LITURGY, EUCHARIST, AND CORONAVIRUS: HAVING YOUR SAY

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In response to widespread disagreements on how Orthodox synods, individual hierarchs, and clergy have reacted, and should react, to the coronavirus crisis—especially as pertains to attendance at liturgical services and partaking in Holy Communion—Orthodoxy in Dialogue offers this space to share your thoughts and concerns.

Send your comments of no more than 200 words to editors@orthodoxyindialogue.com. Include your full name and city/state/province/country of residence. If you are a hierarch or clergyman, also include the jurisdiction to which you belong. Read More



THE SILENCE OF THE BISHOPS: WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORISM AND AMERICAN ORTHODOXY

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Vasillios Pistolis, a U.S. Marine, clubs a man with a wooden flagpole during the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Earlier today, Politico published State Pushes to List White Supremacist Group as Terrorist Org, with the subheading The top candidate for the designation is Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi group with branches abroad. The report begins:

The State Department is pushing to designate at least one violent white supremacist group as a foreign terrorist organization, an unprecedented move that national security experts say would be a big step toward fighting a growing threat on U.S. soil.

State Department officials want to have the designation finalized by next week, according to four people familiar with the effort. But the White House, where top officials have long preferred to focus on terrorism by Islamist extremists, has yet to give the green light. Read More


ROCOR COMMUNITIES TRANSFER ALLEGIANCE TO ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE

The following brief report and accompanying photo appeared on March 9, 2020 on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In a move which appears to reject the Muscovite Schism, the two parishes and one monastery comprising the new “Vicariate for the Orthodox Christian Communities of Slavic Tradition” have departed the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), of which the primate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), serves also as diocesan bishop.
The natural home for Russian Orthodox communities in the US wishing to transfer out of ROCOR would have been the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Unless informed otherwise, we can assume that the OCA’s sycophancy to the Moscow Patriarchate—and, by extension, to the Kremlin—made such a move impossible for these communities.
For the broader context of this development see the extensive Ukraine section in our Archives 2017-19 and Archives 2020.

Archbishop Elpidophoros Announces the Creation of a New Vicariate in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

On Monday, March 9, 2020, following approval of the Mother Church of Constantinople last November after the request of the Holy Eparchial Synod, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, announced the creation of the Vicariate for the Orthodox Christian Communities of Slavic Tradition. Read More


DOES ARCHBISHOP ELPIDOPHOROS REALLY ALLOW NON-ORTHODOX SPOUSES TO RECEIVE COMMUNION?

The Pappas Post reported the following on February 22, 2020 under the title, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America: OK for Non-Orthodox Christian Spouses to Receive Communion.
Given the extreme seriousness of this anti-canonical and anti-ecclesiological position, the speciousness of His Eminence’s reasoning, and numerous unanswered questions—e.g., are non-Orthodox spouses free to commune in both their own denomination and the Orthodox Church, why are we allowing uncanonical mixed marriages in the first place, is marriage a “sacrament” in and of itself, unconsummated in the Eucharist, etc.?—we await a  more formal statement from the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on this matter.
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Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, declared in a public forum that Christians who have been married in the Orthodox Church but are not Greek Orthodox themselves, may receive Holy Communion.

His statement came in a question and answer session during the annual conference of Leadership 100, an organization of Greek Orthodox Church donors, which was holding its annual event in Palm Beach, Florida.

Specifically, the Archbishop was responding to a question by a member of the audience who asked why the Orthodox Church wouldn’t administer Holy Communion to non-Orthodox spouses.

The Archbishop answered the question pointedly suggesting that since a non-Orthodox spouse has already participated in a sacrament of the Orthodox Church (marriage), why wouldn’t he or she be allowed to participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion.

It is important to note that the question was specifically about non-Orthodox Christian spouses who have been married in the Orthodox Church. Read More


ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW RESPONDS TO MOSCOW-JERUSALEM REBELLION

The following English-language summary and full Greek text of Patriarch Bartholomew’s letter to Patriarch Theophilus appeared on February 26, 2020 on the website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Permanent Delegation to the World Council of Churches. See Press Release: The Amman Fraternal Familial Gathering of the Orthodox Primates and Delegates,  Moscow’s “Third Rome” Pretensions Fail in Amman, and the extensive Ukraine section in Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Archives 2017-19 and Archives 2020 for additional context.

Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem (L) and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (R)

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent an austere letter to Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, a few days after the meeting with the delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem at headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Phanar (Istanbul), and on the eve of the “fraternal gathering of primates and delegates” taking place in Amman (Jordan) on 26 February 2020 with the participation of the primates of the Churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia and of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and of the delegates of the Churches of Romania and Poland. Read More


MOSCOW’S “THIRD ROME” PRETENSIONS FAIL IN AMMAN

The following report appeared on the Religious Information Service of Ukraine on February 29, 2020. See the extensive Ukraine section in Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Archives 2017-19 and Archives 2020 for additional context.
RISU is a valuable English-language resource for news and commentary on Ukraine’s religious scene.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow (centre left) and Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem (centre right). Primates Council. Amman, Jordan.

The Russian Orthodox Church suffered defeat at a pan-Orthodox meeting in Amman, which was attended only by representatives of the Churches that depend on Moscow.

Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem convened the meeting after his visit to Moscow. This means that the Moscow Patriarchate does not dare to initiate pan-Orthodox meetings on its own, journalist Vitaly Pornikov wrote in his column for Grani.ru, reports Obozrevatel. Read More