• Situation Defused in Midwest
After days of escalating emails from Archdiocesan Trustee Walid Khalife to Bishop Mark of Toledo, among others, the FBI was notified on Wednesday, July 1st of the hostile letters. On Thursday, July 2nd, a series of events occurred to defuse the situation in the Antiochian Archdiocese:
• At the insistence of the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD), the local coordinating committee of the Parish Life Conference hired four police security guards for the conference in general, and the Bishop in particular. They were present throughout the event over the fourth of July weekend. The CPD, then, discussed the matter with the FBI.
• In an early afternoon email to the Bishop and some 20 others, Mr. Khalife offered an apology for his poor choice of words and a justification of his actions.
• Later that same evening, according to an email from Mr. Khalife’s daughter, two police officers visited Khalife at his Detroit home acting on a request of the FBI to discuss the emails. No further action was taken.
• Archdiocese Pulls New Proportionate Giving Plan
In an email yesterday to Archdiocesan clergy, Fr. George Kevorkian announced that the proposed new Proportionate Giving Plan would not be introduced at the Archdiocesan Convention later this month. He writes;
"Dear Brothers in Christ!
Christ is in our Midst!
I want to thank you all for your respectful and very constructive feedback regarding the proposed changes to the Proportional Giving System.
There were many suggestions for detailed changes to the system, and for alternative systems. Some of these will be useful for the future.
However, the overwhelming majority of the messages communicated something like the following:
Given the reality of the U.S economy, and the fact that many people, and many parishes are struggling with finances, it is not a good time to introduce a system that results in higher payments for most parishes. In addition, it seems prudent that the deficit in the proposed budget would be eliminated by taking reductions in expenses, rather than increasing the income.
In light of this, the proposed changes will not be pursued at this time. Instead, selected expenses will be reduced such that the proposed Archdiocese budget for Fiscal Year 2011 will be balanced without an increase in income.
I will be sending a regular letter to all parishes and Board members in order to formally withdraw the proposal.
Thanks again for your help with this.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. George Kevorkian"
• Insight Offered into Metropolitan Philip’s Perspective on the Antiochian Crisis
In an email to clergy of the Antiochian Western Rite, the acting Vicar-General Fr. Edward Hughes writes:
“Metropolitan Philip, our Bishop and Spiritual Father, as asked us not to involve ourselves in this issue in any way. He has stated several times that he feels that this is a matter between the Patriarch, the Metropolitans and our Bishops. Our involvement would be seen to be interference or meddling in what is not our business. The specifics and details of the ministry of particular bishops is not the business of the other clergy who serve the same Metropolitan.
Fr. Edward Hughes”
• Kondratick Lawsuits Against OCA Continus
Legal depositions of key figures have taken place over the past two weeks in the lawsuits filed by former priest and OCA chancellor Robert Kondratick. Among those interviewed were Kondratick himself, Fr. Stephen Strikis (former OCA comptroller) and OCA Chancellor Fr. Alexander Garklavs.
And finally, this from abroad:
• Russian Patriarch Points Out Surprising New Fact
Following July 4th talks with the Ecumenical Patriarch, Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow was quoted by Russian journalists on the patriarchal website as saying:
“We spoke today about the new reality in Turkey: During the summer period about two million of our compatriots visited the country, tens of thousands of Russians live in it on a permanent basis, there are a lot of mixed marriages. That is why the question of pastoral care of these people arises. Turkey is the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and we have now, I think, have found a common approach to resolve problems associated with the pastoral care of Russians, the Russian-speaking Orthodox, living in Turkey."
According to most recent estimates the total number of Greek Orthodox Christians in Istanbul amount to slightly more than 2,500 people. In short, the Patriarch is publicly acknowledging for the first time that the Greek Orthodox in Istanbul are a minority even among Orthodox Christians in the city.