A LETTER TO THE METROPOLITAN
by Larry Smith, Harrisburg PA
April 20th, 2008
Now that even the Metropolitan Council has joined its voice with the chorus calling for your resignation, it would seem that the time has finally come for you to confront reality and come to grips with the gravity of your personal situation.
It is human nature to wish to leave a legacy to those who come after us and to be well remembered by posterity. For some of us, this means leaving material wealth or personal effects to our offspring. For others who have little in the way of personal possessions or children to whom to leave them, this means leaving only memories of past deeds and accomplishments. Have you considered your legacy – the way in which you will be remembered and portrayed when the history of Orthodoxy in North America is compiled at some future time? Will it be as the Primate who presided over the death and dismemberment of the Orthodox Church in America, a well-intentioned but ultimately ineffectual and ill-fated experiment at creating a nucleus for a unified North American Orthodox presence? Or will it be perhaps a somewhat more positive image as the Primate whose lot it was to attempt to resolve the darkest chapter in the history of his Jurisdiction, but who, in spite of his own best efforts and through unfortunate missteps, errors in judgment and forces not quite within his control, had no choice but to yield Primacy to another hierarch for the good of the greater Church? With each passing day it seems more likely that you are fated to earn the former rather than the latter place when our history is written. It might be well to begin to consider which legacy is preferable, keeping in mind that we Orthodox have long memories and hold our history especially dearly. The time for choosing how you will be remembered is quickly running out.
It is now clear that the oxcart that is our beloved OCA is well past the tipping point of its current configuration and is almost certain to roll over as it careens wildly down slope. The question of the moment is whether the driver will have the good sense to jump clear of the cart to save himself while there is still time, or whether he will stubbornly remain aboard and be crushed beneath it. If he chooses the former option, there is still the faint hope that letting go of the reins and jumping clear of the cart might alter its center of gravity just enough that the cart might yet be righted. The latter option will surely lead to disaster.
A prudent man would show some sense of concern for his own legacy, if not for the welfare of the Church that he leads, and with timely action, it may still be possible to save both. The choice is yours – how do you wish to be remembered for the ages?
Lawrence D. (Larry) Smith