To the Editor
by V. Rev. Michael E. Molloy
I was dismayed and disappointed by the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch, which changed the status of bishops within our Archdiocese from diocesan bishops to auxiliary bishops. In my opinion, this decision is a step backwards for our Archdiocese, an affront to our godly bishops in America, a stumbling block to the faithful of our Archdiocese (doubly so, as it comes during the season of Holy Lent), and a departure from the Orthodox norm of having diocesan bishops.
It has been only a few years since our dioceses were established and our diocesan bishops enthroned. This event was hailed as momentous and God-inspired. Suddenly, it has been overthrown. Why? No real explanation has been given. Fear of disunity was hinted at, but none seems obvious. Whatever the reasons, the decision of the Holy Synod has managed to bring confusion and harm to our Archdiocese; first, to our beloved hierarchs, and then to our clergy and laity.
Since New Testament times the Church has been led by the decisions of Councils and Synods. The presumption and hope is that the decisions of all Councils will be inspired by the Holy Spirit, but history has shown us that this is not always the case. Some decisions made by Councils have subsequently been rejected by the Church at large. Time will tell in what category the recent decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch falls. Ultimately, the highest authority in the Church is not any one Synod or a Council, but the Holy Trinity working in and through bishops, priests, deacons, and laity together.