Posts tagged media
The video takes a few minutes to get going, but here is a roughly 80-minute history of the Russian council of 1917-18, bracketed by history of the Russian Metropolia, entitled True Faith and the Ground of Liberty (subtitled St. Tikhon and the 1917-1918 Council: Architect and Blueprint for the Orthodox Church in America), delivered by OCA chancellor Fr. Alexander Garklavs. It was delivered on June 18 at the recent conference held at St. Vladimir’s Seminary (the same conference which featured our own Matthew Namee).
The first fifteen minutes or so are the conference’s opening talk by seminary dean Fr. John Behr and the introduction of Garklavs by seminary chancellor Fr. Chad Hatfield.
Toward the beginning, Garklavs does include some sidelong remarks indicating he agrees with the conventional depiction of a mono-jurisdictional Orthodox administration prior to 1921, but his narrative largely avoids this question. He does comment at one point when mentioning the Greeks under the Russians that there were also Greeks outside the Russian jurisdiction.
Regarding America, he mainly focuses on the life of St. Tikhon and his work in America, as well as the effect of the Russian council of 1917-1918 on the Russian Metropolia and, subsequently, the OCA (and Tikhon’s effect on it, based on his experience in America). The bulk of the talk is on the council itself, based on reading primary sources coming out of the council. The last fifteen minutes come back to America and cover mainly administrative history.
There’s nothing too controversial here, as the parts of this speech concerned with America revisit well-worn ground regarding one of the great heroes of Orthodox history in America. One controversial comment is his suggestion that Tikhon’s model for administration—independent bishops whose jurisdiction is based on ethnicity rather than geography, but sitting together in synod—might represent a best hope for Orthodox unity in America.
It is probably not terribly controversial when Garklavs hails the 1917-18 Russian council as a proper “blueprint” for the OCA. What is more debatable, of course, is whether the blueprint was followed in the construction. Despite this conventional take on the council, I do recall one of my seminary professors (a cleric of the Moscow Patriarchate), who seemed to believe that the council was largely a failure and that the Bolshevik Revolution was God’s final judgment on such a colossal apostasy. That, I think, is somewhat of a minority view, at least here in America. I’d be interested to read what modern Russian Orthodox have to say about the council. To be sure, its effects are not felt there hardly at all (probably at least partly because of the later association of anything “progressive” with the Soviet-sponsored “Living Church” movement). I imagine American Orthodox talk about it quite a lot more.
Hat tip to Byzantine, TX.
The video of my own talk, “The Myth of Past Unity,” can be found here:
For audio only, click here.
At the “Orthodoxy in America: Past, Present and Future” conference at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York, SOCHA member Matthew Namee presented his paper The Myth of Past Unity, addressing the issue of the character of administrative unity prior to the establishment of the Greek Archdiocese in 1921. You can listen to the recording of his presentation here (courtesy of Ancient Faith Radio).
For anyone interested in the topic of Orthodox administrative unity in America, this paper is must-read (or “must-listen”) material.
I watched some of the brief Q&A session that followed, and although there were a couple of criticisms of Matthew’s remarks, the most directly negative of them amounted to a restating of the “myth” that Matthew identified without offering counter-evidence. Another commented that there had been a single hierarchy in America, but that essentially begs its own question (i.e., does appointing a bishop for Alaska really give Russia control over a whole continent?) and misses Matthew’s actual assertion (i.e., no matter what may have been “officially” the case, the reality on the ground was clear disunity). Even if one accepts the focus-shift required by the “single hierarchy” comments, that still leaves the embarrassing problem of the Russian-American hierarchy’s lack of actual claim over well over 100 non-Russian parishes in its own published lists. That is, it represents an anachronistic reading of history.
Update: Mark Stokoe (of OCANews.org) offers some commentary on Matthew’s lecture.
And here’s a bit more from Lydia Berzonsky.
At the “Orthodoxy in America: Past, Present and Future” conference at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York, SOCHA member Matthew Namee will be presenting his paper The Myth of Past Unity, addressing the issue of the character of administrative unity prior to the establishment of the Greek Archdiocese in 1921. A live video stream of the presentation can be seen on Saturday, June 20, starting at approximately 11:30am-12pm EDT:
The video can also be viewed at the dedicated website. Ancient Faith Radio should have the audio up in about an hour after the presentation. Take a look at AFR’s dedicated site for audio from the conference.
Update: The above embedded video is a recording.