Met. JONAH Renews St. Tikhon's Dialogue with Anglicans
As I noted yesterday, Met. JONAH of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) spoke to the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) this morning (10:30 CDT/8:30 PDT). One observer described his speech as nothing less than "a 'barn burner' complete with numerous standing ovations and cries of agreement." He recorded that Met. JONAH:
reopened a dialogue with this Anglican group. With arms open he hopes to pick up where St. Tikhon left off. He gave an historical account of how the Episcopalians forced the dialogue to end by their actions and listed off (in "truth in love" and in a way "sure to offend some of you") about those things that they would have to do to if they wished to share the chalice. Most of you can guess what he listed: removal of the filioque, a rejection of Calvinism, no female ordinations, no gay marriage, and an extensive scholastic discussion about what unites and divides the two groups. In October at Nashotah House the OCA and the ACNA will meet to begin this dialogue. It is being billed as a picking up where the talks broke down and as such Metropolitan Jonah presented an icon of St. Tikhon to Archbishop-elect [Robert] Duncan. (Emphasis added.)Note: adoption of the Byzantine Rite, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom/Basil, was not among the conditions.
Met. JONAH intends to take St. Tikhon's move to reunite Anglicans with the Holy Orthodox Church serioulsy. Even the ACNA's press release says, "This significant gesture represents the possibility of full communion being exchanged between the churches." It adds that the metropolitan's message "focused on unity but did not fail to address areas of contrasting beliefs between the two churches. Though united in upholding the authority of the Bible and uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Orthodox Church and Anglican Church in North America have differing opinions on matters such as the ordination of women and other doctrinal issues. Despite this, the Metropolitan told the audience that 'our arms are open wide.'"
Following his 45-minute speech, Met. JONAH presented the assembly with an icon of St. Tikhon (Bellavin). The conscious invocation of St. Tikhon is most significant. St. Tikhon had been approached by a group of Anglicans while he was bishop of North America, and as ruling prelate asked the mother church in Russia about the possibility of allowing them to use some form of the Book of Common Prayer. Although the Episcopalians withdrew before the Russian church sent observations intended to "serve in the negotiations as materials for the determination in detail of the conditions on which Anglicans disposed to Orthodoxy can be received," St. Tikhon clearly and undeniably acted to bring former Anglicans into a Western Rite within the Orthodox Church while retaining some form of the BCP.
Today, Met. JONAH followed in his foosteps. May he bring about the goal for which St. Tikhon longed.
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