Friday, March 4, 2011

New Milan Synod Metropolitan

The Milan Synod has elevated one of its North American hierarchs to the rank of metropolitan and will be consecrating two auxiliary bishops to assist him in his pastoral duties despite the rather small size of the Synod's North American flock. More on that here.

The Milan Synod also recently posted a rather confused and confusing statement on one of its news websites saying that it is "not in fraternal relation with any Russian churches ('in the catacombs'), only the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Rus'." How this can be when the Russian Orthodox Church does not have any communion with the Milan Synod is unclear.

Update: According to Milan Synod sources the new metropolitan will head a self-governing/autonomous church with jurisdiction over the British Isles and the Americas. Archimandrite Fanourios (Michael) has already been consecrated auxiliary Bishop of Lincoln. Archimandrite Michael (Acosta) will be consecrated at a later date. More on that here. The newly autonomous church under the Milan Synod in North America lists 31 parishes, missions, and monastic communities on its website.



    The elevation of Metropolitan John also coincides with the autonomy of the Anglo-American Church. They came from Milan, are in communion with Milan but are not themselves Milan any longer. They are an autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas & the British Isles.

    The statement on the European blogs of the Milan Synod have a European context. Often they forget that their websites are read by those outside Europe.

  2. Thanks for the update comment and the update! Does a church with 31 communities really need three hierarchs and autonomy? It seems premature to those outside the Milan Synod :-/.

  3. 1. Consider the geography of the new Metropolia and its growth potential. One Bishop to pastor all of the Western Hemisphere and the British Isles alone?

    2. Anyone who has followed the Milan Synod in Europe knows that they are often misunderstood which draws controversy. The new Metropolia is free of the doings of Italy and is responsible for herself before God alone. Besides, if you read our article carefully you would know that we were once an smaller (EP-granted) autocephalous Church 30 some years ago. Let's see where our new synod takes us this time.

  4. Dear Jon Marc,

    In fact there are a few more than 31, since a couple of our groups are unlisted.

    Dear Fr Symeon,

    The uncanonical granting of autocephaly by and to a single Bishop (the EP to Abp Palladios) that occurred is a far cry from the grant of the autonomy given to us by the Holy Synod. Although Metropolitan Evloghios signed, it was confirmed by all the Bishops.

    I will only add that Milan's statement about the POM was written after the granting of our autonomy. We are simply not bound to it.

    Further, we are not an "Anglo-American" Church in the sense of previous years. With the inclusion of South America it is clear that our focus has grown considerably.

  5. Hey Fr. Joseph! Thanks for the comment! How large is the new metropolitan's flock then?

    Is POM Patriarchate of Moscow? (I've usually seen it MP - just want to be sure I'm on the same page.) Autonomous Local Orthodox Churches are bound to their mothers, so while I think the above somewhat random (and perhaps a misunderstanding due to a translation issue?), were Milan to enter communion with Moscow that decision would be binding on its daughter churches (unless they went into schism from Milan of course).

  6. Hello,

    In fact, we have a number of parishes that are not listed for either geographic reasons or requests, so the number of our actual parishes and missions is closer to 50.

    You are correct. MP is typical, and I wasn't thinking clearly (I was more focused on correcting the errors presented). The Tomos requires us to recognize Milan's historical primacy, but not more. We would accept no union with Moscow, as that would create a schism in our own Church.

    We are in the process of making that clear; of course this could all be about nothing, if in fact there are no negotiations between Milan and Moscow. If there were, we would be under no obligation -- canonical or moral-- to join them.

  7. Thanks for the numbers! How interesting the difference in the meaning of autonomy between mainstream Orthodoxy and your synod(s) - is this recognized as an innovation or is it viewed as necessary given the conditions of the age?

    It would be lovely to see a Local Orthodox Church embracing all of Western and Central Europe emerge (whether centered around Milan or not), but I fear that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has become too attached to its 'prerogatives' and 'honors' in world Orthodoxy to allow that :-/.

  8. I do not understand what you mean by "autonomy being an innovation". Autonomy always existed in some form; it is in the canons of the Church. I would say that the distinction between autonomy and autocephaly comes close to artificial, but it is also now blessed by long-standing custom. So I don't really understand what you mean.

  9. Granting autonomy to such a small church with a sole ruling hierarch is rather odd in the grand scheme of things, though there have certainly been exceptions (the Sinai is the only church to come to mind right now), but granting autonomy to a church and then saying that it is your equal, not your daughter, is more the innovation I was speaking of. If your new Metropolia of the Americas is completely self-governing and equal to Western Europe, then isn't it autocephalous? If this is the case, then why isn't it just said to be autocephalous? And how can an autocephalous church only have a single ruling hierarch? Auxiliary bishops are not ruling bishops, so there can be no local synod, much less a full holy synod - you cannot elect and consecrate your own ruling hierarch when Metropolitan John dies. This is more what I was wondering about in the wake of the recent news.

  10. The situation of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America leads me to wonder about this vis-a-vis your own jurisdiction. It was granted autonomy, with constituent dioceses and diocesan bishops joining its archdiocesan metropolitan to form a Local Synod with jurisdiction over their "self-governing" (aka autonomous) church only to latter have their bishops demoted to the rank of auxiliaries, making their Local Synod nothing more than a consultative meeting of the metropolitan with his helpers, not of the metropolitan with his brother bishops.

  11. Oh, ok. Now I understand. Well, in fact there are two ruling hierarchs-- Metropolitan John and Archbishop Hilarion-- though that is not really an ideal situation (when one can envision a majority of vicars, I don't think that's the wisest course of action from a historical standpoint). However, my personal hope is that this is not a permanent development, but that the establishment of a number of dioceses will take place fairly rapidly.

    As to the second question, you are quite right: why not just call us "autocephalous"? The simple truth is that Milan itself is not currently "autocephalous" in rank (this could be practically corrected on paper by electing the current Metropolitan as Patriarch of Aquileia, which by all opinions I heard would be taken badly by other True Orthodox Churches but I think is the best course of action) but behaves in such a manner anyway-- it elects its own Bishops and each diocese consecrates its own chrism (which is a long-standing Western custom).

    So the short answer is: I am assuming this is a temporary state of affairs. As it stands, leaving this as the status quo would be utterly disastrous.

  12. It would be nice to see unity amongst the True Orthodox - it would certainly make your methods of defending the Tradition more palatable to faithful who remain in the Local Orthodox Churches.