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Differences in North American Orthodox jurisdictions


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#1 Guest_Orthodox Pilgrim

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 04:15 AM

Christ is Risen!

I am a "cradle Orthodox" who has worshipped at Greek, OCA, ROCOR and Antiochian churches in the U.S. for almost 5 decades.

For a variety of reasons, most of which I hope are spiritually edifying, I am undertaking the writing of a "white paper" on the aforementioned topic.

I know, I know, there aren't any, of course. To borrow a phrase from Bishop Kallistos (I think it was he; forgive me Despota, if I err), Orthodox always agree what we don't believe in, even if we disagree on what we do...

And yet, I'm not so sure of that.

So in how about it, brothers and sisters? Please volunteer any topics that you think would be worth of a chapter or paragraph in such a work. (Also, I am referring to "big T" Tradition, not recipes for baklava.)

I would prefer to limit the scope to SCOBA jurisdictions within the North American continent.

Thank you.


#2 Guest_Orthodox Pilgrim

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 01:16 PM

I will start by listing one disagreement that all are familiar with.

1. Aerial toll houses:

ROCOR: Accepted
OCA: Considered Heresy
GOA: Considered Heresy
Antiochian: ??
Carpatho-Russian: ??


#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 02:27 PM

Carpatho-Russian (ACROD) I would say is agnostic on the subject, I am not aware of a formal position of Metropolitan Nicholas. And I suspect that "considered heresy" is a bit strong for the position of the OCA. I know that Bishop Lazar is certainly against it, but I don't know that he speaks for the entire OCA.


#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 02:40 PM

Dear Orthodox Pilgrim,

It is more accurate to say that the significance of the toll houses is a subject of discussion & debate. When we write "OCA: considered heresy; GOA: considered heresy" this conveys the idea of a synodal decision. Many with justification make the case that a heresy can only be declared by the entire Orthodox Church in Council- and even this must be in accord with the mind of the Church (several Councils have been declared 'robber councils' afterwards). I can only speak of the OCA which has certainly not done this. Indeed many within the OCA do agree entirely with what Fr Seraphim wrote. Certainly this does not mean that there are heretics hiding within the ranks of the OCA.

Beyond this of course is the fact that many Holy Fathers and modern Church writers including such as Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos have referred to the toll houses or a basic accounting for our spiritual state immediately after death. Again the exact significance of this may be very well open to interpretation- but very few would be so bold as to entirely reject something which is so clearly witnessed to in Tradition.

A final note: ROCOR is not a Church body that walks in mental lock-step. Just as Fr Seraphim's intention was just to prayerfully express in his own way what he had imbibed from Tradition, so the rest of the Church Abroad also are (or at least try to be) faithful to the One Tradition in very personal ways.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#5 Guest_Orthodox Pilgrim

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 11:21 PM

Father Raphael, Bless:

Thank you. Your points are clear enough, greatly appreciated and highlight the care I'll need to take in delineating the various jurisdictional positions on these topics. Certainly, what one priest or theologian calls heresy, another might not, and I'll have to do my research properly to ferret out "official" or synodal positions vs. personal opinion or hearsay.

But the goal was not to create a thread on Toll Houses, just develop a list of topics for study and consideration.


Another one would be that of the baptism of converts: my understanding is that the OCA and the GOA have differing positions over who needs to be baptised vs. Chrismated only. Is this true?

In Christ,


O. Pilgrim


#6 Trudy

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 10:01 AM

Another one would be frequency of confession and communion.


#7 Trudy

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 10:03 AM

And another would be the elements of the Liturgy. For example, in the GOA parish I worshipped in, we did not say the Prayer for the Catechumens. Whereas, in the OCA parish I presenlty worship in, we do say it.

(Sorry I didn't think to add this to my previous post.)


#8 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 12:29 PM

You might find this source of interest:

Differences between Greek and Russian Divine Services


#9 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 12:38 PM

If you are looking for the differences between the various jurisdictions, I recommend you go straight to the sources:

OCA http://www.oca.org
GOA http://www.goarch.org
Antiochian http://www.antiochian.org
ACROD http://www.acrod.org
Serbian http://www.westsrbdio.org/index.html

Most of these sites have Q&A sections that may answer many of your questions. I know the OCA and GOA sites have a great deal of information on most of the things you are asking about. Comparing their information side by side should reveal the differences.


#10 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 12:48 PM

On some of the topics you mention, the differences are less from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but from parish to parish and priest to priest. Some parishes in one jurisdiction may discourage frequent communion (often older, more "ethnic" parishes), another in the same jurisdiction will encourage it, (newer or less "ethnic" parishes). The TREND in most SCOBA jurisdictions is for more frequent (weekly) communion, while I have seen both practices in some ROCOR parishes. Some parishioners from the GOA to our ACROD parish are initially taken aback by our practice of weekly communion, but I have been to other GOA parishes where it is the norm. Broad characterizations are going to be a challenge if that is what you are looking for.


#11 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 08:14 PM

Dear Orthodox Pilgrim,

Forgive me for not getting back to you before now.

I have read the above posts in response to your question and I think that Herman's points are very well taken. You have to be on the ground for awhile before you understand both the general character of each jurisdiction & the many different exceptions and varieties within each jurisdiction also. In a way it's also a great hands-on lesson in Orthodox ecclesiology!

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#12 Guest_Orthodox Pilgrim

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 04:57 AM

I appreciate the spirit in which everyone has posted in response to my question.

Bear in mind, my stated goal is to only formulate a list of differences in doctrine or Tradition; I will have to differentiate between the actual, official "belief" vs. the "practice" after I begin my research.

Under the objective stated above, significant Liturgical differences would definitely apply.

Sacramental frequency or emphasis, as with all forms of ascesis or praxis may not. I know some monastics, priests and hierarchs who keep a much stricter regimen than others; and I've certainly seen differences in emphasis from parish to parish in this regard regardless of archdiocese.

I am very familiar with the various websites, but typically they are not going to delve too deeply into (especially the more) controversial subjects. That is why I thought I'd ask brothers and sisters in this group, most of whom, I'd imagine, have been exposed to more than one jurisdiction long enough to see the differences.

In the end, I will go directly to the source to request official clarification, regardless as to what I may find posted or published, since the goal is to have an official position, not just the discussion.

Please keep them coming.

How about this one: official position vs. economia with respect to the marriage of first cousins. My initial, limited research would seem to indicate that while all jurisdictions are opposed to it, that it's more frequent in the Arab world, and that the Antiochian archdiocese grants permission for this more than other jurisdictions.

(FYI, I am an American, and I was initially very startled to learn that this practice is legal in both Canada and all European countries, until I remembered that European royalty have been doing this for centuries.)

In Christ,

O Pilgrim


#13 Guest_Orthodox Pilgrim

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 05:35 AM

Herman:

Thank you for listing that article on the liturgical differences. Very nice.


#14 Anthony

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 10:20 AM

It is indeed a very nice article. It has also helped me to understand better a comment of Mother Gavriilia's:

I like it when we say "Bless the Lord my soul" and then afterwards the Beatitudes, instead of "Through the intercessions" and "Save us". That is how it used to be in Constantinople.


A couple of other differences I have noticed (though this may not apply to America, I have never been there).

(i) Greek priests tend to say the prayer to the "Father of Lights" in front of the icon of Christ, rather than in front of the Royal Doors.

(ii) They tend to put the sermon immediately before the communion of the people, which I believe is not traditional.

Another thing you might like to consider is how far the different jurisdictions go in identifying Orthodoxy with particular nationalities (not to say nationalisms). Again, the answer to that might be different in America than over here.

#15 Guest_nurse-aid

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 02:38 PM

is in it our whole life is a prototype of Toll House...every single moment, event, we passed or not...by our will to gave up to HIM or simply answer on HIS call...in order when someoone beating us, do not answer the same, this IS HIS WILL at that right moment, to be still as before we was hit, if we are not esxept that call, we answer diferently and bu this regets HIM...then we didn't passed that boot...next is next...BUT this is life gave oppotunity to go back or simply passed next toll...untill WHEN it is finished...and i susspect that Toll House after death is a short model of our life, last toll, which as it was stated by author...maybe paid from our own deeds and desires of our heart, that is why angels writing down every our breath...


#16 Guest_Sunny

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 11:00 PM

Hello Everyone,

I have not seen the Romanian Orthodox church mentioned. I may be moving to a place where one is nearby. Does anyone know if there are differences between Romanian practices and Greek ones? Are Romanians more traditional-like the Russian churches?

Thanks for your help!
Sunny

#17 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 03:29 PM

Dear Sunny,

I have not attended a Romanian-only Orthodox Church in North America for almost three decades. I know the present Ruling Archbishop of the Romanian Diocese in North America (under the Orthodox Church in America) Nathaniel. You can find him at: www.oca.org/
They will certainly help you as you require.

The first 'difference' you will notice is the language. It will be a mixture of Romanian/English depending on the parish needs.

Are they more traditional? Well, I am not much help here. As far as Romanians in Romania are concerned all Romanian parishes in the New World leave something to be desired.

As for monasteries, convents and parishes in Romania, it is like being in Heaven. Though after a period of time the effects of 45 years of Communism become obvious everywhere.

They are unique in being the only Orthodox Canonical Church whose Liturgical language is Latin-based.

They are wonderful people and will welcome you with a LARGE heart!


#18 Alec Lowly

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 12:51 AM

Father Seraphim writes:

"(The Romanians) are wonderful people and will welcome you with a LARGE heart!"


Amin! That's so!

In XC,
Alec

#19 Kosta

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:56 AM

To me thats the major differences of varying juridictions, some are more modernist than others. The degrees of modernism may also vary from parish to parish.

#20 Jeff Johnson

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:06 PM

Here are a few more ideas for comparison--

How many converts v. cradles among the laity and priesthood in each jurisdiction?

How many monastic communities exist under each jurisdiction? How many missionaries?

How do the majority in each jurisdiction view ecumenism?




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