An Open Letter to Saidna Philip
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25)
Saidna PHILIP, what shall you say?
You are allowing division in your own house. Your people cry out! Will you not hear our plea?
I know that there are so many of us now, that you don’t know us all personally like you used to. But your advisors are deceiving you. We want to know that we can trust the Archdiocese.
Perhaps it IS because we don’’t know you personally. Our Archdiocese is too big. It has become institutional.
We do know and trust our local bishops, not matter what your “friends” say. The dioceses are smaller, and we can talk to them and have our questions answered. But, your staff won’t let our calls through to you, and Bishop Antoun yells at us for bothering you.
Are you really then our “father?” I would love to have you in my home for dinner, so my children can know you and you them. But it will never happen. So you are just a picture on the wall in our church. We pray for you in church, but hear things that cause us to wonder whether you even care for us, your children.
In a way, this is your fault.
You have been so successful in growing this Archdiocese. This is good, but has caused our “family” to be stressed. Programs and departments have taken the place of relationship. And there are those who have taken advantage of this. They’ve taken advantage of the fact that they have your ear, and we don’t. They seem to have much to lose, thus they shield you from our sincere and righteous questions.
You have taught us to love the Church. But our love for the Church is an American one. We do not to trust men enough, even you, Saidna, to not operate with some checks and balances on the management of this flock. We are “rational sheep,” not lemmings.
We love the Church with our heart and minds.
But the Church in her wisdom, has already provided for that. A national church, governed by a Synod of Bishops, led by a Metropolitan. But for it to work, the Metropolitan must be accountable to his brothers in the synod. The canons provide for that. American cultural traditions and our Orthodox ecclesiology can meet here.
You are the leader of our church. No one has ever questioned that. But you must now allow your diocesan bishops to care for THEIR flocks, without interference from you, or selfish men in their diocese who would exploit their relationship with you.
Hear our cry, Father.
Do not let your children lanquish. Care for us, even though you do not know us intimately. Empower our bishops, Godly men all of them, to shepherd us. THEN we will all be united in love, and our house will stand.
May God soften your heart towards us. May you reclaim your legacy from those in your own camp who are attempting to destroy it.
May our love for each other, put the demons to flight.