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To: Kolokotronis

Your experience may be different from mine, but I think that what the Orthodox Church desperately needs is unity. It doesn't have to be under one jurisdiction, and I don't think that's what Hopko is saying.

I spent many years in San Francisco, where there is at least one representative of just about every Orthodox church in the world. We had three different "Russian" churches (one of which later became part of the OCA) and the people in them wouldn't even speak to each other. And converts were even worse: they did not become Orthodox, they became Greek, or Syrian, or ultra-Russian. I knew a convert who was a member of the so-called "Exile Church" who wouldn't have anything to do with the members of the Russian Orthodox church that eventually founded the OCA because they were all "Little Russians" and his church was all "Great Russians." He didn't even have one drop of Russian blood, but this is how he perceived Orthodoxy.

And I had another friend who was Serbian and, when one Serbian church collapsed because of internal infighting, she wouldn't go to the other because it had too many people from (I don't even remember the region), whom she did not consider truly Orthodox.

And then I lived in a place where the local Greek Orthodox church kicked out a pastor (American born of 100% Greek descent) because he wasn't Greek enough and was - gasp! - encouraging non-Greeks to come to the church.

So I think the Orthodox Church does have a serious problem here, and it's not at the formal administrative level alone. And I think that's what Fr. Hopko was trying to say.


23 posted on 09/10/2006 3:18:15 PM PDT by livius
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To: livius

I can't address the problems which arose in the Russian Church because of the Revolution and Moscow's creation of the OCA in the 70s (I think). I will say I get a kick out of the American converts to Russian type Orthodox Churches who promptly beginning looking like Russian peasants and speaking English with Slavic accents. But its a free country.

I can address your comments about parish splits or collapses because of internal feuding. I have observed this, from the outside, in Protestant churches around here and remember stories of such a split in the 20s in my own Greek Orthodox parish. That one was as a result of politics back in Greece. The break away parish folded back into the original one after the politician those people supported was voted out of office. As a general proposition, these internal feuds arise because in Orthodoxy here in the States and to an extent even back in the old countries, the running of the local parishes is the responsibility of the laity not the priest or the bishop. Inevitably this leads to disagreements but people get over them. Your Roman system is very different. The priest runs the show as the rep of the bishop who generally in this country owns all the assets of the parish. In the Roman system, people just leave. Around here most of the Roman parishes are closing or being grouped together because so many Catholics simply won't support the Church or attend Mass.

In the GOA, we do have the sort of Greek chauvinists you mention in your post. Just yesterday as a member of the parish council I threw a Greek American who never comes to Liturgy and has never been to Greece off the church grounds because he was going around to people offering to give the parish $100,000.00 if we would fire the priest. His bich? The priest is bringing "garbage" people into the parish...read anyone, anyone who isn't Greek. Being Orthodox and for example Lebanese or Ukrainian or heaven forbid, Ethiopian, qualifies one for the "garbage people" moniker. And converts are simply beyond the pale! Now our parish, once 100% Greek (except for a few convert spouses) is a veritable Orthodox melting pot with 12 different ethnicities represented. Greeks, of any degree, only make up about 40% of our parish. What was the reaction of the Greeks in the parish to this clown's actions? White heat rage! But his attitude and the attitude of the parish which ran its priest out of town on a Greek rail is no more a basis for forming opinions about Greek Orthodoxy in America than the fact that a few "pink" Roman Catholic bishops covering up sex scandals should for the basis of a RICO action against the USCCB

L, my parish, as our Metropolitan is fond of saying, is the face of Orthodoxy in America today. That sort of ethnic mix, by the way, is replicated across the country as most any Orthodox Freeper can tell you. And we got that way by God's will, not some phoney and completely unnecessary jurisdictional unity.

"So I think the Orthodox Church does have a serious problem here, and it's not at the formal administrative level alone. And I think that's what Fr. Hopko was trying to say."

Like I said, Fr. Hopko, while a fine man from all reports, is the captive of his own unrealized plans. Moscow in the 70s wanted to create a counter balance to ROCOR and cut off Orthodoxy here in the States from the dominance of the Greek and Antiochian Patriarchates; it set up the OCA. It didn;t work.


26 posted on 09/10/2006 4:04:10 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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