Monday, December 7. 2009
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You know, before we have the firestorm of outrage, at what is really just another chapter in how Met. Philip has done things for 42 years, I suggest we just wait it out. Let the old man and his old entourage realize they are too old. Bp. Antoun has been hospitalized twicein the last month. His Emminence can't even get around his home with out his walker.
Relax. Be patient. Wait it out.
And at the same time I hope the diocesans do whats right in the dioceses despite the attmept at interference from Englewood. +Mark should simply ignore the letter....
#1 antionymous on 2009-12-07 16:04
Axios to Metropolitan PHILIP for doing this. This was anot a smart move on Bishop MARK's part. This shows the lack of leadership and the rules one follows in a job, disregard the title for a second.
I am really sorry that this is still going on, but Bishop MARK, yet trying to do something positive which is great...did the wrong thing by demanding his diocese to do something that does not effect the entire archdiocese on an administrative level. It shows immaturity, if he was in the army he would be repremanded for doing something unilaterally. One Commander in Chief, Generals, Soldiers being priests. That's how it works in almost every job in this world. Boss, Managers, Employees.
I agree, how can small parishes afford to due external audits? They can't afford it, this shows the lack of leadership when trying to implement something good, he did not see a bigger picture.
p.s. I'm ready for the attacks on my post...i haven't had one in a while. Also if any of you agree with me please let me know.
Just my two cents. God bless Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop MARK and all involved in this sad situation we face.
#2 William on 2009-12-07 16:04
MP is not the boss, he is a brother bishop who does not respect the territorial limits of another DIOCESE.
He either does not know ecclesiology or lacks self-control.
The person who lacks self-control isthe last person who should be controling everything.
Generally speaking it is usually those with little control of their own passions that thirst for control over others.
Bishop Mark simply suggested external audits for those who need assistance with internal controls.
TROY, MI would be the first place to implement such internal controls...
#2.1 anonymous on 2009-12-07 18:44
"MP is not the boss"
Well, evidently he is. He's the "boss" in its several different meanings.
#2.1.1 Anonymous on 2009-12-08 11:33
"I am really sorry that this is still going on, but Bishop MARK, yet trying to do something positive which is great...did the wrong thing by demanding his diocese to do something that does not effect the entire archdiocese on an administrative level. It shows immaturity, if he was in the army he would be repremanded for doing something unilaterally. One Commander in Chief, Generals, Soldiers being priests. That's how it works in almost every job in this world. Boss, Managers, Employees."
The Church is supposed to be run like an army, if I understand this paragraph correctly.
The Church Fathers seem to have missed this point at Nicaea, Chalcedon, and those other meetings. It would have simplified things considerably.
#2.2 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-12-07 18:49
The requirement that in the Holy Orthodox Church all priests must be men means little while Fr Patrick Reardon and Fr George are the only priests men enough to put their names on their statements either in support or opposition to the Metropolitan. The early fathers were willing to endure torture, exile and death to serve Jesus' church. We are served by men whose fear is the loss of a job or a 401k. Such timidity will not take the world for Jesus Christ.
Nor will posting news stories under "anonymous". I began my search for the Orthodox Church because I believed that a missionary in the Restoration Movement "Church of Christ" had taken over a million dollars from hard working laity. From the mouth of two different FBI agents, I was told that the FBI does not involve itself with financial misconduct by church leaders because things in churches are so politically volatile and there is so much "wiggle room" in church finances as to make prosecution very, very difficult. I guess that one aspect of this is that financial misconduct is a sort of "victimless crime" in that church members continue to send in money long after they know or should know that things are amiss.
If Metropolitan Philip is engaged in misconduct, the first line of defense is other bishops. If he is doing wrong, for the sake of his soul and theirs, he must be made accountable. If he is not doing wrong, they must honor him at least as the first among equals.
If the hierarchs are not doing their jobs in demanding accountability from the Metropolitan and if he is doing wrong, then the laity has the responsibility, and in this democracy, the ability to sue in the courts of law. A scandal, perhaps, but better than apostasy, if the Metropolitan is doing wrong.
But what is clearly wrong is handwringing, whining and gossip. Mark does a good job of printing news, and I am grateful to him. However, expecting the FBI or state authorities to clean up the church, if it needs cleaning, is not the Christian way. The state does not owe a clean bride of Christ to the flock. Jesus died for that, and it is our job to maintain Her. It does appear that multi-jurisdictionalism is not so terrible after all, does it not?
One thing is certain. If neither the hierarchs nor the laity step forward and the government as we can expect does nothing, there is one institution in our society which will do the job with a vengeance, and that is the news media. Whether they get the story right or not, whether it is deserved or not, whether there is misconduct or not, we can be certain that once the attention of the media is directed to the woes of the Archdiocese, the picture painted will not be pretty. All of the "attacks" of science upon the church have not resulted in emptying out the churches the way reporters and comedians drive our children out of the temple. What appears tragic to us, no matter which side we are on, is only tawdry and silly to our kids.
Thank you, Father Patrick, for being a strong man and a good priest.
#2.2.1 Max Higgs on 2009-12-08 07:55
I can assure you that many priests struggle with whether or not to openly use their names to protest the abuses that have gone on. Unfortunately, they have not only themselves and their families to think of, but also the parishioners in their parishes. Many believe that the good that they are doing in the parishes is greater than what would be accomplished by putting their names on the internet. Furthermore,on positions such as this, it would probably be wise for them to consult their Diocesan bishops before doing anything. I think many of the Diocesan bishops might advise them to attend to those that have been placed under their care, instead of sacrificing their ministries by signing their names on OCAnews. Honestly, God forgive me, but I don't believe that any number of clergy standing up to Metropolitan Phillip will change his mind. I pray that I am wrong. Someone commented that it is getting harder and harder to commemorate him, this may be so. But it should also drive us to pray more and more for him, for our Diocesan bishops and for our holy priests who are in a very difficult place, weighing their commitment to their parishes against their desire to speak out against the uncanonical nature of what is occurring.
#18.104.22.168 (unfortunately) anonymous on 2009-12-08 18:24
Well, I suppose we wil never know will we? How about the other end of the equation? If complaining in one's name is not going to result in any change, then why post anonymously or under an alias. Does not such post amount to whining or gossip? How much collaboration is required for change? If as many of the posts here imply, the Metropolitan is so bad, what are you going to do if his successor is cut from the same cloth?
Could Jonah have made the same argument you are making? Could Paul have determined that it would be better to allow Peter to continue to agree with the Judaizers? Just asking? I don't wish to be unkind, I am just asking what is the benefit of having clergy post anonymously? And to whom is it beneficial? If your approach is correct, does that make Fr Patrick's posting wrong? Harmful to his flock?
#22.214.171.124.1 Max Higgs on 2009-12-09 22:06
Make no mistake - Jonah is not an example you should be using. Instead of engaging the evil in the Church that enabled Herman and his supporters, Jonah has opted to say that that period is simply over. No looking back now!
His election represented a monumental takeover by sickness in our OCA, a sickness in which the faithful would prefer to gloss over their problems and differences, and instead, focus on some new, problem-free [and fictional] future. Why else would they select a chief bishop who had not known the episcopacy but for 11 days?
If you're looking for an example of a bravery, of speaking the truth to power, or of putting everything on the line for the sake of what is right, then I think you need look elsewhere.
I think that Jonah is not interested in changing the status pro or healing the rifts and derision in our OCA. I think we will see, over time, that Jonah is indeed cut from the same cloth that Herman was.
#126.96.36.199.1.1 Nilus on 2009-12-11 07:40
Sorry, Nilus....the Jonah I alluded to was the one in the belly of the whale. I don't know enough about the Metropolitan of the same name of the OCA to say anything about him.
#188.8.131.52.1.1.1 max higgs on 2009-12-25 01:25
Max states that calling in the FBI is not the Christian way. Max, if there is forgery, enbezzlement,or HUD problems, calling in police, FBI or IRS is the American way. These are crimes. Certainly, if the same thing happened in any business the law would be called. Are you saying that anything illegal that goes on in our churches should be kept silent? i.e. child molestation. As crime is a crime no matter where it is committed. Perhaps you would like to rethink that statement
#184.108.40.206 weary on 2009-12-09 06:40
I do not need to rethink my statement regarding the FBI, but I do think you need to re-read what I said. I think that if any of us is aware of a crime being committed in our church, we have a duty to report it to the proper authorities. Crimes are not against people; crimes are against the "peace and dignity of the state" in which the offense takes place. To be sure, if you are aware of a crime in church report it. But I will quickly say that it is not likely to do any good what so ever. The FBI did nothing against Jim or Tammy Faye Bakker until long after their misdeeds were widely known. The one thing which might prompt the FBI to act in the cases we read about in the AONA possibly would be those acts relevant to the housing projects in Michigan. Look at Kenneth Copland, Joyce Meyers, Jimmy Swaggers, and others. The FBI does not like to get into church disputes. If you don't believe me, go to your local FBI office and show them the posts which have been on this forum. If they even go out for the first interview, I will buy you and your spouse a $200 dinner in the restaurant of your choice. I would never tell anyone to not report a crime, but I would also never encourage anyone to think it will do any good if it is a financial crime in a church context. If I am wrong and if the Metropolitan is indicted and convicted, that would be sad but purifying. If I am wrong and the Metropolitan is indicted, but acquitted, then that should be settling. I am saying that Mark's posts may be useful, but handwringing and gossip is not useful.
If the hierarchs are of the belief that the Metropolitan is engaged in immoral financial or other immoral acts, they have a duty to him to confront and hold him accountable. If the laity is of the belief that the Metropolitan is engaged in immoral conduct, they need to hire lawyers and bring suit. What is not OK is for uninformed Orthodox Christians to continue fighting and making unsustainable speculations for or against the Metropolitan. If someone knows of a "smoking gun" then they need to tell where it is I wish everyone success in doing good.
#220.127.116.11.1 Max Higgs on 2009-12-09 22:38
I've been pondering some possible futures for the churches in America. Please consider this topic on structure and governance-
Whether we would be better served by a synod with a rotating "chair" than having a permanent partriarchal type leader?
Do we really need the extra layer of leadership? To what end?
Given that the quest for Orthodox unity in the new world has led everywhere except to that end, a patriarchal figure probably would impede it, I think.
Has the OCA or other jurisdictions (aside from the obvious case of the transient ROCA) ever considered this model?
What needs to be "permanent" is an organizational structure for managing the assets and yes, with regular professional independent auditing.
#2.2.2 MWP on 2009-12-08 10:06
If the hurch is to be run like an army, MP obviously lost the manual.
He certainly likes to make up the rules as he goes.
What is a policy today may not be tomorrow.
Certainly we must also consider that there are the cronies to whom no policies apply.
After-all they must share the spoils.
Does anyone still question why the money needs to stop going to Englewood?
Send the Red Ribbons and Crosses back.
St Ignatius a great martyr for the faith is weeping over the merchandising of his name and the fleecing of Christ's sheep.
MP may want to keep Bishop Mark from educating the faithful on Best Financial Practices, but he CANNOT prevent the parishes from implementing SOUND FINANCIAL CONTROLS to protect their own assets, the reputation of their own priest, the parish council and the integrity of the parish.
#2.2.3 anonymous on 2009-12-08 22:03
William--You have outdone yourself this time. You have written the worst possible excuse for what has happened. I know you have a functioning brain and sufficient knowledge not to have produced this tripe. What possess you to expose yourself willingly to public ridicule? Are you a masochist or are you a functionary of the despot? Or, like the "Lover of Metropolitan Philip" on "The Antiochian," are you doing this as a parody? Carl
#2.3 Carl on 2009-12-07 18:53
The Metropolitan is a Boss or Commander in Chief? William, if this is your view of Christianty, I seriously suggest that you run, not walk, but run as fast as you can to the nearest Roman Catholic Church and join it.
Have you ever done jury duty? The Orthodox way is more like that. Twelve people get together and choose a Foreman. That foreman is the mouthpiece of the jury who delivers the message of the jury to the people. The foreman doesn't get twelve votes while the remaining jurors only each get one. He is just another juror with the additional task of representing the jury and communicating its message to the people.
#2.4 Stu on 2009-12-07 21:27
The thing is, these Papal-Orthodox Bishops WON'T run to Rome because then THEY themselves would be subject to a higher authority. So I get then, but people/laymen who support such an ecclessiology are really a mystery to me. They support the Roman Catholic understanding of the Church heirarchy yet are not, and never intend to become Roman Catholic. In a weird way, it does give credence to Rome's argument that Orthodoxy is just in rebellion against the Papal See, and Orthodoxy just doesn't want to submit to what they deep down know is true Church ecclessiology. After all we have American Bishops running the Church like a Pope, an E.P. who claims near papal authority, and all the big patriarchs around the world say very little in protest.
Look at all the arguments put out there by the various ethnic jurisdictions and those that support Met. Phillip, the E.P. etc... If we disagree with them what are we labeled as? . . . . being "too Protestant" in our thinking. Or closet Protestants, or children of the Reformation, or trying to impose Democracy (which they claim is something born out of the Reformation, thus democracy is "Protestant") upon the Church etc...
With these arguments running so rampant it truly does make me wonder if so much of the propaganda taught in the popular books and catechism classes about how the Church functions really is just that, propaganda....or a more "Protestant spin" on things to appeal to Americans. What else am I supposed to think when all these Bishops, priests, heirarchs and laymen who've come from Orthodox lands that have been Orthodox for many centuries tell me, "that's not the real Church, the real Church is THIS" and then proceed to rule with a iron fist?
I really don't know what to think or believe anymore because both sides have multitudes of "evidence" to support either case. So in a weird way I'm becoming sympathetic to +Phillip supporters because after all, they're only repeating what they've been taught, just as we who oppose iron fisted rule in the Church are repeating what we've been taught. The sad thing is, I'm not sure there really is a way to sort this all out. But maybe (I hope) I'm wrong and it's as clear cut as we seem to think it is. I guess only time will tell.
#2.4.1 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-12-08 09:43
Obviously neither you nor MP can read.
No one, not even BM ordered an audit.
It was simply a suggestion for those who lacked ability to put tighter controls in place. ...
#2.5 iliterates on 2009-12-09 20:27
Seriously, if anyone had any doubts that the Antiochian Archdiocese was being run like a gang, they can now lay those doubts to rest. I pray the Bishop's stand up for the truth. Whether they like it or not, it looks like they have reached judgement day, stand and be counted. It's also time for the laity to boldly speak up publicly, and to support your priests so they have the courage and support to make a stand. Thieves pray on fear. Do not be afraid.
No surprises here. Once again Met. Phillip acts in his own self-interest and to help shield his protégés from any accountability. He is doing everything possible to prevent any independent audits and making sure any potential squandering and embezzling of the Church's money and assets remains undetected. He has violated his fiduaciary duty as protector of GOD's talents and treasure, further expanding the shadow of doubt and suspicion regarding his evident fear of the TRUTH. Shameful!
PS is circling the wagons. Looks like too many of his 'amigos' would have a problem with audits of any type i.e. Troy, MI.
I have been wondering how long it would take for PS to counterattack the burgeoning movement to stop the 'good old boy' syndrome currently in place in many Antiochian parishes. Smart move on his part though, wait, wait, wait, until much cooling has taken place, much has been forgotten or taken off the burner and attack.
Time to change, folks, head for the OCA or the Greeks, PS will hang on until his deathbed. Hopefully he will have a good repentance at that time.
#5 Glad to not be Antiochian on 2009-12-07 16:50
NOTE: I am not a member of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
For members of the Antiochian Archdiocese considering leaving for another jurisdiction, please consider the following two points.
1. Your God-given calling may be to remain in the Antiochian Archdiocese and help restore its governance to what God intended: a spotless example of the highest standards to the secular world.
2. Things may not be any better anywhere else. The article above contains a link to an Associated Press report on the suspected embezzlement of a large amount of funds from a Greek Orthodox parish in Orange, CT. Last Thursday, the new Treasurer of the OCA posted the financial report for the first three-quarters of 2009, which showed that that the OCA Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan Council, and the Central Church Administration are reverting to their old behaviors. Even after revising the 2009 budget in September, there are significant overruns of the Metropolitan's travel line, the Synod's travel line, and The Orthodox Church magazine line; the repayment of the defrauded 9/11 funds has been put on hold ... even though there are sufficient funds to make the payment and still retain $11,000 of the $36,000 operating surplus.
#5.1 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-12-08 05:33
Things may not be any better anywhere else.
Indeed they are not. After more than two decades of Orthodoxy we have headed back to our Protestant roots. We labored in vain to make positive change in both archdioceses and ended running afoul of the authorities because we would not cut our conscience to fit their fashion of honesty.
"If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them."
#5.1.1 former member OCA & AOCA on 2009-12-08 14:17
I'm sorry, but I must protest your allegations regarding the current travel budget of the Metropolitan of all America and Canada. True, it is sorely being stretched, but let us not forget that His Beatitude is undertaking many things all at once. Not only is he the primate of the OCA, he is also locum tenens of the Diocese of the South, the largest diocese (in area) in the OCA (excluding Canada). Also, until recently he was locum tenens of the Diocese of NY/NJ.
HB is undertaking an ambitious international travel schedule as well, having visited Russia twice, Georgia once as well as Alaska (which might as well be international travel). These trips necessarily put a strain on a travel budget. But one thing that cannot be said is that he does not take his archpastoral duties lightly.
In addition, he has made numerous outreach to disaffected Anglicans in America, lectured at a few major universities, and created a few monasteries. This is a tiring but spiritually profitable pastorate. May God give him increase.
#18.104.22.168 George Michalopulos on 2009-12-09 07:30
The Metropolitan executing his duty as the Head of the OCA to visit sister Churches. This is NOT the cause of the economic shortfall now present in the OCA. That dog won't hunt so get over it.
The reason funds are so tight in the OCA is because the METROPOLITAN COUNCIL is bankrupting the Church with its relentless pursuit of stupid lawsuits which could have been settled long ago at a fraction of the cost. The METROPOLITAN COUNCIL is directly responsible for this to the rest of the Church.
If you are spending money that the Church does not have or not using it where is should be used makes you, METROPOLITAN COUNCIL members are little different than the old regime because doing your duty in the light of day, with "transparency" does not make it right.
Stupid is as stupid does.
(Editor's note: I beg to differ, Dallas. As a member of the MC let me say that doing our duty in the light of day with transparency may not make us right, but it makes us more accountable; whereas the old regime was neither transparent, accountable nor right. We work in the daylight, they in the darkness, where they - not us - still continue through lawsuits to make trouble for the Church of God. If you wish the MC to stop spending money defending the OCA against lawsuits from the old regime's diehards, then tell them to stop suing us. Presto, end of money spent. But no, I doubt you will do that....
As for settling, I doubt many, besides you, would suggest that paying off a defrocked priest who misused funds is a righteous use of the Church's money only because he continues to be an expensive nuisance. It goes against our American heritage ( Millions for defence, not one penny in tribute!) and our ecclesiastical conscience ( It is better to suffer evil, than participate in it...) Not to mention we are still employing said defrocked priest - thanks to the continuing support of the Diocesean Chancellor and Locum Tenens.... but that is another dog, and another hunt.)
As for the Metropolitan's trip, as one person asked, reasonably, on another forum, does one have to be 6,000 miles away in Russia to get a visit from the Metropolitan? Three times to Russia this year, and how many times to the other 10 parishes in his own diocese? Sister Churches are wonderful, but it was a frequent and valid criticism of the ancien regime that the hierarchs preferred to visit abroad rather their own children... It is not wise to open oneself to such criticism by replicating the mistakes of the past. Stupid is as stupid continues to do, as you say. Woof.)
#5.1.2 Anonymous on 2009-12-10 08:12
How much has the Metropolitan Council spent on the pursuit of the Kondratick lawsuit? Please inform us?
(Editor's note: We are not "pursuing" the Kondratick lawsuit in any way. We are defending ourselves from a lawsuit he (RSK) initiated against us. To suggest we are "pursuing" is analogous to suggesting a rabbit "pursues" the coyote it is running from. Stop blaming the victim. How much has this defense cost? At present less than half of what Metropolitan Herman spent on Proskauer Rose trying to close it all down. The actual numbers are all in recent financial statement posted by the OCA.)
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2009-12-10 09:39
Has the prosecutor to whom the OCA referred the report of criminal behavior, given any feedback to the church?
#126.96.36.199.1 Bruce Wm. Trakas on 2009-12-11 00:05
How bad must the truth be in Troy for the Metropolitan to take such action? Certainly he must realize how his overruling Bp. Mark’s reasonable and responsible directive will make him appear. Talk about obstruction of justice and cover up, +Philip obviously learned nothing from Richard Nixon and we all know what eventually happened to Tricky Dicky. The only question is how long will it take?
#6 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-12-07 17:38
Not necessarily. Bp Mark is taking initiative here and even if everything in Troy is ship-shape, it probably still rankles OGL because this is something he should spearhead not one of his assistants.
#6.1 Anonymous on 2009-12-08 11:40
Do you want the good news or the bad news...
The good news is that the cassock wars will quickly recede into the background.
#7 (unfortunately) anonymous on 2009-12-07 18:20
...if only i was so determined as MP is with respect to my spiritual life.
Pray for the soul of MP.
#8 Delegate #1 on 2009-12-07 19:12
Just to clarify things, what would it look like if there were no other bishops in the Antiochian archdiocese except Philip? Pretty much the same? Thought so. Those vestments always look like they'd stand up by themselves. I guess that's what's happening. With every passing day it's harder to pray for God to "Remember" those hierarchs in His Kingdom. It's not easy for anyone else to remember them at all.
#9 Ba'ab on 2009-12-07 19:17
I would refer all to Apostolic Canons XL and XLI, and their parallels among the canons of the Council of Antioch in 341 (Canons XXIV and XXV), which speak of the bishop, not the metropolitan as having care over the goods of the Church.
Canon XXXV of the Sixth Ecumenical Council forbids the Metropolitan from expropriating the property of a widowed diocese within his province (or even from managing it directly unless the diocese is devoid of clergy).
It seems clear that even in the present unfortunate circumstance in which the secular documents governing Archdiocese (finances included) have not yet been conformed to the wishes of the Holy Synod of Antioch, nor to the Holy Canons in view of the reality of diocesan bishops, Bishop +Mark was entirely within his rights as diocesan to direct his parishes to undertake certain measures for the proper management of the goods of the Church. Met. +Philip's action in purporting to overrule a bishop within his own diocese is clearly grounds for canonical appeal to the Eparchal Synod, the Holy Synod of Antioch, or if need by the Ecumenical Patriarch.
#10 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-12-07 19:43
Agreed....if it were clear and canonically defined just what the Antiochian presence in North America is/are. Is it one single diocese, with Metropolitan Philip as its ruling hierarch, but subdivided into smaller administrative units, with a vicar bishop over each unit? Or is it a metropolitan province composed of several dioceses, each with its own ruling hierarch, with the synod chaired by the bishop of the metropolitan see? The documentation coming out of Antioch doesn't actually seem to give a once-and-for-all, absolutely crystal-clear definitive answer, accepted by one and all. Sad.
#10.1 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-12-08 12:21
I was present when Bishop +Basil was enthroned as Bishop of Wichita and Mid-America, given his pastoral staff, and the polychronos for a ruling bishop was sung. I am sure there are witnesses to the corresponding events for Bishop +Mark and the rest of our diocesan bishops.
Liturgical actions are real. They are more real than incorporation papers, money, audits or Boards of Trustees (as having any reality beyond the surpassing reality of the individual members each created in the image of God, and for each of whom Christ died). That is why I described the present circumstance as I did.
Of course, Bishop +Antoun has refused to be enthroned, so I suppose he really is still an auxiliary bishop.
#10.1.1 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-12-09 06:59
‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
#11 Ezekiel on 2009-12-07 20:21
Ironically as they feed on the flock they provide us the condition for salvation, The pious Bishop/priest provides no need for virtues but the impious the opportunity for holy witness. For they may take everything from us but they can never take our death!!!
“Let me be food for the wild beasts, through whom I can reach God. I am God’s wheat, ground fine by the lion’s teeth to be made into the purest bread for Christ.” - St Ignatius of Antioch
Friends we are in a time of holy purification, the "God protected Archdiocese" is being purified by the very powers of God, the sons of the Light are being revealed and so too the sons of darkness. Whomever the next Metropolitan will be I hope he is taking notes.
(If not we will have to have Ocanews.org translated)
#11.1 Delegate #1 on 2009-12-08 08:41
So it comes down to this: are the good people of Toledo and the Midwest going to obey their Bishop or the Archbishop of New York & Washington DC? The only way that letter could trump Bishop Mark's directive is if it was signed by the Local Synod, the Patriarche, or possibly the Board of Trustees. It's time Bishop Mark show the Metropolitan of our "God protected Archdiocese" that our diocesan bishops are not his auxiliary bishops and therefore do NOT have to "do the will of the Metropolitan."
#12 Gail Sheppard on 2009-12-07 20:30
It bothers me how this letter from Metropolitan Phillip belittles Bishop Mark. This doesn't seem like an earth-shattering change...
From the +Mark's letter it said: "A Financial Review Committee must be appointed annually at your General Assembly. If your meeting has already taken place, then one must be appointed by the priest and the Parish Council at your next meeting. Members of this Committee must consist primarily of non-Parish Council Members, i.e., from the community at large, in order to give the greatest amount of credibility to the Committee."
To have a committee review the finances at least every 6 months as a double-check seems prudent. Look at all that Church Mutual has shown.
To quote General George Patton, "A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future." With the recent problems, it is better to get a financial checks-and-balances system in place sooner than later. The Archdiocese Synod could come up with a standardized system later.
#13 Mr. Kibee on 2009-12-07 20:45
Does this mean that the audit is not going to be completely inclusive? sarcasm off
This reminds me of the angle in the WWE where Vince McMahon kept trying to get the title off of Stone Cold Steve Austin by making him face guy after guy while changing the rules in the middle of the match, telling the time keeper to ring the bell as soon as his guy had Stone Cold in a submission hold, and finally succeeded only after he the Undertaker and Kane both wrestle him. He did it by stacking the deck. Stone Cold eventually got it back (after off camera surgery) by out-screwing McMahon and with stunts like driving a Zamboni, a milk truck and a manure truck into the arena and into McMahon and his stooges.
+Phillip is Vince McMahon (guess who the stooges are?) and Bishop Mark is in the role of Stone Cold. There are obvious differences of course. All of that was theater. It was just a show designed to make McMahon and his company money since he was in a ratings war with WCW (which he eventually bought for next to nothing). This unfortunately is real. Stone Cold always responded by flipping "the bird" and"opening a can of whoop donkey" (I can't say the other word for "donkey" in this religious forum because it's not referring to a donkey, but it's three letters and rhymes with "class").
I won't mention names, but I can see any Russian and a certain Bulgarian Metropolitan opening that can. The question is, Will Bishop Mark?
#14 Kevin Klein on 2009-12-07 20:54
Kevin, how dare you impute the reputation of professional wrestling by comparing it to Orthodox church affairs? Have you no shame?
#14.1 Ba'ab on 2009-12-08 11:19
I'm just surprised it took this long. 17 days. In his prime, Metropolitan Philip would already have deposed Bishop Mark and had his pastoral staff burnt.
I still wonder why Fr.Peter Gillquist has not spoken out.?....
#16 Stephen on 2009-12-08 02:41
Fr. Peter may have been "born again" but he wasn't born again yesterday!! If you want to know why he hasn't spoken up just look at his Budget there you will find over 300,000 reasons why he hasn't said a word.
#16.1 Delegate #1 on 2009-12-08 08:58
Stephen writes: "I still wonder why Fr.Peter Gillquist has not spoken out.?..."
Please, Stephen, do back off a bit. This question is neither kind nor just.
Father Peter Gilquist has been in the hospital for much of the past month, nor --- if my information is correct --- is he entirely out of danger.
Father Peter is an egregiously good priest, Stephen, and he does not deserve to be dragged into this mess. Pray for him.
#16.2 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-12-08 09:17
Well, it appears that -Philip has outdid himself this time. In my opinion, the only decent thing for men of good conscience to do is quit their membership....
#17 George Michalopulos on 2009-12-08 04:33
"the only decent thing for men of good conscience to do is quit their membership...."
No, no, no.
Quitting is not the answer. To the contrary:
"All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent." E. Burke, more or less
#17.1 MWP on 2009-12-09 13:31
OK, what is going on? In any autocracy the people around the absolute ruler prop him up, no matter what. WHY? Because they will lose their place of favor if he is deposed, retired, etc. In this case, + Philip wishes to appear as still in complete control, while his sycophants prop him up. It should be clear to everyone that it really is time for a new head of the AOCA.
+ Iakavos tried to cover his paper trail of issues by sanitizing files and destroying documents, but you can't make all the people disappear.
+ Philip, retire....it's past time!
#18 Any moose on 2009-12-08 06:50
Church embezzlement investigation
Published : Monday, 07 Dec 2009, 6:04 AM EST
Orange, CT (WTNH) - Members of Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Orange have turned to the FBI for help after discovering an embezzlement scheme may have drained them of a whole lot of cash.
The church on Racebrook Road has been undergoing a six million expansion project. As much as a million dollars may have been embezzled.
In a statement to News Channel 8, an attorney for the church said "Saint Barbara's is a possible victim of financial fraud committed by one or more other people... We are now working and cooperating with the FBI in connection with its investigation of the facts and circumstances relating to this matter."
The member of the church under investigation is not being named, but that person reportedly had access to the church's endowment and building funds.
That person also reportedly handled personal investment and retirement accounts for church members.
More than 150 members of the church met at an emergency meeting Sunday night.
#19 Anonymous on 2009-12-08 06:53
And can ANYONE tell us why the FBI did not go after the OCA mess ?? The "powers that be" did'nt persue it as they knew the "moral issue" would emerge! Think about it. Any other explanation? We'd (many of us) like to hear it. Even Mark S. on the MidWest Met Council knows but for embarrassment to the Church discretely keeps it hidden, Bless him and his courage filled OCANews.
#19.1 Anonymous on 2009-12-08 11:50
"And can ANYONE tell us why the FBI did not go after the OCA mess ?"
Deals were cut. Both +Theodosius & +Herman cannot serve as former Mets. They can't wear the white hat and their reputations are mud. RSK destroyed documents to cover his trail, but he has been defrocked.
#19.1.1 Anonymous on 2009-12-08 18:04
The corruption in Englewood and Troy must run deeper than we previously imagined. The fear that an external audit of even a single parish might begin to unravel years of financial plotting and scheming is palpable in Metr. Philip's desperate directive. The sad part is that an appeal to the Holy Synod of Antioch would most likely be futile as Metr. Philip has had decades to buy them off.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#20 Nemo on 2009-12-08 09:05
I would not be so sure. The dethronement crisis was not resolved to +Philip's liking, try though he might to ignore the resolution of the Holy Synod, and there are reasons besides poor health that he did not attend the meeting of the Holy Synod that elected Met. +Ephrem of Tripoli, tilting the Holy Synod a little further toward monastics and a little further away from managers.
And, if a bishop has a dispute with the Holy Synod of his province, the Holy Canons do provide for appeal to Constantinople.
#20.1 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-12-08 18:33
Whatever sort of "adminstrative" excuses are going to be proffered here, in my layman's view it is very simple. Bishop MARK is trying to bring the truth to light and to shield the diocese and archdiocese from liability to financial misdoings that are going on in his parishes. +MARK is doing the right thing. Metropolitan PHILIP's actions, as evaluated by reasonable people, cannot but be the outgrowth of cronyism, protectionism, and power. I am a nobody with no influence or anything to offer this conflict. But my prayers are all for Bishop MARK's protection, wisdom, courage and the overflow of the Holy Spirit. God grant him many years.
+MARK is a godly, prayerful man, a great pastor and father in God, and he has my full on public support. For whatever it's worth.
Bishop Mark predicted that MP would try to undermine the other Bishops' authority at some point, and this letter from MP proves that he was right.
MP says that now is not the time to do external audits, claiming that "external audits are expensive" and that in these difficult economic times "many churches cannot even pay their archdiocese assessment." Let's take a look at this statement. First, Bishop Mark did not request external audits for every parish in his Diocese, so MP is creating a phony issue to take a shot at. Second, note that the only example of the impact of difficult economic times he gave was that parishes are finding it difficult to send him his annual stipend!!! He said nothing about difficulty paying the electric bill, or difficulty raising money from parishioners for the Food for Hungry program, or difficulty paying the priest, or difficulty maintaining the facilities, all of which many parishes must be facing. No -- his definition of a parish having financial difficulties is that it is having difficulty scraping up funds to send to him!!! Think about what that says about MP's priorities!
MP reminds me of Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War in the early 1990s. Saddam's armed forces were soundly defeated and much of his country was destroyed in only a few days, and yet Saddam declared victory. It was stated by commentators that, evidently, Saddam's definition of victory was that he personally survived the war - evidently not caring about the devastating impact of the war on his people and his country.
Finally, it is up to the people in Bishop Mark's diocese to use common sense by making sure that their parishes have sound financial controls, and that in parishes in which there is credible evidence of financial wrongdoing external audits are done. If the people in these parishes are too dumb, too timid or too enamored of the clergy to act responsibly, then, quite frankly, they deserve to have their money stolen by their priest or their fellow parishioners.
#22 Disgusted Life-long Antiochian Orthodox Christian on 2009-12-08 11:36
Stick a fork in me....I'm done!
#23 Fr. Blues on 2009-12-08 13:37
DIVIDE AND CONQUER...
You cannot serve Met P and Bishop Mark Mamon.
It is high noon at the Antiochian corral. I got a hunch on who blinks first...
#23.1 George from Brooklyn on 2009-12-08 17:54
Guess who I would serve....
#23.1.1 antionymous on 2009-12-09 18:36
So you are equating Bp. Mark with Mammon, George?
Please continue cheerleading for this Metropolitan and his coterie .... The more the cheers continue, the more anybody with eyes can see what a sickening mess these scoundrels have made in Christ's Church.
I am so very sorry for my Antiochian friends.
#23.1.2 Scott Walker on 2009-12-10 11:30
Perhaps it is time for St George in Troy MI to get FBI investigators to assist with investigating the finances of St George Towers.
#24 The FBI is our friend on 2009-12-08 13:58
Thank you for your post. Well said. The metropolitan is trying to keep everyhting unified withint his Archdiocese, because we have diocese dose not mean we need to have 7 different set of rules.
We need constistancy. Bishop MARK intention may have been good, bvut he first should have check with His MEtropolitan
We are not in competetion, but rather have to see the bigger pciture to keep us unified on an admistravite Level
#25 Michael C. Srour on 2009-12-08 14:00
I'm not so convinced of the need for uniform rules in everything in the Archdiocese. If we look at the OCA, part of their ability to (eventually... and, well, not yet perfectly... ) deal with their serious problems both in the central administration, in individual dioceses (Alaska....), and in institutions (St. Tikhon's....) had to do with the large degree of autonomy of the individual dioceses within the larger body of the OCA. Thus, bishops like +Job could effectively criticize problems with the Metropolitan and the central administration without fear of retribution and +Dmitri could pioneer a more effective financial structure in his diocese. A highly centralized system only works well when its central leadership is completely flawless both in morals and in administrative effectiveness, which we would be foolish to always expect from even a good metropolitan! A moderately decentralized organism, on the other hand, is more able to survive even very serious illnesses in one of its parts.
It is good to remember that the Holy Synod has stated that the relationship of bishops to their metropolitan is analogous to the relationship of the metropolitans to the patriarch. We do not see each archdiocese within the patriarchate with uniform ways of handling its mundane affairs, nor should we expect individual dioceses to be identical with each other in their temporal administration. There is no reason in the world to want every bishop to administer the varying circumstances and situations of their individual dioceses without variation.
It is noteworthy that while +Phillip has called for uniformity within his archdiocese, he has ignored the need for uniform obediance to the canons and tradition within the patriarchate and has caused much scandal by his refusal to conform to the norms followed by his brother metropolitans in a startling variety of matters that have been mentioned on countless threads. That is to say, if he can ordain priests in any way he chooses, allow the remarriage of a priest, virtually forbid male monasticism, and unilaterally reject the archdiocesan constitution approved by the Holy Synod, then surely his bishops can follow his example and act unilaterally in minor, temporal matters for which there are no specific canonical guides, except that the bishop be a good and consciencious steward.
MP is the one who has tirelessly labored to DIVIDE the DIOCESAN BISHOPS; the PRIESTS and LAITY for the past several years.
Bp Mark only asked parishes to begin moving in the direction of tighter financial controls.
Really a two signature policy for 40 years. That is the extent of the Archdiocese's Financial Policies?
Why not hang up a sign saying "EMBEZZLERS WELCOME, come dip your BEAK HERE?"
#25.2 anonymous on 2009-12-08 21:54
Michael, thank you for your positive reinforcement on this issue. You are correct.
It is sad when we have people in this archdiocese that know more about it in 2 years time than people who served it their entire life.
I am thankful to God that not only I, but others have found the church, but also I pray that those that embraced the church...really let go of their prior thought process on what they believe are the ways a church should be run.
Everyone is throwing out canons here, however you look at the majority of the other Orthodox Church Jurisdictions in other countries that have had the faith there for centuries, then ours? We are the one with the most faults now? It's because they are not used to the way it works structurally.
this is a very sad but true fact. Orthodoxy in America right now is a sad situation built upon over night theologians that want democracy and everyone running the church, not understanding the fact that there is a structural order of how it is run and who runs what.
#25.3 William on 2009-12-10 15:45
NOT democracy. NOT Monarchy. Conciliarity. That is the canons. THAT is the tradition. Papacy is NOT Orthodoxy. Go to seminary William and study it for yourself.
#25.3.1 antionymous on 2009-12-21 10:44
Kevin, how dare you impute the reputation of professional wrestling by comparing it to Orthodox church affairs? Have you no shame?
It is a smear and denigration of that particular business enterprise to dare compare it to our God Protected and Keystone Cop emulating Archdiocese.
I completely concur with Ba'ab and call for an immediate apology to WWF and Vince McMann for daring to impugn the honesty and integrity of professional wrestling by making any comparisons to the AOC.
If I were Mr. McMann I would immediately have a team of the finest legal minds in this country attempting to salvage the reputation of professional wrestling by demanding that any comparisons to the AOC immediately cease as a vicious and unwarranted defamation of the WWF.
#26 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-12-08 18:25
All of you go ahead and whine. It doesn't do any good. I am in full support of the metropolitan. Bishop Mark was wrong. Plain and simple. This rookie bishop better learn how things in protocol work. If not, his time as a bishop will come to a tragic end. Trust me on that.
#27 Anonymous on 2009-12-08 19:41
So you are in full support of the Metropolitan. Only apparently that support is not strong enough to encourage you to use your own name. What a hero. And right in keeping with the MO of a Brave Anonymous Internet Defender Of True Orthodoxy, we see the conclusion of your post is yet another crude threat.
This behavior, hero, is exactly what has driven a dear friend and brother not only out of the Orthodox Church, but out of Christianity altogether. He was troubled, you see, at thuggery and corruption, but, even more, he looked at us as Orthodox Christians, and could not find love abounding in us, so he concluded that the whole thing is a pious fraud, and he left.
I do not blame him, and neither, I suspect, does God.
No, I blame you, and all of your protocol-obsessed Fuehrer worshiping pals, busily whitewashing sepulchers full of dead men's bones. Consider, anonymous heroes, the size and ultimate function of the millstones you are placing around your own necks, as you cause the little ones who believe in Christ to stumble and fall. Enjoy your swim.
#27.1 Scott Walker on 2009-12-10 11:46
The comments really reveal the travesty of this whole mess.
MP and his cronies are willing to hold onto their corrupt ways at the expense of others who are tender in the faith....
#27.1.1 anonymous on 2009-12-21 15:07
The Metropolitan shows his true colors here.
Requiring unity on something as simple as financial reporting, but requiring none on something as drastic as demoting all his Synod to auxiliaries? Wow. His defenders can't even measure that one up right.
I think my favorite post was the first. For the sake of the promotion of Orthodoxy, it can't be soon enough that the baloney stops.
Outside observer, I call em like I see em.
#28 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-12-08 21:17
Whatever else Met. Philip's actions do, the reactions prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not unified in any meaningful sense.
What we call the Orthodox Church in this country is a farce and it will wither. The real Church will endure with a persecuted remnant of faithful.
There is no other 'jurisdiction' to which we can run. We can only run to the Church, Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
#29 Michael Bauman on 2009-12-08 21:35
Things we DON'T know....
1. Whether or not Bishop Mark told, asked, or alerted Metropolitan Philip of his intentions to order greater parochial fiscal accountability.
2. Whether or not Metropolitan Phlip, agreed, disagreed, or gave presumed assent to Bishop Mark.
3. Whether or not Metropolitan Philip's actions are the results of hurt pride, true concern for the "unity" of the Archdiocese, or pre-planned to embarass Bishop Mark.
4. Whether or not the other Bishops tacitly support Bishop Mark or Metropolitan Philip.
5. Whether Metropolitan Philip, Bishop Mark, or any of the other Bishops have or are in contact with the Patriarchate regarding this latter development expressing opinions or concerns one way or the other.
6. Whether the Patriarchate is following these events with any sense of concern for the long-term wellbeing of the "Self-Ruled" Archdiocese (does this situation raise concerrns in Damascus that the Archdiocese actually is NOT ready for "self-rule" if the Bishops can't play nicely on such a basic subject).
7. Whether, if the Patriachate is following events in the Archdiocese, deliberations are leading to decisions that will decisively bring settlement and peace to this troubled part of the Church of God.
#30 Anonymously ignorant on 2009-12-09 06:37
The issue is NOT uniform rules as they'd have you believe. This argument is just "stonewalling." This is how Englewood replies when they don't want something - they change the issue. Case in point, + Philip said in 1972 regarding uniting with the OCA (as SCOBA agreed to - see early minutes of SCOBA 1961-62), "Let each ethnic group unite their own people, then we will unite." + Philip was working on reuniting Toledo & NY at the time, but he knew the OCA and ROCOR would not unite.
+ Philip is a master at maneuvering situations to his favor only. He's no fool!
What everyone should ask, "Why the stonewalling?" .....Why would someone try so hard to stop an audit? They can try to destroy the paper trail, but electronic transfers don't go away!
#31 Anonymous on 2009-12-09 08:15
I love the Orthodox Faith but I can tell you that this whole affair and the things that keep bubbling to the surface are deeply embarrassing and making my task as Priest more challenging. People in New Jersey can write policy letters but I have to implement them and when people in New Jersey decide to fight I'll end up being the one with a sponge and bucket cleaning up the mess. The truth is that I have long ago run out of words to put some sense into all of this for either myself or the people I serve.
I just pray, and hope, and wait for the morning.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
Late Breaking News.....
Bishop Mark traded to the OCA for a player to be named later....Send him to the Toedo Mud Hens, he is minor league all the way.
This guy is a loose canon and is not a team player. He should be reprimanded now! Isn't there such thing as a chain of command?? He causes othing but ajata. Ban him from sending e-mails.
Where does he get off accusing everyone of malfesiance? Where does he get off sending out directives without first getting the go ahead from Englewood? Bring out the episcopal handbook now.
#32.1 anon on 2009-12-09 16:31
His Grace "get[s] off sending out directives without. . .Englewood" because his the bishop of his diocese, and as such has responsibility for the care of the souls of his clergy and the souls of all the faithful of his diocese.
Englewood has proven itself incapable of or unwilling to offer counsel against the temptations involved in financial matters. Bishop +Mark (we have all read his letters) accused no one of malfeasance except the unnamed embezzling treasurer who was used as an example of why the measures he advised should be taken for the preservation of the goods of the Church and as a ward against temptation to those involved in Church finances.
Chain of command? Read the canons. Bishops are answerable to synods of bishops, not to the prime inter pares of a local church or even in the whole Church. And offering sound advice on matters spiritual and temporal to those within his diocese is within the rights of every bishop of the Orthodox.
Indeed bring out the Hierarchical Manual, just as soon as one in accord with the Holy Canons and the Orthodox understanding of the episcopate can be agreed upon.
#32.1.1 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-12-09 19:01
How can you BAN a ruling diocesan bishop from doing anything? What do you think this is, a democracy?
#32.1.2 antionymous on 2009-12-09 19:18
Anonymous, presuming such a trade were made you might be surprised at the surge in attendance at Mud Hen games.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
Let me explain my post a bit further.
His Grace, Bishop Mark, sent out a reasonable request well within his rights as a diocesan Bishop to examine financial procedures and improve them as per his guidelines if needed. Because I travel I get the parish mail on Saturday and by Sunday the Parish Council had already talked about it and began the process of implementation. In fact many of the things suggested were already in practice at St. Elias.
I presume this Saturday there may another letter at St. Elias with instructions to include it in the bulletin, a letter essentially attempting to reverse the instructions we had just received. That decision was made in New Jersey but the questions will be directed at me. What am I supposed to say? Where do I lead the people I've been asked to shepherd?
Several times a year, above and beyond the normal assessment, we're asked to give donations for things like seminarians (actually we given what amounts to a bill). These are good causes but the people I serve are not uneducated, they read and wonder about what's happening out East. Yet I'm the one who has to ask them to give anyway.
I'm very proud, in the best sense of the word, of my parish, they've come a long way and made significant strides and I would love for them to step out and become involved in the greater Archdiocese. I would be good for them to be linked together in something larger then themselves. Yet I wonder about whether there would be more harm than good in it at the present. How can I ask them to step out and be involved and then take them to a convention where their Bishop is under armed guard?
It's a terrible thing to feel that as a Pastor I have to protect my people not just from the day to day things that come to harm them but also from the machinations and schemes of those outside and above. I, frankly, am tired of having to find diplomatic answers to questions I shouldn't have to be answering in the first place.
I love this Faith. There is no depth this Archdiocese can sink to that will ever make me stop being Orthodox. I will also do my best to ensure that the people I serve will stay, despite all that may come, attached to the Church and firm in their belief. Yet I long for better days.
Until they come the lights will stay on in LaCrosse.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
Just a quick note on donating for seminarians. If you want to support seminarians, it's better to just send it to the schools themselves. They can earmark it for particular seminarians if you want. Best not to involve Englewood.
#32.2.1 pobrecita on 2009-12-10 12:21
Good advice, but one qualifier: if you want a tax deduction for your gift, you cannot direct your money to benefit a specific seminarian. However, you should be able (depending on the setup of the particular institution) to direct your gift to student scholarships or financial aid, which will directly benefit the most needy students.
Also remember that a gift to a particular seminarian (even an indirect gift like a payment on their student account) may count as income and thus affect the calculation of their financial aid.
#188.8.131.52 John Congdon on 2009-12-10 14:25
I think one can effectively give money to a seminary to support a particular seminarian, and still get a tax deduction, though it requires consultation with a good tax adviser and the seminary's development office. The mechanism is to establish a scholarship at the seminary that is created with such specificity as to the beneficiary(ies) that only the desired recipient qualifies.
The heiress to the Lloyd electric car fortune made such an arrangement with my undergraduate college and my brother's on our behalf in gratitude for my father's stewardship of charitable works done on her behalf. Of course, perhaps tax law has changed in this regard since the 1970's.
#184.108.40.206.1 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-12-21 21:17
Tell them only this, Father: "I love this Faith. There is no depth this Archdiocese can sink to that will ever make me stop being Orthodox." This says it all.
#32.2.2 Gail Sheppard on 2009-12-10 16:51
Just a suggestion...have Archdiocesan mail sent directly to you then you can file it in the appropriate places.
(With all the "Arch-Pastoral" directives being sent out you should have a good supply of kindling for the winter!)
#32.2.3 Anonymous on 2009-12-11 08:31
I don't know which is the more pathetic. The Metropolitan's disregard of Holy Tradition as evidenced by his papal mimicry and total disrespect and arrogance towards his brother bishops, or the ignorant nonsensical defenses put foward by his syncophants?
This is truly an embarrasing time to admit to other Orthodox Christians that you are attempting to work out your salvation under the yoke of North America's Orthodox wannabe Pontiff.
Any true Catholic and Orthodox bishop in any jurisdiction with the least bit of ecclessiastical understanding or sense must look at us and just shake their head and mutter Lord have mercy.
I hope one of them will have the courage to speak out. Our former Diocesans and now assistants to the American Pontiff can not.
#33 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-12-09 21:26
... just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water....
You know our archdiocese is more like an episode of "Faulty Towers" than it is "The Sopranos". With parody and farce being the only sane explanation for such behaviour, one can only expect now a version of Benny Hill!
No wonder Bishop Antoun is fainting at liturgies, I would too.
#34 Delegate #1 on 2009-12-09 21:32
"Isn't there such thing as a chain of command?? "
No, actually, Anon, in the Church of God there is no such thing as a "chain of command."
The hierarchical structure of the Church is all there in classical Antiochian ecclesiology, starting with the letters of St. Ignatius at the beginning of the second century. He speaks of local bishops, the priests who surround them as a council of elders, and the deacons who serve the bishops.
There is no "chain" in the Orthodox hierarchy. No one in the entire history of the Church ever spoke about a "chain of command" in the Church until the expression found its way onto this blog site. Anyway, it has nothing to do with Orthodox ecclesiology.
Since I don't know who you are, Anon, I don't know what priest to blame for failing to teach you something so basic about the Orthodox Church.
Please, count me among those disgusted by the way Bishop Mark is being treated. "Rookie bishop"! "Minor league all the way"!
Go back and read St. Ignatius, Anon, and see what he has to say about those who disrespect their bishops.
#35 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-12-10 08:57
Actually Father, there is a chain of command. The Church militant is like the Church triumphant. Within the Holy Trinity, although all three persons are God, there is a "hierarchy." Everything originates in the Father and is acted upon through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In the Church on earth, all things come from the bishop to his priests and then to the deacons. Within the AOCA, + Philip is the "Head Hierarch" and all comes from him to his brother bishops, to the priests, to the deacons.
If the Head Hierarch is not thinking right, for what ever reason, it's time for a new head hierarch!
#35.1 A non mouse on 2009-12-10 14:22
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM said.... "The road to hell is paved with bishops and priests". They should be reprimanded if they divide the church and cause chaos. The Metropolitan is the ecclesiatical head of the national church. We are the "self ruled" archdiocese. Metro P is the "first among equals". Get it...
Bishop Ignatius would have would have been revolted at the American heresy of overlapping hierarchs. The heresy is that we are still attached to Antioch and still considered some type of"diaspora". Fr. Reardon where did you get your theology degree from the same seminary as Kirwan the great bloviator??
#35.2 anon on 2009-12-10 17:38
St. Ignatius is the guy who clearly ARTICULATES conciliar ecclesiology. The bishop is the pastor of HIS diocese. Read him for yourself!
#35.2.1 antionymous on 2009-12-21 11:00
Fair enough, father. When Bishop Mark shows up at this church Sunday morning and announces (As only a bishop can) that the treasurer is receiving communion today, and gives it to him personally, I will regard him as a Professional bishop. Until then, he is like pretty much all our bishops in the Church today: A former Professional Archimandrite who got a job because he was single, male and has body temperature above room temperature.
If he wants to be treated like a bishop he needs to act like one. If he did that he would run things. As it is, things run him.
#35.3 ba"ab on 2009-12-21 13:57
The chain of command ideology was first introduced in the West via the papacy.
OBVIOUSLY THE CRITICS OF YOUR COMMENTS ARE CRYTO-PAPISTS.
WHERE THE BISHOP IS, THERE IS THE CHURCH.
SADLY YOUR CRITICS HAVE NEVER READ IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, THEY HAVE BEEN TOO BUSY DRINKING THE KOOL-AID FOR THE LAST 43 YEARS.
ALL BISHOPS ARE EQUAL!
YET, THEY ARE ALL ACCOUNTABLE TO THEIR SYNOD (INCLUDING metropolitan philip).
metropolitan philip is not a father to any bishop, he is supposedly a brother.
#35.4 papalism 101 on 2009-12-21 15:18
ditto, in re Fr John Chagnon's post above.
I keep my people uninformed about these shenanigans. My bishop is a venerable man, above reproach. I stick to him and leave the Archdiocesan stuff in his hands.
If asked, I tell my people to talk to my bishop. these issues are not within my competence to address. I am first and above all a shepherd to my people. So, I choose a good spiritual diet for them.
There is, indeed, no depth of idiocy or tom-foolery to which this archdiocese can go, which would keep me from the ministry entrusted to me.
I do not agree with those voices out there which call for the priests to make an uproar of protest. The only exception would be for priests WITHIN the diocese of a persecuted bishop--they should defend their archpastor.
God is merciful; He will see to it, in His good time.
Until then, dear fellow-priests: fulfill your ministry, and guard your flock from being scandalized. They get enough raw manure in the world, why load them up with more in the Church?
#36 pilgrim priest on 2009-12-10 10:58
Sound advice, Fr. Pilgrim.
This is the policy of many a good priest. It is heartbreaking that a shepherd's instructions are best hidden from view for the sake of the salvation of the people of God. I myself truly wish I never learned about all this (Ironically, I have AFR to 'blame.'). It's worse than watching daytime television - something I am loathe to do. But with knowledge come responsibility. I can only pray for wisdom...and patience.
#36.1 Brian Van Sickle on 2009-12-10 20:33
I'm sorry father, but silence is not an option. Part of your sacramental duty is to speak the truth to those that ask. Just passing the buck is no longer sufficient. The reason evil has thrived for so long, especially among the hierarchy, is because so many priests have kept their mouths shut, in addition to the trustees and donors who should have known better.
“Not only for every idle word must man give an account, but for every idle silence.” - St. Ambrose
Fr. Patrick reardon writes:
"The hierarchical structure of the Church is all there in classical Antiochian ecclesiology, starting with the letters of St. Ignatius at the beginning of the second century. He speaks of local bishops, the priests who surround them as a council of elders, and the deacons who serve the bishops."
I'm surprised His Eminence has not long ago opened his own seminary on the grounds of Englewood Manor. It must be an ongoing vexation to have presbyters educated in the Genuine Holy Tradition who turn on him with their vicious and insubordinate expectations...Until such time as proper re-education efforts can be implemented perhaps some sort of correspondence courses can be instituted? How about "The Pope Pius IX course of Western Ecclessiology" ?
#37 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-12-11 06:57
Be careful what you wish for Kevin. The word is that Metro. Philip is threatening to start an Antiochian Seminary from the Village next year. An extention of the St. Stephen course. Fr. Joseph Allen would run things.
#37.1 abouna on 2009-12-21 09:35
You are all incorrect in saying that Met. P. does not react when there is evidence of forgery and embezzelment. When it was uncovered that Fr. George Geha forged Met P. signature on documents and stole a large amount of money from Antichocian Village, Met P. ordered Fr. Geha's office to be sealed and an investigation started. Fr. Geha was brought before the U.S. court and was sentenced. I can only assume that Met P. reacted in this manner because it was money stolen directly from the Archdiocese, and a betrayal by someone that Met P trusted.
#38 weary on 2009-12-22 05:20
hmmmm, wasn't that the same Ignatius of Antioch who referred to Rome as "the Church presiding in love"? Kind of important to look at the entire patristic corpus, doncha think? Not just one quote, taken out of context?
But be that as it may...I get a kick out of all these charges of "crypto-papalism," "Western ecclesiology of Pius IV," etc. etc. etc.
What pope ever demoted his entire episcopacy? What pope ever went in for the kind of thuggery you folks attribute to Met. P? I doubt even the Borgia popes went quite that far, LOL. And the current pope is a harmless little baa-lamb compared with Met. P, at least according to what you-all say about Met P. (And I'll take your word for it.)
So, hey, leave us papists alone. There's nothing "papal" about a metropolitan who demotes his entire episcopacy. If there's a precedent for that in Church history (East or West), I'd like to see it.
Merry Christmas! Christ Is Born!
#39 Merry Christmas from a Catholic Observer on 2009-12-26 01:09
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
The point is not that any one Pope of Rome demoted all bishops under him, but that Met. +Philip was, and seemingly still is, attempting to establish himself as having ordinary jurisdiction over the churches in other bishops' dioceses. This is contrary to Orthodox ecclesiology ("where the bishop is. . .there. . . is the catholic church", not where the metropolitan is, not where the Bishop of Rome is, where the bishop, any bishop of the Orthodox is, there is the catholic church), but parallels part of Rome's heretical ecclesiology: the universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome. Thus we denounce the ecclesiology implicit in +Philip's actions and explicitly enunciated by some of his supporters in this and other forums as heretical, and neo-, pseudo-, or quasi-papal.
A Merry Christmas to all, including our separated Latin brethren.
#39.1 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-12-27 11:52
Dear Catholic Observer
Yes indeed many of us are horrified at the mere thought that our Metropolitan may be acting more a pontiff than any of your current occupants of the Rome's See
Make no mistake however regarding Rome's long and storied history of non-Catholic pretensions and self exaltations. They are not only plentiful they are now and have been at least since Vatican I codified.
You say the following, "What pope ever demoted his entire episcopacy? What pope ever went in for the kind of thuggery you folks attribute to Met. P? I doubt even the Borgia popes went quite that far, LOL."
You might for the sake of brevity concentrate your attention on the documents and pronouncements coming out of Vatican I and what Pope Pius IX managed to do to genuine Catholic ecclessiology and his fellow bishops with that Robber Council the West dared to call Ecumenical.
We only wish to spare our Metropolitan the historical embarrasment of that most shining recent example of Episcopal hubris.
Now excuse me while I go to some Roman Catholic website to snicker and ask them about their sex scandals.
#40 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-12-27 16:21
A Catholic Observer states:
"So, hey, leave us papists alone. There's nothing "papal" about a metropolitan who demotes his entire episcopacy. If there's a precedent for that in Church history (East or West), I'd like to see it."
Wow? Where do you begin with this softball. There is really only one Bishop in Roman Catholicism and he occupies the Roman See. All other so called bishops are mere assistants sort of like what Metropolitan Philip is attempting to mimic.
This is why you see the great outcry from the faithful and a few brave clergy who are not willing to remain silent in the face of this assault against Holy Catholic Tradition.
You may want to visit the records from Vatican I to see how Pius IX finally dogmatized this demotion of the entire Latin Episcopacy. It was of course subjugated for quite some time prior but this sham of a Council drove the final nail in the old coffin
#41 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-01-03 20:10
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