should be in
                      accordance with the ecclesiastical court procedures.
                      Instead it appears to have been forged” (p. 93).

                      Also, for those who deny that the Metropolia was ever
                      a part of the ROCA:

                      “All of our Hierarchs, headed by Metropolitan
                      Theophilus, are a part of the Bishop’s Council of the
                      Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which is the

                      the highest ecclesiastical organ for the entire
                      Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and which remains, at
                      the same time, an inseperable part of the All-Russian
                      Church” [Russian American Messenger, November, 1936,
                      No. 3, pp. 33-34. This is a quote from the 1936
                      American Council at Pittsburg.]

                      “My conscience does not permit me to submit to the
                      Patriarch [of Moscow]. In the future the Synod Abroad
                      will come to America, and therefore it is not
                      necessary for us to break ties with it” [The future
                      Metropolia Metropolitan, then Archbishop Leonty, qtd
                      in Talberg, “The Russian Orthodox Church in North
                      America,” Jordanville, 1954, p 122]

                      “Metropolitan Platon of New York (1866 – 1934), like
                      Evlogy, separated from the Karlovtzy Synod in 1926…”
                      (Orthodox Church, p. 184)

                      “At the `reunion’ conference in Yugoslavia in 1935
                      Platon’s successor Metropolitan Theophilus, rejoined
                      the Karlovtzy jurisdiction. In 1946, however, at the
                      Synod of Cleveland, a divsion occured among the
                      Russians in America. Five of the nine bishops present
                      at this Synod, and a minority of the delegates from
                      the parishes, decided to remain subject
                      to the Karlovtzy-Munich group under Anastasy, but the
                      other four bishops (including Theophilus himself),
                      with a large majority of the parochial
                      delegates, decided to submit to the Moscow
                      Patriarchate, on condition that the Patriarchate
                      allowed them to retain their `complete autonomy as
                      it exists at present.’ At that time the Patriarchate
                      was unable to consent to this.” [So they were in
                      schism with both the MP and ROCA] [Bishop Kallistos
                      (Timothy Ware) “The Orthodox Church”, p 184]

                      AN EXCURSUS ON UKAZ 362:

                      The Charge:

                      Ukaz 362 of 7/20 November 1920 was illegitimately used
                      by ROCA to justify it’s canonical position.

                      “Decree #362 made by Patriarch Tikhon’s together with
                      the Holy Synod and the High Church Council on 20
                      November 1920, was directed to the diocesan bishops in
                      Russia during the Civil War. Neither the text
                      nor the spirit of this decree refers to refugee
                      bishops who abandoned their own dioceses” [Afonsky,
                      1994, p.64].

                      After reading this strong statement of Bishop Gregory,
                      I was puzzled to later read on pages 33, 34, 93, 110,
                      117, 119, that this same Ukaz was used to justify the
                      seperation of the OCA from the MP — the OCA was not a
                      diocese in Russia, nor did they only invoke the Ukaz
                      during the Russian Civil War.

                      Just to give one example:

                      “And Bishop Theophil continued:

                      For those who are wondering about the future path
                      of our
                      Orthodox Church in America, we suggest they study
                      the
                      decrees of Patriarch Tikhon, No. 362 of November
                      20 1920,
                      and of his holiness, no. 41 of September 29, 1923”
                      (Bishop Gregory (Afonsky), p 119.

                      =====
                      ********************************************************
                      * Fr. John Whiteford IC -|- XC *
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                      * St. Jonah of Manchuria Orthodox Mission | *
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                    • Isa Almisry says

                      “the conclusion of the American courts was the same as mine: the Metropolia had acknowledged the supremacy of the ROCOR synod so the churches were the property of the ROC(OR)”
                      No, that was not the conclusion of either the American courts nor the Canadian, whose review above shows that.

                    • Isa,

                      Let me see if I understand you correctly. You rely on an opinion of a Canadian court deciding a different matter as evidence of what American courts held regarding Tikhon’s letter of 9/23/1923. You rely on a quote from the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate from the 1950’s, a period when both the Metropolia and the ROCOR had rejected the authority of Moscow, for proof that the ukaz was not a forgery.

                      And I’m supposed to consider myself corrected? Dream on.

                    • “You rely on an opinion of a Canadian court deciding a different matter as evidence of what American courts held regarding Tikhon’s letter of 9/23/1923. You rely on a quote from the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate from the 1950′s, a period when both the Metropolia and the ROCOR had rejected the authority of Moscow, for proof that the ukaz was not a forgery. And I’m supposed to consider myself corrected?”
                      Yes, and confused as well.

                      ROCOR mention incessantly and make much of lower courts decisions dismissing the Ukaz (NOT letter) of 9/23/1923 as a forgery. The Canadian decision, with the similar competence as the lower courts, points out the errors in that, and the Superior New York Court and the US Supreme Court concurred, treating the Ukaz as authentic (whether it is valid or not you can dispute-without success-but whether it is a forgery or not doesn’t depend on a canonical court), as the Moscow Patriarchate later confirmed in its official organ overviewing the whole matter. What relevance does the “rejection” of Moscow’s authority have to do with the allegation of fraud? Even if both ROCOR and the OCA accepted Moscow’s authority in 1957, it still would not have the authority to authenticate a fraud (although it could validate one)? Both recognize Moscow’s authority now, and Moscow position on the matter hasn’t changed.
                      As of 1970, at the latest 2007, the issue has been moot as to validity, rendering it purely a matter of history. And history has authenticated the Ukaz.

                    • Isa,

                      Let me be very clear once and for all what I think so there is no confusion:

                      No lawyer worth his salt would quote a Canadian court rejecting the reasoning of an American court regarding an issue as evidence of what the American court actually held in the case.

                      Second, who could possibly care what the Moscow Patriarchate said was legitimate or not in 1957 as far as patriarchal decrees or letters? The source is completely compromised to the point of being rejected out of hand. This was Khrushchev’s Soviet Union which was harder on the Church in Russia even than Stalin. I read at one point that under Khrushchev at one point there were only 500 functioning churches in the whole country. A KGB controlled Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate is indicative of absolutely nothing more than the calculations of the Committee for State Security as to what they wish the truth to be on that particular day. But of course, the tome of a KGB controlled MP is not worth the paper it is written on either unless it is somehow confirmed later by a free Church actually capable of issuing decisions originating elsewhere than the Lubyanka.

                      Contemporary accounts state that the Patriarch wished to stay out of the matter and deferred to the Church Abroad. The letter/ukaz was a forgery and even if it hadn’t been it would still likely be illegitimate because of the way it was adopted (and really, what does it matter?).

                      Now, I have better things to do than listen to warmed over lies from OCA apologists who can’t do any better than quote an organ of the KGB (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate) to support their point or who reject the findings of American courts that had to decide property matters on the basis of who was in charge and instead accept a Canadian court’s summary of an American court’s reasoning when the Canadian court was ruling on another issue.

                      Really, you should have given up this fool’s errand quite some time ago in face of the irrefutable fact that Metropolia hierarchs sat on the Karlovtsy synod, openly proclaimed allegiance to ROCOR and announced it to their faithful, and asked and received permission to promote and consecrate bishops from the Church Abroad.

                      As to your opinions regarding canon law: Become a bishop and then they might have some significance other than as polite conversation at a cocktail party.

                      http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/roca_history.aspx

                      – St. John Maximovitch’s account of the history of ROCOR

                      http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/schmem_azkoul2.aspx

                      – including another nice little summary and this:

                      “Many United States civil courts agree with the contentions of the Synod. For example, the Opinion of the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of Los Angeles (Judge Joseph W. Vickers) stated in 1949 regarding the Metropolia, “In November 1946, at an All-American Sobor held in Cleveland, a resolution was adopted which purported to terminate the 1935 Provisional Agreement and to sever all relationship with the Church Abroad. The effect of the resolution was to declare the North American District (Metropolia) to be autonomous and subject only to such relationship as it could establish with Patriarch Alexy and his Holy Synod of Moscow.” Elsewhere the Opinion continues, “If Metropolitan Theophilus and the Sobor had believed that Patriarch Alexy and his Synod was the Supreme Church Administration, they would have had no choice in the matter and would not have admitted that they had not theretofore been subservient thereto or attempted to place any conditions upon their recognition of its supremacy. In addition, the Holy Synod of the Church Abroad has repeatedly declared that a canonical Supreme Administration has not been restored in Russia. Since it appears from the pleadings, the evidence and the admissions and contentions of all parties that free church life has not been restored in Russia, the court must find that the Church Abroad is still the Supreme Administration of Russia.” The Conclusion of the Opinion refers to the Metropolia as “a schismatic and unlawful faction or group.” The Synod, consequently, was awarded the Holy Transfiguration church.”

                      I suppose I’ve had enough of these silly little exchanges. ROCOR and a free MP have reunited and the Russian Church is quite active in the United States, continuing to open up and operate traditional Orthodox churches, monasteries, etc. for both Russians and American converts. What might become of the OCA is up to its adherents and the good (or ill) will of the other Orthodox. The position of the ROC and ROCOR are quite secure.

  14. Timothy Wearing says

    Misha,

    First off, Fitzgerald doesn’t know what he is talking about and does not have access to “OFFICIAL” documents.

    As I mentioned before, the Metropolia was established in 1794. As an independent and permanent diocese in America, it was established in 1870. The Karlovtsy Synod was a “temporary” organization (waiting to go back to Russia) in 1922. After the Russian Revolution, Pat. Tikhon did appoint Arbp. Alexander in 1920 and Met. Platon in 1922 to the American diocese. The “deserted” Russian bishops who abandoned their Russian diocese and formed the “Synod,” were never considered as “canonically” empowered to appoint any bishop to the American diocese. Pat. Tikhon’s appointment of Met. Platon to the American diocese was acknowledged by the “Synod,” ukaz No. 3613. It should be noted here that the “Synod” ended up in Serbia because they were thrown out of Constantinople/Istanbul for usurping power and authority that wasn’t theirs. This seems to be their MO. In later years, Met. Platon occasionally took part in the work of the Synod, created by Met. Eulogius. He agreed that the “Synod” did not have any canonical power, but could play a coordinating role between various Russian groups outside of Russia. WHEN THE SYNOD OVERSTEPPED ITS RIGHTS AND BEGAN TO CHALLEGE THE DECISIONS OF CANONICALLY APPOINTED BISHOPS, MET. PLATON LEFT IT, TOGETHER WITH MET. EULOGIUS (1926). Platon’s successor, Met. Theophilus, accepted the invitation of Serbian Pat. Barnabas to join other Russian bishops in a RECONCILIATION ATTEMPT (1935). The attempt took placletius)e and resulted in the adopted “TEMPORARY STATUTES,” coordinating the work of four Russian ecclesiastical districts or “Metropolias”: 1) Middle East and Balkans (Met. Antony and the “Synod”) 2) Western Europe (Met. Eulogius) 3) America (Met. Theophilus) 4) The Far-East (Met. Meletius) The West European Metropolitanate under Met. Eulogius, almost immediately rescinded the agreement and remained under Constantinople which it had joined in 1931. America, on the other hand, was bound by its Statute which stipulated that its highest administrative organ was the All-American Council which included bishops, clergy and laity. The Council, meeting in Pittsburgh in 1936, showed very little enthusiasm for “The Temporary Statutes,” which linked the LARGE AND PERMANENTLY-ESTABLISHED LOCAL AMERICAN CHURCH TO TEMPORARY EMIGRE FORMATIONS IN EUROPE. However, it yielded to the authority of Met. Theophilus who formally declared at the Council: “‘The Temporary Statutes’ carry a moral significance more than an administrative one; it shows our union, our unity, but they do not bind us.” (Minutes of the Pittsburgh Sobor) The All-American Council would remain the SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY FOR THE CHURCH IN AMERICA, AS SPECIFIED IN ITS OWN BY-LAWS. In the interval between 1937 and 1946, World War II interrupted any council regarding church administration. In 1946, the Sobor of Cleveland, Ohio, considered that the “temporary arrangement” of 1935 was no longer in effect. By this time, the “Synod” was deprived of the patronage of the Serbian Church, which secured at least some connection with canonical Orthodoxy, while the American Metropolitanate reaffirmed its goal of becoming a “local American Church,” in communion with all the other Orthodox Churches of the world.

  15. Timothy Wearing says

    Misha,

    First off, Fitzgerald doesn’t know what he is talking about and does not have access to “OFFICIAL” documents.

    As I mentioned before, the Metropolia was established in 1794. As an independent and permanent diocese in America, it was established in 1870. The Karlovtsy Synod was a “temporary” organization (waiting to go back to Russia) in 1922. After the Russian Revolution, Pat. Tikhon did appoint Arbp. Alexander in 1920 and Met. Platon in 1922 to the American diocese. The “deserted” Russian bishops who abandoned their Russian diocese and formed the “Synod,” were never considered as “canonically” empowered to appoint any bishop to the American diocese. Pat. Tikhon’s appointment of Met. Platon to the American diocese was acknowledged by the “Synod,” ukaz No. 3613. It should be noted here that the “Synod” ended up in Serbia because they were thrown out of Constantinople/Istanbul for usurping power and authority that wasn’t theirs. This seems to be their MO. In later years, Met. Platon occasionally took part in the work of the Synod, created by Met. Eulogius. He agreed that the “Synod” did not have any canonical power, but could play a coordinating role between various Russian groups outside of Russia. WHEN THE SYNOD OVERSTEPPED ITS RIGHTS AND BEGAN TO CHALLEGE THE DECISIONS OF CANONICALLY APPOINTED BISHOPS, MET. PLATON LEFT IT, TOGETHER WITH MET. EULOGIUS (1926). Platon’s successor, Met. Theophilus, accepted the invitation of Serbian Pat. Barnabas to join other Russian bishops in a RECONCILIATION ATTEMPT (1935). The attempt took placletius)e and resulted in the adopted “TEMPORARY STATUTES,” coordinating the work of four Russian ecclesiastical districts or “Metropolias”: 1) Middle East and Balkans (Met. Antony and the “Synod”) 2) Western Europe (Met. Eulogius) 3) America (Met. Theophilus) 4) The Far-East (Met. Meletius) The West European Metropolitanate under Met. Eulogius, almost immediately rescinded the agreement and remained under Constantinople which it had joined in 1931. America, on the other hand, was bound by its Statute which stipulated that its highest administrative organ was the All-American Council which included bishops, clergy and laity. The Council, meeting in Pittsburgh in 1936, showed very little enthusiasm for “The Temporary Statutes,” which linked the LARGE AND PERMANENTLY-ESTABLISHED LOCAL AMERICAN CHURCH TO TEMPORARY EMIGRE FORMATIONS IN EUROPE. However, it yielded to the authority of Met. Theophilus who formally declared at the Council: “‘The Temporary Statutes’ carry a moral significance more than an administrative one; it shows our union, our unity, but they do not bind us.” (Minutes of the Pittsburgh Sobor) The All-American Council would remain the SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY FOR THE CHURCH IN AMERICA, AS SPECIFIED IN ITS OWN BY-LAWS. In the interval between 1937 and 1946, World War II interrupted any council regarding church administration. In 1946, the Sobor of Cleveland, Ohio, considered that the “temporary arrangement” of 1935 was no longer in effect. By this time, the “Synod” was deprived of the patronage of the Serbian Church, which secured at least some connection with canonical Orthodoxy, while the American Metropolitanate reaffirmed its goal of becoming a “local American Church,” in communion with all the other Orthodox Churches of the world.

    • “As I mentioned before, the Metropolia was established in 1794.”

      Timothy,

      If you begin with a willful lie, you are not open to even seeing the truth. The ROC had a presence here in the 1700’s. There was no “Metropolia” until at least the 1920’s, no “OCA” before 1970 – period. The Russian Orthodox Church in North America had no metropolitan, nor was it independent or even autonomous in any sense before the 20th century. It was simply the Russian Orthodox Church (in North America).

      As to the rest, you have several insoluble problems with which to contend. Several Metropolia bishops served on the ROCOR synod almost from the beginning. Metropolia bishops themselves believed, wrote and addressed themselves to their own flock as part of the ROCOR. The Metropolia also requested approval for higher church promotions of bishops and, later, approval to consecrate. Also, in the internal letter of the five professors I quoted, those “experts” in ecclesiastical matters on whom the Metropolia relied stated unequivocally that the Metropolia had not merely affiliated but submitted itself to the authority of the ROCOR.

      The entire history you quote is simply a lie propogated by those in the OCA who calculated that it was advantageous to whitewash their past and defame fellow Orthodox in order to bolster their assumed status as an autocephalous Church and the “successor” of the Russian mission in America.

      • Timothy Wearing says

        Misha,

        I will not argue with a fool engrossed with ROCOR propaganda. Again, if you study original documents doing original research, it is clear that ROCOR had no canonical standing until the last several years when they submitted themselves to Moscow. The canons are clear, bishops are appointed to serve a particular city or locale and have no authority outside where their appointment is. Canon Law does not allow bishops or priests “at large.” If they are not serving where they are appointed, they are returned to the laos. The bishops that made up ROCOR, ABANDONED THEIR PEOPLE AND DIOCESES. They ran like dogs to escape the Communists. They were cowards. Once they abandoned their dioceses, they had NO canonical authority. Furthermore, because the “Karlovtsy Administration” was meddling in church politics within Russia and endangering many priests and bishops, Pat. Tikhon DISSOLVED THE KARLOVTSY ADMINISTRATION IN 1922 MAKING IT VOID OF ANY CANONICAL AUTHORITY. The Ukaz is: May 22/5, 1922, No. 349 if you wish to do your own research, however, I’m sure ROCOR has hidden this document from any light in some deep, dark dungeon.

        • Isa Almisry says

          I’m not sure of the accuracy of “running like dogs to escape the Communists,” “cowards,” or “abandoning their dioceses” is totally accurate.

          That Pat. St. TIkhon dissolved the synod and it had no canonical basis for its claims is totally accurate.

        • Timothy,

          I’m sure you must have researched the issue enough to know that the original ROCOR synod dissolved, then reconstituted under uk. 362. Or maybe not, you are rather poorly informed.

          Regardless, the Metrolpolitan hierarchs most certainly believed that they were under the ROCOR synod, as I have demonstrated. The Metropolia/OCA maliciously lie regarding their history. Their own scholars stated unequivocally that the Metropolia submitted itself to ROCOR. They applied to ROCOR to approve the movement and consecration of bishops.

          Face it. It’s not a serious question. The documents are all in public.

          Now, Isa has a problem with the canonicity of the whole thing. That’s fine. He’s welcome to his own opinion. But that is all it is, his opinion. The personal opinion of one Orthodox believer is irrelevant in a situation like this. The question is what did the bishops at the time believe was the case, taking into account canon law.

          That is completely settled. The Metropolia hierarchs believed they were, for certain periods, under the ROCOR synod – an integral part of the Church Abroad.

          That’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned. The OCA can invent any fantastic rationalizations they wish but they simply can’t change history, documents or the known facts.

          They really should retract their drivel and apologize for their predecessors’ prevarications and defamations.

          Don’t hold your breath.

          • Isa Almisry says

            “I’m sure you must have researched the issue enough to know that the original ROCOR synod dissolved, then reconstituted under uk. 362. Or maybe not, you are rather poorly informed.”
            or maybe he recognizes that the “reconstitution” meant nothing.

            “Regardless, the Metrolpolitan hierarchs most certainly believed that they were under the ROCOR synod, as I have demonstrated. ”
            No, you have asserted. The Metropolitans Evology and Platon-and for that matter Theophilos-worked with ROCOR, but that is not the same as working under it. Otherwise Chambessy has already given the Phanar the Universal jurisdiction it claims.

            “The Metropolia/OCA maliciously lie regarding their history.”
            you are going to wear out your projector.

            “The documents are all in public”
            That includes Ukaz 41 confirming the appointment of Metropolitan Platon over the Metropolia by the Supreme Church Administration of Ukaz 362, and that’s not the Karlovsky Synod.

            “Now, Isa has a problem with the canonicity of the whole thing. That’s fine. He’s welcome to his own opinion. But that is all it is, his opinion. The personal opinion of one Orthodox believer is irrelevant in a situation like this. The question is what did the bishops at the time believe was the case, taking into account canon law.”
            That makea it an even easier case, given that canon law-at least Orthodox canon law-knows nothing of Synod of Bishops who abandoned (for whatever reason, voluntary or involuntary) outside their jurisdiction having jurisdiction over Bishops in their sees. Organizations who lack a canonical basis for their existence have no standing, and hence no authority nor jurisdiction, under canon law.

            “That is completely settled. The Metropolia hierarchs believed they were, for certain periods, under the ROCOR synod – an integral part of the Church Abroad. That’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned. The OCA can invent any fantastic rationalizations they wish but they simply can’t change history, documents or the known facts.”
            I think I smell your projector burning out. “That’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned.” Well, I guess Rome has spoken. Infallible pontiff completely settle things-at least in their own minds and those who adhere to their presuppositions-no matter what the facts say.

      • Isa Almisry says

        “their assumed status as an autocephalous Church and the “successor” of the Russian mission in America.”
        Unfortunately for you, the Supreme Church Administration per Ukaz 362 recognized the Metropolia/OCA as the successor of the Russian mission in America, and granted it autocephaly. As such it has Met. St. Innocent (or, if you prefer, Bishop St. Innocent)’s Cathedral in Sitka,Patriarch St. Tikhon (or, if you prefer, Bishop St. Tikhon)’s Cathedral in San Francisco, and had the only other claim to the Cathedral of the latter in New York City-ROCOR never had a claim-other than the Patriarchate of Moscow itself.

        And that is that.

        • Isa,

          362 granted the Metropolia autocephaly?. That’s simply a willful lie.

          Your problem is not me, Isa. It is Metropolitan hierarchs of ages past who refute what you say by their statements.

          • Isa Almisry says

            “362 granted the Metropolia autocephaly?. That’s simply a willful lie.”
            About as willful as mendacious as claiming I said it did. The Tomos did that.
            What 362 also did not do was make the Karlvoski Synod the Church of Russia/Patriarchate of Moscow.

            “Your problem is not me, Isa. It is Metropolitan hierarchs of ages past who refute what you say by their statements.”
            The statements of Metropolitans of Kyiv and Chișinău who failed to hold their sees and lacked jurisdiction in North America have no bearing under Ukaz 362 on the OCA. The Patriarch of Moscow and his Holy Synod do, and they have spoken.

        • St. Tikhon was also in Chicago at Holy Trinity Cathedral

          • Isa Almisry says

            St. Tikhon consecated Holy Trinity Cathedral and pesonally named Theophilus (whom St. Tikhon brought back with him to Russia to serve with him in Poland until his own elevation to Moscow) to be consecrated as its bishop when St. Tikhon had become Patriarch and Theophilus had become widowered.

  16. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Thomas FitzGerald is a professor at Hellenic College. You disparage the man without engaging with his work or argumentation. Therefore, you have failed to refute Professor Fitzgerald’s findings and conclusions. I hope you take a different approach in the future.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Timothy Wearing says

      Peter,

      I know Thomas FitzGerald personally. If he can’t or is unable to get his American Church History right, that is his problem not mine. There are many people who think they are church historians and then there are REAL Church Historians. The facts that I’ve laid out above are OBJECTIVE and part of actual American Church History. The Metropolia/OCA was NEVER part of ROCOR. Many people (esp. in ROCOR) have tried and are still trying to “re-write” the history of the Orthodox Church in North America. Even the Greeks are trying to do this; without success. Original documents of events exist and those trying to re-write history should spend more time doing original research with original documents.

      • Why are you all debating about Fitzgerald? He merely quoted a letter signed by five professors in the Metropolia whose task was to evaluate their situation for the Metropolia synod. No need to attack the messenger. All you need to do is disprove the quote from the letter.

  17. Seraphim98 says

    Doesn’t a lot of this back and forth over the history miss a good bit of the present point? The problem on the ground is not historical or a question of the canons. When I was in the Navy one of the things we were taught was that no matter who has the technical right of way in a meeting between two vessels, the law that matters in the moment is not the Law of the Sea or Admiralty or any of that, but rather the law of gross tonnage. A sailboat with the right of way meeting a cargo ship that doesn’t see her will not survive the first assertion of her rights.

    Let’s say the Tomos is as canonical as canonical can be, still very few big Orthodox Churches recognize it’s authority. Let’s say there were all kinds of canonical irregularities with the establishment of ROCOR…all moot since things have been patched up with the MP. The reality on the ground is that most Orthodox communion’s don’t recognize the OCA tomos, and now given the troubles the OCA has had managing its own affairs…the Met. Jonah one being one of the more public and more recent, now ROC seems to be acting in ways that suggest the Tomos means little to them anymore…like a bad idea that seemed good at the time but now you just pretend it doesn’t exist and hope it goes away…or ecclesiastical sentiments to that effect. Is a general still a general in any way that matters if his men refuse to obey him?

    As things stand I get the feeling the rest of Orthodoxy is just waiting for the OCA to fade and crumble more and more until it ceases to be functional and then Mother Russia and other jurisdictions will step in to pick up the scraps….and at some point the question of an autocephalous American church will be visited again under other circumstances.

    We can brandish our tomos all day long with all the energy we an muster, but until our little sail boat grows up into something significantly more substantive with respect to global Orthodoxy…well we have the law of gross tonnage to guide our actions and expectations until then.

    • Isa Almisry says

      “Let’s say the Tomos is as canonical as canonical can be, still very few big Orthodox Churches recognize it’s authority.”
      The largest-which outnumbers all the others put together many times over-granted it. The OCA it created is the second largest (admittedly a distant second) Church on the continent in question. The second largest Church to recognize its authority, Bulgaria, outnumbers 11 of the 14 besides the OCA in multiples, and is nearly the same as a 12th (Serbia). Only Romania fits your description-but then it doesn’t recognize Moscow’s exclusive jurisdiction in Russia either.

      “As things stand I get the feeling the rest of Orthodoxy is just waiting for the OCA to fade and crumble more and more until it ceases to be functional and then Mother Russia and other jurisdictions will step in to pick up the scraps….and at some point the question of an autocephalous American church will be visited again under other circumstances.”
      Stalin similarly waited for the Russian Orthodox Church to disappear, and tried to help it along that path.
      If the OCA hasn’t managed to destroy itself already, it won’t be fade and crumble more and more until it ceases to exist.

      Russia has a vested interest in the OCA-it knows that the Phanar is waiting with its canon 28 to say “told you so!”-and that ship has a lot of gross tonnage. And a sailboat loaded with explosive material, as the Cole incident shows, respects no gross tonnage-particularly that of dilapidated barge hauling the dead wait of a fallen empire.

      And a large ship of the grossest tonnage still needs the tugboat to guide it safely into harbor to unload its tonnage.

    • John Hanaberg says

      Seraphim,

      You like many here don’t get it. The OCA’s authocephaly was granted by the ROC. It is canonical. The OCA is in communion with every canonical Orthodox Church on earth. De facto, it is recognized. Now, Istanbul and its cronies wish not to recognize the OCA’s “FORMAL” call of autocephaly because if it did, CANONICALY, all the Greek churches in N. Am. would have to come under her omophor. It’s a political thing. Now, funny thing about this is that NO FOREIGN bishop has any canonical authority in N. Am.; Greek, Russian, Arab, etc. So, your arguments are moot.

      • Michael Bauman says

        If it were not for the foreign bishops there would be no Orthodox Church in this country at all. Even the OCA would not exist.

        If y’all like the OCA, that is great. Now, how ’bout putting a sock in it and allow everybody to work on living an Orthodox life with as much fullness as possible in whatever parish one happens, by the grace of Jesus Christ, to find themselves. Canonical or not, the Orthodox parish in which I worship every Sunday is full of the presence of God. Why Jesus Christ wants me there is a constant mystery to me, but He seems to. That’s enough for me.

        • Isa Almisry says

          “These were bishops without any authority and without any dioceses. Canon Law dictates that they therefore become laymen”
          We have had our own bishops in North America at least since 1904.

          “If y’all like the OCA, that is great. Now, how ’bout putting a sock in it and allow everybody to work on living an Orthodox life with as much fullness as possible in whatever parish one happens, by the grace of Jesus Christ, to find themselves.”
          Just playing by the same rules any Church at home plays by. The canons call for One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Church, One Bishop, One jurisdiction. The Phanar (witness the fuss it made over the Bulgarians) nor Moscow (notice that ROCOR had to close its parishes in Russia, Ukraine, etc.) would not tolerate anything less, why should Washington or Ottowa?

          • Does that not bring it into bold relief? It is a few posters on blogs, mostly laity, who are suggesting that the OCA is the only canonical jurisdiction here and all foreign bishops are invalid. It is not the bishops of the OCA synod who are telling Constantinople, Moscow, Damascus, Belgrade, etc., to join or go home.

            And that silence is deafening.

            Nonetheless, I suspect I’ve been harder on the OCA than I intended to due to the heat of the polemics. I’m sure that what I’ve laid out is true; however, what to do with the truth? I know many good Orthodox Christians in the OCA. I may not agree with them on this or that matter of ecclesiology or practice, but that is not the point. Looking at it from the perspective of Orthodoxy in America, I certainly wish no demise on the OCA. They are canonical in the sense of being Orthodox Christians just like the rest of us, their churches have grace, etc.

            • “Does that not bring it into bold relief?”
              Estonia, the New Lands in Greece, the Serbian Dioceses of Timisoara and Slovakia, the Romanian Diocese of Dacia Felix in Serbia, the Metropolitinate of Bessarabia in the former Soviet Union, the Church of Moldova,…..no, it fits right in.

              “It is a few posters on blogs, mostly laity, who are suggesting that the OCA is the only canonical jurisdiction here and all foreign bishops are invalid. It is not the bishops of the OCA synod who are telling Constantinople, Moscow, Damascus, Belgrade, etc., to join or go home.”
              That’s not the tone the Tomos struck.

              Confirming the Autocephaly of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America, we bless her to call herself The Holy Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America; we acknowledge and proclaim her our Sister Church, and we invite all local Orthodox Churches and their Primates and their faithful children to acknowledge her as such and to include her in the dyptichs in accordance with the Canons of the Church, the traditions of the Fathers and ecclesiastical practice.
              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.
              With profound, sincere joy, We announce this to the Fullness of the Church and We do not cease thanking the All-Gracious Almighty God, who directs all in the world by His right hand for the good and the salvation of mankind, for the successful and final formation of Autocephaly, and we entreat the all-powerful blessing of God upon the younger Sister in the family of local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.
              May the Consubstantial and Life-creating and Undivided Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, acting on Its own wondrous providence, send down on the Archpastors, Pastors and Faithful Children of the Holy Autocephalous Orthodox American Church Its heavenly, unfailing help, and may It bless with success all her future endeavors for the good of the Holy Church.

              As for ROCOR, smoke from polemic may obscure my views on it. I never communed with it in North America before the Act of Canonical Communion (but have since then) but did go to their services (including the consecration of a Cathedral), and did commune with them in Jerusalem (although at the time I was in the OCA).

              • Two things, Isa.

                First, one or two anomolies in this or that local church is not the same as 8-10 or more open and apparently welcome incursions into the territory of the OCA.

                Second, the fact that the Tomos described a very weak version of autocephaly does not at all detract from my point. The “tone” just adds fuel to the fire.

                Regards,

                Misha

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          If there were five or ten million active Orthodox in North America, there would be no foreign bishops. Until then, there will have to be.

          • You are suggesting we don’t have enough bishop candidates to maintain large geographical, overlapping territories? The logic is somewhat circular Tim-not trying to offend, but it sounds like ‘we need to continue to behave wrongly to support this wrong’.

            How many Orthodox bishops are there and how many does the US need if the churches are all one? Sounds like dissertation material-sort of…

            Has anyone ever written a book on the stuff?

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              No, I’m just saying that if we were big, rather than tiny, it would all become moot in the ordinary course of things. So– grow!

      • Michael Bauman says

        In addition, if the OCA were out evangelizing the U.S. and ministering to ALL of the Orthodox immigrants, they might have a case. Otherwise it is just a little hot air in a large balloon. The result–hyperventilation and dizziness but no flight.

        • Isa Almisry says

          Someone is inhaling the helium.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Speaking of evangelism, I had an interesting conversation at our church picnic last Sunday, with a couple of guys who were Orthodox latecomers, such as myself. One came in by marriage, although after a long period where he wasn’t interested.

          The other guy has a young family, and an Adventist background. It happened that he got interested in Orthodoxy by reading, etc., and moved on from there in a not-unfamiliar trajectory.

          The interesting part about his story is that he came to know some Orthodox early on, and when he eventually peppered them with questions, they told him that, while the “Orthodox do not proselytise”, they were happy to help him out, now that he had raised the subject repeatedly. Sort of like the Masons, I thought!

          I hadn’t heard it put that way before, although as a practical matter it sure seems that way. I wonder how widespread such a view is?

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Then there’s not merely non-proselytization, there’s the anti-proselytization. I love my church and its people and its outstanding priest. But the church has a sign on the front of the building in bold letters that identifies it as St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. This means to 999 out of a thousand who pass by that this church has nothing to offer them. Except, of course, the extremely popular festival, which compounds the problem: the Church is right up there with Zorba, baklava, and retsina, for one big fun weekend.

            The church could keep all of its traditions and all of the Greek it still uses in the services, and change the sign, which might tell people that you don’t have to be a Greek to join, or even care.

            Why does this ethnicity persist down the generations, long after other ethnicities stopped this sort of self-identification in their churches– generations ago?
            This particular church, after all, was founded 90 years ago by Asia-Minor Greeks.

            • Tim,

              That is difficult to say but you definitely have run into one of the problems the Church has. First of all, “proselytization” is word normally used by Jews for Christian attempts to convert them to Christianity (like, for instance, St. Paul’s first order of business whenever he entered a new town).

              I would rather not use the word at all. Call it “evangelism” and it is a big and obligatory part of the Church’s mission in the world. Greeks and Arabs have had a different experience with this than Russians for historical reasons. Greeks and Arab Christians, being under Muslim rule, were very cautious regarding evangelism because lives were at stake. The penalty for apostasy from Islam under shariah is death.

              Nonetheless, and almost stunningly, I’ve heard Greeks in church say, “why do they [Anglo-Americans] want our churches, they have their own.” That has been a problem. Yet the Greek church appears to be getting better at this. The Antiochians seem to have shed this tendency some time ago, at least overall.

              But the main problem with American Orthodoxy, besides a lack of orthopraxis, is the self-image which most Orthodox carry around as being an ethnically defined “denomination”, neither better nor worse than any other church. This is fatal to the success of Orthodoxy in this country. Formerly, in lands where Orthodoxy actually took root and became the dominant, if not exclusive, religion, there was a clear, bright line drawn between Orthodoxy/The Church and Heterodoxy/Paganism/Not-the-Church. Without that, we are just one more church on Main Street, USA and there is no good reason for others to convert.

            • Protopappas says

              “…the church has a sign on the front of the building in bold letters that identifies it as St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. This means to 999 out of a thousand who pass by that this church has nothing to offer them. Except, of course, the extremely popular festival, which compounds the problem: the Church is right up there with Zorba, baklava, and retsina, for one big fun weekend.
              The church could keep all of its traditions and all of the Greek it still uses in the services, and change the sign, which might tell people that you don’t have to be a Greek to join, or even care.”

              That’s true. I was speaking with a friend of mine who mentioned “its bad enough that we have to have ‘Orthodox’ on the sign (because people see it as a “denomination”), but at least it references the faith,” yet the ethnic descriptive almost ensures that only the most studious of seekers will overcome the immense hurtle of “St.___ Not-your-ethnicity Church.” Then I hear people say, “well its not the ethnicity referenced, it is the language.” Ok, so they read “Holy___Not-your-language Church.” You know, Fr. Chakos in Pittsburgh for years did not have either Greek or Orthodox on his sign (in the Bishop Maximos days), it was just “Holy Cross Church,” and that church was “hoppin” as they say. Likewise, Fr. Veronis in Lancaster just had “Annunciation Orthodox Church” and was full every Sunday.

              I remember a bishop once remarking to me that eminent Lutheran scholar Jaroslav Pelikan (on hearing of his conversion) was “always Orthodox, really.” Despite the rantings on blogs and forums by the hyperdox, I often wonder if this is true of many Christians who have beliefs that coincide with Orthodoxy, want to cling to the universal (catholic) church, but pass by “St._Not-your-ethnicity (and hence not universal) Church,” to St. Joseph’s down the road simply self-identifies as catholic (universal). They have not rejected Orthodoxy, they have not failed to embrace Orthodoxy–rather, we have not even given them a chance or the choice. We must stop our horrific anti-evangelistic campaign to put people “in their place” with our signs.

              • John Pappas says

                Protopappas, this reminds me of a joke that’s been making the rounds.

                The Holy Trinity decided to take a vacation. The Father said I’m going to go to Aruba, I’ve never been there. The Son said I’m going to Hawaii, I’ve never been there. The Holy Spirit said I’m going to 79th Street, I’ve never been there.

                • Protopappas says

                  “The Holy Trinity decided to take a vacation…”
                  Well now you have me thinking even further. Would the Holy Spirit be stopped from entering by how we self-identify? Of course not, but it is something to ponder how “welcomed” the Holy Trinity is in our places of worship. The Holy Spirit isn’t Greek, or Russian, or Serbian… Neither is Christ for that matter. Is Christ Himself a second class citizen in his own Church? A month back I had to break the tie between two sisters, one who said that Jesus is Hebrew and one who said He was Greek. Of course, if it turns out He is not Greek, they will let Him in, but He must first take Saturday Greek school classes and sit with the converts for 40 days. Once His Greek is good enough He can sit on the Holy Table.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Hilarious! what you are describing is a type of institutionalism wherein the rules and forms trump even the Savior. Kind of like the incessant harping on Canon 28.

                    • Protopappas says

                      The dispute over canon 28 is a drop in the bucket. God’s Church is ailing desperately throughout the globe. We have arguments over whether a Patriarch has claims over an actual parish that he built in the territory of another Patriarch who had no actual parish even though it has been his territory for century after century. Jerusalem starves its own flock in its undisputed territory and feeds another in territory not his own (well, it is disputed, but…). This is sick in both directions. We “take sides” as if it the whole matter is not a complete embarrassment to Orthodoxy. It is like disputes over who is the least lame duck president.

                      However, we do have to look at possible future benefits to the Constantinople/Moscow rivalry. More Churches are being built than ever before because they are trying to outdo each other. Every parish priest knows that the two richest members who don’t like each other will not be outdone by the other, which essentially keeps half of our parishes financially afloat in the US. Too bad many of the parishes built by the EP or MP as the result of this rivalry are simply either Greek ethnic or Russian ethnic picnic grounds with a chapel attached. Nevertheless, even though this is their intended purpose, they are consecrated temples and can bear fruit in the future, if not now.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    Well, He has to take dance lessons, too, the festival is only about 6 weeks away!

                • Careful with your humor… the Mystery is not for sarcasm

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    It wasn’t sarcasm, it was humor, something well-known among the fully human….our Lord no doubt included.

              • Again meant as thumbs up but went down for Protopappas Aug 29 at 10:38 p comment

      • Seraphim98 says

        Dear Isa,

        I think it is you who might be missing my point. Some posters here have noted the the Tomos is not well received in some significant quarters of Orthodoxy, and yet others have disputed the doubters of the canonicity of the Tomos….my position, for the sake of the argument I presented was “lets just say there is no question over the canonicity of the Tomos” Canonical or not there our Tomos is not universally acknowledged or respect.

        Yes, the MP recognizers us….but the last couple of years have strained that relationship badly and the MP has acted in ways that suggest the constraints of the Tomos are barely worth giving lip service to. I agree they will not likely not recognize us…it’s too useful a tool in their sparing with the EP, but with respect to us, relations are far less warm than they were two or three years ago…and now that things are mended with ROCOR in terms of Church Politics I suspect we are small dust in the balance.

        My point is that canonical or not we don’t have the weight to make our Tomos count for much in the eyes of the jurisdictions that presently do not recognize it. Moscow has been the one that sheltered us against the EP over the past decades in Church politics. I think most of our goodwill has been squandered, and right now the only way we matter to them is to be their little stick in the eye of the EP…a token on a game board who matters more for the “ground” we “hold” that other’s want to control.

        There was a time I thought His Beatitude Met. Jonah was right to suggest that the OCA should be willing to put the Tomos on the table with Moscow again and renegotiate the whole American autocephalacy thing…it may now be too late for that barring some real growth and rank and file enthusiasm over the next few years. Otherwise it’s just a slow fade into oblivion for us. Doubltless Orthodoxy will survive in the Americas, but that is not necessarily true about the OCA. Our usefulness to the MP is fading. The confidence we inspire in other jurisdictions is rapidly diminishing and baring a miracle (which can happen). As things stand I would be genuinely surprised to see the OCA last more than one or two more Metropolitans.

        • Let’s face it, the MP has kicked its good child (the OCA) out of the good bedroom and into the spare room, to make room for its prodigal child who has returned. At least ROCOR hierarchs wear the right colored vestments for Pascha (OCA has gone over to Muscovite practice of red vestments, to try and regain the favor of its mother. It likely will not be enough). The OCA should come to the EP (its grandmother). She will treat her well.

          • Michael Bauman says

            LOL, The EP will treat her well? What possible evidence do you have of that? The most natural alliance historically is with Antioch as siblings

            I’m just always amazed by the prevalent attitude on this blog that ignores the existence and vitality of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Now that the man everyone loved to hate has reposed the tendency to simply ignore Antioch will probably increase.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              When I first wandered into an Antiochan church, on the first day of Lent, 2012, I thought I was in an OCA church, because everything was in English. This was Holy Cross in Yakima. I was pleasantly surprised that this congregation could afford such a beautiful new church.

              I noticed that all the women wore headscarves, which I had not seen before (that is, every woman wearing one). It seemed different than the many other OCA churches I’d been in. When the service was over, I talked to some people and read some of the literature in back. Somehow, both the Antiochians and the story of the EOC, etc. I had completely missed over the years, despite my ongoing interest in Orthodoxy.

              I have always thought since then that there might be a good affinity between the OCA and the Antiochians in the US.

              And this also reminds me: when I went into Holy Cross, I had no idea of its “jurisdiction”, because it didn’t have a sign on the outside telling everybody that. That was a good idea!

            • Michael, the evidence is that the Russian Exarchate in Europe is treated well; the ACROD, the UOCofUSA, the UOCC, are all treated well. They are all given broad autonomy and no interference in their own Slavic practices or pastoral administration. Look also at the real Church of Estonia (not the Russian one that serves the Russians, but the one that actually pastors to Estonians).

              • Interesting – setting the MP morally above ROCOR (the “prodigal”), given the MP’s history of collaboration with militant atheists who murdered millions. ROCOR was quite scrupulous about rejecting the authority of its “good” parent while the NKVD/KGB was running the MP. The Metropolia/OCA (the “good son”) most certainly was not. As to Constantinople, h*ll, they supported the “Living Church”:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Church

                and:

                “The ‘ Living Church’ was a renovationist group that called for, among other things, the consecration of married priests into the bishopric, the permission for priests to marry and remarry, as well as gross liturgical reforms. With the weight of the Soviet government behind it, the Living Church gained the support of the Patriarch of Constantinople. When Patriarch Gregory of Constantinople called for Patriarch Tikhon to step aside and hand over authority to the Living Church, the ROCOR immediately interceded. The Church Abroad “boldly expressing the defense of the truth and the denunciation of lies… convinced the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Metropolitan of Athens of the correctness of Patriarch Tikhon and the deceit of the Living Church.” [6] The friction with Constantinople, however, would continue, as Meletios Metaxakis, “ a devoted and self-avowed Freemason and a die-hard renovationist,” [7] came to the Patriarchal seat. The reform-minded Patriarch succeeded in introducing the New Calendar to the Constantinopolitan Church. He had even greater modernist ambitions, as “ Meletios put together an agenda for a Pan-Orthodox Council that was to include on its agenda not only the acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar, but also the easing of restrictions for fast periods, the shortening of services, permission for clergy to remarry, and many other renovationist ideas.” [8] The Church Abroad, comparatively small a group as it was, did not shy away from standing up to Constantinople and vociferously opposing such betrayal of Orthodoxy. In the words of Serbian Patriarch Varnava, “When at the beginning of the post-war period, a wave of modernism washed almost all the Church of the East, it broke upon the cliff of Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky].” [9].

                http://journal.orthodoxtheologicalschool.org/GansonV_ROCOR_World_Orthodoxy.html

              • “Look also at the real Church of Estonia (not the Russian one that serves the Russians, but the one that actually pastors to Estonians).”
                LOL.
                Yes, the Phanariot Church run by a Cypriot from the Congo (AFAIK, neither speaks Estonian), is real, while the Estonian Church under the Estonian speaking, born, bred, baptized, christmated, ordained, persecuted (the Soviets imprisoned him for evangelization), consecrated Metropolitan put in place by the Estonian speaking, born, bred (his family in Estonia predating the Czars annexation), baptized, chrismated, ordained and consecrated Patriarch of Moscow is “not real.”
                OK.
                Look to the Phanar’s interference in the Czech Lands and Slovakia, at what happens if one does not display the proper submissiveness to its canon 28 pretensions and aggrandizement. And to the Church of Jerusalem to see what Phanariots do to a Church in the long run.

  18. ROCORthodox says

    Isa said:The Patriarch of Moscow and his Holy Synod do, and they have spoken.

    Indeed! ROCOR is no longer temporary under ukaz 362, but now declared permanent by MP who recognizes her as having always been a part of the Russian Orthodox Church. The same MP who entered into an Act of Canonical Communion with ROCOR that absolutely contradicts the OCA Tomos. This is the reality today; it is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes!

    • John Hanaberg says

      The TRUTH is that ROCOR was a non-canonical entity from it’s inception when Russian bishops abandoned their dioceses and were waiting to return to Russia. These were bishops without any authority and without any dioceses. Canon Law dictates that they therefore become laymen. As mentioned before, the Orthodox Church does not have clerics “at large.” Any cleric parading around without a specific diocese (bishop) or parish (priest or deacon) has no authority. A few years ago when ROCOR was accepted by the ROC into full communion basically saved ROCOR making it a canonical entity. The MP parishes in the U.S., according to the Tomos of Autocephaly of the OCA, were to remain as “representative” churches of Moscow, without expansion. ROCOR wants to change established agreements, yet, ROCOR is a small, sectarian group still acting as refugees from 19th century Russia. Most of ROCOR’s clerics have very limited Orthodox theological education and believe that parading around in cassocks, long beards long hair with phony accents somehow make them Orthodox clerics. Form with very little substance. The real problem with ROCOR is that they remain “radical” Russian Orthodox with their agenda dictated by Moscow and Putin. Anyone seriously considering ROCOR should be aware of “Russian Radicalism” with allegiance to Moscow and Putin; hardly an American Orthodox Church.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Mr Hanaberg, I see your point but I’d ask that you not press it too far. The patriarchate of Constantinople has so many metropolitans without dioceses that they are almost numberless.

      • Isa Almisry says

        “These were bishops without any authority and without any dioceses. Canon Law dictates that they therefore become laymen”
        Not under the circumstances. St. Proclus, for instance, had been consecrated bishop of Cyzicus, but the people refused to have him. The canons cover such situations, and it is not laitization. He remained in Constantinople and years later was elected Patriarch.
        The problem of ROCOR bishops without dioceses was not them continuing as bishops, but placing themselves over bishops who had dioceses.

        I haven’t met all the ROCOR clergy, but I’ve met learned ones among them.

      • I think you would have needed some tribunal of competent authority at the time to pass judgment and make that stick. None did. Also, the Patriarch of Antioch would be a layman under your little scheme.

        Try again. Not only have there been bishops who in fact controlled no territory, but there has been canonical recognition of a bishop in exile receiving a new temporary territory from other bishops. Now, it is true that this territory was temporary and the grant later was undone; however, the new territory of the Russian bishops in exile was in no man’s land – unallocated territory, at the very least either unallocated at the time they set up shop or allocated to the ROC in general.

        Which puts a very fine point on the question at hand: “if America has been allocated to the Phanar by canon 28 of the IV council, then neither the OCA nor ROCOR are canonical here in America. If OCA’s tomos was legitimate, ROCOR should have to come under the OCA synod.

        The only scenario which works and covers the present reality is that OCA’s tomos was a mistake and without legitimacy (for whatever reason), canon 28 does not say what the Phanar says it does, and thus Russia (the mother church of the OCA) can recognize a separate jursidiction on its “daughter” church’s alleged territory.

        Otherwise it’s all poppycock. I mean, whatever else is going to happen, Moscow is not going to tell ROCOR they have to join the OCA. In the Act of Canonical Unity, Moscow agreed with ROCOR that there would be no changes in the ROCOR diocesan structure without the approval of the synod of the Church Abroad.

        To put it differently, Moscow gave ROCOR a complete territorial exemption from OCA’s alleged autocephaly.

        That does not sound like the MP supporting a vested interest (OCA). It sounds rather like the MP is supporting its reconciled brethren even to the point of undermining its “daughter church”.

        • Regarding bishops leaving their sees, a concern for some in the OCA apparently:

          http://www.rocorstudies.org/articles/2010/06/30/s-v-troitskii-the-rights-of-bishops-who-have-been-wrongly-deprived-of-their-sees/

          This article lays out a number of texts nicely. What seems clear to me is that bishops who leave their dioceses by way of coercion, especially but not limited to violent coercion, are treated differently than those who voluntarily leave. Involuntarily leaving a diocese leaves ones episcopal powers in tact so long as one does not interfere in the omophorion of bishops of another established local church. Moreover, one can even head another diocese under certain circumstances.

          What is actually petty, mean-spirited and unchristian is to accuse bishops forced from their dioceses by war and the real threat of torture and death (which was inflicted on very many who did not leave), of “voluntarily” leaving – and “cowardice” no less! – in clear departure from the criteria used in the canons. To do so is just evil, shows an inhumane vindictiveness and itself indicates a form of cowardice.

        • Isa Almisry says

          “I think you would have needed some tribunal of competent authority at the time to pass judgment and make that stick. None did. Also, the Patriarch of Antioch would be a layman under your little scheme.”
          I don’t have time at present to deal with the whole volume-dare I say pile?-of posts, but Lord willing will. In the meantime, do you care to substantiate the bold faced allegation?

          • I was not replying to you, Isa, but to Hanaberg.

            The allegation of OCA apologists is that bishops who leave their sees are retired. I have heard it from a number of people, including priests. The Patriarch of Antioch does not reside in Antioch. I realize he has some presence there but it is not his residence. He does not reside there because the Turks hate Christians and he is safer in Damascus. If he were not, he would reside in his primatial see.

            • Although what you say about the Turk is true, the Patriarch was translated to Damascus because less than two centuries after the Mamluk conquest of Antioch (when they killed/enslaved every Christian in the city) in 1268, the city of Antioch ceased to exist. It did not revive until the 19th century, when the railways passed by. A Patriarchal Cathedral was erected with the revival of the city, and the Patriarch does still visit. The history of the Antiochian Patriarchate thus run in a parallel to that of Moscow, translated from Kiev after the Mongols and Tartars destroyed it, the present Metropolitinate arising out of the revival of the city.

              As for bishops not in their sees, retirement possibly, laitization definitely not (unless some personal impropriety is involved).. The see of Irkutsk, the conduit of the Russian episcopate into North America originated when St. Innocent-consecrated as bishop of Pereyaslavl, but intended for China (the use of the titular title being a ruse to throw the Jesuits and the Chinese Emperor off: St. Innocent was to conceal his consecration and to appear just as a chaplain to the Russians in Peking)-settled in Irkutsk when the Chinese refused him entry. The bishop of Irkutsk had abandoned the see, and St. Innocent took over.

              • “The history of the Antiochian Patriarchate thus run in a parallel to that of Moscow, translated from Kiev after the Mongols and Tartars destroyed it, the present Metropolitinate arising out of the revival of the city.”

                Fine. Take the title “Patriarch of Damascus”.

                • Btw, Isa,

                  I’m not calling into question the legitimacy of the situation with the Pat. of Antioch, just pointing out that this drivel about abandoned sees and retired bishops is just that – – drivel. There is a distinction between leaving uncoerced and leaving coerced – a canonical distinction. I was simply pointing this out to Hanaberg who really is just spouting the same tired OCA bs I’ve heard many times.

                • Protopappas says

                  “Fine, take the title ‘Patriarch of Damascus'”

                  Actually, Misha, your point toward Isa is valid. If Moscow does not stand on its own, but is a “transfer” of the Kyivan See, then your point must be taken. I know that you don’t espouse that Antioch take the title “Patriarch of Damascus,” but were just making a point (some missed it apparently).

                  I don’t like this whole idea of Isa’s that primacy can be transferred from one See to another. It is the idea that Roman Catholics have (that the primacy of Peter was “transferred” from the See of Jerusalem to Antioch to Rome). The Kyivan See did not disappear, nor was primacy “transferred.” Moscow was granted autocephaly by the entirety of the Patriarchs for the same reason that Constantinople and Rome had it, namely, that it was the seat of an empire. It had nothing to do with Kyiv or with a transfer.

                  • “Moscow was granted autocephaly by the entirety of the Patriarchs for the same reason that Constantinople and Rome had it, namely, that it was the seat of an empire. It had nothing to do with Kyiv or with a transfer.”
                    First, the Patriarchs were busy submitting at Florence when Moscow took autocephaly. By then its bishop had been living in Vladimir-Moscow with the title “Metropolitan of Kiev” for almost two centuries.

                    Second, its primacy was translated to St. Petersburg, where a “Most Holy Governing Synod” was set up-with the approval of the “entirety of the Patriarchs”-to replace the abolished Patriarchate of the former capital of Mosocw. When it was restored, Moscow still had not yet been restored as capital.

                    The Patriarch of Istanbul-or the Rum Orthodox Patriarch of the Phanar-had its own sojourn in Nicea, as Old Rome had its in Avignon, and Jerusalem went to Pella. That has nothing to do with the Ultramontanists’ ideas of primacy.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Currently, Patriarch John X of Antioch resides in Lebanon for safety reasons.

              At some point all of the sees in the Islamic world may have to relocate. Where does that leave us?

          • John Hanaberg says

            Isa:

            Antioch moved its entire Patriarchate to Damascus keeping the title “Pat. of Antioch” when Antioch fell into Muslim control and all the Christians were being murdered. Approx. 248 miles. The entire diocese of Antioch accepted this and the Pat. did not move out of his diocese. It was a “temporary” residence that became permanent. Now, regarding the ROCOR bishops, they left their dioceses and even their country. They had no legitimate standing. Even the Pat. of Istanbul (Constantinople) has been encouraged to leave that city, but he refuses in that he may lose his ancient title, yet, a title that means little to nothing without an Emperor who supported him. He is NOT the leader of all the Orthodox since, we do not have an “Eastern Pope.” Ecclesistical authority has always been and always will be LOCAL as outlined by Canon Law. For this reason, foreign bishops have no real authority in North America or outside their own territory.

      • ROCORthodox says

        John, you are peddling uninformed fantasy. The MP has recognized the fact that ROCOR has always been a part of the Russian Orthodox Church. You disagree, but…. so what? ROCOR’s real authority is what formally glorified the New Martyrs. St. John Maximovitch, according to your “reckoning”, would have been parading around as a false bishop. Sorry, reality dictates otherwise.

  19. Isa Almisry says

    “This is the reality today; it is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes!”
    LOL. You are also wise in your own eyes. Proverbs 12:15.

    As for the reality, it seems that with ideas like “The same MP who entered into an Act of Canonical Communion with ROCOR that absolutely contradicts the OCA Tomos,” it seems, just like the rapprochement brokered by Patriarch Varnava/Barnabas, some in ROCOR haven’t stopped reading into things no one else has put there.
    The same Patriarch who signed the Act of Canonical Commuion also signed the Tomos of Autocephaly, and reiterated it after he took the name Alexi II-did the Act of Canonical Communion strike Patriarch Alexei I from the diptychs of the Russian Church, because ROCOR did not recognize him?

    If it directly contradicted the OCA Tomos, there wouldn’t have been all the concelebration that broke out between the OCA and ROCOR when the Act was signed. That was the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in all our eyes!

  20. ROCORthodox says

    ISA, you miss the point. Concelebrations happened all over the place between ROCOR and the OCA because the OCA does not let non-recognition of the Tomos stop them from serving together. ROCOR continues to open parishes in missions in America, with no regard for the Tomos. The OCA accepts this. The OCA accepted the ramifications of the Act of Canonical Communion between the MP and ROCOR. Past being self-ruled, neither the MP, ROCOR nor the OCA, take seriously the OCA as the autocephalous Church of America. Everybody knows this, and sees the reality right in front of their eyes! None of this keeps the OCA, MP or ROCOR from concelebrating.

    • Isa Almisry says

      “ISA, you miss the point. Concelebrations happened all over the place between ROCOR and the OCA because the OCA does not let non-recognition of the Tomos stop them from serving together.”
      Not before the Act of Canonical Communion the OCA did not.

      “ROCOR continues to open parishes in missions in America, with no regard for the Tomos. The OCA accepts this.”
      The OCA tolerates this, much like the Patriarchate of Moscow now tolerates the Phanar having its Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church in the canonical jurisdiction of the Estonian Orthodox Church. At one point, Moscow did not, but changed its mind to not let non-recognition of its jurisdiction stop them from serving together, or indeed commemorate the EP in the diptychs. Should we take Moscow less seriously?

      “Past being self-ruled, neither the MP, ROCOR nor the OCA, take seriously the OCA as the autocephalous Church of America.”
      The Phanar took it quite seriously when, at the robber council of Ravenna, the Phanar brought its Estonian Metropolitan to attend, and Moscow told the Phanar if it ever happened again Moscow would insist on the OCA’s representative attending all Pan-Orthodox events. Thereafter the spokesmans now titular head of Bursa tried to pass off the prohibition of Estonia as a “concession” of the Phanar’s.
      “The OCA accepted the ramifications of the Act of Canonical Communion between the MP and ROCOR. ”
      That ROCOR was now in communion with the rest of us was the only ramification the OCA needed to, and did, accept. The Patriarch of Moscow commemorates the Metropolitan of the OCA, not the First Hierarch of ROCOR. No bishop having a title of the local American Church is sent from Moscow, and the vicar bishop it sends commemorates the Metropoplitan of the OCA, not the First Hierarch of ROCOR. The Metropolitan of the OCA still consecrates chrism, something forbidden now to ROCOR.
      The bishops in North America under ROCOR were not in the OCA Holy Synod before the ACC, and they are not now. No change or “ramification.” So the OCA has not expelled ROCOR from Churches as has happened in Palestine nor been forced into the local Church, as happened in Ukraine-forced, that is, those who did not go back into schism after the ACC. That puts ROCOR on a par with GOARCH (btw, the Phanar doesn’t recognize ROCOR autonomy. In fact, other than the OCA, no one does) and SRAOCANA. Neither Met. Jonah nor Met. Tikhon of New York stepped down in deference to Met. Laurus nor Met. Hilarion of New York, nor was the OCA prevented in erecting its own New York diocese.