The Orthodox Church - September-October 1997

   A new trend?

Fr. Kishkovsky comes right to the point in his editorial in the July/August TOC. All American Orthodox Christians should be grateful to him and to TOC for setting forth bluntly what needs to be done to save our Church from one of the greatest threats facing it in this century. He discreetly does not state, however, what is at the very heart of the crisis: a growing suggestion that the governance of the Church is based not on collegiality, but on "blind loyalty" and obedience. Referring to the understanding that "the chairman of SCOBA is elected, or affirmed, by the consensus of the member hierarchs of SCOBA," the opponents of this view object, not only to the particular principle cited, but to the very idea of "consensus" itself. A new and dangerous philosophy is being spread— the concept that consensus and collegiality are a threat to Church governance.

This idea is also reflected in the scenario involving the Orthodox Christian Mission Center [OCMC]. The directors and staff of the OCMC are fully committed to their ministry of evangelization in the current context of inter-Orthodox cooperation. | To date the directors have refused to support the efforts of Archbishop Spyridon to abduct the OCMC away from the SCOBA member jurisdictions. Speaking for myself, I would be grateful to hear the collective voice of the SCOBA hierarchs on this proposal, but it appears unlikely at this point that they will be given an opportunity to speak with one voice. It is significant that, although the OCMC Board of Directors did not vote for the proposal to revert to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Archdiocese has issued multiple statements as if the action had already taken place! Meanwhile, the OCMC and its vital ministry continue to hang in the balance.... Our challenge must be not only to "reverse the slide into... particularism, mutual distrust and mutual acrimony," but to protect the system of Church administration which comes to us from the Apostles....

JOHN PATERAKIS/ New York, NY/ OCMC Treasurer

[ The Orthodox Church - September-October 1997 - p. 9 ]