Talk:Orthodoxy in Australasia

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Macedonian Orthodox

The status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church is that of schism from the rest of Orthodoxy. Their overseas dioceses are unlisted on the remainder of 'collation' pages (eg Orthodoxy in America). Is it proper to list them here? --— by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 23:41, April 29, 2006 (CDT)

In terms of population, number of churches and missions, the Macedonian Orthodox are the second largest Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction in Australia. They have a permanent bishop for Australia and New Zealand. At the moment it is Metropolitan Petar, although that is likely to change soon.

If ROCOR is listed then Macedonia should be listed.

Using the above definition of 'schism', then both are "in schism from the rest of Orthodoxy". But both enjoy cordial relations with some other jurisdiction(s) within Orthodoxy.

Neither ROCOR nor Macedonia are 'heretical'.

I have been trying to get a copy of the Tomos of autocephaly supposedly issued by the Serbian Holy Synod and which was supposed to have been later revoked after intense lobbying from the Orthodox Churches in Greece and Turkey. That would help sort out some of the problems. But it is difficult to get hold of. If it ever existed.

Patriarch Alexii has held talks with both sides. Moscow has offered to be peace broker between the warring factions. Moscow has also decried the attempt by Serbia to set up a parallel hierarchy in FYRO Macedonia. And in balance, Moscow has also decried the imprisonment in Macedonia of the parallel hierarch.

The Serbian Orthodox statement on their official website that all Orthodox Churches support the positions taken by the Serbian Patriarchate is just plain untrue.

Antioch had a very successful facting-finding mission to Macedonia a few years ago. The Macedonian Hierarchy tried to hijack it and turn it into a show of support for the current Macedonian hierarchy. The Antiochian Metropolitan Archbishop who visited there was given national media coverage daily, especially when he suggested the bishops should get out of their palaces and meet all their people, start teaching them all about the Orthodox faith, and start teaching the real meaning of the sacraments and making them widely available to the faithful. The faithful loved hearing about their Orthodox faith. The hierarchy was less than amused.

Both the Serbian and the Macedonian Orthodox Churches suffer from "the Balkanian mentality" as one of my Balkan emigre clergy friends describes it.

Plus there is the siege mentality exhibited from south of the FYRO Macedonian border, to contend with.

A NPOV would be to ignore the imperial aspirations of all three key Churches in this dispute, and to recognise the defacto situation at the moment.

The Macedonian Orthodox are a recognised religious group in Australian Census publications and well covered in Hughes and Godley's "Eastern Orthodox in Australia".

All Australian Religious Sociologists would list them. The Redfern Phanariot certainly would not, but he is widely regarded as a rabid polemicist.

A matter for you as editor of course.

chrisg 2006-04-30 : 2346 EAST

Difference between ROCOR and Macedonia is the recognition by some of the 14/15 churches - MOC is recognised by no one, whereas ROCOR is recognised by a small number. Allowing the Macedonian metropolitanate on this page would also necessitate adding them on any other page where there is an overseas diocese (eg America). Having said all that, since its a decision that could lead to precedents formed over OWiki, it's probably best to have a larger amount of opinions. --— by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 17:51, April 30, 2006 (CDT)
As a group whose status is currently "from the Orthodox Church, but in schism" as per the POV of "world Orthodoxy," they're worthy of a mention. But I would also very much mention their status. The Macedonian Orthodox Church article also is currently quite POV and needs to be completely rewritten, IMO.
They don't quite compare to the ROCOR for a number of reasons, but I do think they're worth mentioning on their own merits. Their current absence from the American articles is mainly due to a lack of information on them by the American articles' primary compiler.  :) —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 21:21, April 30, 2006 (CDT)
Agreed — FrJohn (talk)

Recognising ROCOR

Which Churches do you say officially recognise ROCOR? chrisg 2006-05-05 : 2346 EAST

The Serbian church has always recognized ROCOR. It's been a little wierd - other churches in communion with Serbia but not ROCOR, and ROCOR in communion with Serbia but not other churches. I think most folks have understood this as a temporary blip caused by Communism. Thanksfully, these abberations are being cleared up... — FrJohn (talk)
It was interesting watching Metropolitan Archbishop Paul (Antioch) serving Divine Liturgy to the right of Patriarch Pavle in Cabramatta Australia last year with Archbishop Hilarion (ROCOR) serving to the left of Patriarch Pavle. Both said they were serving with the patriarch, and both said they were not serving with the other. True oeconomia in practice! They did have a friendly discussion afterwards which they achieved by avoiding any contentious topic. chrisg 2006-05-09 : 1854 EAST

While the Serbian Church de facto accepts ROCOR, has there ever been any synodal decision to "be in communion with" ROCOR? chrisg 2006-05-06 : 0746 EAST

I've always thought that the Serbian Church had an awesome deal in the diaspora :)
However, I don't know if there was there was an explicit acceptance of ROCOR. TBH, I don't think that it was seen as needed - they were Russian bishops who were told to organise themselves, so they were accepted. Also, I'm fairly sure that Jerusalem accepts ROCOR, too. --— by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 17:07, May 5, 2006 (CDT)
The problem with that unfortunate term "schismatic" is firstly it is usually polemical. Secondly it is inappropriately misapplied to cover a large number of situations.
ROCOR, because it was setting itself up as a separate Church, was considered by many mainstream Orthodox Churches to be schismatic. Serbia was in communion with it. Serbia, however, avoided ever officially "recognising" it.
In the earliest years ROCOR was in a delicate relationship with the King of Serbia and the official state Church there. Both were obviously sympathetic to the plight of the Synod-in-Exile, and all had the same Imperial foundation to their ecclesiology. However, they never seemed to de jure "recognise" ROCOR as a separate Church. In that way, it is inappropriate to say that Serbia "recognises" ROCOR. They are in communion with the bishops-in-exile, but Serbia "recognises" Moscow, and always has.
Similarly, many Churches admit the faithful of the Macedonian Orthodox Church to communion. The hierarchy of some Churches serve with the priests of MOC, but will not serve liturgically with the hierarchy of MOC. The reason being they do not want to offend the Church of Greece, or the Church of Serbia, or to recognise the seeming self-proclamation of Autocephaly by Macedonia without the consensus of all the mainstream autocephalous Orthodox Churches. But they also recognise the sacramental needs of the Macedonian Orthodox. Some also recognise the need for MOC clergy to be able to serve with non-rabid hierarchs from outside MOC, and to provide an open channel for the resolution of various pastoral problems MOC clergy cannot resolve within MOC.
MOC allows non-contentious clergy from other jurisdictions to serve within its territory and in its churches. It is clergy from the parallel hierarchy, and their supporters, who are prohibited from serving within its territory or erecting churches or monasteries there.
ROCOR has had many years to stabilise its position and to drop some of its most unChristian polemics. Serbia and Macedonia are still in the early to middle stages of their polemics.
But it would be biased in favour of Serbia to condemn Macedonia and its Orthodox to perdition by branding them as schismatics. Serbia granted them autonomy. Serbia has never denied granting them autonomy. Serbia later set up a parallel hierarchy on the canonical territory of Macedonia and justified it by saying Macedonia was schismatic. In some Serbian circles they said the Macedonians were heretical. That is hardly helpful to solving the current impasse and scandal to world orthodoxy.
If you want to talk heresy, then the creation by Serbia of a parallel hierarchy is in direct contravention to the canon of the nineteenth century Council of Constantinople which condemned that practice as "phyletism" and anathematised its practioners as heretical. I personally think it most unhelpful to brand people as heretics. It effectively precludes understanding and reunification. But the practice of parallel hierarchies is a scandal, as most North Americans would recognise.
The self-styled Macedonian Orthodox Church, or to use its canonical title, the Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid, difficult as they may be to deal with, and suffering from the common regional "Balkanian mentality" as they might, still must be seen, understood, and sympathetically written about, for a full picture of world orthodoxy.
If they are brought out of their ghetto by sympathetic western Orthodox understanding, the conflict and rending of the fabric of Christ's Church, is much more likely to be healed much sooner, than if we simply follow the polemics of one side of the dispute.
I am not opposed in any way to the Church of Serbia as Church. I have served with Patriarch Pavle and consider him a truly holy man, although I do not agree with some of his world view, or his insistence on using Slavonic only.
I serve each Sunday with an ethnic Serbian priest, but I also serve whenever I can with an ethnic Macedonian priest. The funny thing is they both get on very well together, and serve together whenever they can. Both being outside the warring jurisdictions, and under interested but neutral Antioch, allows them the necessary distance to take a balanced view.
That approach is what we all need to take.
chrisg 2006-05-09 : 1854 EAST
To bypass basically all of your points - to this article, with the way that it is structured, it is enough to say that there is an irregular status: something that is a universally accepted fact. Anything further would have its place on other articles: the Macedonian Orthodox Church article, perhaps, or a new article(s) that details both sides of the split.
(btw, I assume that you're aware that the same 'phyletist' label would apply to most of the rich-world - ironic that the last universal condemnation is the one most broken...) --— by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 04:46, May 9, 2006 (CDT)

ROCOR "In Communion"

That was not how I read the Sobor decision. Do you have a citation? Thanks chrisg 2006-05-18:1929 EAST

The inspiration for my writing was User:Fr Ambrose, a ROCOR priest in NZ. However, it wasn't from the All-Diaspora Council, because it wasn't the decision of the All-Diaspora Council to make. As is public knowledge, the Council recommended union; the Holy Synod decided to "approve and confirm the resolution" of the Council [1], the relevant resolution being found here (and the other resolution here). — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 08:08, May 18, 2006 (CDT)

Yeah, well that's interesting gossip, but unfortunately the ROCOR Holy Synod has not yet decided that ROCOR is actually in communion with Moscow now.

The Sobor decided to support the ROCOR Synod in its decision when they make it. But they have not yet made it. All they have done is ratify the expression of desire to rejoin, and the expression of leaving it to the ROCOR Holy Synod to effect when, and how, and on what terms.

In addition the Moscow Patriarchate has not yet made any decision to recognise ROCOR.

The process is still months away from finalisation, if not years away. Patriarch Alexii said the hardest part is yet to come.

Moscow is going to have to think three times before accepting ROCOR demands to drop out of the WCC.

Plus there is the fallout from the Sobor decision within ROCOR to be faced first before hurrying into any untimely uneasy union.

The Sobor decided

From discussions at the Council it is apparent that the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the World Council of Churches evokes confusion among our clergy and flock. With heartfelt pain we ask the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to heed the plea of our flock to expediently remove this temptation.
We hope that the forthcoming Local Council of One Russian Church will settle remaining unresolved church problems.

There remains a great deal of work to be done before the Uniting Council can meet to finalise problems before re-unification can take place.

There has been no suggestion anywhere official that ROCOR and Moscow are in communion NOW, or as of 16 May 2006.

That is a misplaced hope.

Sadly, more time is needed to heal the old wounds and dissipate the new anger the Sobor decisions will evoke within parts of ROCOR itself.

Very, very, unfortunately, for some who are facing immediate lifelong decisions, ROCOR is still uncanonical.

chrisg 2006-05-19:0123

Pity. Let's hope and pray for, all other things being equal, sooner rather than later. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 10:43, May 18, 2006 (CDT)

Articles on priests

I really don't know much about the history of Orthodoxy in Australasia, but I am wondering somewhat about the many brief articles on priests serving in the region. In general, I think it would be wise to limit our content to persons of encyclopedic notability rather than as a sort of directory. I don't know enough about the area's Orthodoxy to know whether this is in fact the case, but at least from what I've seen, a good number of the articles seem to be mere directorial in nature. ISTM that information on a particular parish or monastery's clergy should mainly be restricted to the institutional article.

The touchstone question for whether a person should have an article devoted to him is probably, "Is this person making history or making national/international news?" Bishops, of course, always qualify, because of the nature of their office. Individual clergy usually don't. So I suppose I'm just asking whether y'all feel that the articles you're making are along these lines or not. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:14, May 23, 2006 (CDT)

By 2006, there were only three fully English-speaking Orthodox parishes in Australia of any jurisdiction. A major part of the future of Orthodoxy in Australia and to a lesser extent in New Zealand is dependent on the outcome of the language battle. The articles I have been submitting and expanding have all been relevant to this major movement in Orthodoxy in Australia. Because I have other duties, I am not able to provide complete articles from the outset. The relevance may not be obvious at this stage in the development of the articles.

If you would prefer articles to be complete before they are posted, I will work that way, and leave uncorrected the errors in existence in the current articles I have not worked on.

If you are concerned about storage space on OrthodoxWiki, I am happy to provide no-cost webspace for a mirror website in Australia.

chrisg 2006-05-24-1025 EAST

It's not really a question of storage space, by any means. My question was simply if those working on these articles feel that they are regarding persons of encyclopedic notability rather than being simply biographies of local clergy. I'm glad to read that they are in the former category. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 21:10, May 23, 2006 (CDT)
Some things that, imho, should be done - categories and templates. Placing a Category:Orthodoxy in Australia (or New Zealand) and a { { orthodoxyinaustralasiasmall } } tag (w/o spaces, of course) in the pages will help keep things orderly. Ideally with these articles, they would also be added to the expanding list on the Orthodoxy in Australasia frontpage. — sτévο, at 10:52, May 25, 2006 (CDT)

Tonight's additions to Michael Shehadie give a good indication of the sort of material which can be added later, justifying his initial inclusion from an Australian perspective. chrisg 2006-05-30-2332 EAST

English Usage

Additionally - by memory, there are five English-language parishes in Australia in the Antiochian jurisdiction alone - St Barnabas (Gold Coast), Good Shepherd, 40 Holy Martyrs (Vic), St Anthony the Great (Perth) and, of course, Sts Michael and Gabriel (Syd); plus two in ROCOR and one or two in the Serbian diocese (Vic), and the Moscow Patriarchate's ones. — sτévο, at 10:59, May 25, 2006 (CDT)

I was taking the position of distinguishing between firstly fully English-speaking as opposed to bi-lingual including English, and secondly parish as opposed to mission or monastery.
In the Antiochian archdiocese, Fr Ted in Perth WA has retired because of age and ill-health and there is no replacement for him in sight. 40 Holy Martyrs Mirboo North Vic, is a mission which is a long way from becoming a self-supporting parish.
In the Moscow Patriarchate in Australia, at Mayfield West Fr Alexander only chants 3 litanies in English and all the rest is in Slavonic. At Blacktown Fr Vladimir uses no English at all. In Melbourne I am informed Slavonic only is used.
In the Serbian Dioceses in Australia, Fr Patrick from Ballarat serves in English, but does not lead a parish. I do not know of any other English as a first language (EFL) speaking priest serving an English speaking parish in that jurisdiction.
In ROCOR there are a number of EFL priests and deacons. Hieromonk Benjamin in SA does not lead a parish. He is the only monk at his monastery, and then only part-time. Gosford is bi-lingual and is not a parish yet though it is heading in the right direction. None of the Sydney parishes are English-speaking. The monastery in Tasmania is English-speaking Western rite, but is not a parish.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese uses English on a rotating basis at one parish each week, but that has been authoritatively stated to be a token gesture only, to prevent people saying GOA never uses the language of the people.
As at the beginning of 2006, I understand there were only 3 fully English speaking parishes in Australia. They were Saint Barnabas Gold Coast Qld, Ss Michael & Gabriel West Ryde NSW, and Good Shepherd Canterbury Vic. All are in the Antiochian jurisdiction. All are a bit tenuous.
Regrettably, at this stage, there is resistence in all the jurisdictions to the full use of English in parishes.
The situation with English usage is a lot worse than the window dressing has indicated in the recent past.
Matters are a lot different in New Zealand, particularly because of Fr Jack there.
Would be most happy if anyone can up the numbers in Australia with concrete specifics.
chrisg 2006-05-26-0942 EAST
I had not, admittedly, distinguished between parish and mission or monastery. In ROCOR, I had included Holy Cross Australian Orthodox Mission, Melbourne [2] and St John the Baptist Skete, Sydney. However, I had also completely forgotten about St Anna's Convent, Melbourne, which is English-speaking - are there services there? — sτévο, at 19:41, May 25, 2006 (CDT)
Sr Virginia (Riasophora Theodora) recites all the hours at her convent at Preston Vic, usually alone, but occasionally with one or two others. Fr Joakim at Kentlyn NSW is an EFL priest, and well loved. He usually says the hours and he also celebrates liturgy if any people are there. Spring Street Mission Melbourne Vic now only has three or four periodic attenders. Services there are infrequent with Hieromonk Benjamin having to travel to Melbourne from interstate. The future looks bleak for the Spring Street mission.
chrisg 2006-05-26-1053 EAST
Concerning the comments of one chrisg... The 'bleak future' of Holy Cross Mission has been greatly exaggerated.
Thank God for the fruit it bears. It can be difficult to tell in the early days of a mission, and his comment was written 8 months ago. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 03:37, February 6, 2007 (PST)


When I began the Orthodoxy in Australasia series, I expected that I would be restricted to what was, at that point, found on the internet. Of course, that wasn't much. However, because of the considerable amount of information that is contained in this series, and the basic unwieldiness of trying to fit it all together, I would propose making, effectively, two series' - one for Australia, the other for New Zealand. Thoughts? — sτévο, at 10:52, May 25, 2006 (CDT)

That seems like a good idea. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 14:46, May 25, 2006 (CDT)
Excellent idea. chrisg 2006-05-26-0916 EAST