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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Orthodoxy and the American nation

Oil and water.

ROCOR: a no to the Chambésy process
This is big news, people. If we had the idea that the Chambésy process of normalizing the "diaspora" into one-city-one-bishop canonical Orthodoxy was on the horizon, read the below...
(Pravmir) - From the Editors: On Tuesday, December 9, 2013, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, during a regular meeting, deliberated on the results of the previous September’s Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. During the discussion regarding the proposal to reorganize the Orthodox dioceses in North and Central America, the President of the Synod of Bishops stressed that the Russian Church Abroad is under the canonical authority of its dear and great Mother, the Russian Orthodox Church, and is obligated to minister to its multitude of devoted flock finding itself abroad and wishing to remain in her bosom. The members of the Synod of Bishops, agreeing with the opinion of their President, noted that Orthodoxy in America is not prepared for reorganization of Orthodox dioceses in America. In connection with this, the Synod of Bishops instructed its Secretary, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, to send the following letter to the President of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America explaining the position held by the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in this matter.
From Byzantine, Texas.

I.

1. There really is no American nation. Propositional states are not real nations. A nation can have a proposition, but the proposition is not the nation. Orthodoxy, with its national Churches making up the global Body of Christ, does not really know what to make of mobile, modern propositional States. The Russians are sticking to their own, actual nation, as are the Jews and Amish and other groups who carry their nation with them wherever they go. (The Muslims share the Christians' universalism, but they carry the Ummah with them wherever they go, and they do it a lot better and a lot more ruthlessly than Christians.)

2. As thanks for welcoming immigrants like this, America will certainly never be a real nation. America--an English national offshoot--has become a pretend-nation. It's just a place like any other place where people can drop in, extract what rents and transfer payments they can, then move on to the next, more enticing proposition.

3. The Orthodox Patriarchates may, in fact, be choosing the wiser course in just waiting to see what nations emerge from the process of American devolution.

II.

America has less amity than the average shopping mall.

So far, we've been good about channeling Americans' tribal energies into athletic competitions. Now imagine all the money, resources, organization and energies that you see being exercised at college Bowl games instead being exercised over things that actually matter, like water and mineral rights or the society's bedrock religious beliefs.

Again, so far we've been pretty good at convincing people to get their tribal groove on at high school and college football games, and otherwise keeping the real fights confined to courtrooms and voting booths.

America is a powder keg. At some point, people figure out that instead of just counting the legal arguments or counting the votes, we're really just counting the rifles. The Syrian Sunna and Libyan tribesmen figured that out, and now Syrians and Libyans aren't bothering with things like athletic competitions or courtrooms or voting booths.

Maybe the stars align and we keep it all together. But it really is just a question of who lights the match and when.

III.

I hope the themes I'm attempting to draw are clear. The problem of global Orthodoxy in a world where the Empire is long gone and people can pick up and leave whenever they want, and the problem of ahistorical notions like the American state in a world where blood and soil are as real as they ever were strike me as parallel in a lot of ways.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course Russia as a nation is in part propositional today. And its also farcical to believe that ROCOR parishioners will be sticking with any kind of "Russian" national idea. They will assimilate like all waves of slavic immigrations almost entirely within 2 generations, with about 10% remaining Orthodox even nominally.

This could only be written by a convert who knows nothing about the Russian Orthodox experience in America first hand. When you try to read everything through a framework, even if accurate, you will always get things wrong.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Is your argument with me or the ROCOR hierarchs?