Tuesday, September 29. 2009
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Mark once again, a wonderful article.
As anyone with an ounce of common sense can discern, the problem is not Mark Stokoe, OCAnews or the OCA, it is METROPOLITAN PHILIP and his refusal to listen to his own people.
MP refuses to listen to his former chancellors.
He refuses to listen to his BROTHER BISHOPS on the LOCAL SYNOD.
HE refuses to be accountable to the HOLY SYNOD!
Unfortunately, this issue will not go away until he goes away.
Patriarch Ignatius is correct, we need Monasteries and Orthodox Schools of Higher Learning.
We need Orthodox hospitals, etc.
We do not need a tyrant, a bully or an ethnarch!
#1 anonymous on 2009-09-29 14:25
Yes, the truth hurts! The poor St V delegation who had to listen to those dribbles of wisdom and LIES ! Many know Met Philip went to his LAST Board meeting at St V PRIOR to Fr Alle's new Wedding in the Church ! Not since. He must believe we have short memories and are stupid. The truth is known. "Consulting two Priests", as if he did'nt KNOW how many seminarians in each Seminary !
Keep up the TRUTH, Mark. God knows the difference!
#1.1 Anonymous formerly of "Englewood" on 2009-09-29 22:56
Dear Anonymous formerly of Englewood,
I am very happy for Mark to continue this website. For me it has been the best form of therapy available, "truth therapy".
When you are hurt and your life has been several times close to the end of time on this earth, you appreciate when people as Mark work at getting out the truth.
There are so many layers of crude it takes time, in all areas of the church but yes, truth is the cleasing force to see again, and live again.
#1.1.1 Matushka Carol on 2009-10-03 17:58
Are you serious. Your telling me the Metropolitan doesn't listen to his people or even the hierarchs. He listens, but as a leader he must lead not take orders.
Who is he bullying. I believe the Metropolitan is right in this regard, he has every right to be upset at this website and people who talk ill against him. I promise you that even if he is gone, you and others will find fault in the next Metropolitan. Look at the repetitive history on this forum. Whenever someone new comes in office, even as simple as the new Bishop of the OCA, they get attacked like, yes...by DOGS!
History repeats itself, and especially if you only get your fixation on forums like this. Anonyomous has been here forever saying negative comments that only go against anyone he disagrees with personally. Good job thy good and faithful servant!
#1.2 William on 2009-09-30 07:59
Are you kidding me? We Americans are supposed to just roll over when our brother is threatened for exercising his 1st ammendment rights? Thats Christianity? Thats Orthodoxy?
#1.2.1 Antionymous on 2009-09-30 14:31
When I read the first line of this post, I said to myself: 'I bet it is William here...'.
Ho hum. sounding like a broken record again.
We need more squeaky wheels, not broken records, otherwise we will never fix the administration, and that goes for all 'jurisdictions'. What would have happened to the OCA and its faithful if the whistles hadn't been blown? And if no one speaks up when they perceive a disconnect between the Gospel and present reality, what will happen to the institution? People will stop contributing, people will leave in disgust (as some have already), and we faithful will be diminished yet more.
The Church Itself is of course perfect, the Body of Christ. Some of the parts of that body seem to need fixing now and then.
#1.2.2 James Morgan on 2009-09-30 19:50
If I sound like a broken record, believe me same does everyone else on this website.
#220.127.116.11 William on 2009-10-01 06:36
You're right, William. If the next Metropolitan were to "lead" by threatening and terrorizing people, we wouldn't like him either, but we're not going to allow that to happen. A true leader doesn't have to resort to such tactics. It is the weak who succumb to their baser natures, pounding on their chests like gorillas. Metropolitan Philip has lost the one thing he values most - respect. No one respects a tyrant. It's that simple.
#1.2.3 Gail Sheppard on 2009-10-01 11:37
Do not waste time responding to William he is only a dissimulator. More than likely he knows fully what needs to be hidden and only wants to confuse readers on this site.
Where are we at with the financial situationin Troy MI?
MP and BP Antoun continue their bullying tactics. Like dogs they are barking ceaselessly because they are afraid of their territory being taken from them.
#1.2.4 Do not waste tiMe on William on 2009-10-02 06:50
I am not trying to confuse anyone or dissimulate anyone, i'm trying to get a point across that only you few people are the same individuals asking questions. If there was truth...wouldn't it have been resolved in the PAST YEAR or at least had something else to say rather than insults? Where's your proof. Nothing. Na da.
I'm trying to protect our hierarchs from your sinful comments and destructive behavior by asking for proof. If you have zero bullet points like the question I asked earlier, it just goes to show that nothing is solid information from these posts. I have not seen one 100% accurate post made as of yet.
#18.104.22.168 Sir William the V on 2009-10-02 14:11
A thief who also controls the access of others to the accounts of his victim is a fine thief indeed.
#22.214.171.124.1 Silouan James on 2009-10-02 14:52
I am more than happy to give you an "100% accurate post." Here it is: William, you are blind, deaf and dumb when it comes to any criticism of the leader of your cult, Metropolitan Philip."
#126.96.36.199.2 Carl on 2009-10-02 16:10
How long O Lord? How long?
Deliver us from all oppression!
Rise up O Lord, let your enemies be scattered!
Let those who hate you flee from before your face!
#1.3 Anonymous on 2009-10-02 12:23
Like Richard Nixon, Metropolitan Philip wishes to blame the news media for revealing his sins, instead of acknowledging, repenting and turning away from his sins.
Additionally, +Philip’s assertion that Metropolitan Jonah should remove Mark Stokoe from the Metropolitan Council for his “spreading of lies,” is also evidence of his disregard for sovereign diocesan bishops since Mark Stokoe is a representative of the OCA Midwest Diocese under the autonomous leadership of the courageous Archbishop Job. But +Philip has no respect for the sovereignty of diocesan bishops as will soon become more evident when he tries to impose his own version of the “Antiochian Archdiocese Hierarchical Manual of Duties and Responsibilities” in which he tries to impose canonical and ecclesiological restrictions on the diocesan bishops contrary to the June resolution of the Patriarchal Synodal resolution – which we recall he characterized in March as the “highest ecclesiological authority” in the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
+Philip just doesn’t “get it” that these Stalinistic tactics will never prevail.
#2 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-09-29 14:36
What sins did he commit that you as a human have not. Please tell me in bullet points. Thanks.
#2.1 William on 2009-09-30 11:37
William, What crimes has Osama bin Laden commited that you have not?
#2.1.1 Antionymous on 2009-09-30 14:33
That is by far extremely out of line - comparing Osama to the Metropolitan. Mark, that one should be removed from this post.
I'm asking for a list of bullet points that you all believe are sins in regards to the context of this forum. There is nothing but anger towards this great man. Nothing at all. No solidity behind any accusations. Same thing repeated over and over..."him and his cronies"....what is this? You mean him and his priests that serve under him out of hierarchal rankings? Give me a break and please go back to your little 1 hour of baptist preaching.
(editor's note: William, it would help if you would actually read what people wrote, rather than just attacking them. No one compared the Metropolitan to Osama. Read what he asked before you spew. )
#188.8.131.52 William on 2009-10-01 06:41
We all have sins, "voluntary and involuntary, committed in word, deed and thought, both knowing and unknowing," but when we deny or refuse to face up to the harm that our sins cause then we are delusional and self-righteous. Please read through the Orthodox Attorneys web site http://www.orthodoxattorneys.org/resources.html
and see the overt contradictions, aka lies of Metroplitan Philip. Perhaps he forgot the directive of St. James (3:14), “do not boast and lie against the truth.”
I pray that everyone will “be sanctified by the truth” (Christ in John 17:19).
#2.1.2 Disgusted (and mindfully sinful) Antiochian Priest on 2009-10-01 15:28
This attack only makes Metropolitan Philip appear smaller while giving OCANews.org even more power to effect change. Power to the people.
I'm shooting from the hip here, but isn't there a quote from one of the Fathers - I think John Chrysostom - that it is out of place to refrain from speaking out against even a bishop if he is doing wrong? (To say nothing of Paul publicly upbraiding Peter at Antioch for his hypocrisy.)
Where would we be today if the deacon Athanasius had not taken the priest Arius to task?
#4 Edmund on 2009-09-29 15:38
i happen to wholeheartedly agree with philip. mark, you are nothing but a trouble maker and a plaque on our archdiocese. its too bad that the oca has to suffer with a person of your character. shame on you, poor excuse for an orthodox christian.
(editor's note: I admit to be being a poor excuse for an Orthodox Christian. But I have never been called dental biofilm before. That's new. Did you mean plague?)
#5 Anonymous on 2009-09-29 15:50
Maybe he was thinking 'arterial plaque.' After all, you are raising -PHILIP's blood pressure...
#5.1 anonymous on 2009-09-29 19:22
Mark, Don't be too hard on your anonymous critics. English as a second language can be challenging. In the Arabic, calling someone "plaque" actually means, "You are a painful cavity in the mouth of a cud-chewing camel." Your retort doubled me over. I am busting a gut at the absurdity of your critics. Keep the faith and speak the truth.
Dental hygiene aside, the real plague on the Church are all those who fear the light of Truth/truth, wishing to stop any and all discussion that leads us into truth. The Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese and all his blind supporters (as opposed to the ones who are pushing for some real honesty and openness) need to answer the same question Bp Job posed several years ago to the OCA hierarchs in their mess: are the allegations true? Stop trying to shoot the messenger just because you don't like the message or the questions! And please stop resenting Christians who wish to deal with real problems in the Archdiocese. There is a deep sickness that needs healing, and that won't happen without admitting how sick the "patient" really is.
(Editor's note: Can one ever safely ignore dental hygiene? But seriously, you are correct. Shooting the messenger, or calling for him to be shot, is not the solution. )
#5.3 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-09-29 21:49
Speak for yourself, Anonymous. I like most in our archdiocese, are grateful for the American expression of freedom of speech as exemplified by Mark Stokoe and the OCAnews.org website. The archdiocese will be fully American some day....these are just growing pains....
#5.4 Antionymous on 2009-09-30 02:33
Maybe he meant that you're one of those commemorative things with engraving on them, as in "A plaque on both your houses."
#5.5 Morton on 2009-09-30 06:29
#5.5.1 pelagiaeast on 2009-10-01 09:41
If you stop the OCAnews.org 100 little sites will sprout up in its place and the problem will grow even bigger.
The only way to solve the problem is to clean house, have a full independent audit and if there are any sins found repent.
BTW when was the last time anybody saw there Bishop more than once a year? Maybe a relationship with a local Bishop might help there to.
I have been an active reader of this web site for years. I thank you for the information and transparency that you have fostered.
I now begin to wonder: when enough is enough? I am not a fan of Robert Kondrakis, but he is history. Can we stop reciting his sins in public? Can we allow the OCA to heal?
(Editor's note: Absolutely, but healing cannot take place effectively until the infection is fully removed. I would suggest the first step towards that would be for Mr. Kondratick to stop his lawsuit so we could all move on. Until he does that - and only he controls that - the sins you speak of will be repeated over and over again as the story gets retold and retold...)
Judith, Fr Bob will always be primary news on this website. Regardless of lawsuits or whatever other excuse Mark can come up with. Because Mr Stokoe's mantra is this "When in doubt and nothing newsworthy is happening; bring up Fr Bob and it's game on......AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN...blah, blah, blah."
If Fr Bob dropped his lawsuit this very moment, Mark Stokoe would come up with some other BS excuse for putting his name out there to stir the pot. See Judith, Fr Bob will FOREVER be the excuse. That will never change.
(editor's note: Did you even bother to read the other story on the site yesterday? Lack of news is hardly my problem, Mike. Nor do I need to stir the pot. God knows, there are plenty enough cooks in this kitchen to do that, alas.)
#7.1 Michael Livosky on 2009-09-29 19:01
Just for the record, Mr. Kondratick is not "Fr. Bob" any more. He is a defrocked and disgraced former priest.
#7.1.1 Scott Walker on 2009-10-01 09:46
You just don't get it Michael. It's not just about Bob Kondratick (the last I heard, he was deposed) dropping his lawsuit.
He belongs in jail for what he has done.
He's got you and his minions bamboozled. It's a shame you and other's simply can't see through his "charming" BS.
#7.1.2 Michael Geeza on 2009-10-01 13:33
Some of us who gave money to the OCA would like to know that the money went where it was supposed to go. The former priest Kondratick apparently absconded with large sums of money that can not be accounted for. That is a crime and if he did do what he is reported to have done, then he needs to be in jail. But, like many financial criminals in America to day, he is suing the very people that he reportedly stole from.
That being said, most of what is posted on this site comes from people what are fed up with the mess or who want some answers. Mark has not posted anything on his own other than cut and paste from other publications and a few comments inserted into relevant situations (and rightly so) such as yours, above.
As far as I am concerned, this site is a blessing and real tool to be used by the laity and clergy to bring about needed change in the various Orthodox entities in this country. Without this site and the postings of the past, Herman would still be Metropolitan, Kondratick would still be chancellor, Nicolai would still be abusing a certain Archimandrite and the people of Alaska, the Antiochian bishops would still be Auxiliary bishops; the list goes on.
Axios, keep up the good work, Mark.
#7.1.3 Yanni on 2009-10-04 20:50
It's interesting to hear these types of critiques. This website has succeeded, in large part, because a significant number of people--including Judith and Metropolitan Philip (or rather his staff)--read this website, respond to articles on this blog, find it trustworthy, and talk about it with other Orthodox Christians.
Thank God that Metropolitan Philip has continued to help this website gain legitimacy by publicly exposing himself and his disdain for Mark and OCANews.org. The best way to promote a book is for a person in authority to publicly speak ill of it or to put a ban on it. The same can be said about this website--Metropolitan Philip is inadvertently promoting it.
Regarding Kondratick: The best way to ensure that Mr. Kondratick is continually mentioned is to keep reading this website. If the readers and posters all went away, the website would be of no value. We all contribute to this website and its content (even if passively, only as readers). And, as Mark said, the only way for any of this mess to go away is for our church leaders to admit--or rather confess--wrongdoing and repent. I don't see why this is so difficult; I think most Antiochians (myself included, quite frankly) are looking for an excuse to forgive the Metropolitan and move on, but he instead keeps pushing the issues in the opposite direction. I get the same feeling from the OCA: everyone wants to move on, but the hierarchs are making this impossible.
Metropolitan Philip could have so easily put this website out of the Antiochian business, but he chose otherwise. Metropolitan Philip could have rode off into the sunset as an American Orthodox hero, but now, unless he repents, he will be dogged by this website and/or others until his dying breath. It does not have to be this way; but we should not shoot the messenger (Mark and the others that contribute).
Someone above referenced St John Chrysostom. We should also recall that St John said the road to hell is paved with priests and bishops. May God save us from this path by leading us to repentance.
#7.2 An East Coast Priest on 2009-09-29 20:03
RKondratick is not history; he is acting as pastor of an OCA parish in Venice, Florida, and is paid as such. Not only does he need to drop his uncanonical and immoral lawsuit, but he must also cease to represent himself as OCA leadership. Of course, this is both the fault of RSK and of the Diocese of the South.
#7.3 Anon. on 2009-09-29 23:07
RSK drspite his many historical faults has done and continues to do an excellent job of building up the parish in Venice and to bring people into the Church. He is not 'pastor' - there are three Priests who Pastor the parish on a rotation basis as the DOS has not seem fit to provide a permanent Priest! Rsk is paid as administrator and does a brilliant job with the help of a Parish Council and Treasurer. He has no authority outside of this remit. It is worth remembering that RSK has been to Confession and received forgiveness from God we should not be in judgmental mode towards him because none of us is worthy and only God can be the judge.
(Editor's note: I guess as long as one is "excellent" in building up the Church, (whatever that means) after one has misdirected millions of its funds, one's historical faults should be overlooked, even as one sues it, because one has gone to confession, even though one continues to publicly deny any wrongdoing.
And people wonder why many outside ( not to mention a few inside) her question the Church's integrity?
#7.3.1 Archpriest retired in Florida on 2009-09-30 09:09
Dear Archpriest retired in Florida:
It really is simple; RSK stole MILLIONS. He should be in jail-PERIOD. He shouldn't be serving anywhere in any capacity. + Dimitri of Dallas is culpable of this farce. All of the OCA and ALL Orthodox should be totally appalled that RSK is NOT in jail and serving in a parish!
#184.108.40.206 Anonymous on 2009-09-30 13:07
With all due respect, Father, it is not "building up the Church" to have deposed clergy running around in a cassock presenting themselves as "Fr. Bob" while engaged in litigation against that same Church, arguably to cover up the theft of at least several hundred thousand dollars. Who would wish to be attached to such a Church?
#220.127.116.11 Christopher on 2009-09-30 15:07
Christopher and the one above, in what report did you read that he STOLE money? Have you seen his bank account? Have you been privileged to see his home and what he has in it?
Why is it that he can't help build up HIS church? Is that against church law?? Not everyone gives a shit about the BS investigation that scapegoated him from day one. He was DEPOSED, not retired like certain other individuals. That doesn't mean he can't go to church and if the folks in Florida CHOOSE to pay him as an administrator, why does that matter? It was THEIR choice; just like it's Mark Stokoe's choice to continue doing what he's doing.
Get over it already. That's all this website has become. It's like groundhog day on here. MOVE FORWARD ALREADY.
(editor's report: Sorry, Mike, you can't have it both ways. No one can move forward while Bob is using the courts to harm the OCA. Moreover, Venice can hire anyone they want - only in a hierarchical church, that person has to be approved. That is the source of the outrage - not that Bob has conned even more victims in Venice - he conned all of us for years - but that the locum tenens allows a man who misused church funds, etc., as the SIC report details, to remain posing in an OCA church, functioning as their de facto pastor while claiming he is here to change things....
Finally, and again, Bob is not a scapegoat. That is an innocent made to bear the guilt of the guilty. Bob is guilty. But I agree - although he was clearly the ringleader, as chancellor, he was not the only guilty one. Let's give the STIC time to work, and I am sure Bob will have company in the zone of shame. As for the lesser lights - don't you know, the rest all got letters of reprimand placed in their files? In this, Mike, you and I agree - what a farce. )
#18.104.22.168.1 Michael Livosky on 2009-10-01 06:55
Christopher and the one above, in what report did you read that he STOLE money? Have you seen his bank account? Have you been privileged to see his home and what he has in it?
The SIC report. No. No. And his bank account and current home are not relevant.
Why is it that he can't help build up HIS church? Is that against church law?? Not everyone gives a shit about the BS investigation that scapegoated him from day one.
He can absolutely do wonderful things to build up the Church, as all laymen are called to do. I'm relatively new here, but my understanding is that laymen don't wear clerical garb and get addressed as "Father". If my catechism was faulty, please forgive me. And if you believe the SIC was BS, please expound. As an aside, I think it behooves all of us to "give a shit", though I don't think Scripture puts it quite that way. But the sentiment is noted.
It's like groundhog day on here.
Agreed. Same crap, different day. Last time I checked, though, pointing out the obvious was not the fault of the pointer.
Please all forgive me for my forwardness, as I don't post very often, but as my Papa used to say "If you're scared of the truth, it means you did something wrong." Why in the heck is everybody afraid of calling a spade a shovel? It's clear what happened. The problems are being worked out. It's not going to be perfect, but a hell of a lot of progress is being made. Relax a little as this process takes its course. It helps you see.
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Christopher on 2009-10-01 16:52
I think now would be an appropriate time to remind ourselves of the difference between a "scapegoat" and a "fall guy."
A scapegoat is, as Mark points out, an innocent blamed for others' wrongs. A fall guy is someone who has committed some wrongs and is then made to bear the punishment for everyone else's wrongs as well.
#126.96.36.199.1.2 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-10-02 00:52
The real story will be told in court. Anyone can say anything on this blog and who is verifying anything? The real story will be told in the not so distance future. It should prove to be interesting. Many of those who are so judgmental including the editor of this blog will then have to defend their integrity - but face to face - not the way that this has been handled! The SIC report is done by a bunch of amateurs. The kangaroo court was judged by a bishop who did not graduate a theological seminary. Much will be revealed. I cannot wait!
(editor's note: More disinformation from the Kondratick crowd. First, the real story has been told. The court can only add to the story - and that will not go well for the plaintiff methinks. "I was only following orders" was rejected as a defense for crimes in Nuremburg in 1946. I doubt a judge or jury in Nassau will buy it sixty years later. Secondly, the judge of the spiritual court which recommended Kondratick be deposed from the priesthood for his misdeeds is indeed a graduate of a theological seminary, indeed, one of the best. It just happened to have been in Rome, as he was a Uniate in his younger days. This inability to tell the truth will not go down well either, methinks.)
#188.8.131.52.1.3 Margo on 2009-10-02 12:26
And we are continually reminded of our recent past by actions such as nominating the former metropolitan's personal secretary to be the ruling hierarch in New York. If people want past scandals to go away, the best way is to bring in new people and to bring in healthier, more transparent procedures. People don't change overnight, but we have made a start.
Imagine where we'd be without this site! Turn back the clock a scant 15 months and realize that ocanews is the biggest single reason things have changed as much as they have. I imagine I'd feel embarrassed in Mark's place to hear people singing my praises. It should never have been necessary for a lay person to step up. But the people whose responsibility it was didn't do it, with one belated exception, so we ought to be grateful every day that Mark was willing, and that he's kept as objective a line as he has. Personally, I was so outraged and angry that my objectivity sometimes went right out the window.
Poking the bear isn't necessarily an enjoyable experience if you're the bear, as Metropolitan Philip is finding out. But powers and principalities have only themselves to blame if they choose to go the way of high-handedness and secrecy. Sooner or later, someone like Mark is going to come along with a stick. Thanks be to God!
#7.3.2 Morton on 2009-09-30 11:25
Email to Archdiocese
To Whom it May Concern,
The recently posted "Meeting Summary: His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and St. Vladimir Seminary Leadership" on the Archdiocese website contained the following statement:
"Someone needs to stop Mark Stokoe for the sake of the people of the Antiochian Archdiocese and other Orthodox jurisdictions who are greatly upset."
With all due respect, I am an Antiochian Orthodox Christian and I am not "greatly upset." I am grateful for Mark Stokoe and work he is doing on behalf of all Orthodox Christians in North America (from all jurisdictions). While I do not agree with everything posted on his website OCANews.org, I am thankful that it exists as a voice calling for transparency and accountability in all of American Orthodoxy. Forgive me for saying so, but I would think that the Holy Synod of our God Protected Archdiocese would welcome such calls.
I am in full agreement wit David.
As a clergyman of the AOCA, I can assure you our people are not outraged at Mark Stokoe.
They are, however, outraged with the likes of MP, Joseph Antypas, Anthony Gabriel, George Shalhoub and Constantine Nasr.
We have many faithful who want to be Orthodox Christians.
They are principles based, not loyalty based.
We have educated people fully able to read all the contradictory statements MP has made over the years, including his misrepresentations to the Archdiocese and to Patriarch Ingnatius.
Mp does not understand LOYALTY TO CHRIST or to ORTHODOXY.
#8.1 anonymous on 2009-09-29 20:21
Well said, Mark. Keep on speaking the truth in love and providing a place for others to do the same.
#9 Leaella Shirley on 2009-09-29 18:22
Hell hath no fury like a heirarch scorned for his folly and hubris.
Can't wait to see how my God Protected Archdiocese begins to dogmatize their new Stalinist directives in various publications and wannabe papal bulls.
#10 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-29 18:48
I have to say, Mark, that I feel very bad for you. You have been honest and transparent in what you have done with this site. You have attempted to reason with your online detractors in a way which has been genuine and straightforward, and imminently sensible, and you have been irrationally reviled in return. That is not an easy thing for anyone to endure.
Many of us will have to agree to disagree whether the results of the open discussion enabled by the open comments section of this web site have been a good thing for the Church. Certainly there is a lot of idle and fruitless talk alongside the well-intentioned conversations taking place. But it pains me that so many issues of concern which are raised here in earnest are answered with obfuscations and personal attacks.
For Metropolitan Philip Saliba, a man of great accomplishment in his lengthy ministry, a man to whom so many look for righteous and loving leadership in the holy Faith of Jesus Christ our Lord, to descend to this level of hubris, irrationality, and personal attack, is, as you say, simply embarrassing. I am embarrassed for him, who is my Father and Archbishop, and I have sympathy for you, because I know it must be very uncomfortable for you to be on the receiving end of this kind of undeserved--one might say "wierd"--abuse from a hierarch of the Church.
Quite frankly, my archdiocese now seems to be a rudderless ship. But even rudderless ships may still drift in a godly direction. I will pray for your good health and for the blessings of Our Lord to be upon you as I pray that the Lord will renew the Antiochian Archdiocese in the loving image of Christ our Lord.
#11 Peter on 2009-09-29 19:29
Look, this isn't a third world dictatorship or the Church of Rome circa 1300. +Phillip didn't pay for anyone's education, we did! It's not his money, it's OUR money! With each passing day the AOANA more closely resembles the Novus Ordo Church of Rome.
I am extremely grateful to Mark for opening the curtains and letting sunlight into Syosset and Englewood. What glorious leader fails to realize is that HE is the problem. To paraphrase Princess Leia the more he tightens his grip the more the archdiocese will slip through his fingers. He's either extremely arrogant, extremely ignorant or both. Power should be confined to those who do not love it. George Washington knew this, and he also knew that true power came from relinquishing it. The phillipians just don't know when to quit, and anonymous trolls is NOT going to deter us.
To paraphrase the Bard, He doth stride the archdiocese like a giant colossus and we mortals must walk under his huge legs and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves. Men at some times are masters of their fate. The fault dear Orthodox Christians is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings. In the name of the Holy Trinity, upon what meat doth this +Phillip feed that he has grown so great?
Now we see the real +Phillip.
#12 Kevin Klein on 2009-09-29 19:51
I haven't seen the Met deny anything that has been said about him. He just wants "It" to stop. A curious thing, isn't it? No protest of innocence, no claim that he is unjustly attacked. Just go away. Makes one feel all laymanish, doesn't it? The longer one sees these pathetic creatures dress up in the middle of church in the clothes of emperors of a long dead empire the more it actually makes sense....What else COULD they dress as? Notice how he always has Joe Allen with him? I don't imagine he has any idea or cares for a second what people think of that.
#13 ba'ab on 2009-09-29 22:27
It has been said that all that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. I see many good men doing nothing. Mark, you are not among those who do nothing in the face of evil. Of course, I don't agree with everything which is said on this board, but for anyone, especially the Metropolitan, to identify you as the problem indicates how sadly misinformed he is and how badly change is needed. Both prophets and priests are needed, but the retirement plan for priests is generally better. I am not so sure about the retirement plan for Antiochian priests however. It is time for a real audit according to generally accepted accounting principles and for transparency and mutual accountability. In my short time as an Orthodox Christian, I have been blessed with a wonderful Bishop (Basil) and four Godly priests. If the Metropolitan is to be loved, he must tolerate the shortcomings of the flock and place their needs above his.
#14 Max Higgs on 2009-09-30 01:20
FYI: In the Antiochian Archdiocese there is NO retirement plan for priests. There is a retirement housing allowance that is given at the "discretion" of the Metropolitan. This means that if +Philip likes you, you get the money, if he doesn't like you, you get nothing! And there is no legal recourse since he shrewdly structured this system to maintain complete control over his priests – some Father!
#14.1 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-09-30 05:54
And the widows of priests get NOTHING because there is NO PENSION PLAN, and the Metropolitan's "housing allowance" ignores them... Guess someone missed all the Old Testament instruction from God about caring for widows, and missed that part of Acts and the reason for the calling of deacons???
#14.1.1 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-09-30 17:25
Potential future poverty is a pretty powerful tool, isnt' it?
I've experienced this very thing on multiple occassions in the business world to the degree of termination, in fact.
The one thing different for me is there is always another opportunity around the corner, but with Orthodox priests, not so true.
I don't have the answer, but I am less certain than ever before that it lies with a singular Bishop.
Thank you for your efforts in preaching the Gospel.
#14.1.2 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-09-30 21:14
There are other means of employment. Many priests have secular training and for those that don't, they can find jobs. Some will not be able to easily and for them it is a real concern, but there are priests in the Church who can. They do not need to cower in fear over finances.
#184.108.40.206 Phileas on 2009-10-01 11:44
Exactly - no "retirement plan" that Met Philip bragged about in PD. What a ham when OCA & Greek Clergy receive an average of $2500. a mo. Why? Because their Church encouraged the clergy to remove 4% or so from their stipends and matched by their Parish Councils. NO COST to the central Church, to the Budget, to the Order, to the women who worked for 3yrs raising $250K with bake sales, benefits,etc. ALL the aforementioned should be for CHARITY only.
And the Met Philip giving 1 Mil. of his "own" funds (from where ?) if not the parishes asked for added "Stole fees" for a visit from their "Primate"!! ALL that raising the mo stipend from $700. to $800. a month. Could Met P. live on that? Even with Social Scty many find it difficult to exist on $28,000. a year total. Blessed the ones (only some) who have homes they can sell and downscale.
In answer to your address Met. P. in Convention,
YES, WE HAVE BEEN BETRAYED. You Did not provide well for your clergy as did the OCA and Greek Church. Rationale (which you are famous for extolling) so that the Parishes would not be burdened! What deception believed by too many!
#14.1.3 Anonymous Antiochian Priest on 2009-09-30 22:29
Dear Anonymous Antiochian Priest,
Charity begins at home, or in your case it should have started with your parish. Your argument that Metropolitan Phillip should have provided for your retirement is nonsense. You should have planned for your retirement. Despite the fact that the Antiochian Archdiocese doesn't have a pension plan, unless you have been under a rock the Archdiocese has been encouraging clergy to establish their own 403(b) plans for years! Criticize Metropolitan Phillip if you want, but your lack of planning is not a valid criticism.
#220.127.116.11 Anon. Antiochian on 2009-10-01 12:20
Absolutely, the Archdiocese has been encouraging priests for the past dozen years or so to invest in a retirement plan. However, such is not always possible when the priest is left with no support from the hierarchy in leveraging parish councils to follow the Archdiocese Compensation Guidelines. When one has to endure the frustration and humiliation of trying to get a fair stipend, housing allowance, auto allowance and adequate health insurance, often there is not enough money to make a significant retirement investment, especially when there are children to help through college. There are very few parishes that compensate their priest beyond the minimum that the guidelines stipulate, all while Metropolitan Philip and Bishop Antoun have refused to support said guidelines beyond lip service. When it comes to money Englewood must get their cut first and the priest must fend for himself. If the Metropolitan would take an anonymous (out of fear of retribution) survey of priest wives, they would overwhelmingly reject his claims that he has looked out for the well being of clergy families. This contributes to the widespread disdain that many priest wives and their grown children have toward the Metropolitan, who resides in his ivory tower, along with the administration of the church. +Philip has become a leader who is far removed and out of touch with the masses. Since he doesn’t believe in retirement for his irreplaceable self, he has no real concern for the true well being of the priests and their families when they recognize that it’s time to retire.
#18.104.22.168.1 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-10-01 22:06
An anonymous survey of clergy wives? You mean, like, at the General Convention: In a loud voice: "Khouria X, tell these good people-- have I always been good to you and all of the clergy wives and supported you throughout thick and thin?" In a soft whisper: "If you don't answer 'yes,' just remember that you'll be moving to a mission parish somewhere in Alaska."
#22.214.171.124.1.1 Silouan James on 2009-10-02 14:50
Metropolitan Philip needs a break on this and a wake up call.
The break is that all of this is very new for him and defiance is the easiest response.
The angle he is taking crediting the OCA isn't wise and he needs to wake up to that..
Mark Stokoe has really only filled a void in the lives of Orthodox people. That void is created when clear wrongdoings happen by clergy and bishops and those wrongdoings are swept under a rug.
Blaming Mark for enlightening people is an error.
But it is probably pretty tough for Metropolitan Philip to adjust to his new realities that his errors may/will be brought to light by a third party he can't touch.
Wouldn't it be great if he just recognized his decisions will be scrutinized?
#15 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-09-30 05:18
As always, a wonderful job! I have known + Philip since he came to the US many years ago. There is no doubt, it is time for him to retire. His "old school" manner of being an "autocratic old country bishop" doesn't work any more. No matter how benevolent he says he is, Americans want "openness" and "transparency." It is well known that if you "kiss + Philip's uh...ring" he will reward you well. Those from the 'old country" know how to do this well. However, if you oppose him in any way, you will endure his wrath for life. Like all autocrats, he is controlled by a few around him, including Joe Allen. It's time for this disfunctional hierarch to retire. The AOCA doesn't need another "old country" dictator, but a genuine, American hierarch to lead ....
#16 Anonymous on 2009-09-30 05:58
Notice there is no discussion on any issues, this gathering of our clergy is used not for dialog but for intimidation. I have known this man for over 20 years. It truly saddens me to see this display.
OPEN LETTER TO METROPOLITAN PHILIP
If you are reading this which it seems that you are. It may be a better use of the time you have left on this earth to seek peace and harmony, to repent, it is never too late... do not let pride consume you...repent, for you the Kingdom of God is just around the corner, please use this time wisely, for what profits a man to gain the whole world and to lose his soul....
#17 Delegate #1 on 2009-09-30 06:10
mark- it is you and your blind followers of the internet that are trying to destroy this archdiocese. half of the people are converts that do not know orthodox heirchy. they should learn to be more respectful of our bishop. shame on you for your lack of respect. you are ibin kelb
(editor's note: I am going to assume this means "tooth decay", and that you are another dental fanatic.)
#18 Anonymous on 2009-09-30 06:11
For everyone's edification, "ibin kelb" means "son of a dog"
(editor's note: I prefer my translation. It is less accurate, but certainly more edifying...)
#18.1 Anonymous Arabic Speaker on 2009-09-30 08:52
For everyone's further edification, "kelb" is the Arabic word for a male dog. The individual who used this phrase could have used the female version, "kelbay", which to us Americans would have sounded even worse in translation. I'm not sure what this comment contributes to the overall issue being discussed, but there it is.
By the way, Stookey, many of my friends in the Boston church in our archdiocese are ardent supporters of yours. Keep up the good work!!
#18.1.1 Disgusted Life-long Antiochian Christian on 2009-09-30 12:31
I thought it had something to do with seaweed.
#18.1.2 Morton on 2009-10-01 09:31
After reading the reflection, I believe that Metropolitan Philip is using Mark as an excuse. Regarding the Byzantine Chant and Byzantine rubrics (Greek rubrics), Antiochian students in the past were always assigned to Antiochian parishes on the weekends to serve and minister as "student interns/etc, chanters, readers, altar servers, deacons (if ordained), church school teachers) in the vicinity of SVS. In the past there were students from the Armenian Church and they do were assigned on the weekends to their local parishes for the same type of "internship." I think it is a slap in the face of the SVS when Metropolitan Philip makes these comments. Regarding proper website communication, really... Metropolitan Philip does not want students, priest, deacons, laity to criticize him and make public comments. Majority of people are not rude. They just want correct information. Bishops are not infallible, they are humn. We as Christians should question our Bishops in an appropriate manner, just like children in our own homes ask questions in an appropriate manner. If SVS was an "Antiochian institution", he would have the daily and weekly services done in the Greek rubrics and not Russian rubrics. Then why should SVS as an "OCA institution" have to appease Philip and use the Greek Rubrics "Bzyantine Chant". If Philip wants an Antiochian Seminary then he should build one and fill it with his Professors etc. But then again, Philip does not have to build it, because he can use Holy Cross, and SVS (that is really financially cheaper and no responsibility) when things don't go his way he can blame the institution and the other Orthodox jurisdiction for not "controlling its people." So much for "free speech" if you are a clergyman/ student seminarian in the Antiochian Archdiocese.
#19 anonymous on 2009-09-30 07:51
Many years ago myself and another Lutheran pastor went to Franklin TN and met with a wonderful priest Gordon Walker. He enthusiastically welcomed us to prayer, entertained us and our many questions regarding Orthodoxy, and was gentle and kind in every respect.
During that first ever visit with an Orthodox Christian Fr. Gordon put a tape in the VCR of Metropolitan Philip. Fr Gordon gushed with genuine love for his bishop!! We Lutherans were astounded that all of the fears we had about Orthodoxy were so strongly being dealt with by this Bishop of the Church. Philip spoke about the need to end the ethnic ghetto that the Church had become. That the Holy Church needed engagement and dialogue with America and her culture that she might sanctify this country. Philip spoke about the pastoral responsibility of the Bishops of the Holy Church to all of America.
Sadly, this man speaks no more. Instead of open arms that makes many to be ONE, we see the balkanization of an entire diocese for the sole purpose of control. Instead of an American church which must be conciliar we see a structure that rivals the medieval papacy of the Roman church. Instead of an eye towards all of America we see a Bishop playing to a small ethnic club. Instead of a gentle Shepherd we see a promoter of self, a propagandist, a businessman, and sometimes a thug. Instead of a vision of America we see a delusion and blindness of person that attacks anything but self!!
The problem in the AOCA according to Philip depends on the day: It's the Patriarch, the Holy Synod, Bp Mark, the converts, the internet, the OCA's synod of Bishops, anonymous priests, women and priests on loan from other jurisdictions who speak out at conventions in the desert, and now the editor of this little site.... but it's not the Metropolitan!! This internet site means that those who have been use to controlling the message no longer are able to do so. When dealing with delusions that is a very good thing!! It is what my wife, children, and parish and friends do for me but alas to whom is Philip accountable? NO one but himself! How very, very sad for Philip. Being all alone, with a will to power, and accountable to no one. is a type of HELL!
Although I joyfully ended up in the Midwest Diocese of the OCA I will always remember the inspiration that Philip brought to this seeking man and many others. I cannot help but to feel sadness that so much of what that man spoke in those days is by his actions today only a memory.
During the worst days of the OCA's failure of Christlike leadership not a few of us imagined Antioch to be different. It is not!! Absolute power corrupts absolutely everywhere! It is an even greater danger for those Bishops who are serving far removed from their equals in the old country. A conciliar Church is the help to keep that passion in check for Bishop and priest and people!! We have yet to see if a conciliar Church actually wins the day in the OCA it is an even more remote in the present reality of the AOCA.
I stayed put in the OCA and am glad. Yet, the things that Philip spoke of so long ago still resound in my heart and are things that I and many of us are on a daily basis actually trying to do . I wish Philip was doing them with us!! But he isn't! Lord Have Mercy!
#20 fr andrew on 2009-09-30 08:06
I have been reading OCANews since it first appeared on the web and was glad that the site exposed many unrighteous and ungodly happenings in the OCA. Never in my mind, while reading those early posts, would I have thought that OCANews would be so important for the restoration of integrity not only to the AOCA but for ALL Orthodox jurisdictions in this country ( I notice that the OCANews has been relatively quiet about events in the GOA).
I have been a priest in the AOCA for almost 20+ years and believe that the AOCA is in the midst of a profound crisis of leadership. Metropolitan Philip no longer acts as a shepherd but as a wolf against his own flock. The only person(s) upset by the revelations on OCANews is the Met. and those who support him in his un-Scriptural, non-Canonical and non-Traditional exercise of the episcopacy. Met. Philip is, according to all these sources of Orthodox doctrine and practice, answerable to his flock, his brother bishops, (which include more than Bp. Antoun) and eternally to God Himself. He no longer speaks for a huge section (dare I say the majority?) of the Archdiocese.
Unfortunately, sadly he has destroyed his legacy. When his biography is written after his passing all of his positive contributions will be overshadowed by his egoistical and self-deluded actions of the last year. May the Lord open his eyes and bring him to repentance. May the Lord have mercy upon us all.
#21 Anonymous Antiochian Priest (out of fear of Met. Philip) on 2009-09-30 08:20
What a magnificent time to be a seminarian in the AOC. With the help of Metropolitan Philip and his able lieutenants the scandalous educational deficiencies of St. Vlads and St. Tikhon's will finally be addressed and the radical thinking element purged.
Real pastors finally unfettered by theological ivory tower thinking learning how to take guidance from their Bishop of bishops and no doubt soon to be conducting book burnings and computer keyboard smashing events all across this Archdiocese as they chant slogans praising their Despota.
Makes a convert proud to be a part of this bold visionary's plan for Holy Orthodoxy in America.
Honestly just when you have a lull in the action Met. Philip manages to once again prove the absolute neccessity for his retirement with his innane non-sensical attacks upon those who merely call for transparency in finacial matters and true Orthodox accountability in matters ecclessial.
Special Note to Met. Jonah:
When and if His Eminence Philip conveys his strong distaste and displeasure regarding Mark Stokoe's perceived dis-respect and asks that he be disciplined or muzzled why don't you convey your own bewiderment why a convicted felon in his own Archdiocese can actually threaten one of our heirarchs (Bp. Mark) and others while continuing to not only be uncensured but serve on the Board of Trustee's?
We would love to hear that response.
#22 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-30 08:34
This website does nothing but present christianity in the worst possible light. It has caused many to loose respect for humanity, stop supporting their local churches and especially be disrespectful to those who serve the church of Christ. Unfortunately the future of Orthodoxy in America is held captive to this salacious type of views. I guess people have become addicted to knowing this garbage just like those who read the scandal sheets in the grocery store. God help us!
#22.1 Anon. on 2009-09-30 10:23
Instead of your anonymous slander, give us an example of someone who has left the church because of OCAnews.org?
#22.1.1 Antionymous on 2009-09-30 21:43
This website is NOT responsible for making scandal in the Church any more than the AP Newswire was responsible for Letterman's adultery or than Jesus Christ was responsible for the selling of animals in the Temple. Let me be most clear-- I'm not analogizing Mark Stookey to Jesus Christ by any measure-- but simply pointing out that the news reporter does not bear responsibility for a scandal that already exists.
#22.1.2 Silouan James on 2009-10-02 14:28
As a layman of the AOANA, I also want to add my name to the list of those NOT “greatly upset” by what Mark Stokoe or any others have reported online regarding the dubious position of our archdiocese. I have nothing but gratitude for their work. I am, however, very greatly upset by the bullying, obstructionism, ungodliness and corruption witnessed in our hierarchy and radiating from Englewood like a cancerous tumor in metastasis. The archdiocese is, in fact, under threat. But neither Mark Stokoe nor I, nor any other likeminded laypersons or clergy, constitute a danger to the true health or wellbeing of the AOANA. Metropolitan Philip himself and those bishops and priests and laypeople who would support and enable him and the status quo constitute that threat. The behavior of MP and his cronies throughout this whole affair is utterly despicable. I am ashamed to be associated with the Antiochian Archdiocese.
#23 Douglas Dalrymple on 2009-09-30 10:21
This website does nothing but present christianity in the worst possible light. It has caused many to loose respect for humanity, stop supporting their local churches and especially be disrespectful to those who serve the church of Christ.
Here's a novel idea. Instead of blaming this website and Mark Stokoe for shining a light on the tragic events and conduct of certain clerics, our Metropolitan and a felon or two, why not save your contempt for the actual perpetrators?
It is not this website that has put Christianity in a bad light. It is rather those who claim to be it's spokesmen and true defenders that have accomplished this piece of outrageous hypocrisy.
If you truly care about our parishes and wish to restore trust in our heirarchs start urging them, even demand of them to start acting like Christ's servants and not the pharaissaical taskmasters they appear to be.
#24 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-30 11:53
I want to thank you for this website which has kept the general public informed about the truth of events surrounding the Orthodox Churches in this country. Although you personally have been subjected to much criticism, please know that many out there applaud your efforts and personal suffering.
I was a priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese for many years, until I freely decided to leave public ministry. My family and I have joined another apostolic church (we are Catholic), I have entered the business world, and I hold no animosity toward the Archdiocese nor the Orthodox faith.
When I was informed of the sad events in the Antiochian Archdiocese, I was actually relieved. Finally, the priests and faithful have begun the painful process of revealing the truth about the nature of authority in the archdiocese and how it has been exercized for many years. I know of many priests who are terrified of both Metropolitan Philip and Bishop Antoun. I was even one of them. This fear is intentional...based on the premise that the ones who are feared keep control. This is true, but it is not Christian as you are well aware. There is no hiding the fact that such intimidation by hierarchs of the Archdiocese has and does exist and that such intimidation is seen as being a good 'leader'. In truth, good 'leadership' should NEVER have to resort to fear tactics.
I'm sure you are aware of the great sufferings inflicted on priests and their families by these two hierarchs, and by hierarchs of perhaps other jurisdictions. Verbal threats, transfers, calls demanding money, qoutas to fill for the Order of St. Ignatius, just to name a few. To live in such fear is greatly damaging to the marriages of Antiochian clergy, harms their parishes, and greatly influences the psychological and spiritual well being of the priest, his family and the parish.
Such tactics of 'leadership' is passe, even in the secular business world. Were I to use such tactics in my business with my employees, I would be sued. Such stop gaps does not exist apparently in the relationship of a bishop and his priests...at least in the Orthodox church. This reminds me of a whole generation of Catholic priests who were intimidated by such equal 'leadership skills' used by Cardinal Spellman in earlier times in the Archdiocese of New York. You will recall that the priests of this Catholic Archdiocese would quiver with fear if called to the Chancery in Manhattan...by 'Spelly". Such a call assured either an immediate transfer or a dressing down. The only saving difference in this matter and the situation of Orthodox clergy is that at least the Catholic clergy were celibate and did not have a wife and children to also suffer consequences.
I for one am grateful that I am no longer under the real or supposed fear of a hierarch. It is a tragidy however, that I had to leave the clerical carrear that I prepared for in order to find such good freedom.
In conclusion, I applaud you, and those who join with you in exposing abuse of any kind in the Vineyard of Christ. The work that you are doing will bring clarity, peace and joy to many.
#25 A former Antiochian Priest on 2009-09-30 12:54
I would be very upset if Mark was punished in any way for standing up for the truth ... and I'm certainly saddened if not surprised by the wicked arrogance of those attacking him. Furthermore, if he is silenced by some caving in of OCA leadership to criminal threat, I would be glad to provide an alternative site. And if I am silenced, there are others who can and will support websites such as this. MP does not realize that with the international nature of the Internet, it really isn't possible to squelch information entirely, even in China or Iran. Indeed, there are dozens of websites reporting on this but the fixation does seem to be on Mark's site. May God bless and deliver us.
#26 Monologistos on 2009-09-30 14:34
WHAT TRUTH DID HE EXPOSE!!!
1) Gossip 2)Rumours 3)Hearsay. The editor has authority issues. He cannot get over the fact that Metro Phil makes tough decisions which are not always popular.
It all started out with diocean bishops running amok. Metro P. laid down guidlelines and midwest mafia started squealing. The Patriarch did nothing but muddy the waters wth his many confused responses.
Yes, the editor is witty and endearing but he is wrong in this case. He is painting himself as the victim. He should make the honorable move and resign from his OCA position. He wants transparency but you can't have truth with all the annonymous innuendoes on this website from wounded clergy and naive but cynical converts.
The editor uncovered malfesiance in the OCA with the help of the deacon from Syosset. I applaud him for his courage in that instance. What you are doing now propagating a "cat fight". No one wins, the Church loses.
Editor's note: My. my, some people got up on the wrong side of Englewood this morning. First readers are "ignorant and vulnerable", now its "wounded clergy and naive and cynical converts". But at least critics have added cats to the mix, rather than just dogs.
Most importantly, I am confused as to your claim that +Philip wants transparency, but that this 'catfight" prevents the same. How does asking for transparency stop one from doing it? How does asking for accountability prevent one from being so? How does recognizing a diocesan Bishop's legitimate rights and responsibilities hinder the excersize of one's own rights and responsibilities given by the same Tradition? Etc. Etc. Etc. Sorry, if you're implying that a guy in Dayton is preventing the Primate of the Self-Ruled AOCNA from doing the right thing by writing about the right thing, you probably believe that by not writing about it, something would happen. Well, we have 40 years of evidence that is not the case. That's pretty substantial evidence in my book. Rather than continue to make absurd excuses why it can't be done, why not just do it, and heal the wounded, restore trust to the cynical, enlighten the naive, comfort your clergy, and bring joy to the convert and cradle alike?
The sad truth, friend, is that this is not about me, or scoops, or anonymity. It's about you and the standard of integrity, or lack of same, we and our leaders present to the world. Simple as that. )
#26.1 George from Brooklyn on 2009-09-30 17:29
Anon- you hit it right on the nail with equating this site to trashy gossip at the checkout line of a grocery store. mark has used the media to sway ignorant and vunerable people into thinking the worst of our beloved leaders. may God forgive him and all those that continue to be enslaved in such thought.
(Editor's note: Thanks for the laugh. Media? Berlesconi, Murdoch, Eisner have media, I edit one (1) website. Read, in your opinion, by "ignorant and vulnerable people". And who is responsible for making them so? That would be, I guess, the " beloved" leaders? Sadly I have no need to make people " think the worst" of such leaders. Defenders, such as you, seem to be doing a bang-up job it. )
#27 Anonymous on 2009-09-30 16:29
From Mark's recent post:
"His Eminence indicated that the most important thing would be to train the students to be real pastors, and not to gossip and criticize the Metropolitan and the bishops."
Ahhh, but MP is quite wrong in this smoke screen request. For St. Mark of Ephesus of the 15th Century had to go against his own fellow bishops and not sign the Union of Florence.
Yet he was the one "lone voice" of one true bishop that stayed close to the truth of Orthodoxy.
Had this man not gone against his own fellow bishops in criticizing their desire to unite with Rome, we would not be Orthodox as we are today, abiding by true doctrine.
Fools for Christ also criticize any wrong doing by any Christian, regardless of status or rank.
This website serves as our modern-day Fool for Christ and we need to continually put all that a human being does, even bishops, into proper perspective. For if we allow no criticism of what bishops do, we end up with what we got, two corrupt bishops who now do not wield and manipulate the power they once had, that they chose to use to their detriment.
The statements by MP were from a seasoned, well-known, well-loved bishop but he remains human.
#28 Patty Schellbach on 2009-09-30 18:09
We read on the website of the Archdiocese:
"He [+Philip] made it clear that if a member of the Antiochian Board of Trustees behaved in this way toward Metropolitan Jonah, His Eminence would remove that member immediately"...
Is this so... then I assume Walid Khalife has been removed from the Board of trustees. We will see in October in Houston.
(editor's note: Correction: Walid Khalife did not "misbehave" towards Metropolitan Jonah. He threatened Bishop Mark. To be fair, the Metropolitan did not say anything about removing Trustees who threaten or misbehave towards fellow Antiochian bishops. )
#29 Delegate #1 on 2009-09-30 19:24
Oh, thats right some bishops are more equal than others....
#29.1 Delegate #1 on 2009-10-01 16:56
Blessed feast of the Protection (Pokrov) of the Mother of God!
I am thoroughly disgusted (yes, disgusted!) that everyone keeps throwing around "dog" as an insult. It may be in Arab cultures, but in America, a dog is a best friend!
I first came into contact with this when I was deployed in Iraq -- I didn't understand it with the Arabs in Iraq, and I don't understand it here either.
The proud owner of a beautiful hunting dog who has more brains and a lot more love than many people I know, I can tell you he is the best friend ever. He is more Christ-like than I am. If I am in a bad mood and yell at him, you know what he does? He comes over and licks my face -- he challenges my cruelty with love and wins every time. Does he ever judge me? No! He is pure love! If I am being lazy, he jumps around in sheer glee until I take him for a walk. When I am sleeping, he is right there with his head on my legs or on my tummy, snoring away.
So Metropolitan Philip and others, call me a dog, or even a son of a dog! In America, to me and others whom I know, this is a huge compliment.
This is yet another reason why an Orthodox church that reflects our American heritage is developing every single day and is inevitable and in many ways is here already... even alleged insults do not cross the cultural divide! If you yearn for the "old country," you will not find it in America!
American Orthodox in Texas, and a proud dog owner who does not think that being called a dog is an insult in the least.
#30 Texan Orthodox on 2009-09-30 20:29
Here, here! As a fellow Orthodox Christian and dog owner/lover, I heartily con-cur.
Now, if I could just get our pup to stop barking at icons...
#30.1 Anonymous on 2009-10-01 09:28
"Dear Lord, make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am!"
#30.2 Anonymous on 2009-10-01 14:44
the people at new skete, the "monastery"that raises dogs would love your comment.
#30.3 Anonymous on 2009-10-01 16:02
Is there any truth to the rumor that Met Phillip is asking all Antiochians to replace their computers with buckets of sand? (that way they can stick their heads in there and stay out of trouble?).
Also, a Halloween idea: Mark, you should have masks made of your likeness - Antiochian children could wear them for Halloween - scarier than Freddy Krueger!
As an Orthodox priest, my bishop might not always enjoy my remarks on certain subjects, but I reserve my right to stick my foot in my mouth (or express the truth) anytime I feel a need to. Every Christian should have the same right.
#31 Fr Stephen Mack on 2009-10-01 05:38
Just keep putting all the dirty laundry on the line. The neighbors love it!
However, some laundry never gets done. I wonder why?
#31.1 Anon on 2009-10-01 08:12
The fabric needs a special brand of detergent. It's called "Audit!" and is available at your local "Big Six" accounting firm.
And, really, you should think better of the neighbors. I know what some people say, but have you tried getting to know them?
#31.1.1 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-10-02 21:57
We left the AOCA more than 5 years ago after more than a decade there. The rampant chauvinism and racism of many of the tribal leaders led us to leave. I hope that this episode will reveal the true nature of the leadership for all to see and that change will eventually come. A lot of good people just sit and watch it happening and stay quiet; it reminds me of the 'good' white people in the South that I grew up in who said nothing as blacks were denied their rights, beaten and jailed by the authorities.
Keep speaking out and providing a forum for the truth to be heard. The MP tribal cult do not want individuals to have the right to speak their mind freely; they will not listen and it is their loss. It is pitiful to see Orthodoxy in this country being destroyed by its leaders.
#32 Former Antiochian on 2009-10-01 08:28
Anon tells us "mark has used the media to sway ignorant and vunerable people into thinking the worst of our beloved leaders."
Quite frankly Metropolitan Philip in his use of The Word Magazine manages to do that without Mark's assistance. Why else would he allow publication of his own reprehensible self justifying diatribe at our semi-annual National Coronation..uh Convention?
#33 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-10-01 08:52
"So, have no fear of them! For, nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known! What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light! And what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops!" (Matt 10: 26-27)
Having become even more a lover of Scripture (the Word of God!) by my Antiochian professor, Fr Paul Tarazi, I again refer to Scripture as my canon (rule or measuring stick) to discern reality from fiction! I commend you, as have others above, not only for the work you have done on this website, but for carrying your particular cross in being lambasted, rebuked, and persecuted by those who have ears to "hear and hear, but do not understand" and eyes to "se and see, but do not perceive" (Isaiah 6: 9)! In the above quote from the Gospel according to St Matthew, the Lord implores us to "proclaim [what is whispered] upon the housetops". Mark, your website is our "housetop" from which the truth of our modern situation is proclaimed! I also commend you for keeping an open mind and objectivity in the face of scorn and ridicule, certainly not an easy task! As the truth concerning the situation in the OCA eventually not only came to light but was acknowledged and proclaimed by the body of believers in the Church, so this chapter of events in the AOCA will eventually play itself out! As many posters above have said, the problem is not your website, the OCA, St Vladimir's Seminary, or any other token target that +Philip wants to throw mud at in order to deflect from his own behavior! As our Lord again has told us (and this is a great source of comfort to all of us), "And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free!" (John 8: 32)
#34 David Barrett on 2009-10-01 09:42
And this is the condemnation, that Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:19-21)
#34.1 Phelonchik on 2009-10-02 13:59
Mark, I have always had the utmost respect for you and your work w/the ocanews. I have never come across a single online media that allows comments that did not come under some forms of criticisms from readers. Ocanews is no different in that. The critics will always flock to read and respond to the articles. Your response to the Antiochan situation with the so-called bishop [term used losely since this guy certainly isn't acting much like a bishop these days] certainly hits the nail right on the head! You did not create and you are not the problem! You are merely reporting on it. With or without you the problem would still exist and still remain. It's the old "attack the person" approach in any debate in an effort to divert attention from the actual point. In other words, that "bishop" is simply trying to divert attention away from the actual problem by "naming names". Hopefully people of intelligence and common sense will see through this veil and keep the pressure on him - that includes you, Mark.
#35 anon on 2009-10-01 09:50
Last week on Sept. 22, 2009, Fr. Michael Dahulich was elected the
new OCA Bishop for NY/NJ. On that same day, The Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West posted a photo and congratulatory message on their website, which ran for a week. I checked the Archdiocese Website for several days and nothing. Gee whiz - let's give MP the benefit of the doubt. After all, he is very busy sending out his boys to threaten his "sheep", and blaming everyone else for the battle he started. A week later there still was no congratulations or even an acknowledgement of the new Bishop. Where is MP's spirit of charity and unity? How will we ever achieve either if we don't support one another? I guess it doesn't mean anything to MP. Did you all see the joy, peace and contentment on Fr. Michael's face? Too bad he can't be our next Metropolitan. We would be on the road to recovery.
I have been musing about the report that Metropolitan +Philip "does not want the [seminary] graduates to behave like “mini” theologians."
Why ever not? Wouldn't it be marvelous if the American Orthodox Church were filled with priests, deacons, and other seminary graduates who all, even in a small way, showed the sort of sanctity shown by the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John, a certain Bishop of Nazianzus a while back, and the author of the Catechetical Discourses ? Who all, at least in a small way, fit Evagarius Ponticus' dictum "A true theologian is he who prays truly, and he who prays truly is a true theologian." It would be more marvelous if the 'mini' could be dropped in at least a few cases and America might bring forth a saint or three worthy that the title "New Theologian" would be used to describe them when their glorification is proclaimed.
#37 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-10-01 13:54
Are you blind, man? +Philip doesn't want any sort of theologians around because they will see and affirm that the popal leader has no clothes.
#37.1 Silouan James on 2009-10-02 14:45
As I have stated before, I had a professional communicator's interest in following the scandals in the OCA that began several years ago. OCANews.org was/is a valuable resource for tracking those unfortunate events. I have found the same to be true relative to the current Antiochian mess. The website has, at times, been prescient. Admirably accurate. And, when something shows up that is wrong, it doesn't stay wrong for long. Isn't that what we all want?
#38 Mickey Hodges on 2009-10-01 14:35
No matter the problem, be it in the OCA or the Antiochian Church, the bottom line is that all we the faithful in Christ desire is transparency. Revelation 21:21b describes the streets of heaven this way: And the street of the city was pure gold, LIKE TRANSPARENT GLASS.
One late afternoon I noticed the reflection of the sun on the windows of a building and they were bright gold and I realized that GLASS BECOMES GOLDEN WHEN IT REFLECTS THE SUN'S RAYS.
Let me, O Lord, be like glass ~ transparent with nothing hidden, perfectly able to be seen through. Then, Lord, may your Glory reflect through me so that I may be seen as golden.
I am so incredibly far from being transparent ~ but this is what we as Christians ought to be striving for, and especially so should Christ's Church.
So, Mark, continue in your good work of wiping away that which keeps the Son's Light from making our Church golden.
#39 Alison on 2009-10-01 18:25
Coming in on the end of today's Blogs and seething over the one who asks clergy to PLAN for their retirement. Easily said in a big wealthy parish. More than 2 children, I hear more than a score with chronic illnesses, etc. How do you plan meeting each month's bills. Maybe by "praying" for added stole fees as my brother's enjoy wishing for ?
Tell me of the teachers, city workers, company people who have a portion of their salaries deducted and oftentimes MATCHED. This is a designed system of retirement that how come the OCA & Greeks have? (As my neighbor clergy inform me!)
By the way, yes widows get 2/3rds of their clergy husbands housing allowance. With an avg S/Scty chk of like amount (some more) how to live on $ 12K a year?
I agree double, as to retirement WE HAVE BEEN BETRAYED, Metropolitan Philip. Many know where your "funds" are kept including offshore "places" and under what "names".
#39.1 Anonymous Priest on 2009-10-02 22:30
Well at least we know the Metropolitan is not wasting or in any way misappropiating funds by hiring a public relations firm. Every step he takes firmly disproves that possibility.
His handling of this self inflicted crisis continues to cast him and those he surrounds himself with in an even a more dubious light. It's like watching a documentary on how to make one's self look guilty.
He has got to be getting a whiff of the realities around him. You now have more prominent laymen like Judge David Najiir coming forward with their public concerns not just the ignorant convert curs or the unappreciative anonymous priests who owe their education and very existence to his benevolence.
The problem certainly is not Mark Stokoe and the sooner he realizes that the better it will be for him at least from a P.R. standpoint. He cannot be winning any new friends by attacking a messenger whom he merely elevates with each new demand for censure or removal.
This Archdiocese it seems will continue to suffer under his regime and I guess until His Eminence tells God That he is ready to die (per his comments at The Convention) suffering we must endure.
#40 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-10-06 07:45
I've been pondering recently the question: "What if we're wrong". What if I've been wrong about posting here, and its not just posting, but the contents of those posts. I've called Mark some pretty bad names and judged him quite harshly, as I have Scott Walker, KRT, William, and others besides. What, if I'm wrong and tthe Lord literally meant never to judge my brother? What answer can I give him for my flagrant disregard for his commandment? They never did anything personally to me, yet i judged them and condemned them, at least in my heart. Will what I post here be revealed at my judgement? What about all the horrible, hateful, spiteful, things I have written about Metropolitan Philip, or Metropolitan Herman and Theodosius, or Mr. Robert Kondratic, or Bishop Nicolai? Will those judgements and condemnations I hurled at them be looked over because they committed great sins?
Dear brothers and sisters, what defense on my behalf, can I give the Lord? Any advice? Or am I worrying for nothing? I have said a great many evil things here, and I'm worried that one day the Lord will hold me accountable for what I have written. What can i say to the Lord in that hour, brethren? I ask this in all sincerity, seeking a sincere answers and not derision, please.
#41 Anonymous on 2009-10-06 08:41
The epistles of Paul are themselves full of wounding and derisive comments. He calls one of his fellow apostles a hypocrite (Peter), refers to others sarcastically as men of alleged repute, hoped those from the party of James would mutilate themselves. He had good reasons for these sentiments and words.
This may not help nor may it excuse you if you in fact are sinning. Better your temperment being hot or cold however than the lukewarm who say or feel nothing. What kind of taste does that leave in your Master's mouth?
Tust Christ ask him to forgive your transgressions and forgive those who you see transgressing, but speak the truth and do not be afraid.
#42 KMKJMK777@aol.com on 2009-10-07 18:40
That's the first time i've heard the Lord's words interpreted that way. I always thought it meant that the Lord would prefer me to be cold, that I might be refreshing on a warm day. Or that I should be hot, that I'm might warming on a cold one. Do the Lord really desire me to sin, rather than to not sin out of fear? Explain.
#43 Anonymous on 2009-10-09 13:40
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