Saturday, August 30, 2014

Objection of the Bulgarians and ROCOR to the ACOB proposal for canonical normalization.

Remember when the report reached Jerusalem that there were Christians in Antioch?  Of course you do.  The story is in Acts.  What happened?  Peter went there and put them in good order.   It was done speedily; within a few months at the most. 
The Church in America is out of order.  It has been out of order for a century.  But now the bishops in America have been instructed by the foreign patriarchs and other primates who were called together by the Patriarch of Constantinople, to come up with a plan to set our house in order, and to present that plan to a great council of all the Orthodox Churches in the near future.  Everything seemed to be going pretty well until ROCOR and the Bulgarian bishops decided they don't want to set the American Church in order yet.
ROCOR's objection to the plan seems to be:  Our Russian heritage is more important than the Gospel and we would rather stay inside our little ethnic box than assail the gates of Hell in America.   Fr. John Whiteford, a ROCOR priest in Texas has a perspective that is different and more nuanced than mine.  I agree with his points about the danger of a unified American Church being just one more eparchy of Constantinople, as my acquaintance Bishop Savas (Start watching at about 13:00) seems to want. (shudder!!!).  I also agree with Fr. John regarding the failure of the OCA to deal with its own problem of overlapping dioceses. (I am OCA, by the way.)  But, though I hate to admit it, because I love Fr. John and think he is one of the bright lights of the American Church, I do disagree with him about the importance of the other issues, such as differences in liturgical practice and the failure of some American bishops to deal with immorality and heresy.

Yes, the bishops should (Wow!  I am telling bishops what they should do!) deal with those problems of immorality and heresy but the failure of some of the bishops shouldn't stop us from having one American Orthodox Church.  When have all the bishops of the Orthodox Church ever been perfect, or even good?  (St John Chrysostom said something about the streets of Hell being lined with the skulls of Orthodox bishops.) Even Bishop Hosius of Cordova stumbled near the end of his life and embraced heresy (Lord Jesus, have mercy on him!)  Also, the history of the Church is full of liturgical differences. They aren't a big deal.  Is there a Gospel reading, an anaphora, and Communion consisting of bread and wine?  Good enough, I say.  But not only do I say, but the Didache, what has been called the bylaws of the first century Church in Jerusalem says so, too.


Jim said...

Yes, I was hopeful for one Church in Amercia but now, not so much so....Lord, have mercy!

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