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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Orthodox Unity

It looks like the topic of this years OCL conference was about the topic of Orthodox unity.

As seen from

Play Audio (Panel 2 - Unity at Many Levels)

Play Audio (Panel 3 - An Accountable and Canonical Unified Orthodox Church of Tomorrow)

To play the other audio's please visit the website.

This is what the Pittsburgh Post Gazette had to say:

Hopes rising for unifying Orthodoxy's
U.S. churches

America's Orthodox Christians, divided for
decades among about 10 churches based on Greek or Serb or other ancestry, soon
may be moving toward the formation of a united American Orthodox church.

Many of them have dreamed of that for decades, especially as conversions
to Orthodoxy have skyrocketed. But most church patriarchs have squelched such

Now it appears that the patriarchs are not only supporting but
demanding some sort of unity. To explore what this may mean for believers in the
United States, the independent, pan-Orthodox group Orthodox Christian Laity will
gather for three days, starting Thursday, at Antiochian Village in Ligonier.

In 1994 that retreat center hosted the first and only gathering of all
Orthodox bishops in North America. Believing they had approval from church
patriarchs overseas, those bishops called for a united church in which the
faithful would not be treated as "scattered children" of ancestral homelands.

But the ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople -- the spiritual head of
global Orthodoxy -- denounced it as a rebellion against the ancient church and
replaced the Greek archbishop who had led it. The unity movement lay dormant for
15 years.

Then, in June, the 14 Old World patriarchs gathered in
Chambesy, Switzerland, and declared that all Orthodox bishops outside of
traditional Orthodox lands -- including North America -- will begin meeting to
address their own issues in their own lands.

This week's lay conference
will examine what it may take to achieve unity. There are significant questions
about how ethnic traditions will continue to be honored and whether laity will
have as much of a voice in a unified church as they have in some of the smaller

The patriarchs "are asking the Orthodox Christians in the
so-called lands beyond the ancient world to show that they can create a unified,
multicultural church in their land. That's a very dramatic development," said
George Matsoukas, executive director of Orthodox Christian Laity. The first
meeting of American bishops is set for May.

The keynote speaker at
Ligonier will be Metropolitan Jonah, leader of the Orthodox Church in America, a
self-governing offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church. Although it is one of
the most Americanized bodies -- and he is a Chicago-born convert -- it
potentially has much to lose in the formation of a new American church.

Orthodoxy is the Eastern wing of an ancient church that split into the
Orthodox and Catholic churches in 1054 in a dispute over papal authority. Its
ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople -- modern-day Istanbul, Turkey -- has no
authority over the other patriarchs, but is "first among equals." He has direct
authority over the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, which is at
least 100 times the size of his flock in Turkey.

The Russian Orthodox
Church began sending missionaries across the Bering Sea to Alaska before the
American Revolution, and originally had jurisdiction over North America.

But after the Russian church was crippled by the 1917 communist
revolution, many Orthodox bodies worldwide created a jumble of overlapping
ethnic mission dioceses in North America. This violates church law, which
dictates one bishop per city; Pittsburgh has several.

The June meeting
in Switzerland was part of decades-long preparations for the first Great Council
of Orthodox bishops since 787, which is expected to untangle the American

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