This just might get some people’s blood boiling but, that’s what I am here for. LOL
Yesterday, whilst running errands, I was listening to a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio about the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church located at Ground Zero in New York. This is great news that the church will be rebuilt.
Fr. Mark Arey of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, laid out for the listeners the history of what has gone on and what will go on. The Archdiocese and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reached an agreement last month on a land swap that will enable the church to be rebuilt. It will still take a few years but good things come to those who wait.
In the interview Fr. Mark made the comment that this will be the only house of worship located within the boundaries of Ground Zero because it was the only house of worship that was within the boundaries of what is now Ground Zero. He also mentioned that it will be a place of memorial and healing. All this is wonderful and I support the entire operation. But here is where the wheels come off the wagon for me, the name. Since this will be a church for all especially a beacon of hope to all Orthodox Christians, why not simply call it St. Nicholas Orthodox Church? Under the name on the sign could be a little phrase like, “A Parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America”
I ask this because Fr. Mark also stated that funds will need to be raised, the said the Archdiocese has about $2.5 million already, and they hope to raise these funds from ALL Orthodox in America. In this time of Orthodox Unity why not let this little church that will rise from the ashes, be the symbol of that unity here in America! This Church that was crushed by the very power of evil, which will rise with the power of love, should be celebrated by all Orthodox but some of us feel left out. I know maybe I should just get over the whole ethnic thing and Orthodoxy, but I believe that is what is holding us back.
My belief is that as long as we continue to divide ourselves by our ethnic names we will continue to be a minority religion here in North America. By dropping Russian, Greek, Bulgarian, and yes even Romanian, we are not denying our heritage I believe we are honoring it.
Historically the church of the Eastern part of the Empire grew rather quickly in what is now Eastern Europe because the priests did not require the faithful to learn another language. The Church of the West spoke Latin, and the faithful needed to speak Latin to understand what was going on. When Ss. Cyril and Methodius came to Kiev they wrote, and created the alphabet by the way, of what is now Church Slavonic, so the people could understand. When St. Herman and the other missionaries came to Alaska, the learned the native language and translated the Liturgy into that language so the people could understand it.
Why is it that a church that has been here for more than 200 years, still insists on keeping itself a minority, ethnic church? Orthodox is so rich, and has so much to offer this world and we are keeping it a secret with our ethnicity.
If we ever hope to Evangelize America then we need to wake up. People are not going to “Come and See” if they think they will not understand. The time has come for us as Orthodox to shake off, very slowly, the ethnic monikers that have identified us all these years. The time has come for the largest Archdiocese of Orthodox in America, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the lead the way in this evangelization and simply drop the word “Greek” from the title of the church.
This Church will be the centerpiece of Liberty Park at Ground Zero. This Church should be a unifying place for not only all Orthodox Christians but all of America.
Sorry if this offends you and I beg your forgiveness. I have much love for the Greek Archdiocese, heck the educated me in seminary, and for Greeks, Russians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Arabs, etc. But the time has come for us to just be ORTHODOX in America and not (insert ethnicity here) Orthodox in America!
St. Nicholas deserves better!