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A 'campaign' against Fr. Christopher and/or the OCA ???

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    PHOTO: Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Pimen Krutitskii and Kolomna ( Izvekov ) presents the Tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2013
      PHOTO: Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Pimen Krutitskii and Kolomna ( Izvekov ) presents the Tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America's Bishop of Sitka and Alaska Theodosius ( Lazor ) . Moscow, 1970 Photo from www.orthodoxhistory.org
      Slightly edited machine translation
      What's up?  The priest-in-charge of the Cathedral of the American Church compared the Russian Church to inquisitors
      The website of the Protection [Pokrov] Cathedral in New York (Orthodox Church in America ) on Dormition Day distanced itself from Russia's "inquisitorial harassment" and "xenophobia" and the Russian Orthodox Church. The text of the statement, comment of the NY priest and the context:

      The official website of the Cathedral of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America), on August 28 , the Dormition of Blessed Virgin Mary,  published the following statement of the priest-in-charge:

      "Regarding our Cathedral, the Church in Russia, and the Russian Government

      The NYC Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection, a parish of the autocephalous (self-governed) Orthodox Church in America, is completely independent from the Church in Russia (Moscow Patriarchate), its political actions and statements, and its inquisition-like persecutions and xenophobia in concert with the Russian government's promulgation of draconian laws limiting freedom of speech and civil rights of its citizens.  Archimandrite Christopher Calin, Dean 08/28/13'
      English original)

      The Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate's had no comment on the American priest's demarche, citing the fact that New York priests should be more aware of the causes of such statements .

      Archpriest George Roschin , a cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral of New York ( Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States of America), was surprised by the statement not less than his Moscow counterparts.

      - Father George, what is the meaning of Archimandrite Christopher's statement and how does one relate to it ?

      - After reading this post on the official website of the parish, I ask myself the same questions. What prompted the Archimandrite's declaration, and most importantly - to place it on the official site? It is unclear whether this is the official position of OCA or Father Christopher's private opinion.

      It is clear that in American society there is a debate about some of the legislative initiatives of the Russian Federation, but we know that the Russian Orthodox Church is separated from the state.  The American Church is also well aware of this but we know why such statements raise more questions and perplexities rather than the desire to join the discussion. I still hope that some further clarification regarding this statement will still be given.

      - That is not to say that it was made by an eccentric priest --well known throughout the city--  to whose unusual statements everyone is accustomed?

      - Of course not. This statement accuses the Russian Church. But the Church speaks from the standpoint of Scripture, tradition and the Church's teaching on the moral imperative that we shared with the American Church . From this point of view, accusing the Church of xenophobia and relationships with the state is a little illogical. The only thing that comes to mind as an explanation of what happened - it's a lack of awareness about what is happening in Russia, including in the area of church-state relations.

      But if there is no such awareness, then perhaps one has to be careful in evaluations and, as a minimum,  first get to know the opinion of the Russian Church on the issue. Unfortunately, no one asked us for clarifications . We do not even know, precisely because of what  event Father Christopher decided to speak out.

      A possible explanation

      At the time of this writing, the representatives of Pokrov Cathedral were unavailable for comment , so it is not clear in the end which law is draconian - a ban on adoptions by Americans Russian orphans (so-called "the Dima Yakovlev law" ) or the law banning the promotion of homosexuality . Most probably , the second because it is a statement about freedom of speech . Indirect evidence in favor of this and the fact that on August 25 in San Francisco gay activists held a demonstration at the Cathedral of the Moscow Patriarchate. The statement may be a reaction to it.

      Recall that last week, in front of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in San Francisco there was a protest of the local LGBT community. The protesters complained about Russian law prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality among minors. Hearing of this action earlier, two archpastors of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia arrived at the cathedral before thebeginning of the liturgy: Archbishop Kiril, administrator ROCOR's San Francisco and the Western American Diocese  and Bishop Feodosiy of Seattle, ROCOR's Vicar of the Western American Diocese.  To comfort and support the bishops brought believers the ark with a particle of the holy relics from St. John of Shanghai  Cathedral in San Francisco. Archbishop Cyril and Bishop Theodosius , together with the parishioners and clergy of the church prayed and received Holy Communion.

      Closer to or further from Moscow ?

      The paradox lies in the fact that it was the Russian Orthodox Church  from which the Father Archimandrite so strongly distanced himself  gave autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970 , which is not recognized by  the churches of Constantinople , Alexandria , Antioch , Jerusalem , Romania , Cyprus , Albania. For them, the Orthodox Church of America -is just a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church.

      In the Orthodox Church in America, there are different tendencies . One part of the clergy wants closer relations with Moscow , while on the other hand another distancing itself from  ties with Russia and underlines the uniqueness of American Orthodoxy.

      As an example, recall the episode in October 2008 . Then Bishop Hilarion of Vienna (now Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate ) was considered as a possible candidate to the chair the widowed Orthodox Church in America. One of the statements , for example, said: "Bishop Hilarion would be a perfect candidate ... If Moscow will let him administer us, what can be better to strengthen the links between the different Russian churches and even different jurisdictions in America? '.

      One of the signed petitions in support of the candidacy of Bishop Hilarion was recently the ordained Bishop Jonah (Paffhausen) , in the end he became Metropolitan of All America and Canada.

      Later, Metropolitan Jonah offered to change the canonical status of the Orthodox Church in America, with an autocephalous to autonomous within the Russian Orthodox Church. This tendency, along with a certain authoritarian decision was one of the reasons for the resignation [departure] of the primate on 7 July 2012 at the request of the members of the Synod of the OCA . As Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky said in a comment to "Neskuchny Sad (Garden}," : " It did not correspond to the self-dentity of the majority of our faithful , many of whom do not have any relation to the Russian community  -- who are Romanians , Albanians or converts from Protestant denominations ."

      Also on the topic :
      Why was the primate of the American Church retired?

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