The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America

George Michalopulos over at Monomakhos has honoured the Dormition of the Theotokos by posting what, upon consideration by anyone reasonably acquainted with the Orthodox Church, amounts clearly to no more than gossip-mongering—Breaking: The OCA to Go under EP!

Michalopulos begins:

According to two different sources, Syosset [the headquarters of the Orthodox Church in America] has been in negotiations to cede its autocephaly and go under Istanbul [the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople]. One source says that this is “a done deal,” the other says that negotiations are “ongoing.”

Given the significant difference between done deal and ongoing reported by his two “sources,” and the fact that he relies on “word on the street” in his pentultimate paragraph, one might have wished that Michalopulos had exercised the responsibility of simply not publishing his piece at all. Even at the highly controversial and widely mistrusted Orthodoxy in Dialogue, we generally do not report news that cannot be corroborated by, and linked to, numerous other online sources. 

Yet it has given his fans something to rage about since yesterday—and one more thing to blame with wearisome predictability on…are you ready?…sodomy. (Michalopulos is a professed disciple of Father Hans Jacobse, who possesses an uncanny ability to sniff out sodomites behind every bush and tree at the park.) 

Orthodoxy in Dialogue also has two sources, highly placed in the OCA administration, who assure us that Michalopulos’ “breaking” report is rubbish.

How to judge between his two sources and ours? A few points should suffice (even without the benefit of our two sources):

  1. The OCA has been obdurately pro-Moscow and anti-Constantinople in its response to the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). Not only does the OCA refuse to recognize the OCU’s autocephaly, but rejects communion with the OCU. Submitting to the EP would require a 180º turn on the OCA’s part.
  2. The OCA under the EP would not only lose its cherished status with the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), but the MP would excommunicate the entire OCA as it has done to the entire EP. As things stand currently, the OCA maintains communion with EP hierarchs (fellow members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops) and MP and ROCOR hierarchs (who have removed themselves from the Assembly in protest over Ukrainian autocephaly).
  3. Without a fully autocephalous OCA (despite its rampant dysfunction and the ongoing non-recognition of its autocephaly by much of the Orthodox Church), the hope of American autocephaly dies and we remain forever a colonial church.
  4. The OCA in particular, and Orthodoxy in America in general, have nothing to gain and everything to lose from submitting to a foreign ecclesiastical authority—the EP’s claims to “barbarian lands” notwithstanding.

We feel confidently that Mr. Michalopulos’ nonsense can be ignored.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue seeks to promote the free exchange of ideas by offering a wide range of perspectives on an unlimited variety of topics. Our decision to publish implies neither our agreement nor disagreement with an author, in whole or in part.
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