+Basil Offers Information On Visit
To Put "End to Speculation”
• Patriarch did not refer to them as“Auxiliary
• Patriarch Would Not Predict Outcome of Synod
• Questions of “Personal Gain” Were Directed
To all Hierarchs
• +Basil Interview to be Broadcast on AFR
The following was sent late Monday evening by Bishop Basil to his Clergy Brotherhood:
“Dear to Christ, Fathers and Brothers -
Members of the St Raphael Clergy Brotherhood
of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:
Blessings and prayerful best wishes for a joyous and Spirit-filled day. Happy feast!
Following my return to Wichita late Saturday evening, and after sending you the Clergy Brotherhood Memo in which I reported on the tenor of our formal meetings and informal chats with His Beatitude in Damascus last Tuesday through Thursday (June 2nd-4th), it has been brought to my attention that several fallacious comments about those conversations are being spread abroad. While I have been and remain reticent to share specific details of our discussions with our Father in God so as to respect the confidence which His Beatitude placed in us (as witnessed by the frank and candor nature of his counsels and comments), for the sake of clarity and accuracy and truth I feel compelled to respond to those erroneous assertions on behalf of those few of us who were present for and participated in the conversations which took place last Tuesday afternoon and evening, Wednesday morning, and Thursday morning (those few being limited to His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV, Bishops Antoun, Joseph, Thomas, Mark and myself - and, for a few moments at our farewell session on Thursday morning, Metropolitans George of Homs and Saba of Bosra-Hauran):
1 - The issue of our “obedience to the Holy Synod decision” of February 24th was not raised by Patriarch Ignatius nor by us.
2 - His Beatitude never once used the term “Auxiliary Bishop” let alone stress that we “remain Auxiliary Bishops.”
3 - The statement His Beatitude made about bishops
serving “the church first and foremost above any personal gain” referred to all hierarchs of the Church in general and the See of Antioch in particular, among whom His Beatitude specifically included himself and all Metropolitans and Bishops of our Patriarchate.
4 - His Beatitude did not presume to predict what action the Holy Synod will take at its meeting on June 16th concerning the Decision of February 24th. In other words, he said neither that it “will reaffirm the decision” nor that it will revise or reverse the decision.
I trust that my comments above will help to put an end to speculation, not only about what transpired during our conversations in Damascus last week but about everything that has transpired since February 24th, so that some modicum of peace may be restored to the Church of Christ.
Next Monday, June 15th, is the start of the Apostles Fast in preparation for the Feast of the Chiefs of the Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul - patrons and protectors of our Holy Apostolic See of Antioch. In previous communications with you I have suggested that the Akathist to the Holy Apostles be prayed in all of our church temples during that Fast. Now I ask that it be especially prayed on Monday, June 15th and Tuesday, June 16th (the first day of the Holy Synod Meeting), trusting that whatever is decided by the Holy Synod will, by the intercessions of those Twelve Eyewitnesses and Servants of the Lord, be described by the God-inspired formula from their epistle to the Church at Antioch: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us” (Acts of the Apostles 15:28).
Assuring you of my continued love and high esteem, coveting remembrance in your holy prayers, and eagerly forward to being with you, your families and your congregations at our Diocesan Parish Life Conference in Wichita this coming week, I remain
Your servant in Christ our Saviour,
In addition to the statement by the Bishop, OCANews.org has learned that an extensive interview with Bishop Basil will be broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio on Wednesday, June 10th.
- Mark Stokoe