Re: Патриархат в Америке? - новости (англ)|
МаксимЪ, Православный - 04:29 18.07.2002
The Greek Orthodox Church of US requested autonomy from
Patriarchate of Constantinople
Delegates of the Clergy-Laity Congress of U.S. Greek Orthodox
Church approved a new charter that would grant it autonomy from
its leadership abroad.
Archbishop Demetrius and the Bishops of the US Orthodox Church had
already accepted a charter proposed by the Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew. The Patriarchate has demanded nothing but the
acceptance of the Charter and from the Clergy-Laity Congress too.
Officials in Constantinople had indicated that the charter was a
"gift" from the Patriarchate and that there would be no discussion
or voting on the matter. But the Congress, held in Los Angeles,
June 30 to July 4, was in turmoil; the Patriarchate charter saw a
robust delegate body fully engaged in questioning articles and
making motions for changes.
As delegates said, the most dramatic moment of the discussion
occurred when Mr. George Kokalis, founder of "Leadership 100",
(which control the Endowment of the Church), declared that he
rejected the charter offered by the Patriarchate. The Congress
erupted in applause supporting his point of view.
Then, fourteen parish delegates presented an appeal to Patriarch
Bartholomew requesting autonomy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
of America. But only 40% of the delegates stood to support the
Following the defeat of the autonomy motion, Dr. John Collis,
archdiocesan council member, took the floor and amended the motion
to accept the Patriarchate charter on the condition that the final
version contain the following points:
1. That the term "conciliar" be used whenever the term
hierarchical is used. So, provisions be maintained in the charter
for participation by both clergy and laity in church governance
2. That the Bishops in America be elected by the American
3. That the Archbishop of America be selected from a list of three
candidates proposed by the American Synod of Bishops and
4. That candidates for Archbishop have a minimum of five (5) years
experience in the church in America.
The new charter absorbed roughly 75% of the time of the Congress.
Some 750 delegates attending this week's Greek Orthodox
Clergy-Laity Congress approved the new charter during a voice
vote. Deacon Nektarios Morrow, director of communication for the
archdiocese in New York, estimated that about 70 percent of the
delegates supported the change.
The delegates' accomplishments are also a tribute to GOA
Archbishop Demetrios, who had the wisdom and courage to let them
do what they went to Los Angeles to do--to discuss and vote on the
charter--despite the threats and intimidation he suffered at the
Phanar this past Holy Week.
According to well-informed sources in Constantinople, Patriarch
Bartholomew has only one option: He can only ignore the Los
Angeles amendments, as he has ignored the actions of the previous
Clergy-Laity Congresses beginning in 1994. Otherwise, his politics
in the US, Greece, Europe and Australia will be ruined at once.
New religion law in Bulgaria
The new religion law passed through its first reading in the
Bulgarian Parliament. The old one, full of communist restrictions,
dates from 1949. Three drafts were tabled and the one written by
Kiril Malchev and Roupen Krikorian attracted 168 votes, the draft
of Borislav Cekov supported by the Holy Synod - 153 and the draft
of the Turkish DPS party - 140. During the deliberations the right
wing MP Svetoslav Louchnikov called the Patriarch "Mister Maxim"
and repeated that he had been elected by the Political Bureau of
the Builgarian Communist Party. Louchnikov said that while his
SDFS party was in power, it could have changed the Patriarch but
decided not to do so. Many other MPs protested against
Louchnikov's speech and claimed that the continuing schism in the
church was staged by SDS itself which has strong economic
interests in using the church property free of charge. The Turkish
MP Liutfi Mestan, co-author of the DPS draft, insisted that
denominations and especially Islam should receive fiscal
Archim. Dr. Pavel Stefanov
Greek Orthodox clergy-laity congress opens Sunday amid debate over
how U.S. bishops will be chosen.
By Larry B. Stammer, Los Angeles Times
The Greek Orthodox Church opens its 36th national clergy-laity
congress here Sunday amid stirrings of discontent that many hoped
had been put to rest with the ouster of the church's controversial
archbishop three years ago.
The issue this time is not the American church's new Archbishop,
His Eminence Demetrios, who is generally well regarded, but a
controversial new church charter. Some church activists are
warning that the charter not only erodes rank-and-file power, but
further delays the 1.5-million-member American church's eventual
independence from its mother church, headquartered in Istanbul,
The controversy is a classic example of a church built by
immigrants, who have come of age in America, intent on remaining
loyal to the church's ancient Greek traditions and faith, even as
that church is reshaped by a new culture. Orthodox churches in
America, such as the Greek, Russian and Antiochian churches, have
a combined total of 5 million to 6 million active members. These
groups represent the Eastern expression of Christianity, with its
elaborate rituals and crown-bedecked bishops. Roman Catholic,
Anglican and Protestant churches comprise the more dominant
Western expression of the faith. The tension over how autonomous
the U.S. Greek Orthodox Church should be in administering its
affairs comes less than a month after the Antiochian Orthodox
Christian Archdiocese of North America, with 500,000 members in
the U.S. and Canada, was granted autonomy by its mother church in
Even before the clergy-laity congress opens with a Divine Liturgy
at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, tensions have been
apparent. There is not even agreement on whether the new charter
is subject to a vote when the business sessions begin Monday at
the Bonaventure Hotel.
His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony, bishop of the church's
seven-state Greek Orthodox Diocese of San Francisco, said he hopes
the charter will be discussed in a civil manner, but that he does
not expect a vote. The charter has already been approved by the
U.S. metropolitan bishops, Archbishop Demetrios, and the
Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, His All Holiness Bartholomew I.
However, an activist group, Orthodox Christian Laity, claimed that
failing to put the new charter to a vote would violate the 1977
charter--and erode the laity's historically prominent role in
church affairs. "It needs to come before the congress for
discussion and, we think, a vote," George Matsoukas, the group's
executive director said in an interview.
At one point, the executive committee of an influential
fund-raising group within the church, Leadership 100, declared in
a vote that the charter was "unacceptable." A day later the
committee withdrew its criticism, according to The National
Herald, a Greek-American newspaper. An immediate issue in the new
charter is how U.S. bishops are chosen. The question is connected
to how much autonomy the U.S. church has in running its affairs.
The church was thrown into turmoil three years ago when the
Ecumenical Patriarchate, the church's historic headquarters, named
Archbishop Spyridon to lead the U.S. church.
Spyridon, although born in the U.S., mostly lived outside the
country. His autocratic management style and his failure, at
times, to consult his U.S. bishops created opposition and led to
calls within the U.S. church to declare independence from
Faced with a revolt by his richest and most important church,
Patriarch Bartholomew removed Spyridon in August 1999 and
appointed Archbishop Demetrios in his place.
While Demetrios is generally well liked, some reformers in the
U.S. church want a greater voice in how the American archbishop is
Under the new charter, worked out during four meetings this year
in Istanbul between the U.S. metropolitan bishops and Bartholomew
and his leading clerics, any new U.S. Archbishop must be
knowledgeable about the U.S. church, speak English and have served
in the United States. But he is still appointed by the Ecumenical
Patriarchate. A proposal from the U.S. metropolitan bishops that
any American Archbishop be chosen by the Patriarchate from a list
of three names submitted by the U.S. church was rejected.
U.S. metropolitan bishops in the rung below the Archbishop would
be selected by the Ecumenical Patriarchate from a list of three
who received the most votes in the United States.
Leaders of Orthodox Christian Laity want all U.S. metropolitan
bishops elected by Americans without involvement by the Ecumenical
Patriarchate. They also want to limit the Ecumenical Patriarchate
choosing an Archbishop from among three names submitted by the
The fact that U.S. bishops have been elevated to the status of
"metropolitans" and report directly to the Patriarchate in
Istanbul instead of to the U.S. archbishop also grates on some who
call for a more-independent church.