Friday, May 1. 2009
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Truly pathetic again. Keep dragging and dragging and dragging. the only other question you didn't ask was what was his shoe size and favorite Lenten food.
(Editor's note: Of course, I remember in the Scriptures that woman who kept dragging and dragging and dragging that judge until, finally, the judge ....)
#1 William on 2009-05-01 07:00
HAHAHAHA...lolololol...if you think that the patriarch is going to respond to an intemized list of questions like that, you are insane! There is no way in hell that he would ever respond to such a letter, especially one by someone that cant sign his/her name. He doesnt answer to you...my God, who do you think you people are for the patriarch to come down and respond to such foolish questions. Im sorry to burst your bubble, but seriously I suggest using your time and labor in more useful ways to resolve this crisis.
Its like sending a letter to the pope asking for "clarification"...get real.
#2 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 07:08
I agree that the letter is a bit detailed. However, had the letter simply been sent to the Metropolitan, I would ahve to agree completely with your comment: "Its like sending a letter to the pope asking for "clarification"...get real."
On the other hand, I would hope that the Patriarch would understand that we, his poor children, can't get canonical answers out of our father Metropolitan Philip and must approach His Beatitude in the hope that he will hear our plight and respond.
#2.1 Silouan James on 2009-05-01 16:12
William and Anonymous,
What can one say to such responses? It's truly sad. Who do you think the Patriarch is? Is he not a sinner and a man? He can't respond to questions? His brothers and sisters in Christ can't ask him questions? Do you see this model of leadership in the holy scriptures or the holy fathers? +Ignatius is our bishop, our loving father and shepherd in Christ, not our emperor, thank God.
William, as a convert do you really believe that this model of leadership reflects the "true Church." I feel sorry for you if you think that this is Christianity. My heart is saddened to think that people would convert to Orthodoxy as you seem to understand it.
"Who do you think you people are for the patriarch to come down and respond to such foolish questions."
Amazing! This is nothing but arrogance and pride. I expect that +Ignatius would reject this characterization of himself and his role as patriarch.
#2.2 David Feliciano on 2009-05-01 17:04
Cut off the money to Englewood and you cut it off to Damascus. Hold your money in a separate account until proper order is restored. The Greeks did and it worked. Abp JOB did so and it worked.
If they don't want our questions then let us not give them our money.
#2.3 anonymous on 2009-05-01 21:05
Nice taunting and use of language, clearly amongst the nominal crowd this really isn't that big of a deal, it is just part of the world they are a part of (rather than living apart from). Mock now, feel free to spit on those of us who seek accountability, honestly we wouldn't be amongst the first Christians to be spat on and mocked.
#2.4 David L on 2009-05-04 10:14
Wow. These sound like deposition questions designed to elicit affirmations or denials in preparation for a trial. If their implications are true, and I have no doubt they are, then the AOCA is toast.
I thank God that we HAVE NOT followed the Holy Canons in regards to "one bishop per city" here in the USA. Now that the AOCA is truly imploding, we the faithful have 14 other jurisdictions to choose from.
Multiple jurisdictions is our protection from insane bishops. I no longer support administrative unity. Competition between the jurisdictions is the best way to safeguard the faith.
Maybe I will choose one of the other 14 to call home. If that one then goes insane, I'll simply pick another. With me and my family also go our donations of time and cash. Maybe when the hierarchs realize that we value the free market in America, they will think twice before they go crazy and abandon what we deeply care about. They will also think twice knowing their donations will fall off, since they have no other skills with which to earn money.
Of course, they could avoid that problem by working for a living instead of taking from the people (as St. Paul also worked for a living instead of taking), which would relieve the temptation to be corrupted by the need to acquire money, but that is another story for another day.
#3 Anonymous Antionchian on 2009-05-01 07:13
Methinks I hear an echo from a now famous western monk banging on a now famous door in Wittenberg on the eve of the western All Saints Day in 1517.
This monk only ever intended to reform his Church & stay within it - but was eventually forced out by corrupt clergy who wanted none of his "reforms", but all of the status-quo.
If Damascus does not wish for a repeat of the history that flowed from that event almost 500 years ago, it will respond with great celerity and transparency to this list.
Those that were eventually forced out founded a movement some of whose parts are now growing from strength to strength - just ask the converts in Antioch - they will know what I am referring to.
#3.1 John B on 2009-05-03 15:13
Wow. An attempt to answer at least SOME of these questions, would be most welcome.....
#4 Antionymous on 2009-05-01 07:42
As someone who is generally sympathetic to the opponents of the Synodal decision as a matter of principle and policy (although not, by any means, to all of their public conduct), I ask two sincere questions of the author of this letter:
1) Have you caused your letter to be translated into Arabic? It is unreasonable to expect His Holiness to proffer a thorough and timely response to such a lengthy and nuanced set of questions in a tongue not his own. For the same reasons, why was he not invited to respond in Arabic?
2) Have you transmitted your letter by any means other than the Internet? Syria has one of the most restricted and limited Internet portals in the world, and, besides that, one can hardly expect His Holiness to blog.
The author's questions are well-put, meritorious, and deserve answers. But if they have been posed only in English and only electronically, they invite dismissal from supporters of the Synodal decision, on the grounds that their sheer volume and tight deadline amount to a "setup" of His Holiness.
Please forgive me if you have already attended to these considerations.
#5 A Sinner on 2009-05-01 08:05
I agree with the above two questions. If the author of the letter did not have it translated into Arabic before sending, and if he did not send a hard copy to a physical address, as opposed to an internet copy to Damascus, how can we honestly expect an answer? Also, since this is an anonymous letter to who is the Patriarch suppose to send his responses even if he wanted to? If the author of the letter reads this question, please respond. Thank you.
#5.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 21:16
From the Wikipedia entry on Patriarch Ignatius: While his native language is Arabic, he also speaks fluent English and French.
#5.1.1 Mickey Hodges on 2009-05-03 12:40
For those who would like to make sure His Beatitude receives the letter non-electronically, here is contact info:
His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV(Hazim)
Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East
P.O. Box 9
Tel.: +963 11 5424400
Fax: +963 11 5424404
#5.1.2 Mickey Hodges on 2009-05-03 17:22
Since Metropolitan Philip has shown his disregard for the Holy Synod for the last several years how can communication be better facilitated?
You know he has misrepresented you on NUMEROUS OCCASIONS.
Would it not be better to have each Bishop of North America on the Holy Synod functioning as a full Diocesan Bishop? The parishes would certainly flourish. Communication would improve and each bishop would bring their own clergy to represent their DIOCESES.
Currently those who speak on our behalf do so SECRETLY.
Did the V Rev Joseph Antypas, V Rev Constantine Nasr and Anthony Gabriel and other clergy of North America visit with you in the Fall prior to your coming to Boston to discuss our situation in North America?
THEY DO NOT SPEAK FOR OUR ARCHDIOCESE!!!
Why were you kept from the people and most ESPECIALLY OUR OWN BISHOPS last fall in Boston? Perhaps we lready know that!
Given our Constitution approved in Pittsburgh differs from the Damascus Constitution how may we proceed to rectify this situation?
Our Constitution was based completely on self rule, which ever CONSTITUTION we accept, both appear meaningless at this point. In both it was AGREED WE WOULD ADMINISTER OUR OWN AFFAIRS INTERNALLY. This uncanonically reduction of our Bishops is prceived as an attack on our Archdiocese.
Why have you and the HOLY SYNOD SOUNGHT TO VIOLATE YOUR PREVIOUS AGREEMENT WITH US WITHOUT SO MUCH AS MEETING WITH THE FAITHFUL AND ALL OF OUR BISHOPS?
Pease make yourself available to ALL the Faithful and All the Clergy and ALL the Priests and MOST ESPECIALLY ALL OF OUR BISHOPS.
This is something Metropolitan PHILIP is completely unable to do. He refuses to meet with our priests to discuss the issues. How can a father abuse his children in this way and mainatin any credibility of his laboring in their best interests?
We love you and resect your Office. WILL YOU RECEIVE OUR DIOCESAN BISHOPS AT YOUR NEXT SYNOD MEETING? SHOULD THEY NOT BE PRESENT WHEN YOU DISCUSS THEM AND THEIR DIOCESE YOU CONSECRATED THEM TO SERVE?
#6 anonymous aoca clergy on 2009-05-01 08:07
No these clergy did not meet with the Patriarch.
#6.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-06 13:41
It's sad that Metr. Philip will now be remembered for actions, based on Machiavellian duplicity and/or senile paranoia, that have opened a new Brooklyn-Toledo split between Antiochians in the US and Canada, when he was to have been remembered for healing such a split until just a few short weeks ago.
What was once seemingly a united Antiochian body in the US and Canada is now rent asunder. On one side, the Dioceses of Ottawa, Toledo, and Wichita continue to hold to the vision of self-rule once espoused but now betrayed by Metr. Philip that will, hopefully bring us closer to Orthodox unity in Noth America. On the other side, the Archdiocese of New York and its subservient Eastern, New England, Northwestern, Eastern, Southeastern, and Western Regions who have reverted to a sad system of phyletistic monarchical rule exercised through auxiliary viziers.
Has Metr. Philip gone mad? Does he relish the thought of facing Ben Lomond-type litigations in twenty American states and four Canadian provinces all at once? Who could possibly benefit from all this?
There is one bishop who is not like his brothers of what was once the Local Synod. Of the six active diocesan and former diocesan bishops, five were elected locally, but one was imposed from abroad. Of the six active diocesan and former diocesan bishops, five served as pastors here, but one served as secretary to the Holy Synod in Damascus. Sadly, only he seems to benefit from all of this.
Before this whole mess started in February, it seemed unlikely that Bp. Joseph would have been selected by those of a self-ruled archdiocese to succeed Metr. Philip. Now that, theoretically, neither the laity nor his brother bishops will have any say in the matter, all obstacles have been removed for Bp. Joseph to fulfill the mission for which he was originally infiltrated into the US: to succeed Metr. Philip and to maintain control over the Archdiocese for the benefit of Damascus.
While I enjoyed reading the open letter to the Patriarch, it borders on the realm of fantasy to believe that any meaningful response will ever be received to it. "Pray, pay, and obey," have always been the marching orders from our until recently benevolent despot in Englewood. Why would we expect to hear any different from the arch-despot in Damascus?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#7 Nemo on 2009-05-01 08:14
No signature on the letter sent to the patriarchate, most definatly this letter will be going to number 11 file.
Hope you know that number eleven file is trash file.....
#7.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-02 05:06
The letter conflates a great many things that may or may not bear any relation. Also, there is never any incentive to answer an anonymous letter, much less one that pounds its recipient with forty questions.
#8 Doug Smith on 2009-05-01 08:36
Excellent letter, but I think it will go 100% unanswered and unacknowledged.
I do hope I am wrong.
#9 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 09:56
mark, you ask what i would ask the patriarch? i would ask him to shut the mouths of the dissentors and command obedience to the resolution handed by the holy synod in which he presides over. for those who dont like it, can go join the oca.
#10 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 11:37
Thank you, Fr. Shalhoub. Your opinion has been duly noted.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#10.1 Nemo on 2009-05-01 22:59
You may ask that, O courageous Anonymous, but you would ask in vain. A Patriarch, or Synod, may command obedience to that which is contrary to the Holy Canons and the established order of the Church, and the faithful, if they are truly faithful Orthodox, will be obedient to the Church and the Holy Canons. Many glorified saints proved their sanctity by obeying God rather than man in things ecclesiatical--St. John Chrysostom, St. Maximos the Confessor, St. Theodore the Studite spring readily to mind.
And there is a little puzzle here: the 'resolution' as you term it was an amendment to the Bylaws of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Now, if, as you seem to believe, the Bylaws of the Patriarchate are so sacrosanct that they trump the canons that provide a bishop may not be removed from his see without either a trial on charges or his own consent, how is it that those Bylaws, which require that 11 members of the Holy Synod be present for the Holy Synod to conduct business can be amended by eight members of the Holy Synod with another signature FAXed in?
#10.2 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-05-02 07:05
Sauce for the goose, anonymous. How about starting at the top, and demanding obedience from Met. Philip? How about that constitution that the Patriarch and Synod have commanded? If you've forgotten it, let me help your memory, the Patriarch signed every page. The Met said that we have to follow legal procedures, So I assume one as into obedience as him is prepared to propose the Damascus constitution to the convention this summer. O yes, the Damascus version granted the bishops of the Archdiocese a great right of Appeal to the Synod above the Met's head which he said compromised the self rule. I would say that compromising self rule is a moot point now any way. And if the bishops are no longer to have their seats on the Synod as ruling bishops, then a right of appeal is the very least they could be given as well as a good example of obedience from the Met who demands it of others.
Priest Yousuf Rassam
#10.3 Anonymous on 2009-05-02 23:27
"...shut the mouth of the dissentors (sic)...) Oh, I get it! Something like what the Sanhedrin did to that troublesome rabbi. Because the religious authorities are never self-interested, are always right, and must be obeyed.
#10.4 Scott Walker on 2009-05-04 15:12
Christ is Risen!
Wow what great questions! Maybe this letter should be read on Sunday from all the Antiochian pulpits.
I really hope this letter was sent to the Patriarch because he will never see it; if it is just sits on this web-page.
Another Anonymous Antiochian Priest
#11 None Given on 2009-05-01 11:57
I hope & I pray that the Patriarch will answer these questions.
#12 Sub-Deacon George (St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Ottawa) on 2009-05-01 13:02
The questions raised in "An Open Letter to the Patriarch" cover most every issue that has been raised during this entire controversy. The entire "mess" has been so muddled, incoherent and confused that the faithful in the AOCA, both laity and priests, deserve clear, and this time, coherent explanations. One of the most telling of the questions posed for me was the issue regarding Patriarch Ignatius' last visit to the United States, just two or three months before the controversy erupted. If this was something about to happen, why weren't the Bishops informed at the time? Why were they caught unawares and publicly humiliated?
Bishop Basil's demotion is especially troublesome since he is beloved by his people, and not just the priests, but the laity as well. If something happens to him, there will be an uproar in that part of the country that could deeply damage the AOCA.
Likewise many of the churches in Bishop Mark's diocese have the same sort of feelings about this kind man, although he has detractors whose loyalties lie with the Metropolitan and the past. Their attitude toward Bishop Mark has poisoned relations in the Midwest, and it will take considerable time for them to heal.
We can only pray that this time of troubles will recede and that the
AOCA can be healed. May God be with us all.
#13 anon on 2009-05-01 13:14
Thank God there are actually few dissenters in the Midwest. Two priests who want a tribal system of government based on personal laoyalty... and another one in N. E Ohio who runs more of a Casino and Bar (not really a Church).
The parishioners do not have any problems with their bishop. They will readily admit the problem is with their own priest from whom they seek deliverance from capativity. Priests who are protected regardless of Canonical violations and heretical actions and statements.
Lord, have mercy.
Let us be freed from this captivity!
#13.1 anonymous on 2009-05-02 05:23
Time for a change.....just ask OBAMA..
#14 Kalos Alithea on 2009-05-01 14:26
In question #5, the author stated, “…the Patriarchate permits Sacraments for all Christians regardless of their church membership.” I find this statement very disturbing if it is true. Can the author or anyone else provide to me a document or evidence to show me that this is indeed true?
#15 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 15:39
It's true! We have members of the Coptic church communing in our parish every Sunday, at the express direction of Metropolitan Philip. I won't say which parish out of respect for the priest, but if you want to confirm this, ask Fr. Ed Hughes of Lawrence Mass if it is OK for Copts to receive communion. He will openly tell you "yes".
Fr. Ed is the Dean of the Diocese -- sorry -- Region of New England. He is the one who is in charge of enforcing the rules of the Liturgy in our local parishes. He will tell you they do it in the Middle East and that it is OK to do it here. But don't bother bringing any complaints to him -- you will find a deaf ear.
Of course, it is not OK. The Copts do not believe the same things we do, but what can we lay peons do? Nothing, that's what.
Just as St. Jerome said, the world "awoke with a groan to find itself Arian", so we awake now with a groan to find ourselves heterodox.
#15.1 Anonymous Antionchian on 2009-05-01 16:39
Thank you for the response. I am the one who asked the original question. However, the wording in the original letter stated “…all Christians regardless of their church membership.” In this country we use the word “Christian” rather broadly. What I’m asking is would the Patriarch allow a Roman Catholic, a Baptist, a Lutheran, an Anglican, or a member of the Church of God in Christ to receive the Holy Gifts? The wording of the question implies that he does. I do thank you for your response concerning the Coptic church, but I am still wondering about other “Christian” denominations. Any input?
#15.1.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 20:53
When Patriarch Ignatius visited W St Paul a few years back, there were many strange faces unknown to the priest. The priest did the usual announcement before communion, i.e., "we welcome everyone . . . Communion is a Sacramental expression of Unity with the Church and her Doctrine, . . only those who are prepared, . . recent confession, . . fasting . . may receive the Holy Gifts . . . the Holy Bread may be received by all at the end of the service.
Pat. Ignatius asked the priest why he stated one must be Orthodox to receive Holy Communion!
Pat. Ignatius Concelebrated the Consecration of the Holy Altar with a Melkite Bishop. Christians are a very small minority over there and they all tend to be muchmore conservative than here.
A Roman Catholic there is much closer to us than a RC here. I am not defending, but explaining.
They also care for the Syriac people and perfom Sacraments for one another where there is a shortage of clergy. They actually have a joint agreement for this. ;-(
#18.104.22.168 anonymous on 2009-05-02 08:44
Christ is risen!
Dear Anonymous Antiochian,
You write that: The Copts do not believe the same things we do.
You enter into a bit of a new subject, albeit derivative of the open communion matter already established. When a priest is ordained, he is handed the Lamb and told that he is responsible for it. The bishops (who are also priests) are even more so because they are charged with deciding for the Church who is or is not to be communed. Both bishops and us simple parish priests will have to give an account for our actions in this regard. It is serious business and ought to be considered as such. Communing heterodox would be most grievous indeed!
Now, back to the specific issue of statement. I have known Copts who have entered into the Eastern Orthodox Church (they are lay and clergy, though entered as lay, I believe). I have not known any to have changed their faith, nor have I heard them speak of any difference between our and the Oriental Orthodox faith.
What differences are you claiming between the faith(s?) of the Eastern Orthodox and Copts?
If you wish to call them monophysite heretics, first consider the prayer that they say before communion, pay particular attention to that part dealing with the "twinkling of an eye" as I think they phrase it. Also, you may wish to look at these from Eastern and Oriental sources (or many others quickly found through a Yahoo! search:
#15.1.2 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2009-05-01 21:23
Read Pope Shanuda's article on The Nature of Christ (available on the web) and then tell me they believe the same thing as us. Besides being very confusing and contradictory he says repeatedly that before the union we can talk about two natures, but after the union (Incarnation) we can only speak of one nature.
Seems problematic to me.
#22.214.171.124 ANonMoose on 2009-05-05 19:09
Your statement that the Copts do not believe as we do needs some clarifying. In 1991 Orthodox and Oriental theologians gathered at Chambesy (sp?) finally articulated the fact that there is no Christological difference between us theologically, and that what we have is a difference in the use of language. 'Twould seem that what's holding up the re-establishment of full communion has more to do with lifting mutual anathemas (and, of course, money, power, and politics) than with Christology. In the Middle East, as a result of the Chambesy statement, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch have come to a form of full communion already.
That may be jumping the gun and not particularly conciliar on the part of the Antiochians, admittedly. But IMHO, if that 1991 Chambesy statement is a true expression of a common faith, then what the Antiochians have done is more theologically and ecclesiologically honest than continuing to hang back.
#15.1.3 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-05-02 05:38
With all due respect to Fr. Philip, the document coming out of Chambesy hardly carries the same canonical authority as the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. I wonder how Fr. Philip would respond to the Latin claims that a local synod in Toledo Spain in the 9th century allowed them to insert the filioque clause in the Creed coming out of Nicea?
Antioch's long history of engaging in and flirting with various heresies throughout the centuries continues to this very day it seems.
I for one have always believed the 900 lb. gorilla in the room is the heterodox practices that are blest by Englewood and Damascus. They are a much bigger scandal than the recent naked power grab now being witnessed.
#126.96.36.199 Kevin on 2009-05-03 11:06
I would say that there is a huge difference between a carefully-articulated and well-intentioned but nonetheless-heretical doctrine (starting actually around A.D. 531 at the Third Council of Toledo, in response to the persistence of Arianism among Spain's Goths or Visigoths or black-lipstick-wearing-goths, whatever they were), and what amounts to a misunderstanding arising from---on the one hand---saying the same thing in different ways, and---on the other hand---ascribing differing meanings to the same words. (An example: both St. Paul and St. James use the word "faith" in their letters; but they use the word in very different ways...a distinction which Luther apparently missed, in dismissing James as "a straw epistle"). If the Orientals rejected the Fourth Ecumenical Council, it was precisely because of such a misunderstanding of what the Council taught, not because of a fundamentally different Christology.
At the same time, however, I cannot say that I agree with "jumping the gun" by entering into full communion without some sort of conciliar synodal decision by both sides. Perhaps the upcoming meeting in Cyprus could focus less on territorial jurisdiction and more on a unified statement affirming the Chambesy document, instead of allowing an apparently needless and unfounded division to continue.
#188.8.131.52.1 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-05-04 09:18
Cross communing between Non-Chalcedonian Christians (Copts and others) has been a common occurrence for many years, especially when Non-Chalcedonians don't have a church to go to other than an Orthodox Church. In the 90s there were a series of theological conferences between the Chalcedonians (Orthodox) and Non-Chalcedonians (Orientals) that agreed that the christologial differences are merely linguistic, not substantive.
From my experience most are communed either with a simple confession of faith, or just as any other Orthodox Christian would be. I believe, and someone can correct me if I am wrong, that the OCA does not require baptism or chrismation, but merely a confession.
I personally wouldn't consider communing Copts as disturbing. What would be disturbing would be admitting Catholics and Protestants to the sacraments.
#15.1.4 Matthew on 2009-05-02 10:25
Roman Catholics and the majority of Protestant denominations can without equivocation accept the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon - Non-Chalcedonians have not, to date.
I pray that we and the Non-Chalcedonians do believe the same thing. I would expect some official statement of the Holy Synods of the Orthodox Church to be required before we begin intercommunion. If a practice cannot stand up to the scrutiny of the other autocephalous churches and their Synods (not to mention the bishops, clergy and monastics of the Non-Chalcedonian churches), it is probably a good bet that the issues have not yet been fully resolved or addressed.
Communing of Copts, etc. is a relatively common practice in the OCA, too (and I have heard anecdotally that it is a common practice in the GOA and AOCA, at least). I wish as much energy were spent on this 'secret' as on financial crises and self-rule. How can we have unity in North America when we don't have unity of faith in praxis in obedience to an Ecumenical Council?
Will the author or someone in the know explain to me question #8? What is "Section 9 of the Patriarchal By-laws?"
#16 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 15:51
Chapter 9 of the By-Laws of the Partiarchate of Antioch states that upon death of any clergyman (be he married or monastic) all property acquired since his ordination reverts to ownership of the Church.
The full text of the By-Laws may be viewed at:
The chapter in question reads as follows:
The Property and Estates of the Clergy
109. The provisions of this chapter apply to the Patriarch, the Metropolitan, the Bishop, the Archimandrite, the Priest, the Deacon, and the Monastics (monks and nuns), without regard for their title or position.
110. The word “Property” includes all elements of wealth, both movable and immovable.
111. All property which a Clergyman acquired prior to his ordination through inheritance, gift, bequest, or by other means, remains his personal possession and upon his death it is transferred to the possession of his legal heir(s).
112. All property which a Clergyman acquired after his ordination due to his being in the Church is transferred to the possession of the Church upon his death.
113. If a Clergyman fails to declare to his superior at the time of his ordination the property which he possesses through inheritance, gift, bequest or by other means, it is transferred to the possession of the Church upon his death, unless circumstances can be proven otherwise.
114. Upon the death of a Clergyman, all religious articles, crosses, engolpia, miters, and every other article used in the divine services, including books and documents, are transferred to the possession of the Church.
#16.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 19:17
Wow! Thank you for your thorough answer.
#16.1.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 22:54
In other words, the Patriarchate gets everything a priest acquires after his ordination, including pension and retirement savings, and his widow is left with nothing. I believe most probate judges in this country would not look kindly on this particular proviso. Has the Archdiocese ever pursued a claim in probate court in either the United States or Canada based on this by-law?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#16.1.2 Nemo on 2009-05-01 22:56
Being the wife of a priest who doesn't rake in the dough like some of the clergy who could be named, it's just great to hear that whatever we have managed to acquire through sweat and tears could be taken by the Archdiocese or Patriarchate when my husband dies...and I don't get the pitance of a "housing allowance"?
How many more reasons do we need to fight the Edict of Damascus, which does affect not only our diocesan bishops, but our self-rule in some very crucial ways?
#16.1.3 Anonymous Khouriye on 2009-05-02 16:51
Well, to the best of my knowledge, this has never been imposed in America. Please do correct me if I'm wrong because if the archdiocese has done this, it is a travesty. We should not make widows and orphans of a deacon or priest's family. So, I'd be curious to know if it has ever been enforced here. I'd also be curious to learn how it actually plays out over there.
#184.108.40.206 Phileas on 2009-05-03 21:13
Check out the Timeline at www.orthodoxattorneys.org. It has the Patriarchal Bylaws included as Exhibit 70, as well as much more primary source material.
I can't figure out what the reference to Section 9 means, since that has to do with when regular and special meetings of the Holy Synod are held.
#16.2 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-05-01 21:23
I hope the OCA is ready to welcome Bishop Basil and his flock.
#17 Anonymous on 2009-05-01 20:17
The lack of charity here is amazing. Is obedience to the Holy Synod superior to obedience to Christ? Is the law of Antioch superior to the Law of God?
For those who counsel obedience to error, this was never the way of the Orthodox. From St. Athanasius to St. Maximos, and many other saints, they resisted the errors endorsed by the leaders of the church.
For many years I have heard stories about how Metropolitan Philip has ruled the Archdiocese with an “iron fist” and has the respect of the overseas Metropolitans because of his frequent and large contributions. As many people have, I ignored most of that because I was very happy in my local parish.
I was able to ignore the politics and the rumors of bribes because nothing ungodly or wrong seemed to be going on. Our Archdiocese was growing, and growing more self reliant as opposed to being an ethnic ghetto, even for Americans. Yes, the Archdiocese seemed to be moving in the right direction and I cut a lot of Metropolitan Philip’s grandstanding the slack I thought he deserved just because everything was going good.
Then, I get this big smack across my face. It seems that my bishop isn’t my bishop anymore, and the bishop who received me into the church and led us is suddenly not my bishop. Now, the bishop who is my bishop but doesn’t call himself a bishop because the bishops were all demoted to non-bishops though they keep the name bishop won’t explain why my bishop can’t act like a bishop. That’s a run-on sentence, kind of the opposite of the explanations we’ve gotten for this mess.
The self-rule isn’t so, or maybe it is, but nobody knows. The Metropolitan won’t say anything to us, not even to his vice-bishops.
This has led me to question everything. I used to think that the Patriarchate was a venerable institution, but now it seems that the Patriarch was bought off and nobody, especially the Metropolitan, seems too interested in talking me out of such an idea.
I have lots of suspicions, lots of questions, and nobody seems interested in talking me out of them. Instead, I am left to ponder and wonder, but will I get in trouble if I don’t ponder the right way! Yes, if I happen to be suspicious of suspicious behavior, then I am at fault. Can the Patriarch, because he is Patriarch, do no wrong? Can the Metropolitan, because he is powerful with my tithes in his hands, do no wrong?
Is the Church for sale? We call selling ordinations simony so what do we call selling demotions? Aren’t these two sides of the same coin?
I have heard many times that Metropolitan Philip is powerful because he gives so much money to the dioceses in the Middle East. Is that influence peddling? In other places, we would call it flat out bribery, particularly when it is not in our favor. It has been in our favor, so we call it “influence peddling” and go along with it. Now it goes against us and we can call it a worse name. But it is a sin either way.
After all, you sin just as much in giving a bribe as receiving it. It is a sin to benefit from a bribe, just as much as it is a sin to serve others for a bribe. Or, is the grace of God and favor of bishops attainable for a price?
I want someone to tell me the truth, and the bishops are mum. Metropolitan Philip is silent. As for the Patriarchate, I can’t believe that any organization its size and influence would be run in such a rinky-dink fashion as to make such a major decision and not even do it properly.
When I read all of this stuff on this web sight, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
#19 old geezer tired of games on 2009-05-01 22:10
What a goof you must be!!! How presumptious of you, a lone, anonymous coward, to decide who is and who is not rational!
I usually keep myself far away from the foolishness of fringie self righteous newbies who call our heirarchs on the carpet and demand answers to questions which have no possibility of advancing the plot of any plan for unity or accord in our Church.
Anonymity only leaves you without credit and serves to hide the fact that you are not only lacking in the courage of your convictions but that you could not withstand any test of accurate knowledge concerning the process you choose to dump on so childishly in your ignorance.
If you are so convinced of your own truth, step up and declare it. If you are really a light for some group of true seekers, why are you hiding your truth under a bushel? Do you fear that your words will not stand up to scrutiny by anyone who really knows and loves his/her/their church? Is it your intention to pit followers and heirarchs against one another? To jump on any situation which can further a personal gain for someone. Who are you Mr./Ms. Anonymous that the Patriarch of Antioch and Father of us all (rational or not), owes an explanation of the decisions of the Holy Synod to you?
Is there some punishment that can come to you for saying the truth? Do you Love the Church and the truth? The true saints and martyrs were ready to speak the TRUTH no matter the cost. Of course, it WAS the TRUTH they spoke and not their own uninformed version, nor was it a falshood which they had to hide behind to keeping from being revealed by the LIGHT.
Be a MAN/WOMAN or remain a disruptive sneak.
Better still, inform yourself properly.
Best wishes for your continued spiritual growth, etc.,
(Editor's note: The term "rational", or noetic, in the context of this letter is simply a quote from the divine liturgy during which the priest refers to the people present as the " rational flock" of Christ. It is entirely appropriate, therefore, to refer to the faithful as the "rational flock" - and has nothing to do with what we in contemporary terms refer to as "irrationality". No one is being presumptious or goofy in making such a reference.)
#20 Anonymous on 2009-05-02 08:33
To the author of the letter to the Patriarch of Antioch and all other cowards who disguise themselves as "anonymous"... I'm curious... if the Metropolitan where to visit your Parish, would you publically kiss his hand and ask for a blessing... or be as bold as you are in your letters and question him man to man?
Look, I’ve got nothing wrong with your questions (or substance). It’s good to question… it’s good to discover… As a matter of fact… it’s not until we question our Christianity that we become to know Christ.
But I’ve got to say, neither I nor anyone I know with any self respect, pride, honor or dignity for that matter have any respect for your cowardly methods of hiding behind “anonymous.”
Where’s your honor, your pride, your courage, your authenticity? What are you afraid of? You live in AMERICA… you have freedom of speech. I sure hope you’re not a clergyman. I sure as hell wouldn’t want a wimp preaching the Gospel but not having the backbone to stand up for it.
I know you’re type… you’d kiss his hand and show all signs of love and obedience… then just like your hero Judas, you’d run to this website and post another message with an anonymous signature.
Are you afraid you’d lose your job? Guess what… you’re in AMERICA… find another… your obviously not fit or strong enough for this one.
Quite frankly… all the anonymous wimps shouldn’t be leaders in the church to begin with. Cowards!
Your master Jesus Christ did not anonymously spread the good news. He wasn’t afraid of the jews. Did he hide behind anyone… did he wimper and let the apostles take the fall? Did he broadcast a message and then say it’s from a concerned jew? Or did he speak for the truth like a MAN? The bigger question? Would you have followed him if he was a coward?
Oh wait… I might be excommunicated by one of these anonymous priests… ooooh I’m scared… shivering in my trousers.
Guess what… there are other places, churches, ministries, or jobs.
If you don’t like the rules of the game… question them… but let it be known who you are. How do you expect the Partriarch to take you serious? I sure wouldn’t. How do you expect to get any real result or have a positive impact? Anyone who disguises themselves, afraid to reveal who they are have absolutely no credibility. They may be able to compose a strong message. But so what? Who does the response go to?
A bunch of cowards…
What… you don’t' like my message? Guess what... you've got my name... call me... but I already know you won't...you're too much of coward to let me know who you are.
P.s. I bet if I offered $1million to the first response to this message... NO ONE would be anonymous... consider where you're priorities are.
#21 Nassim Elias on 2009-05-02 10:21
Your brothers and sisters need your love and mercy, not your scorn and judgement. St. Paul says the strong should consider thre weak....
#21.1 Antionymous on 2009-05-03 13:27
Just curious, Antionymous, did you offer the same council to the the anonymous who scorn the Patriarch, the Metropolitan and the Clergy?
I hope so. Whose to tell. Maybe you are authentic. Maybe your just another hyprocrit. (for the latter, and for your sake, I hope not... "woe to you scribes, pharisees, and hypocrits"... yikes).
Does everyone see the problem here. I can't take this character seriously... I don't know who it is. It could be the President or just another uneducated schmo.
But since I don't know who you are... I really don't care....
#21.1.1 Nassim on 2009-05-04 11:01
Hey, "Nassim Elias" . . . . How do we know that's YOUR name? For all we know, you're really Metropolitan Philip using a psudonym, trying to get the rest of us to reveal our identities so we can be shut up.
#220.127.116.11 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-05-04 14:39
I am not asking you to take me seriously. Take the canons and the Archdiocese constitution seriously.
The personalities in this debate don't matter. Truth matters. What His Emminence did was wrong, on a number of levels. Obediance does not mean blind submission. One does not have to be obediant to a leader who is not obediant himself.
And yes, if you go back from when this scandal started, I have been calling on all to do it in spirit of respect. Those who hold different views are not our enemy. Met. PHILIP is not our enemy. There IS an enemy who seeks to destroy our souls and our Church. We cannot allow him to.
Forgive me and please pray for me.
#18.104.22.168 Antionymous on 2009-05-04 16:27
Don't listen to any of these mughnoons and mughnoonies who speak for Metron Philip. He and his Balamand buddies want the clergy to stick their heads up out of anonymity in order to chop them off! Believe me, I understand these men!
Don't let them coax or bully you with their hostile words!
In order to defeat this devil we must all speak together as one; clergy, laity and heirarchs to stop the madness.
1. We must all say No! to Bishop Demetri (a convicted sex felon and known alcoholic). This man must be deposed so he can heal.
2. We must say NO! to a bishop who will not allow the use of Robert's Rule of Orders in order to shout down any person he does not want to speak at our convention meetings in July!
3. We must say NO! to the clergy in Detroit who commune Muslims, run parish bingo games, and allow celebrities to autograph the Holy Scriptures!
4. And finally we must say NO! to the demotion of our beloved diocesan bishops to auxiliaries in order to satisfy one man's lust for power!
Quddouson Allââh, Quddouson ul-qawee, Quddouson ulladhee! la yamout, Irhamna
#21.1.2 Iskander Ibrahim on 2009-05-04 17:33
What you have written is worth more than a million.
and to you Clergy out there,,,,,What are you fearing? If you want people to hear you out. let us know your names. perhaps then we can lend an ear to you....hear you......
There is not Love stronger than the love of our Lord, what happened to His teachings? He called you men of faith, where is your faith? He asked you to go and preach the good tidings Oh this great teaching you are doing on this website. All of you should be ashamed,
Do you think God is pleased with your doings and actions.
All of you on this website have forgotten that all Saints had been sacrificed and martered before they became a Saint and you know what? What you are doing to Metropolitan Philip, one day you wil be praying for him and begging for his forgivness for he is and will be known as a saint. for now he is a walking saint. I learned a lot from him, his wisdom and knowledge no one of you has given a thought.
May God grant you many years Met. Philip.
Master Bless and forgive them for they know not what they are doing.
#21.2 Anonymous on 2009-05-03 17:58
Christ is Risen!
The Fathers tell us call no man holy until he is dead--and in Greek 'holy' and 'saint' are the same word.
If Met. Philip had reposed on February 23, his work in bringing the Faith to thousands of Americans, pressing for Orthodox unity in North America, and establishing reasonable sized dioceses with proper diocesan bishops to care for the flock which had been gathered under the jurisdiction of Antioch, would have most of us singing his praises, and doubtless a movement for his glorification to be proclaimed would already be gaining momentum.
Unfortunately, as the Icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent soberly reminds us, many, even bishops, who have ascended high, are pulled off by the demons before they hear Our Lord's "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
I can think of many saintly bishops who were unjustly deposed from their sees in violation of the Holy Canons--St. Athanasius the Great and St. John Chysostom spring most readily to mind--but I can think of no saint who widowed dioceses by violating the Holy Canons, as our Metropolitan with the connivance of a part of the Holy Synod of Antioch (less than a quorum, according to the Bylaws) has sought to do.
I suggest that if you are eager to see Met. Philip glorified by the Church after his repose, you begin by praying the he repent of his recent actions, and begin defending self-rule, the Constitutions of the Archdiocese, his diocesan bishops and the Holy Canons, and exercise his episcopate as Christ told the Apostles--"He who would be great among you must first be the servant of all," rather than by following the spirit of the age, which bids stewards and fiduciaries (be it corporate CEOs, or Congressmen, or, alas, Metropoltian Archbishops) seek their own good and power to the neglect of the good their position bids them serve, and "lording it over [us] as do the gentiles."
Many Christians learned a lot from Tertullian, but he did not end well. Pray that Metropolitan Philip ends better.
#21.2.1 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-05-03 21:37
Are only the clergy who conspired allowed a voice. The AOCA clergy should all jointly sign a letter to His Beatitude and the Holy Synod.
1. This will send a clear signal to Damascus which contradicts the message delivered by he CHOSEN who visited Pat. Ignatius last fall., i.e., Joseph Antypas, et al.
2. There is strength in numbers.
3. MP will not be able to suspend large numbers of clergy
4. The Pat will realize MP has continued to misrepresent us to him and him to us.
5. It will hopefully shut the mouth of the innewr ciscle (The Chosen) who demand insist on signing names but who continue to use various pseudonymns themselves.
6. Let us Focus on the issues and not the personalities as we need to have a church when MP resigns anbd the CHOSEN, resign, retire or are deposed.
#21.2.2 anonymous on 2009-05-03 21:59
What Clergy are you referring too and post your name? You can not say a clergy conspired it just because they support it. Do you know what conspired means?
God bless and I pray you get a dictionary.
#22.214.171.124 William on 2009-05-04 16:19
What Lynn Gabriel, Angela and Nassim don't seem to get is that being persecuted for the truth when the persecutors come from INSIDE the Church says much more about the Persecutor than it does about those of us who remain "anonymous."
Being members of the "rational (reason-endowed) flock" means we have a brain and are to use it, to seek answers to questions that are being asked for good cause, and do it without fear of abuse. That fear of abuse is real and documented in this Archdiocese. A good and godly father doesn't slap a child (especially a grown, educated one) around for asking questions about the parent's seemingly inappropriate or wrong behaviors. But grown-up Christians in the Archdiocese who dare to question Met Philip have been abused...and there is no intelligent reason for anyone to use their name as long as they, or someone in their parish/family, is in a position to receive retribution from the Metropolitan just for asking questions he doesn't like or want to answer.
#21.2.3 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-05-04 07:36
There's not a lot of practing what the Church teaches going on here.
As far as I'm concerned, the church needs a lot less aninomity(spelling???), a LOT more authenticity, a TON of forgiveness and strong leadership... which can only happen with LOVE and the big "O" word which no one it seems wants to accept... that's right... "obediance". Wow... what a virtue!
It's absolutely amazing, throughout all history within and external the church... you can always find where "Man" puts themselves above the call of "Obediance". Wars are lost, people are hurt, man destroyed.
Just imagine if the United States Military had the same lack of order and disobediance that this "Army of Christ" is spreading like a plague... we'd be the Republic of China by now, living in communism without the freedom to express thoughts on this very message board.
Think of what you're spreading. It certianly is not model behavior. If you have something important to say... SAY IT and PUT your NAME on it.
If you don't think your name is worthy of association with your words... guess what... keep it to yourself - we all are better served that way.
But we all KNOW what you're going to do...
.... and now you HIDE.
#126.96.36.199 Nassim Elias on 2009-05-04 10:52
Obedience is never held out as a virtue simply for its own sake. Otherwise we would all be UNDER THE OTHER POPE.
Should all the Christians in Germany obeyed the authorities of their day?
Should all the Christians in the USSR have turned themselves in and everone else to be slaughtered?
When did MP begin to advocate obdeience to the Holy Synod? Don't you read?
Obviously you are nothing more than a dissimulator! (In psychiatric terms, you appear normal, but you are not. You are the hypocrite.
#188.8.131.52.1 faithful to Christ on 2009-05-04 13:14
If you are better served by us keeping quiet, then why do you not simply pass over our words in silence?
Your commenting on them and attacking only our anonymity, rather than our substance, shows that you are forced into taking our words seriously, as they represent the truth of the matter.
Having no leg to stand on, except for attacking our anonymity, you and your fellow supporters of the Feb 24 decision keep coming back to this same tiring argument.
If you can refute the substance of what we say then refute it. If not, then continue attacking our anonymity as most people can see right through this and understand that you have nothing of substance to add to the discussion.
#184.108.40.206.2 An East Coast Priest on 2009-05-08 18:32
Of all the things I have read on this web site, there is nothing more horrifying than reading comments from lay people demanding that good and holy priests expose themselves to martyrdom, especially when couched in language of caring and concern. Truly chilling.
#21.2.4 Peter on 2009-05-04 11:37
Angela: MP will not be known as a saint. Look at the damage he has done. It matters not what he built in 43 years if he destroys it in one night!
Read the Scripture! If someone spends their whole life in sin and repents like the theif on the cross, they will be received.
If someone spends their whole life serving God then turns to wickness in their final days, they will be lost (Forget sainthood).
While MP has done many good things only the Lord knows his heart. Nevertheless, a Bishop will have much more to answer for than a priest ot layman.
To whom much is given much is required!
#21.2.5 anon and anon on 2009-05-06 16:01
Nassim Elias (#21) writes:
"Where’s your honor, your pride, your courage, your authenticity? What are you afraid of? You live in AMERICA… you have freedom of speech."
Anonymous speech is a grand tradition in America, and an integral part of free speech. From Wikipaedia:
"*Common Sense* was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense which was signed Written by an Englishman became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book in American history. Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for independence from British rule at a time when the question of independence was still undecided."
#21.3 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-05-03 21:58
It is too bad that you and the Gabriel's could not interview the clergy punished for simply refusing to serve with Fr. Joe Allen.... The great "one" is not vindictive? Who are you fooling and thus the ANONYMOUS. God knows our names and you help hide the truth.
#21.4 Anonymous Ant, Priest & Wife on 2009-05-04 00:28
Your initial question is further proof that you do not understand Orthodox theology and ecclesiology. One does not kiss the bishop's hand because of his personality or because the bishop is holy or because the bishop has done some good. We kiss the bishops hand, in part, due to the honor of his position. It has nothing to do with our personal feelings or the bishop's personality. Our church would be chaos if we quit kissing the hands of priests/bishops every time we disagreed with them.
In response to your question, then, I would ask Metropolitan Philip's blessing as my hierarch. As long as he is my hierarch, I will ask for his blessing and kiss his hand, as well as commemorate him at the liturgy, even when he is not present.
In terms of speaking with him face to face, I would tell him how I felt about the Feb 24 decision if he asked me my opinion (and I have disagreed with him face-to-face on several occasions before, but I do not speak in dissent unless he asks my opinion). If he doesn't ask my opinion, then I assume he doesn't care about my opinion. And this is part of the problem: he did not ask many priests/bishops, if any, their opinion before agreeing to, if not promoting, this recent decision.
#21.5 An East Coast Priest on 2009-05-08 18:25
Lord, don't weep for us sinners! We ask you to forgive us for the way we hurt each other with words and anger.
If our fathers on earth start using this shameful and disheartening method of communicating and problem solving. Then I the laymen know that the END is near, and the Devil is celebrating his victory over all Christians! It is especially sad to see how some "Anonymous Priests" handled this with disrespect, anger, and some poor choices of words, and didn't even have the dignity to stand behind what they said if they believe it so much. You should be our Christ-like Leaders who teach us, and show us the way to handle conflicts, and tribulation with patience, love, and humility. Not ANGER and love of Power. Everyone has a right to an opinion, and surely everyone can stand for that opinion and voice what he/she think should be the right and effective solution. But pointing fingers, and shameful accusations is not how God our Lord has taught us to do!
Change is not achieved by finger pointing, empty words, anger and insults. Change can be done by love, patience and respectful communication.
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on us and save us.
#22 Dana on 2009-05-02 13:26
One thing I find disturbingly lacking in this discussion is the absence of understanding of the strong ties of community that bind us together. I was received into the Holy Orthodox Church in an Antiochian community. I have ties that are truely ineffable. The thought of moving to another jurisdiction just because I don't like something going on is not pleasant. I can only imagine the heartache that +Basil must have. His entire life has been devoted to serving God within the Antiochian Archdiocese. He has ties of love, duty and honor that I'm sure go to the very depths of his soul.
To blythely talk of switching to another jurisdiction as some due betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of Orthodox ecclesiology. I long for a strong, unified Orthodox witness in this country. We are not gong to get it by bishop shopping. The divisions will not make it easier to survive persecution. As Ben Franklin said about the American Revolution: "We either hang together, or we will hang separately"
Since despite our apparent and functional disunity we share an ontological and eschatological unity everything that happens in the Church effects all of us. The more we realize that in temporal reality, the better able we will all be to survive the inevitable bad bishops.
For the Orthodox Church to really take root here, our chief bishops have to move off the east coast and into the middle of the country.
#23 Michael Bauman on 2009-05-02 14:37
I think your logic leads to a very different conclusion--namely those bishops, of whatever jurisdiction, coming together in unity under a jurisdiction that can legitimately claim independence from foreign control and manipulation.
Loyalty to past associations that have outgrown their usefulness, or worse, have become false facades of Christian witness and unity, is a grave mistake. Furthermore, for those shouting from the rooftops that the bishops must lead in a hierarchical ecclesiology, here is the golden opportunity. This is not parish or diocesan hopping by the laity, but the chance for bishops, in consultation and consensus with affected clergy and laity, to mend false and inappropriate divisions, and bring about unity amongst those who truly desire it.
For the rest, let them remain mired in ethnic and cultural idolatry, that will only lead in the very near future to their increased irrelevance and eventual disappearance from the North American religious scene.
#23.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-05-03 10:48
...independence from foreign control and manipulation.
This is only important if a foreign power is manipulating the Church to do something other than its work as Church. Strictly speaking, local or foreign control isn't the issue.
For the rest, let them remain mired in ethnic and cultural idolatry, that will only lead in the very near future to their increased irrelevance and eventual disappearance from the North American religious scene.
This makes me uneasy. I am not ethnically Orthodox, I am not a russophile or hellenaphile who converted to Orthodox via their languages and cultures. I only speak English and I think English should be the common liturgical language in most of North America simply because it is the one language common to all immigrants and all Americans (Spanish in Mexico and parts of the US, French in Quebec) - I'm not interested in an 'American Orthodoxy' so much as intelligible, missionary Orthodoxy.
That being said, pastoral provision must be made for new immigrants as well as for older immigrants whose Orthodoxy was born in the love of their homeland and its language. Their traditions are our traditions because their Orthodoxy is our Orthodoxy. It should not dominate the Orthodox traditions of others, room should be made, we should all bring what is best of our traditions. This diversity of local, Orthodox tradition coming together in love is at the root of American Orthodoxy - not homogenization, not the cutting and slashing of services, minimizing, intellectualizing, etc.
There is nothing wrong with ethnic and cultural groups organizing around the Church and using the hall. There is nothing wrong with services and sacraments performed in Slavonic and Greek and Arabic, etc. There is nothing wrong with serving like a church 'back home' rather than according to the rubrics preferred by an academician.
The only thing that is wrong is in not making room, in love, for all other Orthodox and their cherished traditions from 'back home', for not making room for American converts and non-Orthodox to understand at least the Sunday morning Liturgy while they make room in love for the ethnic traditions of those that built the Church and have newly immigrated.
It is also important to remember that nominal faith is still faith. It must not be smothered, it must be fed. Sometimes we mix the our children's medicine into their food, sometimes we mix Orthodoxy into cultural appreciation. It is notable that the dramatic shift to the New Calendar and English has left many nominal Orthodox of Russian background divorced from the church of their grandparents and their youth while many Greeks still unconsciously return for the Greek - their cultural attachment can then lead to a fuller Orthodoxy. This attachment should not be discarded willy-nilly in favor of 'pure Orthodoxy'. My Orthodoxy isn't pure, neither is my life, I learn more every day and should repent more often. I'm sure your experience is the same. Theirs is, too, and we should allow the sweetness of their culture to allure them back - we just can't make the Church's whole mission week in and week out about preserving a cultural experience for that select few. It must be there, it must be available, but maybe not every service, maybe not on the Sunday Liturgy or during Holy Week and Pascha where we are all called together as one Body. Maybe we have smatterings of other languages throughout like a new Pentecost, maybe we have extra services throughout the week served entirely in other languages. There is nothing wrong with this kind of pastoral care - it is no more a crutch than are the services themselves to those of us without pure prayer.
We just cannot choose to serve the needs of this particular group and their culture while ignoring everyone else. That is the only problem. God save us all from 'ethnic and cultural idolatry' - even we Americans - and from Orthodoxy's 'increased irrelevance and eventual disappearance from the North American religious scene'. If I were Tsar or Patriarch for a day, I'm sure I would do little more than speed that disappearance.
Just for the record, I agree with you. A reasonable accommodation of the needs of any particular parish should be made, and, of course, the use of our entire Orthodox cultural tradition should be embraced. I am simply saying that the priority must always be witnessing to and worshiping the Lord in a way that makes sense in a North American context.
#220.127.116.11 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-05-04 20:24
That's very good. I'm glad we agree.
I think part of the problem on various sides is a lack of true clarity on what is meant. For instance, stating "that the priority must always be witnessing to and worshiping the Lord in a way that makes sense in a North American context" can mean radically different things to different people. One could understand it as meaning assisting immigrants to continue their Old World church life without change in North America - assistance in defeating acculturation. Another could understand it as forced 'Americanization' with mandatory English at all times, pews and organs. Some may understand this to be code for 'modernizing', 'innovating' and changing Orthodoxy to become more American - cutting services, moving to the New Calendar, ecumenism, etc. Others may assume something along the lines of what I shared.
Whatever is assumed can be used either as a reason for union or to fuel fears that reinforce our separation.
Sadly, arguements from Scripture will not avail. Nor from the Holy Canons or Holy Tradition.
+MP and the Glee Club have absolutely no respect for any of these things.
Creating a defense based on the Scripture, the Canons, the Holy Fathers or Holy Tradition will not avail when dealing with men who already have what they crave and are defending it.
+MP and his muppets are not backing down as they have too much to lose (personally). This is why they continue to beat the drum of OBEDIENCE.
We must be prepared to defend the faith, the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Canons, the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition.
We must insist on proper ecclesiology and order so that we might again enjoy unity in the spirit of love, not the spirit of fear.
#18.104.22.168 anon and anon on 2009-05-08 04:51
Bravo! I like you phrase, "make room".
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2009-05-08 08:00
With all respect! This letter is one of disrespect for our Patriarch, and several of the points are repeated. Also the Church is NOT a Democracy, but a Theocracy. Yu do you a right to address your concerns, but putting the PAtriarch on notice is disrectful, you really do not understand the Orthodox faith.
This is anissue for our Father, MEtropolitan PHILIP and our Bishops to resolve, not for an itnerent chat group or bet yet Holier than Though individuals who think they know more thana Metroplitan of 43 years
(Editor's note: The church is not a theocracy - Salt Lake City is. The Orthodox Church is conciliar; hence we have Councils, not dictates from either a Pope, or an Emperor. This is not just a issue for a Bishop, for last time I looked, we were all called to be stewards of the Church, not just the Bishops. True, they are called to lead, for we are a hierarchical church, but that does not mean we are just here to pray, pay, and obey. And if asking a question is disrepectful, then all the Apostles were disrespectful of Christ, for by asking questions we learn. You may agree or disagree with the February 24 th decision, but let us understand that it is an issue we must now all discuss, pray about, and resolve - not just seven men alone. For it is an issue that involves the many, not just a few.)
#24 Concern Antiochian on 2009-05-02 17:13
Love the Nassim comment, perfect, hits the point, and also, yes Mark we are conciliar, however do laity participate in these councils? No, the bishops do, so let them do it and us just try to maintain our own spiritual faith and church life. they will figure it out, not us, we are just making each other angrier or frustrated. There is no way this website will solve anything. It is not a council or a proper format for forum and discussion. It is gossip and honestly terrible entertainment at the most, that's why i come back on here, to get entertained by the same people over and over and over again. I guess I am part of it. God bless.
(Editor's note: Yes, laity do participate in Councils. In strict terminology, they were all called by a "layman" - the emperor. In more modern parlance terms the 1917 Russian Council and those church administrations following that model, in Europe and America, also have lay participation. Isn't that the point of synergy - working together? Of course, I realize it is much easier just to sit back and take orders, relying on others to do the heavy lifting, and justify anything by saying " I was only following orders!". Alas, the world gave up that defense in 1946...)
#24.1 William on 2009-05-04 10:25
I understand what you are trying to say, but listen clear...please, my point is this, "Who are the chosen for the administrative level?" It is the clergy, bishops, etc. In no way have we been ordained, therefore we shall try to voice our opinion, but we must allow them, appointed by the Holy Spirit to work it out. I hope this makes sense.
The Church is not and was not governed by the people (in our case us posters or average layman), but for the people. Are we allowed to discuss how the church liturgy should be, what time church begins on Sunday, How many times a month one takes communion or confession? The latter examples about communion and confession are typically joint by the spiritual father and the layman.
By us trying to go directly to the Patriarch and disregarding our Metropolitan is like going to confession alone with no priest because you disagree with your priest on certain subjects therefore you are trying to obtain absolution without the presence of that ordained clergyman. I hope this analogy makes sense. If we disrespect our priests because of disagreement, how can you go to church with a clean conscious, might as well stay home and watch bible t.v. You have to go with a pure heart, respect everyone's opinion. Each to his own.
Okay, i am getting off subject. The point is, is that if you go above your boss at work without notifying him, your in trouble. It is a no no. There is proper lines of communication, much like confession, you need a priest to obtain absolution through Christ, You need a priest to be baptized in Christ, you need a priest to prepare the Holy Sacraments. Obviously they are the ones along with the hierarchs that will deal with this matter, we need to not stur the pot further than it is already, the damage is done, primarily from this website and those alike.
P.S. I know this was an extremely randomized response with many directions, much like this entire forum.
(Editor's note: Where to begin? William, any Christian can baptize someone who desires to be baptized - you do not need a priest. And yes, last time looked, we were all "appointed" by the holy spirit in christmation... but your point is otherwise. So let me cut to the chase: Your point is that the priests and bishops are to "administer" and we are to "follow". Unfortunately, Jesus did not say " Go forth and administer all nations, baptizing them....". Jesus, did , however say " Follow me", and "Go and do likewise." So, I will suggest this. You sit and wait to be told what to do, like you imagine good followers do. I will go and do likewise, like I imagine good followers are to do. I know there are Bishops and priests who are perfectly happy to have parishioners who sit and wait: until, of course when money is needed, and they they are to be active. On the other hand, I know far more Bishops and priests who would only love it more if people stood up and were more active in their parishes, including using their wallets. So I will suggest this: we shall let Jesus decide if one or both of us are good followers. Sound fair?)
#24.1.1 William on 2009-05-04 13:10
The bishops got together and figured it out at the Council of Florence, too, William. They decided to come under the authority of the bishop of Rome. It was those angry and frustrated laypeople who forced the bishops to reverse themselves, and it is thanks to them the Orthodox Church even exists. The church is not just the clergy; the faithful hold the ultimate veto, and have exercised it in the past.
#24.1.2 Scott Walker on 2009-05-04 15:37
Please everyone, let us have a spirit of love and respect for one another. This is a very serious matter that needs to be addressed. We may disagree on the solution, but let's not fall prey to the demon of division. United we stand, divided we fall. There is no denying that some of the actions taken by the Patriarch, the Synod of Antioch, and by +Philip and others are wrong. Let’s attack their sinful positions, but not the person. Let’s have compassion for those who fell into error. Please my very dear brothers and sisters let us continue to petition God for His will to be done! I firmly believe that we will come out of this situation even stronger than before, but only after going through much pain. May God give us patience and strength to endure these very trying times. May God have mercy on us all.
“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love” I John 4:7-8.
#25 A broken-hearted brother on 2009-05-02 23:47
There must be fear in Englewood and elsewhere if Economos Gabriel and his wife (see #20 above) are both trolling this site's reporting and attempting to discredit the dissenting voices....
#26 Hiding till the all clear on 2009-05-03 04:35
Rome is a Theocracy. The Orthodox Church is supposed to be a collegial hierarchy--communities of faith gathered around their local bishops. Local bishops meeting together as need arose to coordinate and assure unity of the faith. The Holy Synod of Antioch and Met. Philip have violated that principal. The jurisdicitional phyletism in the United States is not only non-canonical but approaching heresy.
The Orthodox Church only took on aspects of theocracy under the Turks as Dhimmi rulers whose thrones were bought and paid for constantly. Unfortunately, the Holy Synod of Antioch seems to be continuing in just such a non-Christian, wholly un-Orthodox fashion.
The dispute here is about the very nature of the Church, are we going to be faithful to the Holy Tradition or an archaic and sinful practice that was allowed into the Church because of persecution and duress?
#27 Michael Bauman on 2009-05-03 11:36
The following is from Fr. Stephen Freeman from his blog Glory to God for All Things. It seems to be instructive to what we are facing in the Church.
CONVERSION TO THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD
I grew up in a culture where religious conversion was frequent as well as often short-lived. Religiously, the only remedy to many of the ills of life was conversion. On the face of things I could hardly argue with that now. However, the deeper problem within that particular religious culture was a very truncated view of conversion. For many, conversion was accompanied by emotion (it should be truly “heart-felt”) as well as decision. But the only action that accompanied conversion was frequently a “rededication” of one’s life to Christ. The heart of Southern evangelicalism, at the time, was to “bring people to Christ,” though that phenomenon was defined in a very narrow manner. Thus I watched numerous individuals who needed much longer and deeper “conversions” fall short and frequently “fall away.”
Today’s religious culture is far more diverse though not necessarily for the better. The range of definition of “the spiritual life” can run anywhere from “successful living” to sainthood (and this is only a description within American Christianity). Conversion today can frequently mean a “change of membership” though conversion is not usually associated with changing churches within Protestant Christianity. Americans frequently “shop” for Church as much as they shop for everything else. Recent sociological studies have shown this to be an almost dominant component of our modern religious landscape. Market forces not only drive our economy but often our ecclesiology as well.
Thus the problem of true conversion becomes yet more complicated - even if only by the plurality of strange voices. I am an Orthodox Christian and I believe that the truth of the Christian faith has not altered since its inception. It has not and cannot alter because it is nothing other than the living communion of God and man in Christ. The difficulty of conversion is to find one’s way through the multitude of voices to hear the one true voice of God.
And this carries us to our own heart. I have had many conversations with those whom I would describe as “religious seekers.” Sometimes the largest question in their mind is one brought on by the many voices they hear. How to choose? How to decide? Having been formed and shaped as a consumer, only a consumer’s heart is left when it is God we seek to find - and God cannot be bought - He is not and never will be a commodity.
Thus, even conversion to the Orthodox faith is not an immediate answer to the question of true conversion - particularly if it is simply a choice among choices - a consumer’s decision based on comparision shopping. For true conversion is also a matter of our true heart and not the heart of a consumer - which is a creation of the delusions of this age.
In a strange, semi-prophetic passage in the Epilogue of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the author describes the dreams of Raskolnikov as he lay sick and in prison:
In his illness he dreamed that the whole word was doomed to fall victim to some terrible, as yet unknown and unseen pestilence spreading to Europe from the depths of Asia. Everyone was to perish, except for certain, very few, chosen ones. Some new trichinae had appeared, microscopic creatures that lodged themselves in men’s bodies. But these creatures were spirits, endowed with reason and will. Those who received them into themselves immediately became possessed and mad. But never, never had people considered themselves so intelligent and unshakeable in the truth as did these infected ones. Never had they thought their judgements, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions and beliefs more unshakeable. Entire settlements, entire cities and nations would be infected and go mad. Everyone became anxious, and no one understood anyone else; each thought the truth was contained in himself alone, and suffered looking at others, beat his breast, wept, and wrung his hands. They did not know whom or how to judge, could not agree on what to regard as evil, what as good. They did not know whom to accuse, whom to vindicate….In the cities the bells rang all day long: everyone was being summoned, but no one knew who was summoning them or why, and everyone felt anxious…
It is a strange delirium, one we have seen fulfilled in various ways. “Everyone was being summoned, but no one knew who was summoning them or why…” So here is the crux of the matter - reaching our own true heart. I believe this is a great gift of grace, particularly in a confused and confusing world. Apart from such grace knowledge of our heart would be likely impossible.
But, by God’s grace, having found that true heart, one must not take it lightly. Obedience to the heart in grace is important and a matter of daily struggle. We are commanded to take up the cross and follow Christ, and there may certainly be a moment at which we first obeyed that commandment - but that moment is only a beginning of conversion, the first step on a lifetime’s road of repentance. Golgotha ends in a tomb and then the resurrection. Taking up that Cross daily is also a matter of remaining faithful to one’s true heart, despite all the noise and confusion about us. It is steadfastness and courage as well as a simple tenacity. For the madness of the world is real though we are all called to be among the “few.” Being obedient to one’s true heart is a faithful obedience to Christ who is our own true heart.
I stated earlier that conversion to the Orthodox faith was not an immediate answer to question of true conversion. This is not the fault of the Orthodox faith but the fault of our heart as we approach this treasure God has preserved for us. Once having kissed the Gospel and the Cross, we then have to daily press forward, not trusting in the Church as though it were only another institution to which we have attached ourselves, but trusting in God who is our sure hope and the constant life of the Church in which we live.
The daily pressure of our world is to silence the truth of our heart and turn us again to our consumer mentality. Thus each day we say “no” that we may truly say “yes.”
#28 Michael Bauman on 2009-05-03 13:02
Ya Rabb urham!
The ignorance of middle eastern people and the poorly catechized!
Orthodoxy is not a theocracy! Hadam!
What is wrong with you people? Do you not understand the ecclesiology of our Church? Do you not know that when you are baptized you become a member of the Royal priesthood of Jesus Christ and His Church? Do you not realize what that role entails?
Authority in the Church is never the monopoly of an ordained few (cf. Eph. 4:11-12) whether bishops or other clergy. Authority is the responsibility of all (cf. Eph. 5:34).
Obedience transcends mere submissiveness, with which it is commonly confused. The virtue of obedience occurs within the context of loving trust and personal relationship between two people in Christ, which in itself reveals the presence of Christ (cf. Mt. 18:20). Without this special relationship, one gains nothing from authority but pride, and nothing from obedience but guilt. Such feelings, however, defeat the very purpose of spiritual authority and hierarchy in the Church.
#29 Iskander Ibrahim on 2009-05-03 16:52
I accept it as the way it is and was for the last 2000 years. That is what I understand. It is sad that others do not understand apostolic succession.
#30 william on 2009-05-03 19:36
William, please explain to us what "Apostolic Succesion" means to you?
#30.1 Antionymous on 2009-05-04 16:14
I wonder how your priest & bishop feel about your participation in this thread. Have you asked for their blessing to post here? What is it that you "understand" about Orthodoxy? Who is teaching you?
#30.2 David Feliciano on 2009-05-04 20:03
Mr. David Florence,
I bet you $50 that less than 1 percent on this board even had the courage to ask their priests to post on this website. Secondly, I have posted comments on here on purpose to show how easily you persecute others. I suggest everyone on this board start going to the seminary because obviously many of the answers on this board are just simple statements rather than facts behind them.
Mark, please post all of this. I answered questions in a misconstrued way in order to prove i would get persecuted by non other than the same individuals.
God bless, check yourselves.
#30.2.1 William on 2009-05-11 07:28
If I had wanted a Pope, I very easily could have converted to Catholicism instead. Maybe I just don't understand things, but I always thought that a bishop is a bishop is a bishop, and that nothing can take place within Orthodoxy without the agreement of the bishops -- of whom we have several in North America, not just Philip. How can a bishop be deposed or demoted without a trial, when he has not been shown to have done anything wrong?
It looks to me like this is a power grab by Philip and those in his camp. It does nothing to further the cause of Orthodoxy in America, but instead seems to be a move to keep the AOCA Arabic and prevent the convert segment of the Church from having any say in things. American society differs remarkably in many ways from what exists in the Middle East and I would have hoped to have a truly American Church that doesn't have to do things the way they've always been done in the old country.
Although I'm now Orthodox, I guess there's still enough Calvinist left in me that I'm not inclined to meekly submit to this kind of usurpation. If things don't change for the better, I may very well find my way somewhere else.
#31 Edmund on 2009-05-03 20:47
Its been stated many times that Saidna PHILIP is vindictive. Most of us have families that we have to consider. (an argument for celibacy?). My brothers and I pray that when it really matters, God iwll give us the courage to "stand up and be counted." But we have to be careful in picking the hill we want to die on. An internet board is not it....for me anyway. But I aim to ask questions, and vote for what is right in Palm Springs. Pray for me that I will indeed do so.....
I'm striving to, and by your prayers I shall.
Wow....on what grounds are your proclaiming his sanctity?
Hi love for the Truth?
He who won't allow dissenting voices from the floor of councils and conventions, and trasnfers and deposes priests who speak up against him?
Ask the deacon who founded the parish on Cape Cod who came down with Rye syndrome and could no longer support his family, how he was cared for by the primate. But I guess there is the millions to the patriarchate that coincidently come down with rulings giving him more power.
His ordering of the Church?
He who rejects the ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch, and only obeys the rulings of His Synod that he agrees with.
HIs love for prayer?
He who cuts and slashes every service to fit in an hour, willfuly ignoring service books that the archdiocese has put out bearing his signature; yelling at deacons and readers to "Yella!" "Hurry it up!"
His conciliarity and love for his brother bishops?
Exactly which of his qualities are like John of San Fransisco, or Raphael of Brooklyn, or Tikhon the Confessor?
Are we all missing something, that only you have the eyes to see? Enlighten us and pray for us!
Is it possible to talk about the issue of the canonicity of the ruling of the Holy Synof of Antioch without either villifying or glorifying His Emminence?
#32 Antionymous on 2009-05-04 03:27
You indicate that you will stand up and vote for what is right at Palm Springs. That presumes that there will be something on the agenda on which to have a vote. Given the number of responses to clergy and laity from Metropolitan Philip that this is a matter that concerns the bishops only, what makes you think anything in this regard will be on the agenda for the General Assembly? I would certainly think that it SHOULD be on the agenda, and I think that may go a long way towards the healing the heirarchs admitted needed to happen in their joint statement, but I for one would like some assurance that it will be addressed before incurring the expenses involved in travel and accomodations for Palm Springs.
#32.1 Anonymous on 2009-05-04 09:43
Generally speaking we should cover the nakedness of our father (MP) as the sons of Noah did. But what do you do when he is an exhibitionist? He keeps exposing himself every time he opens his mouth.
Sadly, he longer possesses the ability to lead this Archdiocese and it is time for the Holy Synod to insist he step down before he cmpletely destroys the Archdiocese.
Then we wll be able to pull this Archdiocese back together and be a Church not an Ghetto as those sycophants wants us to be.
#32.1.1 anonymous on 2009-05-04 10:14
I hope the metropolitan makes examples out of all of you clergy that speak with utter disrespect and disdain. I am really hopefull that you cowards will stand up in Palm springs so that Sayidna Philip can make an association of your face with these anonymous words filled with hatred.
#33 Anonymous on 2009-05-04 09:05
It is not hatred to hope for repentance.
#33.1 voice of love on 2009-05-04 11:03
My dear brother "Anonymous":
How sad. You are essentially saying, "Because I detest you, I hope you get what you deserve, i.e. get fed to the lions." Are you sure it is not you who are filled with hatred? Are you offended out of a true love for the Church or because someone has spoken against the "idol" which you have set up. Be assured, we will not fall down and worship the golden idol which you have set up. Too bad we are anonymous (hmmm...like you!). Otherwise you would cut our heads off like we deserve (or have the Metropolitan do it so your hands wouldn't get bloody). Lord have mercy.
I wonder what the Saints would do to people that speak disrespectfully? Feed them to the lions? Or perhaps pray for them?...Na, that's too good for them!
Signed: More Anonymous Than You!
#33.2 A Priest raised in the Antiochian Archdiocese on 2009-05-04 13:53
Sayedna Philip you hope can make an example of all of these "Anonymous" clergy posters at the convention in Palm Springs? You then bravely identify yourself as "Anonymous" Your hypocrisy doesn't leap out at you?
#33.3 Kevin Kirwan non-clergy layman AOC on 2009-05-04 16:17
This reminds me of a statement made by a certain priest from Canada (whose wife has been posting in this comments section) several years ago at the Antiochian House of Studies. He said that he hoped clergy who wore cassocks to the grocery store would get them caught in the grocery cart and would be injured.
#33.4 Anonymous on 2009-05-08 17:07
Oh My Lord!!!!!!!
Bp. Khouri is a registered sex offender??????? May Our Triune God provide a way for this man to be defrocked and serve the rest of his days as a simple monk under direct supervision of an Abbott. Bp. Khouri is in extreme hurt and needs qualified spiritual and pedagogical guidance. He cannot receive that guidance whilst he is in office.
May the Lord have mercy on His people and save their souls from perdition.
#34 Vladimir Bogoljubov on 2009-05-04 10:49
Thank you to everyone who is having a truly Christian dialogue on this website. To say what one feels in love, either positive or negative, can help in healing. What won’t help healing is the mean spirited name calling and the “I am better than you” attitude of some of these posts.
A Christian is one who follows Christ. Those who follow Christ are filled with love. Perhaps we should strive to have a little more love and respect in our responses. No, I am not suggesting that one “waters down” the truth. Let’s just speak in love.
“The righteous man shall correct me with mercy, and he shall reprove me; but let not the oil of the sinner anoint my head” Psalm 140:5 LXX
#35 Anonymous on 2009-05-04 11:52
Oh for cryin’ out loud!
Can’t you anonymous people stop the business of finding scripture to say what we need to cover up about MetroPhil? Good thing Moses’ followers didn’t cut him off at the knees in his 70’s or we’d likely be dancing around some golden cow.
The man is not dead yet! Sorry to disappoint you unknown critics. I would match his mental acuity against that of any of the potential wannabees. Furthermore, to whomever it is that dispenses and disseminates misinformation, reports of the fragility of his health are not only greatly exaggerated, but woefully, maliciously stated.
What has happened to respect for the knowledge and experience of our elders? Is His Beatitude also naked and in need of another younger replacement?
With your insistence on anonymity you cover over your own nakedness lest all might see your ambition.
#36 LYNN GABRIEL on 2009-05-06 06:12
Yes, Khourie Lynn, you are right - Met. Philip uses his prev. heart problem (37yrs ago) to his advantage claiming fatique at that which "bores" him or when he is not in the "spotlight" (eg. Mid West P Life Conf a few yrs back honoring his 40yrs which he failed to attend.) But when Fr Antypas (Detroit) gave a big dinner for him another story?! The Patriarch last Oct. in Boston skipped raising the gifts at the Elevation and no remembrances prior to the Gt Entrance at the Prothess Table! Hes 88 and Met P. 79. Time to retire as the RC Church imposes at age 75! A reason?Think about it.
#36.1 ANONYMOUS on 2009-05-07 10:40
That was a cute, provocative comment concerning my trolling the site.
I work for several newspapers which were looking for stuff on Orthodox Easter when two of them called my attention to it and had gazilions of questions about the Orthodox Church.
I told them it was one of those "sound off" things having little to do with orthodox ORTHODOXY.
Now, one of my affiliates has asked about the Bishop who is a registered sex offender. I referred that agency to previous press on the matter and filled in the real story.
Don't know any thing about fear in Englewood, has the flu epidemic reached New Jersey?
I am done here! No good can come of these catacomb discussions and much misinformation and foolishness as well as deliberate harm is the only possible result.
(editor's note: It used to be one just had to be Orthodox. Now one must be orthodox Orthodox, I guess. As for being in the catacombs, the Church was once forced to be in them before, and again more recently in Russia, and some good came from each, no? As for misinformation, you show me one thing I have written - me, not commentators here like yourself - that is factually incorrect. Find it, and I will correct it. But I don't think you will. The point is that people read this site not because it is amusing, clever or upsetting - but because the articles here present facts and information, and in clearly marked reflections, opinions. It may be you disagree with opinions stated - feel free. But an opinion is just that - it is both unfair and inaccurate to label it misinformation. To accuse those who have the courage to ask questions - even difficult ones - of "deliberate harm", says more about you and your perspective than those you write about. I am sorry you choose to absent yourself in the future from the dialogue that is being conducted here. I wonder what your alternative is: silence? But I respect your choice, as much as lament it. Fare well. )
#37 Lynn Gabriel on 2009-05-06 07:56
Lynn, if you have the "real story" on Bp. Demetri, please share it. What I've heard is that he is a registered sex offender and that he is an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Mexico, after having been supposedly retired permanently in the North American Archdiocese.
(editor's note: It appears Bp. Demetri has returned to the United States to his home in Florida. In accordance with Florida State law, the Bishop was required to register on 5/01/09 at a permanent address In Miami, Florida.
You can access the link, including his photo, data and all the details of his crime information at:
#37.1 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-05-07 15:30
I am extremely worried about Section 9. What parish will ever break away from the Patriarch, to form an American church or for other "political" reasons, if they are going to lose their church building. Many times parishioners took out second mortgages on their OWN homes to build beautiful houses for God. Antiochians are trapped! Taking the savings and pensions from retired, dead, or exiting priests and their spouses is unbelievably immoral. Surely this cannot happen. May God have mercy!
#38 Ms. Hoorah on 2009-05-06 09:55
What is it about analogical references to the Scriptures that is so disturbing? It seems that all Khourieh Gabriel has to say is "sit down, shut up and color". The issues at stake are not addressed. This is a prime example of not wanting to hear opposition and not wanting to face the truth. The Holy Synod's actions need major clarification or else have every appearance of being uncanonical. I agree that the conversation needs to be more civil, but as the wife of one of the most powerful priests in the AOCA, Khourieh has done little to show a calm tone. It almost seems frantic. Why?
#39 anonymous on 2009-05-07 07:03
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