Source: Orthodox Reality
A new report, A Unified American Orthodox Church: Do Parish Priests Want It?, is now available. Do parish clergy support the creation of a fully independent autocephalous American Orthodox Church? Do they prefer a self-ruling Church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate? Or, would they rather keep things as they are, with separate jurisdictions? If the latter, why? Based on a national survey of 390 U.S. Orthodox parish clergy, the answers to these questions can be found here:
Four major issues are discussed:
- How parish priests of various jurisdictions envision the future of the Orthodox Church in the USA
- How priests’ personal backgrounds (age, religious upbringing) affect their preference for the future of the American Orthodox Church
- What has happened since 2015: how priests’ visions for Orthodox Church unity in America have changed
- How US Orthodox clergy describe their major fears and concerns regarding Orthodox Church unity in America
Share this report via social media with your parish as well as with Orthodox friends and relatives. Send your reflections and comments to [email protected] or use the contact form on the website: www.orthodoxreality.org.
To access the report, A Unified American Orthodox Church: Do Parish Priests Want It?, click here:
Alexei Krindatch, National Coordinator
US Census of Orthodox Christian Churches/2020 US Religion Census
This report is both interesting and valuable.
Interesting as much for what it doesn’t explain as for the statistics it extrapolates from the answers it received from the priests who agreed to participate.
Valuable because it speaks to a critical issue that most lay persons are not aware of and most clergy are not concerned about. That is: uniting the 14 ethnic Orthodox jurisdictions in America under a single synod, as an autocephalous, local church.
That 390 clergy responded to Mr. Krindatch’s survey is remarkable in light of many Hierarchs admonishing their clergy not to cooperate with him. Mr. Krindatch cannot answer why clergy answer as they do, except by quoting some anecdotal comments from those who chose to offer them. Who can say how many are influenced by their bishops and how many have carefully considered the pros and cons.
There are still some nuggets to be gleaned from the report, especially at this time when the Greek Archdiocese is in the middle of a simmering dispute over a new charter the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the new GOA Archbishop seem intent upon imposing on the Archdiocese and the selection of a foreigner to lead the Antiochian Archdiocese in America.
One nugget: The GOA has seen a decline in membership of 22% between 2010 and 2020. Another: The number of GOA priest who favor autocephaly has doubled in the eight years between 2015 and 2023.
1. If the OCA and most Antiochian clergy favor unity and autocephaly, and
2. If none of the jurisdictions in America, except for the Greek are willing to come together under Istanbul,
3. If the number of Greek clergy who favor unity and autocephaly continue to increase as shown by this survey..
When will the message reach the laity — and when will they insist that the Orthodox church in America unite and join the other autocephalous churches as a sister church rather than continue its decline as an orphan with 14 step-mothers?
WE BELIEVE IN CHURCH UNITY.
This Report proves that OCL’s message is the winning message. If more and more clergy agree that Autocephaly for a United American Orthodox Church is the answer, more and more laity will get the same message.
This proves that when Archbishop Elpidophoros tells the executive committee of the Assembly of Bishops that OCL has been “marginalized” he is engaging in wishful thinking.
Sign the Declaration. Speak with your priest and with your bishop. Tell them the time has come to unite and join the other Autocephalous Churches as a sister Church.
Please read John 17:21-23. The issue in a church is not what we want, not what gives the church more power, but what is God’s will. Does God want unity among the Orthodox churches? That is the question.
The answer to that question is an unequivocal “yes!” His last instruction to his disciples was that they be one, so that people would believe. This goes beyond even the canons that require that there be only one bishop in a territory. It is Christ’s own instruction that the Church be united. How can anyone countenance the existence of fourteen overlapping, ethnic colonies in the same territory, subject to step-mothers in far-off foreign countries – some of which are subject to harassment, if not control by hostile governments?
The need for a United Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America has never been more evident than it is today. Every effort must be made by every Orthodox Christian in America to convince the Assembly of Bishops in America to bring the Church in America into canonical order as one Autocephalous American Orthodox Church.