It’s common to think of Orthodox Christianity in t…

It’s common to think of Orthodox Christianity in the Western World as divided-up into ethnic jurisdictions. But actually it’s worse than that, because each immigrant Orthodox ethnic group here is divided into partisan jurisdictions, too! In the USA alone there are 2 Albanian jurisdictions, one OCA and one Constantinople Patriarchal Church. There are 2 Romanian jurisdictions, one OCA and one Romanian Patriarchal Church. There are 2 Bulgarian dioceses, one OCA and one Bulgarian Patriarchal. As far as I can tell there are still officially 2 Serbian groups, though they’re said to be merging under the Serbian Patriarchate. One or more of the contending Hierarchies in the Ukraine are ‘colonizing’ here, alongside the only-recently-reunited Ukrainian Metropolia (Constantinople Patriarchal). Ethnically there are Carpatho-Russians integrated in the OCA, and others in the Constantinopolitan C-R diocese. And there are at least 3(!) “Russian” groups: the OCA’s Russian ‘old line,’ the 30-odd but high-profile parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate here, and the “semi-canonical” ROCOR–which latter group has experienced some splintering of its own in the last decade. There are even now 2 Greek-Constantinopolitan jurisdictions, the New Calendar Archdiocese of America, and the Old Calendar “Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou” in Queens, NY, with a few other associated monasteries and parishes…all with their own separate Metropolitan.

Some of these intra-ethnic divisions resulted from the question of loyalty to Communist-dominated Mother Churches; others are rooted in conflicts over Calendar, Ecumenism, maybe other things. But it should tell us unification will be even harder than we think, when the OCA can take in 5 or more Old World ethnic groups…but not all of their respective members/clergy/jurisdictions. These intra-ethnic divisions may prove harder than even inter-ethnic unity. They too need to be worked on.