Thursday, April 23. 2009
Your comments are welcome on either peice. What should a statement say? Are you going to contact your bishop?
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A cynical man might quip that blind obedience - perhaps under veiled or not so veiled threat of 'consequences' - will most likely require Auxiliary Bishops to sign whatever is placed before them, you know, for unity.
The urgent appeal is right on. Let's hope and pray our Bishops don't sign anything that says they accept this uncanonical, unwarranted, and divisive decision of Antioch.
The great majority of priests and faithful will back them up.
#2 JPSmith on 2009-04-23 07:52
The appeal does not go far enough. The letter Met. Philip sent to OKC claiming that the Holy Synod of Antioch can change anything except the Nicene Creek is *heretical*. The Holy Synod of Antioch has no authority to undo the acts of any Ecumenical Council.
According to the letter sent to OKC and now resent to the deans of Bishop Mark's diocese, the Holy Synod of Antioch can not only abolish the normal ecclesiology of the Holy Orthodox Church, it can undo the Declaration of Chalcedon, the anathemas against Nestorius, Eutychius, Pope Honorius and Patriarch Sergius, Origen. . . , change the Canon of Scripture, and on and on.
The appeal to our Bishops should be that they tell Met. Philip that they are the Holy Synod of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and that if he does not repent of this heretical assertion and of his anti-canonical acts, they will depose him.
#2.1 An anonymous Antiochian in minor orders on 2009-04-23 08:53
You all are reading deep into every line ever stated. The comment by Metropolitan PHILIP about the Holy Synod and the creed was obviously a figure of speech basically saying since they are the Mother Church and we are under them they have the final say in certain matters. Give me another break, i've already asked for about 10 so far on these forums.
Here is an example of what I mean:
"Bishop Mark's diocese, the Holy Synod of Antioch can not only abolish the normal ecclesiology of the Holy Orthodox Church, it can undo the Declaration of Chalcedon, the anathemas against Nestorius, Eutychius, Pope Honorius and Patriarch Sergius, Origen. . . , change the Canon of Scripture, and on and on."
An example response: "Man from what that sounds like, it appears that Bishop Mark has power to change anything. He can go against the Declaration of Chalcedon, this is obsurd. How can we allow this. I can't believe he can change the Canon of Scripture, this is not Canonical and we shouldn't tolerate this behavior. He is an American born, is that why he feels he can change the canon? This is a bigger subject. It is ethnic since he was born in America he feels he has more power and knowledge."
Hope this makes sense.
#2.1.1 William on 2009-04-23 11:34
William you completely missed the boat on this one. Bp Mark of toledo did not make these statements, MP did. You owe Bp Mark, all converts and American Born Orthodox an apology. Innovations, which are anethema are not coming from people born here. We have many faithful Christians from the Middle east and elsewhere, but the innovators are originally from abroad.
#22.214.171.124 anonymous on 2009-04-23 15:54
Why are you muddying things by attaching to Bishop Mark the non-existent powers that Metropolitan Philip asserts in his letter to the parish council of St. Elijah, Oklahoma City belong to the Holy Synod of Antioch?
A figure of speech? The defense of the Holy Orthodox Faith has turned in the presence or absence of an iota. The assertion shows that these actions stem from an ecclesiological heresy of the same sort as the Roman Papacy.
Metropolitan Philip's version of Orthodoxy seems to differ from uniatism only in that the Bishop of Rome is replace by himself or any convenient fraction of the Holy Synod of Antioch (even one too small to constitute a quorum of the Holy Synod under its own bylaws).
#126.96.36.199 An anonymous Antiochian in minor orders on 2009-04-23 16:16
Did you not read the entire message. It was a snippet from the above comment. I used a snippet as an example of how we can easily distort things based off of a snippet and not full sentence.
Obviously it worked. I didn't offend anyone. I'm american. Give me a break. Please read the entire post and the one i replied to in order to understand it was an example. I left out the first portion of the statement in order to show how a few words missing can make it sound like the complete opposite. Please read that.
I didn't offend anyone so i am not apologizing. It was an EXAMPLE of how words can be distorted by not getting the full story and my theory stands to be correct.
#188.8.131.52.1 William on 2009-04-23 19:47
Sounds as if Met. Philip is supremely confident regarding the outcome of his meeting with the recently not quite deposed but not real former diocesans? What a surprise!
Should our now junior bishops actually fold up like cheap lawn chairs this Friday I suggest each parish take a small chair from their Sunday School and place it next to the real Episcopal Throne in our temples.
Afterall they will need somewhere to sit when they visit. Scotch-taping the following on this new furnishing might also be appropiate.
#3 Kevin on 2009-04-23 07:53
No I'm not going to contact any bishop and if you think your last minute desparate appeal will work then too bad for you. I am personally excited and happy that finally this crisis will be over with the metropolitan at the helm of this archdiocese.
#4 Anonymous on 2009-04-23 07:54
If you think the Bishops signing whatever piece of paper +Philip places in front of them tomorrow will end this crisis you are delusional. It will be only the beginning, of the slow death of the AOCA.
#4.1 JPSmith on 2009-04-23 09:08
If anyone thinks this is over no matter what transpires Friday they are supremeley naieve. It will not be over if every bishop caves and it will especially not be over if one or two of them do not yield.
Our Despot (An accepted Orthodox term) Metropolitan Philip may have finally overestimated his boundaries on this one.
I have a suggestion for our demoted Diocesan's. Why don't you bring a letter of your own? Use the blessed tactic our Metropolitan has perfected?
Inform his Grace that he also has a couple of options. He can sign your statement informing the Holy Synod that they may not according to the holy canons dethrone the Diocesan bishops they have already enthroned without just cause.
They could then inform his Eminence that should he decide not to do so, here are the keys to the Cathedrals, their all your's. Imagine the prospect of an Archdiocese smaller than the one he inherited and so proudly claims to have rebuilt and expanded reduced to it's former size? His ego could not stand it.
In truth such a gutsy ultimatum could preserve not only the genuine peace of this Archdiocese but preserve the legacy of the Metropolitan himself.
Just a thought an impossible one probably but a thought.
#4.2 Kevin on 2009-04-23 09:13
Do you mean to suggest that since the grant of Self Rule, Met. Philip has NOT been at the helm of the Archdiocese? Please tell him that yourself.
You don't seem to be able to read very well. The appeal is clear in understanding that the bishops can change very little at this meeting. We all get, I'm sure you do too, tha the bishops have been humiliated, and that this is just icing on the humiliation cake. I wonder which bishop's humiliation excites you more? Care to share?
Those bishops are Christian Gentlemen. They are probably tempted to submit to this last ceremonial humiliation in meekness. The appeal reminds them that the humiliation proferred is not just personal, and that they should consider their holy office of Episcopacy and their (former) flocks as well.
Priest Yousuf Rassam
St. Innocent Orthodox Church
#4.3 Anonymous on 2009-04-23 12:31
All the bishops should offer their resignations. Of course, there will be sycophants who will "obey," "obey," and "obey." I'll bet all bishops who came from the old country.
#5 Anonymous on 2009-04-23 07:54
Don't assume that just because someone is from the old country, they will simply fall in line with the Metropolitan. People from the old country can think for themselves too, and contrary to what the Detroit priests might want us to think, not all foreign-born members of the Archdiocese are either happy with this or willing to take it quietly.
#5.1 Ferris Haddad on 2009-04-23 12:08
Sadly, I expect that the statement that Metr. Philip wants to issue is precisely that which the urgent appellant fears. I also expect that Metr. Philip will announce the suspension of any bishop who fails to sign said statement of capitulation. We can only hope that one or more members of our Local Synod will refuse to be intimidated by such brutish tactics.
There is a disease in our Antiochian Archdiocese. The symptoms are everywhere in evidence. Pastors are afraid to speak due to the certainty of reprisals against them and their families. Parishioners are resigned to the fact that financial accountability will never be present in the archdiocese, thanks to the Metropolitan's unyielding will and widely-known intolerance for dissent, as long as he remains in power. Where there should be love, there is only fear. Where there should be hope, there is only despair. Are these the marks of an archbishop who truly loves his flock? How can we sing, "Many years, Master," to such a man when we can no longer in good conscience follow him?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#6 Nemo on 2009-04-23 08:00
There is ONE way + Philip can escape this mess. All other avenues will result in divisions and future problems.
+ Philip should announce to all the bishops that he is retiring. That the Archdiocese Convention this Summer will be primarily to elect a new Metropolitan and he will officially retire after that meeting. The bishops can then decide how to address Damascus!
#7 Anonymous on 2009-04-23 08:44
It is interesting to consider what was recently noted in another forum. Bishop Joseph is said to have commented while on a parish visit that he fully supported the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch. Of course, did anyone think he would react otherwise? When Metropolitan Philip retires (or otherwise leaves), Bishop Antoun is on record as having said he would retire as well. It has seemed likely from the beginning that Bishop Joseph was sent to America to get hands on experience before succeeding Metropolitan Philip.
#8 Hiding till the all clear on 2009-04-23 09:02
My brothers and sisters, please pray that the real enemy of this crisis (that is, the devil), be defeated. Let us stand in unity and ask God for His great and abundant mercy upon us sinners. Sinful men will fail us; God won’t. Let us not give the demons an opportunity for rejoicing. Yes, a wrong has been committed, but with patience and love we can come out of this stronger. I have a very deep sorrow and a heavy heart concerning this situation; but I also feel sorry for Met. Philip whom it appears is the prey of demons. My heart is also broken for our honorable hierarchs who have been unjustly stripped of their God-given diocese. Prayer, especially when it is offered up in harmony by many, is very powerful. Let us go to war…let us pray!
#9 A heart-broken brother on 2009-04-23 09:28
You will be more heart broken when the preprepared Edict to be signed on April 24 is released.
Five senior Antiochian clergy met Bright Wed. Here is their ANALYSIS:
All former AEOM are to remain silent as they were crushed when they signed (100%) an appeal NOT to reinstate the "favored" (Fr) Joe Allen of N.J. Notice NO comment from any - incl. Fr Gillquist!
About 27-35 "Old Country" born Priests favor the Antioch decision. Who expected otherwise? Will they go back? Never!
Ready to soon Retire clergy are silent as they claim, "Who cares?" We get our munificent $800. mo. and keep quiet. Let others fight the battle.
Young clergy with young families know the consequences.
AND that is why Met P. will remain into the 90 of speaking out. Most Presbyteras (Khouriees) have said, "Beware our position!)
The few deluded of Middle age always hoping for the "best", again, knowing the consequences of their opposition to Englewood.
#9.1 Anonymous Antiochian Clergy on 2009-04-23 12:11
Thank God nothing was signed! So far, so good. Let's continue our prayers!
#9.1.1 A heart-broken brother on 2009-04-25 00:14
I have written my beloved Bishop Mark. He is an honorable man, and a gentle man, and I do not believe that he will do anything that would reflect on the Church in a negative way. This is +PHILIP'S last hurrah, and most people with whom I have discussed these troubling issues believe that it is just a matter to time until he is no longer the head of the AOC . Nevertheless, it is a shame that our God fearing bishops fear the wrath of the Metropolitan and are humiliated as they have already been in this "mess." I pray that we all remember that "Christ Is Risen!!!" and that justice and love will prevail.
#10 anon on 2009-04-23 09:37
Here are my questions regarding the statement that will ostensibly be signed tomorrow: Can someone describe the “conciliar” process that led to the final version of the statement that will be presented for signatures tomorrow? Are there back and forth drafts in email showing the give-and take of many bishops coming together, by the grace and illumination of the Holy Spirit, to “be of one mind”? Or is there only one version—the one Met. Philip had drafted to present to all the other bishops tomorrow for their mandatory signatures? These are concrete questions, and many people know the true answers to them. I hope some of you will come forward. If the truth is that Met. Philip had this letter drafted single-handedly, and the other bishops will simply sign in obedience to him, then isn’t it time we Orthodox simply let go of the myth of our “conciliarity”? We so love to boast of it, particularly when we compare ourselves to those terrible, Papist Catholics—but really, where do we see this much-vaunted conciliarity at work in the world???
#10.1 Cathryn Tatusko on 2009-04-23 12:46
In chant: "God Grant Thee Many Years, God Grant Thee Many Years, Master, Metropolitan PHILIP". I am full of glee as I am in anticipation of the righteous PHILIP to overcome the turmoil that has infilterated the AOCA since election of former diocesean bishops.
#11 Anonymous on 2009-04-23 10:15
Yes, those scary diocesan bishops with real authority can certainly get in the way. That's why the medieval Popes started cutting them down to size, and I'm sure you're glad to see Met. Phillip doing the same thing. Funny thing, though: Catholics still are under diocesan bishops, and they still actually do have some residual authority. Even funnier, the current Pope is moving closer to apostolic norms in encouraging local bishops to assume more authority in their dioceses, moving in exactly the opposite direction of Met. Phillip and the Holy Synod of Antioch. Your centralizing view of ecclesiology isn't even current in Rome anymore, anonymous, but it seems popular still in Damascus.
#11.1 Scott Walker on 2009-04-23 16:44
Well my dear....
Who's idea was it to push for self rule? Which Metropolitan presided over the elections of those bishops? Which Met. enthroned them all? If you are right, and nothing but "turmoil" resulted then the same Met., if he is "righteous" as you say, then he will frankly admit his mistakes and errors, repent of them, and perhaps explain why he made these mistakes and how he will avoid them in future. Please address his Eminence with your "in chant" greetings, but make sure it is not lost in the tune that you think he's been so very, very wrong for most of the last decade.
I hope you have a good definition of the word "turmoil", as well as useful synonyms, so that you will not be at a lost of words to descibe your next year, especially the convention.
Fr. Yousuf Rassam
#11.2 Anonymous on 2009-04-23 17:16
Your glee will soon turn to sorrow my friend. You will see many leave the archdiocese. And many more will stop sending money if Metron Philip has his way. Americans and Arab-Americans are not fools.
Al Qiddissah Raphael is praying for our bishops! He will not leave them alone in their hour of need. In the end, Metron Philip will succumb due to his own autocratic nature. It is destroying his health at this very moment! May God have mercy on him!
#11.3 Iskander Ibrahim on 2009-04-23 18:26
We may have difficult times ahead. I myself am just sad, right now, in the face of this. I had hoped for better but I choose not to abandon all that is good in the face of this. As I've said in another post we need to pray "Lord have mercy" for forty or four hundred times or whatever it takes. I have sent an email of prayerful support to my Bishop MARK and encourage everyone to send such a letter to their Bishop and then spend as much time as possible tomorrow in prayer for all our Bishops.
Who knows if the Lord will look down on us in our humility and save us from what has already been and could yet be? Perhaps this is one reason why all of this has been allowed to happen, to get us to bend our knees even in the season of Pascha.
I love the Orthodox Faith. God help me, a sinner, to always know and do what is right by it and to stand fast in every moment anchored by Christ. Lord have mercy.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
I'm with you Father. May God grant us His mercy!!!
#12.1 Anonymous on 2009-04-23 17:01
I know this goes against conventional wisdom, but perhaps there is another explanation for what Met. Philip is doing.
I believe that most Orthodox Christians familiar with the recent history of the Church in North America, agree that Met. Philip has through the years been a strong advocate of Orthodox Christian unity here. This is what makes the events of the last several weeks seem so strange.
Perhaps there is a common thread that connects several recent actions on the part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the OCA, and the Antiochians.
With the EP continuing to be a divisive and uncanonical impediment to unity here and in Europe, perhaps a synergism of action is developing between the OCA and the AOA. Met. Jonah's words and actions, and his meeting with Met. Philip on the Friday before Holy Week makes be wonder.
If Met. Philip and the Holy Synod of Antioch agree with Met. Jonah's formula for unity in North America as outlined in his essay "Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Chruches: A Monastic Perspective," then we may all be in for a surprise tomorrow.
The bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese may be given the choice of becoming bishops of diocese in the autocephalous American Orthodox Church, the autonomous Candanian Orthodox Chruch, or remain auxillary bishops in the Antiochian Archdiocese of the American Orthodox Church.
I know this is wishful thinking on my part, but would't it be wonderful?
(editor's note: Hope springs eternal! But don't be surprised what transpires is not quite as rosy as you desire.)
#13 Marc Trolinger on 2009-04-23 14:16
I know what I'd do if I were a parishoner.
Reduce the budget for church givings to zero. They'd listen and it wouldn't matter what the now subordinate bishops and clearly subordinate clergy say.
On the contrary, I intend to support the Metropolitan of the OCA better than the prior fellow for his honesty, forthrightness, and general sense of decency. If Moscow decides its time to take back the OCA, I'd leave the church and go get a Liturgy book and order a few candles, but that's me.
I truly believe the right thing to do for those Bishops tomorrow is to tell the Metropolitan they are going to depose him for taking a noncanonical action against them, but he has probably read the political landscape well enough to know that won't happen.
It is in the hands of the laity. Glad I aren't a future leaver. (what an odd grammatical)
#14 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-04-23 20:48
Let us pray that this is over today and that the healing is as quick as the onset. Yet there is much to be done, i.e., financial accountability and perhaps a new Metropolitan. Let us forgive all things for the sake of the resurrection.
#15 anon on 2009-04-24 00:38
MP's veiws of the Diocese of Toldo is based on his perceptions of the way things were in th 1960s. Actually, his veiws on Christian Muslim relations in the Middle east is also a 1960s veiw. How sad. The world has passed him by.
FIVE of the SIX deans asked to meet with him to give him te real facts regarding the Diocese of Toledo and its Bishop and he refused. Why? He already knows! How? Old information with updates from those few invested in keeping things just the way they have been for the past 40 years, closed comminities. A closed community is not a healthy community as it lacks the fulness of the Spirit. Perhaps this is one of the reasons they are in financial distress.
Let us ask the All Holy Spirit to BREATHE LIFE INTO THE AOCA and restore the unity that the decision of February the 24 disrupted and repair the damage done by those who sought to divide the Church by smiting its shepherds.
#16 anonymous on 2009-04-24 03:49
The bishops should present a document signed by each of them, granting retirement to Met Philip. Effective today.
#17 Ba'ab on 2009-04-24 11:13
I hear the meeting is over. No victory, but no capitulation by 3 or maybe 4 bishops. We'll have to see what unfolds particulalry at the Archdiocese convention this summer.....
#18 Antionymous on 2009-04-24 11:46
So much for "joint statement"
#19 Hiding till the all clear on 2009-04-24 12:00
I also notice that "self-rule" is not included in the title of the Church in the article.
"...a special meeting of the Holy Synod of The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America ..."
What kind of synod is comprised of a ruling bishop and auxiliaries who are subject to his absolute decision?
...what was the name of that other See St Peter founded?
#20 Still hiding till the all clear on 2009-04-24 12:09
well Mark it appears as though your crusade to destroy the AOCA with your negative spin and skepticism of metropolitan philip has failed. The AUXILLIARY bishops are in obedience to the Antiochian Holy Synod's decision and your attempts to otherwise derail this is nothing but a waste of your time. So much for your attempts under the cloak of "accountability".
(Editor's note: Interesting you consider reportage a "crusade" to destroy the AOCA. I have not written a negative word about Metropolitan Philip: I have simply pointed out that his current and previous comments regarding self-rule, the bishops, etc., are often contradictory as one attempts to make sense of what is currently transpiring in the AOCA. Is that "negative spin" and skepticism, or just the facts?
Finally, if you think the all the bishops consider themselves auxiliaries now , bound to obey Philip's wishes in all things, I can cite three who disagree with you, and the evidence of no joint statement as proof thereof. Friend, I have no dog in this fight - I have enough to do with the OCA - but since there is no other avenue open to the good people of the AOCA where they can discuss these issues - or even learn about them , the AOCA website being useless is this regards, it has fallen on me to pick up the slack. God knows I make a fortune doing this, just as I did for the OCA for three years. Hah!
Bottom line: If you think my stories are not credible, prove my reporting wrong. If you disagree with my conclusions - feel free. If these matters do not interest you, stop reading. Simple as that.)
#21 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 12:26
I think you have forgotten that all Orthodox Christians, or at least all Orthodox Christians with the spiritual clarity and intellectual accumen of our bishops, use words very carefully and precisely when it comes to matters of the Faith and order of the Church.
Our bishops attest that they are in obedience to the Holy Synod of Antioch. That is a very different thing from attesting that they are in obedience to the decree of 24 February. I feel certain that those who did not sign the statement presented to them by Met. PHILIP use obedience in the traditional Orthodox sense, not the Ba'athist sense used by proponents of the innovation of abolishing dioceses to leave a patriarchate with only archdioceses and metropolitanates.
Also, in as much as the bylaws of the Partiarchate of Antioch require that a quorum of 11 members of the Holy Synod be present for the Synod to conduct business, disobeying a decision take by a meeting of eight members of the Holy Synod with an extra signature faxed in, is not disobedience to the Holy Synod of Antioch, but to a decree of an irregular local council. And, I might add, when that decree violates the Holy Canons, including several canons of Ecumenical Councils, a degree of an irregular local council that should be disobeyed for the good of the Church.
#21.1 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-04-24 16:57
A news item on today's meeting has been posted on antiochian.org.....it implies that the Bishops "agreed" to obey the decision, although it isn't a formal statement with signatures.
#22 JPSmith on 2009-04-24 13:10
Contrary it seems to the expectations of Met. Philip there was no signed letter from the recently demoted hierarchs following the "The Special Bright Friday Meeting"
Instead we have a carefully worded statement from the Archdiocese that clearly indicates that matters are far from being resolved.
All the hierarchs affirmed they are CURRENTLY in obedience to the Holy Synod of Antioch? There was agreement that there are some very serious issues that need attention in order that the healing process can proceed? Steps must be taken to heal misunderstandings?
More questions raised than answers given and more trouble brewing it would seem given the strangely ambiguous words appearing now on the Archdiocese website.
So it seems the former diocesans did not roll over. God grant them wisdom and courage as they proceed.
#23 Kevin on 2009-04-24 13:45
im sorry mark but i have to correct you. it really doesnt matter if three bishops do not consider themselves as auxilliaries. the fact is they are now auxilliary and will have to behave as such. to say that they dont consider themselves as auxilliary doesnt matter as long as they behave as auxilliary. if they dont, then they are in disobedience with the holy synod and can be defrocked.
(Editor's note: You presume this was Antioch's last word on the subject. My guess is that is was but the first. I suggest waiting a bit longer to see who, if anyone, is being disobedient, and who, if anyone, will be defrocked.)
#24 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 16:55
You will not hear publicly what actually transpired, but here is my opinion. i believe both + Basil & + Mark asked that Damascus reverse it's decision or grant their retirements by the AOCA Convention. If any of the other bishops followed suit, this is doubtful.
The ONLY way + Philip can escape this now is to announce his retirement after the AOCA Convention. A new Met. to be elected at the convention and and a united voice at the AOCA convention to leave the Pat. of Damascus.
#25 Anonymous on 2009-04-25 09:57
Met. Philip retiring in the face of this current trouble would be like Longshanks, the King of England, abdicating the throne because William Wallace (Mel Gibson) was giving him difficulty.
Retirements, banishments, or solitude in some remote Monastery are reserved for those who hold the Faith dear.
#26 Kevin on 2009-04-27 06:29
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