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I listened to Metropolitan Jonah's speech to the recent Orientale Lumen conference...

... and I was flabbergasted. An excellent, and generally quite grounded speech. First Orthodox hierarch I've heard publicly state that a united (American) Orthodox church in union with Rome, Constantinople and Moscow would be desirable. He gave a convincing argument about what primacy in the universal church is (and how it's applied in the local church) and how it should be implemented (requiring paradigm shifts from not only Rome, but also from some Orthodox churches). I was also shocked when he said something to the effect that Moscow and Constantinople had preserved some sense of catholicity while many other churches in the old world were generally focused on national issues.

Speaking only for myself, I think what he said syncs very well with what every Melkite patriarch I've heard has said on the issue. His opinion's not representative of the Orthodox church as a whole, but I'm glad that there's one major Orthodox figure (and one who I've always respected) who's somewhere near us.

http://ancientfaith.com/specials/orientale_lumen_xv_conference/plenary_six

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Frankly, it shouldn't surprise you that within Orthodoxy there is a strong sense of what the Metropolitan was saying. Constantinople, as the second Rome and Moscow as the third, both have a point of view regarding the role and primacy of their sees within the Orthodox sphere in that each see views its modern role in many ways as being consistent with the primacy of Rome as seen by the East in the pre-schism millennium. (The jurisdictional divisions of Orthodoxy in the 'diaspora' are caused to some extent by differences in the understanding of this concept by Constantinople and Moscow.)

One shouldn't judge the 'whole Orthodox world' on the basis of the 'whole Orthodox internet world', they exist in parallel universes as far as I can tell.

The real rub here is coming to a common understanding of first millennial primacy and the role of the Bishop of Rome and how such a redefined 'primacy' would interrelate with a reunited Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Church.

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This may be off topic but I've read some comments about Met Jonah being embattled with some issues in the OCA... could someone give me an idea of what issues there are?

Last edited by Dave in McKinney; 07/15/11 02:38 PM.
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Basically, Met Jonah is very outspoken about social and moral issues of the day. He is very conservative on these issues and there are older and at times more liberal factions in the OCA that would rather him not be so outspoken and prominent.

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If you want to see what the public record says about Archbishop Jonah, I suggest you read https://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/362181/1


His views on Rome, in my opnion, are at variance with those of other Orthodox hierarchs.

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Not as much as you might think--but the North American Consultation has always been ahead of the trajectory followed by the Joint International Dialogue, for reasons outlined by Fr. Ron Roberson in his plenary presentation at the last Orientale Lumen Conference.

Metropolitan Jonah, whose main problem is he takes his monasticism seriously, in contrast to so many of the clergy and laity of the OCA, seems to have landed on his feet and won this round of what will be a long and tiring fight for the soul of the OCA. May God grant him many years in which to wage the battle.

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If what I read is at least half-true, the politics in the OCA remind me a lot of the recent politics in the mainline protestant churches... frown

Last edited by Dave in McKinney; 07/17/11 11:48 AM.
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Actually, what you are reading about in the OCA is just a continuation of Ruthenian politics as usual since the beginning of the 20th century. For all its outreach to converts and its nominal "Russianness", the core of the OCA remains those Ruthenians who split with the Catholic Church over celibacy, and that fractious, contentious mindset remains in place more than a century later.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Actually, what you are reading about in the OCA is just a continuation of Ruthenian politics as usual since the beginning of the 20th century. For all its outreach to converts and its nominal "Russianness", the core of the OCA remains those Ruthenians who split with the Catholic Church over celibacy, and that fractious, contentious mindset remains in place more than a century later.

Stuart is quite right. IMHO all of the hullabaloo about American modern conservative politics being at the core of the OCA's problems and comparing these issues to the problems faced by mainstream Protestants is a lot of hooey brought in by converts from those Protestant churches who simply do not understand the eastern mindset.

It's not just us poor old Rusyns/Ruthenians with that mindset either, we just get blamed a whole heck of a lot because our history is quite public!

Seriously, I have many life long friends in the OCA,both laity and clergy, and I can unequivocally state that I do not know any of them who have a 'secret agenda' regarding abortion, gay marriage etc..etc...etc...which is contrary to the teachings of our CHURCHES as you would read in certain of the wilder blogs out there.

The salad bar convert types who migrate from one church to another sampling a litte of this and a little of that usually get indigestion after awhile as they move on and they discredit the true converts who are providing much needed new blood into both the Eastern Catholic and the Orthodox worlds.

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With all due respect, I believe Metropolitan Jonah's detractors over at OCA News (which has no affiliation with the OCA Church) have shown their hand with this recent posting [ocanews.org] effectively arguing for changing the Church's position on homosexuality. They have published similar content recently but have not published (as far as I can see) anything that supports the traditional Orthodox understanding.

Metropolitan Jonah has responded with a reaffirmation of the Church's teaching on sexuality which can be read here. [palamas.info]


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Just to add: a good reply to Stokoe's blog post noted in my previous comment by Fr. John Whiteford can be read here. [fatherjohn.blogspot.com]

He concludes:

Quote
But there are none so blind as those who will not see. The teachings of the Scriptures and of the Church are abundantly clear. Only those who choose to deny history can argue otherwise. Now if you wish to say that you simply reject the teachings of the Scriptures and the Church, at least you are being honest with yourself, but please don't patronize us by pretending these teachings are not clear.

What is also clear is that we have a small group of modernists who for whatever sentimental reasons like to dress up in Orthodox vestments, and sing some of the hymns of the Church, but who love neither truth, the Church, nor its Tradition. Our bishops need to speak up, and need to speak up clearly to rebuke such people. Today it is a small but nevertheless serious problem. Eventually, this problem will lead to division and confusion and a grand scale, if we simply hope that the problem will go away without confronting it head on. And the fact that the person promoting this nonsense, Mark Stokoe, is a member of the Metropolitan Council of the OCA, and that he has several OCA priests advancing the same homosexual agenda is something that should concern all Orthodox Christians, but especially the bishops of the OCA.

So far, Metropolitan Jonah has responded. I am hopeful the other OCA Bishops will similarly do so soon.

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With all due respect, I believe Metropolitan Jonah's detractors over at OCA News (which has no affiliation with the OCA Church) have shown their hand with this recent posting effectively arguing for changing the Church's position on homosexuality.

The OCA News post easily takes the prize for one of the most intellectually dishonest screeds I have read in recent years--and I have read a lot of them. The author neglects to note that Boswell's theory on "brother-making" has been totally discredited by serious scholars, both Orthodox and Catholic, who simply demolished his tendentious or simply wrong interpretations of the Greek and Slavonic texts on which he relied.

Most of the other arguments made are false analogies, comparing apples and oranges throughout. Whoever wrote this is truly desperate for acceptance within the Orthodox community. It would seem that there are quite a few gay men who are drawn into traditional liturgical Churches for aesthetic reasons--they love the vestments, the ritual, the smells, the bells, the music. The Anglicans even coined a term for such men: "Liturgy queens".

While the Church should not bar the doors against such people, Christ having come to heal the sick and to restore the lost, neither should it acquiesce to their demands that sinful behavior be normalized. We should pray for these tormented souls that, through their participation in the Liturgy, they should undergo metanoia, that the beauty of the Liturgy will open and turn their hearts, because, as Doestoevsky said, "It is beauty that will save the world".

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Bishop Michael's pastoral is worth re-reading at this time as well as this post from another non-official OCA interest group. http://www.ocatruth.com/?p=1050#more-1050

Fear not, while there may, and indeed are, voices within the OCA who take a non-traditional(i.e. probably heretical) and un-Orthodox position on the issue, the teachings of the Church regarding homosexuality and marriage are secure in spite of the voices of some who would argue to the contrary.

Beyond that, I say, let them settle their own internal political disputes and let us not try to speculate or read tea leaves.

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Just to pass on a great pastoral letter by Bishop Matthias supporting Metropolitan Jonah's recent encyclical was posted today here. [domoca.org.]

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I think we've strayed from the topic of Metropolitan Jonah on Primacy. Let's go back to that topic. If the tangential topic is of interest, let's open a new thread on it.

Bob
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