1754Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Orthodox Jurisdictions
- Dec 12, 2010"What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
The most basic differences between each Orthodox jurisdiction in the US is
their episcopates, what they are responsible for and how they are chosen.
For instance, the Synod of the OCA is chosen locally by the Synod itself in
cooperation with the clergy and laity of the diocese. The OCA is not a
department of any state and receives no direct government support, it is
also not closely allied with any particular ethnic group or country. Each
bishop is a ruling bishop of a distinct diocese, just like the in the Old
By comparison, all other Orthodox jurisdictions have enormous 'involvement'
either locally or overseas from one or more governments. The Turkish and
Greek governments, for instance, are heavily involved with the activities of
the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Russian Church works towards Russian
governmental goals, as well, as recently revealed by WikiLeaks. the
Russian, Greek and EP churches receive money from their states. The Church
of Antioch has close ties with the government of Syria - mainly because the
government is not as radically Muslim as others in the region (the Bashirs
are members of a 'heretical' Muslim sect).
The local bishops have wider or narrower mandates. For instance, it seems
clear now that all Antiochian bishops apart from the Metropolitan are simply
assistant/auxiliary bishops to the Metropolitan. The OCA has its own
self-contained Synod and consecrates its own chrism, even. ROCOR has
bishops and dioceses outside of the US and the bishop of its Eastern US
diocese is also the leader of all ROCOR and locum tenens of their Australian
This is all rather 'inside baseball' kinds of information. At the end of
the day, it's really about your local parish, the clergy and people there.
Each jurisdictions has clergy and people with a wide variety of backgrounds:
recent American converts, convert families going back a few generations,
immigrants right off the boat speaking no English, fourth and fifth
generation immigrant families, blue and white collar, open to visitors, not
open, highly intellectual clergy and people to far less so. Add to this
differences in temperament, cliques, family dynamics, differences from the
Old World and the New, as well as geography and each parish can be quite
different. One can speak in generalities, but there are too many exceptions
to make that worth all that much. What a given inquirer or convert 'needs'
and prefers can also be dramatically different. Some prefer very ethnic
communities and worship in foreign languages, the strictest typikon and
fasting rules, others may need/prefer to ease themselves into Orthodox and
want something that feels more like what they are familiar with (since so
much is so different already).
(I was baptized in an OCA parish, but am now a more frequent communicant at
a GOA parish - though I still visit my old parish for weekday feasts and
Pascha. People tend to prefer Slavic or Greek/Antiochian, ethnic or
American or somewhere between, strict or less strict. I prefer Slavic,
almost all English but with a diversity of ethnicities, and strict. The
reasons these different flavors exist is due to Orthodoxy being a very large
thing with a complex sociology and history, in this country and abroad,
though with not enough time for a common mode to have developed here - there
are many new immigrants (of all kinds) with their own needs as well as brand
new converts (of all kinds) with their own needs, as well as older parishes
with their own distinct identities.)
The best thing to do is to visit your two local options and see how each
priest and parish feels. Sometimes you may respond quite well to a certain
priest, but not his parish. Sometimes both will speak to you. Give it some
time, too. No need to make a decision immediately, though a stable rhythm
of church life should begin to take form after awhile. Take advice from
whichever priest you feel most comfortable with, be open with him about any
concerns you have about Orthodox, a given parish, your family's needs, etc.
There's very little you will be able to bring up that they haven't heard
If you have further questions, ask.
On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 1:10 PM, waynewhitmer <waywhit@...> wrote:
> I just posted this on Monachos.net and would also like to hear the opinions
> of my fellow Lutherans.
> I just read an article regarding Fr Peter Gilquist and it states:
> "Gilquest said he chose to join the Antiochan Orthodox Church because he
> asked himself when the church in Antioch died, and realized it never did."
> What are the essential distinguishing characteristics of each Orthodox
> jurisdiction? Is there a good article which addresses their origins and
> differences? Were I to convert to Orthodoxy I would have 2 choices locally
> and 1 choice within an hour away from my residence. 1. OCA 2. GOARCH and the
> 3rd an hour away would be AOCANA.
> Does it really matter or is one more open to converts than others? I know
> in the end I need to visit these parishes to understand however I'm
> interested in your thoughts?
> Wayne Whitmer
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