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Switch to Forum Live View A DUmb Question Pehaps....
9 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 1:53PM #1
malanga
Posts: 626
Why are there so many separate Orthodox Churches?  I see Russian, Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, Etc.  as separate Churches, but never  a combination of Churches over a geographical location.  For example, why not just one Orthodox Church for North America, Or Europe for example.  I can understand how at one time each ethnic group would have its own Church for practical reasons, but is such a structure still necessary in this day and age?  Can any Orthodox member go to any other Orthodox Church for services?  Are there any cases when such is not allowed?  I am really quite curious about this, not being judgmental.  Thanks!
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 1:59PM #2
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
[QUOTE=malanga;653345]Why are there so many separate Orthodox Churches?  I see Russian, Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, Etc.  as separate Churches, but never  a combination of Churches over a geographical location.  For example, why not just one Orthodox Church for North America, Or Europe for example.  I can understand how at one time each ethnic group would have its own Church for practical reasons, but is such a structure still necessary in this day and age?  Can any Orthodox member go to any other Orthodox Church for services?  Are there any cases when such is not allowed?  I am really quite curious about this, not being judgmental.  Thanks![/QUOTE]

The short explanation is immigration patterns and the Russian Revolution. Now any Orthodox member can go to any Orthodox Church. The only exception before was ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) and other Orthodox Churches, for various reasons relating to the Russian Revolution and the Communist treatment of the Orthodox Church.

Seraphim gave a good explanation here: http://community.beliefnet.com/forums/a … -5258.html
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 3:38PM #3
malanga
Posts: 626
Thank you Katherine for that response.  I have a spin off question, though: Why do they remain separate?  Would it not be more efficient and uniform to combine the separate groups?  Or is it perhaps a sense of ethnic pride that they stay apart?
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 4:04PM #4
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
[QUOTE=malanga;653559]Thank you Katherine for that response.  I have a spin off question, though: Why do they remain separate?  Would it not be more efficient and uniform to combine the separate groups?  Or is it perhaps a sense of ethnic pride that they stay apart?[/QUOTE]

Probably more like inertia and ego - things don't happen quickly in a 2000 year old Church, and remember how recent the immigration is. After all, a generation or so ago, people identified themselves as Irish-Catholic or Italian-Catholic? And that was from immigration in the early part of the century. And they don't stay apart - all Hierarchs belong to SCOBA, after all, and there are many cooperative pan-Orthodox efforts at the Parish level.

The important thing to remember, like seraphim says, is that we all, all Orthodox Churches," have the same faith but some small variety of smaller customs and expressions of the faith. These were the national churches in the lands where they originated which have been transplanted here by immigration."
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 1:59PM #5
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
[QUOTE=malanga;653345]Why are there so many separate Orthodox Churches?  I see Russian, Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, Etc.  as separate Churches, but never  a combination of Churches over a geographical location.  For example, why not just one Orthodox Church for North America, Or Europe for example.  I can understand how at one time each ethnic group would have its own Church for practical reasons, but is such a structure still necessary in this day and age?  Can any Orthodox member go to any other Orthodox Church for services?  Are there any cases when such is not allowed?  I am really quite curious about this, not being judgmental.  Thanks![/QUOTE]

The short explanation is immigration patterns and the Russian Revolution. Now any Orthodox member can go to any Orthodox Church. The only exception before was ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) and other Orthodox Churches, for various reasons relating to the Russian Revolution and the Communist treatment of the Orthodox Church.

Seraphim gave a good explanation here: http://community.beliefnet.com/forums/a … -5258.html
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 3:38PM #6
malanga
Posts: 626
Thank you Katherine for that response.  I have a spin off question, though: Why do they remain separate?  Would it not be more efficient and uniform to combine the separate groups?  Or is it perhaps a sense of ethnic pride that they stay apart?
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 4:04PM #7
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
[QUOTE=malanga;653559]Thank you Katherine for that response.  I have a spin off question, though: Why do they remain separate?  Would it not be more efficient and uniform to combine the separate groups?  Or is it perhaps a sense of ethnic pride that they stay apart?[/QUOTE]

Probably more like inertia and ego - things don't happen quickly in a 2000 year old Church, and remember how recent the immigration is. After all, a generation or so ago, people identified themselves as Irish-Catholic or Italian-Catholic? And that was from immigration in the early part of the century. And they don't stay apart - all Hierarchs belong to SCOBA, after all, and there are many cooperative pan-Orthodox efforts at the Parish level.

The important thing to remember, like seraphim says, is that we all, all Orthodox Churches," have the same faith but some small variety of smaller customs and expressions of the faith. These were the national churches in the lands where they originated which have been transplanted here by immigration."
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 29, 2008 - 9:19AM #8
malanga
Posts: 626
[QUOTE=KatherineOrthodixie;653621]Probably more like inertia and ego - things don't happen quickly in a 2000 year old Church, and remember how recent the immigration is. After all, a generation or so ago, people identified themselves as Irish-Catholic or Italian-Catholic? [/QUOTE]

An excellent point Katherine.  I already know that change occurs in the Catholic Church about as quickly as Stalactite growth, so I guess it isn't likely to be much faster in the Orthodox Church.  Thank you for the info.
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 29, 2008 - 9:55AM #9
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
[QUOTE=malanga;654952]I already know that change occurs in the Catholic Church about as quickly as Stalactite growth, so I guess it isn't likely to be much faster in the Orthodox Church. [/QUOTE]

And actually I think this is, in general, a Good Thing, given the law of unintended consequences and the results of we've seen in the past 50 years or so of change in the Church.
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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9 years ago  ::  Jul 29, 2008 - 11:05AM #10
malanga
Posts: 626
Yes, that is another good point Katherine.   I know the RCC has been criticized for being too slow to make changes, but now I think there is wisdom in waiting to ensure a change is not being made because of trend, but of sincere faith.  The Episcopal Church went through some rapid changes in a short time (ordination of women, ordination of openly gay clergy and now the blessing of same-sex relationships) all within a 30 year period, and now the consequences are a possible schism within its ranks.  Democracy is a great thing, but not necessarily when it comes to  religious doctrine.
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