Readers may be interested to take a look at an informal “debate” which took place on the OCANews.org website in April and May of 2009 between SOCHA member Fr. Oliver Herbel and George C. Michalopulos on the subject of the unity of Orthodox administration in America prior to the establishment of the Greek Archdiocese. Here are the posts, in chronological order:
- Jurisdictional Disunity and the Russian Mission, by Fr. Oliver (April 22)
- A Response to Fr. Oliver Herbel, by Michalopulos (April 27)
- A Response to Some Objections, by Fr. Oliver (May 1)
- A Letter to Fr. Oliver, by Michalopulos (May 28)
Fr. Oliver Herbel is a priest of the OCA currently on loan and serving at an Antiochian parish in Fargo, ND. He holds a Ph.D. from Saint Louis University in Historical Theology, and his doctoral dissertation covers patterns of conversion in American Orthodox history. George C. Michalopulos is a layman in the OCA and the co-author of the book The American Orthodox Church: A History of its Beginnings (see an interesting review of this book here).
The above discussion is particularly of note for those interested in history and historiography in that two different historical approaches are being taken by the interlocutors: one which is dedicated to examining primary sources and trying to tell the story from them, and the other, which is more concerned with an ecclesio-political agenda of how and on what basis administrative unity may be achieved. These approaches are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but used as starting points, they clearly yield different results.