Friday, April 24. 2009
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Enlarge the picture you mention and take a close look. +Mark looks sad, +Basil looks stunned, +Antoun - possibly not a smile but a grimmace, ++Philip - yes, staring dejectedly at the floor, +Joseph looks pained and seems to be glancing towards ++Philip, +Thomas looks outright angry, and +Alexander looks dejected. WOW!
#1 Hiding till the all clear and getting worried on 2009-04-24 14:12
I'm no cheerleader of Met Philip, Hiding (and Mr. Stokoe too), but I would be very careful about reading so much into the facial expressions in this picture. Even the higher resolution photo is not a high enough resolution and wasn't taken close enough that you can really read those details with any kind of certainty. To me, Met Philip appears to be looking close to the camera, not down at the floor. All the bishops look vaguely cranky, and attempting "I'm a serene, dignified bishop" expressions in spite of the circumstances.
Anyway, this line of investigation really isn't helpful or appropriate for determining how the meeting went or what direction AOCANA is going to take from here. It's wiser to wait until you have information in hand that isn't so subject to interpretation, like the half-signed document (and appended commentary from Bp Alexander), or testimonials from the bishops themselves.
#1.1 pobrecita on 2009-04-24 18:07
Of course they are not happy --- Three Diocesan Bishops just crawled out from under the bus. Three other Diocesan Bishops lower themselves enough (by accepting demotion) to be hit by the second set of wheels and the trailer behind. MP is grieving over the three Diocesan Bishops he missed with the second set of wheels.
THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING! MP's biography is being written on the pages of OCAnews.net! Perhaps this one is the one that will give the fuller, more accurate account.
The best thing MP could do would be to rid the Archdiocese of his friends in Detroit, Montreal and OK City, resign and remain COMPLETELY OUT OF THE SELECTION OF THE NEW METROPOLITAN.
It is high time for clergy, and hierarchs with INTEGRITY, HONESTY, PURITY, HOLINESS, SANCTITY, CONVICTION, AND MORAL FORTITUDE.
#1.2 anonymous on 2009-04-25 14:16
CANON 34 OF THE 85
ACCORDING TO THE RUDDER'S EXPLANATION OF CANON 34
THE DIOCESAN BISHOPS RELATIONSHIP TO THE METROPOLITAN IS TO LIKE THAT OF METROPOLITAN TO PATRIARCH
PERHAPS ALL METROPOLITANS, ESPECIALLY METROPOLITAN PHILIP SHOULD CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS AUXILIARIES TO THE PATRIARCH SO THAT WE CAN NORMALIZE THE STATUS OF THE METROPOLITANS.
Oh, wait!! Rome already thought of that! They have been doing that for centuries and have perfected the system.
The Holy Synod needs to decide if we are going to adopt a PAPAL MODEL of Ecclessiology. If so why not unite with ROME.., Can't do that then the Patriarch would be an auxiliary too.
Oh what tangled webs we eave when first we practice to deceive!
#1.2.1 ANONYMOUS on 2009-04-27 06:38
are you all looking at the same picture? Sayidna Philip is not looking at the floor, but directly at the camera. You have a real problem Mark trying to make things out of something that simply isnt there. Furthermore, Bishops Mark and Basil not signing the document yet for futher clarification doesnt mean anything. Do you honestly think that the patriarchate will "clarify" things to mean that they are not auxilliaries...i think not.
The important point that you should be focusing on in you analysis is that all bishops agreed that the synod is the highest authority and they never once questioned their obedience as your letter asked them to do.
You asked them not to submit themselves to the directives of the patriarchate and as you can see from the statement released all are in obedience. And once the patriarchate sends another message to help get into their thick skulls, all will be said and done. You Mark have failed in dividing our God Protected Archdiocese and May God have mercy on you for all your meddling. Shame on you.
(editor's note: One could blame me for many things, but trying to divide the Archdiocese is not one. I didn't advocate, participate in or have anything to do with making the Archdiocese "self-ruled", create six new dioceses, consecrate six men diocesan bishops, and then attempt, by decree, to undo all of it. I am afraid the organizer of all that was Metropolitan Philip, since all was done officially by the Synod of Antioch, and last time I looked, he was the only American sitting at that table.
The meeting today was supposed to end things - it did no such thing. But you do raise an interesting question: one wonders what the Synod of Antioch will make of the current crisis?
#2 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 14:40
Why does this Anonymous author, and perhaps the same negative Anonymous author on another post, blame Mark for comments made by other people? I have never met Mark, nor do I know anything about him. I am thankful to him for allowing us to share our opinions (which are sometimes warped) on his website. Thank you Mark.
#2.1 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 15:22
You must be the "poor reading skills" anonymous. Neither Mark, nor the "Urgent appeal" asked the bishops to "not submit themselves to the directives" of the Patriarchate. The Appeal did not even ask the bishops to not sign. It asked the bishops not to sign if the letter was mendacious. Furthermore there is no official decree of the Synod of Antioch that the Auxiliaries have to sign *anything*.
If, the "obedience" spoken of in today's press release is the victory you claim, what further need of the Synod to get anything into the bishop's "thick skulls"? By the way, how does insulting and name calling bishops as you do further the unity and peace of your God-protected and beloved Archdiocese?
Instead of a unanimous statement of support, promised by the Met. himself earlier this week, we get the Archdiocese admitting:
"that there are some very serious issues that need attention in order that the healing process can proceed. The hierarchs agreed to take some specific actions that can facilitate this healing. " and "the hierarchs acknowledged that the decision had caused concern among the clergy and the people, and that there must be steps taken to begin to heal these misunderstandings. "
That's three references to "healing", and aknowledgement of concern, serious issues, misunderstandings. For the first time the Archdiocese admits that the "normalization" has created problems.
O, and I notice that the Archdiocese has a Synod again.
Of course, we do not know for certain if the proferred letter was mendacious, or if any of the bishops had even seen the Appeal. But it certainly looks like the Appeal was moderately succesful. At the very least, the bishops are seriously considering issues which occasioned the Appeal, which existed before the Appeal was written, and which exist whether or not OCAnews ever notices them.
But by all means try to rescue your own "glee" and "excitement" at being able to gloat more today, if that is your wish...
Priest Yousuf Rassam
St. Innocent Orthodox Church
#2.2 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 15:45
Do note that ANTIOCHIAN website says NOTHING of any signing of any letter. Thank you Mark for the only COMPLETE report. God bless Bishops Basil & Mark ... Alexander of Canada hedging but did'nt SIGN. The other three the expected affiliates of Met P. thinking - looking for their futures as usual. The Arch'd is vERY divided wuth the majority wanting OUT of Antioch but fearful (as usual) of speaking out. Met P. your legacy is stained and the old hidden disasters revealed now for all to see via OCANews.Org. St Raphael pray for us.
#2.3 Anonymous Antiochian Priest on 2009-04-24 15:50
I don’t know if I would accuse Bishop Alexander of “hedging” by making a note, instead of an outright refusal to sign. We don’t know what the note said. Perhaps his note will make a much more powerful statement than a blank space next to his name. May God bless all of our hierarchs and especially Bishops Basil, Mark, and Alexander for their refusal to sign.
#2.3.1 Anonymous on 2009-04-25 20:31
I think Bp Alexander was simply protecting himself from false accusation. The document was unacceptable to the three of them, but he knows MP is a master of spin to the patriarchate and to the AOCA. Look at his history. MP has told numerous lies to the people and misrepresented the agreements countless times. (See the Time Line elsewhere on the website).
MP controls release of information from the AOCA through antiochian.org and the Word magazine(Pravda).
Even his spin on this release from the Archdiocese is highly questionable. When did he EVER consider the Holy Synod the HIGHEST AUTHORITY in the Church of Antioch? Is not the HIGHEST AUTHORITY FOR MP and the Holy Synod US DOLLARS?
#184.108.40.206 anonymous on 2009-04-26 14:28
...Recently learned of OCANEWS and passing the word! Our Website and The WORD magazine all controlled like unto Pravda, yes. My Uncle recalls the BiLateral weekend seminar/meetings of corresponding Dept Heads of the OCA & Ant. Archd. At a RC college in the Bronx near the Hudson. Well attended and both Met Philip & Theodosius gave good opening addresses. Three days later after great agreement by ALL that we should unite, both Metropolitans failed to show as promised to hear the final reports. How sick are all remembering Met P's words, "And how can we unite without the Greeks?"
#220.127.116.11.1 Antiochian Layman on 2009-04-26 22:56
Now that I look at it again, Anonymous is right. Fess up. Who else missed the Dancing Unicorn?
#2.4 Christopher on 2009-04-24 16:00
Look closer. +Philip IS staring at the floor and yes, that's more of a grimace by +Antoun. They are all extremely uncomfortable.
In fact, +Philip looks so dejected I wonder if, as another poster suggested, he realizes what a hornswoggle this has been by the Patriarch. Maybe this was the doing of +Bartholomew, +Ignatius, and a rump of the overseas Metropolitans all along.
I can't get over +Philip's enthusiastic reception of +Jonah after the latter's fiery Vespers sermon, and with both their Chancellors in tow no less. Hardly the actions of a man opposed to an autocephalous and unified Church on American soil.
The joint statement is an EXTREMELY tepid document. If +Philip truly was hand-in-glove with the Holy Synod, I think a statement of full support would have been issued regardless of any dissent.
#2.5 Douglas on 2009-04-24 18:00
Well at this time Met. P is on the "outs" w/ Ec Pat. So he encourages Met Jonah (who is trying at least!) The Greek Metropolitans in USA are furious that Met. P. says the, "Diocese plan doesn't work!" Only in his mind as we see all of the Greek Metropolitans (raised to Metroplises) doing very well with their arrangement. AND cooperation with NO problems with Archbishop Demetrius in New York. Oh, Met. P. stop fantazing? Admit you must have control over everything. (The usual course for divorce among married coples.)
#2.5.1 Anonymous Ant. Priest & A Parishioner (East Coast) on 2009-04-26 11:10
Yes shame on you Mark for attempting to give a forum to those desiring clarity and truth.
"This thing of Ours" a Mafioso term for their business could have no better spokesman than our own Metropolitan Philip as he is now faced with the terrible realities of his great blunder.
I urge His Eminence to now carefully reconsider his attempted usurption of the Catholic prerogatives of a Bishop.
St. Pope Gregory the Great whom we revere warned us of Bishops who would dare elevate themselves above their brother Bishops as followers of the first apostate. He has been caught in that same snare and the parallels are worthy of notation.
For the genuine peace of The Church it is now time for him to find his way back to the Conciliary, Orthodox and Catholic consenus he once at least gave lip service to.
Unfortunately for despots we live in an age of information. BS does not go unchallenged in America..maybe in the old world but not here. So far the explanations from His Grace are shown to be bereft of any Orthodox substance and the more he justifies the less sense he makes.
Obviously he could not bully his way past the "Diocesans" as the communique showed. I actually believed he would. I have gained some more respect for the brave resistors to tyranny even as I was pleasantly surprised.
There is still time to do the right thing and to do it in such a way that does not make his ministry when he is a "Memory Eternal" an example of another hierarch falling short.
Let's all be honest and up front. This development and manufactured crisis never happens without the express urging and or consent of Met. Philip.
It is his doing and his ultimate undoing unless he repents of this ill-conceived course.
America ( More importantly Christ ) loves someone who admits their error. Why can't he do so, for the sake of The Kingdom?
It is not up to the properly enthroned Diocesans's to submit to an unjust edict but rather his Grace to find his way back.
#2.6 Kevin on 2009-04-24 18:59
Just because Englewood states the Bishops accepted the Holy Synod as the highest authority in the church, DON'T MAKE IT SO! They are grasping for straws as their prepared statement obviously was unacceptable to ALL present. Did they all have input into the statement? Probably not or they would have signed! Did they all have input into the press release? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
How could those who signed have any credability within their Dioceses when they accepted a decision in direct contradition to their *OATHS BEFORE GOD AT THEIR CONSECRATION TO UPHOLD THE SACRED CANONS*.
Does the Holy Synod of Antioch believe itself to be the highest authority in the Church? Does the Ecumenical Patriarch believe the Holy Synod of Antioch to be the highest authority in the Church?
Have not Councils and Synods betrayed the faith before? What is so special about this one? It serves MP needs! Does MP have his own collection of small puppets?
#2.7 Canons are to provid Order in the Church on 2009-04-24 20:52
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Thank you for your reflections dear Brother/Sister---they're excellent! One metropolitan and six suffragan bishops do NOT a Synod make---period! It's just about laughable...but it's too sad to laugh. This is from the start, "Philip's Folly"...and instead of leaving behind a noble heritage, he will leave behind an image much less dignified. At 78...he should be preparing for eternity, instead, he is acting like he's going to live here forever! How sad! My mom use to say, "There's no fool---like an old fool!" Ah, if he were a true man of prayer, he could look at this 'as if in a mirror' and see the foolishness of it all! Let us pray for him...that he WILL pray about all this and see what he's doing before it is too late! He should (if he were a man of noble courage): RETIRE NOW! God help us!
In His Holy Resurrection,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
CHRIST IS RISEN!
#2.7.1 Fr. Pius on 2009-04-27 13:49
Only thing that is correct is that Antioch will never clarify "anything" except to their own welfare. Give up America? Never! Same thinking as the Ec. Patriarchate! Never! God bless the faithful Bishops (three) who did'nt sign Met Philip's hard worked over letter. All tell me (who can dare) let him retire. Hearsay in the NY Times that the Cardinal of L.A. said next year his time is up. Turning 75!!
#2.8 Priest Anonymous on 2009-04-24 22:35
Don't you worry, Damascus may not be willing to clarify anything, in usual fashion, but they do understand money, or the lack of it! I am telling you, it is time to withhold the money. No more money for Food for the Hungry, no more tithes to the archdiocese, no more funding of St. Ignatius, until a full audit has been performed.
#2.8.1 Iskander Ibrahim on 2009-04-25 14:10
"Do you honestly think that the patriarchate will "clarify" things to mean that they are not auxilliaries...i think not."
For years, Metropolitan has controlled the information flow between our Archdiocese and the Patriarchate. He is now losing that cherished control, due in part to the information found on websites like Mark's.
Don't be surprised, Mr./Ms. Anonymous, if the Holy Synod of Antioch reverses itself once it finds out that all is not as Metropolitan Philip claimed when he lobbied for our Diocesan Bishops to be demoted.
And once the patriarchate sends another message to help get into their thick skulls, all will be said and done.
Another message? I wasn't aware of an initial message, only a cryptic amendment to the Holy Synod's Bylaws that could mean anything! Only Metropolitan Philip - not the Patriarch or the Holy Synod - have attempted to explain the intent behind the Bylaws amendment and its implications for our Archdiocese. From past experience, counting on Metropolitan Philip to accurately do that is, to say the least, a shaky proposition. Take a look at the Timeline on www.OrthodoxAttorneys.org if you doubt me.
And you should be careful about calling our God-pleasing Bishops men with “thick skulls.”
#2.9 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-04-25 05:27
Sorry, but I enlarged the picture, and there is absolutely no doubt +Philip is looking down to the ground. That shot says a great deal, his once "absolute" power has been broken. That really changes the game. In the past, the Antiochian Synod dealt with +Philip knowing he was in an unchallenged position back hone in North America- but now, the dynamics have changed, there is a challenge, and that will reflect on how the Synod deals in the future: their "sure thing" isn't so sure anymore.
#2.10 Harold G. on 2009-04-25 07:52
So much for wishful thinking on my part, it is time to get back to reality. The reality of this, reinforces my initial reaction. Satan continues to sift the Church. Lord have mercy!
#3 Marc Trolinger on 2009-04-24 14:41
The Archdiocese statement on the web-page is one perspective on the meeting. How accurate it is to the reality of what went on, the Met. and Bps. present at the meeting know. We must wait and see what the fruit of the meeting is, then we will know whether Satan was involved or the Holy Spirit. We can not jump to conclusions based on statements posted on websites. I think there is much hope to be found in the outcome of this meeting.
#3.1 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 15:07
As I recollected my previous observation, I forgot to add the current observation that perhaps three bishop did in fact manage to avoid the wheels of the bus that they were thrown under. May our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ give them the wisdom and strength to do what He would have them to do.
#3.2 Marc Trolinger on 2009-04-24 17:02
God bless all the hierarchs for their support in trying to work this out. In time it will all pan out, this was a productive start. We need to give them time because everyone knows from reading this web forum and others there are other issues at hand that need to be addressed. So all in all it was a positive one. God willing each of these other issues will be dealt with in a way to unite the Church once again. Even if it is enforced or not, the fact that they are working together we should support. I think it is best we all just sit back and let them figure the rest out. We obviously all brought up issues that i am sure they discussed today besides the Auxilary Bishop issue.
God bless and Happy Belated Pascha!
#4 William on 2009-04-24 14:59
Come on! The Bishops have spoken! The crisis is over! Now let's get back to the business of our "God-Protected Archdiocese".... throwing Arabic Dances, cooking up really awesome Arabic food and generally paying homage to the old-world way of doing things!
#5 Sarcastic Sub Deacon on 2009-04-24 15:09
no mark, you are right, you didnt help in getting self rule or creating six new dioceses, but you did, however, try to get people to enlist in order to disrupt the archdiocese. Your "open" letter to bishops asking them not to obey the directives of the patriarchate, you did. This is an example of trying to meddle to cause division and split. Rather than allow our people to trust in the fact that our metropolitan has a vision for us and in his mind believes this is best for us at this time, you try to cause chaos.
Furthermore, last time I checked, the orthodox church is a hierrarchy. It is not one where you can pick and choose the elements that you like off a menu. You trying to get our bishops to disobey Antioch or try to stir controversey is wrong. We should be focusing on what the statement says which is to promote healing and close wounds....that is, wounds that you helped to open.
(editor's note: I wrote no Open Letter. I published as a reflection the letter someone else wrote. I opened no wounds - at most I simply pointed out where they were, so that others with the authority, ability and ministry of so doing could do so, rather than just ignore them....)
#6 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 15:31
Mark did not cause the division or encourage it. He and others simply asked the DIOCESAN BISHOPS to be faithful to their VOWS to safeguard the FAITH and OBEY THE SACRED CANONS. IF SAFEGUARDING the FAITH and OBEYING the CANONS promotes rebellion, it is a rebellon needed so that they might flee a captivity of their minds and souls. How can MP or damascus ask them to betray Holy Orthodoxy? Their Vows? Orthodox Ecclesiology? Or their Flocks? Shame on the papist of Antioch!
#6.1 anonymous on 2009-04-25 13:35
There can be no joy in the troubles that our brothers and sisters in the AOCA are now facing. The OCA and the AOCA have weathered some difficult times in the past, individually and collectively. Yet, in the end, good will and an appreciation for our common history and work here in the USA has prevailed.
Who said that today's meeting was suppose to "end things?" Such reckless and rather feckless statements do nothing but inflame the passions, which don't need to be tempted by off the cuff comments. The AOCA will weather this storm and we, in the OCA can do more to help them by encouraging them to be faithful to the Church they hold canonical faithfulness to while at the same time not losing focus on their mission here, in this land, at this time.
Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Met. Philip is tired and not in good health. The others are deeply saddened and confused. They hurt not for themselves but for their flocks. These are good men. Not perfect and bruised by this whole episode.
While we post here, I wonder how many OCA clergy and faithful have reached out to our AOCA brethren to let them know we are praying for them without any agenda. I know that many were praying for us during our times of recent trial. They reached across to give us strength with their prayers, friendship and support. I have reached out to my Antiochian brothers and sisters, and with one of their bishops who is in this part of the country. These are my friends. Let us not revel in their pain nor be glib in our judgments of their Patriarch. God knows they have stepped into some pretty deep waters. Let us pray they can navigate them for the Glory of God.
#7 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 15:31
Just read the Archdiocese website after not experiencing any seismic tremors with the epicenter in Englewood. Looks like the only thing these hierarchs can stand up for is a photograph. Who really thought that any of them could push back on this? They all kiss each other’s hands and then go home to correct 'misunderstandings'. They have their work cut out for them on that score but who believes they are up to the task. Perhaps it’s just as well they were made auxiliaries since that’s just how they act – all smoke no fire – ‘yes’ men to the core, cardboard cutouts - I wouldn't want one running my diocese.
I’ll pray for them and call them 'master' but keep my tongue in my cheek. It’s a good play - well scripted albeit predictable - great costumes and magnificent backdrops – and you can’t beat the music in any language.
In the end you have to ask; what’s all the fuss about – our churches are open – the ‘actors’ might come and go – they always have. Orthodox unity is as elusive a dream as ever – the American Church is as convenient a myth as ‘self-rule’. It’s over one hundred years since the first major Orthodox migration from Eastern Europe and Asia Minor and we still have our ethnic communities – because that’s how we want it – that’s how it works.
The immigrants and their children all assimilated to the new culture – became proficient in English, went to the best schools, opened successful businesses, excelled in their professions but the Church never did quite as well – probably can’t – may not really need to. As one Theologian noted, we are an insignificant minority on the American religious landscape. Not much revolves around -1% of the population – especially when it’s also divided into a couple dozen distinct entities. There’s hardly 50,000 Antiochians spread from Florida to Alaska – we couldn’t even fill a football stadium.
The converts [like me] have always been welcomed, embraced, accepted and supported and I’m extremely grateful and have felt at home here for nearly forty years. I’m a first generation Irish immigrant. I revere the faith I was born into and thank her for educating me in the ‘fear of God’ and introducing me to the Eastern Church. I am an Orthodox Christian by conviction and am thankful for a beautiful home where I live out my Christian faith in peace and with joy. I am an Arab by osmosis and am grateful for the countless pious Christian believers who welcomed me into their ancient and wonderful world of mystery and majesty. I never experienced any complex from being an Orthodox Irish American Arab.
It’s a shame that the ethnic / cradle / convert game is being played out on this website and I would hope the new generation ‘converts’ with their obvious Protestant axes to grind and the ‘reenactors’ with their 17th century Russian gear can tone it down before they inflict real wounds that will affect all our communities and will never completely heal – no matter who our bishops are or what title they may bear.
An old Boston Theologian once noted that ‘all ecclesiology is local’, I think some Saints said something like this before him, there just might be something to it.
#8 Bernard in Boston on 2009-04-24 15:32
Personally, I'd like to see the AOCA drift back to being ruled by Damascus, but my reasoning is selfish.
Note the words healing were used in the official script released today. News flash, healing implies wounds have been made. Wounds imply someone did harm to someone else through their actions or nonaction last time I checked. Whenever I've harmed someone I go to Confession to repent for my sins. But a Bishop ought to really reconsider his decision when he repents for harming someone if you are asking me.. I understand my official position is that of a 3rd grader, but I'll keep it.
Should all the Bishops simply go along with the 'higher order' wounding decision, the thing can end and this forum can go back to discussing Metropolitan Jonah's letter revisioning his vision for the OCA which I consider to be very important and very undercooked here. The only discussion I've seen thus far is my continued complaining that there hasn't been any!
#9 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-04-24 16:02
It is obvious that the Metropolitan wants to puts the best face on this mess, and so his supporters can claim victory if they wish, but the genie is out of the bottle, and things will not be the same. The people of this Archdiocese deserve an explanation about the machinations behind this action from Antioch. Will they get it? Perhaps not, but the membership is now deeply divided, and I doubt that the 75% number of convert priests ( and other cradle Orthodox priests) will simply roll over and play dead. Nobody wants to harm the Church, but until this vaunted leader (MP) is willing to come off his throne and level with the laity, nothing is resolved. I, for one, will not give any monies that go to Englewood until there are actual audits of Church funds. Sadness and perplexity reign at the end of Bright Week.
And I, for one, think that the photograph is indeed very revealing.
#10 anon on 2009-04-24 16:14
Bishop Basil looks grim, not stunned. I know his face well.
By enlarging the picture 600% it is clear that Met. Philip's eyes are not open looking at the camera, it could be he just blinked at the wrong time.
Let us be careful reading into things what our own bias projects, whatever our position in this matter.
I suspect that barring any clear evidence of malfesance as long as Met Philip leaves the Bishops more or less alone, People's outward disturbance will subside. In part because we love the Church more that Met. Philip and don't want to disrupt without a clearer understanding.
If Met. disciplines any of the Bishops, particularly +Basil or +Basil resigns, that will be a different story.
The possibility of withholding money and refusing reassignments is very real as well as many laity leaving.
The Bishops are the least of Met. Phililp's worries. No coerced joint statement will settle anything.
The cult of monarchical bishops must go.
#11 Michael Bauman on 2009-04-24 16:26
I love the spin that the official statement put on the situation, calling it all a "misunderstanding," and referring to the unprecedented and anticanoniccal dissolving of dioceses and dethroning of bishops as "normalization." There's nothing "normal" about having auxiliary bishops.
It will be interesting to find out what sort of "clarification" the Patriarchate will give. "Whoops, sorry. We did something against holy tradition. What are you going to do about it?" Well, maybe for starters, we can stop giving inordinate amounts of money to these bishops without a proper accounting (such as is mandated in the holy canons). A higher church administration such as this has demonstrated an arbitrariness which calls into question not only why they need these millions of dollars (a good question under any circumstances), but also how can they be trusted with the livelihood of their flock/subjects?
The intrigue indulged in by some, but not all, Orthodox hierarchs is tiresome, not to mention unnecessary and even often detrimental to the advancement of Orthodoxy. With less money to throw around, maybe they would have more time to do actual spiritual work visiting parishes and teaching the faithful. Instead, we have expensive dinners. campaigns for autonomy organized and executed on high, and machinations to take autonomy away when the powers that be don't like it anymore. It's fickle and reckless. It is this initial behavior on the part of Metropolitan Philip and the Patriarchate that is causing problems and disturbing the peace or the Church, not the reaction to it.
The Metropolitan's and the Patriarchate's rash actions have caused at the very least mass confusion amongst the faithful. I would bet that the majority of American Antiochians (cradles and converts) are neither giddy nor angry over the divorcing of bishops from their dioceses but are frustrated by the lack of clear communication from the Metropolitan and the Patriarchate. There was certainly a lot more explanation given over the establishment of autonomy than its destruction. The talk of "preserving unity" is a shoddy excuse, especially in a land where Orthodoxy is not in any kind of administrative unity.
Indeed. Lord have mercy. Englewood will not receive another single cent from me or my family until this self-induced debacle is resolved.
#13 Anonymous on 2009-04-24 18:03
No, the crisis certainly is NOT over, and I guess it was folly to think it would be after this charade of a meeting. This will get worse before it gets better because the devil is dancing in the Church. Metropolitan Philip refuses to accept that his days of control by bullying are waning. The Archdiocese is a self-ruling American church, and the people of God are going to resist its deconstruction. May the Holy Spirit keep guiding them into all truth, with the strength to resist caving to ungodly "despots" in our midst.
#14 Anonymous for a reason on 2009-04-24 19:54
I read the stament on the Archdiocese website, which stated they had a productive meeting and there are some issues for them to resolve.
What is this of a Statement and what was the content of the statement?
#15 Concern Antiochian on 2009-04-24 20:06
I was digging around in my bookstacks and found this quote from an historic document of the Antiochian Archdiocese:
"By that I mean obedience and tradition, the ANTIOCHIAN Tradition...
We auxiliary Bishops are very united and cohesive with our primate Metropolitan PHILIP. We meet two times a year. All decisions are made after discussion, prayer and meditation."
I'm not commenting on that controversy, but for the very familiar directives in this letter. In addition, when the auxilliary bishops were just that, they found true unity with the Metropolitan. I kind of wonder why people should be unhappy now when this was the understanding 11 years ago.
#16 Curiouser and curiouser on 2009-04-25 01:03
11 years ago, we weren't being fed the illusion that we were a "self-ruled" Archdiocese.
11 years ago, our bishops were still auxiliary bishops of non-existent overseas dioceses, not enthroned bishop of local dioceses.
11 years ago, Metr. Philip hadn't yet given many of us any reason to mistrust him.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#16.1 Nemo on 2009-04-25 16:14
Well Nemo you hit it on the head - although more than 11 yrs ago MANY were dismayed at poor financial reports. And the Father Joe Allen debacle which Met. Phillip still brags about! And the transfer of clergy who disagree with him. Yes (Orthodox word) a real Despota! Yes, time to retire. Hang in there 3 Bishops with "minds". The other three are well known by us for their ambitions....
#16.1.1 Anonymous Ant. Parishioner on 2009-04-26 00:45
While Satan is no doubt a great encourager of schism, turmoil and a host of other nasty things that trouble the Church let's not be to quick to hang it completely on him.
His diabolical schemes must have willing accomplices to have any chance of success. We do well to remember that according to Met. Philip, the Diocesans did nothing to bring about this new directive. I'd say they are effectively eliminated from consideration.
So while we can wring our hands and bemoan the activity of the enemy of our souls our attention might be better directed towards those whose ear he seems to have.
#17 Kevin on 2009-04-25 04:55
Er...just which one is smiling, Mark?
#18 Anthony on 2009-04-25 05:44
Is a copy of the "broader statement" available or a reliable summary of its contents?
(editor's note: I suggest you ask Metropolitan Philip.)
#19 John Congdon on 2009-04-25 07:52
I seriously doubt we need to look for a BROADER STATEMENT. MP controls the webpage and the diocesan pages as well. He controls the contents and editorials for the WORD magazine too. The statements released are more than likely much broader than even the three who did not sign would agree too. Don't you think if they agreed on ths much they would have at least signed an agreement on what they could agree upon as a first step?
#19.1 anonymous on 2009-04-25 14:21
It would seem to me that since autonomy was granted and ruling hierarchs established over territorial dioceses -by seeking to abolish the dioceses integrety by denuding the ruling bishops of their authority and refering all authority back to Met. Phillip, he has effectively become a .... bishop violating numerous canons.
#20 John Peter Presson on 2009-04-25 16:53
Mark, I think you deserve a purple heart, Gold Star, or whatever Orthodox version of a reward for shedding sunlight on OCA, Englewood and Damascus. Keep it up!
(editor's note: Purple heart, for sure! But thank you for the kind thought.)
#21 Kevin Klein on 2009-04-26 11:34
It bothers me to see this being depicted by some as an Arab vs. non-Arab issue. I don't think it is as easy as that. Satan would like nothing else than to see us divided along racial lines. The problem is pride. As long as the devil can make us think it is a racial conflict and not sin in our hearts he wins.
(editor's note: I do not think anyone is trying to make this a racial issue: it is, however, clear that cultural misunderstandings and assumptions play a role in the ongoing crisis. That aspect must be addressed if the crisis is going to be resolved. Let us hope people can do so without making the divisions worse.)
#22 Racism on 2009-04-26 11:58
Christ is Risen!
The Patriarchate ammending its own by-laws, albeit strange not to happen in a regular session of the Synod, makes perfect sense for the Church of Antioch outside America.
A diocese is headed by a Metropolitan and all decisions are his to make. Further, now is a good time to make these changes as all bishops in Antioch are Metropolitans with the exception of three in the Archdiocese of Damascus (Bishop Ghattas [Patriarchal Vicar], Bishop Luke [Patriarchal Assistant] and another Patriarchal Assistant whose name I have forgotten).
This is pure speculation on my part but perhaps these changes have been made so that the position of Assistant Bishop is clarified before a new group of them are consecrated? This would make perfect sense.
Now obviously questions remain. Whatever the differences between the constitutions agreed by Damascus and Pittsburgh the Synod would know that diocesan bishops exist in America who are not metropolitans, no mention of this is made in the Synod's change to the by-laws. Again speculation, but perhaps they were given reassurances from somewhere that further clarification was not necessary?
The Patriarchate has not issued any comment on this situation so far. Why is this? Is it because they do not know what is happening? Are the only lines of communication still through Englewood? If people write to members of the Holy Synod, especially His Beatitude, they are more likely to be able to effect change. Best method is either post (Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, PO Box 9, Damascus, Syria) or fax (+963 11 5424404).
I have only watched these happenings from afar as I am not in the North American Archdiocese but I feel the pain this has caused throughout the Church. Prayer is the most effective way forward but after that tell the members of the Holy Synod (contact details for most of them can be obtained from http://www.orthodoxattorneys.org/docs/exh/Ex_72_-_Members_of_the_Holy_Synod_of_Antioch.pdf) how you feel.
With love in the Risen Christ
#23 Alex on 2009-04-27 05:51
A METROPOLITAN diocese is headed by a Metropolitan archbishop. A DIOCESE is headed by a bishop. "Auxliary Bishops" are the innovative "helper bees."
#23.1 Antionymous on 2009-04-27 09:34
"Corbishops", or bishops in the country (not city) and having less authority than city bishops, are an ancient office in the Church. The Maronites still call them "corbishops," and I've always assumed that they were basically the same ideas as the "auxilliary."
If theyre "innovative," it's news to me. But I'm no expert, so quite able to be corrected.
#23.1.1 Rdr. Tracey on 2009-04-28 00:16
The following communique was sent by Bishop Basil to the clergy of his used to be diocese.
METROPOLITAN SABA of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran has recently informed me that, due to circumstances beyond his control, he will be unable to attend our Parish Life Conference in Wichita this June 10th-13th. His Eminence, who will be greatly missed, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's getting to be a real Orthodox Soap Opera. Is the Patriarchate ready to put the squeeze on Bishop Basil?..tune in tommorrow.
#24 Kevin on 2009-04-27 14:55
Perhaps His Eminence, the Angel of Hauran, is shamed at the lack of filial love shown for his recently proclaimed sister diocese in purporting to remove its bishop in violation of the Holy Canons.
Or maybe he didn't want his ear chewed off by the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America demanding his repentance for his part in this debacle.
Or perhaps His Beatitude Ignatius IV didn't want to give the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita the chance to lobby directly a member of rump of the Holy Synod of Antioch that caused this debacle.
#24.1 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-04-28 17:34
More than likely, Metropolitan Saba-- a holy man with a good heart and a poor archdiocese-- has been made aware of the political pressure that Metropolitan Philip can bring to bear on him through his political connections. Anyone here ever wonder why Metropolitan Philip spends more time with Syrian and Lebanese political connections when he visits the Middle East than he does with Church people? A coincidence it ain't. People over there don't realize that America is huge and has a plethora of jurisdictions, of which Antioch is just one (consider if you're Russian and living in Damascus; to what Church do you go? An Antiochian one, obviously. The diaspora is senseless to them.). They think, for the most part, that Metropolitan Philip represents Orthodoxy in America, period. Of course, he does nothing to dissuade them from their opinion and does everything he can to curry favor with the politicos, there. If he has them believing teh illusion that he is "big stuff," he can then use the political process to bend the Holy Synod to his will.
Remember that the Christians over there are just trying to survive. A threat by the Syrian government, for instance, to close down a facility that serves Metropolitan Saba's people could have dire consequences for Metropolitan Saba's people. We must understand this. It may be better for him and his people to avoid coming.
Here's a thought-- y'all who think Bishop Basil did fine work this past Friday ought to schedule yourselves to attend his Parish Life Conference, particularly if you're part of his diocese. Same goes for Bishop Mark's and Bishop Alexander's. Let's put on a huge showing of support for these three men who are, currently, bearing the weight of "doing the right thing" out in the open. Metropolitan Philip can't stand these guys' refusal to bend to his will, so let's show up en masse to cheer them on and tell them that they have our full support and aren't just out there on their own. Let's push attendance levels to unprecedented letters. If you own a business, pay for an ad in the Parish Life Conference booklets, even if they're small. Show your support. Put your money and time where your heart is and encourage others to do the same.
#24.2 Silouan James on 2009-04-29 09:46
It's important to remember that revenue from the Parish Life Conferences and Archdiocesan Convention goes to the hosting parishes, not the Archdiocese. If you're in the Eastern, Southeastern, or Western Region, i.e, one of the former dioceses of Charleston, Los Angeles, or Miami, it's also important to attend to let your former hierarch know just how disgusted you are with their total spinelessness.
The same is true of the Archdiocesan Convention in Palm Springs. If those of us who support our bishops don't show up, Metr. Philip's parasitical sycophants will make it a very unpleasant experience for those who have taken a stand on our behalf.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#24.2.1 Nemo on 2009-04-29 13:39
Actually, the hosting parish only receives a percentage of the proceeds (if memory serves, it was approximately 45%). The Archdiocese receives the $10 per head registration fee and I believe the rest went to various Archdiocesan groups (e.g., Antiochian Women, etc.).
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2009-04-30 06:46
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BISHOP!
#25 Antionymous on 2009-04-29 17:08
Wonderful article. Well done once again.
One final note. The three who did not sign did not do so because they have a VOCATION and they take their oaths seriously.
Pehaps the three who signed did so because they have a CAREER and take their careers seriously. This is precisely what Bp Demetri complained about when sentenced in 2003, "This will end my CAREER." There is a big difference.
.....Lord have mercy.
To some the prayers and services of the Church are something to be gotten overwith. To others every word communicates something Divine.
#26 a vocation is not a career on 2009-04-30 22:28
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