Metropolitan Jonah on Orthodox Unity

From The Crunchy Con:

Last night at Pan-Orthodox Vespers here at St. Seraphim Cathedral here in Dallas, Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA responded. Watch his sermon here. It’s a bombshell that will rock the Orthodox world. Concluding line: “We might affirm to our bishops that they might tell the churches of the Old World: ‘There is an American Orthodox Church. Leave it alone.'”

While I can appreciate that to some, especially those in Constantinople, might find His Beatitude’s words harsh at time, I think he is correct in his assessment of the situation of the Church here in the States.

His Beatitude says in his sermon:

“It is imperative, brothers and sisters, imperative on us, that we come together, and with one voice, as the Orthodox Church in North America, to say to the holy fathers of the Old World: the Orthodox Church exists in North America. We’re grateful for the support that you have given us. We love and support your work, and we rejoice in your victories, and we’re sad with your tragedies. But you have to give us the freedom to take care of our own church in our own country in our own culture, and not to be controlled by people who have never heard a word of English, much less would allow a word of English to be spoken in the liturgy. We can’t allow our church to be controlled by people who have no appreciation for our culture, and who have to bow to the Turkish Islamic authorities.”

His Beatitude concludes by addressing the faithful, the clergy and the bishops in America and asking them totell the churches in the Old World: “There is an American Orthodox church. Leave it alone.”

As Rod Dreher concludes his own post on the matter: Boom! It’s on. Hold on to your mitres.”

I am unimaginably proud of His Beatitude and thank God for his words last evening.

It is worth your time to give a listen.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

p.s., The text of His Beatitude’s sermon can be found here (NB: it is a pdf).


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4 Responses to “Metropolitan Jonah on Orthodox Unity”

  1. Guest Says:

    I think, for me at least,the problem is not so much what was said per se but HOW it was said. I personally found Met. Jonah’s delivery, if you will, to be gruff and seemingly lacking in humility. I also fear that this speech will get back to Turkey and will just increase the problems and oppression already faced by the Orthodox community making the situation there worse than it already is. I fear that the Turkish authorities will use his words to say “See even other Orthodox don’t recognize your existance.” Perhaps in the future His Eminance can choose his words a bit better and work on his delivery. We as Orthodox look bad when we are fighting amongst ourselves

  2. Fr. Michael Says:

    Another guest oberved:
    “I also fear that this speech will get back to Turkey and will just increase the problems and oppression already faced by the Orthodox community making the situation there worse than it already is. I fear that the Turkish authorities will use his words to say “See even other Orthodox don’t recognize your existance.'”
    To my mind, this points out (if inadvertently) a very strong reason that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is in no position at all to direct the church life of us “barbarians”.
    If the speech (not to mention activity) of hierarchs in a distant, free land are to be constrained by their possible effect on a “mother” church whose own existence is barely tolerated by a hostile – and increasingly Islamist – government, how does this serve the good of the Church?
    I can understand why the EP continues to push its novel interpretation of Chalcedon’s Canon 28.  After all, it is the only card it has to play in a desperate game for its own survival.  May the Lord have mercy on the (3,000 or less) Greeks still living in “The City”.  But they are no longer the center of anyone’s “ecumene” but the one in their own anxious hearts.
    Fr. Michael Carney

  3. Fr Gregory Says:

    Fr Michael,
    Chirst is Risen!
    Thank you for your comments!  I must say, I was floored when I read what you wrote.  Not, let me be clear, because I disagreed but because you have I think put the matter of the EP’s situation in perspective.
    Like it or not, and canonical disagreements to one side, the EP is not free to provide the kind of leadership that the Church needs.  How can his All Hoiliness lead us if he must forever look over his shoulder and worry how his words (and ours) will be interpreted by the Turkish government and and a hostile Islamic minority?
    The situation is not unlike that of a victim of domestic violence.  As long as violence is a possibility the freedom of the person is compromised.  This is especially the case when children are held hostage to the whims of the abusing partner.
    Thinking about  your words, and confessing my own attraction to realpolitik, I wonder if the best thing we in America can do for not only ourselves but especially the EP (and the other Orthodox Churches in hostile political situations) isn’t in fact to do as Metropolitan JONAH suggested–come together across jurisdictional  line under one united Synod of bishops. 
    Let us by all means keep our attachment to the Churches of the “Old World.”  But let us govern ourselves here in America as one Church under one synod of bishops so that we can with “one mind confession” the Most Holy Trinity AND advocate on behalf of our brothers and sisters overseas.
    Again, thanks for your wise words Father!
    In Christ,
    Fr Gregory

  4. Fr Gregory Says:

    Christ is Risen!
    While I sympathize with your concern–I was a priest in the GOA for 12 years and understand the situation the EP is in–I think Fr Michael Carney has put his finger on the matter.  If the EP isn’t free he can’t lead.
    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts both on FrMC’s comments and my response.
    In Christ,

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