George Karcazes’s questions for the Assembly of Bishops helps them to stay focused on the task of Canonical Order

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George D. Karcazes

George D. Karcazes

Questions for consideration by the Assembly of Bishops as they continue to work for Canonical Order in the USA submitted by George Karcazes, Executive Committee Member of Orthodox Christian Laity

Article 28 of the Chambesy documents  of the Meeting of the Patriarch in 2008  challenges Assemblies  of Bishops to meet and develop blueprints “to bring the Church in their respective territories into Canonical Order.”  What does this mean in the context of America, where we have overlapping “jurisdictions” based on Old World ethnic ties and multiple bishops in the same “cities” or territories?  Chambesy said: “Come up with a plan.. or else we (the existing autocephalous Churches who met at Chambesy, and who we assume will be meeting as a Great and Holy Council in 2016) will come up with our own plan for you.”

  1. Has the Assembly agreed on the meaning of the charge given to it by the Chambesy documents that it should submit a plan to bring the Church in its territory into “canonical order”?
  2. Has the Assembly drafted a plan to submit to the Mother Churches which will bring the Church in the territory of the United States (and Canada?) into “canonical order” as ordered by Chambesy?
  3. Has the Assembly discussed a plan that will create a single Synod of Canonical Bishops in the territory of the United States (and Canada) divided into a number of Dioceses with a single Bishop assigned to each Diocese?
  4. Has the Assembly discussed a plan that will provide for the Synod of Canonical Bishops to elect its own “head” so that the Church in the United States (and Canada) will take its place at the Great and Holy Council as a ”sister” Church.
  5. Who do the Bishops participating in the Assembly “represent”?  (a) The faithful they have been entrusted to minister to in the “vineyards that have been planted by God’s hand”, or (b) the Hierarchs and Synods in the Old World who appointed them to their positions?
  6. Having received not only the permission, but the charge to meet in order to develop and submit a plan to bring the Church into “canonical order,” are the Bishops engaged fully in this task, or are they waiting for further instructions from their “Mother” Churches as to what they can, or cannot include in their plan?
  7. What role will the U.S. Bishops have in the present preparations for the Great and Holy Council and at the Great and Holy Council?[subscribe2]
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1 Comment

  1. It appears to me that several of the above questions may have been answered at a previous meeting held October 27, 2013 “The Path To Orthodox Unity”. Met. Savvas Zembillas said, “We are not charged with coming up with a blueprint for an autocephalous church. We’re being charged with coming up with a solution to a canonical anomaly. If they thought we were interpreting it as coming up with a blueprint for independence, this wouldn’t be happening.” After some further explanations, he told the audience to “ground yourselves in reality.”

    Clearly the solution does not include autocephaly and is, in no way, a real possibility. Frankly, I find that very disappointing.

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