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Byzantine response to the [[autocephaly]] of the [[OCA]]''' consisted primarily in a number of letters and statements made in the early 1970s by the ancient autocephalous [[patriarchate]]s of the [[ Orthodox Church]] —the Churches of [[ Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]], [[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]] , [[ Church of Antioch|Antioch]], and [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]]—along with the [[Church of Greece]]. Like most autocephalous Orthodox churches worldwide, the Byzantine churches rejected the grant of autocephaly by the [[Church of Russia]] to the American Metropolia (the former name of the OCA), and with the leadership of Patriarch [[Athenagoras I (Spyrou) of Constantinople]], issued various responses detailing canonical, historical and practical arguments against the grant.
The primary documents detailing
these churches' response were published initially in the ''Orthodox Observer'', the official publication of the [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America]], and published in 1972 in book form as ''Russian Autocephaly and Orthodoxy in America: An Appraisal with Decisions and Formal Opinions''. The book also includes an introductory essay by Archbishop [[Iakovos (Coucouzis) of America]], a ''Prolegomena'' Fr. Nicon D. Patrinacos, and an appendix by Metropolitan Emilianos, permanent representative of the [[Church of Constantinople|Ecumenical Patriarchate]] at the World Council of Churches. The authors of the responses of the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Greece are Pope Nikolaos, Patr. Elias IV, Patr. Benedictos and Abp. Ieronymos, respectively, the [[primate]]s of their respective churches.
Most of the arguments detailed below are shared in the responses of all the churches and of the other essays included in the volume, but the Churches of Constantinople and Greece give the most detailed comments (pp. 30-44 and 53-67, respectively).
Some of the above correspondence is also included in a volume published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, ''The Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America'' (originally published in ''St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly''), accompanied by articles by [[John Erickson]] and Fr. [[Alexander Schmemann]] defending the autocephaly.
Shortly after the official correspondences of the hierarchs to one another, Prof. [[Panagiotis N. Trempelas]], a former member of the faculty at the School of Theology at the University of Athens, published ''The Autocephaly of the Metropolia in America'', which gave more detailed historical and canonical arguments against the grant of autocephaly, including a rebuttal of the Schmemann article, "A Meaningful Storm."
==Arguments in favor of OCA autocephaly==
The Muscovite-Metropolia arguments (made on canonical, historical and practical grounds)
being refuted by the Byzantine Orthodox world may essentially be summarized as follows:
*Each autocephalous church has the right to grant autocephaly to its ecclesiastical daughter communities.
*The grant of autocephaly served to regularize relations between the [[Church of Russia]] and the [[OCA|Metropolia]] and gave the latter much-needed self-governance.
*Recognition of autocephaly normally takes time but eventually always comes.
*The OCA's autocephaly promotes Orthodox unity in America.
==Arguments against OCA autocephaly==
*It is against canonical and traditional order for a [[diocese]] regarded as having been in [[schism]] (as the Metropolia had officially been by Moscow from 1933 to 1970) to be suddenly granted autocephaly.
*Autocephaly by its nature includes a total territorial definition, which Moscow's [[tomos]] does not make, especially because it kept dozens of parishes for itself in North America and makes no claim over the majority of Orthodox parishes in America. This is a "paradox... unheard of in the Orthodox chronicles" (p. 51).
*No autocephalous Church may extend its jurisdictional boundaries without the consent of the whole Church (in Russia's case, those boundaries were defined in 1591).
*Autocephaly must require the full agreement of the people and leadership in the territory in question, but the OCA's autocephaly only represented the agreement of a minority of Orthodox America. St. [[Tikhon of Moscow]] said this regarding the [[Church of Georgia]], that its autocephaly must be "the universal and fully agreed upon wish of the people" (p. 49).
*Right to jurisdiction does not follow from setting up a bishop; rather, setting up a bishop follows from prior agreed upon jurisdiction: "it is the undoubted jurisdictional rights over a territory that constitute the indispensable condition for the right to appoint a bishop, not the claiming of jurisdictional rights as a result of having appointed a bishop there. The appointment and establishment of a bishop in a particular place cannot be used as a means of jurisdictionally annexing that place" (p. 55).*"We wonder how the Church which first established a bishop in Sitka, San Francisco, or elsewhere on this vast continent, could attempt to jurisdictionally subjugate this whole country. Certainly you are not ignorant of the fact that America is larger and of larger population than Europe, and also of the fact that the Ecumenical Synods decreed with precision on the boundaries and other jurisdictional matters of
sparcely [''sic''] populated communities and even villages" (pp. 55-56).
*"...even if it appears to some that these territories [i.e., North America] are under the jurisdiction of no one, one thing is certain that they are not under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchal Throne of Moscow," but that "The holy Canons have clearly decreed that, 'the Churches of God in the barbaric nations are governed according to the tradition of the Fathers' [i.e., their mother churches, referencing Canon 150 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council]" (p. 59).
*"The title, mother-Church, as the inspired 150 Fathers implicitly signified, is only a sign of honor, of no rights whatsoever. The Church in Jerusalem never exercised any authority on the rest of the Churches... even though it was from there that all of the Godly Apostles who attracted and tutored us to the state of obedience of Christ set off" (p. 62).
*Russian Orthodoxy remains disunified on American soil, remaining under three jurisdictions; the OCA's autocephaly failed to produce unity even for the Russians.
*The issue of unity in the [[diaspora]] had already been referred to the agenda of an upcoming Great and Holy Synod of the Orthodox Churches. Moscow's unilateral move was an affront to the community of the Church. "For this reason we are at a loss to explain the haste shown by the Russian Orthodox Church in announcing as Autocephalous a relatively small section of the Russian Orthodox Diaspora in America, and conferring upon this Church a title disproportionate with reality, after having only recently recognized her jurisdiction" (p. 43).