Saturday, July 25. 2009
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Let us now resolve to do these things:
Pray without ceasing.
Forgive in haste.
Keep speaking the truth, but always in love.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
For the good estate of the holy churches of God, Lord, have mercy.
#1 Peter on 2009-07-25 15:23
We just finished the Board of Trustees Lucheon.
MP welcomed new members and the new chancellor.
Then stated people come and go and then find someone else. Very dismissive. The Detroit folks were smiling.
How sad. Robert Koory is a better man than the other two put together.
Then MP thanked Dan Braun for the excellent job he did monitoring the microphone during the general assembly. Dan Braun responded “I worked very hard to keep people away from it.”
I thought we opened the General Assembly with the words “*we have nothing to hide. Let the Light shine in.*”
I am sure Fr Jon Braun is very proud of his son, Dan.
We perhaps, have *two felons still on the Board of Trustees*, one who is in charge of $2 Million Dollars for the Balamand Fund.
The other one and his brother, also a felon continues to be on the Parish Council at St George in Troy, MI. Nice video of one brother attaching news camera men during an investigation of his activities. Gotta see that at
Of course we know the other brother sent out email threats against the bishoop of the Midwest, which surely affected attendance there. Who would want to endanger their family of bodily harm?
MP still continues to manipulate the people...
He actively seeks adulation!
He states One who gives a gift should never remember and the one who receives it should never forget.
Then he chastizes clergy who were scholarshipped by the ARCHDIOCESE for not being appreciative or loyal for WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR THEM.
If MP really is an advocate of unity he should start with our own Archdiocese. Any organization with a $5 million dollar budget has an annual outside audit. Nothing was mentioned at the general assembly of the 15-20 million held by the Archdiocese in Bonds and other investments.
Just think of what we could do for our retired clergy and spouses.
Dn Emile Sayegh, the new chancellor demonstrated his incompetence by speaking on Canoinical Issues.
He affirmed Patriarch Ignatius re-instated Bishop Demetri. Bp Demetri was graciously disciplined by the Local Synod and granted permanent retirement instead of being deposed. That was a big mistake.
As Bishop Demetri was disciplined by the Local Synod, only that Local Synod or THE HOLY SYNOD can re-instate him. No single Bishop regardless of rank or title has the authority canonically to do so.
Thus I seruiously doubt Patriarch Ignatius re-instated a Bishop who was so drunk in a Casino that he was continuously groping a woman ...(and) unzipped his pants for her.
We need not even mention the other woman he groped without her consent.
While, MP maintains Bp Demetri's salary comes fom an annonymous donor, why is his salary still computed with that of the Diocesan Bishops on the Financial Statement?
If he is no longer retired, why are we still paying him a retirement?
May God deliver us from this tyranny!
MP and Bp Antoun need to go!
the felons needs to go.
The constitution needs to be resolved.
The Board of trustees needs to be reduced to that allowable by NY law.
We need a thorough and complete independent audit of all Archdiocesan accounts, including those in MP's name - as he own nothing.
#2 anonymous board of trustee member on 2009-07-25 15:49
I understand the umbrage directed toward Bp Demetri. However, it was decided a few years ago not to depose him and, really, we need to accept that. And because he was not deposed, it doesn't seem right to continue to punish him -- after all, when do we stop? When will it be enough?
There is something here that almost none of us know -- the effect of this public, scandalous, humiliating event on the bishop himself. I'm supposing that people are fearful that he has not truly mended his ways or changed his mind in certain respects (i.e. repented). Perhaps this is why he was not punished more harshly.
The office of bishop does not strike me as one that builds up stores of humility but rather the opposite -- especially with the fanfare of a bishop's visiting a church and the conscientious serving his wishes and everyones fear of doing something wrong. If this crime had been committed by me, I would certainly hope I would very seriously reconsider my past course of life and adjust it appropriately. There have been some that were horrified by the prospect of Bp D being even mentioned in the same sentence as "next Metropolitan". On a bit of reflection, he might be the best candidate -- IF he has repented. Perhaps he has, perhaps not. His hubris should have strict limits -- his self-satisfaction would have a tempering notion -- a vision of a bottle and a woman. Some bishops have no such limits at all.
I really don't know what the right answer is here -- but, fortunately, almost none of us will be voting for the next metropolitan whenever that would be (and I would be happy to eat my words if I'm wrong). However, I think focusing on Bp Demetri is not useful because we can't change the past rulings -- we really need to let it go. I do not believe the rulings will be revisited -- does anyone? More importantly, we can't let the labels and our anger control something we really don't know the heart of and cannot control.
(Editor's note: And what about the SCOBA decision the Metropolitan signed? Are such only meaningful when they apply only to other jurisdictions, but not one's own? And what of the legal liabilities should he backslide? Such "forgive and forget" policies, "The Pope allows it" attitude, has cost the American Catholic Church $1.6 Billion so far - and counting. What do you think the next plaintiff will ask for at a civil trial, should the Bishop backslide just once more in the next 30 years, knowing he was a previous offender returned to office by the Church? What about the Archdiocese's own Sexual Misconduct Policy - does that only apply to laity and priests, but not bishops? Or the Local Synod's decision - are they meaningless as well? These are all difficult questions, agreed - but before one says " OK -lets move on", one would be prudent to examine the consequences of one's judgements - and be prepared if the rest of the Orthodox Church understands that self-interest, not principle, rules in the AOCNA.)
#2.1 R Stevenson on 2009-07-31 14:48
To address the editor's points:
SCOBA -- I haven't heard much about SCOBA in about 12 years. Back then I saw it as a first step to an American Orthodox Church but that seems like a distant memory.
Signing agreements and liabilities: Does anyone think that MP would revisit this issue under any circumstances? I'm not saying the BD is the bishop around -- I do not know the man. I hope he has repented and has a humble realization about himself that many of us don't have. I'm not a booster for the status quo, I'm just being pragmatic. To point out documents signed with SCOBA or liability or anything else will almost assuredly not make MP change his mind -- does anyone think that? Does anyone think that "holding his feet to the fire" is going to work? Especially if he has the Patriarch on his side, it just is not going to happen and I just don't think we can force the issue. The discipline of anyone -- laic, clergy, anyone -- should not be put to a general vote in any case and that's what this would sound like if a public outcry "forced" MPs hand on the issue. I just think we should focus on things that we can change rather than the things we cannot. And Don, if you disagree with me, feel free to have at the windmills.
(Editor's note: Are you sure the Patriarch is on his side about this? Seems to me I remember a few weeks ago some documents that the Metropolitan claimed came from the Patriarchate, which the Patriarch subsequently denied. So, pardon me if I decide to wait for the Patriarch himself to speak on this issue, rather than just nodding when Metropolitan Philip suggests he has spoken....)
#2.1.1 R Stevenson on 2009-08-02 17:23
The only thing that will get an audit started is this:
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW YORK
Members of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdioces of North America PLANTIFFS
The Antiochian Orthdox Archdioces of North America Inc.
Metropolitan Phillip Saliba Primate, in his capacity of President of The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Phillip Saliba an individual
(each trustee in their official capacity and as individuals))
You get my point
#3 James A on 2009-07-25 19:08
Is there any way that parishes in the U.S. can appeal to Patriarchate Ignatius IV for protection? May we request to come under his oversight, directly? I believe there would be scores of parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese who would make this appeal- immediately. Your Beatitude, help us!
#4 A Troubled but Emboldened Antiochian Priest on 2009-07-25 22:54
God bless my brothers and sisters in the AONA! Their situation makes me give even greater thanks to God for what took place last November in Pittsburgh at the AAC--the transfiguration of the local church! May God grant all Orthodox Christians in America the same and even greater healing and grace!
#5 Fr. David Subu on 2009-07-26 05:03
I was at the convention. The priests were spineless they did not stand up to +Philip they just let him walk all over him. Not one priest demanded that he allow a second on the Demitri issue. What a bunch of spineless wimps. They could have walked out in mass. Look for years now of priests bad mouthing there bishops and doing nothing about it. They all talk and no show.
#6 one foot out the door the other one following on 2009-07-26 12:13
If you don't have the courage to sign your name on ocanews.org, how dare you insult the clergy for being spineless.
#6.1 Clergyman on 2009-07-27 22:07
It has occurred to me after hearing about the behavior of some at the convention i.e. pulling flyers out of the hands of people, pushing and shoving, using intimidating tactics, priests cursing parish members who disagreed, felons, etc., that this could stem from their growing up in other countries where they experienced war and lawlessness. In America, and particularly in a church setting, this should not be tolerated. We live by the laws of this country, which I am afraid does not hold true of some people. Please do not accuse me of being a racist, since my family all came from those countries. It is very acceptable and understandable that people love the metropolitan and were trying to protect him from what they saw as a few who were causing trouble. I would suggest that the trouble was caused by the bullies and thugs who know of no other way to behave.
#7 anon on 2009-07-26 14:23
Please do not be too harsh on the priests who "were spineless" and "did not stand up to +Philip," who "just let him walk all over him." There was no way that +Philip would have allowed a second on the +Dimitri resolution. Did you not see the fire in the chancellor's eyes as he read the prepared statement? I did. It was scary.
It is not quite so simple as perhaps it seems. These men have families and parishes which are thriving and growing. Should there be punitive measures taken against them if they speak out, they are not the only ones who suffer. These men care for the parishes they have been entrusted to shepherd, and they are not inexperienced in dealing with the problems of the archdiocese. Can they afford to compromise the holy work going on in their parishes when these archdiocesan problems will in their own time be resolved?
Besides, thinking of the priests that I know in my diocese who were, as you say, "spineless," they understand Orthodox ecclesiology and history well enough to know that it is inappropriate to act that way toward your bishop. Fr. John Mashburn's example is a beautiful one - addressing the issues while maintaining decorum and the respectfulness due to one who holds the office of Bishop. I dare say it seemed to me that he spoke the truth in love.
In any case, the real ugliness in this situation, and the real sin above all others, is the lack of Christian charity. While I did not hear curses being pronounced, I did hear comments like "Get our of our archdiocese!" Forgive me, but this is the church of God, and Christ teaches us that the world will know we are his disciples by our love for one another. God help us if we behave any other way.
May He have mercy upon us all and instill in our hearts a renewed love for Him and one another.
#8 Irene on 2009-07-26 19:02
I understand that pro-reform Priests had to be circumspect at the Convention, because +Philip still has them over the barrel in many ways. But what about our Bishops? Their Diocesan status has been affirmed and accepted, even by +Philip, so when will they step up to the plate? My fear is that +Philip will continue to assert that he and the Trustees have total administrative control with respect to Englewood issues. Our Bishops need to start flexing their muscle in these areas soon, engaging the inevitable conflict with +Philip regarding their authority as a Local Synod with respect to administrative issues outside of their individual dioceses -- or reforms are never going to get off the ground.
#8.1 JPS on 2009-07-27 13:25
Several of us throughout the room had shouted "second." That was not the issue. Metropolitan Philip said he did not want to allow a vote on the motion. It ended there. Sarah showed courage in the face of those who jeered.
Troubling excerpt from post-Convention message written by Fr. Herbel over on the Ochlophobist"
"I close asking for prayers for all those who continue to fight the good fight. They have placed their parishes in the line of fire and have shown Christian courage in the face of intimidation and manipulation. We need good church order and honest hierarchs in this archdiocese. Please pray also for me. As has been reported, there are some bishops who would rather than I not continue serving this archdiocese.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Oliver Herbel"
Full message here: http://ochlophobist.blogspot.com/
May God grant Fr. Herbel many years and much protection from on high for his courage in boldly addressing the evil in our midst.
#9 Heracleides on 2009-07-26 20:56
For me, the most valuable aspect of attending the Convention was being able to actually see, hear, and interact with people on all sides of the issues--it made them and their feelings and thoughts real to me--so that they are no longer just some objective "They" out there doing things, but actual living individuals. I was struck most by a few things--the peacefulness, respect, and clarity with which most of the speakers requesting reforms spoke, the genuine deep love Metropolitan Philip’s supporters feel toward him … and the animosity towards certain others of some of those same supporters. During the General Assembly meeting, there were two incidents that greatly distressed me, and they involved some of these supporters.
I was sitting near a solid section of +Philip's supporters, including tables from St. George, Troy, Michigan (Fr. Joseph Antypas and Fr. George Shalhoub were seated there) and St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn. This group led the singing for the Metropolitan in Arabic. When +Philip, in his Address, delivered his litany of "Did I betray you when I …" followed by each of his greatest accomplishments, they were increasingly loud and boisterous in their shouting of “NO!” But when +Philip mentioned bringing the Evangelical Orthodox into the Church--silence, or at best a few quiet "No"s from this group. Apparently they considered this action a sufficiently bad mistake on his part to withhold their support at this most triumphant part of his speech. I had not known that this level of opposition and dislike of the former Evangelical Orthodox still existed so many years later.
Later, when Bishop Mark was introduced to speak on the audit issue, in the quiet I could hear the priests at the St. George table saying (obviously not very quietly) something dismissive and derogatory (like "Oh, no" or "What *now*?", I can no longer remember exactly). I was so distressed at their public attitude toward their diocesan bishop that I had to get up and walk away, and spent some time calming myself before I could come back and sit down.
I will admit, I am over-sensitive to being in the presence of animosity, no matter to whom it is aimed. I believe that those who merely love Metropolitan Philip, without animosity in their hearts, will eventually respond to peaceful and respectful pleas to open their eyes and ears and to calls to love the Church as a whole. I can’t deal with those bearing un-Christian animosity. I spent Saturday and Sunday mostly lying on the bed with a fever and no energy--not likely a virus, but simply "the mind writing in the body" how distressed I was in spirit. It is a small thing, and I’m recovering quickly enough, and look forward to being back in the peaceful arms of my home parish.
#10 An Antiochian Parishioner on 2009-07-27 10:36
I'm sorry for the experience you had there, but were you honestly expecting something different? Honestly, did you expect MP to stand up and say that he has seen the error of his ways and he will step down and have Bp B take over? What were your expectations given the climate in the archdiocese when the convention began?
#10.1 Curiouser and curiouser on 2009-08-01 17:15
I was not at the convention. The reports I have heard in person from those who were there seem to validate my perception that MP's disciples would be more at home in Syrian secular politics than in the United States. The usual word describing the convention seems to be "disgusting". People's response? "We are never going back." It is sad. But what IS NOW clear is that MP has only the hearts of his cronies ... who behaved toward others with thuggish bad manners, with violence and threats of violence. What is also clear is that all of this is now clear to many who previously were sheltered by their faithful bishops from the spiritual illness and wickedness that has found a home in the hierarchy of the archdiocese and foremost in our metropolitan. MP has lost our hearts. Good Lord, deliver us.
#11 monologistos on 2009-07-27 18:45
My word to the bishops, priests, deacons, laity and especially Metropolitan Philip: Be of good cheer, despite the troubles in our archdiocese now, we will be victorious. Rememeber we survived Arius.
#12 Outraged Antiochian Priest on 2009-07-27 19:12
Wow. Over on THEANTIOCHIAN.COM, they are crowing triumphantly about how MP shot the dissidents dead like dogs and much, much worse. This site says it all.
#13 monologistos on 2009-07-27 19:18
As usual, theantiochian.org is counting their chickens before they have hatched. Guess they didn't learn anything from the diocesan bishops issue...
#13.1 JPS on 2009-07-30 07:09
Actually +Philip is running scared out of his mind. What is he scared of? Three letters: I.R.S.
And...TheAntiochian.com will soon be "TheAntiochian.came and went."
#13.2 Private Investigator on 2009-08-02 21:58
If someone will start a fund to hire lawyers or to assist the Antiochian Legal Society in seeking compliance of New York state law in regard to the Archdiocese, I will contribute what my wife and I had been contributing to the Order of St. Ignatius. I think about Americans two hundred years ago who told a tyranical pirate in the Middle East that we would spend millions for defense but not one penny for tribute. Strength is the only thing some pirates understand, and Philip has taken way too much in tribute. It is time to stop crying and relying on the goodness of his heart to clean up the mess that is his house and restore the Archdiocese to the Lord of Lords.
#14 Diogenes on 2009-07-30 08:01
I feel that you may be more right than you know. Dialogue is useless to some people, the only thing that can effect some is a clear and inescapable consequence - the legal system. some of our trustees know this by experience.
I would also send my St. Ignatius money to the support of a class action suit against the trustees of the archdiocese, the chancellor, and its Metropolitan.
#14.1 Delegate #1 on 2009-07-31 17:29
After reading this, all I can say is, "WTF?!?! Are we talking about leaders of Christ's Church here? Are they all nuts or something?!?!?!"
#15 nowayjose on 2009-08-01 20:45
So, many in the Antiochian Orthodox Church regard the inclusion of the "Gentiles" (i.e., the EOC) similar to how the Judaizers in Galatians and Acts regarded Paul and Peter taking the gospel to, and eating with, uncircumcised men. Well, we all know how that turned out for the history of the church. There is One Body, and One Lord, and One God. Just as those who enter the church are to strengthen and uphold the GOSPEL things in the church, so are those who are in the church to accept with full embrace those whom Christ adds to His Body. Disgraceful.
#16 nonantiochian on 2009-08-02 05:44
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