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Responses to OCA autocephaly

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{{inprogress|user=ASDamickorthodoxyinamerica}}The '''[[autocephaly]] of the [[OCA]]''' came into being with the signing of a [[tomos]] of autocephaly by Patriarch [[Alexei I (Simansky) of Moscow]] on [[April 10]], 1970. This status was recognized by some Orthodox churches but either ignored or rejected by others. ==Responses to OCA autocephaly==The autocephalous Orthodox churches that recognize the OCA as autocephalous are the [[Church of Russia]], which granted the tomos of autocephaly, the [[Church of Georgia]], the [[Church of Bulgaria]], the [[Church of Poland]] and the [[Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia]].  Those autocephalous churches that have not recognized the autocephaly but which have not opposed it are the [[Church of Antioch]], the [[Church of Serbia]], the [[Church of Romania]], and the [[Church of Albania]].  The autocephalous churches which oppose the OCA's autocephaly are the [[Church of Constantinople]], the [[Church of Alexandria]], the [[Church of Jerusalem]], the [[Church of Cyprus]], and the [[Church of Greece]]. However, these Churches recognize the OCA as a canonical church and their representatives concelebrate services with OCA clergy. ===Documents containing responses to OCA autcephaly=== The primary documents detailing the response of the Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus and Greece 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. (All page references below are from this volume.)
{{orthodoxyinamerica}}The '''Byzantine response to the [[autocephaly]] Most of the [[OCA]]''' consisted primarily arguments detailed below are shared in a number the responses of letters all the churches and statements made of the other essays included in the early 1970s by the ancient autocephalous [[patriarchate]]s of the [[Orthodox Church]]—volume, but the Churches of [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]], [[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]], [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]], and [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]]—along with Greece give 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 detailed comments (the former name of the OCA)pp. 30-44 and 53-67, and with the leadership of Patriarch [[Athenagoras I (Spyrourespectively) of Constantinople]], issued various responses detailing canonical, historical and practical arguments against the grant.
The primary documents detailing these churches' response were Some of the above correspondence is also included in a volume published initially in the by St. Vladimir''Orthodox Observers Seminary Press, '', the official publication The Autocephaly of the [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Church in America]], and published in 1972 in book form as ''Russian Autocephaly and Orthodoxy (originally published in America: An Appraisal with Decisions and Formal Opinions''St. The book also includes an introductory essay by Archbishop [[Iakovos (Coucouzis) of America]], a Vladimir's Theological Quarterly'Prolegomena'' Fr. Nicon D. Patrinacos), and an appendix accompanied by articles by Metropolitan Emilianos, permanent representative of the [[Church of Constantinople|Ecumenical PatriarchateJohn H. Erickson]] at the World Council of Churches. The authors of the responses of the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Greece are Pope Nikolaos, PatrFr. Elias IV, Patr. Benedictos and Abp. Ieronymos, respectively, the [[primateAlexander Schmemann]]s of their respective churchesdefending the autocephaly.
Most Shortly after the official correspondences of the arguments detailed below are shared in hierarchs to one another, Prof. [[Panagiotis N. Trempelas]], a former member of the faculty at the responses School of all Theology at the churches and University of Athens, published ''The Autocephaly of the other essays included Metropolia in America'', which gave more detailed historical and canonical arguments against the volumegrant of autocephaly, but the Churches including a rebuttal of Constantinople and Greece give the most detailed commentsSchmemann 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 summed up 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.
*The OCA has many migrant churches within it: Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Georgian, etc.
*The OCA is the second largest in America (first is the Greek Orthodox Church, third is Antiochian)
*The OCA is the fastest growing jurisdiction
*The Metropolitan of the OCA is humble.
==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 [[canonical territory|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 required 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 [[canonical territory|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 [[canonical territory|boundaries]] and other jurisdictional matters of sparsely 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).
===Historical arguments===
*The period of Russian Orthodox expansion out of Alaska is also the same period during which other Orthodox jurisdictions were established on American soil.
*The various Orthodox communities in North America did not always recognize Russian jurisdiction; they were often quite isolated and had no real contact with the Russian hierarchy. Thus, they saw themselves as beholden to their mother churches, not to Moscow.
*Greeks were the first to establish a presence on American soil in New Smyrna, Florida, in 1767, 26 years before St. Herman arrived in Alaska in 1794, which was not American at the time (being part of the Russian Empire).
*The first Orthodox parish established on American soil was by Greeks in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1864, three years before Alaska became American and four years before the first Russian parish was established in American territory (in San Francisco).
*The claim that each autocephalous church may grant autocephaly to its daughter churches contradicts Russian history, in which Russia claimed independence for itself more than 150 years before Constantinople and the rest of the Church recognized it: "If the autocephalous status derives from Christ, why was the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America anathematized by you instead of being approved and praised for severing itself from its Patriarchate and its mother Church—as some other Churches did too—by right of its own will and against the Canons?" (p. 61).
===Practical arguments===
*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).
*The name "The Orthodox Church in America" is a misnomer, as the body only comprises a minority of Orthodox faithful in America and is not representative of Orthodox America, but mainly represents a certain subsection of Slavic Orthodoxy in America (particularly ex-Uniate, Russianized Carpath-Russians).
*Moscow's act creates confusion regarding the true nature of canonicity.
==SourceSources==*''Autocephaly: The Orthodox Church in America''. Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1971.
*''Russian Autocephaly and Orthodoxy in America: An Appraisal with Decisions and Formal Opinions''. New York: The Orthodox Observer Press, 1972.
 *Trempelas, Panagiotis. ''The Autocephaly of the Metropolia in America''. Brookline, Massachusetts: Holy Cross School of Theology Press, 1974.
[[Category:Church History]]
[[ro:Reacţia la Autocefalia OCA]]

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