Technically speaking, phyletism is the heresy that a church should be formed along ethnic lines. Yeah, that sounds bad. But when you get down to both (a) the history behind it and (b) modern chanters of phyletism, you will see that (a) the anti-phyletists were pimping their congregations and (b) the most phyletist churches today are in the loudest denouncers of anti-phyletism.
(1) Did Turkokratia sell the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the highest bidder, yes or no?
(2) Would that not mean that the EP bishops would have to come up with income to secure their spots?
(3) Would not this income have come from the taxed laymen in the Balkans?
(4) When the Bulgarians kicked out the foreign Phanariot bishops (many of whom were ranking Freemasons), did this not mean that the Phanar could no longer pay off their Turkish and Jewish creditors?
Answering yes to any of the above questions gives the lie to the “phyletist” charge. Some more questions:
(5) To so-called phyletists today actually forbid different ethnicities from joining? (No)
Bourgeois Orthodox will point out that the Council of 1872 that condemned “phyletism” was a valid council. Yeah, what of it? You see, since I am not Eastern Orthodox I can easily say that said council is “wrong” because (1)-(4).
Since this blog is less polemical as my other ones, I try not to attack other traditions. And this post isn’t an “attack.” It is a critical observation, though. A very critical one.
As readers know from past experience, I was very harsh with the old website Orthodox Bridge. They deserved it. They deserved it because they advertised their site as a “bridge” for Reformed and Orthodox to meet and understand each other’s tradition.
What actually happened was that Reformed were supposed to comment on how ignorant they were of EO and start getting a conversion story ready. When I started pointing out that the High Reformed Theology never believed what they said it believed, they got mad
But still, the site had a wide readership but not a wide interaction. If you go back and read the old posts (or better, don’t; just look at the number of comments) you will find a common theme. Where I am allowed to comment, the comments will range from 50-300 (and most of them aren’t even by me, since I was usually outnumbered 10:1. By the end of those conversations I would be “banned” or blocked.
And then the next 5 posts would have about 8 comments total. I was the only reason that site was remotely interesting.
Now Ancient Faith is hosting that site. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad move. Mind you, at the end of the day I don’t really care. The good news for the site is that Ancient Faith is a top-notch media outlet and it will get more viewers. And admittedly, the new look is aesthetically pleasing.
The problem is that the site is aimed to bridge the gap for Reformed readers. How many Reformed readers go to Ancient Faith? Well, a few certainly do. But how many Reformed readers who are sympathetic to both Geneva and where Orthodox come from and wouldn’t mind clearing up some straw men? Very few.
But they were never welcome in the first place.
Don’t worry. This post isn’t attacking Orthodox. I am simply commenting on the varieties of Orthodox internet forums. I’ll admit that some of my desingations are arbitrary, though that really can’t be helped. I still think it is accurate. If you are converting or aligning yourself, this should prove handy:
American Monasticism. These are the spiritual disciples of Fr Seraphim Rose and Platina Monastery. There is a strong connection to “Old Russia” and the brothers at St Herman’s Monastery do a good job in getting decent works printed. Somewhat limited in the academic realm. If you want to see what 19th century Russia looks like in America, then these are your guys. VERY strong on Eschatology.
Academic Orthodoxy. Mostly represented by St Vladimir’s Seminary. They aren’t afraid to ask critical questions of Tradition and History. They produce good scholarship but won’t always be welcomed in other Orthodox camps.
Neo-Patristic Synthesis. Some overlap with the above Academics but with a few provisos. They aren’t quite as favorable to Bulgakov and Ware and Louth. Often designated as “Neo-Palamites.” Occasionally produce good scholarship.
Traditional Orthodoxy (Canonical). Admittedly, this is a Facebook group. A blend of the first and third groups but without their strengths. They won’t let facts or history get in the way of how they see tradition.