The following message from Metropolitan Emmanuel of France appeared earlier this month in the first edition of La Lettre du Vicariat. We regret that we do not have the time to translate the entire newsletter.
For many of Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers around the planet who have followed the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s sudden decision of November 2018 to dissolve the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe and its aftermath—see the preface to Alexandra de Moffarts’ Quo Vadis, rue Daru?—His Eminence’s message raises more questions than it answers:
How does a “vicariate” differ from an “exarchate?”
What happens to the parishes of the former Exarchate located outside of France?
How can the members of the new Vicariate trust that their status will not be dissolved in faraway Istanbul as abruptly and unilaterally as that of the Exarchate?
Whereas page 2 of the newsletter lists “Parishes and Communities Remaining Faithful to the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” what explanation has ever been proffered for the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s faithlessness to the former Exarchate?
Does the Ecumenical Patriarchate accept responsibility for pushing a significant segment of the former Exarchate with its bishop into the arms of the escalating Muscovite Schism?
What becomes of the legal status of the former Exarchate under French law, and what will be the legal status of the new Vicariate?
Message from Metropolitan Emmanuel of France
Dear Fathers, brothers, and sisters, dear friends,
As you know, following the decision taken by the Holy Synod of our Patriarchate in November 2018, the proposal was made to the parishes of the old Exarchate to join the Metropolises of the countries in which they are located. In my letter of February 7, 2019 I renewed this proposal to all of you, confirming the possibility of receiving you within a vicariate operating under its own statutes and guaranteeing the preservation of your liturgical traditions, allowing you to pursue your work of Orthodox witness in France.
This is now an accomplished fact with the creation of a “Vicariate of Russian Tradition of the Metropolis of France,” placed under the protection of St. Maria of Paris and St. Alexis of Ugine. This Vicariate will have internal autonomy, with its own statutes. In the coming months, you will have to work toward organizing this group of parishes and communities in order to continue to ensure a faithful witness to the heritage common to the whole Orthodox Church. The convocation of the General Assembly on January 18, 2020 will constitute a first step, allowing us to clarify the complex situation in which we find ourselves. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, a clergy-laity assembly will also be called in order to accept the guiding principles of the operation of the Vicariate, confirming its future direction. Read More
On November 18 we published a brief report, Trump Administration Invites Patriarch Bartholomew to Speak on…the Environment? Please take a few minutes to read it.
We especially draw your attention to the following:
We believe that His All-Holiness possesses the humility to listen and to learn from all of us. We also know that the Phanar follows Orthodoxy in Dialogue regularly.
What message, on any topic, would you like the Ecumenical Patriarch to convey to Donald Trump when they meet?
Send a one- or two-sentence reply to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and country of residence. Maintain the respectful tone due to His All-Holiness by virtue of his position as our Church’s primus inter pares. After we have received several responses, we will publish them in an open letter to the Patriarch, to be updated as we continue to receive them. Read More
Maternal Body: A Theology of Incarnation from the Christian East
Carrie Frederick Frost
Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2019
What is St. Paul referring to when he writes, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing” (1 Tim 2:15)? Salvation through childbearing?
Carrie Frederick Frost believes the answer, at least partially, is found in “deification in and through the maternal body” (p. 79). A professor of theology at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary, Professor Frost’s theology is intimately informed by her experience of mothering five children, all the more so with the last three having been a pregnancy of triplets. Frost convincingly demonstrates that without a healthy, informed theology of the body, we cannot have a corresponding, healthily informed theology of the incarnation.
For Frost, particular weight and emphasis is given to the maternal body in this regard. She writes, “…when the theology of the body is disregarded, the premise for the theology of the body is also at risk: the understanding that God became human; that he himself took on a human body…the goodness of the human body, as sanctified by the incarnation” (pp. 62-63). Read More
The annual commemoration of the Holodomor (extermination by [man-made] famine) takes place on the fourth Saturday of November. Any consideration of present-day relations between Ukraine and Russia remains incomplete without taking this tragic chapter fully into account.
For additional context see Anne Applebaum’s October 2017 article at The Atlantic, How Stalin Hid Ukraine’s Famine from the World with the complicity of the Western media.
Mass graves near Kharkiv during the Holodomor
Memory eternal. Вічная пам’ять.
Famine-Genocide of 1932–33
Famine-Genocide of 1932–33 (Голодомор; Holodomor). The mass murder by Josef Stalin’s Soviet regime of millions of Ukrainian peasants. In recent years this national tragedy has become widely known as the Holodomor (from moryty holodom ‘to kill by means of starvation’). This tragic event was (1) a planned repression of the peasants of Soviet Ukraine for massively resisting the Stalinist state’s collectivization drive; (2) a deliberate offensive aimed at undermining, terrorizing, and neutralizing the nucleus and bulwark of the Ukrainian nation and recent Ukrainization efforts; and (3) the result of the forced export of grain, other foodstuffs, and livestock in exchange for the imported machinery the USSR required for the implementation of the Stalinist policy of rapid industrialization. In 1932 Ukraine had an average grain harvest of 146.6 million centers (15.5 million centers more than in 1928), and there was no climatic danger of famine. Yet, because of onerous forced grain requisition quotas that the Bolshevik state imposed upon the Soviet Ukrainian rural population (see Grain procurement), the peasants already experienced hunger in the spring of 1932. The grain collections were brutally carried out by 112,000 special Bolshevik agents sent to extract grain by using terror against both collectivized and independent farmers. To minimize peasant opposition, on 7 August 1932 a law introduced the death penalty ‘for violating the sanctity of socialist property.’ Read More
I commend Orthodoxy in Dialogue for once again offering an opportunity for your readers to give alms to the homeless during this Nativity Fast through your 3rd Annual Feed the Homeless on Christmas Campaign. All of us Orthodox Christians certainly understand the importance of ministering to the homeless as emphasized in the Gospel from St. Matthew (25:31-46) on the Sunday of the Last Judgment.
I thank you also for your gracious offer to allow me to write about another ministry to the homeless, one that I hope other Orthodox churches will consider exploring. The opportunity presented itself to our St. Mary Church (AOCA) in Wichita a few years ago. Read More