Dear Mr. Stokoe,
Earlier today I got a call from my godmother. “Sitti,” as we call her, had just telephoned the Antiochian Archdiocese to let them know she was discontinuing her contributions to the Order of St. Ignatius.
(The Order, established years ago by Metropolitan +PHILIP, provides funding for a variety of Archdiocesan projects. Contributions from members of the Order are dispensed as +PHILIP sees fit.)
Like many Antiochians, my godmother is alarmed and dismayed at Metropolitan PHILIP’s attempts to demote our Diocesan bishops. She figures that withholding her contributions to +PHILIP’s purse – however meager those contributions may be – is an important way of sending him her message of disapproval.
The lady in the Archdiocese office (I’ll withhold her name) who handled this request was none too pleasant about the matter. Three times she challenged my godmother, saying “Why would you do this? It won’t change anything!” When that tactic failed, she attempted to dissuade her by saying “but the Order does so many good things.”
None of this, I'm pleased to report, deterred my godmother.
Like her, I am concerned that this attempt to seize power by +PHILIP will only set back the Antiochian Archdiocese by decades.
Although an Arab by birth, Sitti has long made it a point to warn our family about the dangers of overweening pride. To her, this sort of arrogance on the part of +PHILIP is inexcusable. It is, she says, hardly a new development; she has seen it firsthand in the old country, and in this one at national conferences in years past.
How ironic that during the very time of year we all pray to be delivered from the spirit of “lust for power,” and hear the gospel reading admonishing us that “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave for all,” we are confronted with just the opposite.
A concerned (and thankful) godson.