+Philip to Midwest Deans:
“Expect a Joint Statement”
In a brief Great Monday (April 13th) response to an April 6th letter from the four Deans of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, Metropolitan Philip revealed that the Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese will be making a statement, signed by all the Bishops, subsequent to their special meeting on Bright Friday, April 24th, in Englewood. No further details concerning the statement were given.
The April 6th letter from Frs. Alexander Atty, Paul Albert, Thomas Begley, Daniel Daly and Nabil Hanna requested a meeting with Metropolitan Philip to discuss, in + Philip’s words, “... certain aspects of (the) spiritual life in the Dioceses of Toledo and the Midwest.” Many in the diocese have been upset since the Metropolitan’s March 4th statement approving the February 24th decision of the Synod of Antioch to downgrade the dioceses to regional vicariates and reduce the diocesan bishops to auxiliary status. The Metropolitan declined a meeting, but told the Deans: “I want to assure you that I am fully aware of what is going on in that beloved diocese.” “Do not forget,” he reminded the priests,
"that at one time I was a deacon and a priest in that diocese and cherish my years in the Midwest.” (The Metropolitan served parishes in Detroit and Cleveland from 1956-1965, prior to his elevation to the episcopacy.)
Instead of the requested meeting, Metropolitan Philip offered a written response. “I am sending you a copy of my letter to our good people in Oklahoma City,” the Metropolitan wrote, with the hope that “Perhaps this letter will answer some of the questions which you have.” (Read that letter to Oklahoma City here.) The Metropolitan concluded his brief note to the Midwest clergy confirming that “On Friday, April 24, 2009, I am having a special meeting with our beloved hierarchs to discuss with them the decision of the Holy Synod of February 24th, 2009. Subsequent to our meeting, we will issue a statement signed by me and the bishops to the entire Archdiocese.”
Clearly, any statement by all the bishops regarding the crisis in the Archdiocese would be welcome by many seeking a resolution of the current situation.
- Mark Stokoe