Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles
(established under the Tomos of Autonomy of the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of W. Europe and the Americas)
His Beatitude, The Most Reverend Metropolitan JOHN, Archbishop of New York, Metropolitan of North and South America and First-Hierarch of the Holy Synod
Our Purpose and Mission
The Holy Synod of Milan is a canonically established Metropolia that maintains the Holy Orthodox Faith and Praxis with a Traditionalist understanding. This Traditionalism is called Moderate Traditionalism because it represents not the extremes of Orthodoxy, but the true historic center of Faith and Praxis within Orthodoxy. Yet this traditionalism is also practiced with a loving sense of charity to our fellow Orthodox Christians, including even those that do not share the desire for emphasis on Traditionalism that we keep. In this sense, we seek to remain loving to all mankind, even to the heterodox whom we wish to treat with kindness and caring and yet, to maintain our distance from any context of modern Ecumenism that would imply anything other than that the Orthodox Church remains the only true Church established by Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Apostles.
The monumental task of spreading the Holy Gospel and the Holy Tradition throughout North America provides a very stark and sober starting point for all of us who are Orthodox Christians. We first need to assess our culture in order to fully understand to whom we are hoping to speak about Holy Orthodoxy. We then need to present, first to ourselves, and then to others, the needed theological teachings and reasoned discussions that can inform the peoples in this land of ours both about the need to learn about Orthodoxy and then about the necessity of adopting Orthodoxy in our lives. Even then when we have become able to achieve all this, we still have to climb even further to establish the richness of Orthodox spirituality and piety in our lives that allows each and every one of us to have a deep ongoing relationship with Our Lord and Creator in a manner that is of His choosing and according to His Will.
Obviously, all this is a rather tall order for us to accomplish. We begin by recognizing the deep entrenched culture of Protestant heritage that predominates in these lands. Even where many people identify themselves with some sort of Catholic understanding of life, the various legacies of Protestantism have over time become so commonplace that they are basically taken for granted when an individual begins to examine the need to explore the root teachings and emphases of apostolic Christianity. In the midst of this strange cacophony of theologies, we introduce the word “Orthodox” not as it is commonly understood, but in a way that sets us apart from the latter derivatives of Roman Catholic and Protestant thinking.
We hope that our fidelity to the Orthodox Faith will always direct our ministry to add a sense of harmony to the process of saving souls, first, by making certain that we have a common source of information that we can teach our people, and then by challenging ourselves to progress even further into the spiritual richness of our liturgy and prayer. Without neglecting the Bible as it has come to be seen in this country, we must inform America about the abundant patristic heritage of Christian history even while explaining to our listeners that there does in fact exist a concept which we have long called “patristics” even if they have never before heard this word. Even then when we have achieved creating an awareness of this concept in the life of the average person who seeks a deeper understanding of Truth, we need to communicate an urgency in the minds of millions who are preoccupied with a secular world that would then result in them wanting to change their lives so that they would not let their life on earth pass without attempting to come to a much greater understanding of the reason the universe exists and the reason we individually have been brought into being by our Creator.
Ultimately, the answer that we will provide to America is that of Orthodox belief and Orthodox “praxis,” the day to day living of the Christian faith that has been handed down to us through the centuries from the time of the Holy Apostles that were chosen by Our Lord Jesus Christ and then endowed with the awesome grace of the Holy Spirit. Our father, St. Anthony of the Egyptian desert has taught us that somehow our God in His mercy sends upon souls chastisements of afflictions until they, growing weary, come to their senses, are converted and draw near into knowledge and repent with all their hearts. Teaching this to our fellow citizens and making them ultimately fellow travelers on the road to eternal salvation is the outline of our intention. Yet this process in Orthodoxy will eventually find success only in the manner in which we are able to teach others, to whom we can expose these ideas, the very concept of how we pray, and then demonstrate to them in our own lives this constant life of prayer that continually transforms us not only to love in a deeply Christian manner that transcends race and ethnic origin, but also to progress each day further and further in imitating the extreme humility shown to us by our very Creator and Redeemer in His choosing to demonstrate love to us by embracing the Holy Cross.
Let us, in the process of reading and pondering the various articles of our Holy Tradition, pray that we can all come to think even as St. Paul so urgently describes to us in Philippians, saying:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
“But emptied Himself, and took upon Himself the form of a Servant, and was Made in the likeness of men:
“And being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name Which is above every name:
“That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”