Thursday, September 23. 2010
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A move long overdue: Justice for Orthodox Alaskans.
#1 Fr John Reeves on 2010-09-23 18:56
Good & bad. Whoever is going to be in charge of these lands in Alaska MUST be responsible with checks & balances. Past bishops in Alaska sold off lands and used the monies however they wanted. Checks & balances must be put in place!
(Editor's note: Agreed. That is why conciliarity is so important. The Diocese has a functioning Diocesan Council, which would have to agree to all alienations of diocesan property, just as in any other diocese. In the past, this was not the case. )
#2 Anonymous on 2010-09-24 07:26
With Jonah and his flunkies about to elect a cult leader from HOOM's bishop of Alaska, we can expect more doom, gloom and fraud up in Alaska.I am disgusted beyond belief! This consecration must be stopped and Jonah needs to be retired. Jonah's infamous monastic endeavors must be held in check. There is no institutional memory, there is no competent leadership, there is only a stench of death.
(Editor's note: Having a bad night, are we? Get a good night's sleep and write again in the morning.)
#3 no name on 2010-09-24 15:22
I share "no name's" pessimism about the return of the Alaska lands. What will it really mean if Archimandrite Gerasim Eliel becomes bishop in Alaska?
Melanie Jula Sakoda
PS And, FYI Mark, I just had a good night's sleep.
I believe you are correct! + Jonah is bringing many marginal type celibates into his circle and preparing them as future bishops. The laos must recognize this and speak up. + Jonah will get around opposition by having these people go to St. Vlad's or St. Tikhon's for a year, but what about who these people are? It goes back to same old problem; everytime we look for a candidate for the episcopate, we turn over every rock looking for ANY celibate. Former wackos, rejects from other faiths, good intentioned converts, etc. When will we come to our senses and quit looking for "marginal" candidates to lead and look for the "BEST" candidates to lead? Where will these candidates come from? Married, proven, educated priests! Make the dioceses smaller with more bishops. Consider both celibate and non-celibate - after all, this IS OUR ORTHODOX TRADITION! Celibates were only taken for expediency - the monasteries had the libraries (educated) and laws giving progeny church property were eliminated. Marriage DOES NOT discount a man from eligibility
for the episcopate. The ROMAN CATHOLIC idea that there is something "dirty" or "unacceptable" regarding sexual relations and a bishop's office IS NOT ORTHODOX! The Holy Spirit is not less likely to be present!
#3.1.1 Anonymous on 2010-09-26 08:13
This is a great idea, but we need practical solutions. Dumpster diving for bishop's isn't the answer, but neither are married bishops. I agree, all for it, but the oca will not, and cannot go down that road alone, and such a solution is decades if not centuries away.
What we need is a commitment to raise up sexually, theologically, morally, and administratively good and decent men. Pastors, widowed clergy, and not hippies, yippes and duimmies turned monk.
#126.96.36.199 no name on 2010-09-27 15:22
I might not have used the expression "dumpster diving," but I agree with this. Given the size of most of our dioceses, married clergy is not a viable answer. If the problem is a lack of qualified monks (whatever people may think of the people surrounding His Beatitude) he does seem to be looking for solutions in the right place. (And btw--I am not part of the Met's circle, but the celibates I have met who are seem very competent.) If we don't have enough good candidates, isn't the answer to train more of them? And if Archimandrite Gerasim is being considered for a diocese, why is it wrong to make sure he's up to it, both pastorally and theologically? Training him isn't the same as appointing him. Maybe I'm naive, but has anyone heard anything official to indicate the Alaskans themselves won't be an integral part of the process?
#188.8.131.52.1 Morton on 2010-09-28 09:51
Sorry, "no name," you're wrong! The church went to celibates/monastics primarily because progeny took over church property via Laws of the Empire. Such laws no longer exist. When the Church has a need, it adapts to it i.e., female diaconate to administer to women. The "NEED" in America and throughout Orthodoxy is to return to considering both married and celibate and/or monastics for the episcopacy. There is no need to wait for approval from anyone - THIS IS ORTHODOX TRADITION. Those who would refuse to recognize married bishops are the ones who would be following false, RC-type theology and practice!
#184.108.40.206.2 Anonymous on 2010-09-29 05:58
I've seen this assertion (that marriage is not an impediment to consecration as a bishop) what seems like a hundred times now on this site from various commenters.
To say that a married man can be advanced to the episcopacy is technically correct, but by no means complete, and thus leads to false understandings.
Canon XLVIII of the Quinsext Council, which is generally accepted as having Ecumenical authority, says that "The wife of him who is advanced to the Episcopal dignity, shall be separated from her husband by their mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop..."
In other words, they would no longer function as a married couple in any ordinary sense, being forbidden to even live in the same house.
How many married priests are willing to sign up for this? And how many of their Matushkas are going to give their assent? My suspicion is: very, very few.
#220.127.116.11 Subdeacon Steven Owens on 2010-09-28 20:44
The Council in Trullo also had a preceding canon, Canon XII, which ruled thusly: "Moreover this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us,—it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach. For the divine Apostle says: “Do all to the glory of God, give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye imitators of me even as I also am of Christ.” But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed."
What one sees immediately is that (a) married bishops were a reality, even if in a minority at that time; (b) there was no doctrinal rejection of married bishops as emphasized by the phrase "And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority"; this action merely separated a married bishop from his wife--it did not annul the marriage nor did it divorce the couple; and, the rule was enacted only because married bishops who were cohabitating with their wives was scandalizing the "people."
It is a tale, a pious fable, but nonetheless the practice, not to ordain a married person as bishop. This has been done for centuries without any canonical, theological or ecclesiastical warrant. In other words, it is strange for the True Church to conduct itself in such an irregular fashion.
#18.104.22.168.1 Carl Kraeff on 2010-09-30 13:28
Wow! Talk about mixed feelings. Now we have another autonomous Orthodox Church in America ... sort of. I think it could be great for Alaska. But then again, Alaska hasn't done too well recently for their churches, clergy and faithful. But as always, we hope and pray for the best, and plan for the worst.
(Editor's note: What are you talking about? The MC simply returned the lands to where they belonged by treaty, and made sure they can no longer be used as a piggy bank for either Sitka or Syosset, but dealt with conciliarily. How is that bad? As for the future, they have choices now, which they never had in the past. They must exercise them, and then they will be fine...)
#4 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-24 16:16
You missed one word that is critical to the thought ... "they must exercise them (their choices) WELL and then they will be fine". That is the key. There is no doubt the bulk of the OCA has been out-of-touch with the conditions and situations of Alaska. I only pray that whatever the choices are, they will be made to glory of God and to the benefit of His Holy Church.
#4.1 Sean O'Clare on 2010-09-27 09:41
We have choices now? That's great...you hear that guys? Let's start exercising our choices without quarter...I spoke to a Dena'ina brother last week who told me thier first "choice" would be for the OCA to give them back control over the Spirit Houses/Graves at Eklutna. Many Dena'ina despise the fact that the OCA has made thier ancestors and families graves a tourist attraction...start making a list brothers and sisters, and start exercising our "choices", let's see how far that would go before the Great WHite Christian Fathers would step in and pat us on the head like disobedient children, and say "now, now, we didn't mean THOSE kinds of choices"...time to make power moves, relatives.
Moses the Tlingit
#5 Moses on 2010-09-25 12:00
Moses - Could you explain a little more what the heck you are talking about to us poor ignorant folk?
#5.1 Michael Strelka on 2010-09-28 14:16
A great decision by the MC as long as it is supported by the means for any member of the DoA to report unethical or corrupt actions and for the national church to investigate corruption (as should be the case in any Diocese in any matter).
The fear of 'interfering' in another Bishop's diocese has really been a terrible card played by unethical, corrupt, and even criminal bishops.
I strongly support the decision as long as a member of the Diocese could report problems and those would be investigated by the national church. The national church, rather than holding and playing the cards, should have the ability or more importantly, the will, to stop criminal and corrupt bishops.
.. my 2 cents worth ..
#6 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-25 18:12
On the surface, it would seem that this decision to give back, or rather give up any claims, to the lands in Alaska is a good thing. However, one has only to do a little bit more investigation to find that despite the uproar caused by Bishop Nikolai over the lands, the locals didn't exactly do a spectacular job of keeping up the churches in Alaska.
Perhaps some others would like to comment on exactly what the condition of the Diocese of Alaska was like prior to Bishop Nikolai. What I have read was that the diocese was in terrible financial shape and many of the churches were in horrible shape prior to Bishop Nikolai. Was this true? And if so, why? And perhaps more importantly, if this is true, what has changed in Alaska to keep things from spinning out of control again?
The most prudent thing to do, if there simply aren't any local people capable of managing the lands in Alaska, is to put the lands in a trust and hire competent financial people to manage the affairs, even if it's from a distance.
#7 Anon. on 2010-09-27 13:03
#7.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-27 21:38
Dear Moses and Daniel:
I'm not sure it is patronizing, but it may show a great deal of ignorance about Alaska and its people. If I had my way, I'd order all OCA finances turned over to some responsible and conservative financial firm, like Brown Brothers in NY (and I'm a left leaning liberal). What Alaska needs is serious native leadership, backed up by the resources necessary to pull that place together. Throw out the converts, throw out the non native Slav's, Tell the Antiochians and the Bulgarians to hit the road! Moses: organize the SNOW REVOLUTION, you Alaskan's need to become an advancing glacier against any people 'come to help' clergy and non, throw out the "lower regions dark and deep"
If you can't find a native candidate for bishop, tell Syosset you have put your diocese under a priests temporary control until you can find the right man. You don't need anyone from California, or from New York.
ALASKA FOR ALASKAN'S Send the rest home. You have all the cards, you have all the power and wisdom, Alaska, all you need are the ....! JUST SAY NO!
#7.1.1 no name on 2010-09-28 11:31
Poor cash flow can drive desperate decision making. I'm pretty sure the biggest issue those folks have faced, including Nikolai is they only have the value of the assets and the cash rolling in doesn't appear to be aplenty.
If you don't have cash on your balance sheet and you don't have income on your income statement and you've got a bunch of assets, what do you do oh great wise conservative managers of money?
Answer: You sell the assets for cash to keep the operation running and that is all you can do if you can't fund operations any other way. Once the assets are all sold off, you shrink to your cash means.
It just seems so easy from this distance, but thank God we aren't running on their budgets.
Good luck in Alaska
#22.214.171.124 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-09-29 20:25
Brown Brothers!!! 'Zounds!! Why would the ultimate Wall Street insider (and privately owned to boot) be a good choice for something that is supposed to be transparent???
#126.96.36.199 Morton on 2010-09-30 12:35
I bank with them.
They don't rob.
They are responsible and conservative in their judgement.
That is why.
#188.8.131.52.1 no name on 2010-10-01 19:29
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