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Monday, October 17, 2011

Autocephaly and the Orthodox Church in America

From the American Orthodox Institute (9/10/2011):

...TNH: What is the position of the Patriarchate of Moscow on the issue of the Orthodox Diaspora?

Hilarion: In the Russian Orthodox Church we believe that in the Diaspora it is possible to establish Canonical Orthodox Churches if there is agreement in the Orthodox populations of the particular countries. On this basis we granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970. But now the Orthodox churches are coming closer together and we are commonly decided that the granting of autocephaly should be a matter of Panorthodox concern and that Tomes of Autocephaly should be signed by all the Primates of All the Orthodox Churches. In fact we agreed on a different model from that which existed before. We also agreed to establish Episcopal Assemblies in the Diaspora to facilitate cooperation among the different jurisdictions.

TNH: With this new decision are you saying that the Ecumenical Patriarchate no longer has the historical and canonical privilege of being the only one to grant Autocephaly?

Hilarion: This seems to be the consensus of all the representatives of all the Orthodox churches, that autocephaly should be granted with the agreement of all the Orthodox Churches. It can be proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarch, but the Tome will be signed by all the Primates.


To my distant, uninformed ear, this sounds like, we should never have granted the Tome. The next step would be Moscow's agreement with the other Patriarchates that the Tome was not originally theirs to give. The persistence of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad suggests revocation is a matter of time.

3 comments:

Chris Jones said...

I don't think there are any "take-backs" on autocephaly. If the MP commemorates Metr Jonah in her diptychs (and she does), how could she justify or explain omitting him at some point in the future? Omitting a primate from the diptychs is a declaration that one is out of communion with that primate and the Church he heads.

Also, the interviewer certainly asked a loaded question, in speaking of the Ecumenical Patriarch's "historical and canonical privilege of being the only one to grant autocephaly." Such a claimed privilege is neither historical nor canonical. I know of none of the ecumenical canons which actually grants such a privilege, and I know of no historical precedent that clearly establishes it.

Finally, I do not see why the persistence of ROCOR indicates anything about a possible "revocation." It is the existence of ROCOR, not the autocephaly of the OCA, that is the historical and canonical anomaly. Up until the 20th century, canonical organization has always been strictly territorial. On that principle, the existence of a "Russian Orthodox Church" Outside Russia is simply a contradiction; while the existence of the autocephalous OCA, however small and weak (as it certainly is), is at least an adumbration of the normal canonical order.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

If the MP commemorates Metr Jonah in her diptychs (and she does), how could she justify or explain omitting him at some point in the future

I don't know. Here in the North American Antiochian Archdiocese, we could only stand by and watch as the Antiochian Synod proceeded to unring the bell for its consecrated diocesan bishops.

I don't dispute that the Church is always and everywhere local, but the motherlands don't seem to be going along with that program.

Anonymous said...

http://blog.mises.org/18760/nobody-to-do-the-picking/

let's dissolve european america to bulk up agribusiness profits.