Writings of Saint Aftimios Ofiesh


by His Eminence, AFTIMIOS, Archbishop of Brooklyn. The Orthodox Catholic Review, Vol. I, No. IV-V, April-May 1927.
1927 The Orthodox Catholic Review (copyright expired).

The fruit of Christianity is The Faith.
The fruit of The Faith is Obedience.
The fruit of Obedience is Discipline.
The fruit of Discipline is Prosperous Life.

With a possible three million or even greater number of Her communicants residing in North America, the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church should be one of the major religious bodies in America. That it is not is due solely to the failure of its responsible leaders to come together as one Orthodox Catholic body for the organization of the Church in this country. Though the Orthodox Church boasts a litany in Her daily Divine Service beseeching God "for the peace of the churches and the union of them all," She is Herself in America the most outstanding horrible example of the disastrous effects of disunion, disorder, secret strife, and open warfare that this country of divided and warring sects can offer. It is true that She is at one and at peace on questions of faith, teaching, and liturgical practice. One would suppose that, therefore, She should find united ecclesiastical organization and administration an easy adjustment. It would seem that, given unity and uniformity of faith, teaching, rite, and practice, Orthodoxy in America ought to present a most edifying example of that Unity for which all Christian bodies are so loudly calling and for which they are so blindly seeking. On the contrary, there is no central organization to which all the Orthodox of all racial, national, or linguistic derivation in America yield obedience. There are seven nationalities represented in American Orthodoxy, and these are divided into eighteen distinct groups of churches without any coordinating organization, and almost without any pretense of harmony or cooperation among them. It is time that Orthodoxy in America should take serious note of the causes and effects of its divided condition, and consider the steps necessary to bring about unity and progress for the future of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church and Faith in the New World.

The foundation and development of Orthodoxy in America under the benevolent authority and guidance of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia was calculated to result in an autonomous province or autocephalous and independent American church of the Orthodox Catholic Communion. For a hundred years the Russian leadership and control over Orthodoxy in America was unquestioned, and tended steadily toward the unity and ultimate autonomy or independence of the American Province of Orthodoxy. During this time thousands of Russians, following the first Orthodox settlers in the New World, had made their homes in America; thousands of Eskimos, Aleuts, Indians, and other American natives had been converted by Russian Orthodox Catholic missionaries; thousands of Greeks had come to America and established communities with churches; Serbians and Syrians had done likewise; in lesser numbers there were also Bulgarians, Albanians, Romanians, and those various Balkan Slavic people later to be more accurately known as Czechs, Slovaks, Galicians, Croatians, Ugro-Russians, etc. Whatever their language or national origin, all these people in America looked to the Bishop or Archbishop of the existing Russian Orthodox foundation and Diocese of North America for their spiritual care and ecclesiastical administration. For them all, the Russian Bishops and Holy Synod made provision as was required. In many places several different nationalities and languages worshipped in a single congregation. When the majority of the congregation ceased to be of one language, the Russian Bishop provided, on request, a priest of the language preferred by the majority. Special advisers and administrators were provided for various national or linguistic groups. As these groups grew in importance and membership, provision was made for Bishops of several languages or nationalities; and a plan was proposed to the Holy Synod of Russia for the organization of the American Province as an autonomous unit under a Synod of its own, representing all the groups in America and governing all Orthodoxy in this country. The late Patriarch Tikhon when Archbishop of the North American Province laid this plan before the Russian Holy Synod. Unfortunately for the Church in America, there was a change in administration, and in Russian Church affairs at home, before this was put into effect. The transfer of Archbishop Tikhon from America to Russia in 1907, the World War, the Russian Revolution and subsequent collapse, and the shortsighted and misguided patriotism and ambitions of the various groups and leaders in America, have destroyed the work that had been done for a united and autonomous American Orthodox Church.

The World War and the triumph of the slogan of Democracy, "Self-determination," fanned into destructive flame that smoldering but ever superabundant nationalism in the Eastern Orthodox people, which, with unconscious irony, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has condemned as the new heresy of phyletism - love of one's race or nationality above the love and obedience due to Holy Church and Her interests and canons. Each little group or tribe now aspired to become a distinct nation, and each nationalistic party determined to have a separate and distinct national Orthodox Church or, indeed, a Patriarchate. This brought confusion and disorder enough in the Church in Europe where new or revived states sprang into existence; but its reaction on the Orthodox population of America where there was no corresponding political development to justify or excuse new ecclesiastical organizations, was chaotic and disastrous. Each little group of Orthodox people produced some new party or leader who wished to set up in America a Church based solely on the national or racial derivation of its adherents. The inclusive unity and coordination of Orthodoxy as such in America regardless of nationality or language was forgotten in this sudden over-emphasis upon political or tribal distinctions based on the reorganization of the map of Europe. The true ideal of one Orthodox Catholic Church in America for the growing thousands of Americans born and reared in Orthodoxy was lost in the over-zealous patriotic desire of the immigrant generation to parallel in America the national resurrections taking place in Europe. The situation was most favorable for ambitious and self-seeking ecclesiastical adventurers and politicians, and these appeared in every group.

With a strong and well supported administration the Russian Archdiocese might have maintained and developed the united federation of American Orthodoxy planned and begun under Archbishop Tikhon. Unfortunately, the strength and support of the Russian Administration of Orthodox America was suddenly and completely cut off by the Russian Revolution and by the disruption of the Russian Church at home. Not organized to be self-sustaining, the Church in America was unprepared for the collapse of the prestige and financial support of the Russian Mother Church. Discipline, order, and unity became most difficult of preservation in the face of the nationalistic agitation and factional strife in politically divided groups.

The internal difficulties tending to disrupt and divide Orthodoxy in America have been powerfully aided and increased by the relations with other religious bodies in this country. Every separation of a national group from the rest of Orthodoxy in America, every schism and division, every uncanonical intrusion and disturbance that had broken American Orthodoxy into discordant and warring factions has been assisted and abetted directly or indirectly by the unfortunate and misguided zeal of non-Orthodox, Protestant bodies whose friendly but misdirected assistance has invariably resulted in loss to Orthodoxy. Leaders of the Orthodox Catholic Church have defied the Canons and set at naught the Fathers and Councils of the Undivided Catholic Church in order to fraternize illegally with Protestant heresy and secure the help of Protestant bodies. The only result has been the further distress and division of Orthodoxy. Obviously, it is time for intermeddling between Orthodoxy and Protestantism to cease, if Holy Church is not to suffer still further. Already seven severe and disgraceful troubles resulting in great loss to Orthodoxy have been directly caused or greatly aided by the illicit and uncanonical activity of Protestants within Orthodox affairs. All of these disastrous divisions in American Orthodoxy have been connected with the activities of Episcopalians - two of them with those of the Methodist Episcopalians, and five with Protestant Episcopalians. Other Protestant bodies have not interfered with our internal affairs in America. And, to be accurate, it must be admitted that the Methodist Episcopal activity has been unofficial and on the part of only a small party led by a single bishop in that body, whereas the actions of the Protestant Episcopal Church have been those of that body's official representatives and National Council.

The Methodist Episcopal Bishop Blake, supported by Zion's Herald, has contributed markedly to the difficulties of the Orthodox Church both here and in Russia by his support of the Living Church and other schismatic Russian movements that seek the destruction of the Russian Patriarchate. In America the supporters of Bishop Blake and the Zion's Herald party of Methodists have actively supported John Kedrovsky, the uncanonical intruder who represents the reformed bodies of the Bolshevik Soviet Russian rgime and seeks to obtain the property and control of the Orthodox Church in America.

Although in supporting the Living Church and the divisions under the Soviet rgime Bishop Blake protested that neither he nor his supporters wished to proselytize from the Russian Orthodox Church, the second source of trouble which their activities have given us is distinctly a case of militant proselytization in America. The Reverend Charles Mrzena, a Czecho-Slovak Priest ordained by the Patriarch of Serbia, was induced to agree to work under the direction and authority of the Methodist Board of Home Missions under the mutual understanding that neither he nor his people should become Methodists but that the Methodists would help them to remain Orthodox. The Methodists professed their readiness to do this merely as a means of preventing the return to Roman obedience of those Czecho-Slovaks who had broken away from the Roman Catholic Church. But, when the time came for the appointment of Father Mrzena and his assistants, Bishop Blake and the New Jersey Conference over which he presided suddenly discovered that the only way to make good the promised support was first to insist that the Orthodox Priest become a Methodist preacher and be "ordained" such by Methodist parsons. It has happened, therefore, that Bishop Blake and the Methodists have "ordained" an Orthodox Catholic Priest to be a special missionary for the Methodists to his fellow nationals in America. This has finally destroyed a once promising Orthodox Catholic Czecho-Slovak work.

Apparently devoid of any sense of the humorous or ridiculous in its position, the Protestant Episcopal Church has always assumed a patronizing and paternally indulgent attitude towards all Catholic and Orthodox Churches in America. With Old Catholics, Protestant Episcopalians have claimed to be the only true and rightful Old Catholic Church in America. With Orthodox, they claim to be the proper Orthodox Church in English and to have superior jurisdiction over all the real Orthodox in America. With Protestants of all sorts they seek union on terms of mutual recognition and ordination as the true Protestant Church of America. This comprehensive "all things to all men" attitude of the Protestant Episcopal Church as regards Orthodox bodies found expression in one of their General Convention reports in the statement for the Protestant Episcopal Church that, "We might claim that we (the Episcopalian Protestants!) are the original Orthodox body in this country holding jurisdiction, and that all the others who come are simply our welcome guests whom we are pleased to befriend and aid in ministering to people of their own church, race and language." Were it only stated, such a position would be merely ludicrous; for certainly the Protestant Episcopal Church, not being Orthodox Catholic in any sense, could not possibly be "the original Orthodox body in this country," nor could it hold any jurisdiction over or for Orthodox people, nor yet could it possibly minister, or aid in ministering validly or properly, to Orthodox Catholic faithful communicants. But when the Protestant Episcopalians take this position seriously and presume to act upon it, and to induce our people and clergy to accept such position and actions under an erroneous and misleading propaganda, the results are dangerous to the souls and welfare of God's Holy Churches. Ready at all times and in every proper and canonical manner to promote the unity of all Christians in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ, Orthodoxy and Orthodox Prelates can not lawfully or properly lend their aid or influence to false and deceptive pretensions of unity where there is and can be no unity or cordination between the heretical Protestantism of the Episcopalians and the true Catholicity of the Orthodox.

In 1922 the Protestant Episcopal Church with the approval of its General Convention, began through its Foreign-Born Americans Division of the Department of Missions and Church Extension of its National Council a definite policy of promoting and aiding divisions and schisms in the Orthodox Church in America, provided that these broken parts of Orthodoxy would enter into communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church and accept its Protestant Bishops. One of the official statements of this policy issued by the Foreign-Born Division is as follows: "A policy for promoting and fostering these National Churches under our Bishops and in communion with the Episcopal Church has been started and is in operation as approved by the General Convention." It is in the pursuance of this policy that five most injurious and serious divisions, greatly troubling American Orthodoxy, have been fostered or promoted by the activity of the agents of the Protestant Episcopal Church through its Foreign-Born Division under the direction of Messrs. Burgess and Emhardt, Secretary and Field Director, respectively, of that bureau of propaganda.

(1) Previous to 1922 all the Orthodox people in America from the Balkan and Slav districts of Europe were admittedly and officially under the direction of the Orthodox Jurisdiction in this country established and maintained by the Russian Archdiocese. In that year, under the invitation and auspices of the Protestant Episcopal Church and entirely unknown to the proper Orthodox Catholic Bishops and Authorities in America, Bishop Gorazd Pavlik, a Roman Catholic Priest who had left the Roman obedience at the height of the nationalistic fervor to head a National Czecho-Slovak Church and had been consecrated Bishop by the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch, came to America. He was taken to the Protestant Episcopal General Convention by Messrs. Emhardt and Burgess, and during his stay in America was under the constant tutelage of their assistant, Mr. Robert Keating Smith, who as a paid staff-worker of the Division of Foreign-Born was assigned to guide and assist Bishop Gorazd in his travels and activity in America. As a result of this benevolent guidance, Bishop Gorazd did not consult with the Orthodox Catholic authorities exercising canonical jurisdiction over the Slavic and Balkan people in America. On the contrary, disregarding these entirely, he was persuaded to make a formal concordat with the National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church and to turn over the newly-organized Czecho-Slovak Orthodox Church to the Protestant Bishops and to the communion of the Episcopalians, on the ignorant and misinformed assumption that the dogmatic standards and foundation of the Protestant Episcopal Church were the same as those of the Orthodox. When this concordat was announced, the official organ of the Russian Orthodox Archdiocese immediately condemned it in a leading article, declaring that if this new Czecho-Slovak National Church had the same dogmatic standards and foundation as the Protestant Episcopal, and found union and communion under Protestant Bishops possible, then certainly it was no part of the Orthodox Catholic Church and communion of Faith.

(2) But the deflection from Orthodox Catholic jurisdiction and sacramental communion on the part of the Czecho-Slovaks was not the only destruction that the Protestant Episcopal Church accomplished through Bishop Gorazd Pavlik. A small disorderly party of Russians were contesting the regular and accepted Russian Church Authority in America. While in this country under the shepherding of Messrs. Emhardt, Burgess and Keating Smith, Bishop Gorazd joined with this schismatic and uncanonical faction and took part in an uncanonical consecration of Adam Phillipovsky as a Bishop for the disgruntled faction of Carpatho-Russian and other minority groups. As I shall point out later, the parishes originally adhering to this man were subsequently turned over to a certain Protestant Episcopal Roman Catholic Jew, John Trk, sometime an employee of the Department of Foreign-Born, who was sent to Bishop Gorazd Pavlik in Europe to be consecrated. Adam Phillipovsky himself has caused no end of trouble and dissension in the Orthodox Church since he was consecrated by this ally of the Protestant Episcopalians.

(3) In 1923, in accordance with an arrangement made by Mr. Emhardt with the Patriarch of Antioch, but without reference to the Syrian Archbishop and clergy in America, the National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church secured under the direction and authority of its Foreign-Born Division a paid "missionary to the unchurched Syrians in America." The chief difference between this action and that of the Methodist Episcopal Board of Home Missions in securing a missionary to Czecho-Slovaks as noted above lies in the fact that the Protestant Episcopal Church was not so sure of the necessity or sufficiency of its own orders for such ministrations under its authority, and therefore asked the Patriarch of Antioch to have the missionary Ordained instead of "ordaining" him anew themselves in any case as did the Methodists. Unfortunately, there was a division among the Syrian Orthodox in this country, and the activity of this special missionary of the Protestant Episcopalians, who was supposed to go to those Syrians who had no resident clergy, was almost entirely confined to visiting those localities in which both factions existed, or in which it was possible to stir up agitation against the resident parish Priest of the Syrian Archdiocese. This "missionary" Antony Bachir [viz., Antony Bashir, Ed.] , under the direction of Messrs. Emhardt and Burgess, made every effort to subvert the faithful of the Syrian Mission and Archdiocese of Brooklyn from their canonical obedience and rightful communion. Owing to the vigorous protests of loyal Syrians and the exposing of the entire Protestant Episcopal activity in Syrian newspapers, this attempt was unsuccessful; and the salary of Antony Bachir as special missionary was discontinued at the end of a year by the Protestant Episcopal National Council. However, the effects of this fomenting of internal strife and division in the Syrian Orthodox in America by a bought and paid Syrian Orthodox agent of the Episcopalians will not be erased for many years. It is fortunate that the hundred thousand dollars promised for the Patriarchate of Antioch out of the expected Holy Places Fund was not obtained and that there was no formal action taken by Antioch on Anglican Orders such as was taken by Jerusalem.

(4) Until 1923 the Roumanian Orthodox congregations in America had always been under the Russian Archdiocese whose authority was exercised through a Roumanian Archimandrite as administrator for his fellow nationals in this country. In that year, however, under the benevolent chairmanship of Field Director Emhardt of the Foreign-Born Americans Division of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and in church buildings most kindly lent for the occasion by the Protestant Episcopal rector, a number of Roumanian Orthodox representatives met in Pittsburgh without the knowledge, or participation, or authority, of the Russian Archdiocese. In documents this meeting acknowledged that the Roumanian Orthodox Priests in America derive authority and jurisdiction from the Russian Archdiocese in this country, even though they received spiritual authority in Roumania from the Bishops of the Roumanian Holy Synod. Yet, under the kindly auspices and able chairmanship so generously provided by the Protestant Episcopal Church through Mr. Emhardt, this meeting determined to "turn to the Bishops of the Episcopal Church for ecclesiastical protection and discipline" over an autonomous Roumanian Orthodox Church in America and passed the following resolution: "Resolved that the National Council of the Episcopal Church be requested, until such time as an ecclesiastical hierarchy be established in America, to request the Bishops (of the Protestant Episcopal Church!) in whose dioceses are found Roumanian Orthodox Churches to take the Priests and congregations of such Churches under their ecclesiastical protection, assuming responsibility for discipline of Priests and congregations, and performing such episcopal acts as from time to time shall be requested by the Holy Synod of the Roumanian Orthodox Church."

Of course such an act on the part of the Roumanian committee passing this resolution could have no canonical or binding force, but it did necessarily create great confusion and separate many from the unity of the Orthodox Communion. It well illustrates the danger and the disastrous results of Orthodox clergy and faithful committing themselves carelessly to the intermeddling guidance of the representatives of non-Orthodox bodies.

(5) The height of audacity, and at the same time the climax of high comedy in ecclesiastical adventuring, which reads like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, is found in what the High Church organ of the Protestant Episcopal Church hailed widely and triumphantly as "A New Anglo- Eastern Entente." It has been noted already that Bishop Gorazd Pavlik committed himself and his Czecho-Slovak followers to the Protestant Episcopal Church, and that he participated in the uncanonical consecration of Adam Phillipovsky as Bishop for dissatisfied Carpatho-Russian parishes belonging canonically to the Russian Archdiocese in America. After these things, Bishop Gorazd returned to Europe with the air and reputation of wealth, whereas he was poor before. After Bishop Gorazd arrived in Europe he sent the Reverend Charles Mrzena to America as Administrator for the Czecho-Slovak Church in this country. On arriving here, Father Mrzena started the work of building up parishes and an organization. He was not concerned with the Protestant Episcopal Church, and did not propose to place himself under the authority of Protestants on the grounds of the concordat of which he knew nothing but which the Division of Foreign-Born of the Protestant Episcopal Church insisted he should accept. When Father Mrzena persistently refused to accept either the financial subsidy or the authority of the Protestant Episcopalians, and would not present his young people to the Protestant Bishop for Confirmation and entry to the Protestant communion, agents of the Protestant Episcopal Church sought to alienate the support of his laity from him. Finally, Mr. Burgess, Secretary of the Foreign-Born Americans Division, wrote to the Immigration Authorities at Ellis Island and sought to have Father Mrzena deported on utterly false and irrelevant statements. It was after this that Father Mrzena turned to the assistance offered by the Methodists as noted above. This left some few parishes of Czecho-Slovaks with no administrator, and these entered into the "New Anglo- Eastern Entente." Along with them entered also the Carpatho-Russian parishes of Adam Phillipovsky, who, losing his legal fight for control of the Russian Church, retired to Canada for a brief stay after spending a month in jail for contempt of court. But Adam Phillipovsky gave his approval for these parishes to follow in the steps of his consecrator, Bishop Gorazd, and come under the control and guidance of Protestant Episcopal agents.

The central character in the "New Anglo-Eastern Entente" is a certain Hungarian named John W. Trk. Born and reared a Jew, Trk became a Roman Catholic in 1906 and was ordained Priest in the Roman obedience in 1914. During the war he became notorious as a political agitator, and in 1920 came to America for political reasons. After some difficulties with the Apostolic Delegate at Washington, Father Trk left the Roman Church and was received into the Protestant Episcopal communion. He was employed as a special assistant to Mr. Burgess, Secretary of the Foreign-Born Americans Division of the Department of Missions. After a short period of teaching in a Protestant Episcopal college, he appeared to become a parish rector of a very small Protestant Episcopal congregation in Wisconsin. Two years later, in 1924, Trk was called from his obscure parish by his "election" as Bishop, simultaneously, by the Czecho-Slovaks under the Protestant Episcopal Foreign-Born Americans Division, and by the Carpatho-Russian parishes under Adam Phillipovsky whom the Czecho-Slovak Bishop Gorazd had consecrated. The supposed "conventions" of these two groups were held in Pittsburgh, and represented only the few parishes in that vicinity under the influence of Protestant Episcopal propaganda. It is a significant fact that both these "electing bodies," though willing that their new Bishop-elect should remain in Protestant Episcopal communion, were convinced that Protestant Episcopal Orders were insufficient or inadequate for the ministry they wished Trk to undertake. Neither proposed that he be consecrated by Protestant Episcopal Bishops, but both insisted that he receive Orthodox Catholic Consecration, and courteously invited his own Protestant diocesan Bishop to accompany Trk to Serbia to participate in this consecration.

Trk was consecrated Bishop, not in Serbia but in Vienna, in October, 1924. He maintained that he was not leaving the Protestant Episcopal Church nor abandoning its dogmatic position in receiving this consecration. The Protestant diocesan, Bishop Weller of Fond du Lac (whom generally current and undenied report credits with having been secretly reconsecrated by an Old Catholic Bishop after his consecration by Protestant Episcopal Bishops), did not go to Europe for the ceremony, thinking it wiser that the consecration should be by Orthodox only. The order for the consecration was not given by any Orthodox Synod or Patriarch but by the Serbian Bishop Dositej of Nish, whose action was without the knowledge or authorization of the Patriarch of Serbia, and was immediately repudiated and disclaimed by that Authority on its being questioned by the Russian Archdiocese. The consecrators were Bishop Gorazd Pavlik, already committed to the Protestant communion, and Bishop Dositej, who had been one of the participating Bishops at the consecration of Gorazd. This most anomalously consecrated and constituted Bishop then returned to America where the facts concerning him were already current. The people who supposedly had elected him for their Bishop refused to accept him on learning who and what he was. No Orthodox people or Clergy would recognize him. The "New Anglo-Eastern Entente" collapsed. "Bishop" Trk retired to Florida to sell real estate. The parishes he was to have been Bishop over are scattered and broken up into purely congregational independent units without any Bishop, and are cut off from all Orthodox jurisdiction.

Such are the results of the illicit and uncanonical intermeddlings between Orthodox Catholics and Protestants. These are only a few of the outstanding instances of loss and disgraceful trouble to the Church, and danger to the souls of the faithful of Orthodoxy, that occur constantly in consequence of Orthodox Prelates and Clergy unlawfully permitting the alien hands of Protestants to interfere in Orthodox Catholic affairs. The letters and documents on these and other cases are full of instructive warning of the increasing gravity of the danger to American Orthodoxy in such relations. Surely it is not necessary that Orthodox groups in America should go outside their own Catholic Faith and Church to seek help from Protestant bodies and alliance with them. A united American Orthodoxy would have sufficient numbers and strength to care adequately for all the needs of every Orthodox group in this country. Is it not the plain duty of our people and Prelates to unite into one Orthodox Catholic Church and Synod for all Orthodoxy in America? Most of our people will agree that it is. It only remains for our Prelates to act.

The consideration of a united Orthodox Catholic Church in America under its own Synod representing and governing all the Orthodox groups in this country at once raises the question of what the relations of Orthodoxy in America would then be to Orthodoxy abroad. The solution of this problem must be such as to promote the general good of Orthodoxy, especially in America. At the same time, it must not be such as would directly contravene the Sacred Canons and Traditional Practice of Holy Church in Her administration and discipline. Further, it must be practically workable and applicable in the face of the present situation in Orthodoxy both in America and abroad. In order to elucidate such a plan, we must consider Orthodox conditions abroad in their relation to America, and the Practice and Canons of the Church in the light of present necessities and circumstances.

Orthodoxy in America, unlike that in any previously existing Orthodox Province, is made up of people of all languages and from all political, racial, and ecclesiastical allegiances within the Church. It is not a homogeneous body of people of one language, race, or nation. Only two things are common to all Orthodox in America - the fact of their Orthodox Faith, and their residence in this country. In other particulars their interests, thought, feelings and prejudices are diverse and, too often, mutually antagonistic. It is not practical for all of them to be under the discipline and authority of Bishops of any one foreign Orthodox national Church. Aside from the difficulty of a multiplicity of languages and dialects, the racial and national prejudices and antagonisms are too strongly felt to make such an existence harmonious. Furthermore, no foreign national Church is in a position to undertake effective administration of the Church in America. In every National Church abroad Orthodoxy is either divided and crippled in its administration, or is just emerging from the pre-war conditions and beginning to face new problems that will take all Her energy and attention for years to come. Nor could the peculiar situations incident to American conditions be dealt with intelligently by absentee government. These facts seem to preclude the possibility of American Orthodoxy coming under any one foreign national jurisdiction. Yet the existence of numerous overlapping and interpenetrating jurisdictions in the same territory is canonically impossible and illegal.

What then is the canonically lawful and proper jurisdiction of Orthodoxy in America? To this there are three different answers, each supported by a respectable weight of Orthodox opinion and authority. It is quite unlikely that all Orthodoxy in America or abroad will ever agree on any one of them. They arise out of the fact that the history and situation of America is without precedent, and had no parallel in the period when the Apostolic and Conciliar determinations for the guidance of the Church were developed. The first is that of the Russians, who claim exclusive American jurisdiction by virtue of evangelization and hierarchical establishment maintained in this territory for three times the canonical thirty years without dispute or rival. This, by the authority or application of the second canon of the Second Ecumenical Council, and the seventeenth canon of the Fourth, and the hundred twentieth canon of Carthage, should give exclusive and permanent American jurisdiction to Russia. To my own mind, it is the strongest claim canonically and historically. The second claim to canonical jurisdiction over America for all the Orthodox is that of the Greeks of the Phanar, and of those who support the claims of Constantinople. This asserts that America falls within the diaspora - the scattered and barbarian territory not assigned to any of the ecclesiastical divisions of the Empire of Conciliar days, but ascribed to the general care and protection of Constantinople as Ecumenical Patriarchate. It would seem that the actual holding of American jurisdiction by Russia in accordance with the canons cited would dispose of this claim - that America thereby ceased to be of the diaspora when for thirty years Constantinople made no claim. But it is not likely that many Greeks nor the Phanar canonists will take this view. The matter remains deadlocked between Russians and Greeks. The third view of the question is designed to brush aside both the others in favor of the theory that no precedent or Conciliar Prescription applies to the facts of the American situation. America was not then in the knowledge of the Church and Her Councils. America is not diaspora in the sense of the Canons and practice of the Church. America is not borderland territory between or on the edge of rival or adjacent jurisdictions. America is not primarily or to any great extent a territory evangelized or converted by Orthodoxy; it is chiefly a land into which Orthodox groups from all the existing Patriarchates and National Churches have moved and where they have established communities in the midst of an unchanged pagan or heretical environment. No such land as this was thought of or provided for in the formulation of the Canons and Practice of the Church. There is, therefore, no basis on which any National Church can claim exclusive jurisdiction and each Church is free to establish its own American jurisdiction. This last seems to offer a solution, but the fact remains that overlapping or interpenetrating jurisdictions where two or more Bishops administer the same territory are not permissible under the Canons. Canonically, then, there is no answer to the problem at once strictly correct and also practically applicable to the situation unless American Orthodoxy be independently organized and dispose Her own affairs by Her own Synod's application of Canonical practice to each separate problem.

Would such an American Synod for all Orthodoxy in this country meet the needs of future growth and development of the Church in America and benefit Orthodoxy at large? More than half the Orthodox in America today [viz., 1927, Ed.] are the American reared and educated children of the Orthodox immigrants. These young people and their children are to be the Orthodox of America tomorrow. They know little and care less about the racial and national prejudices and jurisdictional quarrels of Europe. Those things are very foreign and strange to their American training and interests. A Church that bases its claim to their membership and allegiance on the language, nationality, or racial prejudices of their grandfathers will mean nothing to them. They rightly demand a Church that is concerned primarily with their own conditions and problems in America rather than with the politics of the Balkans, Greece, Russia, or Syria. That an American Church should include all those nationalities on the common basis of their Orthodoxy and American residence is natural and fitting. That it should then look to some foreign national church for the government and jurisdiction over them all as Americans is absurd, unnecessary, and most embarrassingly inconvenient. The formation of an American Synod of Orthodoxy would meet the natural and proper expectation and demand of the American children who are to be the Church of the future.

But an American Synod of United Orthodoxy in this country would do much more than merely meet the naturally expected course of development of the Church in America. Given the support of any considerable portion of the various groups, it would be able to maintain a position of authority and dignity that would secure more adequate discipline and order in American Orthodoxy. It would be able to found and support Orthodox schools and theological seminaries for the training of American Orthodox youth in their own Faith and for the Priesthood of their own Church. Such seminaries and schools could prepare clergy and teachers to meet the American need for trained men in the Church who can use any one of the several Orthodox liturgical languages as well as English. Ultimately the union and development of American Orthodoxy would enable us to send teachers and help back to the despoiled and impoverished homelands of the Church in Europe and the Near East.

The prime necessity for Orthodoxy in America and at large today is to bury the causes of Her divisions and set forth anew on a road of peaceful and united progress for the good of Holy Church and the Kingdom of Christ. Orthodox Catholic Bishops and leaders should come together in the spirit of the love and the humility of their Master, and sacrifice themselves and their personal or nationalistic ambitions to the cause of their Church and their God. No more should they seek to secure the support of those outside the One Fold of the Catholic Church and Faith, but, having full confidence and faith in their own Church and Divine Calling, they should join themselves together for the common interests of Orthodoxy and do the work that has been committed to their trust in America and elsewhere. The very survival and future existence of Orthodoxy depends on the rapid and firm organization and development of the Orthodox Catholic Church as one unified body in America. The safety and salvation of thousands of the faithful committed to our trust rests with our defense of the Church and Faith in this country and abroad from the errors and disasters of internal division and external interference and false alliance. Let the Orthodox of America unite for their common Faith and Church at all costs and begin to do the work that lies before them in this land. In spite of all obstacles the Power and Grace of God in our Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church can prevail.

+AFTIMIOS, Archbishop of Brooklyn.


Proposed Resolution Regarding Relations Between The Orthodox Catholic Church and The Anglican Communion and Other Protestant Bodies Prepared for Presentation to the cumenical Council of Orthodoxy which was Expected to Have Convened on Mount Athos. Issued in Greek and English, June 1926. By His Eminence, The Most Reverend Aftimios, Archbishop of Brooklyn, Head of the Syrian Greek Orthodox Catholic Mission in North America, First Vicar and, at that time, Acting Head of the Russian Orthodox Catholic Jurisdiction in North America. The Orthodox Catholic Review, Vol. I, No. VI, June 1927. 1927, The Orthodox Catholic Review (copyright expired).

The following Resolution, now published in English for the first time, was prepared a year ago when it was expected that a Pan-Orthodox Synod or cumenical Council of Orthodoxy would be assembled on Mount Athos by the Patriarch of Constantinople. It was expected that such a gathering would consider the question of Anglican Union with the Orthodox Catholic Church. As he was then (in the absence of the Most Reverend Metropolitan Platon) the Acting Head of the Russian Church in North America, His Eminence, Archbishop Aftimios prepared this Resolution in Greek and English for presentation to the expected Council as a Proposed Resolution on behalf of the Church in North America. Since the Council never met, the Resolution has never been given to the general public, though it has received private circulation. In view of the Meeting of the World Conference on Faith and Order at Lausanne in August of this year, this careful statement of what the Orthodox Catholic Church must require as a basis for the consideration of Union will be of timely interest and value to all those who have the sacred cause of Christian Unity at heart. It is almost certain that the Orthodox members present at that Conference will find it necessary to issue a statement insisting on the substance of this Resolution as the basis of Orthodox Catholic acceptance of any Unity proposals.--EDITOR

Regarding Relations Between The Orthodox Catholic Church and The Anglican Communion

WHEREAS: It is and ever has been the earnest desire and fervent prayer of all Orthodox- Catholic Churches and faithful that the prayer of Our Lord and Divine Head, Jesus Christ, "that they may be one" should be realized in the union and unity on the sure and proper foundation in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of those who call on His Name but are now sadly divided and separated; and

WHEREAS: We of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in recent years have witnessed with great interest and satisfaction the growth and expression of this conscious desire for unity on the part of the various separated churches of the West; and

WHEREAS: Through their appointing and sending to us of various commissions and representatives seeking Orthodox opinions and pronouncements as to the possibility, prerequisites and ways and means of attaining organic unity and sacramental intercommunion, the churches of the Anglican Communion, i.e., the Church of England, by law established, and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A., have been foremost in expressing this desire for unity in the One Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church; and

WHEREAS: These churches of the Anglican Communion by aid and friendship to Orthodox Churches and Prelates in time of need and distress have given practical demonstration of the sincere Christian love and brotherhood essential to the unity desired; and

WHEREAS: Although in response to the urgent inquiries and requests of representatives and groups of members of churches of the Anglican Communion, various theologians, committees and prelates in the Orthodox Church have conducted certain inquiries and studies, and have expressed opinions as to certain points pertinent to the subject of unity, as regards the Anglican Communion, they have failed, nevertheless, to find any definite, authoritative, and unambiguous or uncontroverted exposition of the dogmatic teaching of the essential faith of the churches of that communion; and

WHEREAS: Although various individuals and groups of the Anglicans have expressed their own beliefs or opinions (sometimes contradictory, and opposed to each other) as to the proper interpretation of the peculiarly ambiguous and indefinite official standards of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, neither the Anglican Communion as a whole nor any of its constituent churches, as such, have at any time submitted for Orthodox consideration or study any statement that could be considered as a basis for determining the extent of dogmatic agreement or identity of essential teaching as between the Orthodox and the Anglican Communions, notwithstanding the fact that on many occasions various Orthodox theologians and Hierarchs have urgently requested such a definitive and clarifying exposition; and

WHEREAS: A certain minimum of dogmatic agreement and an identity of teaching and belief in essential matters of the Faith, together with the removal of variations or diversities radically inconsistent with this necessary dogmatic agreement and identity of teaching, is the most necessary and obvious prerequisite for any consideration of organic union and sacramental intercommunion between churches separated and divided by such great differences of origin, system, custom, rites and formal standards of doctrine as unfortunately but obviously exist between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches; and

WHEREAS: Just as we of the Orthodox Catholic Church recognize that the expression of personal opinion by individual theologians or Prelates or the pronouncements of synods or authorities of local churches possess no value or authority, and form no basis for any regular or legal sacramental relations, even by economy, but only give rise to misunderstanding, to disorder, and to uncanonical action; even so we are aware that the expressions of belief, or interpretation, on the part of parties, groups, prelates or even official commissions and representatives of churches in the Anglican Communion have no binding force or official weight, and cannot serve as the basis for any consideration of the possibility of organic union and intercommunion on the ground of dogmatic agreement and identity of teaching in essentials of the faith; and

WHEREAS: Just as the sole authority in Orthodoxy capable of properly and authoritatively dealing with this matter is a council representative of every Orthodox Church and Diocese, determined upon by the Synods and Patriarchs of the five great Patriarchates, viz., Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Russia -- the decisions of which council of the Orthodox Church, to gain indisputable authority, must then be ratified by the several autokephalous Orthodox Churches, and be found acceptable to, and in consonance with, the life, experience and spirit of the Church at large; even so we realize that the sole source of any authoritative and binding definition of the faith and required dogmatic teaching of the Anglican Communion lies in precisely the same course of action as would be required to modify or change the canon law, constitution, Book of Common Prayer, or other standards of the churches of the Anglican Communion; and

WHEREAS: We of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic Churches desire so ardently to further the work of bringing about unity in the Church of Christ on the one and only sure and correct foundation that we would not have it possible to say that any action or pronouncement of our Holy Church in that regard had been taken on false or insufficient premises, or in ignorance or uncertainty; and

WHEREAS: We most happily are persuaded that the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church equally with us desire that union be established on the only sure and proper basis of dogmatic agreement and identity of teaching in the essential matters of the Holy Catholic Faith; and

WHEREAS: Since it is not possible that the essential meaning of the dogmatic standards and essential teaching established in Orthodoxy should be changed, it is therefore necessary as a preliminary to the establishment by economia of union and intercommunion with them that the Churches of the Anglican Communion officially pronounce, declare, and most indubitably establish, on certain essential matters, dogmatic agreement and identity of required teaching with the norm of the Orthodox Catholic Church;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That we of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, fully convinced that we are guided and governed by the Holy Spirit Who directs His Church into the way of all truth and of unity with Himself, most prayerfully and hopefully request and urge that the Churches of the Anglican Communion adopt and present to the Churches of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic Communion an official, authoritative, and absolutely binding statement of the dogmatic position and required teaching of Anglican Churches. Obviously such a statement must proceed from the same sources and in the same manner as have been required to render effective, binding, and authoritative, the official formularies and standards of the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

That is to say: That for the Church of England this dogmatic statement and definition of its faith must proceed jointly from the Convocations of York and Canterbury and be ratified, authorized, and promulgated by the Parliament of England, and proclaimed by His Majesty the royal Sovereign of England who by law is the Supreme Head of the Church of England. In no other or less official way could any statement such as is necessary be capable of being considered official or authoritative in any sense for the Church of England, in as much as the Royal Supremacy originally enacted in the reign of Henry VIII is the sole source of ecclesiastical authority and jurisdiction; and pronouncements of such bodies as the Lambeth Conference are merely advisory in character, possessing no authority unless embodied in Acts of the King and Parliament, just as the proposal to revise the English Prayer Book must be acted upon by Parliament and receive Royal Sanction from the Sovereign before possessing authority.

For the Protestant Episcopal Church in America the sole authoritative and binding source and authority for such a statement would be of necessity the triennial General Conventions of the Church consisting of the House of Bishops with the House of clerical and lay deputies. We are under the impression that final and binding action upon such a statement as is necessary would require not less than six years from the First General Convention at which such an insertion into the organic law of the church is proposed. That is to say that the authoritative statement and definition of required dogmatic teaching must be presented for consideration at one General Convention and accepted as proper business by the requisite majority both of the House of Bishops and of the clerical and lay deputies; must then be adopted by the requisite majority of both the House of Bishops and the clerical and lay deputies in the next succeeding General Convention three years later; and finally, that this adoption must be ratified by the requisite majority of both the House of Bishops and the clerical and lay deputies in the next General Convention, i.e., in the second after the one in which the matter was first proposed for consideration. We understand that any change or modification after the first proposal delays final binding action on such matters by the full three triennial General Conventions and that the attempts to revise the Book of Common Prayer so as to eliminate some of the all too obvious Protestantism and authorize a more Catholic form of service have been in progress upwards of thirty years and are still not finally ratified.

Nevertheless, it seems to us well that in a matter of such moment there should be safeguards against hasty action; and we are well aware that the interests of Holy Church require that only the final, incontrovertibly official, authoritative, and binding action or pronouncement of the Anglican Churches can be accepted as the basis for a consideration of the establishment of so sacredly important an act as organic union and sacramental intercommunion in the Body of Christ.

The particular matters on which, as yet, there has been no certainty as to the position of the Anglican Churches, and on which the formularies and Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England and Protestant Episcopal Church are either vague, indefinite and ambiguous, or seem actually to assert a position and teaching contrary to that of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith of the undivided Church, East and West, include points vital and fundamental to the faith.

We need to be assured as to the officially binding interpretation of the ambiguities and uncertainties in these formularies and in the Thirty-nine Articles.

For even though the Thirty-nine Articles were to be repudiated as a dogmatic standard for Anglican Churches, there still must be set forth by authority a binding definition of the faith and required teaching of the Anglican Churches.

In order to establish a minimum of dogmatic agreement and identity of required teaching, we consider that such a statement as is necessary must include at least the following matters:

A. Declarations that it is the indisputable faith and most strictly required belief and teaching of all churches, clergy and faithful of the Anglican Communion:

1. Concerning the Church: That the Church of Christ is One Holy Catholic and Apostolic institution; a divinely created and governed living Organism existing visibly and invisibly in this world and through all ages. Of which the Head is Our Lord Christ Himself and the Guide is the Holy Spirit infallibly directing into all truth and preserving from all error; in sacramental union with which alone is there assurance of salvation and life, and separation from which is separation from the Visible Body of Christ.

2. Concerning Faith and Doctrine: That the Faith and Doctrine of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church are infallibly true, and are derived from or witnessed by the Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition as sources and witnesses of equal authority and weight, and are formulated, accepted, and determined by the infallibly inspired, directed, and governed life and consciousness of the Church.

3. Concerning cumenical Councils: That General Church Councils, properly and lawfully called and convened, representing the whole Church, are canonical and rightful organs of the mind and voice of the Church; that the dogmatic decisions and definitions of such councils, when found by experience in the life and consciousness of the Church, to be conformable to and consonant with Her Spirit, and partake of Her truth in the Holy Spirit, become, by virtue of their acceptance and subsequent ratification, binding and obligatory on every member of the Church and truly cumenical in their character, force and authority; that the generally accepted decisions and definitions of the Seven cumenical Councils, recognized as such by the Orthodox Catholic Church, are of this binding and obligatory, infallible, and cumenical nature, truth, and authority.

4. Concerning the Creed: That the Symbol of the Faith of the Three Hundred Eighteen Holy Fathers of Nica, as ratified by the Council of Constantinople, must be accepted without any ambiguity, evasions, or evasive interpretation, by every member of the Christian Church; that by the use of the irregularly interpolated Filioque clause in this Symbol of the Faith, no deviation from the true Orthodox doctrine as to the procession of the Holy Spirit is taught or intended, but that the sole meaning taught or intended to be taught is the safeguarding of the equality and unity of the Persons (Hypostases) of the Holy Trinity in the Godhead.

5. Concerning Spiritual Authority and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction: That in no manner or sense is it possible to derive, directly or indirectly, spiritual authority or jurisdiction from civil governors or Royal Sovereigns, nor is it possible that the spiritual Headship of the Visible Church, or any part of it, should reside in, or be exercised, directly or indirectly, by any royal prince or sovereign, as such, but must inhere solely in, and be exercised only by, the ecclesiastically lawful and canonical Patriarch, Bishop, or other proper spiritual authority; that to admit or submit to any such lay, civil, or Royal usurpation of authority, in ecclesiastical or dogmatic matters, is to fall away from the unity and authority of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; and that no evil assembly or parliament is able to define or establish formularies or standards of doctrine without the free action of the ecclesiastical assemblies of Bishops and clergy; and that to submit in matters of faith or doctrine to such lay civil coercion, direct or indirect, is to be separated from the faith and unity of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

6. Concerning Sacraments in general: That regular, canonical and valid Sacraments of the Church, as means of Grace, are necessary, and are divinely instituted for the salvation of Christians; that such Sacraments are only certain within the Authority of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; that these consist in the effectual operation of the Holy Spirit, through the ministration of a validly and canonically ordained Priest or Bishop in and with the divinely instituted form, matter and ritual of the Church.

7. Concerning the Number of Sacraments: That the number of Sacraments is seven, no more and no less. These are: (1) Baptism; (2) Chrismation, i.e., Confirmation or sealing of Baptismal Vows by signing with Holy Chrism; (3) Eucharist; (4) Penance; (5) Holy Orders, i.e., Priesthood; (6) Marriage; and (7) Unction.

8. Concerning Baptism and Chrism: That in Baptism in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, there is forgiveness of all sin, both original and personal, and also an infusion of renewing and revivifying divine Grace and Energy, moving the recipient to faith and all good works; that the indispensable and necessary compliment of Baptism is its confirming and sealing, by anointing with Holy Chrism for the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

9. Concerning Eucharist: That in the Eucharist the Bread and Wine, when consecrated by the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the Priest, are changed, transmuted, or transubstantiated into the true and real Body and Blood of Christ, Crucified and sacrificed, and are effectual for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, of both the living and the dead. That the terms Body and Blood of Christ are not taken or used in any metaphorical or figurative or typical sense, but actually and literally; that the sacrifice in the Eucharist is truly and really a sacramental sacrifice of Christ Himself on behalf of all men, and not a mere service of "memorial," or of "praise and thanksgiving" only, nor yet a "sacrifice of ourselves" (as described in the communion office of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer); that the Body and Blood of Christ is really and actually present after the Bread and Wine have been changed by the Holy Spirit in consecration and is not dependent on reception by communicants either in manner of reception or in character or nature of communicant; that the communicant receives the Body and Blood of Christ really, actually, and truly, and not merely spiritually, and is thereby united anew to Christ unto sanctification and eternal life; that the true sacrifice of Christ in the Eucharist is effectual for the souls of the departed as well as for those present.

10. Concerning Penance: That Penance is necessary to the spiritual strength and life of a Christian, and to the proper reception of the Holy Eucharist. That the Sacrament of Penance must consist of three parts, none of which may be omitted: i.e., first, the personal, oral confession of the individual penitent to the Priest; second, the laying on of hands with Priestly counsel; and third, the prayer and absolution of sins.

11. Concerning Holy Orders: That in the Sacrament of Priesthood alone lies the authority for ministering all other sacraments. Hence, that the office of Priest is primarily mediatory and sacrificial in character, and not merely one of teaching or preaching the Word.

B. Declarations as to discipline and relations with other religious bodies must also form a part of the statement necessary for the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church if She is to pass finally upon the matter of organic union and intercommunion with churches of the Anglican Communion. In this regard, we consider two statements essential; and these should be part of the statement concerning dogmatic teaching, and should be adopted in the same manner by the same authority.

1. Concerning discipline: That teaching and holding of the faith according to the dogmatic definitions detailed above, is absolutely obligatory upon all Anglican ministers and faithful; and, that the teaching or holding of anything contrary thereto or inconsistent therewith, or the failure to teach or hold faithfully and literally without evasion or evasive interpretations, shall necessitate the excommunication of the offending parties.

2. Concerning relations with other Religious Bodies: That in efforts toward Christian Unity, the Churches of the Anglican Communion will require, as a basis for consideration of union or intercommunion, the same pledge as to the holding and teaching of the faith, and as to discipline, that the Churches of the Anglican Communion give to the Churches of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Communion.

Presented on behalf of The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America. By +AFTIMIOS, Archbishop of Brooklyn and Head of the Syrian Greek Orthodox Catholic Mission in North America, and First Vicar and Acting Head of the Russian Archdiocese of the Aleutian Islands and North America (North America and Canada), June 10, 1926.