Autocephaly (20 of 20)

The answers in this section on autocephaly were provided by a seminary faculty member in a 1970 OCA publication.


What are the plans of the Orthodox Church in America for the immediate future?


The first work of the Orthodox Church in America on the formal level is to clarify its constitution and governing statutes to conform to its new autocephalous status. This is the work not only of the hierarchy and the “statutes committee,” it is the work of the entire church: bishops, priests, and people.

In the same line, the immediate work of the Church is to stand fast in its new position showing in every possible way how it is proper and just according to the law and spirit of Orthodoxy: dogmatically, canonically, spiritually.

Also in this same area, it is the pressing task of the Church to open itself to all of the Orthodox people in America, to all of the dioceses and jurisdictions, and to urge them also to work for the unification of all American Orthodox Christians into one fully and perfectly united church body. Here the most direct task is to inspire courage for concrete actions and not merely for endless discussions.

These are the formal tasks facing the church, but ultimately they are not the most essential. The most essential work of the Orthodox Church in America is first of all to be truly the Church—the People of God, the Body and Bride of Christ, the Presence of the Kingdom of God on earth; to be truly Orthodox—living and acting solely by the Gospel of Jesus Christ as expressed in the apostles, fathers, councils and saints of the Church; and to be truly in America—being present here in mind and soul as well as in body, directing every ounce of its spiritual and material energy and resources toward the salvation of the American people.

” By their fruits you will know them,” says the Lord. And ultimately this will be the only justification of autocephaly, and the only one necessary. But its fruits—not merely by its arguments from formal authorities—will the Orthodox Church in America prove that its existence and life is from God.