there is the fullness of the church', noted Afanas'ev in the Paris emigration.51 These words point out the diaspora's truest validation.
Not that diasporas as such required perpetual validation. After all those years 'abroad', there were exiles who were ready to consider whether the diaspora mentality should continue to remind them of what was once and therefore ought to be. Would not a diaspora situation bring diminishing returns in years to come?
Already in 1970 the patriarchate of Moscow had formally recognised the independence of the 'Russian' archdiocese in the New World. Several decades later, in 2004, the patriarch of Antioch conceded effective autonomy to his own American diaspora.52 Meanwhile, there were members of the American diaspora under Constantinople who voiced their hope for greater separation from their mother-church. They argued that continued dependence on Constantinople linked them too much with their forebears' distant past. Be that as it may, the separate origins of these diasporas, and their former ethnic aspirations, offer little promise of their integration into a single church, 'one, holy, catholic and apostolic' though that is what it seeks to be.
When the 'great and holy council' meets, there is certainly one question which will demand a well-considered answer: might not partisan commitment to a church administration of the relevant ancestral people prejudice devotion to the one who is the Lord of all (Romans 10:12)?
51 Nicolas Afanassieff, 'The church which presides in love', in J. Meyendorff et al., The primacy ofPeter (London: The Faith Press, 1963), 76.
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