Two New Books about Orthodox Christianity in America
Two recent publications record events within Orthodox Christianity in America and help the general reader understand developments within this ancient faith struggling to live in a pluralistic religious landscape.
Patriarch Bartholomew will visit America in October, 2009 to journey down the Mississippi River to remind us that we are stewards, not masters of God's creation. This visit takes place between pre-conciliar meetings in Europe that are developing an agenda for a Great Council of Orthodox bishops. The first meeting took place in Chambesy, Switzerland in June, and the second will take place there in November 2009. The bishops of the Churches in non-traditional Orthodox lands -- the "Diaspora" -- were not invited.
Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church -When and Why brings together papers presented at Orthodox Christian Laity's (OCL) 20th Anniversary Symposium to a wider audience. The volume includes: an Overview by Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America; Christopher, Metropolitan of the Serbian Orthodox Church: "Need for an Inclusive -- Open Council Motivated by Love and Integrity"; Rev. Dr. John Erickson, Professor at St. Vladimir's Seminary: "Overview of History and Difficulties in Preparing for the Council"; Rev. Fr. Alexander Abramov, Representative, Moscow Patriarchate: "Facing Critical Questions of World Orthodoxy"; Dr. Vigen Guroian: "Youth, Unity and Orthodoxy in America"; Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou, "The Need for a Great and Holy Council: Why, Why Not Yet, and How?". The editor is George Matsoukas, Executive Director of OCL.
The second book by George Matsoukas, A Church in Captivity: The Greek Orthodox Church of America, is relevant to the adjustments taking place today within other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in America and even non-Orthodox Christian denominations. Most Orthodox faithful no longer see themselves as a "Diaspora" but rather as an indigenous American faith in need of jurisdictional unity. The difficulties of making this transition are recorded in essays covering 20 years of observing developments in the Greek Archdiocese. American faithful hope that the conciliar process of governance will require that their bishops will eventually be included in the pre-conciliar preparations for the council. How can their needs be discussed without their input?