Wednesday, July 1. 2009
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This is all so sad. Have not heard enough? Birds of a feather flock together. The character of this person reflects on Metropolitan Philip and others. Although I cannot pretend to know Mr. Khalife's interactions with Bishop Mark (aside from what Mr. Khalife has shared with us all), I can say that Bishop Mark is one of the best bishops I have known. Fr. Patrick Reardon is a good priest as well.
I agree Mark, the threats have to stop. Why are we so silent in the face of these? No more silence, here. I stand by Bishop Mark and Fr. Patrick.
Are we in the middle of a mad house? The whole situation just gets crazier and crazier. If I were Bishop Mark, I would fear for my safety. We are not dealing with rational people, and in this mafia like setting, their threats could be carried out. The insanity just has to end for the sake of us all.
What can the Metropolitan be thinking? How can ordinary people like myself find any peace in the midst of this bizarre chain of events? How can we help end the madness? ....
#2 anon on 2009-07-01 12:55
I am thrilled to read the warm and Christ-like communications from the good trustee. How inspiring that as a prominent Orthodox layman, he meets criticism with kindness and understanding. Not.
I am so very sorry for my Antiochian friends. My poor prayers are with you.
#3 Scott Walker on 2009-07-01 13:15
What better proof St. Augustine's point that their are wolves within the church and sheep on the outside. It is sad that Christianity is nothing more than a cultural identity similar to Islam than a faith in the Risen Christ. It is almost as though figures have been elevated to Guru status. Fr. Patrick was a big influence on my decision to become Orthodox. Not because I identify with him but rather he directed me to the Orthodox Christian faith.
Are we sure that this guy isn't really Sasha Baron-Cohen?
"And the threats have to stop."
Now you see — this is just another example of Mark's bias.
Seriously, though: If I recall, sending threatening email is a federal crime. The recipients are probably too forgiving to want to call the FBI straight off, but perhaps it would be a good thing if he were thus neutralized prior to the convention.
#5 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-01 13:31
I have mentioned, in past comments, the striking parallel between +Philip's situation and behavior in the AOCA and +Herman's in the OCA. .... One can only pray that unethical behavior and attitudes will become as obviously apparent to the faithful of the AOCA as Kondratick's become to those of us in the OCA, and that appropriate actions will be taken, beginning at their upcoming Council.
#6 David Barrett on 2009-07-01 14:08
I agree with Fr. Oliver, however how many bishops do we really know outside our diocese. It should be all of them really. No disrespect Father. I agree with what your saying. This does make you think twice about what's happening on a different scale.
#7 William on 2009-07-01 14:13
William, there is no offense taken. Your comments are sober and right minded. It would be great to know bishops beyond our dioceses. I have personally been blessed to serve both Archbishop Job and Bishop Mark. I could not have prayed for better bishops in the recent times of the OCA and AOCANA. I know that Bishop Basil is also above reproach and have been told good things about Bishop Alexander. So, what I can do and must do, is stand with Bishop Mark. People who castigate him either have not seen him in action or do not wish to apply the principles of Orthodox Christianity consistently.
This is more incredible than the Dan Brown novels The Davinci Code or Angels & Demons. ...
Perhaps +PHILIP should read and apply the following verses in LUKE Chapter 22 where the LORD JESUS CHRIST tells his disciples the following:
25 And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
All of our Orthodox priests in Houston and our DIOCESAN BISHOP +BASIL adhere to these words of our LORD, and so should we all.
#8 Fr. Wylekiote on 2009-07-01 14:14
It looks like the Board of Trustees has some decisions to make about its composition.
It looks like the Synod of Antioch has some decisions to make about its composition.
It looks like if you cross the metropolitan, you might get a visit in the middle of the night...or a daytime visit from a "delegation."
Of all the things I've read on OCANEWS.org, the events related in this report are the most outrageous, and that's saying a whole lot. The OCA collectively flushed the toilet at the All American Council last year. (Yeah, there's still more flushing to do, but I trust the man whose hand is now on the lever.) I hope the AOCA can do likewise this summer at its wingding, but it's going to take a multitude of brave priests who will stand up and stand firm like Frs. Reardon and Herbel have done.
#9 James P. on 2009-07-01 14:39
(*"And you dont know what is devil, i will assure you and make sure you will meet him one day." *)
Be mindful, O Lord, and protect those who receive threats.
#10 anonymous for my family's safety on 2009-07-01 14:49
Now maybe it will be clear why so many don't sign their names.I served various Russian parishes for about 30 years(I still serve,no longer in a Russian jurisdiction).In one parish,I was chided by the Council President for "NOT OBEYING MY BISHOP."He and his wife,with some others,operated an illegal bingo.After I left the parish,the church never again had a full time priest.The parish is now closed,but the bingo goes on.Walid's threats to Bishop Mark brought back memories of what that Council President said to me;except the president would not have been foolish enough to send a threatening e-mail.
#10.1 Anonymous on 2009-07-01 16:21
How sa - these are Trustees? Words like "evil" and "shit"? Poor politicians at best! Met. Philip GAG your hand picked friends. The whole delegation was a DISGRACE at best, most agree. One sided. The rich converts want a place in the "Sun", who attended. Not a word from them? P. Desert will NOT be indicative of the feelings of the people with little exception! All for the most part PROXY ballots with hand picked laity at the microphones. I know as I've been there three times as a delegate. Not this time - using the money saved for an Ant. mission ignored by Englewood. Old Arab proverb, "If sincere let them do it on their own!
#10.2 Anonymous on 2009-07-01 17:19
This appeared at TheAntiochian: Could the Patriarch and a Delegation be coming to Palm Springs. I raised this as a possibility a while ago. This person says it is a happening; Can it be confimed?
(Editor's note: I have deleted the posting from TheAntiochian.org as it is false. Sources close to the Patriarchate confirm that the Patriarch is not coming; and has no intentions of coming. As I mentioned earlier the posting had a noticeable error in its account. It all makes me wonder why people would be spreading such disinformatsiya, for what purpose?)
#11 Reader Polycarp on 2009-07-01 14:54
Can you post the e mails as received by BP Mark as they would appear in a standard e mail program so that we may see the header. All that has been written here so far is sourced well but these e mails as they appear are too surreal to be actual. I am sitting here thinking someone made this up just for the fun but then as in the past all information here has been accurate.
So for the sake of openeess please post the e mails with all the header information.
(Editor's note: The emails are accurate, down to the misspellings. It has not been my custom to include email headers in stories because of the information they contain ( not everyone wants their email address listed publicly) but given, as you point out, the surreal nature of events, I will make exceptions where I may in the future. I sincerely hope there will be no more emails though.)
#12 James A on 2009-07-01 15:25
Given today's posting, comments made Bishop Mark at All Saints in Chicago on Sunday suddenly make a bit more sense. I was present, as my goddaughter's father was ordained to the diaconate. The bishop spoke a for a few minutes at the end of the service. He said that when he was recently in Damascus, he had seen the hole in the wall where St. Paul was let down in a basket, and thus escaped those after him (Acts 9:25). Bishop Mark said he hoped there would be a basket by the hole in the wall for him at the upcoming Archdiocesan convention.
Bishop Mark and my Antiochian friends are in my prayers. This gets weirder and weirder.
Palatine, IL - former All Saints Chicago parishioner, now OCA (since early 2008)
#13 Michele Hagerman on 2009-07-01 16:09
I think if we don't clean up this mess we should really look at the OCA in the near future..
#14 Anonymous on 2009-07-01 16:46
You have my prayers that the mess will be dealt with. Soon. If, God forbid, the crooks continue to operate their syndicate, come on over. We'd love to have you.
#14.1 Scott Walker on 2009-07-01 21:35
"You should go to the [expletive deleted] house and cover yourself with the lies."
This is comedic gold!
#15 Rdr Mo on 2009-07-01 17:15
Thankfully those who harbor such toxin in their hearts cannot resist uttering their thoughts and intentions. It will make our resistance to such tyranny and evil more of an imperative and give us resolve.
#16 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-07-01 17:24
Mr. Khalife needs to send me one of those emails. Please.
If Bishop +Mark wants to come to Texas for a short visit (perhaps along with +Basil), I believe we could ensure his safety.
Bishop +Mark and Father Patrick, if you are reading this, please PLEASE contact the cyber-crimes unit of the FBI.
This has got to stop.
Even before the threatening e-mails from Khalife had been revealed, I had planned to ask the erstwhile defenders of Met. Philip what it said about his spiritual discernment, that he selected a delegation whose lay members consisted of three non-Arabic-speakers, and the two members of the Board of Trustees with notorious criminal backgrounds.
Even worldly-minded politicians have the discernment to avoid such a grotesque appearance of impropriety. Is this merely staggering arrogance on the part of our chief hierarch? Or, could it be that only these two could be trusted not to publicize, or if not publicize at least communicate honestly to their fellow Trustees, the proceedings of the Holy Synod in the event (as happened) that they didn't go Met. Philip's way?
Fraudulent documents, lack of outside auditors with attendant rumors of financial impropriety, and now threats (is it just me, or does one of them sound like a veiled death threat?). Met. Philip and his crew had better hope no Federal prosecutors with a penchant for RICO prosecutions are reading about this. Lord have mercy!
May God protect Bishop Mark and everyone else menaced!
#18 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-07-01 17:53
With regard to the make-up of the 'delegation' - do not forget that the two accompanying members of the clergy (Antypas & Gabriel) were those who have openly defied their Diocesan Bishop.
#18.1 Another KH on 2009-07-02 06:00
We need to stop the insanity of Englewood. If this is Met. Philip's idea of a Trustee (and an 'Honorary' one at that, as in specially invited) then Philip needs to go!
When this man threatens other in the name of being loyal to Philip, and Philip does nothing, then the threat comes from Philip.
People here have wondered why clergy and laity are scared to give their names? And, you all though it was only because Philip would give them a disapproving look! Hah, this guy is a convicted felon.
We now can see the heart of Philip. He has been outed through his 'old friend.' How many more of these creeps are there?
To be honest, I would be less scandalized by a 'compromising photo' of Philip than I am with this. This stuff is truly perverse!
#19 it has to stop!!! on 2009-07-01 17:58
The lengths these guys are prepared to go to tells me one thing: There is a lot of money at stake.
I think they are less worried about the regime of an old and sick metropolitan than in preventing an audit. When the books are opened we are going to see things that make the OCA scandal look like a proverbial Sunday-school picnic.
Is there no legal way someone can force an audit or IRS investigation?
#20 Marcel Herlé on 2009-07-01 18:46
I agree with you. ...
These people are an evil cancer, and must be removed. I would hope the Orthodox Lawyers have contacted the FBI and IRS by now.
#20.1 Fr. Wylekiote on 2009-07-02 06:11
Why should we expect the convention at Palm Springs to make any difference? Why will it not just be an affirmation of MP's primacy? Will the priests and delegates rise up to confront evil? How many of them even know what is going on? And of those who do know what is going, how many object and how many will continue to tolerate the intolerable? Philip's grip on the archdiocese is much tighter than was Herman's on the OCA. Those who read these posts are a very small percentage of the Archdiocese.
Will you forward these postings to your friends and family, especially those who will be in PS? Will you contact your Bishops to let them know you support their leadership in anything except the status quo?
(editor's note: Actually Max, I would dispute the claim that a very small percentage of the Archdiocese is reading. According to my stats, my dailing readership has doubled, on the average, since I began regularly posting and accepting articles about the AOCA. I infer the vast majority of those 8,000 nightly readers are in the AOCA. On a major story that number rises about 13,000. That's a fair amount of the active members of the Archdiocese - since I am again assuming people not interested in Church life or administration don't read websites like this. So, your questions are fair and good; but your assumption may be be off a bit.)
#21 Max on 2009-07-01 18:50
What is this? The Roman Church 1300 AD?! The Twilight Zone?! Have these byzantines gone completely mad?!
Bp. Mark, Fr. Reardon et al. CALL THE FBI NOW! I'll be your bodyguard at the convention. Seriously. Get a restraining order against these kooks. This madness has to stop NOW!
#22 Kevin Klein on 2009-07-01 18:59
I do not quite understand. Has this hatred of Bishop Mark developed because he removed Fr. Antypas as dean of his region? Or is it because the Bishop, a man of God, suggested that they should hold an occasional service and maintain a fast?
From all that I have read, it seems that the Troy/Detroit faction is guilty of dividing the Archdiocese and setting Arab against convert, and it is pretty clear from the available evidence that the Metropolitan has taken sides with his Arab friends. In my experience the converts have gone out of their way to adapt to Arab culture--Ethnic fairs, belly dancers, middle eastern food, and they have worked hard to appreciate middle eastern culture, without really understanding that in some cases, tribalism or clannishness prevails, as converts cower in the corner. Is there a place for the convert at this Orthodox table, or should they simply disappear, leaving these bitter people their diminished Church?
#23 anon on 2009-07-01 19:07
Wow! This is so unreal! When is the movie premiere?
#24 Anonymous on 2009-07-01 19:18
I would say, "You have GOT to be kidding me." But then, I've been saying that for weeks now with each new revelation. Looks like we – bishops, clergy, laity, all of us – have got to end this, because it appears Metropolitan Philip won't. Lord, have mercy on us all!
#25 Mickey Hodges on 2009-07-01 20:41
Once again if they cannot clean up this mess than some of us really need to look at the OCA.
#26 Anonymous on 2009-07-01 20:50
I suggested on the TheAntiochian.com that all parish councils elect to escrow their Archdiocese assesments until there is some accountability. ...
#27 James A on 2009-07-01 21:02
I viewed a movie Tuesday night starring Max Von Sydow as the devil who showed up in a small town and turned friend against friend, enticing folks to commit evil deeds upon one another (including Priest against Priest). I could not help but think of our current Synodal situation. As I read all the comments, I can't help but wonder --- has the devil entered our lives? Perhaps we should all just step back, take a deep breath and pray for the solution (which is forthcoming). This WILL be resolved with or without our speculative comments, and allow us to return to the business at hand --- resuming our Christian lives. Let the healing begin!
Neal Norgrove, Parishioner
#28 Neal Norgrove on 2009-07-01 21:37
It's a nice sentiment you offer, but completely realistic. Would a doctor sew up a putrifying wound, step back, and say "let the healing begin?" Lord have mercy! He would drain it, clean it out, cauterize it if necessary, and then sew it up and pray for healing. Your solution is the former. Every pious Antiochian out there ought to be talking to his/her parish priest about representing their Church at the Convention. These conventions, unfortunately, are big parties for the rich-- lush pastries on Wednesdays in commemoration of Judas' betrayal, haflis on Fridays when we're supposed to be commemorating Christ's death, parties on Saturday evenings after Vespers!!! Remember the poor? Yeah, in our dreams. The reason I point this out is that the Convention will be filled with the "Church as a social event" crowd. The business meetings will be filled with the same UNLESS WE LAITY CAUSE SOMETHING TO BE DIFFERENT. There's no reason we have to stay at a luxury hotel-- stay in the LA area at a Motel 8 and drive an hour to the Convention in the morning. Show up only for the business meetings. Support your bishops and priests-- don't feed them to the lions. Get the word out. Pack the house. It's time to take +Philip down-- for the good of the Church and the good of his soul. If you're a pious Christian, take the money you'd give to your parish this month and spend it on a plane ticket to LA. The return on that investment is potentially enormous. If we really care, we'll show our concern by our actions.
#28.1 Silouan James on 2009-07-02 07:42
Before the "healing" can begin, the boil must be lanced; the wound cleaned of all corruption; the gangrenous limb removed... you get the picture. Thinking that this putrid mess occasioned by Bp. Philip and his gang of thugs - clerics and laity alike - will somehow be healed by (once again) ignoring the cause of the infection is wishful thinking at best.
This is Christ's church - we are Christ's church. It does not and we do not belong to Philip and his thugs. Fleeing to the OCA is not an option. It is time for all spiritual children of the See of Antioch to be courageous in exposing the corruption at all levels to the light of day. Then and only then can any true healing begin.
P.S. Mickey - Good to see you again. Keep the faith my friend and we shall overcome this evil in our midst together. Remember, we do not fight alone - there are hosts of Angels at our side.
#28.2 Heracleides on 2009-07-02 10:10
Healing cannot begin until the object causing the hurt is removed from the wound. That object is Metropolitan Philip. He should retire now!
#28.3 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-07-02 10:26
People were saying that for a while during the OCA scandal and it only prolonged the pain. I say, bring everything out in the open and rip off the bandaid fast.
#28.4 Lola LB on 2009-07-02 15:34
It is time to take the bull by the horns. Priests, and lay people alike, must stand up and present a UNITED FRONT at the convention by declaring (no matter how much they are shouted down or ordered to sit down) the following:
No audit = NO budget approval.
NO audit = NO further parish contributions to the archdiocese until the audit is complete.
Convicted felons on the Trustee Board = NO further parish contributions to the archdiocese.
Lay people should make sure that your parish council approves such resolutions prior to the convention. This way your priest and/or delegate(s) are only stating what the parish has approved.
This is the one message the OCA got and this is the one message that Englewood will get: NO MORE MONEY! NONE! ZERO! NADA! Until our requests are met.
A Concerned Antiochian
#29 A Concerned Antiochian on 2009-07-02 00:22
Mark, I am happy you have released these threatening letters. It seems to me you have made Bishop Mark, some priests and laity safer by doing so. There must be some concern for their safety. I assume we have no idea what kind of threats have been used in years' past.
#30 anon on 2009-07-02 02:58
Dear friends, this story gets more shocking and disturbing every single day. God help us and His Church. It has become the duty of every Orthodox Christian to raise his voice against this despicable situation. I do so today and sign my name to it. Truth should not hide in shadows. Below is an email I sent to Metropolitan +Philip a few minutes ago. I urge every concerned Orthodox Christian to do so as well:
Your Eminence: Could the things being reported on certain internet websites possibly be true? Is it true, Father, that certain members of the North American delegation to the recent Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch are accused drug smugglers and money launderers? Is is true, Father, that these same persons have sent the horrible threatening email communications to Bishops of the Archdiocese as has been reported? Is it true, Father, that these same persons have been given high honorary positions in the Holy Church?
If, Your Eminence, these are falsities and lies, I beg you to expose them as such for the peace and good order of the Church. If they are true, God help us and our Church and shame upon all those who allowed this travesty to happen.
Michael S. Kosmas, Esq.
#31 Michael S. Kosmas, Esq. on 2009-07-02 07:54
If he says otherwise, he is calling absolutely impeccable, uninterested sources liars. Stokoe didn't make this stuff up. Check out the links on antiochianinfo's piece on the delegates. That site simply pulled together publicly available information and provides the links to see for yourself. No comment; no slander. Do you really need the Metropolitan to tell you whether or not it's true? That's like asking the kid with the cookie in his hand whether he's been reaching into the cookie jar.
#31.1 Silouan James on 2009-07-02 15:52
One thing we can be absolutely sure of and that is:
"there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known...whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops."
#32 anon on 2009-07-02 09:59
This whole crisis seems deeper than what is being exposed. Everyone seems to be directing their attention on the AOCA. However, this is an attack on the Orthodox Church as a whole, especially in America. I have read the mantra “No foreign bishops, no foreign bishops” on this website, and although it seems that it would be ideal to have one local American Church my question is, “Where are the other America bishops in all of this?” Has any bishop from any other jurisdiction publicly spoken out against Philip? Has SCOBA chastised Philip for his actions? They should have nothing to fear since they themselves are not under Philip. If any hierarch has publicly spoken out against Philip please provide a link or the text. Or is there an unwritten rule between the hierarchs to look the other way because, who knows, one day they may be in the hot seat.
If the Orthodox in America wants unity, now is a good time to start. Let’s hear from the other hierarchs if they have something to offer. The people should demand proper behavior within the church. These actions by Philip are a disgrace and an embarrassment to all Orthodox.
#33 Anonymous on 2009-07-02 11:23
I have had personal conversations with 3 hierarchs of the OCA, Greek and Serbian jurisdictions. All are completely puzzled over Metropolitan Philip's actions. They are all saddened over the damage that he has done to his reputation and legacy (2 of them cited the historical good things he has done as well as the strong rhetoric he has used over the years espousing proper Orthodox ecclesiology). They all indicated the actions of demoting diocesan bishops to auxiliary status is against the Sacred Canons and Orthodox ecclesiology. They all hope that +Philip comes to his senses and supports the restoration of the bishops to their previous diocesan ruling status. One of the hierarchs said that he wrote a personal letter to +Philip conveying the same.
Why they do not speak out publicly is not clear, but there are several possibilities. They have long relationships with +Philip and do not want to publicly rebuke him. There are Canons restricting hierarchs from interfering in another hierarchs diocese. They recognize that ultimately this is a matter of the Antiochian Patriarchate to resolve.
Whatever the reasons for their public silence, they are very concerned and desire a just resolution.
#33.1 Priest Dunsel on 2009-07-02 19:39
Harassment or threats by e-mail are a valid 'cyber crime.' Anyone who receives messages similar to the ones on the front page should report this harassment to the Cyber Crimes unit of the FBI. You should contact (call or e-mail) your local FBI office, as per this webpage:
To determine your local FBI field office, use this webpage:
#34 Anonymous on 2009-07-02 11:25
While we bemoan the scandal and it's implications we should at least note the following.
1. The majority (65%) of Met. Philip's delegation to The Holy Synod have absoluetely no felony convictions.
2. As far as we can tell there have been no further warrants or indictments served on any member of the delegation recently.
Of course the threatening e-mails sent by Mr. Walid Khalife to various members of our Archdiocese may warrant a second look by the FBI but so far everything else seems pretty much OK.
Should be a fun Convention. Wish I could attend but I can't afford Palm Springs or the cost of Body Armour.
#35 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-07-02 11:35
It is abundantly clear to all now that MP ...and his cronies ... should be removed as gently and quickly as is practical. There should be no more parish funding until this is accomplished. MP should be expected to repudiate the threats and curses of his minions immediately, both those delivered recently by letter and personally at the Holy Synod, else we will understand clearly that he endorses threats to the lives or well being of his bishops and priests. If so, he is an anti-priest ... for he does not bless and break the bread but curses and breaks the heads of his flock. Such as these went out from us but they are not of us.
Threats should not be taken lightly ... we should understand that the hope of dissuading the archdiocese from genuine financial audits might in fact provide the incentive for violence from those who have long been involved in criminal misuse of these funds. We need not assume insanity or total irrationality ... but only criminality.
We have already all observed some very strange behavior from MP and now we are beginning to discern the reasons. What a shame! What a waste! I grieve for his soul though I am unconcerned for his "legacy". Finally, let us not overstate MP's accomplishments. All that we have received, all our growth in the Lord, has come from God ... not MP.
#36 Monologistos on 2009-07-02 12:13
This is the one message the OCA got and this is the one message that Englewood will get: NO MORE MONEY! NONE! ZERO! NADA! Until our requests are met.
Not so much our requests but our responsibilities as true and functioning members of the Body of Christ to expect and demand our heirarchs be faithful stewards of the office they have been granted.
We should really look at this particular scandal as a new beginning and opportunity to set right, decades of abusive corruption. Just look how many things have been brought to the light since Feb. 24th.
The reform of our Archdiocese has started and no matter how hard Englewood tries to thwart it's inevitable cleansing a new baptism is coming.
It's very possible, threats, deposings, even excommunications are attempted by those thinking themeselves masters in God's vineyard. They will be shown for what they actually are. In fact hasn't much of who and what they are, been revealed already?
The Convention may be a turbulent storm in the California desert or it may just be another Country Club gathering and tribute to Met. Philip.
But this thing which has now started will not stop until it has finished it's course.
#37 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-07-02 13:33
When commenting on the corrupting power of false information, the linguist Noam Chomsky noted, “There is a good reason why the propaganda system works. It recognizes that people will not support the actual policies. Therefore it is important to prevent any knowledge or understanding of them.” This entire sordid mess smells of a failed ‘propaganda’ machine run amuck. If Chomsky’s observation is correct, then the people will reject the now exposed ‘policies’ and turn out the policy makers – at least that’s how it would work in a sophisticated and civilized society. How it will play out in a Church steeped in Byzantine DNA is anyone’s guess – but the machine has now been exposed and that should cause decent people of good will to take notice and demand a reckoning.
Indicted criminals – regardless of their plea bargaining, reduced counts, etc. should have no place in the echelon of the Church – least of all on the Archdiocese Board of Trustees - Khalife and El Khoury must be dismissed. A felon bishop like Khoury who’s first hit on Google comes up as ‘sexual offender’ should be defrocked rather than retired with a stipend and commission to prepare a ‘priests guide’. His name should not appear on the pre convention annual report as an Auxiliary Bishop listed among the others.
Who’s going to bring all this to the floor at Palm Desert? Who’s going to speak sense and truth to power in California?
When the OCA went through its meltdown, they had a host of respected leaders, clergy and lay, with international credentials as Theologians, scholars, academics and educators who framed the questions and crafted the debate – the weight of their personalities, their articulate voice and the veracity of their cause won the day and that Church is now on the mend. Can we expect anything like it for the AOCA? Who are our heavyweights? We don’t have a Hopko or an Erickson or a St. Vlad’s faculty to rally around.
There may be an army of bewildered soldiers out there who feel betrayed and are justifiably angry at the folks bringing this all down on us, but who will channel that energy into something constructive that clears the air and brings credibility to the AOCA? We have a few short weeks for God fearing leaders driven with the desire to restore Christ’s Church to emerge and rally the troops – if not; it’s the same old same old.
Chomsky continued his treaties on corruption by noting that “conformity is the easy way, and the path to privilege and prestige; dissidence carries personal costs.” The conformists; the ‘old guard’ from the Damascus delegation and countless other clergy and ‘Trustees’ who make up the ‘good ol’boys' network have brought our Church to this sad and lamentable point – Palm Desert could be the only chance to turn this sorry outfit around if enough good people stand for decency and say ‘enough’.
(editor's note: Well said, but one minor historical correction. If the OCA had waited to rally around SVS, we would still have Herman as Metropolitan, and Bob as Chancellor. SVS, for all its many good qualities, choose not to participate in the events surrounding the OCA Scandal. At the time of the events they choose to remain " a pan-Orthodox institution" and out of the fray. I do not begrduge them their decision, but it would be incorrect to assert they were involved in any meaningful way until the events involving Bishop Nikolai came about. They did speak out then, granted. The one exception before that I make is retired Fr. Hopko, who did publish and courageously speak out, although once again, few rallied. No, the OCA went through its fire led not by its "leaders", but by countless courageous laymen & laywomen, many brave priests (and many more brave priest's wives), and one brave Archbishop. The vast majority of our "leaders" remained silent until the battle was fully underway, its inevitable outcome already determined. The AOCA should expect nothing different. It is not "leaders" who will solve this crisis - it is you. Each of you who decides , as Solzhentisyn said, " not to live the lie". Laity, clergy, bishops - all must stop living the lie, and bending consciences, actions and money to its will, rather than the way Christ told us to live: in truth, with openess, honesty and accountability towards each other. When that happened, the OCA changed. When it happens in the AOCA, it too will change. And even the "leaders" will not be able to stop it....)
#38 Bernard in Boston on 2009-07-02 14:00
C'mon Mark - credit where credit is due.
God bless you for the work you have done in His Holy church.
God bless you for the work you continue to do in His Holy church.
#38.1 Steve from Ft Worth on 2009-07-02 17:58
Well said, Bernard, well said.
Which is why I have been signing my replies all along. Not much I can do now, except spread the message online.
But our Arch'd just doesn't have many who would speak out. I noticed many of the OCA clergy certainly did. Met. Philip and his cronies and minions deeply entrenched! "What's in it for Me", syndrome prevails. Many rewarded and the "Great Charmer" has passed out the plums for many, many years. Palm Springs will indeed me a glorification moment - "After all he has done so much for us for so long". What did I say glorication of the King, and sadly too many Bishops are Kings. Thank our Lord for the exceptions. All know who they are.
#38.3 Anonymous on 2009-07-02 19:09
Well said Mark. SVS's silence was and is quite disheartening; since one would think these individuals are allegedly training leaders, they would choose to lead by speaking out, if for no other reason than to put moral actions behind their words. Why should their teaching be considered credible when they do not choose to act when the moral imperative to do so was so clearly in front of them. How much more clear does the threat have to be? SVS had their chances, and largely failed us. This reminds one of the SEC whistle blower who reported the $80 billion Madoff Fraud early on, but his SEC superiors "had other priorities" and chose to stick their heads back in their holes. Perhaps SVS needs a clean sweep? What kind of morality is SVS teaching its students? Clearly a timid one. Is timidity pleasing to our Lord? Can timid priests, deacons, bishops and laypeople lead at all? NO.
#38.4 Anon. on 2009-07-02 19:17
See this link for the requirements of not for profit NY corporations requiring annual financial reporting
I believe religious corporations are a sub set of the not for profit requirements.
#39 James A on 2009-07-02 16:26
I participated in the "Bible Bowl" at the AOCA's eastern conference tonight. (Didn't stay for the Elvis impersonator or other events.) I had to laugh when the emcee asked Met. Philip if he had any words for the enthusiastic crowd, and he said only "Be quiet." Isn't that his motto?
#40 Also in Brooklyn on 2009-07-02 20:50
Why is Bp Demetri and all the Bishops listed on the Fiancial reports for the AOCA as auxiliaries?
Why is Bp Demetri listed as a BOARD OF TRUSTEE MEMBER.
Are Felony charges and or plea bargains for charges now the criteria for being on the Board of Trustees?
#41 anon and anon on 2009-07-02 21:32
Apparently, both for the Metropolitan's inner circle and the President's Cabinet.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#41.1 Nemo on 2009-07-07 14:13
Has anyone questioned why the chancellors have been silent on the June 17 decision? They wrote their opinion on the February 24 decision and said it was legally unacceptable. I would assume that their opinion will now uphold the June 17 decision of the Patriach et al. Why the silence?
#42 anon on 2009-07-03 04:20
MP should be expected to repudiate the threats and curses of his minions immediately, both those delivered recently by letter and personally at the Holy Synod, else we will understand clearly that he endorses threats to the lives or well being of his bishops and priests.
Monologistos, It ain't gonna happen. It is all to apparent from the very beginning of this crisis that his supporters/hencmen are mereley serving his intrests.
Fr. Antony Gabriel who maliciously delighted in Bp. Mark being put in his "Auxilliary" place and was a party to ongoing public attacks against His Grace was punished how?
He becomes one of the chosen delegates sent to represent Met. Philip and by extension this Archdiocese to The Holy Synod.
In addition he is now the prime suspect according to his own wife in The Damascan Document Heist from the office of The Patriarch.
I wonder if Mr. Walid Khalife or Mr. Fawaz El Khourey with their underworld connections provided any valuable tips on criminal deception or smuggling techniques?
These are our Metropolitan's confidants friends and accomplices. Hell will likely freeze over before he throws them under the bus.
However an uppity Bishop or two being tossed aside might just be the ticket.
#43 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-07-03 08:02
"(editor's note: Well said, but one minor historical correction. If the OCA had waited to rally around SVS, we would still have Herman as Metropolitan, and Bob as Chancellor. SVS, for all its many good qualities, choose not to participate in the events surrounding the OCA Scandal..."
What you don't understand is that SVS understood only too well what was going on. On a public level, there was only so much SVS could do. The school is not a political institution, but offers the "correct" Orthodox theological insight of the church. Behind the scenes, SVS was engaged with it's alumni who understood the issues effecting the OCA. Not everything has to be public to be effective.
(Editor's note: But in this case, historically speaking, nothing was effective until it became public.
You say that SVS was engaged with its alumni: Gee, I was one and never heard a thing about the scandal from them - and when I asked about it early on, was told it was not their business. I can show you the email if you would like. Look, my point was not to criticize or not -criticize SVS's decisions in this matter. Simply to correct an historically inaccurate portrayal of their role in it. End of story.)
#44 Anonymous on 2009-07-04 08:00
SVS is a public institution. Its positions and activities, by necessity, must also be public. That is the duty of its professors. We must know what they stand for if we are to invest them with the responsibility to be spokespersons for our beliefs. This talk of non-public activity is sophistry. Granted some private activity is a given, but all behind the scenes becomes timidity or manipulation.
#44.1 Anon. on 2009-07-06 20:13
Amazing how you people wish to drag SVS into it's historical role in the OCA scandal. Clearly, it had no role and that's the way is should be. This is a school of higher Orthodox theological learning. There was nothing going on in the OCA about heresy; nothing about taking down icons; nothing about changing theology; etc. What there were, were rumors of theft and corruption at high levels in the church. These are activities to be handled by the executive council of the OCA, accountants, lawyers and police. What was known to be accurate and true and what wasn't needed to be sorted out, but clearly not the role of SVS.
#44.1.1 Anonymous on 2009-07-07 06:47
Nice try. SVS leaders were intimately intertwined with the perpetrators to the point where blind eyes were being turned; and if payments were not being accepted, they were certainly being observed for many, many years... in silence. This was either cooperation or neurotic timidity. Either way, an ethical and moral assessment of SVS is sorely needed before we can move forward with any confidence in what is being taught.
#22.214.171.124 Anon. on 2009-07-07 19:05
I think it's time for someone to stand up at the convention and give a good speech. In the famous "Norway Debate" Leo Amery, a longtime friend of failed Prime Minster Neville Chamberlain, delivered a devastating critique of his administration, ending with Oliver Cromwell's words to the "rump parliament": "YOU HAVE SAT THERE TOO LONG FOR ALL THE GOOD YOU HAVE BEEN DOING. DEPART I SAY AND LET US HAVE DONE WITH YOU. IN THE NAME OF GOD, GO!"
Might make a good ending.......
#45 Marcel Herlé on 2009-07-04 14:25
In reading all the commebnts, I have three comments:
1. To all Antiochian Bishops - you should remmeber one thig you are all Bishop Ministering the Gosepl of Christ it is not about yu ego, or own Glory but serving the Church
2. As we gather this month in Palm Desert, We should all remember we are there to conduct the business of the Church not to be heard on our personal opitions but to gather as the body of the Church of Christ and should all handle ourselves with diginity
3. For individuals to post background information on members of the Board of Trustees is embarssing - everyone have skeltons in their past, they are serving the Church for their love of the Church we should nto be to harsh on them
#46 Anonymous on 2009-07-04 22:55
This whole thing is so heart breaking. Having returned from our Parish Life conference where there was great love and respect for fellow clergy and our Father in Christ Metropoltian Philip. It is hard to belive that this Bishop I saw over the last week is the same Bishop I am reading about in these pages. Either he is a fraud, which I don't believe, or he is surrounding himself with bad apples. Which seems to me to be more true. But if our beloved Metroplitan does not excomminicate and remove from the Board of Trustees this man Khalife it will greatly harm his ministry and eventually our Archdiocese. I hope and pray this man is excomminicated until he is willing to repent. Hopefully the FBI will take his threats seriously and arrest him. And hopefully our Archdiocese will also take it more seriously. I hardly belive Fr. Antypas telling him to stop is enough. His threats and e-mails have already surpassed anything rational. I thank Fr. Patrick for keeping the Archdiocese informed of this man, and his sinful actions, which could harm a beloved man of God Bishop Mark and others. If this is how our Archdiocese wants to be seen in terms of its leadership, thugs, swindlers and liars then God help us all. The only way parishes will be able to speak to this kind of thing if nothing is done, is to stop supporting the Archdiocse. I pray it does not come to that, and that the Metroplitan Philip that I love and and have grown to respect over the years will stand up to these people even though they might call themselves friends. And even worse might give large sums of money to the Archdiocese.
#47 Anonymous on 2009-07-05 17:42
How do you know Metropolitan Philip? Have you ever spent any time alone with him? Have you ever been able to get anywhere near him when he has visited your parish? Can you pick up the phone, call him and ask him about all this stuff? Will he answer you? Have you had personal discussions with him one-on-one?
If the answers are no, how can you say you have come to "know and respect" him? You have come to know and respect only the image he has projected to the public (see Noam Chomsky comment above -- very apt).
I don't know about you, but I have never been able to get him to give me the time of day (except when I joined the Order of St. Ignatius and gave him a $2000 check).
The one time I did try to get him to respond to me on a very important topic, I got only a call from one of his assistants.
No, we don't know him personally, but we have seen all the things he has done. These things are well documented here and elsewhere.
Just take a look. His actions speak much louder than his words.
#47.1 Joseph on 2009-07-06 16:32
Be mature - you KNOW it is all about money. How pleasing some see him at a P Life Conf. We see him every time - on the page after page of the Word Magazine. ...
#47.2 Anonymous on 2009-07-06 21:26
I think it is time to mature a bit more in our discernment. If MP had ONLY surrounded himself with bad apples, he would still be demonstrably unable to discern good men from wicked. That lack of discernment alone might be sufficient to call for his resignation. More than that, he has not chastised these wicked men. They serve him at his pleasure and he has had much he calls good from their dealings. He is now refusing obedience to the Patiarch on top of obfuscating the truth for many years in his pursuit of self-glorification and power. If his misdeeds were not now coming to light, we would not be having this conversation.
A bad tree does not bear good fruit. We should not confuse our own desires for calm and peace with what is the case. Nobody (I hope) desires anyone's punishment or to cause schism. However, punishment has been the way of things and good men have been silent about it. MP has not acted like a loving father to all ... whether or not he can charm the naive and ignorant. Rather, he has repeatedly shown himself to be vindictive and punishing, lording it over other men as if he was a princeling ... and now I hear (from his nearly illiterate mouthpiece, THEANTIOCHIAN.COM) he says he might just transfer these uppity bishops and dissolve the diocese ... except of course that he loves us so much. Wicked, abusive father ... this is not a father among the saints but an asp to bruise our heels.
I pray that whatever serpents lurk in our hearts, that by our prayers and by the might of angels and the very Holy Spirit among us, that light shines more brightly in this current darkness and evil be cast out of our midst. Most simply, we require exorcism. To that end I commit myself to pray for the convention and I invite all to join me. Still, it is not prayer only that is required but organization and commitment to one another that you will not permit a few innocent to pay the cost of standing against evil. Take note those of you with ears to hear.
#48 Monologistos on 2009-07-06 16:08
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