Update: The Chad-O-Meter has become officially redundant on 12/28/09. SVS has finally released a text of the concordat between SVS and Nashotah House.
The text of the Concordat (though why Nashotah refers to it as a “Covenant Partnership” implies there is some difference in the text) is as follows. We can debate its meaning, correctness in a larger context, but as it stands, there is no longer a need to have the Chad-O-Meter up. The text’s been publicized.
Nashotah House & St. Vladimir’s Concordat
Whereas the oldest ongoing ecumenical dialogue is between Anglican and Orthodox Christians, dating from the formation of the Russo-Greek Committee in 1862; and
Whereas the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius was founded in 1928 to pray and work for Christian unity and to provide Christians of the Orthodox and Western traditions a deeper understanding of one another’s spirituality, theology, and worship; and
Whereas this great legacy owes much to prominent Anglican and Orthodox theologians and hierarchs associated with both Nashotah House and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary; including St. Tikhon of Moscow, Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, Archpriest Georges Florovsky, Isabella Hapgood, Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, Archbishop Michael Ramsey, Protopresbyter John Meyendorff, Archbishop Robert Runcie, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware and Bishop Robert Terwillger; and
Whereas this 20th Anniversary of the Glorification of St. Tikhon recalls our common legacy and quickens our mutual desire to see it continued;
We, therefore, of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and Nashotah House pledge ourselves to a mutual fellowship of prayer and learning in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands this October 10th in the year of our Lord two thousand nine.
What was the Chad-O-Meter?
The Chad-O-Meter was a “count-up” clock that counts off the number of days that Fr Chad Hatfield, Dean of St Vladimir’s Seminary, assured NFTU that he would release the details of the “Covenant Partnership” between SVS and Nashotah House, the leading conservative Anglican seminary in the United States. It started because someone following NFTU on Twitter was absolutely convinced that Fr Chad would gladly disclose the nature of the document, and that we were hiding something by not contacting him directly. As of this writing (12/30), the document was finally released to the public.
What will we gain by knowing the contents of the document?
It’s really more about honest disclosure of ecumenical activities than anything else. With the OCA’s Metropolitan Jonah discussing creating an “Anglican Diocese” and definitive evidence of union talks with committed– yet conservative– Protestants in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), we are talking about large-scale communion in prayer with those outside the Orthodox Church, clear violations of the Holy Canons. The atmosphere is further worsened by naming the fellowship of Sts Alban and Sergius, a notorious ecumenist fellowship of the 20th century, as a sort of prototype to what the OCA and the ACNA were trying to achieve. The document probably contains, at the least, some sort of guidelines.
Will the documents have a larger ecumenistic plan in store?
Probably not any more shocking than the usual “we want our seminaries to study and pray together and be in closer fellowship in Christ”. Even the SCOBA guidelines now contain such anti-canonical language, so we aren’t sure what they are really afraid of. Most likely at this point, the folks not putting out the document just hate the fact that they are being questioned. That’s a poor attitude to have in an age where we are dealing with many public events giving a very odd impression of how Orthodox are to relate to those outside Orthodoxy, and we will continue to question the document.
Update: We predicted correctly.