What will an autocephalous Ukrainian Church mean to us?


Source: Byzantine, TX

One wonders if a schism in Ukraine means a complete destruction of the careful harmony of the Church in America. If the EP and Russia break communion, does that mean OCA priests and GOA priests will no longer concelebrate? Will the many non-EP clergy serving for diminished pay in GOA parishes be forced to stop and leave smaller Greek parishes priest-less? Will The Antiochian Archdiocese cut the GOA out as well? The Serbs? What happens to pan-Orthodox events? Do we walk separately at the March for Life?

A thousand questions present themselves. What will Orthodoxy look like this time next year? God grant us humility, peace, and healing in this trying period.



  1. George D. Karcazes on

    Dear “Byzantine, TX”,

    The OCA is Autocephalous, having been received its “Tomos” many years ago.

    Russia should not be able to order the OCA to destroy the “careful harmony of the Church in America”.

    Putin/Kyril should not be able to use the Moscow Patriarchate to destabilize our Churches in the US.

    What “ties” does the Antiochian Archdiocese have with the GOA.. since it has essentially withdrawn from participation in the Assembly of Bishops ostensibly over a dispute with the Alexandria Patriarchate over a parish in Qatar?

    All of this foreign meddling in our Orthodox Churches in America speak eloquently of the need for all of the canonical Orthodox Bishops in the US to declare themselves to be a local Synod.. elect their own presiding bishop and notify Constantinople, Moscow, Damascus, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia.. and the Foreign Ministry of Greece.. that the Church in the US is Autocephalous.. and ask for their blessings.

    The time has come “to ask forgiveness, rather than permission.”

    We have problems of our own. They are local problems. They can only be solved locally. Our clergy and laity need to “reclaim their voices”. Our bishops must understand that they are responsible for.. and to.. their flocks … here and now. Not to Synods thousands of miles across the sea.

  2. George,

    I have a great deal of respect for you and for your persistent and generous commitment to the Orthodox Church in the United States. Unfortunately, given that this Church is by nature hierarchical, the fate of the institution does not reside with us, the laity. Moreover, the “so-called” Assembly of Bishops has done nothing and most likely will do nothing to address the deterioration that the Russians are soon to launch on World Orthodoxy.

    I never realized until now that the status of the “Ecumenical Patriarchate” in Turkey is tenuous and sits on a precipice of destruction by its peers. Therefore, the institution, as it exists now, may not be worth saving; and we, the laity, should just step back and let it sink!

    • The Russian faithful have done nothing but strengthen world Orthodoxy both in the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and abroad through ROCOR and ROCA. They have been a light of Orthodoxy unto the world and it was under them that I came to Orthodoxy too. It is untrue and outright slanderous to claim the Moscow Patriarchate is trying to divide Orthodoxy when it is clear this is exactly what Bartholomew is doing himself.

  3. George D. Karcazes on


    I am not a theologian… nor am I schooled in the “Byzantine” machinations of “World Orthodoxy”… where the Turkish government must approve of the selection of the Ecumenical Patriarch and former KGB agents use the Moscow Patriarchate to advance political ends and the Moscow Patriarchate uses the Russian government to advance its agenda across the globe. Saying that “this Church is by nature hierarchical” reminds me of trying to define what the meaning of “is”…is.

    If everyone unquestioningly accepts the definition of “hierarchical” as “dictatorial, unaccountable, despotic, capricious and vindictive” then your solution of just stepping back and letting it self-destruct may be in order.

    If “hierarchical” simply means that the ordained members of the People of God are arranged in hierarchical order… deacon, priest, bishop, metropolitan, archbishop, Patriarch… all coming from the laity… the Royal Priesthood of believers… then the “nature” of the hierarchy returns to that of servants rather than dictators… and the people reclaim their responsibility for the Church.

    What are the laity willing to accept as the definition of “hierarchical”?

  4. Unfortunately for those “Orthodox” who put self identity and their own comfort zones above Orthodoxy itself, this is not a trivial matter where they are free to choose based on their personal likes and dislikes of the ROC under Patriarch Kiril or the EP under Bartholomew. On the issue of Ukraine, one is right and one is wrong, and it’s black and white. The so-called Patriarch of Kiev Filaret is not only a schismatic but a dangerous heretic who puts his nation before and above God. To accept such a man back into the priesthood (and enter into communion with him), ignoring all true Orthodox protocols in the matter, is to become a schismatic and heretic oneself. The EP has crossed that Rubicon, and unless Bartholomew makes an abrupt UTURN and disavows this unlawful decision and repents of his sin, he too will find himself outside of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as will all who remain in communion with him. There is already a universally (in terms of Canonical Orthodoxy) recognized Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry, and all true Orthodox Believers must stand with him.

  5. What all of this should tell the Orthodox in America is that there is NO REASON to continue to be under the thumb of ANY foreign bishop. Neither the Bishop of Moscow, the Bishop of Istanbul, the Bishop of Damascus/Antioch or any other. We are the “Local” Church in America and there is no reason to have to deal with the petty, ridiculous disputes between foreign bishops. “A pox on both of their houses!”

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