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New Hope Offered By the Orthodox Christian Laity

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.hellenicnews.com/readnews.html?newsid=7210&lang=US New Hope Offered By the Orthodox Christian Laity Orthodox Christian Laity, the US Orthodox
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2007

      New Hope Offered By the Orthodox Christian Laity

      Orthodox Christian Laity, the US Orthodox Renewal
      Group, continues to be a faithful gift to the
      Church. Now, some 20 years after its birth in
      Chicago, it grows gracefully, increasingly
      touching the spirits of Orthodox in trying times.
      The good news is that the Orthodox renewal movement is alive across the land.

      Witness the resolution on Orthodox Christian
      Unity passed by the General Assembly of the 48th
      Archdiocesan Convention at Montreal, Canada,
      which “calls upon all canonical Orthodox
      jurisdictions to meet and take practical,
      concrete, ecclesial steps to achieve
      administrative unity. Such a meeting may be
      called within the next six months.” This is indeed positive news.

      Need a lift? I recommend every Orthodox join the
      ranks of Orthodox Christian Laity and attend its
      annual meeting in Chicago, November 3-4, 2007. If
      you haven?t had the experience on an OCL annual
      meeting, you are short changing yourself. Like a
      pilgrim traveling to the Holy Land, every adult
      Orthodox should at least be enriched by the
      intellectual, emotional and spiritual lift that
      comes from fellowship with other hope-filled, renewal-minded Orthodox.

      By coming together, we are reminded that we are
      not alone. Nor are we delusional for staying in
      the ranks to advocate reform. We certainly
      acknowledge that the church has a long way to go,
      but we have learned that we are the Church and there is nowhere else to go.
      One cannot hear speakers like Father Peter
      Gillquist on crucial steps to Orthodox Unity
      without feeling spiritually inspired. Or
      Professor Terry Mattingly, who stirs one?s soul,
      with his lively expression of the Orthodox faith.
      Other renown speakers through the years have
      included Archbishop Lazar, Metropolitan
      Christopher of Midwestern America, Serbian
      Orthodox Church, Archbishop Nathanial, Primate of
      the Romanian Episcopate of America, Father
      Alexander Abramov of the Moscow Patriarchate in
      the USA, John Erickson and Vigen Guroian. We also
      are privileged to hear prominent layman and women
      like Professor Elizabeth Prodromou, Peter Muruda,
      sub deacon Robert Miclean and US diplomat Andrew
      Natsios to name a few, whose presentations remain
      in the minds and hearts of the faithful.
      At an OCL meeting, one encounters hard
      assessments on accountability, church
      administration, lack of transparent transactions,
      efforts to unite the various Orthodox
      jurisdictions and the welfare of our dedicated
      clergy. The organization has long sown the seeds
      for renewal efforts. The question which causes
      deep concerns and anguish is how distinguished
      and successful men and women of the Archdiocesan
      Council, the leading governing body of our
      church, who are giants in business, industry,
      science and the arts, who out of fear,
      embarrassment or shame do not channel their rich
      talents in the proper management and
      administration of the business affair of the
      Archdiocese. Yet, in the conduct of their own
      business affairs would not under any
      circumstances condone such practices. The answer
      is probably that these wonderful, successful and
      charitable men and women have been seduced by
      awards, dinners and appointments to a stage of
      spiritual paralysis and fearful incapacity.

      Recently you may have received a request for the
      Campaign for Children, which included the
      statement that your support was sought for the
      “very future of Greek American children (which) was at stake.”

      Here it is some four to five generations since
      our Greek ethnicity has had a presence in the US
      and still our venerable GOA has no deference to
      Romanian, Russian, Serbian, etc. descent
      children. Please explain how Orthodoxy can
      continue to claim to be a universal church when
      the Greek jurisdiction?s only message and concern
      is for “Greek American” children. Do not
      non-Greek converts, children from other Orthodox
      jurisdictions count, or measure up?

      Metropolitan Philip recently in his address to
      the Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in
      Montreal, Canada stated, “How can we not condemn
      phyletism in the 21st century here in North
      America…it is wrong to call the Church “Russian”,
      or “Greek”, or “Syrian”, or “Armenian” because
      the Church in essence transcends nationalism,
      race or culture. Here in North America we have
      been hampered and obstructed by a distorted
      Orthodox ecclesiology because of our ethnic jurisdictions.

      Reviewing the actions of our Orthodox hierarchy
      and the way it remains frozen in patterns of
      Byzantine governance, are many educated and
      spiritually aware laity, including members of the
      Orthodox Christian Laity. The faithful at large
      tend to look on recent developments in the church
      with sadness, despair, hurt and mercy and wonder
      when will hierarchy, clergy and laity hold hands
      to fulfill the Apostalic mission entrusted to our
      Church by Christ. Where is the leadership? Our
      earthly mission can only be accomplished with the
      spirit of co-ministry. The difference between
      Orthodox Christian Laity and many other Orthodox
      is that the OCL Orthodox have not turned to
      dismissive ridicule. Is it time our Orthodox
      bishops and Metropolitans finally learn something
      about the Orthodox rank and file faithful?

      Orthodox, like those who gather under the
      Orthodox Christian Laity umbrella, always seem
      willing to take on new tasks in an effort to
      break through the debilitating climate of fear
      and inaction that grips the church.

      Movement has already started in the Catholic
      Church, and deny if you will, the era of Orthodox
      Greek Church domination in the US is slowly
      disintegrating. What we are watching is a
      gradually decaying and grieving process. But with
      death comes new life. A committed Orthodox laity,
      including members of the Orthodox Christian Laity
      and others who seek unity and are working to
      restore church credibility, transparency and
      rebuild the Orthodox substance and image.
      Resisting these initiatives only delays the
      resurrection process. This movement, easily
      denied, is painfully difficult for some hierarchy
      to accept. Many won?t yield, perhaps for years, if ever.

      After 20 years, it appears to be nearing dawn as
      the OCL has faithfully kept the night watch and deserves much gratitude.

      As for our US clergy and religious of all
      Orthodox jurisdictions, they should stand proud.
      They have helped to strengthen and develop
      thousands of lay and clergy Orthodox leaders, who
      would not be in the faith, were it not for the
      spiritual education and moral formation they provided.

      Stepping back some, we are witnessing the
      beginning of an era of a slowly emerging new
      model of a healthy and far more inclusive and
      vocal unified Orthodoxy; one where the lines of
      ethnic division are gradually giving way to an
      accommodation, love and respect of all our
      jurisdictional Orthodox brothers and sisters.

      The sooner this process is nurtured and
      encouraged within all the Orthodox jurisdictions,
      the faster our bishops and hierarchy will
      acknowledge that our faith is built on
      sindiakonea- laity, clergy and hierarchy- and as
      true collaborators, our church will be morally
      healthier and spiritually nourished.

      The Orthodox Christian Laity is an organization
      of parish based Orthodox, across all
      jurisdictions, looking to the future and
      deserving of your prayers and support. For more
      information, please email ocldm@...
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