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Archbishop Tikhon of Philadelphia elected Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of America: Anglican Ink, November 13, 2012 November 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Orthodox Church in America.
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Archbishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania has been elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

Meeting at Holy Trinity Church in Parma, Ohio, 593 delegates elected the 46 year old convert from the Episcopal Church on the third ballot.  Tikhon succeeds Metropolitan Jonah of Washington – also a convert from the Episcopal Church – as leader of the church.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 46, July 27, 2012 July 27, 2012

Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican.TV, Church of England, Orthodox Church in America, The Episcopal Church.
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This week we talk about Forward and Faith and their resolution to the ACNA College of Bishops. Kevin and George also talk about Metropolitan Jonah and being spat out of the Holy Synod of OCA. The rest of the news includes Nigeria, Aurora, and that thing that happened in Bangkok. Peter Ould talks about guilt by association and Allan Haley lays into the chaos we call TEC. Send comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU46

Jonah dismissed for incompetence, synod reports: Anglican Ink, July 17, 2012 July 17, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Ink, Orthodox Church in America.
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Metropolitan Jonah addressing the ACNA Assembly in Ridgecrest NC on 8 June 2012

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of America has released a statement explaining its reasons for asking the leader of the Church, Metropolitan Jonah, to step down.

The 17 July 2012 statement accused Jonah of administrative incompetence, but dismissed suggestions he was forced from office due in response to his alleged sympathies to the left in America’s “culture wars.”

At the close of a meeting of the Holy Synod in Syosset, New York, on 7 July Jonah resigned as metropolitan, writing “as per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, I hereby tender my resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and humbly request another Episcopal assignment.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Women clergy and doctrine dividing the Orthodox from ACNA June 9, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Ink, Orthodox Church in America, Polish National Catholic Church, Women Priests.
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Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA addressing the ACNA Assembly in Ridgecrest, NC on 8 June 2012

The Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Jonah has called upon the Anglican Church of North America to ditch women clergy, Calvinism and the filioque in the name of Christian unity.

This is an “opportunity to return your church to its original catholic heritage” Jonah told delegates attending the ACNA’s 2nd Assembly at the Lifeway Conference Center in Ridgecrest, NC on 8 June 2012.

The ACNA can “overcome generations of schism, a schism forced upon the English church” by Rome if it eliminates the filioque from the Nicene Creed, the Orthodox leader said. The Filioque – the phrase “and from the Son” is a clause found in the Western Christian Church but not in the Eastern Churches.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Bulgarian bishops galore: GetReligion, May 5, 2012 May 6, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Bulgarian Orthodox, Get Religion, Orthodox Church in America, Press criticism.
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Regular readers of GetReligion will appreciate this story in today’s Toledo Blade concerning the consecration of an Orthodox bishop. The story entitled “Bulgarian Diocese to install new bishop” by religion beat professional David Yonke is nicely crafted. It balances the news of the consecration of Dr. Alexander Golitzin with  just the right amount of human interest. It is a really good local news religion story.

It begins:

Nearly five years after the bishop’s chair became vacant, the Rev. Alexander Golitzin is to be consecrated today as Bishop of Toledo in the Toledo-based Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America.

The consecration is to take place in a three-hour ceremony at St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Rossford, with nine bishops from across North America scheduled to participate. Metropolitan Jonah, head of the Orthodox Church in America, will be the main celebrant.

Bishop-elect Alexander, a native of California, will become only the second bishop of Toledo, succeeding Archbishop Kyrill, who led the diocese from 1964 until his death in 2007 at age 87.

Today’s consecration ceremony marks a new era for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which until now required all bishops to be born in Bulgaria.

“Before even the selection process began, we had to change our diocesan constitution,” said the Rev. Andrew Jarmus, a Fort Wayne pastor who headed the bishop search committee. “Basically we acknowledged that realities have changed. We are in America and there is a much broader base of people we minister to now in our parishes. They are no longer just the Bulgarian faithful.”

The story presents some interesting bits about the new bishop’s background — studies at Oxford under Kalistos Ware, a year at Mt Athos, professor at Marquette University, and a touch of Hollywood (nephew of art director Alexander Golitzin — winner of Academy Awards for The Phantom of the Opera in 1943, Spartacus in 1960, and To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962.)

The article also gives background on the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church of America: its history, previous bishops and demographics. All in all a great local news story.

My question for GetReligion readers is whether it would have been appropriate to mention that there are two Bulgarian Orthodox dioceses belonging to two different churches in the U.S? The article states up front that this consecration is for the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church of America (OCA). However there is also a Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A., Canada, and Australia that is part of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Bulgaria.

The article states the:

Toledo-based Bulgarian Diocese has 16 parishes in the United States and Canada, mostly in the Midwest, with a total of 5,000 parishioners. The OCA to which it belongs has about 200,000 U.S. members, according to Father Andrew.

The other diocese is based in New York and around 25 congregations and monasteries. There is a degree of bad blood between the two groups — and there is a rivalry between the OCA and the Sofia-based Bulgarian Orthodox Church (as well as with some of the other ethnic Orthodox Churches in the U.S.) This article from a Russian-based website claims that ethnic Bulgarians in the OCA’s Bulgarian diocese are upset with the influx of non-Bulgarian clergy and want to jump ship.

Bulgarians living in the U.S. and Canada are gathering signatures on the petition to the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church. The letter will contain a request to the Synod about the transfer on Bulgarian parishes that are currently under the jurisdiction of the OCA, to the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A., Canada, and Australia. This jurisdiction, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, currently has 27 parishes and monasteries.

The petitions states that today 80 percent of the clergy in Bulgarian churches are not Bulgarian, do not celebrate the feast days of Bulgarian saints, or observe Bulgarian national holidays and traditions.

The Toledo Blade article does not mention the other diocese, and uses language that would lead someone not familiar with the Bulgarian Orthodox ecclesial scene to believe this is the only Bulgarian game in town. The article does speak to the transition from an ethnic to an American church — a point of contention for some in the church — but does not develop this angle.

My point, however, is not to play the game of spot the real Bulgarian bishop — but to raise the underlying journalistic question of how to deal with schisms and splits and multiple claimants to a church brand name. Who is the “real” Bulgarian bishop? It is the same question as “who is the real Anglican?”

While there are a plethora of Protestant denominations sharing a Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed, Methodist, Lutheran or congregational background — the Orthodox Churches (as well as the Episcopalians) have an ecclesial self-identity that does not contemplate multiple expressions of a single polity. In the Orthodox polity — as well as Anglican polity — there is only one bishop in a city. Yet the reality is that there are overlapping Orthodox jurisdictions and with the formation of the Anglican Church in North America there is now a rival to the Episcopal Church.

Where does the reporter’s duty lie in explaining or articulating for his readers these schisms? In the Toledo Blade article highlighted in this story should there have been a line mentioning the other Bulgarian Orthodox body? In stories that reach a national audience, should the distinctions between rival claimants be noted?

How much information is too much? How little is too little? Does it make a difference to the story? And — if a distinction is made, is it proper for a journalist to separate Bulgarian sheep from Bulgarian goats? What say you GetReligion readers?

First published in GetReligion.

Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America June 25, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Living Church, Orthodox Church in America.
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'AUTHENTICALLY ORTHODOX': Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America said the Orthodox and the Anglican Church in North America share a common apostolic heritage and morality. He announced June 24 the OCA is abandoning relations and dialogue with the Episcopal Church in favor the ACNA.

'AUTHENTICALLY ORTHODOX': Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America said the Orthodox and the Anglican Church in North America share a common apostolic heritage and morality. He announced June 24 the OCA is abandoning relations and dialogue with the Episcopal Church in favor the ACNA.

This photo with the caption printed above was first printed in The Living Church on 6.24.09.

OCA Synod ‘Enthusiastic’ About Dialogue with ACNA: TLC 6.24.09 June 25, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Living Church, Orthodox Church in America.
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First printed in The Living Church

If Anglicans foreswear Calvinism, female priests, and the filioque clause, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) would be ready to begin a dialogue leading to the possible recognition of Anglican orders and full Eucharistic fellowship.

In a June 24 address, His Beatitude Jonah, the Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada of the OCA, said the Orthodox and the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) shared a common apostolic heritage and shared morality. He also announced that his church had switched ecumenical ties, abandoning all relations and dialogue with The Episcopal Church in favor of the ACNA.

“We can come together as the bastion and bulwark of an authentically orthodox church,” the archbishop said. “We can come together to bear witness to the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as handed over by the fathers.”

Metropolitan Jonah told the ACNA assembly the OCA’s synod of bishops was “enthusiastic about the opportunities” dialogue would bring. His offer of a dialogue on full communion was made only on behalf of the OCA, he said. He added that he was traveling from Fort Worth to New York for a meeting of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), the umbrella group of all Orthodox churches in the Americas. The SCOBA bishops were “anxious to hear of my report on this meeting,” he said

The Presiding Bishop’s Deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, told The Living Church he was not aware of the OCA’s plans, but said the announcement was not unexpected.

“We’ve not had formal ecumenical relations with the OCA since I joined the Presiding Bishop’s Office” in 2001, he said. Bishop Epting said he had sought to foster dialogue with the Orthodox churches in America based on the Anglican-Orthodox agreed statement, The Triune Faith. However, the Orthodox had not responded.

The archbishop, 49, told the assembly that he had been raised as an Episcopalian at St James by the Sea Church, La Jolla, Calif., but as a college student came to Orthodoxy through a study of the Tractarians in search of the true church.

“The goal of my life is to live and actualize, to participate in as fully as I can, the full integrity of the Catholic Church, the full integrity of the Orthodox Church,” he said.

There have been relations between Anglicans and the Russian Orthodox Church since the Elizabethan settlement, he noted, and said 100 years ago that “that relationship became extremely strong” in the United States under the leadership of Metropolitan Tikhon.

“St. Tikhon had a vision of unity … that vision of unity resulted in the time of the proclamation by about half of the Orthodox churches of the validation of the Anglican orders,” he said. However, “it fell apart on the Anglican side with the affirmation of a protestant identity more than a catholic identity. This shattered the unity. We need to pick up where they left off.”

To complete the work of St. Tikhon, who hoped The Episcopal Church could be “declared a fellow Orthodox church,” he proposed a dialogue whose goal was a “unity in faith” where it “can be celebrated together in the sacrament of the Eucharist.” To get there, “there are some issues we have to resolve,” he said.

“One hundred years ago, St. Tikhon came to the Anglican Church with arms wide open. I am the successor of St Tikhon. I occupy the place, the throne, that St. Tikhon held as the leader of the OCA. Our arms are wide open,” he said to a standing ovation from the delegates.

In response to the Metropolitan’s address, the dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, the Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, said that “in times of crisis Anglicanism by nature always turn east.” It is a “time for a huge opportunity, let’s not miss it.”

Reactions from the ACNA delegates broke along party lines. One Fort Worth delegate said there was hardly anything the OCA had proposed that Anglo-Catholics could not accept. However, an AMiA delegate was less sanguine, saying rejecting Calvinism was tantamount to rejecting Anglicanism.

Turning back on women’s orders was also problematic for many of the evangelical delegates, and is a point of contention within the new province.

Archbishop Duncan and Metropolitan Jonah June 24, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Living Church, Orthodox Church in America.
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Metropolitan Jonah and Archbishop Robert Duncan on the podium during the ACNA's founding convocation on June 23, 2009

Metropolitan Jonah and Archbishop Robert Duncan on the podium during the ACNA's founding convocation on June 23, 2009

OCA To End Relations with TEC, Forge Ties to ACNA: TLC 6.24.09 June 24, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Living Church, Orthodox Church in America.
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First printed in The Living Church.

His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) announced recently that his church has ended its ecumenical relations with The Episcopal Church, and will establish instead formal ecumenical relations with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA made the announcement June 24 at a plenary session of the ACNA’s founding convocation at St Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, Texas.

An autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church, the OCA was established by eight Russian monks in 1794 on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Known as the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America, it was granted autocephaly, or autonomy, by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970. The OCA has 700 congregations, monasteries and communities spread across the United States and Canada.

Metropolitan Jonah, 49, was reared in The Episcopal Church, but joined the OCA while a student at the University of California, San Diego, in 1978. He was elected metropolitan last year as a reform candidate, 11 days after he was consecrated Bishop of Fort Worth.

Asked what the OCA’s stance toward ecumenism might be under his tenure, Metropolitan Jonah said, “If the matter concerns The Episcopal Church USA, then this dialogue has stopped.

“We engage in dialogue with Episcopalian traditionalists, many of whom embrace the Orthodox faith,” Jonah told a Moscow-based weblog. “And I personally, and our entire synod, give great attention to bringing these people into the fold of the Orthodox Church in America.”