American Greek Orthodox sue archdiocese
Nearly three dozen Greek Orthodox worshipers, including several prominent figures, are suing the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Archbishop Demetrios for what they say are violations of its 1978 governing charter.

The suing parishioners are backed by the Orthodox Christian Laity, a group founded "to restore and strengthen the role of the laity in the life of the Orthodox church, and the renewal of the Apostolic Lay Ministry," and that wants to see "the creation of a united, autocephalous Orthodox Church in the United States." Thus, while the legal issues at stake are whether church officials violated the old charter by creating a new charter in 2002—without the approval of the American church's Clergy-Laity Congress—the real issues are over the power of the laity and the autonomy of the American church.

The Los Angeles Times, for example, notes that Orthodox Christian Laity leaders " repeated their call for all U.S. metropolitan bishops to be elected by the American church, without involvement by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. They also want to require the patriarchate to choose the American archbishop, when the time comes, from a list of three people approved by the U.S. church." Those are not issues raised in the suit (see the bottom of this OCL page), but they're key issues for the OCL.

"The genius and success of the Orthodox Church in America is in the harnessing of the energies and the dedication and the faith of lay people," Baltimore parishioner Peter Marudas, a member of the Orthodox Christian Laity board, told the Chicago Tribune. "We would hope that the patriarchate would recognize that and not suffocate it to its own detriment."

The plaintiffs aren't seeking ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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