I understand that OCA is autocephalous and I have attended a wedding, baptism, and a funeral performed by an OCA priest in Columbia, MD.
Today someone said that the OCA and the Greek Orthodox Church are not in communion with one another. I disagreed. Who is correct? Are not all members of SCOBA in communion?
I await your reply and thank you in advance.
We had the privilege of having Bishop Dimitrios (formerly Fr Couchell) at our Greek Orthodox church recently—and he spoke about OCMC—and this was the topic of conversation that prompted the remark about the OCA. Some people have no knowledge of the OCA’s existence.
I will describe the situation.
Yes, the OCA is autocephalous, or self-governing. While many of the world’s other autocephalous churches recognize our autocephaly, some do not. [In the case of the proclamation of autocephaly throughout history, every autocephalous church had to face a period during which the other autocephalous churches accepted their autocephaly, and this has sometimes taken many years. The autocephaly of the Russian Church, for example, was not accepted by everyone until well over 100 years after it was proclaimed!]
While some of the other autocephalous churches do not as yet recognize our autocephalous status, all of them do see us as a canonical body with a canonical episcopacy. As such, the OCA is in communion with the other autocephalous churches, as testified to by the fact that OCA clergy, including our chancellor, Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, concelebrated at the Orthodoxy Sunday Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral in NYC. In fact, a few months ago, Bishop Dimitrios [Couchell] recently concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with the OCA’s Archbishop Peter of New York on the occasion of the latter’s anniversary to the episcopacy at the OCA cathedral on 2nd Street in Manhattan. One could cite countless similar instances, including the fact that during Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to the US, the OCA’s Bishop Job of Chicago concelebrated with His All Holiness at the Divine Liturgy here in Chicago. If the OCA and the Greek Archdiocese were not in communion, these things would be impossible.
The OCA is a member of SCOBA and has several clergy and lay members on the Board of Directors of the OCMC, fully supporting this wonderful pan-Orthodox effort in every respect.
Sadly, it is not uncommon to find individuals who do not understand that, while some autocephalous churches, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate, do not recognize our autocephaly at this point, they do recognize our canonicity. If the latter were not the case, the examples I cited above would not exist.