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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Orthodox unity in the Americas


Not so fast, says Antioch. (Via Byzantine, TX.)

This is an extremely thoughtful interview of Fr. Patrick O'Grady, tasked by Met. Joseph with explaining Antioch's Statement on the Episcopal Assembly to Ancient Faith Radio.

There is a transcript of the interview at Ancient Faith Radio but the full flavor and tone of Fr. Patrick's remarks are best appreciated via the audio version. God willing I am that assertive and quick-tongued at age 65.

The bullet points from the interview are as follows:
1) The Archdiocese will not abandon its Mother Church, and Antioch disagrees wholeheartedly with Constantinople's interpretation of Canon 28;
2) Unity is a spiritual state, and not a matter of simply drawing up jurisdictions and divvying them out among the bishops;
3) As such, Orthodox unity in the Americas must be organic, a process which will necessarily take a long time.

In other words, Met. Joseph agrees with me. Well, maybe not entirely but the Antiochian hierarchs appear keenly aware of the awkward mix between the modern propositional State and Orthodoxy. America presents a unique problem for Orthodox ecclesiology: an autocephalous Church is wedded to a people, and nobody knows what constitutes the "American people" at this point.

Mr. Allen: Let me read this to you, Father. You know the statement well. The statement presented by Antioch reads:
The holy Synod of the Patriarch[ate of Antioch] and her Patriarch John (or Youhanna) X remains committed to the unity of the patriarchate with all the Antiochian faithful, wherever they are.
So with respect, the statement itself doesn’t exactly sound like a temporary position, but a new position on Orthodox ecclesiology or Church governance, one where there are no official geographical boundaries, which is not really what Orthodox canons call for. Would you like to comment?

Fr. Patrick: Sure. Of course. Okay, first of all, there is no land in the world where the relationship with the mother churches involved were not sustained after the granting of autocephaly. History is rugged. Sometimes there are partitions that are, at first, forced, and then settlements are made afterwards, and then sometimes there are settlements made up front, and then the relationship goes on from there. This is the way human beings relate to each other. Sometimes there’s a fight and then you make up and you hug; sometimes you agree ahead of time and you make progress that way. As far as we’re concerned, we have no intention ever of separating our relationship with the mother church, with Patriarch Youhanna and the holy Synod of Antioch. This is our mother church. The see of Antioch was the first of the Christian metropolitan churches, and it’s a venerable and long-standing tradition which we intend never to break.

When the day comes when Orthodox in this country are mature enough and have established the framework of relationships suitable for the gift of autocephaly, without sundering relations to our mother churches, then it’ll be an organic and obvious thing, and will not be a rupture.

Mr. Allen: So I’ve got to follow up with that. I’ve heard that argument, that we’re not ready for an American Orthodox Church. Is it the position of the patriarch of Antioch and the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese of North America that, after 200 years of the Orthodox being in America, having eight seminaries, 55 bishops, thousands of parishes and cathedrals, 71 male and female monastic communities, media of all kind, thousands of seminary-trained priests, Orthodox international and domestic philanthropic organizations, founded, formed, and funded in and by the United States, that we’re not mature enough to manage our own affairs?

Fr. Patrick: It’s not a matter of institutional maturity such as you’ve listed. These are all wonderful achievements. The problem, I think, lies in our American culture. We value, as North Americans, independence as a virtue. This is a problem…

Mr. Allen: It’s in our DNA.

Fr. Patrick: Yeah, it’s in our DNA, and it’s something that’s made us great, but it’s also cut us off from a lot, because we’ve turned ourselves away from some elements of the Old World which we really desperately need in order to be a full and complete people. So we have condemned ourselves to a kind of naïve view of self-importance with a minimal view of history and a large sense of destiny—you know, the American manifest destiny, that kind of thing—and also, we are not an ethnic-based state, like the Old World states were, so we don’t really have the sense of nationhood, that is to say, ethno-, like a mono-ethnic state, as the Old World, so we find it very difficult to grasp the very real pastoral needs which each ethnic people in the Old World had, and they brought with them to this new world. This takes time to work out. Each people have a certain language, a culture, and here in America, to become truly autocephalous, that is, in a fundamental and apostolic sense of that word as well matured…

Friday, October 23, 2015

I can't even...

I'm speechless. (It's Chateau Heartiste, so you are warned).



In the end, my vote was for "Johnny Tampon." The young men may yet redeem themselves, but the middle-aged eunuch, devoting his life to being a meal ticket for broken women and their bastard offspring, is beyond all hope.

Honorable Mention to the 20-year old child-man with the Down's Syndrome girlfriend. She's a model. (No I'm not kidding. Please do see for yourself.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Love thy neighbor as thyself"

Christians seem to be obsessing over the "neighbor" part and forgetting the "as thyself" part.

Fr. Anthony considers Christianity, which became "Christendom" only when emperors and kings became Christian:

Christianity was only ever something of a minority until it was transformed into something political and imposed by force by all secular powers that found it useful. The culture inspired by Christianity in Europe is nearly gone except in “museum” form (eg. Mozart Masses as concert pieces, etc.).

Is Christianity universal? Is there any interpretation possible of Christ’s “Go and evangelise all nations…”? If Christianity is neither politics nor culture, then it has to “interface” with its adepts somehow. In the end of the day, Europe’s roots are pagan – same thing with Native Americans (red indians) and aborigines – everyone in fact. Golly! We are in a mess!

To repeat: "If Christianity is neither politics nor culture, then it has to 'interface' with its adepts somehow."

A wise statement. The retort of modernist Christianity seems to be that the only interface required is of the mind: a free-floating, incorporeal ideology, with no temporal attachments whatsoever; no family, no people, no soil, and no role in governance. The West has wholeheartedly embraced this gnostic vision, with the result that the West now has no more connection between the physical and the metaphysical. Into this vacuum steps the Muslim, who either joins this superficial, soulless culture, or stands with his Faith Militant against the atheistic West with its aging populations, bizarre sexual deviancies, and plunging birthrates.

Western Christendom is ceding its territories without a fight. When Muslims, Jews and Hindus move to the West to be good Muslims, Jews and Hindus, then it's clear that the West no longer considers itself Christian, and Christians shuold give up the pretense of evangelization. Christians have adopted the gnostic vision and jettisoned their territory and any temporal attachment, so they will be displaced. They shrink into their dwindling parishes like the doomed Shakers and congratulate each other on their ultimate sacrifice, giving up their countries so other faiths can reproduce themselves in their stead. Christians thus commit the sin of self-loathing; they do not believe they deserve to exist.

And here is Porter's contribution.