Monday, September 20. 2010
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Dear Steven, please do not confuse us with the facts!
The real tragedy is we all believed him in 2003.
Now he is revealed ...
May God have mercy on his soul.
#1 anonymous on 2010-09-20 16:01
There is wonderful commentary on araborthodoxy pertinent to this discussion.
see especially the following remarks:
September 14, 2010 1:08 PM
More clarity form Archimandrite Touma! Thank you for your translation, Samn!
I have become curious about one point that bears on this issue, that needs an Arabist to sort out: what were the Arabic phrases translated as "auxiliary bishops" and "diocesan bishops" in the Self-Rule Resolution of 2003 (for which, unlike this last, the English and Arabic were both stated to be equally authoritative), and how do they compare to the phrases used in the late resolution?
September 15, 2010 11:32 PM
abrashiyya = archdiocese
auxiliary bishop = usquf musa'id.
However, there is no equivalent of 'diocesan bishop' in the Arabic version of the text.
Rather, in paragraph 3 where the English text says "recognition of auxiliary bishops as diocesan bishops and eparchial synod" the Arabic simply says "The establishment (the word I translate as 'assign' in this article and in my translation of the newest decision = iqama) of the auxiliary bishops over dioceses (or 'bishoprics' = usqufiyyat) and the local synod." Elsewhere, such as in the phrase "procedure of the election of diocesan bishops" this is not an exact translation either: the Arabic reads "procedure for the election of the bishops of the Archdiocese (asaqifa al-abrashiyya)".
So honestly, the Arabic text of the 2003 decision can be read exactly in line with Fr. George Aquaro's excellent reading of the Synod's recent decision. Many people have been commenting for years about discrepancies between the English and Arabic versions of the text, and the Patriarchate itself has more or less been saying the whole time that its understanding of 'self-rule' is not the same as the way the Archdiocese had been selling its 'autonomy' in English.... What's happened is that the parties who were interested in selling autonomy in English suddenly decided that the other possible interpretation is now more to their benefit.... Which is why we need more channels of communication and understanding between America and the Patriarchate, so no party can monopolize them for their own advantage!
September 16, 2010 9:00 AM
So basically folks we were duped!
We never had what we thought and now the metropolitan is trying to make us see things that not only are not there, but never were there.
I do not think, he is like the great patriarch Abraham, who by faith called those things that were not as though they were.
He is simply a BIG FAT LIAR.
Wake up stop the checks and demand accountability.
#2 anonymous on 2010-09-20 16:12
Ands when we speak of the ELECTION of a DIOCEASN BISHOP can we ask WHO elected Bishop Joseph? NO ONE. He was sent to us by Pat. Ignatius. No denial by Met. Philip.? Wonder Why?
ALL other Bishops elected in America except for Bp Joseph and Bp Demetri (of Florida or is it Mexico that we (!) support! More shenanigans of course! We need Bishops like Touma of Lebanon educated in the U.S. but ever loyal of truth and consistency which the Synod in Damascus lacks.
#2.1 Anonymous W. Region Priest on 2010-09-20 23:53
I, for one, object to the notion that we "never had what we thought we had".
The Holy Synod in its most recent meeting manifestly violated its own Self-Rule Resolution, which I have been at pains to remind the readers of this and other sites covering the controversy, contained a clause in both its English and Arabic versions which asserted that the Arabic version and its English translation are of "equal force and validity".
The English version explicitly spoke of diocesan bishops and the drawing of diocesan boundaries. That the Arabic version of the same clauses used a word that might more properly have been Englished as "episcopal seat" instead of "diocese" is neither here nor there: the Holy Synod chose to English it as "diocese" and to give the English version equal force and validity with the Arabic. Nor is Englishing "usqufiyyat" as "diocese" absurd--it is common practice to identify a diocese, eparchy, metropolitanate, archdiocese, or patriarchate with its throne.
I am perfectly willing to defer to Fr. George and Samn!'s expertise and admit that reading the Arabic version of the Self-Rule Resolution without the English translation having equal force and validity admits the interpretation given by the recent Arabic-only resolution of the Holy Synod. However, the Holy Synod did not, in granting Self-Rule, redefine its relations with the Archdiocese by the Arabic version of the Self-Rule Resolution alone, but by the bilingual Self-Rule Resolution. The bilingual Self-Rule Resolution does not admit the interpretation given by the recent resolution, but does admit the interpretation expressed by Bishops Joseph and Basil, at the time of their enthronements, as quoted in Steven Knowlton's reflection.
Enough members of the Holy Synod are fluent in English, that if the Holy Synod had not meant to create dioceses and diocesan bishops, they would not have used those words in an English translation given equal force and validity with the Arabic version. And all of the members of the Holy Synod, whatever their linguistic competences, understand the significance of enthroning a bishop as a ruling bishop, and authorized the enthronement of our bishops in their usqufiyyat = diocese. (Sorry, learned Arabists, the Holy Synod itself had made those terms equivalent for purposes of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.)
Because I am traveling and have spotty internet I have not viewed the YouTube videos of the consecrations in Damascus, but I have not doubt those videos, along with the videos of the enthronements in LA, Wichita, Toledo, . . ., and the bilingual text of the Self-Rule Resolution could form an adequate basis, under well-established canon law, for an appeal to Constantinople by any of our bishops who feels he has been wrongly deprived of his throne.
That said, I think it incumbent on those of us in the Archdiocese defending the Holy Canons and yearning for a united American Orthodox Church governed under those canons to consider what is behind this volte-face by the Holy Synod. Is it an erroneous regard for the pastoral well-being of their flock in North America, which has been misportrayed to them as being very disaffected with having proper diocesan bishops enforcing normal Orthodox practices on parishes, as if St. George, Troy, MI were a microcosm of the Archdiocese? Was it simply politics--Met. Philip calling in "chips" so he could get a free hand to move Bishop Mark without his consent because of the dissatisfaction of favored clergy and trustees (one so favored as to still be on the Board despite a felony conviction and a resolution of the Archdiocesan Assembly banning those with criminal convictions form the board)? Is it the wrong-headed belief that only Met. Philip can or will continue largess from the Archdiocese to the Patriarchate, in spite of the plain evidence to the contrary provided by the sister-diocese project between the Dioceses of Wichita and Haran?
Or is it buyers remorse at having signed on to the Chambesy process? And if that, whose? Met. Philip's, realizing that he won't get to be heralded as the architect of the united American Orthodox Church and surely won't be chosen to be its primate? Or the Holy Synod, realizing that a united American Orthodox Church will only send support after the manner of St. Paul's collection for "the saints who are at Jerusalem", rather than providing the Patriarchate with a permanent subvention and--if the cynics are right--intermittent baksheesh?
Now a mere layman makes those clerical apologists who set forth their supposed nuanced and insightful explanations look the fool.
Bravo Steven. Well done.
#3 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-09-20 22:32
Thank you Steve! Damning evidence....
#4 Antionymous on 2010-09-21 05:02
Too much about NOTHING! + Philip has been in control of the AOCA since 1968 - so what's new? Re-consolidating his power before stepping down only makes it easier for his already picked predecessor, + Joseph. Truly unfortunate! The AOCA will remain under the thumb of the foreign bishops of Damascus while pretending to be autonomous. Wait til + Philip is out of the picture. Where is this American Church we keep hearing about?
#5 Anonymous on 2010-09-21 07:04
I am wondering the same thing. Although I do have to suggest that from my experience, even the OCA and Antiochian parishes which are 100% are painfully ethnic. For an American, I'm not sure what an American church should look like, but I certainly know what it doesn't look like!
#5.1 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-22 15:28
NO don't stop giving to the Archdiocese - -STOP THE SPENDING!!! - that is the key.
I said it last year and I will say it again... NO AUDIT = NO BUDGET!!
The only way to stop this stream of "double speak" is an impartial 3rd party audit of the Archdiocese finances IMMEDIATELY - forget about the bishops, at least for now - it is only a smoke screen!!!
Don't you see that we have stopped talking about the Audit - even the Board of Trustees have and I don't even think it is on the next agenda. The rouse is working!
Why else would MP go to such lengths? It is clear from Troy and clear from last convention that he is terrified by the idea of an audit - the transfers of bishops are directed particularily to the bishop who stood up at the general assembly applauding the Trustees motion to audit the archdiocese. It was this same bishop who discovered misappropriation of funds at the Antiochian Village 10 years ago which led to the removal of the then Fr George Geha. Don't be fooled by all the shenanigains on the Synod...follow the money...follow the money ...and it will lead to the truth!!
Let me say it again, FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL.....and don't be distracted by the smoke that bellows forth from Englewood.....*FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!*
Once this is done there will be no more shenanigains in Englewood as the audit will surely coincide with an early "retirement" by MP and Bp Antoun!
If there is not an organized effort to stop the spending and stop the Budget we will all have been duped. Once the next Metropolitain is elected and an audit is done we will realize how well we were all played!
#6 Delegate #1 on 2010-09-21 08:30
I think the answer to the question of what the senior churchmen understood and knew is simple enough ... everyone saw what they wanted to see; and they saw what was most adventageous for themselves. They were not thinking as diplomats (werein every little word and implication is critical), they were thinking as pragmatists, what would work best for themselves. That's it. Simple enough.
#7 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-21 10:03
It seems that the terminology has even confused two of our bishops, both native arabic speaking and not. This can be noted in the e-mail addresses of both Bp. Alexander (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Bp. Mark (facebook.com/Mutron.Mark) who both refer to themselvews as MUTRAN*.
Here is a quote from Metropolitan Basil of Akkar's presentation whre he also speaks of the terminology of the bishop:
The Office of Bishop in the Patriarchate of Antioch during the Modern Era
Speaking theologically about the office of bishop, it can be said that that anyone who receives canonical consecration to the episcopate is a “bishop.” Differences of rank among bishops are not a matter of priestly order or of dogmatic significance, but depend on the relative authority associated with a particular position. Such positions include the rank of auxiliary bishop (usquf musa3id), a bishop in charge of an archdiocese (sa7ib abrashiyya), a metropolitan (mutran)*, an archbishop, and a patriarch (or head of an autocephalous church).
How could this have gone unnoticed for so many years?
#8 Anonymous on 2010-09-21 11:17
I just read an interesting commentary in an old Orthodox booklet about the infamous King Herod who hearing about the birth of another king sought to have him killed.
Not knowing who he was, Herod decided upon a general slaughter of the Innocents in hopes of including this imagined future rival.
Herod was in his 70's at the time and realistically this new king if in fact a competitor would not pose any real opposition until reaching his 30's.
So what was he thinking? Anybody know who we should ask so we can better understand the mindset of someone willing to sacrifice the innocent for their own ambition even though these blameless ones pose no real threat?
#9 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-09-21 13:22
In all the expositions from the tales of twisted translations to the stories of consecrated bishops now ?unconsecrated?, the one thing lacking is a good reflection on the reasons for the uncanonical move by Metropolitan Philip.
Is his hatred of Bp. Mark running that deep, or did someone pay to remove Bp. Mark or could there be other reasons like the threat of audit? Is MP simply trying to avoid what happened in the OCA from happening to him?
Curious minds would appreciate an insightful reflection from someone who really gets it..
To suggest its pure ambition or raw power is certainly possible, but a bit odd.
Could it be that someone asked a question of a federal authority and was refused because they weren't legally privy, but Bishop Mark could have and now MP is working voraciously to curtail or stop the possibility of Bishop Mark actually taking the action? All that really would have to happen is for Bishop Mark to demand an investigation (like requesting 990s or HUD audits) into those things he is certain have been done improperly or illegally.
Again, it seems like a reflection on his reasons is really fair.
And, with this current ruling, does an auxilary bishop now not have the ability to review audits or 990s, etc.?
#9.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-21 20:46
All we need for the audit, regardless of what MP says, is for someone to alert the IRS again and again. If they finally come thru and demand an audit going all the way back, MP has nothing to say about it, and the truth will finally come out. Then let's see what we have left after all the penalties are paid.
Actually a good housecleaning and starting over are in order. We could rebuild the Archdiocese from the bottom up and this time put in checks and balances - real ones - to make sure this unholy scandal never occurs again. Bishop MARK is right to do what he was trying to do last year, and he should continue it, regardless of what MP says. If our Bishops don't have the conscience to deal with the issues, they are the worst sinners of all, and they are the ones to be laicized.
Pope Gregory The Great around the year 590 conducted a heated letter writing campaign denouncing the ambition of John The Faster Patriarch of Constantinople for his appropiating the title "Universal Patriarch." or Bishop of bishops. A title given him by the reigning Emperor Maurice. Something similar to what a Synod in Damascus might attempt to do for a Metropolitan in America 1500 years later.
Certainly Gregory's successors took this title for their very own later on, to the consternation of the East and led to the Great Schism. This saintly and revered pope however still true to Holy Tradition condemned the denial of episcopal prerogatives belonging to other bishops by any so called superior Bishop whether a Patriarch or Metropolitan as an imiation of the the first apostate. The recent document out of Damascus is ripe with such looting.
Simply stated, Dioceses were established, Bishops were enthroned and any subsequent, or, on second thought, attempts to deny a seated bishop the prerogatives that are his alone have the devil himself to thank for such inspiration.
#10 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-09-22 09:06
How do we justify the terminology used by Patriarch Ignatius in the following videos taken at the Consecration of our three newest DIOCESAN BISHOPS?
Summons by Holy Synod to serve the Dioceses
Presentation of Staff and Mitre
Confession of Faith by Bishop Alexander
Confession of Faith by Bishop Mark
Confession of Faith of Bishop Thomas
Consecration and Vesting with the word for eparchy?
Watch very very carefully and listen to each word.
#11 abdullah-khouri on 2010-09-22 09:38
PS: Please don't use his name in vain as you may not be the original Abdallah Khouri as evidenced by http://www.orthodoxattorneys.org/
You have misspelled you own name!
In the future perhaps all us "servants of God" could use quotation marks to allow for variant spellings.
#11.1 Delegate #1 on 2010-09-26 13:16
This matter is really, really simple. All of the translation stuff is shameful. The guys in Damascus are not fools, at least not in the wordly sense. If Damascus only has to control one man in America, the money spigot stays open. If they have to deal with a legitimate "metropolinate" with a diversity of opinions and real authority, then the outcomes are uncertain and the money spigot may not necessarily remain open.
I find it impossible to believe that the powerful ones in Damascus, including at least one who is educated in America, are clueless as to what their cash cow, likely their only growing presence, believed about "self rule." A more brazen ruse I cannot imagine.
To my co-strugglers in the AOCANA, you are in my prayers. Having recently endured such shameful dishonesty and abuse of power in the OCA, you have my deepest sympathy.
#12 James P. on 2010-09-22 15:28
Kevin, it definitely crossed my mind that the IRS be contacted and an accounting be made. However, we shouldn't jump to conclusions. Just because there is an audit doesn't necessarily mean that a boat-load of problems will be found. It may or may not happen. Are you prepared for the result if nothing wrong is discovered? Now I think that there will be things found, and I 100% support the audit, but I'm just saying .... what if ... ?
#13 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-23 09:23
I for one would rejoice if an audit (as in legitimate) turned up no malfesance. However the likelihood of innocence diminishes with each passing month and year it is stonewalled, forgotten or being looked into by Bp. Antoun and the blue ribbon commision he chairs.
I would love to be wrong no matter how unlikely that might be.
#13.1 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-09-23 16:43
Steve, my old friend – you are forgetting that there is a basic narrative in the attitude toward the laity in this matter: “The laity are the Village People”. We are stupid, ignorant and worse yet –children. Unfortunately, there are lay people, as you have pointed out in previous conversations that actually live up to the “village people” stereotypes that feed the narrative currently coming from the hierarchy. The fact that American Orthodox are some of the most educated people on the planet seems to elude and worse yet, many Americans are bamboozled into believing that their “village people” status is somehow blessed, pious and holy.
The truth of the matter is that whether these ridiculous edicts are coming from Englewood or Damascus, the end result is clear: the canonical order of the Church in that quarter is under full frontal assault
#14 John Peter E. Presson on 2010-09-23 16:48
John Peter, I agree with you 100%. There has been a fundamental shift in the quality of bishops over the centuries. In the early church, even up through the Middle Ages, the bishops were most likely the most educated people in the communities. Today, however, most bishops have less education and training than a large percentage of the laity. Let's face it, the primary qualification of a bishop is that they are not married. That's it. Not that they are well educated, have good business sense, or that they are especially noted as spiritual leaders. Just that they are not married. I over-heard a discussion among seminarians once, and they recognized that if a young man completed seminary, did not marry, and was not involved in any major scandal, they would become a bishop. That's it. They knew it and I think the laity today knows it. It's not the best way to engender confidence in leaders, by determining our leaders/bishops by their sexuality, not by their intelligence or leadership abilities.
#14.1 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-27 09:52
It's a pity. According to the Canons, the Apostolic Fathers, etc. the hierarch is supposed to be an unflagging bulwark of knowledge and confession of the Faith. Perhaps it could explain a few things.
#14.1.1 John Peter Presson on 2010-09-28 18:12
Well, the most recent edition of the AOCA magazine "the Word" just hit the street. Two interesting items.
First, the first page includes the Arabic text of the recent "Holy" Synod decision to, once again, demote the Bishops to Auxiliary status. Amazingly, the word "Auxiliaries" (in English) appears right in the middle of the Arabic text of this resolution !! It seems that someone felt compelled to add this word to the resolution, thereby creating the erroneous impression that this word was included in the resolution by the Synod. This is especially ludicrous given the Synod's statement that only the Arabic version of the resolution is official.
The second interesting fact is that this edition of "The Word" includes a description of the goings on at the May 2010 meeting of the AOCA Board of Trustees. No mention was made of any discussion about the internal audit committee established several months earlier. Hmmm...... You don't suppose that they forgot all about the committee, do you? Or maybe they are hoping everyone else will forget about it.
#15 Disgusted Life-long Antiochian Orthodox Christian on 2010-10-07 20:10
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