Monday, June 29. 2009
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This is sick! (Not your posting, Mr. Stokoe, but the facts.).... This is insanity that our supposed "representatives" have the gall to threaten members of the Holy Synod and then attempt deceit. What a wretched and ugly face we must have in the minds of those in the Middle East who know us only through Metropolitan Philip and those he sends to "represent" us. Lord have mercy! What an apology we must owe to those who endured this!
I've said it once, and I'll say it louder this time: ANAXIOS! This time to both the Metropolitan and those North American priests who attended the Holy Synod meeting last month. ANAXIOS! ANAXIOS!
#1 Silouan James on 2009-06-29 15:15
Did the Archdiocese pay for these thugs to go over a defraud the Holy Synod?
Let us see where else our money goes.
#1.1 wher do our tithes go? on 2009-06-29 19:28
If this is all true then these people are truly delusional. These pathetic attempts at cunning deception are laughable except for the fact that they thought they could get away with it - which implies that they have succeeded with this type of thing before. When are the clergy and laity gong to say that enough is enough?
Even if all they do is succeed in getting an independent audit in place, that would do it.
I feel sorry for people (like Bp. Basil) that have to live under this regime and still try to maintain some integrity.
#2 Marcel Herlé on 2009-06-29 15:22
Mark, thank you for adding so much information we didn't have before.
Cleaning requires light. We need cleansing in our Archdiocese, keep shining the light so we can keep finding the stains.....
Metropolitan Phillip needs to be removed from office.....
This is all beyond insane.
#4 Stephen on 2009-06-29 15:43
Metropolitan Philip should retire now! I am tired of the lies, the deceipt, the playing with words. It's all about the lust for money and power, rather than the love of Christ and the Church. I do not trust the Metropolitan, and I will never trust him again. I know many faithful Orthodox who feel the same way.
If Metropolitan Philip cares at all about the Church, he will announce his retirement in Palm Desert. If not, he should prepare for many, many shouts of ANAXIOS!
#5 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-06-29 16:29
Our Lord cautioned us when he said, "A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, you will know them by their fruits." (Mt 7:18-20). It seems that this prophetic word of our Lord has come home to roost for +Philip!
#6 David Barrett on 2009-06-29 16:54
This article should be emailed and mailed to every single person in the AOCA.
Everyone needs to be able to make an informed decision in California.
#7 anon and anon on 2009-06-29 17:15
Mark: I stand in awe at your sleuthlike and erudite deconstruction and reconstruction of the events of June 17-22 regarding the documents of the Holy Synod of Antioch. Your work in this field is priceless and exemplary of the highest standards of journalism. Thank you.
#8 Terry C. Peet on 2009-06-29 17:22
YOUR REPORT SOUNDS LIKE A STORY FROM THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER!!!!
Conspiracy theory!! Scandal!! Who is feuling your paranoia?? Who is interpreting the Arabic text for you? You say ;" WE know at the very least...." Who are you a mouthpiece for??
You took an honest and rational explanation from Lynn Gabriel and spun it into something sordid. On top of this you lifted this from another website. It sounds like they got the scoop and you had a tantrum.
This website is feeding anti Philip sentiment. Your disrespectful and discriminatory remarks directed toward the Metropolitan are slanderous.
(editor's note: Nothing slanderous was said, or intended. I did not encourage Ms. Gabriel to write, and I accurately cited where her comments were made - unless of course, one may never cite another's work? The facts speak for themselves, sadly.)
#8.1 George from Brooklyn on 2009-06-29 19:07
It is too facile to dismiss news analyses you don't agree with as 'spin'.
It is an undisputed fact that the Patriarchate has repudiated the first two pages of the "Fax of Englewood", going to the trouble of undating the English side of its website for the first time in two years to do so publicly and unabiguously. Without some 'sordid' as you term it explanation, it is very difficult to see why, if the first two pages had represented the mind of the Holy Synod, it was necessary for a representative of the Archdiocese to fax them from Lebanon, rather than an official of the Patriarchate sending them directly from Damascus. We know from events before and after that the Patriarchate's fax machine works.
"Who would dare?" is not a defense--Kh. Lynn Gabriel seems a good sort, and therefore innocent of the sort of audacious forgeries that attended the last attempt of a bishop to render all bishops of lesser sees his auxiliaries. If you are unfamiliar with it, Google "The Donation of Constantine" and the phrase "Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals".
#8.1.1 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-06-30 09:12
Philip is feeding anti-Philip sentiment, George from Brooklyn, just as it was Nikolai feeding anti-Nikolai sentiment, and Herman feeding anti-Herman sentiment. And just like the apologists for those two miscreants, Phillip's apologists refuse to look at the flaws of their episcopal hero, only to blame the laity whom the hero has victimized.
It was sorry when it happened in the OCA, and it's sorry now.
#8.1.2 Scott Walker on 2009-06-30 09:52
It does not follow logically that any story that SOUNDS like it comes from the National Enquirer necessarily is of that same quality or character. I think we've all been witness to Mark Stokoe's journalistic integrity over the past years. Thank God we are not beholden to antiochian.org for our "news."
#8.1.3 Silouan James on 2009-06-30 10:19
Dear George from Brooklyn,
Do you have a problem with Mark's rendering of the Arabic words? If you do, why don't you explain? Otherwise, you sound like you are just casting doubt on him because he is a non-Arab writer.
If you want to have a real conversation about the arabic, we can do so.
#8.1.4 The Arabic Advisor on 2009-06-30 12:42
Actually, Mark did not translate the Arabic, our Beloved Patriarch, His Beatitude Ignatius IV gave the translation as it was intended by the Holy Synod.
Having met and spoken with the Patriarch his English is perfect, and I would assuume his Arabic is as well.
Perhaps you really question the compentence of Patriarch Ignatius IV to translate a document into English?
Given the Patriarch presided over the mmeetings and not MP, I believe the Patriarch would be in the best posoition to give the sense and meaning of the Arabic translation AS INTENDED BY OUR METROPOLITANS OF THE HOLY SYNOD.
Can anyone still deny MP had a vested interest in the February 24th Decision?
Did not three days of the Holy Synod's meeting address their UNDERSTANDING OF THAT VERY DECISION?
THE ONLY ONES' WHO WANT THAT INTERPRETATION ARE THE ARCHITECTS OF THAT DECISION ---- Halderman, Erlichman, Mitchel and Dean! Dejavue.
I meant Antypas, Gabriel, Nasr and Shalhoub...
#220.127.116.11 anon and anon on 2009-06-30 20:53
If Lynn Gabriel's account was "honest and rational" why did she post it on that tabloid website that I'm convinced is Metropolitan Philip's new mouthpiece? There are so many convoluted twists and turns to her story, it reads like a Gothic novel. The people at the top are behaving like keystone cops! Their ridiculous attempt to deflect guilt is so transparent. They are positively inept so I am no longer going to hold them responsible for their own insane behavior. It's now up to the Board of Trustees and the General Convention. We've given them more than enough ammunition to remove Metropolitan Philip and his cronies, and if they fail to perform their judiciary responsibilities, my attention will turn to each of them. - BTW, when they do an audit, and they BETTER do an audit, they should also amend the constitution to make it a requirement that each Board member be audited, as well. I want to know that NO ONE sitting on the Board is playing loose with the truth or the letter of the law.
#8.1.5 Gail Sheppard on 2009-06-30 16:58
Does it bother anyone else that Fr Antony Gabriel, who made such a point in responding on this forum that he was NOT in Damascus lobbying before the Synod meeting, was indeed not only part of the Official Delegation, but was allowed to attend the Synod meetings, and managed to get falsified documents signed by the Patriarch?
Will he be the fall guy for Met Philip? And how will the game of "plausible deniability" play out here? I would just like one of them to tell us when the truth became expendable to Christians. This is not about mob rule as the faithful react. It is about asking for those in leadership positions to answer honestly because they are accountable to the reason-endowed sheep. This is the Body of Christ, not anyone's personal kingdom. Too bad some have forgotten that. And the participants in Palm Desert can never be ruled out of order for asking for the truth. Don't allow that to happen! It is about time we start acting like the Church.
#9 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-06-29 17:39
You will be called out of order, as I have been in the past. Most "know better" especially the old AEOM members who have been silent all along? Too close to retirement for many and careful to watch their protests (if any!) That delegation represented WHAT members of the Church? All wealthy (paid their own way) and no officers of the Trustees, note! At this moment instructions given to Hail Met. Philip on his big 50! Another anniversary! Bring out the laudations and don't spoil "his day". Most to P. Springs vacation-bound anyway.
#9.1 Anonymous Lay Delegate on 2009-06-29 22:17
Then the laity need to step up to the plate. What do YOU have to lose? Getting called out of order again? Together, as the royal priesthood, the lay delegates need to make it known that answers and truth are never out of order. Take a lesson from the OCA, and pray that the Holy Spirit gives the strength, wisdom and guidance to get to the bottom of all this...and make it stop. The laity who fail to act are just as liable to judgment as the clergy perpetuating this horrible mess!
#9.1.1 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-06-30 07:46
Lord, have mercy! We need and want real delegates!!!!! Who are they? Why not a parish assembly before the delegates leave for Palm Springs so they can hear from us? Are they our representatives or not????? Do they care? How did they get to be delegates? No, this is not a democracy, but I believe they are supposed to be representing the folks back home. Am I deluded???
#9.1.2 pelagiaeast on 2009-06-30 11:25
All of this new is sad and depressing. It is now clear that the quasi-literate website, theantiochian.org, despite its denials has had close connections with the allies of the Metropolitan and did have "inside information" about what was going on in Damascus. It is also clear that the hand picked delegation sent to Damascus was composed of +MP's closest allies, sycophant priests and members of the Board of Trustees. If the leaders in Damascus thought they were "representative" of opinions in the United States, they were wrong, but it appears that they were also not taken in by the bullying that took place at that meeting, and the subsequent efforts to get the Patriarch to sign documents makes it clear that intent to defraud was their objective.
We all have to remember that the Patriarch is 90 years, and it would seem to be easy to confuse him and lead him to believe that his signatures were necessary. However, from all accounts, he is a most honorable and godly man, and when the mistake was discovered, the officials there immediately acted to avoid misunderstandings.
As agitated as many of us have been about this attempted coup, we must realize that the Metropolitan has been unmasked, and we can pity him and his actions and hope that he recognizes a need for repentance. I am trusting that the mass of accumulated evidence will make it impossible for him to sweep this situation under an (expensive) oriental rug. May God forgive him and at the same time forgive all of us for our unkind thoughts and agitation. Justice will triumph.
#10 anon on 2009-06-29 17:41
For the record, Fr. Antony Gabriel at best has a working knowledge of Arabic. He is not fluent by any means, and likely did not understand most of what was being said, especially when parsing linguistics in the Arabic language.
#11 Anonymous on 2009-06-29 18:00
We have a new trisagion for our Archdiocese: shame, shame, shame!
#12 Fr. Michael Molloy on 2009-06-29 18:19
Ah yes, we Orthodox like to say and do things in threes. First it was Spyridon, then came Herman and now Philip. An Orthodox trifecta. Does all this housecleaning betoken some augmented level of maturation of the church in North America? Will it lead to canonical unity? It’s too soon to tell, but we can hope.
#12.1 Terry C. Peet on 2009-06-29 21:03
Kh. Gabriel said. "I did see on two separate occasions, my husband and two other members of the H.S. (Editor: Holy Synod) emerge from his office." ... Hum, my husband and two other members of the H.S. -- most of us were not aware that Fr. Gabriel is a member of the Holy Synod. Has he been consecrated a bishop and made a Metropolitan?
#13 A concerned Antiochian on 2009-06-29 18:43
This is the first time I write a comment after following OCA news for a few months now. Quite frankly none of this makes any sense. How can both Feb 24th decision AND June 17th decision stand?
"The bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan."
"All bishops within the Antiochian See are auxiliary bishops..."
"The Metropolitan is the point of reference of all bishops in his Archdiocese and they are under his authority."
"All bishops within the Antiochian See are auxiliary bishops..."
"The Metropolitan defines the responsibilities of the bishops and the place where they should serve."
Does this sound like all bishops are equal?
"..the nature of the Episcopate is one and the same to all those who are consecrated as bishops.."
Does the "nature of the Episcopate" refer only to spiritual matters with no administrative authority?
The discussions His Beatitude had with +Basil don't mesh with Feb 24th either. “A bishop must be a ‘bishop of a place’" and yet could be moved anywhere at anytime at the will of the Metro. Does the Patriarch stand by Feb 24th or not?
A KINGDOM DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CAN NOT STAND.
I have only mentioned a few examples. There are contradictions and ambiguities EVERYWHERE. Damascus has not taken a CLEAR position on anything as these statements don't resolve much at all with the issues at hand.
It is my view that NEITHER party, Englewood or Damascus, is innocent in this whole ordeal. God have mercy on all of us.
#14 B on 2009-06-29 19:02
This is a fair point.
What was the Feb 24th decision? Was it a real and effective decision, or (as Carl has suggested) was it not?
If it was, was it intended to apply to America? If so, has this been changed the present statement?
I would feel comfortable, as I've explained, answering that last question with a "Yes." However, we deserve to be told plainly what the Holy Synod considers the state of affairs to be. I think we all expected something quite a lot clearer from Damascus than what we have received. Their vagueness might have been tolerable if Met. Philip had been willing to just roll with it and keep things calm through his retirement — but it is now intolerable.
I didn't want to see Met. Philip embarrassed, and I take no pleasure in the notion. But it seems that he had his opportunity to save face, and he rejected it in favor of pursuing total conquest. What other solution is left?
#14.1 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-30 06:34
In the midst of scandal Richard Nixon challenged Americans to “pursue this investigation of Watergate even it if it leads to the president. I’m innocent. You’ve got to believe I’m innocent. If you don’t, take my job. People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”
As history would show, President Nixon was dishonest and it cost him his job and forever tarnished his legacy, even though he was one of the most knowledgeable and visionary American statesmen of the 20th Century.
There is an eerie parallel between Nixon and +Philip. Neither could/can face the truth, neither could/can admit wrongdoing, both believed that their positions of power were/are revocable, both were/are in denial and both were/are surrounded by .... opportunists.
Nixon showed the degree of his delusional thinking when he tried to justify his actions by saying “When the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.” Likewise, the Metropolitan appears to think “When I do it, that means it’s alright.”
Being the student of history that +Philip has portrayed himself, it is unfortunate that he has grossly neglected to learn from history.
Years after the fact, Richard Nixon was man enough, although in the face of irrefutable evidence, to admit: “Well, I screwed it up real good, didn’t I?”
The question remains, does Metropolitan Philip have the integrity and courage to raise to the level of Richard Nixon and admit: “Well, I screwed it up real good, didn’t I?” And then only to surpass Nixon by admitting, “I have sinned against God and His Church, please forgive me!”
#15 An Appalled Priest on 2009-06-29 19:10
Can anyone say BYZANTINE!!!????
#16 no name on 2009-06-29 19:16
I think we all need to take a look at Met. Jonah and the OCA.
#17 Anonymous on 2009-06-29 20:07
Mark, again you never cease to amaze me, this is truly a more pathetic article than I ever saw on this website. You're taking another forums comments and making a story about it to make the situation worse.
You should ask where the stamp was made? What kind of ink was used? This is almost as bad as that Kevin Kirwan comments on the other forum.
#18 William on 2009-06-29 20:16
I had to post again. Please post these comments, even if they offend you I am sorry. Offending you is just as bad as someone offending the Metropolitan. I have offended too many already today so one more is ok before I pray for forgiveness.
This scandal is blown way out of proportion. Your not going to win a nobel peace prize for this site. Congradulations on the award though, that was actually pretty cool.
However, we all know based on all news that there are biases and this is definetly bias. No questions asked. A blind person with no fingers can tell and he can't even use a computer. Go figure (your terminology).
It's like the medical field in research. If you research one side of the drug you will definetly get the answer your looking for in studies. Like the antidepressents your on, some people say they are good, some people say they are bad depending on which side of the research your trying to get and the goal, unfortunately in the medical field it is money and on your site it is an award to hopefully make you feel like a great news anchor.
You are getting the bad research. Why don't you look at the other side of the coin and post some kind of findings on that....it's because your so focused on this side only. I guarantee you will find more than your looking for on the other side too. If I stare hard enough at a quarter on the ground, i still will never see the other side of the coin unless I pick it up and look at it.
Does it really matter if he drove to Lebanon? Seriously, and the way you said it was like it was some Da Vinci Code novel. "The question is why did he have to quickly drive to Lebanon?" Give me a break please. I haven't looked at this site in a long time and my life was extremely peaceful until just now.
Are you coming to the convention? You should do a live report from there if your a real news agent.
(Editor: You are correct, all journalists have biases. Mine are quite open: I believe in transparency and accountability. Hence the name of the site. As for looking at both sides of a story, my story was based on both sources in Damascus as well as Lynn Gabriel's own words. ( and it was she who described the car to Lebanon - not me.) I would love to interview Metropolitan Philip, but I doubt that will happen. The editors of the Archdiocesean website recently were instructed not to answer my questions.... So, while I understand and sympathize with your distress, the fact is these events and circumstances are difficult to hear, let alone write about.
No, I am not coming to the convention. I expect to listen to it like everyone else on AFR. This, though, is an assumption on my part. The OCA Council was broadcast - I am assuming the Talks and assembly portions of the Convention will be as well? But never fear - lots of co-workers and contributors to the site will be there.)
#19 William on 2009-06-29 20:31
I thank you for your reply. I know my comment may have been offensive but it was out of frustration. I just don't understand why it keeps getting worse.
#19.1 WIlliam on 2009-06-30 06:31
It keeps getting worse because Metropolitan Philip keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole. He knows the truth. Why won't he act on that knowledge? I can only conclude, ANAXIOS!
#19.1.1 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-06-30 08:28
It doesn't KEEP GETTING WORSE. It has BEEN WORSE in the Archdiocese for years. The facts in this situation are what they are; they are only coming out slowly, primarily because (1) +Philip's supporters don't want all of the facts to come out because they are up to their ears in fraud and (2) +Philip's detractors continually hope that +Philip will take a graceful "exit" at some point and enable them to deal with the residue in a way that will minimize his humiliation. Unfortunately, +Philip seems to want to hang on to the bitter end. Because +Philip is so clearly bent on self-destruction, you should expect the facts to get worse, but don't shoot the messenger in your frustration with the existence of evil.
#19.1.2 Silouan James on 2009-06-30 10:59
You mentioned that you will listen to the convention on AFR. What is AFR and how would I be able to listen also?
(editor's note: I said I hoped that I would be able to listen on Ancient Faith Radio (AFR). So far no announcement has been made as to whether that is going to be allowed....)
#19.2 Anonymous on 2009-06-30 10:46
In case no one has answered the questions posted in #19.2 already, AFR is Ancient Faith Radio. They are an online Orthodox "radio" station, playing Orthodox music and featuring many educational podcasts. They can be found at www.ancientfaithradio.com. Yesterday I accessed the interview through the www.antiochian.org website. I think the address for the interview is http://www.antiochian.org/node/19443. If that doesn't get you there directly, on the antiochian.org website look on the righthand side for the "News" section. Click on the item titled "Summary of Posts on Decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch Regarding Bishops." The page you'll be sent to will have a bullet point list with an option "Ancient Faith Radio Interviews Bishop BASIL about Damascus Journey."
#19.2.1 Laura Buchinger on 2009-07-01 06:31
Different scandal, same belligerent behavior. this behavior from Met. Philip reads similarly to Bp. Nickolai's obstinacy in the face of challenges to his veracity ("How dare you challenge me.") Let's observe these patterns, then instill new processes in our administrative procedures that ferret out these kinds of actions and behaviors BEFORE they gain power and perpetrate new abuses. It is possible to move our leadership beyond this worn out medieval darkness. How much of this is just plain old narcissism dressed in clerical garb; spouting epithets meant to intimidate?
#20 Anon. on 2009-06-29 20:53
Bp. Demetri was forced to retire due to his loss of control while under the influence of alcohol. What, then, should be done with a metropolitan archbishop and an archpriest who conspires with him, soberly and with malice aforethought, to deceive his flock? Should not the same types of investigations that are in progress into the affairs of Metr. Herman and the former archpriest Robert Kondratick now commence into the affairs of Metr. Philip and the archpriest Fr. Antony Gabriel?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#21 Nemo on 2009-06-29 20:56
Bishop Demetri may have been "forced to retire" from this Archdiocese, but he is actively serving as an auxiliary for +Philip's crony +Antonio (Chedrouwi) in Mexico. Also, if you didn't happen to notice, Bishop Demetri's name is prominently featured (along with his title of Bishop) in the Archdiocesan budgetary information that was distributed earlier in June. Perhaps the "surprise visitor" mentioned on theantiochian is none other than Demetri-- well-rested and tanned and ready to hit the ground running in Toledo, again, if +Philip has his way?
#21.1 Silouan James on 2009-06-30 06:27
I will add my voice to the chorus and say, ANAXIOS! While I would be content with Metropolitan Philip's retirement, he really should be deposed. His priest cronies should be defrocked, and his lay henchmen should be excommunicated. ANAXIOS!
Does Met Philip really think he can get away with this? Do his thugs? Do they not yet understand that all will be made known? For years he has lusted after fame and a legacy, and his yes-men have sought to acquire glory by association.
Ironically, in the end, Met Philip's fame will indeed outlive him by centuries -- his name will be a byword among the nations, a term of reproach....my God have mercy upon their souls.
#22 Ferris Haddad on 2009-06-29 21:04
This whole thing just keeps getting more interesting by the minute! Pass the popcorn, please! (or, as we Antiochians would say, "bass the bobcorn, blease")
#23 rdr mo on 2009-06-29 21:31
Just an "Antiochian slip."
Hyperclericalism? Please, please American Orthodox learn the meaning of "hyperclericalism."
#24 Steve on 2009-06-30 03:35
the credibility of the other witnesses is untouchable even tho my fellow orthodox Christian does not believe in mine
For the record, I'd like to say that I never accused Kh. Lynn of dishonesty. As I explained in a second post on The Antiochian , by objection was 1) to the idea that she had a right to expect trust in such a serious matter from people who don't know her, and 2) to her failure to offer any basis for her denial that forgery took place, beyond the words "who would dare?" To trust someone's probity is one thing; to also trust their judgment of events is quite another.
(She did, as we see, eventually provide such a basis — and in sufficient detail that, as I wrote in reply, I found it probable that she was telling the truth.)
I was and remain disturbed that arbitrary "old friends from Chicago days" would know more about the goings-on of the Synod meeting than our bishops were intended to know. Secondly, who was it who thought it appropriate to permit Kh. Lynn to report on events, not for the relief of the information-starved faithful, but for some other, outside project?
The breezy manner in which she related these facts suggests to me a weird distortion of vision in the Metropolitan's inner-circle — a total ignorance of what the rest of us consider appropriate and inappropriate.
#25 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-30 05:27
I am sickened by what appears to be the conduct of Metropolitan and his associates. The I-can't-bring-myself-to-call-him Father Joseph Allen affair, the sending of reportedly criminally convicted persons as his representatives to Damascus, the air headed comments of Mrs. Gabriel...all of it. I have made some commitments to my parish, and I will honor them because I try to keep my word. Once those commitments are completed, I plan to quietly withdraw from the Antiochian Orthodox Church and I do not plan to join any other church.
Please don't tell me that the church is for sinners...I know it, and I know that the church is for sinners to repent from sinning. I see no repentence in the Metropolitan just as I saw none in Herman. I believe Bishops Basil and Mark to be men of integrity, but how long can their robes remain clean when they are walking in this muck. Church should make a difference. I see no difference in the conduct of the Metropolitan and his cronies than in the conduct of venal politicians.
#26 Max on 2009-06-30 06:16
Believe me – I and many others understand your frustration, outrage and sense of betrayal. You are confronted with a “skandalon”, a stumbling block (scandal). It’s always been thus (c.f. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians on the trials of the church there). What is essential – i.e. life-creating, life-saving, is the manner in which you respond. Men of integrity and faith, like you, must persevere. Remember yesterday’s (SS Peter and Paul) Apostle” “ When any man has had scruples, I have had scruples with him; when any man is made to fall, I am tortured.” (2Cor 11:29). Please don’t torture any of your Orthodox brothers and sisters by actually doing what you’re threatening. The Apostle Paul furthers says in the same reading: “I was given a thorn in the flesh…..I have pleaded with the Lord for it to leave me, but he has said: ‘My grace is enough for you; my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” (2Cor: 12: 7-10). So chill out and hang in there, where your salvations lies.
#26.1 Terry C. Peet on 2009-06-30 07:31
Leave the Church over what is currently happening in the Antiochian Archdiocese?
Goodness,let's be realistic.
This (at worst) semi-crisis, less than a few months old, would hardly have been noticed during the truly great controversies of the mid-fourth century.
Troubles in Antioch? No one ever heard of the Miletian Schism in that city?
Please friends, cool it. The last thing we need right now are outbreaks of righteous indignation. We will come through this just fine.
#26.2 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-06-30 08:00
That is entirely correct. Would that this "crisis" be the worst the Church has had or ever will have to endure.
Time cures many ills; it will cure this one.
#26.2.1 Doug Smith on 2009-06-30 19:17
Father..no we won't be quiet...its been too long and too much..go write your books...
#26.2.2 Anonymous on 2009-07-01 04:48
No father ...we wil not be quiet..Met.Phillip needs to retire..help us fight for the CHurch...
#26.2.3 Stephen on 2009-07-01 04:54
"We will come through this just fine." Father Patrick does that mean there will be changes that improve transparency and accountability, or does it mean the "status quo" will continue? Who is the "we" to whom you refer? When will we see priests rally to the aid of Bishops who seek to honor Orthodoxy and serve the Lord?
#26.2.4 max on 2009-07-01 06:12
With the utmost respect, when people of great faith such as yourself tell those of us who have become weak in faith, "ah this really ain't all that bad", it does nothing to increase our faith, and in fact, at least for me, it brings even greater challenges to my faith. I completely and utterly emphathize with Max, and to write this off as not really that bad compared to this or that scandal, I think is a drastic mistake far too many people are making. I think this whole situation, and I don't mean just the Antiochian Archdiocese but what is happening in "world Orthodoxy" is going to be revealed as one of the darkest periods in Church history. This is not just one man or two men trying to usurp more power, the whole thing is corrupt through and through. Sex scandals, Archdioceses reinstanting priests and Bishops who are convicted sex offenders, monks in greece being arrested for sexually abusing young novices for decades, the OCA financial scandal, the Alaskan scandal, the neo-papalism of the certain Patriarchates, the preaching of Hellenism (or whatever culture) instead of the Gospel, the list, as I'm sure you know goes on and on, and there are many things which are yet to come to light Father.
I know this is an unpopular thing to say, and I know all of the catch phrases and canned answers, which many people are telling Max, with the best of intentions I'm sure, but they are beginning to ring hallow. I know all the bible quotes and comparisons to previous dark times in Church history, because I at one time spoke those same words to other people, but the reality is this not a semi scandal. Maybe it is no big deal for some people with super faith, but for us regular people who struggle from day to day, this is major. This won't just "pass" or get better on it's own, and the Church won't fix itself given enough time, not without PEOPLE, who are the Church to stand up and do something. Good men like Bishop Mark and Basil, and Met. Jonah, even the laity must stand up and be heard. I realize this is unpopular with some Orthodox who continue to hold, even after decades of being in the Church, an anti-Protestant mindset, but there is nothing wrong with "protesting" wrong doing, many saints did just that.
People have asked me, "well if you leave Orthodoxy where will you go?" and my answer is I don't know...I do not have a home, I do not have any other refuge or anywhere else to turn. Because ultimately I do and still believe Orthodoxy is Christ's Church, though it has been so bogged down with corruption the Truth has been obscured. I know, unpopular things to say, but this is how I, and obviously Max, and MANY, MANY others are beginning to feel. And the "be patient and in 100 years all will be well" that I've heard other priests and biships give as "advice" does little to comfort me. I understand some people take an historian's view of Church history, and I've pretty well versed in Church history, it is what lead me to Orthodoxy in fact, but I'm also a realist and practically minded, and the Church is failing not just the world at large, but those of us in the Church. i've been accused of having "weak faith" and been told "just be patient" far too long...yes, I have weak faith. But as I've said elsewhere, are not the strong supposed to bear the burdens of the weak? I don't see that going on, but rather we're being told to just bear with it. I personally have enough crosses to bear, and I just cannot handle anymore.
All I can offer to Max is to tell him that he's NOT alone. And while it may be best to withdraw for a time, I think to withdraw completely is not the answer. I don't know what the answer is, as I'm still trying to learn it myself, but as others have said, there ARE good men and women in the Church, clergy and laity, and while they seem few and far between, I think that fact alone means we must stay engaged, in some manner, to support them, and in turn they will support us.
Max, I don't know what the answer is, but know that from someone who feels almost exactly the same as you do, if I could I would help you to bear this cross. I cannot offer sound advice, or any practical help, short of saying a prayer, but we are in this together. And I think there are enough good men at the top, even though it appears small, that we can get through this thing. with that said, I don't blame you for taking the position you do, and totally understand where you're coming from. However, I think there are other options rather than just leaving altogether, I think it's possible to find a parish somewhere in some jurisdiction that will help you spiritually in all this, even if you're is too close and affected by these scandals. Just don't give up, even though it seems hopeless....
The only thing that keeps me holding on is the realization that I'm NOT alone, and that others feel the same way. Misery loves company I guess, but in the end, it is what keeps me going.
#26.2.5 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-07-01 08:41
And the "be patient and in 100 years all will be well" that I've heard other priests and biships give as "advice"
Well, that is just insane. At the same time, I think many are making assumptions about what Fr. Patrick meant. I saw nothing in his post that ruled out protest or active efforts to overcome corruption.
Further, when people here write about the scandals of the past, I am sure most of them realize that these scandals required action, often daring action, to resolve. The point for me at least is that, all the while, the Church continued to give birth to Saints. Whatever else was true, the Church never ceased to be the door to participation in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ in the lives of the faithful.
Today we do not hear about the latter very much, mostly because modern media always focus on what is dark and negative. This is especially so as regards the Church. You have heard of the sexually abusive abbot — who hasn't? But will the AP carry any stories about holy abbots? Will we read about the transformation of the broken and the healing of the afflicted? Elder Paisios the Athonite, who lived into the nineties, was one of the greatest miracle-workers in history. The blind saw, the lame walked — again and again. And how many stories about him appeared on the front page of Greece's newspapers? Not one.
I do not believe that we should look to history, resign ourselves to fate, and say, "This too shall pass." But I think we have every reason to look to history, call on God for strength, and say, "This too, we will overcome."
#18.104.22.168 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-01 10:31
To a Fellow Orthodox Christian,
I agree with much of what you've written here, and I thank you for your perspective. I in no way meant to misinterprete what Father Patrick wrote, as I have a lot of respect for him (even though I've never met him). And you're right, about so many points. But it is hard to not despair when you see what is going on. I will try to remember your last sentence above all else, we will overcome! But I will add, we can only do it TOGETHER. And above all, with Christ's help.
#22.214.171.124.1 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-07-01 12:45
Those of us who undertook a significant study of Church history, either following our conversion to Holy Orthodoxy, or upon reaching some point when we wanted to deepen our understanding of the Faith, know that Met. Philip and his 'cronies' as you term them are hardly exceptional.
Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares? The Church has always applied it to herself.
I have repeatedly pointed out parallels between +Philip's behavior and the behavior of the Popes of Rome in the centuries leading up to and just after their schism from the Church--arrogation of non-canonical authority, forged documents and all. The Ottoman Yoke resulted in massive corruption with episcopates being bought, not usually in the sense of simony, strictly construed, with the consecrating bishops being bribed to perform the consecration, but in the sense that the Muslim authorities' permission has to be bought. Nonetheless, the Church was and is still the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Ark of Salvation.
Look at the Icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent: some who ascend very high are nonetheless pulled off by the demons.
The Church makes a difference--inside the Church there are indeed venal politicians, but outside the Church there are no saints. It is the Church that makes the Ladder available to us, and the fact that some, yes even some who wear the sakkos and mitre, are pulled off, does not change that.
When John Chrysostom was driven into exile, his followers didn't quit the Church. Instead they resisted the heretics. The usurper of the Patriarchal throne in those days went about with armed soldiers instead of clerics as his retinue. It was also the Golden-Mouth who remarked that "Hell is paved with bishop's skulls".
Follow holy bishops who try to live and rule in accord with Holy Tradition, ignore, and if necessary resist, bishops who trample on Holy Tradition, but don't jump ship from the Ark of Salvation.
If you don't have the luxury of changing jurisdictions and can't assure that your pledges won't go to Englewood, stop pledging, and tell your priest and Parish Council why, but continue to support your local parish with in-kind donations--oil or candles, wine, labor and building supplies for repairs and renovations--and by giving your priest a really nice gift when he blesses your home.
#26.3 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-06-30 09:45
I come from a Protestant background and, in the midst of this mess, feel the strong tug to leave the Church. However, leaving the Church is exactly what the motivator of +Philip and his ilk desire. As bad as all of this is, remember that there are good people in the Church. Bishops Alexander, Basil, and Mark all have hearts of gold-- not immune to temptation or doing wrong, but struggling for their salvation and not mucking about in the pig trough with +Philip. Flee temptation. Flee evil. But don't flee the Church. Hold fast to that which has been delivered to us, even if those around let go to grasp after wood, hay, and stubble.
#26.4 Silouan James on 2009-06-30 11:03
Please do not let evil triumph over your faith. There IS another viewpoint: what you see is the puss from a wounded church and it's ugly, putrid; but excising that wound is required for the wound to heal. To watch church leaders be the cause of wounding the church is extremely painful, but it is not the end of the church.
When I grow weary of these kinds of "shenagins," I remember that sin has plagued the church from the beginning. Judas Iscariot was a personal friend of Jesus and counted among the twelve apostles, yet found it in his heart to betray the Lord to His death for a few pieces of silver. Jesus took that betrayal and transformed those circumstances into His brightest moment: His resurrection and triumph. Without the resurrection, there would have been no church. The frightened men huddling in an upper room hiding from Jewish and Roman authorities needed the miracle of Jesus' resurrection and the subsequent life bestowed through the Holy Spirit to establish His ekklesia, to fight on behalf of the faith and to endure the darkness that claws at us, seeking to destroy us. Ultimately, it is Jesus we must cling to and follow, and let the unrepentant fall aside. (We may reach out to them in love, but we cannot make another change his heart.) Jesus is head of the church and His living presence is manifest in every Divine Liturgy.
It may be bold for me to say, but I believe we in the OCA experienced the resurrected life of Christ in our All American Council with the election of Metropolitan Jonah. Metropolitan Jonah is far from perfect, and very inexperienced, but there is good evidence to conclude that he loves Christ and is not out for himself (note his recent statement that he and the OCA need to disappear). It is my prayer and hope that eventually the AOCA will arise from their present troubles to be resurrected in Christ.
Please hold to your faith even if it seems foolhardy to do so, lest you find yourself promoting the very cause you presently hate so much.
#26.5 Kathy Erickson on 2009-06-30 13:41
Church should make a difference, yes. And this is repellent.
But I do not think the situation is as black as you imply. "This muck" seems to be all about one man. Met. Philip has been the sole authority in the Archdiocese for many years, and our practical isolation in America gave him an absolute authority that is alien to Orthodox tradition (and inherently corrupting to fallen man). Our bishops aren't a collection of back-slapping mobsters; and even the ones willing to accept the decision were not necessarily dishonorable because of that, but merely wrong. Only +Antoun is known to have acted to undermine +Basil and +Mark — and he is a mere extension of the Metropolitan.
More fundamentally, we all retain our free will, hierarchs or not; and we shouldn't look for proof of the Church in those who we see taking the broad path. Didn't Christ tell us how many such people there would be? Didn't He say that "many" of the first would be last, and speak of the "many" who would be shocked that, despite all they did in His name, He "never knew" them? Surely we must take God at His word.
And this: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice." I cannot believe that the Lord said that only for the sake of the Jews whom He was addressing at that moment.
I believe we must seek testimony to the Church first of all in those who have taken the narrow path: in the saints, those who have finished the race, those who have lived the faith in its fullness. They often had to travel in even more "muck" than we see around us today — and I think their examples show us both how to manage, and why to bother.
#26.6 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-30 14:55
Well stated! Bishop Joseph, Thomas and of course, Antoun are truly mere extensions of Met. Philip! Confirmed fact from many in the Middle East that Bp Joseph has always been a "double agent" letting many on the Synod as to what's happening here AND waiting in the wings to succeed Met. P. Remember, he and Bp Demetri were NOT elected by us - as was the case with Met Bashir (1936), Met. Philip (1966) and thereafter Bishops Antoun & Basil! We received them BY LETTER from Damascus and Met. Philip ACCEPTED this. Why? Figure it out. And, Bp Joseph for 25 days in the precincts of the Synod. How convenient. Ohhhh for an American Orthodox Church!
#26.6.1 Anonymous Priest & Three Council Members on 2009-07-01 09:33
I don't think this is remotely fair. The fact that Bishops Joseph and Thomas have not been very public recently hardly means that they are merely extensions of Met. Philip. I admit personally wishing that Bp. Joseph would speak out upon his return from Damascus, but perhaps the Patriarchate told him that they would prefer to clarify what the false documents were obscuring. "Anonymous Priest & Three Council Members " are right that Bp. Joseph had ties in the Patriarchate, and we have seen that Met. Philip has wanted to control the ALL contacts with Damascus.
First, it should be known that in the last Synod meeting before the Feb decision, Bp. Joseph was opposing Met. Philips latest naked power grab and one of "Anonymous Priest & Three Council Members " 3 hero bishops, had just been manipulated into flipping to back the Met. I do not say this to blame either of them: such divisiveness is the Met's doing. I hope that such wounds of the past do not keep the bishops from uniting today.
Second, Bp Joseph was at the Synod meeting, and is, of course fluent in Arabic.
Third, yes, Bp. Joseph is close to the Patriarch. Recent events have shown benefits to both the Archdiocese and the Patriarchate having sources apart from the Met. as to the situation in the N. American Archdiocese.
Does anyone really think that Bp. Joseph sat there at the Synod and opposed the Patriarch on behalf of Met. Philp? No, I bet he was essential in the Patriarch convincing the Synod to apporve what they did approve and not what the likes of Khalife, and Fr. Gabriel were trying to peddle. Again, does anyone think he sat there and tried to help Met. Philip keep himself demoted??
I would again express my opinion that I would appreciate Bp. Joseph being more bold & vocal, but I see no reason whatever to conclude that he and Bp. Thomas are "merely extensions" of Met. Philip. I think it would be news to all three!
Met. Philip has chosen who his extensions are, Fr.s Gabriel, SHalhoub, and Antypas, Mr.s Walid Khalife and Fawaz El Khoury. I have never before been ashamed of having an Arabic name. Even on and after 9/11 I was not ashamed of my Arabic Christian name. Walid Khalife and the rest of this gang and their "crime family" approach to Church have finally caused me tinges of embaressment. Maran Imrahim Illan!
Priest Yousuf Rassam
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2009-07-02 01:57
Nicely said, Father. A well-reasoned and very appropriate response. Do not feel any twinges of shame for having an Arabic last name. As much as the Khalife types would want us to believe otherwise, the situation has nothing to do with last names or ethnicity at all. It has nothing to do with whether a person is an immigrant or not. My immigrant Orthodox friends are angry, and so are my American born Orthodox friends! There are just as many priests and laity of Arabic ancestry who are outraged at all of this as there are of non-Arabic lineage. An ethnic issue this is not! We're all Christians-- no Jew, Greek, etc. among us-- who are simply concerned about the health of the Church. The bad ones must be weeded out, regardless of ancestry, and the good ones must do the weeding-- again, regardless of ancestry.
#188.8.131.52.1 Silouan James on 2009-07-02 09:18
Again, does anyone think [Bp. Joseph] sat there and tried to help Met. Philip keep himself demoted??
I don't know. Quite a risk to defy Met. Philip's will, and perhaps not wholly ethical if he didn't warn the Met first. (He did, after all, agree to attend specifically as the Met's representative.)
But I hear ethics are protestant, so let's look at it like this. Bp. Joseph remains the cabal's chosen heir, as witness the crude campaign endorsement at The Antiochian . If the Feb decision were imposed, he would be demoted for a couple of years, true — but the others would be demoted forever. Thus, he'd soon have Met. Philip's absolute control of the Archdiocese and the love and gratitude of Met. Philip's financial connections. What's not to like?
Of course, matters could have gone either way at the Synod meeting, and it wouldn't have helped him to have been too volubly on the losing side. But it would not have been necessary for him to argue vociferously for Met. Philip's position — just enough to be seen as having done his duty, not so much that he'd look like a fool if the Met. lost.
I have no evidence of how he actually behaved at the Synod meeting, of course. But I do see how he behaves in public, and that is to remain supportive of Met. Philip — but only as a practical matter, by compliance and silence. It's enough to satisfy Met. Philip supporters, but not so much as to really anger Met. Philip's opponents and make it impossible for him to rule as Metropolitan.
If such is indeed his logic, I think it despicable, but I can't deny that it would be smart strategy: +Basil's bold stance has endeared him to the people, but it has also made him some bitter and moneyed old-guard enemies; and such an attitude of independence must be worrying to many in Damascus. Pragmatism, it's true, won't win hearts on the ground in America — but then that is not where Metropolitans are made, or from where they derive their political power.
#184.108.40.206.2 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-02 16:21
You must not have any knowledge of Bishop JOSEPH then. He is no crony of H.E. PHILLIP. H.E. has fought with +JOSEPH because +JOSEPH had the audacity to publish full liturgical notes (for free!) that were different than the Archdiocese notes. H.E. has complained about the speeches given and has threatened the speechwriter. H.E. complained about the full featured website, until it was pointed out that the LA Diocese website had congratulatory notes and comments about H.E's names day before the Archdiocese website did. +JOSEPH has resisted any changes, and so far we have not seen any. This doesn't sound like a crony or a proxy to me.
I know His Grace +JOSEPH to be a holy man. I know him to want the best for his flock and for his priests. I also know that +JOSEPH was the secretary to the Patriarch when he was in Damascus, so of course they would be close. I am sure that +JOSEPH does not want to make provocative statements publicly so that he will not become the lightening rod for criticism, as neither the statements nor the fallout would be beneficial for his flock.
Why would the Holy Synod of Antioch keep His Eminence around even after so many abuses, and canonically questionable decisions? There could be two reasons. One money. Money buys influence in ways that are not always readily apparent. Is money buying the silence of priests who might forfeit their retirement or their current position? H.E. is widely known to move priests at will/without cause, called the "September Surprise." In any case I would never intimate that the Holy Synod is being bought or intimidated directly by means of money or the withholding of it.
The second reason I can think of is that honor is very important in Arabic cultures. Knowing this I think that the Patriarch and the Holy Synod would be very reticent to do anything forcibly to H.E. until something very grievous happens. I can only think that the the forgeries or deceits now rises to the level necessitating discipline.
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2009-07-06 11:07
Frankly, I find Met. Joseph's behavior to be consistent, not with an extension of Met. Philip, but with someone who knows how to play politics for his own advantage.
When he was an auxiliary — when he developed his reputation for belonging to Met. Philip — doing his the will of the Met. was the smart move. Once he gained diocesan statue, the risks of bucking the Met. in minor ways became minute in comparison to the gains: distance from the incumbent and a reputation for independence. But when it looked like Met. Philip had won back his old power, Bp. Joseph did not stand up for Orthodoxy, but abandoned his bolder brothers and signed on the dotted line.
Now, though — now that the outcome is in question — silence is the shrewd move, because it can be interpreted as prudence or modesty, and it avoids a direct challenge to either party. Personally, I think silence unconscionable, and no speechwriter will convince me otherwise.
I do not share the ability you claim of discerning who is holy and who is not, but I do know that many have been deceived in this regard throughout the ages. I further know that Bp. Joseph is the favorite, by far, of Met. Philip's old guard cronies. For an example of this, you may visit The Antiochian , where a drooling endorsement of Bp. Joseph's ascendency to the Metropolitan's throne is on grotesque display. These men may know little of canons or ecclesiology, but they are not stupid, and they know what is in their interest and what is not.
Let him repudiate this cast of characters, stand up now for the tradition of the Church, and bring into the light of truth the events he has witnessed. Otherwise, let us rather repose our confidence in those who have risked themselves to support what is right.
#18.104.22.168.1 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-08 12:32
I am sure the 'Very Rev Economos' Gabriel sincerely regrets the events of the past several days. (If you were in his shoes, wouldn't you?)
In particular, his regret must be that he did not physically remove his wife from her trusty computer and order her to
"SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE.'
#27 Another KH on 2009-06-30 06:29
Well, here we are. What a mess - what a mess. Why? No real reason - power? Authority? Control? Etc. All fleeting earthly baloney. It all started with "Old Country" sycophants making trouble for a non-old country bishop. Silly. Years ago, many people in the AOCA had serious concerns about + Philip bringing more & more old country guys to the US to be his own army of priests in the church. Full education and big parishes with $$$ made them totally indebted to + Philip. This group of sycophants act together to control + Philip's interests and desires....
It really is time for retirements. ...
#28 Anonymous on 2009-06-30 07:23
None of this, absolutely none of this surprises me and is particularly enlightening in view of his not even attending our diocese's Parish Life Conference this past weekend.
But please, let's be clear on a particualr point: as someone who (unfortunately) attends St. George Montreal and is all too familiar with the tactics of Economos Antony, his Arabic is, at worst, exceedingly far from perfect and at best, fragmented. It is, in fact, more along the lines of what we commonly call "Arab-easy." But he would surely dismiss this qualification by his having studies Aramaic at the university level, this therefore making qualifying him to meet, express and translate any comments (written or otherwise) in Arabic, by Patriarch Ignatius or from the content of meetings.
Furthermore, whenever he feels himself to be in a position of vulnerability, he will always bring Lynn into the dialogue (really as his mouth-piece) to either defend him and/or his position; this is always a clear indication of guilt on his side. This is not slander but fact as it is a well known "Abouna" Antony tactic.
Lastly, Fr. Antony (or as his wife so affectionately calls him, Fr. G) is never one to apologize or express regret. When the Truth does reveal itself, Fr. G will justify his actions by saying that he was only being an obedient servant to his Metropolitan. And I can assure, dearest in Christ, has always been the modus operandi under which he has operated.
#29 an anonymous montrealer on 2009-06-30 07:58
Dear Anonymous Montrealer,
You sound like a disgruntled parishioner or maybe an employee...
ECONOMOS ANTONY GABRIEL IS SINGLE HANDEDLY responsible for resurrecting the parish of St. George in Monteal. Believe me I was their 30 years ago and the pews were empty.
Fr. Antony and his vision, compassion and charity has brought thousands of people back to the faith. Mr. disgruntled parishioner/employee, 99% of the people who know him and Lynn would disagree with you. Fr. Antony was a lecturer at McGill University in Montreal and has introduced the concept of Orthodox spiituality to hundreds of students. He has helped people get jobs, helped the homeless and constantly ministers to the sick. He is a cancer survivor and has helped families and victims cope with the dreaded disease. He molded St. George into a model parish which truly follows the Gospels and puts the beatitudes into practice. Many of the charities in Montreal have benefited from his guidance.
There are three other Antiochian parishes in the city of Montreal that you could attend. Maybe they could use your talent for cynicism and critical sarcasm. This website specializes in that type of character assasination.
#29.1 George from Brooklyn and Montreal on 2009-07-02 16:26
As for the majority of you here, and especially Mr. Stokoe, you would all do well to remember that it is precisely this type of “debate”, among “learned men” such as you think yourselves to be, that contributed to the crucifixion of the Lord to whom you have pledged to serve. You may call it journalism, today, Mr. Stokoe, but you are a pitiful re-enactment of those who reveled in the title of Scribe. And those of you who should know better have become as legalistic modern Pharisees, worshipping documents, letters and law, but neglecting the very spirit to which you should submit. And you masquerade your service to the adversary by claiming, so loudly, that you only seek what is good, and just, and right.
You were not made to serve the church, or save it, any of you. You were made to serve God by acting righteously, and by assembly in and support of the church. But your service to God becomes abhorrent when you engage in sowing seeds of discord, for:
“Six things the Lord hates, seven is an abomination to him. Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run quickly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who sows discord among his brothers.” Proverbs 6 16-20
#29.2 Frank Marino, Montreal on 2009-07-04 18:05
Well, Mr. Khalife hits six out of seven on your list, Frank. Or does God not hate that sort of thing when it comes from one of the Metropolitan's cronies?
But do go on blaming the messenger, if it gets you through the night.
#29.2.1 Scott Walker on 2009-07-06 16:31
God may judge him, or He may not.
You are not allowed to do so. And pay attention to that seventh thing, yourself.
Lo, I have told you.
#22.214.171.124 Frank Marino on 2009-07-07 13:46
Lo, a man convicted of fraud does not belong on the Board of Trustees of a large nonprofit.
Even if he were actually innocent, he would not belong there.
Why is this so hard for some people to understand?
#126.96.36.199.1 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-09 03:25
"You were not made to serve the church .... You were made to serve God"
To serve God and to serve the Body of Christ — "the Church" — is the same thing. But you, when you speak of "the church," seem to mean the Body's administrative structures. They are only part of the Church, and on many occasions in history they have not been the healthy part.
We are all part of the immune system. I presume you don't think Bp. Kallistos (Ware) too much of a crucifying Pharisee, so let me quote him:
" The relation between the bishop and his flock is a mutual one. The bishop is the divinely appointed teacher of the faith, but the guardian of the faith is not the episcopate alone, but the whole people of God, bishops, clergy, and laity together. The proclamation of the truth is not the same as the possession of the truth: all the people possess the truth, but it is the bishop’s particular office to proclaim it. Infallibility belongs to the whole Church, not just to the episcopate in isolation. As the Orthodox Patriarchs said in their Letter of 1848 to Pope Pius the Ninth: ‘Among us, neither Patriarchs nor Councils could ever introduce new teaching, for the guardian of religion is the very body of the Church, that is, the people (laos) itself.’
Commenting on this statement, Khomiakov wrote: ‘The Pope is greatly mistaken in supposing that we consider the ecclesiastical hierarchy to be the guardian of dogma. The case is quite different. The unvarying constancy and the unerring truth of Christian dogma does not depend upon any hierarchical order; it is guarded by the totality, by the whole people of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. "
[ http://is.gd/1s78f ]
And if you want to see debate and talk of documents, refer to the anathemas issued by the Ecumenical Councils (in which, as Bp. Kallistos also points out, the laity participated).
People who disregard canons and tradition always talk about how others have missed the point of it all: they are serving the spirit of the law. Well, here both letter and spirit have been violated — as has been explained again and again. Have you read these patiently, carefully sourced articles and posts?
I will be happy to point them out to you if you find yourself too busy to learn the lay of the land that you are firebombing.
#29.2.2 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-09 03:45
While reading Mrs. Gabriel's comments, I was reminded of the comedian Ron White who said, "I had the right to remain silent, but on the ability!"
Rather than exonerating her husband and the Metropolitan, she positively identified her own husband as holding the smoking gun in his hand after the deed was done!
All up and down the line, from the fraudulently obtained signatures to the nature of the doctored documents, it seems that we will be saved by the incompetence of the conspirators!
#30 Anonymous on 2009-06-30 08:21
This is my 1st contact to world of yellow journalism. You took Lynn Gabriel's comment from another website and then proceeded to put a nasty spin on them, she was ernestly explaining what she had exprienced and you gave every bad interpretation to her honest and innocent comments. By the way Fr Antony Gabriel did lot leave for Damascus when you accused him of having left. Interestingly thing enoug the only Bishop in the holy Synod who rec'd money for his votes collected his loot from the midwest before Fr Antony arrived. You just don't want to give Metro Phil or any1 of the old guys a fair shake. It's a good thing you found another website so you would have something say and MAYBE would pay attention to it even tho it 's all conjecture and innuendos on your part.
I was a Radio talk show host for years I know how it works. If no1 is responding, then you cross the boundaries w/ an outrageuos statement or remark to stimulate talk...for quantity not quality. ....
#31 Fouad Ayoub on 2009-06-30 08:57
Wouldn't a conference call with the patriarch and the bishops clear up all of this? $500 ought to pay for it--a whole lot less than what chaos in an archdiocese costs. Where's an emperor when you need one?
#32 James P. on 2009-06-30 09:10
I suggest all you clergy who post on here do your job and minister to your flocks, not waste the parishes dollars staring at a computer screen on a message forum.
#33 William on 2009-06-30 11:58
Why, William? Is it because you believe that only you and your fellows who will go to any length to cover up the Metropolitan's misdeeds should stare "at a computer screen on a message forum?" Is it because you believe the clergy should simply tell their flocks, "Pray, pay, and obey?" What is your major malfunction?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#33.1 Nemo on 2009-06-30 20:43
No, it is because they have nothing to do at this point. It is above their heads and they should focus on their parishes. I see too many priests that have wasted time with stupid, unnecessary comments. Us laity shouldn't even do this but we do. The clergy on the other hand should go out and minister and spread the good news rather than trying to twist peoples direction and convictions with useless retorts on this website.
#33.1.1 William on 2009-07-01 07:40
William, I think that you are a good and honest man, and that is, perhaps, why you seem unable to recognize the level of corruption within the Antiochian archdiocese. But I have to disagree with you about the role of the laity and the priesthood in these matters. Remember the Council of Florence, when almost every bishop was willing to sell out Orthodoxy? It was the protests, even the disobedience of the priests and laity together that recalled them to their senses. Had they not protested and disobeyed, there would be no Orthodox Church. We are to follow our leaders as they follow Christ. When they take the wrong path, and turn away from following Christ, it is up to us to follow Christ rather than leaders, and leave the blind guides to stumble into the ditch without us.
#188.8.131.52 Scott Walker on 2009-07-01 13:31
Now is NOT the time to cut and run to another jurisdiction. That's just applying Protestant ecclesiology to the Holy Orthodox Faith. The history of the Church is replete with the emperor/people telling the hierarchs to get their act together. It is time for the people to act. Without us, there is no liturgy.
#34 Makarios on 2009-06-30 18:46
Possibly the Patriarch of Antioch could come to Palm Springs and be the presence here that we need from the ancient Throne of Sts. Peter and Paul?
#34.1 No name, please! on 2009-06-30 20:05
I'm with you that we the laity have more power than we think. Are we not the Royal Priesthood of Christ? Are we not the Temple of God, in fact, are we not the Church? I think the Church has beaten into the faithful's head that we have nothing to contribute except money for so many years, we've begun to believe it. And many of us who were Protestants have a "fear" of sounding "too Protestant" by talking about the fact that WE are the Church, not a building, not a guy dressing like a Byzantine Emperor, and the priests. We, all of us together, are the Church, and as you said, without us there is no Liturgy, and that is literally true. Someone else had a great idea as well, for the laity and clergy to stand up TOGETHER, one person's voice can be drowned out and be called "out of order" but try drowning out 30 voices, or 100, or the entire Church. It was the people that fought the Iconoclasts, the people spoke out against false Union with Rome (when the union was merely a political means to an end) and indeed, many of our greatest saints were not even ordained. its time to call our shepherds to task, because they simply aren't doing a very good job right now....plain and simple. As I've said on here before, the Church is not a democracy, we all know this, but it also not a dictatorship lead by an elite few. The Bishops are supposed to be servants, not masters, there is only one master, and this is His Kingdom, and not theirs.
#34.2 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-07-01 08:56
All of us can comment anonymously on websites regarding the ins and outs of the Antiochian intrigue, forgeries, payoffs, etc., but the true test will be how many will stand up during the Archdiocese convention and voice these same concerns. I am sure there is a plan in place to silence anyone who tries to speak up.
If Bishops stand up, who knows what will happen
If priests stand up, they will probably loose their pension, transfered to far off places, etc.
If trustees stand up, which I doubt, they will NEVER win another seat on the board.
If lay people stand up, they will also be silenced, but not in numbers.
If the majority of the attendees stand up together, then you will have a large support group and numbers are your strength. Do it one at a time, or all together.
If no one stand up, you will have all been silenced, and the future will be a continuance of anonymous, backroom and internet gossip.
#35 anon on 2009-07-01 04:47
This "silenced" thing fascinates me. At a fundamental level, we are all humans. The guy in the front of a hotel conference room in a cassock-- I mean, a shirt and collar-- is no less human than me and both of us are sustained in life by the LifeGiver Himself. If the man in black betrays the Faith, what authority does he then have to "silence" anyone. If we all shut up and sit down and play like good little churchgoers, will we hear the rocks of Palm Desert cry out? Seems to me that would be needed at that point. We all-- clergy and laity alike-- have a Christian duty to prevent our Metropolitan from taking our Church deeper into the muck than it already is. I may be a lone voice, but I'll stay standing in that meeting if I am the only one still on my feet. However, I am betting that I'll be accompanied by scores of other faithful. The man in black has no authority when he betrays the faith, tries to deceive the Church and the people, and attempts to propogate a cult of personality and blind obedience upon the faithful. "ANAXIOS!" is the only appropriate and Christian response if "sit down and shut up" is uttered from his mouth.
#35.1 Silouan James on 2009-07-01 07:14
I'm not one to throw around this phrase very often, but God bless you!
While I cannot be there as I'm not in the Antiochian Archdiocese, my prayers WILL be with you. Don't lose heart, and know that your brothers and sisters in the other jurisdictions are with you in prayer and in spirit. This whole mess is a blow to ALL us Orthodox, and as you said, even the Bishops are men, and are accountable to Christ, just as well we are, if not more so. (with great power comes great responsibility)
#35.1.1 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-07-04 07:37
On the homepage of the Archdiocese Website:
"Our 49th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention will take place July 19 to 26, 2009, in Desert Springs, CA. Hosted by St. Michael's Church of Van Nuys, the theme of the convention is: "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy Holy Churches, and who remember the poor."
Ummmm. I think the theme of the convention has been changed...
Maybe something like this might work:
"Be mindful, O Lord, of those who forge documents and do bad works in thy Holy Churches, and those who remember the poor but have no idea where their monies actually go."
#36 Former Antiochian Archdiocese Member on 2009-07-01 07:17
It appears that even the Metropolitan was fooled. This could be your culprit.
Enjoy. He was in Damascus as well.
(editor's note: There needs to be an official, indepedent investigation, William. Period. )
#37 William on 2009-07-01 09:38
This has what to do with the Metropolitan?
#37.1 Nemo on 2009-07-01 14:48
I trust subsequent postings have 'connected the dots' as to why United States v. Khalife et al. is relevant to the present discussion.
#37.1.1 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-07-02 11:52
#184.108.40.206 Nemo on 2009-07-03 09:55
To Chuck S. and others planning to speak out in Palm Springs: what is your strategy -- attempts to make motions during the meetings of the General Assembly? Demonstrations? Petitions? Something else? I hope there is a group laying the groundwork ahead of time, even if doesn't make sense to disseminate those plans just yet.
#38 Also in Brooklyn on 2009-07-01 10:20
Just thought I should clarify that I am not, nor can I speak out in Palm Springs because I'm a member of a different "jurisdiction"...I was only showing my support for my brethren in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and in the end, no matter how jurisdictions try to divide us into different factions, we are ONE Church....when one member or one "jurisdiction" suffers we all suffer. The very fact that those of us in other jurisdictions cannot speak out in official capacity is IMO exactly how certain people at the top want it..if we were truly united in North America, these things in all the jurisdictions would never have gotten as far as they have.
anyways, I just wanted to be absolutely clear on my status here....however I could, I would...I just thought it was a heck of an idea than needed to be taken seriously.
#38.1 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-07-01 12:39
Has anyone heard the rumor that the Patriarch of Antioch has applied for a visa and is coming to the Antiochian Convention in a couple of weeks?
Please God ..please let this be true!
#39 Stephen on 2009-07-01 10:47
Yes we must stand up at the Convention. Stand up and be counted. Let the wind of transparency, accountability and change sweep through.
It takes courage and determination. There is no shame, lack of faith or lack of commitment in insisting on an independent audit. It is they who dwell in the shadows who should fear and be ashamed. Let the chips fall where they may.
Let it be known that fear tactics, intimiidation and corruption have no place in the House of God. May the Lord have mercy on us all, may He strengthen His Church, bless HIs servants.
Change will not happen unless we make it.
Do not be intimidated, God did not give us a spirit of fear.
Don't just stand up and be counted. Stand up and let your ANAXIOS be counted!
#40.1 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-07-02 13:02
Shame o all of You. How dare you have the nerve and gaul, to post information about Member of the Archdiocese Board of Trusttees personal deals and Clergy of the Archdiocese.
You are all should be ashamed of yourselfs WHO GAVE YOU THE right to put this information on the intenet (even thought it came from another site) by link it you are just as gulity, if I was either of these individuals I would sue you for slander, you owe these individual a public apology.
#41 Anonymous on 2009-07-02 09:39
How's that reading comprehension coming along, Anonymous? The good trustee himself sent these emails to our host, in an act of amazing arrogance and stupidity. Go back and read the article again. It's right there.
In the meantime, truth is always a defense against slander.
#41.1 Scott Walker on 2009-07-02 15:34
It's only slander if it ain't true.
#41.2 Silouan James on 2009-07-02 15:45
Perhaps you would indeed sue, but you would lose if the statements are correct. Truth is a defense. Sadly a defense not available to the cronies and minons of MP. My response is how dare MP send such people to represent my archdiocese in Damascus if the the allegations are true. Are the prestige and honor of the Antiochian Diocese of North America for sale? Are these sycophants the only people who would undertake to represent MP? Shame.
#41.3 max on 2009-07-02 16:20
To all my ex-Episcopalian friends out there (you to Fr. Patrick R.); remember we left the Episcopal Church for alot less, and the demons took over. And if we had a "wait and see attitude" back them we would all be genuflecting our way to faithlessness.
Well this time we aint leaving. This is our Archdiocese; that we and the Holy Spirit have built up!!! Merto. Philip just happened to be here at the same time. Let the Bad Guys leave.
Yes the Convention will be the same shame it always is: votes precounted and script written. But we do not have to pay a dime to corrupt Engelwood until the Archdiocese rights itself. Nor do we need to participate in any services conducted by the Mafia. It is going to take one (or three) Bishops, 1/3 of the priests and the lay people to be heard. That this is enough. By now there must surely be enough evidence to submit to the Patriarch for formal charges for someone (several) to be depossed.
#42 Bubba on 2009-07-02 11:54
I don't have any information on what will come at the Convention but this seems obvious enough: if MP is implicated in criminality by not condemning the works of his cronies so also is the Archdiocese implicated if they hold convention now and remain under MP's thumb. If true men do not stand together, they will not succeed. I do hope those going have some sort of plan and I pray that that plan is in accord with God's will. Granted, God may have His own plans.
By God's good grace we do have some faithful men and women. Let us also be faithful that God's will in these matters be brought to fruition in us. Christians are those who pray to God. We do not offer up strange fire but we pray for the life of the world. So let us pray.
#43 Monologistos on 2009-07-02 13:09
Hello again friends:
Grandchildren arriving later today and many visits to do on the way to the airport. A few random replies.
Gail, my apologies for not having any direct replies here. Call me.
For AFOC: keep talking as much sense as possible.
For Silouan James, who opines, and I quote, "The bad ones must be weeded out..." several questions:
1. what does the parable of the wheat and the tares say about weeding?
2. is that scripture relevant to this dilemma?
3. who decides when to weed, how, what or whom to weed, and whether or not the cost in damaged wheat is worth it?
How is the church damaged by weeding? By the excesses to which men will go in asserting themselves over others, whether as weeders or weeder-resisters, and the inevitable "collateral damage" to innocent souls, especially the young and idealistic. Sure weeds cause damage, but some good wheat grows too.
In this regard, let's ask Mr. Herle, who does not disclose here that he was in 1998 BL, and at all times since has remained, a vigorous grinder of axes against Met. Philip, just how high of a spiritual body count of other people's children (his own were too young, and remain untainted, one hopes) he thinks was justified? Will, Hugh, Ned, Dave, Greg, Martin, Isaiah, Micah, Seth, Chris, Nicky, Ben, Chris, Justin, Jared? These are real young men with real, gaping, wounds more than a decade later. There are more. And there were other factors. But they were only other people's sons, and you can blame it all on the "other side." the hierarchy, not those who rose up against them, can't you Marcel?
And the anonymous priest and his three council members (does that sound like a less than genuine ID to anyone else?) who are so ready to pigeon-hole bishops who a) weren't elected in North America and b) feel their best work for good can be done in this terribly difficult situation while maintaining a high degree of public silence. I believe you should imitate these bishops as to point b). You had nothing rational to say, and plenty of junk.
I think I see something here that I recognize from my own experience and from church history: people on both "sides" who tell themselves that this excess or that harshness is quite justified because they are on "God's side." Change must be forced - or resisted - at whatever cost. I don't see or hear the work of the Spirit in e-mailed threats or manipulated documents any more than I do in cries for heads to roll or for molotov cocktails at the convention.
In the parable of the wheat and tares there is no challenge to the diagnosis "an enemy hath done this." He is in the business of wheat contamination, and is quite good at it. How does the Church deal with weed problems without making the net result worse?
#43.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2009-07-03 07:54
1st Corinthians 5: 11-13 supplies your answer, Fr. George. This is how the Church should deal with weed problems. St. Paul, it seems, expects what we might call a zero-tolerance policy from his spiritual children in Corinth. Apparently his standard is too difficult in these modern times. Rather than refusing to even eat with criminals among us, the Metropolitan appoints a couple of them to the Board of Trustees.
I wonder what St. Paul might make of that.
#43.1.1 Scott Walker on 2009-07-06 16:49
We will see if I live up to your commission ....
Marcele Herle, whatever his past and present vices, has only said the same as many, many others. In consequence, though I could therefore have done without his post, I do not think we can dismiss its contents as inhuman fanaticism.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day — but what is broken, and what is right? Says Canon 15 of the First-Second Council:
"But as for those persons ... who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians."
What justified the Ben Lomond schism, even ostensibly? Anything of which the Holy Fathers would have approved? What great truths were being openly betrayed by the Metropolitan? (I will not say that the Metropolitan dealt with the rebelling party according to our tradition, in that he deposed their clergy before they had broken communion with him or set up another altar — but that is a separate matter.)
The situation now is quite different: truly serious claims have been made. And let us see who has contributed to which protest. Who stood with the rebelling Ben Lomond faction? I can hardly count Jerusalem, which said nothing publicly, forbade John Hardenbrook from serving, and has now cut and run. Who actually raised the flag — anyone I should care about? Bishops? An entire clergy council? The archdiocese's Legal Department?
I can't agree with Silouan James about weeding out "the bad ones" — specifically, in context, the "bad Christians" (other people) who are to be weeded out by the "good Christians" (Silouan and the rest of us). These are very strange categories; and I will give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose that he was being imprecise.
"Imprecise," because the passage that Scott Walker points us to is dead-on. There are wrongs that must not go unchecked in the Church, not because we are so holy, but because Christ's Body is holy and for the salvation of the wrongdoer: "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (v. 7). I see no mercy, for example, in the failure of the OCA Holy Synod to discipline Bp. Nikolai. He burdens his soul with sin upon unchecked sin, those wronged by him continue to be scandalized, and a holy office is further and further cheapened in the eyes of the faithful.
It is terrible to think of the wounding of the literal "little ones" of Christ: frankly, I could hardly read to the end of your list of names. But there are the inhuman wounds of "collateral damage," and then there are crosses ordained by God. Some strife is good, as the fathers say, and some peace is evil. The martyr-parents demonstrate in sometimes shocking fashion that there are times to act despite any cost, trusting God to address the consequences for one's children. If some of us stumble over this, as some surely will, who has caused it? Not the objectors, I think. The Archdiocese was rocked by the Feb 24th decision itself: there was confusion and betrayal before any fulminating commentators came online.
Perhaps more strikingly, let us look at the reactions to the hurt and scandalized faithful who come online to post, to those who say that they are leaving the Archdiocese or even the Church. Here, the most voluble opponents of the Metropolitan will usually drop what they are doing to sympathize, strengthen, and encourage. Now head to The Antiochian , where the Metropolitan's supporters (and beneficiaries) usually tell such people that they are neither needed nor wanted and that, if they don't like the management, they can get the hell out. The consistency is quite amazing, really — and the tree is known by its fruit.
#43.1.2 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-08 14:38
I heard theantiochian.com banned SVS from posting because it didn't like some posts by the faculty over there....
#220.127.116.11 Antionymous on 2009-07-09 12:40
It is not difficult to seperate the tares from the wheat when the noxious weeds identify themselves for all to see. Certainly there should be no ill effect on God's vineyard removing money launderers, drug dealers, theives who steal from chairities and convicted conspirators to defraud the federal government, from positions of influence or authority in the Church.
Tell me what secular institution would dare have the associates Englewood has embraced and honored?
#44 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-07-06 19:56
I really don't understand the: It's not that bad nor the wait and see attitude? Where is the pay off in that? If some one is doing evil hurtful, dangerous or bad things ought not we say something?
I don't think peole are over reacting to the scandal of the Antiochian church I think the are under reacting.
It's as if there is a cult like attitude towards Metro. Phlip; which is frightening. It is not healthy for the Metro. or the people.
So let us all pray that some action (not vengence) take place with us and the Holy Spirit.
#45 Bubba on 2009-07-07 12:54
I discovered a while ago that a false contradiction paralyzes us into inaction: that to resist corruption, to insist on transparency and accountability equals rebellion, subterfuge, disrespect and lack of trust. This false contradiction is often skillfully used to protect the status quo.
The Church, however, is not a personality cult, she is not the possession of any of us. Her authority does not come from no any one person. She belongs to God alone.
It is those who cling to power who have most to fear and most to lose. The same will also confuse calls for accountability as challenge to their power and respect. Respect, however, is earned; far easier lost than regained. Stakes are high; lives are in the balance and those without oil in their lamps will be left out.
May the Lord have mercy on us and strengthen His Church.
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