Why Not a United American Orthodox Church?

May 6, 2008
by George Patsourakos

Can you picture America being comprised of 50 states with no federal government and no president? This is a frightening thought, isn’t it?

Nonetheless, a similar situation exists in which nine Eastern Orthodox ethnic jurisdictions have been functioning independently in America for several decades with no American administrative leader.

Eight of these jurisdictions are of the following ethnicities: Albanian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Carpatho-Russian, Greek, Romanian, Serbian, and Ukrainian. The ninth one is the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) which is “autocephalous” or self-headed.

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  1. This article just about stole the words out of my mouth…if the Orthodox Church here in the US unifide under one juisdiction, it woudl be one the most dynamic and powerful denominations in America…I believe there might be a large amount of americans who would convert if that was to happen.


  2. Why not? First off, there is the Calendar issue which has not benefited the Church one bit and has only lead to a schism between Old and “New.” Once the New Calendarists make the move BACK to the Church calendar then there might be a beginning of unity.

    Secondly, at least two of the jurisdictions in America are promoting Eastern Rite Protestantism as the “truly American Expression of Orthodoxy.”

    I’ve already seen the fruits of such an effort. My former parish, a self described “leading parish” in its jurisdiction has experienced what can only be termed a holocaust on its young generation of post-college members. In other words, a whole generation has just upped and left the Orthodox Church after college. If it weren’t for the new converts and their children, there would be no younger generation in this “leading” parish. The reason for the holocaust? These ex-Orthodox children have grown up with their parents belittling”ethnic” and “Old Country” Orthodox traditions, belittling them as some sort of optional “little t traditions.” These same belittlers are always crying out for some sort of expression of American Orthodoxy with the full realization that dominant religious culture in America is Protestant. So why do these parents mourn when there children follow their lead and join the local Protestants – join the local American (little o) orthodox?

    Thirdly, there is a growing spirit of false ecumenism and even Uniatism among many vociferous American Orthodoxy. Its symptoms are a constant blurring of boundaries, a false sense of unity with the heterodox, which may be very good politics, but is nothing but capitualtion to the world.

    These three reasons are enough to keep the Orthodox jurisidictions apart. Some are proud to be Orthodox, others are ashamed.

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