Wednesday, November 3. 2010
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I care nothing about the politics of your Holy Church but I do care that a Good Priest and his wonderful Christian family are being thrown into the street three weeks prior to the celebration of the birth of our Savior. Where is love, compassion, forgiveness in all this business? Pray for Father David and his family.
#1 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 07:37
This is exactly the kind of "non-violent resistance" that has been needed for several decades from our priests! Keep it up fathers. We have soooo needed our leaders to "lay down their lives for their sheep," otherwise this abusiveness will never stop. Abusers only sustain such behavior because those they abuse enable them by disgusting subservience. We must stand up for what is right, no matter the cost. It is the only way to move forward.
#1.1 Anon. on 2010-11-03 20:15
While very few people know the real facts surrounding the removal of the Terre Haute Preist. most Christians would agree that the Priest and the Terre Haute Church should be provided with due process - the right to know what he did or did not do and the penalty for the violation. The removal of a priest by the Metropolitan is no small act. The removal was meant to send a message throughout the entire Archdiocese that that fete has been accomplished.
The Terre Haute Priest should be provided with a stipend and severance package, along with a minimum of 60 days notice. How can Christians uproot the Terre Haute Priest (and his family) with less than 30 days notice (especially before one of our most sacred Holy Days - Christmas).
Alot can be said of the entire handling of this situation. How can Christians treat other Christians in this fashion - especially one who bears the collar?
On the other hand, initial reports indicate that the Terre Haute Priest made disparaging comments about the Metropolitan ...on Facebook, coupled with the fact that the Terre Haute Priest ignoried several commands from the Archdiocese (about wearing cossocks in public, about how to conduct services, etc.).
The question remains whether it is proper for an Employer to fire an Employee for insubordination after having been warned. Most (if not all employers) would unequivocably state that the Employer has the right (and the duty) to immeidately terminate the Employee.
In the end, the entire situation is sad, because it involves a Church, the Archdiocese in America and leaves a black scar surrounding the entire episode. People feel bad, on both sides of the table.
Perhaps the lesson to learn from this entire mess is that FACEBOOK (and other forms of social media) will be the demise of many Employees (Families, Friendships, Relationships) in the years to come.
May the Good Lord find a shining star to provide comfort to both the Terre Haute Church, the Terre Haute Preist (and his family) and the entire Archdiocese.
Termination is never easy, especially when it occurs in the manner that has been described herein.
(Editor's note: Well, there goes 50 years of pastoral work and theological education down the tubes. The priest is not an employee of the parish - but he is really just an employee. Bottom line: he is not a servant, a minister, a priest - he's just an employee to be disposed of at will. Great. And just how are we different from the world? The only way I can think of using the above comments is that the world does employee benefits better. )
#1.2 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 15:30
All that was posted was a handful of pictures of Bishop Mark washing parishioners' feet and otherwise serving at the Terre Haute parish. The only way Met. Philip could possibly take offense is if he interprets anyone saying "Eis polla eti Dhespota, Sayedna Mark" as a critical comment about himself.
All I can say is, if Met. Philip is scared of Fr. David, he must be terrified of those who are asking for an external audit.
Sleep tight, Sayedna!
#1.2.1 Cordelia on 2010-11-05 18:07
The priest being moved are just a beginning. NOBODY DISRESPECTS PHILLIP,NOBODY. He is the king and should be given the due respect. His word is law. Now lets wake up this is a call for the entire Orthodox community to rebel the past inconsistant decisions thta Phillip has made. The blade reporter is very knowledable about our faith however what was not known or printed is that:
A Dioscian Bishop cannot be moved or fired.
A Dioscian Bishop has the authority to call for an audit,he is the person who is accountable for the funds. Phillip himself directed this himself after the incident at St. George of Toledo.
Phillip is of coursea hippocrit, he hangs Bishop Mark with the theft at St. George but when he tries to get an audit from the church in Troy he gets the rath of Phillip. The only way that this could be stopped was for Phillip to go back to the holy synod and reverse that decision. ( I wonder how much that was? oh, we won't know the archdioscese won't let an audit happen)
So pay attention now, after he gets the bishops made auxilliary he now can fire, move, or susspend them.
Now part II.
THE RATH OF PHILLIP
Any Priest who had supoorted Bishop Mark is in the crosshairs of Phillip. We saw this recently when the Priest from St. Elias got a letter telling him he had 30 days to move to Indiana and the priest from indiana got the same message. There surely will more to follow.
Demand Phillips resegination. Enough of this ruler. He has embarrassed the Antiochian's from one point of the globe to the next. The holy synoid must not care much about rational behavior. This Met. is out of control and needs to be removed by vote of the bishops in power, the people should all cry out loud, we hav had enough. It's like the last election that we have just encountered, the govt has gotten so greedy and power hungry they thought that they were on easy street and there was no stopping the. No so, the nation spoke up and it is time for the Orthodox faithful to take the stand and make your feeling known.
And if you didn't know that when the priest fall out of favor with the Met. and get fired or forced out of the Archdioscese guess who is soley in charge of their retirement. Phillip is, he decides who gets what and how much and if they get anything. Don't mess with the King is the message being sent to the clergy. The woman of the Anthiocian faith have raised over $500,000.00 for the retirement fund. We as Orthodox Christians need to demand and I mean demand that a format be compiled to have the priest retirement set in stone and be secure. Not to be subject to the wims of a irrational person. They deserve better they are our spiritual fathers and confessors and need the same security that most of us can enjoy at any job.
I pray for all of our clergy and bishops that have had to encounter this hardship. We don't need more of the old conuntry in the midwest, we need just what we had. Oh, one last thing, the uneassness in the midwest has been mostly inpart from disrespect from the detroit chruchs and blessed from Englewood.
#1.3 Anonymous for now on 2010-11-07 17:13
you should post this on the latest discussion regarding MP's interview with the Blade.
#1.3.1 Pol Pot on 2010-11-08 18:34
Thank you. I want to ask this audience if any body knows the history or priest who is being transfered to Sylvania to replace Fr. Paul at St. Elias. I heard that he is a son in law of FR. Antipas in Troy and was in char$e of hall rentals and that too was under scurtiny. This was also one of the churches that a audit was requested for but not produced. Of course some of the staunch supporters of the met are members of this church. I think that it is strange that a priest from the church that was one of the leaders in the campaign to rid our ENTHRONED BISHOP MARK has sent to St. Elias, the parish that suupported Bishop Mark in his impossible task. ( only impossible because of the meddaling from engelwood) Oh, could this be a gift, humm. Troy, Troy, Troy, why does that name keep popping up.
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 02:58
Fr. Joe Anytpas runs a racket with the hall rental. One Arab America gentleman who is a member of Fr. shalhoub's parish paid Fr. Joe $20,000 in cash for his daughter's wedding reception. Fr. Joe would only take cash.
Fr. Gregory Ofeish in San Francisco had the same racket in his parish and his son was the caterer. But Fr. gregory is no longer in the archdiocese because he was removed by bishop Joseph years ago. FR. Gregory was another +Philip fav.
But the rental hall racket is definintely the mode of operation for +philip's inner circle of priests.
#188.8.131.52.1 Iskandra Tannous on 2010-11-11 13:20
Good Point. Since the home he lives in is a Parish house the new priest and his family will need to live there
#2 Loyal antiochian on 2010-11-03 07:49
If you are disloyal and disobedient to your metropolitan, then its time to be removed. Fr. Alberts will make a good replacement.
#3 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 07:54
"If you are disloyal and disobedient to your metropolitan, then its time to be removed."
The metropolitan should do everyone a favor and stop using the word "Orthodox" to apply to himself and his ethnic club. Call yourselves the "The Honorable and Ancient Arab Elk and Moose Lodge."
#3.1 Good Grief on 2010-11-03 09:54
#3.1.1 MichiganPCMem on 2010-11-03 17:40
Obedience is one thing, blind adherence contrary to all common sense is something quite different. If this is the "Orthodox way" of obedience and if the choice of priestly dress brings about a Metropolitan throwing a family out on the street, then I want nothing to do with any such Church.
We can all disagree and debate the pros and cons of cassocks, or the priest's suit, that's fine. But actually throwing a priest out of a parish over it is a perversion of authority that I cannot even imagine any person attempting to defend. Of course what else should we expect from all the anonymous posts? It's easy to defend nonsense when you're not putting your neck on the line.
#3.2 Chuck Shingledecker on 2010-11-03 09:54
Chuck,son don`t blame The Church for the acts of an old senile man,he is NOT The Orthodox Church.His actions prove that he may Not even be Orthodox any more.Pray for his soul for it is in mortal danger.Abuna Habib
#3.2.1 Abuna Habib on 2010-11-04 20:12
The trajedy is that this is nothing new and is at the tail end of a very long and poor reputation of anti-Orthodox acts.
#184.108.40.206 John Peter Presson on 2010-11-05 08:45
Almost twenty years ago M. Philip tried to set up a mission in England - without consulting any of the Orthodox Hierarchs having jurisdiction in that country, or even his own Antiochian brother bishop in Paris, who has jurisdiction over Antiochian Parishes in Western Europe. M. Philip's plan was only stopped by the direct and personal intervention of the Patriarch in Damascus.
#220.127.116.11.1 English Observer on 2010-11-05 14:32
The primary actor there was a priest in the Western Rite Deanery of AOCNA. The communities which were subsequently established are all Eastern Rite.
Also at that time the Antiochian Bishop in Paris was only an Auxiliary Bishop and so the Antiochians in Western Europe, including those in UK, came formally directly under the Patriarch.
#18.104.22.168.1.1 Archimandrite Kyril Jenner on 2010-11-06 14:50
Abuna, You are correct, he does need prayers but he also needs to step down and take all his maniacs with him. He is a detriment to the Orthodox churches now, he makes irrational decisions about what's best, the whole Audit scandal, the Archdiocese Board filled with felons, men with records. It's all about money for him, and it needs to stop. He's old, senile, angry. I don't understand what the hold up is. There are plenty of priests and bishops to take over the office, what is everyone waiting for. The time is now for Metropolitan to be relieved of his duties. You are all going to sit back and let this priest and his family be thown out on the street for wearing a cassock in public. Give me a break! If that's the case, you should all be in in rubber rooms. This man is a dangerous man, he needs to be stopped, he is hurting our churches and our priests. The time has come!
#22.214.171.124 LB on 2010-11-05 11:47
The "hold up" as you call it is that those with authority to remove Metropolitan +Philip, the Holy Synod of Antioch, are instead enabling him. None of this would be happening if the Holy Synod had simply enforced the plain meaning of the bilingual Self-Rule Resolution: Bishop +Mark would still be the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Toledo and the Mid-West, priests in his diocese would be released, reassigned, and the like by him, not the Archbishop of New York.
Instead, for reasons on which we may only speculate, the Holy Synod chose to grant Met. +Philip his wish that bishops who had been consecrated for dioceses, and enthroned in dioceses, be declared to be auxiliary bishops and that he have authority over the whole Archdiocese.
While we must pray for his restoration, knowing that with God all things are possible, whether it be prelest, pride, financial corruption or a combination of the three, whatever evil is driving Met. +Philip's behavior, I fear the Archdiocese will not in good canonical order until he dies, the police cart him away on charges of financial misdeeds, or enough of his supporters on the Holy Synod retire or repose and are replaced with bishops aligned with the monastic revival in Lebanon and Syria so that votes on the Synod will go against him on principle.
Short of that, the only recourse is for an aggrieved bishop or priest to appeal to Constantinople. It is my hope, should it come to that, that Met. +Philip's statements against the Episcopal Assembly might weigh against him--the Holy Canons are already against him, but in the world of Byzantine politics, that, alas, is often not enough--and that the First Throne will chose to hear the appeal and rule against this madness.
#126.96.36.199.1 DNY on 2010-11-05 17:09
If Fr. Alberts has for to fill Fr. David's shoes, he better have some really big feet. Many of the priest in the Antiochian Arch"regency" have a Ph. D. This is great if our church was big on scholasticism. My church is big on Mystical Theology. Very few students from St. Tikhon's are what Met.+ PHILIP want anyway. May God Bless All who carry the cross,rejoice and be glade.....
#3.3 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 11:24
You're a nut!
#3.4 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 11:39
Why is it that WE (St. Elias Church in Sylvania) have to give up our priest Fr. Paul Albert?? Father Paul and his family have been nothing but a wonderful blessing to our church. Just because a small minority of people that have more influence than they should decided he should go, we are losing not only our Spiritual Father, but a good friend!! I am sorry that the Metropolitan has decided for us to lose Bishop Mark AND Father Paul and his family!!
#3.5 Viviane on 2010-11-05 15:59
I agree: Why should you have to lose your Priest. Keep him.
#3.5.1 Michael Thomas Ellis on 2010-11-05 17:36
I agree with Viviane wholeheartedly! I feel very sorry that the Terre Haute parish is losing such a wonderful priest in Fr. Moretti. I feel equally sorry for our St. Elias parish that we are losing our wonderful priest Fr. Paul Albert. Why not leave Fr. Paul at St. Elias and let his replacement go to Terre Haute?
#3.5.2 Carol Yonov on 2010-11-07 19:54
and if the CEO is disrespectfull of his Orthodox duties what then?
#3.6 anoymous for now on 2010-11-08 21:12
acutally you have it partically right. If your obeident to the Orthodox faith and practice it in spite of being chatised for doing what is right. You know follow the the simple things, don't steal the churches money, stop gambling, don't scream at your priest and bishop openly and disrespect them. Don't put out a letter insulting your Bishop and then follow it up with a really insulting letter of ignorance. Have an Orthodox way of conducting business not the old country way by force and threat. It's the same old way of running things. One more giant leap for the faith to jump back in time 500 years or so. I see the word orthodoxy being used but by most of the vemon written here it looks like a hate festival. I think that most know what the issue is here at hand. It's like the friend we all have, they hire somebody to do job at their house and the job is not right, they did something wrong. They then hire another person and another problem, you know where this is going. Do you think that all of these Bishops and Priest have been so wrong to be have a target on their head and have our faith mocked from one corner of the earth to the other. Or could it be just maybe another factor?
#3.7 anoymous for now on 2010-11-08 21:28
I am dumbfounded by this display of vindictive tyranny by someone professing to represent the Good Shepherd. I am sure our Lord will not be at a loss for words or redemptive action when He get's around to rectifying the matter.
#4 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-03 07:57
Fr Moretti as a priest has the right to a Spiritual Court to answer the charges against him, this is a right and can NOT be be denied in the Orthodox Church otherwise we can no longer call ourselves Orthodox.
His words are sober and wise to his congregation - have courage Fr. David, and temperance and faith that God is with us always.
#5 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-03 07:59
What sort of spiritual court could Fr. David really expect when one man operates with unchecked power and complete impunity? Rather than go through that charade, I hope Father David finds a good assignment in another jurisdiction. I also hope he will be released in a timely fashion and not held in suspension for months or years.
Father David's response was martyric. May the Lord richly bless him and his family as he does all of his martyrs and confessors. St. Raphael, save your suffering people.
#5.1 James P. on 2010-11-03 09:36
It's my understand that he is due a Spiritual Court only if he is being deposed. It seems this is a loophole in the canon since 'discipline' and things like 'reassignment' do not require a Spiritual Court.
Isn't it normal (if not required) practice to release a clergyman or monastic to somewhere, in particular? Wouldn't an unspecified 'release' be tantamount to 'deposing', at least by implication? Perhaps such canonical subtleties are not important, or excused out of economia, or at least not as important as obedience to a Metropolitan - those canons are clear and unyielding in their need for akrivia. That is, economia for me, akrivia for you.
#5.2 melxiopp on 2010-11-03 11:59
All other Orthodox understand that the Antiochian hierarchy tends to be, well, to put it politely, sloppy. But the unseemliness of Met Philip's actions are crossing a line that I cannot imagine the other Orthodox bishops are willing to simply ignore.
Granted, as Met Philip said recently in an interview, he is quite willing to tell people to "take a leap" if they are not satisfied with his actions. Nonetheless, I suspect other bishops are privately speaking to one another about how they might approach Met Philip.
If, after approaching him privately, he tells them, in effect, to "take a leap" - then the bishops ought to respond publicly.
If the bishops wish to act as shepherds of Orthodox in America, and not just shepherds of their own "jurisdictions", then it now falls to them to - with one voice - speak to Met Philip and plead with him to pull back from his damaging actions.
TO ALL BISHOPS OF THE EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY:
Please, for the sake of the dear to Christ, be shepherds of all Orthodox faithful in America. Speak to your brother, Met Philip, and plead with him to understand that he is destroying what he himself worked so hard to build. His actions are ruinous to all Orthodox in this country. It falls to the bishops outside of the Antiochian Archdiocese, with one voice, to call Met Philip back from his harmful course.
#6 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 08:08
Gimme a flipping break!
No bishop in the EA is going to call +Philip on anything. This is an internal matter and +Philip is primate. Its over, too bad for Moretti, but he's toast.
Bad stuff happens to priests every day and some times at the hands of their own bishops. That is the way it is, right or wrong.
Just because+Philip has taken this terrible-swift action, and just because Fr. Moretti has written what appears to be beautiful piece his his bulletin, doesn't mean that there isn't more to it. Doesn't mean that more hasn't transpired between the two. If Moretti is a total innocent, well, he got screwed. If he isn't and there is more to it, +Philip has taken action and it isn't our biz.
That is just the way the kibbee crumbles Habib!
(Editor's Note: The Gospel according to Hobbes, where life is nasty, brutish and short. Of course, the real Gospel is predicated on striving towards the Summum Bonum, not fleeing the Summum Malum (the greatest evil). Your picture of the Orthodox Church is seriously flawed, friend.)
#6.1 no name on 2010-11-03 08:32
Bad stuff happens to priests every day and some times at the hands of their own bishops. That is the way it is, right or wrong.
It has become clear that Orthodox men should be strongly advised not to pursue the priesthood in North America. Sadly, I am serious.
Seminary isn't free, especially when your bishop (er, jurisdiction) pays for it, and your sacrifice will not be respected in the ecclesiastical crossfire between bishops and cliques.
If you wish to be ordained, do not take on additional debt to afford seminary and do not give up your career. Serve as a priest on the side. It's the only way to maintain your conscience and care for your family - once the priesthood's a job, a coward is born, prophesy ceases and truth-telling is no more.
#6.1.1 melxiopp on 2010-11-03 12:09
Boy did you nail it with this comment! Well said!
#188.8.131.52 A Midwest Observer on 2010-11-03 16:08
Wrong. I disagree. We need new good strong men, well educated men. Theologically sound. Not dummies trained by false 'fathers'.
The life is hard, its a bad life if your married. The bishops are trash, but God is there, he is with us.
If you have a vocation, go for it, but to to a real seminary, get your Mdiv and jump in! Who knows, it might delay the death of the Church in NA.
#184.108.40.206 no name on 2010-11-03 19:32
I don't disagree our priests should be strong (though not tyrants), well educated, theologically sound, and not dummies trained by false fathers. However, many would point (rightly or wrongly) to the falsity of fathers at SVOTS and Holy Cross, not to mention Englewood and the Syosset of old; and to the well-documented weaknesses of well-educated, theologically unsound men with MDivs beholden to canonically and pastorally unfit despots with little care for their priests (and a great deal of care for their own millions and those with millions, their luxury sedans, their jeweled panagias, four and five star hotel accomadations, political connections, etc.)
But, to be clear, I didn't argue against MDivs, I argued against taking on debt to fund an MDiv and against seeing the priesthood as a career to pay for that debt and to care for your family. The capriciousness of bishops makes that less than a wise choice, unfortunately.
Are there no Nathans in Antioch? No, then bring a new Bathsheba and fell another Uriah.
#220.127.116.11.1 melxiopp on 2010-11-04 08:41
Which brings up another question...its my understanding that Antiochian students sign a paper saying that they will serve the Archdiocese for so many years after graduation in return for their seminary tuition and living stipend. Fr. David has only been out of Seminary for a couple of (maybe three) years, and now he is being given the boot. Will this be considered a breach of contract? Will he now be expected to pay back the $ the Archdiocese spent on him? Sounds crazy, but I wouldn't put anything past them after this fiasco.
#18.104.22.168 Dn. So and So on 2010-11-05 14:15
Dear NO NAME, or shall I say SPINELESS--I am always annoyed at those who post on this website and then don't have the spine to sign their name.
Father Moretti and his wife have two children who will be put onto the street 3 1/2 weeks before Nativity. This is a Godly family. I don't really understand how this Bishop can do this. I also don't understand how you can call Fr. Moretti "toast." You are a jerk...
Signed, Dianne Combs, Crawfordsville, Indiana
#6.1.2 Dianne Combs on 2010-11-03 17:42
The poor man was made toast by his bishop, not me. I don't think that anyone on this list would treat Fr. Moretti that way. At the very least +Philip might have given him 90-120 days to vacate. I don't know Moretti, but I know the parish and I am sure the good people there will help him. Or perhaps someone like you will start a campaign to provide assistance to the family.
With love in Christ,
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 19:38
Please understand that some of us are trying to protect our priest and/or families by not using our real names. I am more than willing to stand up for my belifs.
#126.96.36.199 Ivan HadEnough on 2010-11-04 06:07
Thank you for this comment.
#188.8.131.52.1 no name on 2010-11-04 14:01
Actually if Fr Moretti is as good and beloved as you say, the congregation would probably be more than happy to provide an unofficial severance to tide him over until his next assignment in greener pastures. Who knows, he might be heading up a mission right next door. I wonder if anyone had thought of that before firing him.
#184.108.40.206 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 11:39
The parish loves and cares for the family and have already taken steps to see to their needs.
As for a mission parish, I seriously doubt it. The fear is that it would split the community in two and nobody wants that, least of all Father.
#220.127.116.11.1 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-05 04:54
Not -MY PICTURE- Brother Mark, rather, the reality in North America. It is all very sad and all very true. How many stores can we all tell about Bishops that screw priests? Dmitri of Dallas, Herman Swaiko.... the list goes on and on and on. Somehow Mark, you seem to manage some optimism through all this, maybe a better word is hope. I no longer hope. I await the death of Orthodoxy in NA, the puny thing was killed long ago, and the bishops did it.
What was started with the grace of God, has been perverted and crushed by bad, very bad men.
(Editor's note: Once again, you have it wrong. Bad, very bad men cannot crush the grace of God. They can cover it up, they can try to hide it, they can ignore it; but they cannot crush or pervert it. Such power they do not have. That is not optimism, nor hope: but the Gospel, for the darkness could not overcome the light.... )
#6.1.3 no name on 2010-11-03 19:26
Brother Mark, You know I love ya pal, but, our American Bishop's couldn't find the gospel if it bite um in the ass.
#18.104.22.168 no name on 2010-11-03 19:47
ah wrong there. Bishop Mark is very educated, knows history of several religions and knows orthodox theology, the bible . Maybe you haven't been blessed to know a Bishop Mark.
#22.214.171.124.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-07 19:30
"Editor's note: Once again, you have it wrong. Bad, very bad men cannot crush the grace of God. They can cover it up, they can try to hide it, they can ignore it; but they cannot crush or pervert it. Such power they do not have. That is not optimism, nor hope: but the Gospel, for the darkness could not overcome the light"
Dear Mark, while I understand the point you are trying to make with this editor's note, I somewhat disagree with you here. I'm not so sure that corrupt men cannot crush the "grace of God" on earth. Isn't that in fact what the prophets railed against time and time again? When Jeremiah stood on the Temple steps saying that the corrupt priesthood and royal court had turned the temple into a den of thieves at the expense of the real world practical and down to earth needs of the people, wasn't he in a way saying that the grace of God had been cut off from the people? Maybe they didn't "crush" it, but it was cut off from the people none the less.
When Jesus gave the whole "Woe to the scribes and Pharisees" discourse, wasn't he explicitly saying that the institution of the Temple had become so corrupt that anyone who actually converted from paganism would have actually been better off remaining a pagan than to come under the oppression of the Temple authorities? (ie: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves" Matt 23:15)
If that isn't crushing the grace of God I do not know what is. This to me is suggesting that because the system was so corrupt and built up with the traditions of men that one would be better off not being a part of it. That is a pretty bold statement and implies to me that Jesus certainly thought the grace of God has been trampled upon.
I think it's dangerous to assume that the Gospel simply cannot be subverted because IMO it leads so many people into a false sense of security. People begin to have the mindset that says, "we are the Church, the gates of hell cannot overcome it, and so we are safe!" But that is what the prophets said was NOT the case. That's what the Kingdom of Judah thought, but it was sent into exile. They used the same arguments we use; that God is with us forever and that he has given us an everlasting Covenant, in Christian language we quote Jesus, "I am with you always even unto the end of the age." But if God abandoned Judah to Babylon, why do we feel we are more safe than they? I'd think we'd be more culpable for our actions because we have their mistakes we should be learning from.
I do understand the point you are trying to make, man cannot overcome God's light, and I do agree with you. Yet I do think man can indeed bury God's light with so much rubble and muck that it is nearly impossible to find. I think the Arian controversy would be a prime example of that, when almost the entire Church was Arian for over a generation. (maybe two generations) That's a pretty huge deal, and while God's light eventually overcame the darkness, it's a pretty big deal for some poor peasant born and raised and died as an Arian Christian who never knew the totality of the truth through no fault of his own. That's not a judgment on their salvation, only that for many people in Church history the light of the Gospel was obscured, sometimes for centuries. While it may technically be there in tact, if it's covered up by a pile of muck and politics the for all practical purposes it has been crushed. I guess I'm not really disagreeing with you per se, I just think we as Orthodox for too long have pulled out the "gates of hades will not prevail against the Church" verse as an excuse to do NOTHING about Church corruption; were it not for you and this website in fact, far less would have been accomplished in fact. So I'm not trying to argue or disagree, but only offering a polite nitpick, with the utmost respect and gratitude for this website and all your work.
(Editor's note: No offense taken, and I really don't think we disagree here. My statement that grace cannot be crushed should not, as you so eloquently point out, be taken as an excuse for passivity. On the contrary, it is a call to action, to repentence and to work for change things to a more Christian state...)
#126.96.36.199 Chuck Shingledecker on 2010-11-04 11:51
PS: Abba Anthony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, "You are mad, you are not like us." Saying #12....looks like the time has come.
#7 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-03 08:08
You know of all the things that have been written or stated by His Eminence I find the above statement to be the most egregious to date.
He has the gall to sign his name thus after after sentencing an innocent priest and his family to the streets? How then did this priest react? Like someone really and truly "In Christ."
Would not want to be there when He (Christ) actually rules on this whole thing.
(Editor's note: I too find that over the top. But you see it all the time, as if the name of Christ has become nothing more than a formula for so many. I see it in comments all the time. People say the most horrible things, and conclude with "Love in Jesus". Yeah, right. It really is bad form in everyway - not counting the fact that in this instance he just threw the guy out of his job and home.... We really have to do better and think about what we are saying.)
#8 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-03 08:11
Looking back on the events of recent years, I wonder how many are sharing my same thoughts: THANK GOD I'M IN THE OCA AND NOT THE AOCA!. No other word than vindictiveness for this action.
Fr. David, please pray for us as we will certainly be praying for you.
#9 Fr. Stephen Mack on 2010-11-03 08:15
Fr. David was neither disloyal nor disobedient to a Bishop or our Lord. False accusations are made for which there are no witnesses and judgement is rendered without righteous cause.
#10 Daniel on 2010-11-03 08:18
The real issue is, "Are the allegations true or false?" Fr. David roundly denies being disobedient to Met. Philip's dress code directive and to making disparaging remarks. Are there witnesses that contradict Fr. David's assertion and support Met. Philip's?
IF Fr. David was disobedient and publicly disparaging, then PERHAPS the Metropolitan is within his rights to summarily dismiss Fr. David. As to whether the infraction rises to the level that firing a man and kicking him and his family out on the street right before Christmas is a different question.
Still, lawsuits for wrongful termination have been won with far less proof. Met. Philip and the Archdiocese should pray Fr. David seeks to treat them as Christ, rather than as how he has been treated.
I can't believe Met. Philip and his supporters aren't thoroughly embarrassed with this adolescent power trip. It's like watching the cool clique in middle school go power mad over the rules for their tree house.
(Wouldn't it be sinfully ironic to see Met. Philip do one of those anti-bullying videos?)
(Editor's note: Since you brought it up, its a real tragedy that no one in the Orthodox Church, to my knowledge, ever did one. Thousands of people offering hope and encouragement on Youtube to kids suffering from bullies for whatever reason - and not one from the Church among them. Another lost opportunity.)
#10.1 melxiopp on 2010-11-03 12:18
A few years ago I spoke with a former priest of the AOCA who is seriously considering mounting a lawsuit against the Met and the Archdiocese Board because in years gone by it was stated that when a priest retired, he would receive the retirement he had earned based on his years of service to the Archdiocese. It has only been in the past ten years (one way or the other) and perhaps because of this long serving and honored priest, that the Met has decided to say that the clergy retirment is not vested. He never said that before. It's a new policy, exactly to gain power and control, another sign of his despotism. The real problem, this priest feels, is that no clergy will dare to speak out against the Met lest their retirement be in danger as well. I haven't soken with him in awhile, I wonder if he still intends to go forward. I'd be fascinated to see how the Met, under oath on the witness stand, justifies giving retirement to clergy who had serious moral charges proven against them and yet denies it to clergy who ended their service to the AOCA in perfect standing with no charges whatsoever against them. It would be interesting, indeed.
#10.1.1 Sean O'Clare on 2010-11-04 12:52
As someone who is privileged to be very close to the Moretti family, I can truthfully say that the accusation of publicly disparaging comments is entirely false. The one action that could possibly be considered one of these comments, is liking a status message on Facebook, one that had no mention of +Philip, the archdiocese or the Church. No other comments had been made against the Metropolitan.
#10.1.2 Anonymous on 2010-11-07 12:25
So in the Antiochian Archdiocese, one can be a widowed presbyter who counsels a female parishioner through a divorce and then marries her, and still remain in active ministry as a presbyter, even though the canons of the Church forbid more than one marriage for presbyters or marriage after ordination? But if you're a presbyter who wears a cassock, instead of a monkey suit and dog collar, you can get the boot from active ministry?
And to whom is Father Moretti being released? Don't the canons require clergy to always be attached to a church, so releases are done from one bishop to another bishop? Do the canons of the Church allow clergy to be released into "thin air," rather than to a receiving bishop?
As for making "disparaging public comments" about Metropolitan Philip, the bishop might want to take a cue from Jesus Christ, who "as a sheep before its shearers is silent, did not open his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7) when defamed and vilified far more than any of us will ever experience. After all, "bearing wrongs patiently" is one of the seven spiritual works of mercy, and judging by the text of Father Moretti's message to his parish, he's doing a better job of striving to do just that than is his bishop.
#11 Gregory on 2010-11-03 08:23
I understand your point here, but I am one of many people whom Fr. Joe Allen has deeply touched after his second (somewhat scandalous) marriage. Through his care I converted to Orthodoxy years ago, along with my future wife, and he presided both at our marriage and the baptism of our children. Sometimes the grace of God can come through broken and unusual circumstances, and that's as much of a relevant point to all of this as anything else I have seen in these threads.
God bless Fr. David to continue in ministry for many, many years - as many in fact as Fr. Joe (43 and counting).
#11.1 Jackson Downs on 2010-11-10 09:12
If the protocol in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese is that all clergy must be in obedience to Metropolitan Philip, then the priest was wrong. If the Metropolitan viewpoint of the hierarchial protocol in the Antiochian Archdiocese is wrong, then the other hierarchs in the Antiochian Archdiocese must step in and correct the situation.
Personally, I agree with the Metropolitan's dictates regarding cassocks worn publically to go to the grocery store, travel by plane etc. Years ago, when I was a youngster in the 50's Orthodox clergy wore business suits with the clergy collar (and years prior) and no one made such a loud outburst regarding attire. In pastoral visits and in church gatherings the Orthodox clergy wore the rissa, not the cassock. The question here is really about obedience to the bishop. And in fact, Fr. Stephen Mack I have seen you personally wearing the business suit with clergy collar. So the real issue is not clergy attire, but obedience to the bishop.
#12 anonymous on 2010-11-03 09:01
Friend,I don't think that Fr. Stephan Mack(my classmate from St.Tikhon's) is making an issue about the cassock vs. a clerical suit.The issue here is a hierarch who appears to be out of control.With all due respect to His Eminence,the bishop is neither a pope nor a Tsar.He does have authority over his priests,but he isn't infallible any more than you or I.For the record,I'm not OCA,I was OCA as a Seminarian and Reader,was ordained in ROCOR,but now serve under the omophorion of Bishop Longin in the Serbian church.Bishop Longin doesn't seem to have an issue with clergy wearing either the suit or the Riassa/Cassock in public.
#12.1 V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev on 2010-11-03 16:41
You think this is about obedience?? Really!?? How about pay back for being on the wrong side or being "too" close to BP Mark.
#12.2 Man in black on 2010-11-04 09:18
I keep wondering when the priests of the AOCA are going to rise up and say enough is enough! Come on already! If you don't protest, then you consent. STOP THE MADNESS, NOW!!!
#13 Sean O'Clare on 2010-11-03 09:09
When a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese serves the Divine Liturgy, Sean, the Sacred Gifts are placed an a linen document that bears the authorizing name of Metropolitan Archbishop.
That signature, lying under those Gifts, is integral to what takes place at the altar. The People of God, who receive those life-giving Mysteries, receive them through authority of the Metropolitan Archbishop.
Now, let me ask you, what sorts of activity are compatible---in the life of the serving priest---with the implications of that signature?
Does rebellion come to mind? Or public denunciation?
I don't think so.
#13.1 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-03 13:27
I understand your position, but it does not mean that when something is not right or someone, even a bishop, commits a sin, the clergy do not have the responsibility to confront it in the spirit of Christ. Paul certainly had no qualms about bluntly correcting Peter in Galatians and Peter clearly "out ranked" him.
Gal 2:10-12 11 "Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision."
This is not rebellion, but Christ centered correction of the sinner, unless Hierarchs are not sinners. In this case, Peter even raised the dead, but that did not protect him from falling away if he chose too. The church history is full these types of examples, many of whom suffer for standing up at the hands of those who are supposedly there to protect the church.
I certainly do not encourage anyone to openly confront Met +Philip knowing that he and his family are likely to suffer for it. That is a personal choice made in prayer and with reflection. But if someone does do it, like +Mark, it is not rebellion, it is for correction. How the sinner receives the correction is his choice and unto judgement.
P.S. I enjoy your commentaries on AFR tremendously. They have guided me when preparing several Bible studies for our local Prison. Thank you very much !
#13.1.1 Rdr. Rick Wagner on 2010-11-03 17:57
Are you Father Patrick Henry Reardon?
#13.1.2 Diogenes on 2010-11-03 18:42
Not compatible indeed.
Your comment (if I understand you correctly) assumes Father David is guilty. This is just not so.
I challenge anyone to show me the rebellion or the public denunciation. The allegations are FALSE. He was obedient to the directive regarding dress and to my knowledge has not ever (before or after his release) said anything negative about the Metropolitan. It seems all too easy for people to point the finger at Father and say, "well he must have done something wrong, otherwise why would this have happened to him."
I liken that unto: God can't be on his side or he must have sinned otherwise bad stuff like this wouldn't happen, right?
#13.1.3 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-03 19:12
Antonia Perpetua writes:
"Your comment (if I understand you correctly) assumes Father David is guilty."
I apologize for the misunderstanding. I made no assumption of this sort.
I was simply addressing someone else's concern about the pastoral and moral responsibilities of the Antiochian clergy.
Moreover, I make my own the final exhortation Father David gave to the faithful at Terre Haute:
"Do your best to be stalwart in your prayer and make whatever response you may have to this a BLESSING and not divisive or vindictive."
Nothing that has occurred so far, let me suggest, exempts us from the very clear mandates of the Sermon on the Mount.
I have no idea how all this is going to turn out. I hope, however, to do or say nothing that may hurt the Archdiocese, either now or down the road.
#188.8.131.52 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-04 08:05
According to the article, Fr. David stopped wearing the cassock in public after he was warned. Or did I miss something?
Does anyone really know what Fr. David is alleged to have said? (I mean either according to +Phillip himself or to a reliable witness, not "as told to" my wife's cousin's friend's doctor's nephew's next-door neighbor.)
The Antiochian metropolitan has always seemed to this outsider to have pretty thin skin, but he still deserves the benefit of the doubt.
#184.108.40.206.1 Morton on 2010-11-04 21:40
If the good priest was 'friendly' with Bp. Mark, who ought get the benefit of the doubt?
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-11-06 06:55
Dear Father Patrick--that signature under the gifts means more than a ruling bishop authorizing a priest to perform the Holy Eucharist. In my understanding of our ecclesiology, the bishop does not give up his position as the arch-pastor of that portion of his flock but merely assigns a priest to act in his stead--as his deputy. May I suggest that the ruling bishop has many more responsibilities as an arch-pastor than rights and power as a bishop. The spiritual well being of his flock, which includes the priest, his wife and his children, must be paramount. In the case of the priest and his family, the ruling bishop is also responsible for their physical well being. I submit to you that Metropolitan Philip nay have been derelict in his duties as an arch-pastor, even though he may have been within his rights as a ruling bishop.
#13.1.4 Carl Kraeff on 2010-11-04 09:37
I confess, Carl, that my comments, directed along a specific perspective determined by a previous posting, were theologically inadequate.
I appreciate very much your more ample---and theologically richer---consideration of the meaning of the antemins.
Many of us, I suppose, have been a bit distressed of late.
I was especially disheartened that some folks in Terre Haute took my brief comments as "piling on" with respect to Father David Moretti. Heavens, it was the thing furthest from my mind.
These are difficult days, when misunderstandings are likely to abound.
#18.104.22.168 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-05 11:07
Thank you for these clarifications to your original comments. I did not perceive your comments as "piling on," with regard to Fr. David, but rather understood them in the context of the immediately previous comment. Nevertheless, what you term their "theological inadequacy" was troubling to me as well. I really felt like there was at the very least another shoe that needed to drop in order to make what your statement seemed to imply about the nature of the Bishop's authority true even in a qualified sense. I rather identify with the response of Rdr. Rich Wagner.
Regarding the meaning of the antemins, I have a sincere question. In your opinion, what does a Priest desiring to be faithful to that meaning do when his Bishop proves to be a wolf in sheep's clothing scandalizing and mauling the lambs of the flock by his behavior? If public protest or rallying public protest is out, what spiritual weapons does he have with which to protect his flock and stand up for righteousness? What do you understand as his responsibility at that point before Christ with regard to his spiritual children and brethren?
I also wonder what you might have to say in response to Fr. Lawrence Farley's recent reflection regarding what he believes are misunderstandings underlying historic and contemporary weaknesses or errors in the Church's praxis with regard to the nature of the authority invested in the Presbyters.
#22.214.171.124.1 Karen on 2010-11-06 11:54
There are several problems here:
#1 Technically speaking, Fr. David was not canonically punished, since bishops have the right to assign clergy, which includes their removal for any reason.
#2 The same is true for the release. It is not, in and of itself, a canonical punishment. Suspension and defrocking are the only canonical punishments for clergy.
#3 The canons are clear that a clergyman is not released "into the wind" but must be transferred from one bishop to another. Met. Philip appears to be trying to avoid his canonical responsibility for supporting his clergy according to the canons. Let's be clear: bishops are canonically responsible for the support of their clergy.
#4 Fr. David can no longer be punished by Met. Philip no matter what Fr. David does at this point, since Met. Philip 'released' him, unless the metropolitan acknowledges his release was irregular. Don't see that happening.
#5 If the Holy Synod receives an appeal from Fr. David, chances are that the transfer will be reversed, but he may come back to find a heavily stacked Spiritual Court unless the Synod further bans Met. Philip from further disciplinary actions without their review. Fat chance of that.
#6 He now has his choice of jurisdictions without having to get Met. Philip's permission. I imagine lots of clergy are looking on with jealousy.
May God be with Fr. David and his family.
May the Holy Synod find the courage to do something about this insanity, or just write off America and turn over the Antiochian parishes to someone who cares.
#14 anonymous on 2010-11-03 09:13
I've frequently seen references to the "Synod" in the recent discussions about the Antiochian Archdiocese. I'm having a little trouble understanding the sense of the term, when all the bishops attending are under obedience to the metropolitan who is presiding. I believe the word itself simply means "meeting," but I wonder if suffragan bishops (or chorepiscopoi--not too sure what term I should be using to describe their hierarchy at this point) usually have an equal voice in the synods of other jurisdictions--or if they are even members? The situation seems anomalous,to say the least.
#14.1 Morton on 2010-11-04 22:13
You mean the synod in Damascus, right? Because at the point where the AO archdiocese was "self-governing," the metropolitan and the other bishops made up a local synod, did they not? This is what I'm trying to understand.
Well, among other things. Does anyone know what "dispararging" comments Fr. David is alleged to have made? I have yet to see in simple declarative sentences what words were allegedly used. Fr. David is losing his home and his livelihood. Surely, the reasons ought to be made very clear?
#14.2 Morton on 2010-11-08 11:38
I never thought I'd regret becoming a part of the Antiochian Archdiocese, but I'm there.
I can't help but wonder if the only answer to Pope Philip's behavior is for every parish to leave the archdiocese.
All monies to the archdiocese need to pulled back.
If the Psuedo (I mean Auxiliary) Bishops won't ban together and say, enough is enough. If clergy and laity are going to enable this apparent narcissist to play with people as though they are toys or stupid children, then I think the only choice is a mass exodus.
#15 Ivan HadEnough on 2010-11-03 09:15
Does anyone doubt that there is something seriously wrong with Met. Philip? .... All of the people in the AOCA should rebel regarding these actions concerning + Mark and Fr. Moretti. These are the actions of a tyrant out of control. ...The AOCA has a serious problem and as the Russians say, "When a fish stinks, it begins from it's head."
#16 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 09:16
And we left off others who Pope Philip has thrown under the bus, such as Fr. Isaac Henke. He was removed from Fort Wayne when Pope Philip was promised a new church building in the name St. John the Goldenmouthed, if Isaac would disappear. I hear the new building is beautiful, but I don't plan on ever crossing the theshhold - not when it was built on evil and greed. And of course we have Fr. Gregory Rogers, who's priesthood PHILIP dangled before him on a thread, when Fr. Gregory dared to question a widowed priest taking (and I do mean TAKING) a new wife, though it was against the canons and decency. The "hits" just keep on coming!
#16.1 Ivan HadEnough on 2010-11-04 05:03
I suppose if Fr David had dressed up in a cowboy suit, complete with bandana and six-shooter, he would have been okay. But dressing in a cassock is cause for termination. Ironic and unbelievable.
We must fast and pray for + Philip.
#17 Michael on 2010-11-03 09:22
So sad, so incredibly sad. That Metropolitan Philip is behaving incredulously and vindictively is beyond question. Can anyone believe anymore that he is an Orthodox bishop who loves and shepherds his people, especially his priests?
I do hope, since Fr David was not deposed (as far as I can tell), that he finds an Orthodox parish elsewhere (and hopefully in a different jurisdiction) where he is needed, for God knows that we are in need of good, Christ-like Orthodox priests in this country.
Furthermore, it is high time that we hear more public outcry from non-Antiochian Orthodox priests and bishops on these egregious and non-Orthodox actions of Metropolitan Philip.
It's time to dispense with the niceties and stop awarding (ridiculous) honorary degrees from St. Vladimir's. I understand why Antiochian priests and the newly-demoted bishops may be reticent about speaking out publicly, but OCA/Greek/Serbian/ROCOR/whomever bishops need to be at least letting the American Orthodox faithful that they are aware of the out-of-control autocracy in the AOANA and are praying and thinking of trying to help the Antiochian clergy and laity and of finding a way to curb Metropolitan Philip's delusions of grandeur which are harming so many.
Honestly, his actions remind me of the Jack Nicholson character in "A Few Good Men" who ordered the 'code red'-- a leader who gets a kick out of letting others know how powerful he is and becomes indignant when his authority is questioned.
Father David and family, our prayers are with you, and they are also with the entire AOANA and with Metropolitan Philip, that he may finally see that he has no clothes.
#18 Gregg Gerasimon on 2010-11-03 09:37
When there is information on how to help and support this godly priest and his family, please post it right away.
#19 Greg on 2010-11-03 09:41
Yes, and let's get an account going for the Moretti Family ASAP. It's one thing to suggest that he is looking for work and for a place to rent. But the reality is jobs are very hard to find, and he desperately needs one to care for his family. If he doesn't find a job soon, he won't have the funds to rent a place and take care of the whole family's living expenses. If he doesn't find another place to live, December 1 will be here faster than we want it to be. Then he will be homeless, he and his family. I don't know if they have relatives or friends they can stay with for a while if necessary, but adding 4 people into a household is no easy feat.
The children are in the middle of their school year. I know they were homeschooled during seminary, but they might be attending schools now. Depending on when and where they find a new place to live, they might have to change schools in the middle of the school year. This is very disruptive to their lives. I hope the Khouriyeh (I forgot her name) has job skills, as she might also have to work to help support the family.
A very important point - to all you women who are clergy wives or future clergy wives. Get your education or good job training. Don't think that because your husbands are clergy, their futures are secure. They are not, as we have seen, and I'm sure Kh. Moretti never expected this to happen to them. Anything can happen to the only breadwinner in the family, any family, and suddenly the other parent is left to raise and provide for the children. If retired priests aren't getting their stipends, you can bet our glorious leader isn't going to look a second way towards the clergy family that suddenly is left with no means of support - unless of course they worship him and then become his endentured slaves forever - remember the "seminary dogs" in Palm Desert. They should all be barking loudly now as they leave. Protect your futures so you won't be left out in the cold.
Either way, they are stuck in a corner with very few options. That is a familiar old-country trait - block people where they can't get out, and then call them failures - how incompetent and unchristian of MP to bring such misery on this family or any family. Not to mention setting up Bishop MARK for failure. Instead of sending any money to Englewood or to any fundraiser that goes thru that unholy town, send the money to the Moretti Family. They will need it desperately. And how does MP justify his actions to these two young people, priest's kids, who we all hope will stay in Orthodoxy all their lives? This is a great way to chase them away.
Anyone still following MP is running down the road to hell, just to be on his good side and within his chosen ones. You are fools for MP, and I would rather be a fool for Christ.
Sending money to support Fr. David and his family is a splendid idea, but I'm not sure setting up an account is needed.
I would presume that for the rest of this month, plus the duration of a U.S. Postal Service forwarding order (what is that 6 months? or three?) that sending well-wishes and donations to help with moving expenses or a period of unemployment, could be done by way of the address for the rectory given in the Archdiocesan Directory: Fr. David Moretti, 1930 South 4th Street, Terre Haute, IN 47802.
I would also point out that unless St. George, Terre Haute or the Archdiocese voluntarily participates in the public unemployment insurance program--as I understand it, churches are exempt from the requirement to do so--Fr. David will not be receiving unemployment compensation.
Of course, if someone wants to set up a charitable corporation for the support of Orthodox priests ill-used by their bishops to serve as a clearinghouse for contributions so that donors could take tax deductions, the ability to pass part of the cost of giving on to "Caesar" might prompt even more generosity.
#19.1.1 DNY on 2010-11-09 21:13
His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan PHILIP
It is with a sad and confused heart that I write to you. Our Parish recently found out that Father David Moretti was let go from his duties as pastor of St. George Orthodox Church. Father recently baptized my husband into the Orthodox Faith. My husband, *Martin, had never been baptized nor did he regularly attend any church. Following sessions with Father Moretti, *Martin took the final step and was baptized. Shortly after, we were joined in the Sacrament of Marriage with Father officiating. It was such a happy and spiritual day for all of us. I do not believe *Martin would have joined our faith without Father Moretti. Father Moretti has encouraged us to attend church more regularly and become involved in more spiritual activities. He has been there to council us as a couple and as individuals. He is our family. If it is your will that Father Moretti be let go, we have to know it is God’s Will. But please reconsider your decision. St. George, Terre Haute will not be the same or whole without Father David Moretti.
With all of God’s Love,
#20 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 09:44
Agreed on all accounts.
#20.1 UFT. on 2010-11-05 09:43
If Fr. Albert does report to Terre Haute. He will not last long. I say 5 years tops. The parish doesn't have a good track record with keeping priests. If he doesn't go then he will be told to leave the archdiocese. A catch22 if you ask me.
#21 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-03 09:54
pardon me I meant Fr. Paul
#21.1 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-03 12:28
First of all the removal of Father David was as much a surprise to this parish as it was to Father David. We did not initiate it and are saddened by the decision. Second, here is our track record: Father Rados 15 years, Father Rohan 12 years, Father Yazge 18 years. That sounds like a pretty good track record to me. Yes, wev'e had some problems in the past like any parish and we have tried to work through them before making any drastics decisions regarding a priest. The priests I mentioned all left of their own choosing to go to bigger and better things and we applaud them and continue to wish them well and pray for them. We try to stay in contact with them as much as possible.
We are trying to work through this latest problem and know that, with the help of GOD we will survive, as will Father David and his family.
So next time you make statements about our parish, get your facts straight.
George Azar, Chairman, St. George Parish Council Terre Haute In
#21.2 George Azar on 2010-11-04 06:21
George, ya'll have our prayers during these dark days. Courage!
#21.2.1 Antionymous on 2010-11-04 08:37
Dear in Christ George,
I meant no offense. I was referring to the more recent of track records. I am unfamiliar with all the facts of St. George's parish history, that is very true.
Decisions about who gets what priest are the perrogative of the Bishop/Metr. and that will never change. I hope Metr. listens to his flock and takes their needs into consideration.
I am certain that the members of the parish had nothing at all to do with Fr. David's release.
And I stand by my assessment that Fr. Paul will not last long. The whole thing is a set up for him to fail, be the scapegoat, and for the parish in Terre Haute to suffer. Fr. Paul's assignment in Terre Haute keeps the parish talking about and focused on a moot point (is this priest right for us?). I sincerely hope the parish does not lose sight of the real and serious threat they face when questioning the Archdiocese. They will be labeled disloyal and disobedient to the Metropolitan.
I know there are good Christian people at the parish (I count you among them) and these good people will continue to deal with the Metropolitan's unchristian ways as long as they look to him as their Shepard in Christ. I personally will no longer be doing so. My advice for the parish is that the entire membership (along with the property and assets) seek for a new Shepard, one that keeps the needs of the people in mind when making drastic decisions about priest assignments and "dues".
The parishioners have only 3 real options at this point.
*Quietly obey Metropolitan.
*Speak out, complain, beg, plead, and then obey Metropolitan knowing that there might be a backlash.
*Ask to be released to another Bishop.
One last thing and then I will gracefully bow out of this entire situation and conversation. I'm not even sure you realize that you referred to the parish as "ours". I have to ask myself, does he mean mine and his? or his and others excluding me? The very fact that the question has to be asked is telling, no? My presence and my voice only proves to distract from the real deterioration that is happening in the Archdiocese and yes, in the parish. For some I am a personification of a problem. My voice only attracts more attention to that idea- that I am a problem. I will work out my salvation with fear and trembling and do what I can, not to be a detraction or deteriorate to anyone.
Please forgive me if I have misunderstood or judged anyone, it was in ignorance.
Always Yours Sister In Christ,
#21.2.2 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-04 12:59
Sorry if you misunderstood. By "ours" I always have and always will mean "ALL that are members of St. George of Terre Haute...not excluding anyone".
#126.96.36.199 George Azar on 2010-11-05 16:48
Wow, every time i think Met. Philip has hit the rock bottom of being a cruel and capricious excuse for a shepherd, he just keeps digging!
Metropolitan Philip "releases" him? How exactly do you "release" a priest without another bishop taking him in simultaneously? Unless Fr. David has not been released from the archdiocese but only from the parish, to be condemned to float in ecclesial limbo, prevented from pastoring any parish at all.
Fr. David has had an example made out of him. It says to any priest who might consider showing some love towards their real shepherd in Christ, "This will happen to you." May we have many such priests. May there be enough charitable support (from other bishops, and from brother priests, and from the laity) for them all.
Does Fr. David need money/help? Does he have a Paypal account where people could send his family some funds to help them?
#22 Cordelia on 2010-11-03 09:56
I am saddened to the depths of my heart by this news. What a tragedy! May the Lord have mercy upon us all and save us. Please, Fr. David & family, know you are in the hearts and prayers of many! God be with you always!
The heartbreaking actions taken against Fr. David and Fr. Paul (and perhaps others) may present laypeople from relevant professions with an opportunity to act constructively to mitigate both the damage and the fear under which so many clergy seem to labor. It is meet and right that we should pray for these priests. It is meet and right that we should support the Moretti family as both Potential Convert and Heracleides have suggested. Perhaps, however, the situation also calls for something more systematic. Perhaps an attorney of goodwill could file the paperwork to create a 501(c)3 corporation devoted to providing practical assistance to wrongly dismissed priests. The organization would not only provide temporary income support, but could also draw on the talents of other Orthodox professionals to offer, pro bono, services such as referrals to job placement and training for priests who end up having to resort to secular employment. (At least in my state, churches don't have to make unemployment-insurance contributions on behalf of clergy, which means clergy aren't eligible for benefits.) The organization could also offer property-management assistance to priests who have to rent out their (former) homes. Like other homeowners in the Midwest, some priests may have negative equity and not be able to arrange a timely short sale. Others may think of other useful services. The point is that laypeople need to create an environment in which the hierarchy's power over priests is exclusively ecclesial. Laypeople need to act to make it impossible for bishops to bankrupt priests, render them homeless, impoverish them in their old age, force their children to leave college, etc. Collectively, we have the talents, we have the credentials, and we have the money to build something that will make abuses of episcopal power immediately self-defeating. Let us arise and build.
#24 Formerly Diogenes on 2010-11-03 10:18
The Tyrant-in-Chief continues to persecute good priests and punish the innocent sheep. What a travesty! You shall know them by their deeds!
The situation with Fr. David Moretti would explain the slight edge of paranoia I've noticed in Antiochian clergy I know.
They seriously restrict what they do on the internet. They either stay away from blogs, discussion forms, e-lists, and so forth, or they make their postings very bland. These clergy believe that Englewood has spies searching the internet for clergy disobeying Met. Philip's directives or anything else that would be considered questionable. If they put one toe wrong, they are in dread terror of the phone call from Englewood.
The ban on wearing a cassock off church grounds apparently even extends between home and church. The clergy I know would like to wear their cassock between home and church to avoid carrying it if they had to take it home. But due to Met. Philip's order to dress like an Episcopalian, they don't.
It's sad and frustrating to me to watch clergy live in such fear. It's one thing for a priest to be careful of what he says publicly, and another to avoid the internet almost entirely due to fear of an unpleasant phone call from Englewood.
Many prayers for all.
#26 Tradd on 2010-11-03 10:39
When a man is ordained to the Holy Priesthood it is with the understanding that he serves at the pleasure of the bishop. One would hope that the bishop is sensitive to the realities of a man, and if he be married, his family. When the bishop is not, this can be, humanly speaking, a great opportunity for temptation and to lash out. Such emotions are evident in the postings on the recent moves of the bishop in question over the past weeks.
It is totally understandable that there are reactions on both sides are that a bishop would act in such a manner. As a priest, his actions do appear to be insensitive and uncharitable. However, as a priest, I also know that the bishop does not need a reason to remove me from the parish. If he wants me out, I am out. If he wants to move me, I must move. If I refuse, my choices are few and none too viable. That is the reality of a priest. We are in a fundamental connective relationship with our bishop. It is not unlike that of a soldier who is under authority of his superior officer. If the General says, “go here and move there” he follows orders. We certainly do not have to follow an order that is against the Church and Christ, but that is why we have recourse in, among other things, a spiritual court.
Nonetheless, clergy are under the authority of the bishop. Laity are not in the same way. A bishop can't force a layperson to do something, just like a parish priest can't force a parishioner to do something. There is a very different dynamic at play.
It is a disservice for laity to try and overlay their freedom onto a priest in relation to his bishop. In this case the priest in question shows a great deal of spiritual maturity by not adding fuel to the fire that is already burning. He is not fighting “power with power.” He is acting in such a way that he may be powerless, but in that “weakness” he is showing great strength and the one who has great “power” is shown in weakness.
There is no doubt that bishops from time to time must make clergy changes. In my experience these are seldom easy and involve a great deal of prayer and consideration. Although the press accounts of this situation place it in a light that is devoid of apparent prayerful consideration, however, not knowing the behind the scenes machinations, I can only be tempted to conclude that in not excusing what appears to be the rather boorish behavior of the bishop in question he is making his point to his clergy that he is “in charge.” He feels he must flex his episcopal muscles again. He has done it before in the aftermath of the Joe Allen saga, in the aftermath of the multiple ordinations of EOC clergy, and now again in the aftermath of the current situation. Point made. Feel better?
If there is a lesson to be learned from this, my take away is that if you have to resort to such power tactics as a leader, you may win a battle but at what price the war?
#27 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 11:32
The pictures of Bishop Mark washing feet can be found here
#28 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-03 11:34
Hey Boys & Girls, don't you too want to join the Antiochian Archdiocese? What fun!
You boys, don't you want to become priests and serve God; it's the right thing to do! Just think, you have no vested pension; even if you serve 20 plus years - it's all up to our leader, "Crazy Phil." And just think, you too can receive a letter in the mail like Fr. Moretti saying get out in 30 days and you are no longer a priest - WHAT FUN!
And you girls, you can be recognized as second class citizens with no real authority. Just think, you too can do God's work and "Crazy Phil" will get rid of you too! ....
#29 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 11:36
I do not know of any paypal account. Mail can be sent to the Church.
St. George Orthodox Church
1900 South 4th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47802-1993
Father David is looking for a (secular) full-time job. The family is looking for a home to rent at least until the end of the children's school year.
#30 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-03 12:17
Metropolitan Philip is not finished. There will be more casualties. Based on the shock and dismay I hear in these posts, it's clear that few people know the extent he is willing to go to "punish" those who get in his way. Now that the bishops have been neutralized, he is unencumbered. He has a long memory, folks. ....Trying to mitigate the actions of Metropolitan Philip without hurting the Archdiocese is no longer possible. It's time to tell people exactly what he's capable of.
#31 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-03 12:57
Once again you are right on the money!
This time though his restraint is completely absent as the last 4 years of not being able to do what he wanted to in Toledo has made him crazy ....
I would Imagine that when Bishop Joseph comes back from Damascus he may be bringing something more than sweets in his suitcase - don't forget, Antioch is listening!
#31.1 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-03 14:24
Thank God I left Antioch months ago and have been blessed to serve under a Metropolitan who has more important things to do than be concerned with how his clergy dress.
#32 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 13:14
I wonder if one could hope that all AOCA clergy will make a point of wearing a cassock, just to make Philip realize he can't fire all of them? What must it be like to be in a parish when your priest is yanked like this, what must it be like for the next priest? For that matter, what must it be like to have a bishop? I don't think even Chuck Norris can make a man change clothes from hundreds of miles away.
#33 Bob Koch on 2010-11-03 13:14
What a great idea, Bob! Personally, I think cassocks are much more stylin' on clergy guys than those icky suits and dog collars. Let Met. Philip stew, as priest after priest wears his cassock shamelessly!
#33.1 Cordelia on 2010-11-03 14:57
He can't fire them all, but he can certainly send a dozen more into limbo. I don't think anyone wants to play Arabian Roulette like that.
#33.2 James P. on 2010-11-03 15:08
Another terrible action on the part of Metro Phil. It's time for every member of the Church to flee as quickly as possible and not look back. He is destroying the Antiochian Church in America. Obedience is one thing, blind, unthinking obedience is something else.
#34 distressed on 2010-11-03 13:46
As a member of St. George of Terre Haute, I believe we are entitled to know more about the situation. As it stands, Fr. Moretti has done NOTHING wrong. If he is removed, I believe it will be the beginning of the end of the TH church. Who wants to be a member of a dictatorship? Many young children have no real connection with the church since we get a different Priest every time you turn around and they can't form that necessary bond.
I wonder who has been feeding Met. Phillip these lies.
#35 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 14:30
I feel for your pain! If your parish have concerns then your PArish couyncil chair should send a letter to MEtropolitan asking for clarification and make the case for Fr. david not making posting on a website, which is not respected.
#35.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 19:46
Oh, and by the way if you want proof that MP is completely off his rocker, it is that he actually put in writing that the reason Moretti was dismissed was for a "dress code violation"...a sane and rational power-monger would have never put down such a senseless reason.
Face it Boys and Girls MP has completely lost touch with reality!! Maybe when Bp Joseph returnes from Damascus he will be coming as the Patriarchial Vicar.
FYI: ARTICLE 1 Section 5A of the Archdiocese Constitution
A. Immediately upon the vacancy of the Metropolitan See, either by death, disability or retirement, the Archdiocese Board of Trustees and
the Senior Auxiliary Bishop, if any, or if none, the Vicar General shall inform officially in writing the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East and appropriate civil and ecclesiastical authorities. Upon any such happening, the Senior Auxiliary Bishop, if any, or if none, the Vicar General, together with the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and/or the Treasurer and/or the Chancellor shall seal important rooms and files at the Archdiocese headquarters, and make a record of same, signed by all present. (Thereafter, all properties or investments registered in the name of the Metropolitan Archbishop as the head of the Metropolitan See shall become the property of the Archdiocese.)
#36 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-03 14:39
..... Those who love Christ in the Antiochian Archdiocese should rebel against this evil, vindictive man. His true love is of power and domination, not Jesus.
#37 Scott Yonkin on 2010-11-03 14:52
No, Scott, in the spirit of the Book of Proverbs we should either a)strongly advise you in love that among the short list of things that God hates most is people who sow discord among brethren, and that is what your stupid words might do in the minds of the undiscerning, or b) smite the scoffer (you) in order that the simple learn prudence. Or maybe a and b. The great trick when one thinks that he sees a situation growing worse, a trick which you obviously have not mastered, is not to use other people's perceived errors as an excuse for making worse ones of your own.
#37.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2010-11-03 21:14
Ah, Fr. George - Trust you to make such a statement.
Not that your words of 'wisdom' are unwise - they were simply misdirected to the wrong individual. Knowing your eagerness to sow peace amongst the brethern, you will doubtless correct your error and direct them towards the true sower of discord. In fact - allow me to do it for you (with some minor revision):
Despot Philip, in the spirit of the Book of Proverbs we should either a) strongly advise you in love that among the short list of things that God hates most is people who sow discord among brethren, and that is what your stupid words and actions might do in the minds of the undiscerning, or b) smite the scoffer (you, Despot Philip) in order that the simple learn prudence. Or maybe a and b. The great trick when one thinks that he sees a situation growing worse, a trick which you (Despot Philip) obviously have not mastered, is not to use other people's perceived errors as an excuse for making worse ones of your own.
love (can't you just feel it) ,
#37.1.1 anonymous on 2010-11-04 07:31
Do you really think one of the Ben Lomond toadies would EVER utter such impertinence?
Thanks for the comic relief, I'm sure we all needed it!
A priest publicly uses the word "stupid" to dress down a layman. Lord, have mercy.
#188.8.131.52 Simply appalled on 2010-11-05 07:04
By resorting to the ad hominem so quickly and exclusively, the anonymous writer has informed us that s/he has no actual spiritual or intellectual defense of the call to mass rebellion which I was criticizing.
And how about the affectation of horror because I responded publicly to a public comment! Sheer pretense. Mr. Yonkin joined a public debate and published something out of line to a very broad audience; I did no more or less than speak just as firmly as he had, and to the very same audience.
And in a forum where so much horrible peronal invective gets thrown around to virtually damn individuals (heretic, fraud, felon, embezzler, power hungry despot, etc.) why "get the vapors" over one single simple descriptor, 'stupid,' applied carefully to the words, not to the person? Why it's because a double standard is in operation! I call words stupid and our anonymous commentator responds with personalized invective, calling me a "today." It is impossible to have a constructive discussion with someone operating like that.
And the reference to Ben Lomond suggests that perhaps an old and dull axe is being re-ground.
This illustrates a point I have tried to make in the past - that the internet is not the kind of forum where most people can constructively discuss such hugely important issues as the ones being raised about our Archdiocese and how it should be governed. A great place for shooting spitballs, sure, but that's not what we really need.
(Editor's note: It is also such a joy to disagree with you Fr. George. Like democracy ( which you also abhor in the matters ecclesial) the internet is the worst possible forum - with the exception of all others. Assuming of course, there were any others , which there are not. Not surprising that, is it?)
#184.108.40.206.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2010-11-06 10:02
"...our anonymous commentator responds with personalized invective, calling me a "today."
In point of fact Fr. George, I believe you were numbered as being among one of -Philip's "Ben Lomond toadies", not a simple "today" (sic) as you assert.
The purpose of your commentator being, or so I believe, to highlight your rather well-known bias when you label someone critical of your ‘patron’ (used in the mafia sense) as “stupid.”
Of course, you could always redress past wrongs by taking a principled public stand against the present evil actions manifested by –Philip. This forum might be a good place to start.
#220.127.116.11.1.1 J. Sanders on 2010-11-06 18:50
Dear Mr. Sanders:
My participation in this thread was prompted by reading an escalating threnody of highly "energized" posts which seemed to finds its zenith - or nadir - in a general call to rebellion. I called those words (not the person) stupid.
All the replies - falsely saying my comment was an attack on the person and not the words, claiming I am biased, using an insulting term like "toady," dragging in a twelve year old red-herring - avoided any meaningful engagement with my point about the call to revolt!! ANY!! At this point I consider the point conceded, and all these red herrings as invitations to change the parameters of my participation.
I respectfully decline the invitations. To the extent that I have something constructive to contribute to the critique of Church leadership and the shaping of the future, I think I know a better way to communicate.
#18.104.22.168.1.1.1 Fr. George Washburn on 2010-11-07 16:05
You are true to form if nothing else.
#22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 J. Sanders on 2010-11-08 16:49
Fine silk feels wonderful against the skin, but to a second or third degree sunburn it may as well be 50-grit sandpaper.
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Simply appalled on 2010-11-11 07:54
Seems to me that it is the honorable and venerable Metropolitan Philip who is sowing discord among the brethren, Father. Maybe he ought to stop doing it. Stupid actions are even more damaging than stupid words.
#37.1.2 Scott Walker on 2010-11-04 08:14
....Where are the petitions??? Somebody start one NOW!!!!!
"Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-27)
It is hard to imagine what the priest has done worthy of the harsh judgment summarily meted out. "He wore a cassock when I told him not to. He said mean things about me."
If the priest said "disparaging things" and they were true, His Eminence (HE) should be glad: "Open rebuke is better than concealed love" and "he that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with his tongue" (Proverbs). Even if not spoken in the most kindly way or in the right forum, HE should take the reproof and criticism in humility and learn therefrom. It comes with the territory after all.
If the priest spoke mistakenly or falsely or even maliciously about his bishop, HE should remember the Beatitudes HE reportedly doesn't permit to be sung on Sunday mornings: "Blessed art thou when they speak evil against thee falsely" for Christ's sake. If the witness HE bears against the priest is true, HE by his harsh actions in response rejects Christ's blessing (for those who are slandered for Christ's sake) and causes himself to appear as a prince among the Gentiles rather than a Christian shepherd.
If HE bears false witness against the priest, well, there is command about that..."These six things doth the Lord hate, yea, seven are an abomination unto Him...a false witness that speaketh lies." (Prov 6:16-19)
Whatever the case, and whatever good HE thinks HE is serving, at very least what HE has done is a public relations mess and brings discredit to himself and reflects poorly upon the Church.
Thank You, heavenly Father, that you are not so summarily harsh and cruel with us who are far more wayward than this brother priest. Would that all our bishops would treat us priests, when in error, as loving fathers seeking to correct, improve, and restore us rather than summarily and precipitously casting us out of the household.
Would that our bishops would show such decisiveness of action in dealing with cases of moral turpitude, corruption, and serious canonical violations rather than in petty matters.
And would that more of us would have the courage to sign our names to our posts.
Priest Justin Frederick, OCA
#39 Fr. Justin Frederick on 2010-11-03 15:02
Thank you, Father. AMEN !
P.S. Searing as the grief remains in my heart over the unexpected death last year of a beloved father in Christ who was a priest in the Antiochian jurisdiction, I am glad that he was spared witnessing the present situation(s).
#39.1 Antonia Colias on 2010-11-04 08:33
Simply outrageous ! Lord have mercy ! That Met. Philip could do this not just to a Priest but his family is appalling. Will forward a check and encourage others to help our brothers in Christ, who are suffering, and those whom I'm afraid will be suffering in the near future.
#40 Rdr. Rick Wagner on 2010-11-03 15:37
I've just been inspired by the presence of all the posts on here signed with variations of "Anonymous." Why can't an a priest from the Antiochian Archdiocese download Fr Hopko's talks from Ancient Faith Radio about what a bishop really should be, and send them anonymously to +Philip? He may start listening to them, just out of curiosity as to who sent him what! By the time he realizes what he is actually listening to, he may be "hooked" into listening to the rest!? It's something worth considering!!
#41 David Barrett on 2010-11-03 16:02
Isn't it absolutely amazing that +Philip would remove a priest for wearing a cassock (?) but allow his "buddy," "Father" Joe Allen, to continue being a priest after re-marrying?? Not only that, but remaining the pastor in the parish (Bergenfield, NJ) where his second wife's ex-husband and children still worship??? It reminds me of the "woes" to the scribes and Pharisees (whom the Lord called "hypocrites") that we hear during Holy Week: "You blind guides! Straining out a gnat, and swallowing a camel!" (Matthew 23:24)
#42 David Barrett on 2010-11-03 16:17
Really? They still go there?
#42.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 09:05
Everyone understand - Moretti is an example! + Philip removed + Mark and now he wants OBEDIENCE from all the clergy. He had to find someone to make an example of and Moretti was it! Simple! It's the same tactic he used when he re-installed Joe Allen and wanted to send a message; he got rid of all of those who opposed his actions - even John Boojamra.
#43 Anonymous on 2010-11-03 16:20
+Philip is beyond control & needs to go!!! Shame on him!!!
#44 Ted P on 2010-11-03 16:46
A quick question for those who know Fr. Moretti personally: What type of secular employment is he seeking?
I would also note that, as of October 14, the ROCOR Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America had four vacancies, at least two of which don't seem to require fluency in Russian. Perhaps Fr. Moretti could land on his feet there. A description of the vacancies and the contact information for the secretary of the diocese can be found at
For the record, I am not a member of ROCOR (not yet, anyway), but I am quite sure they have never fired a priest for wearing a cassock.
#45 Formerly Diogenes on 2010-11-03 16:47
That's a fact!
#45.1 Michael on 2010-11-04 11:10
Well, if Fr David can be released into thin air for wearing a cassock,
Then Bishop Joseph should be dismissed as well for keeping his website up in direct disobedience to the 18 excretals of MP
Oh, nevermind, +Joseph is the fair-hairless heir apparent
#46 anon and anon on 2010-11-03 16:54
A careful reading of Item 10 of the Archpastoral Directive shows that it does not require that diocesan websites be taken down, merely that they are to be designed and have content in conformity with the policies and directives of the archdiocese. I assume this means things like not referring to the bishop by the title Bishop of Los Angeles, not having a big portrait of him on the home page making it seem as if it is "his" diocese, or in any way contradicting or disparaging the Archpastoral Directive itself or the decisions of the Holy Synod of Antioch. As far as I can tell from looking around for a while, and based on my assumptions, it appears to me that the website of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West is in conformity. +JOSEPH is generally referred to simply as "His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH". He is called an auxiliary bishop. His biography does say that he was enthroned as the first bishop of the diocese (by the Metropolitan and the Local Holy Synod)--which is simply historical fact--but it does not call him Bishop of Los Angeles. The copyright notice makes clear that the diocese is under the Archdiocese, which is under the primacy of His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP.
#46.1 Catherine Steinhoff on 2010-11-03 22:15
You are absolutely right. There was no reason for me to comment about bishop Joseph's hair.
Forgive ne, it only underminede the message.
Bishop Joseph still does produce rubrics and service notes that are different than those on the Archdiocesan site.
Even those his are always correct to the T it would seem to violate the spirit and letter of the 18 directives of MP, who has another source do the liturgical notes which are usually *incorrect*.
Let us not play favorites>
If we are talking obedience and not concerned with faithfulness to Holy Tradition, then here is a blatant disregard for *MP's iron fist*.
I am done. Nothing will happen with Philip until God or the police take him, no matter how bad it gets.
#46.1.1 anon and anon on 2010-11-05 15:48
Concerning Bishop Joseph, my own experience of him indicates to me that he is a man of profound personal piety, and one who takes his monastic tonsure seriously. It is a distinct pleasure to serve with him, since throughout the Liturgy he remains tightly focused on praying the Liturgy, rather than using the "down time" for inane chatter; and he certainly encourages full participation by the Faithful. I've also watched him skillfully, gracefully, and gently but firmly, rein in a parish council overstepping its canonical bounds by teaching them rather than smacking them. The Antiochian clergy in my area seem not only respectful but also genuinely fond of him.
And the shot about his lack of hair is cheap, infantile and cowardly. Shame on you, "anon and anon," for mocking what you see as a physical defect. It is flatly contrary to the whole meaning of Canon 57 of the Holy Apostles, renders you liable to excommunication by reason of the same Canon, and---in view of 2 Kings 2:23-24---is a stupid and sinful exercise in putting God to the test.
#46.2 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2010-11-04 05:09
Lord have mercy! I have no illusions that Fr. David will be alone in facing such ridiculous "charges" and insane actions from +PHILLIP. +PHILLIP has nothing in his way - his vengeance can run unimpeded. Prayers are needed now more than ever.
Thank the Lord I'm not in the Antiochian Archdiocese. We've suffered before .... and been thrown out summarily for nothing. May God grant Fr. David and his family strength to withstand the latest onslaught. He has our prayers.
Shame on metro philip! God have mercy on his soul!
#48 fr theodore on 2010-11-03 18:16
I found out about this early Tuesday morning. I called my priest immediately, who told me, "Yes, it's bad, and yes, more of this is coming." Besides Fr. Paul Albert's yanking from Sylvania, Fr. Nabil Hanna has evidently also been replaced as ecclesiarch of the diocese, and it is expected that there will be more moves, if not dismissals, within the near future. My priest thinks that we're looking at three possibilities:
1- Massive crackdown on a certain kind of clergy that makes a certain kind of Arab nervous (and some of these clergy are Arabs themselves, like Fr. Nabil, Fr. Paul, and Fr. Stephen Ziton to bring up an old example)
2- Mass exodus
3- A few symbolic heads rolling so that Met. PHILIP may thump his chest and make it clear who's in charge, and then everything blows over.
He is hoping that it's #3, but I can't really see how that will be the case. #2 is going to be difficult for areas where the small Antiochian parish or mission is all there is without a substantial drive. So... we'll see. Lord have mercy.
For my own part, I'm afraid I'm just not seeing how beard + cassock == "looks like a smelly homeless person". Saying that "Americans are clean-shaven and wear suits" is a very Wall Street-eye-view idea of what "American" is. I'm American, I have a beard (predating my conversion, thank you very much), and while I don't mind suits, I rarely have cause to wear one. So, sorry, but I have no idea what the people railing against beards and cassocks have a problem with, and that has nothing to do with me being an "Orthodox fundamentalist" (let's have a good laugh about that one over a beer, shall we?).
All of that said, I don't disagree in the slightest that there is a kind of "Orthodox fundamentalism" that rears its head with a certain kind of convert, and that it's a problem. Beards and cassocks are hardly the worst manifestation of it, however, and part of the problem is that Orthodoxy expects something of the Orthodox Christian in a way that virtually no other institution in American culture expects of its members, except perhaps the military. For a certain kind of person who converts to Orthodoxy, that's a God-given oasis in the desert. That doesn't give these converts an excuse to act like they're patriarchs once they're (inevitably) subdeacons, but to invoke Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man, is trying to be a faithful Orthodox Christian practicing the faith to its fullest really the worst thing these people could be doing? Or is it just that it makes you uncomfortable because it makes you aware there's a lot you don't do?
#49 anonymous for the sake of my priest on 2010-11-03 19:50
To all interested in how things are going in Terre Haute:
There was an emergency council meeting (without Fr David) this evening after Vespers to discuss recent events. Overwhelmingly, everyone expressed confusion, hurt, resentment and all agreed that Metr Philip's actions are at best unsympathetic to the community's needs and at worst egotistical power plays at the expense of this relativey small parish with its relatively low on the totem pole priest. It was decided to do everything possible to help both Fr David as well as any new priest sent in in regards to their well being. Also, immediate phone calls are being made to both +Antoun and +Philip and official letters from the Council are being sent to seek a full explanation for this apparently unjustified action that came out of left field. From everything said tonight- by old and young, men and women, Arabs and Anglos (a 20 to 1 ratio, for those wondering)- and from the general atmosphere at the meeting I can confidently say that as of now the folks of St George, Terre Haute have some fight in them and will not take this lying down.
As for Fr David and his family, they are holding up quite well. They have been on a roller coaster for the last few days (yesterday was Khourya's birthday) but they are trusting in God's help. Truth be told, they are probably helping the rest of the church deal with these troubles more than the other way around. They are seeking to handle this situation in, simply, a christian manner and are encouraging others to do likewise. Metr Philip is out a good bishop and now a good priest and unfortunately lay persons from this and other parishes, too. May he realise his folly.
Terre Haute, IN
#50 Bratislav on 2010-11-03 20:02
What is the address of the parsonage in case people would like to send some assistance?
Fr John Chagnon
St. Paul, MN
St George Orthodox Church
1900 S. 4th St.
Terre Haute, IN 47802
#50.1.1 Bratislav on 2010-11-04 09:25
Who replaced fr. Nabil?
#50.2 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 06:47
God bless you and your parish, Bratislav, BUT DON'T DO IT. Just get out. Count your losses and form a new mission that has nothing to do with the long comedy of Antiochian errors in Terre Haute. Philip does NOT forget, and he is not above "excommunicating" your entire parish council. He will pursue you and destroy you with his magic Anglican bishop collar, and you just can't win. Get out while you can!
#50.3 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 23:24
Thank you for your encouragment and warnings. My family and I are going to do whatever we can to best support Fr David, to best let the community in TH know in heartfelt truth that we are with them and for them in love and against Metr Philip's machinations, and to best make it known to any and all that we do NOT hold any allegiance to +Philip any longer nor do we stand with those who will not fight against this OPENLY.
Within a few weeks I will be back under the Omophor of my dear Vladyka Longin. As for a mission parish, God knows and time will tell.
#50.3.1 Bratislav on 2010-11-05 09:30
Brother Bratislav,can you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org thank you,Father Dragan
#50.4 Father Dragan on 2010-11-05 19:38
Thankfully I decided to leave the AOCNA months ago for the OCA. What a travesty and embarrassment to the CHURCH philip has become. What is it going to take for the laity and clergy to put an end to this insanity? I can now see how the German people allowed Hitler to take over in the 1930's. If this is Orthodox Christianity, I would rather be a secular humanist. At least then I could maintain my integrity.
#51 Fr Blues on 2010-11-03 20:38
Comparing MEtropolitan PHILIP to Adolf Hilter is not a fair comparison and you should be ashammed of yourself.
#51.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 06:44
How about Rufus T. Firefly?
#51.1.1 Scott Walker on 2010-11-05 07:02
LOL at the reference. Are you singing, "Hail, Hail Damasconia!" ?!
(Not laughing one syllable at the topic, however.) (nor do I consider it remotely proper to liken Met. Philip to Hitler.)
#220.127.116.11 Antonia on 2010-11-05 14:46
Well then what would be a fair comparison? Joseph Stalin? The man is an out of control tyrant and the practice of a certain segment of the laity and clergy submitting to this type of abuse under the guise of "he is in authority and we are supposed to obey" is just bovine excrement.
This subservient attitude is what breeds and propagates this despicable behavior. Keep on drinking the MP flavored Kool Aid if you want to, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST is the head of the CHURCH, not some delusional bishop who will brook no criticism.
#51.1.2 Fr Blues on 2010-11-06 08:43
Your Eminence Metropolitan Phillip:
I am sick to my stomach, up late and cannot sleep, I strongly urge you to reconsider your transfer of Fr. Paul Albert from St. Elias in Sylvania, Ohio.
Fr. Paul is a good & holy priest. He genuinely lives as we Orthodox are called to live and just doesn't pay lip service to it. He is not a zealot, but a wise and reasonable shepherd.
Yes, there may be those who don’t agree with Fr. Paul on some issues, but they are a minority. The vast majority of those who give substantial time, talent, and money to St. Elias support him.
I am deeply concerned that this could cause irreparable damage to our Parish family, but I hope I am wrong.
I respectfully ask that you reconsider this transfer.
#52 Distraught in Toledo on 2010-11-03 22:24
I would hope that we all would look to our own "Wedding Garment" rather than what someone else is wearing.
.... If these recent actions are the result of some illness, it would be very sad indeed. If they are not, it would be an absolute tragedy.
#53 Sophia Weisheit on 2010-11-04 00:01
Passions are easily stirred for the moment. I would advise caution before thoughtful deeds for two reasons. Most importantly, in speaking against ill deeds, especially regarding one to whom we owe obedience, we take on genuine spiritual risk. I wish I did not speak at all. Secondly, do not assume that lay people (much less priests) are safe from retaliation or that you cannot be hurt. You can and others have been. I do not say do not stand up for the truth but be smart about it ... others can be hurt for your sake. I do not know ++Philip's motives but if David+ is completely innocent, so much the better example, from a certain point of view. It is an exercise of power. Cowardice isn't the only reason for wishing to remain anonymous. Names will be returned to their rightful owners soon enough.
Part of the failure of the archdiocese is a failure of imagination and a failure to discern between spirits. The touchstone for such discernment is humility and selfless love. Antiochian priests have been slow to discern the hand at work in Philip's deterioration. They have been slow to see evil when covered by a smooth tongue and charisma. Does this sound dramatic? It is not ... evil is stupid, tedious, and cheap. And it hatred of us. The Church is not a place apart from the struggle but it is a cauldron. This is not the time to abandon our owed friendship to Philip because that friendship becomes a cauldron ... BUT neither should evil deeds remain in darkness, unnamed, unexorcised, unhealed. Have we exorcised exorcism from the Church? God forbid. ...Neither through fear of thuggery should men remain silent. Attacks on the Church come in many ways. They find fertile soil in us when we cease to pray.
Even in priests and bishops, a shallow romance with religion combined with egotism has always delayed progress in discipleship. A concern for self and comfort becomes an idol that prevents the pilgrim church from recognizing that natural life is tragically wounded and mortal. As Fr. Schmemann once said, "We do not worship life, we worship Life Eternal." This is difficult for parents but it is difficult for all who love. Things have become difficult and will be more so. I am not speaking as an oracle ... the decline of morality makes it inevitable. It is difficult to give thanks to God when an Adversary has come among us.
Persevere! May God bless the Orthodox Christians! Come Holy Spirit, renew Your Church!
#54 Monologistos on 2010-11-04 01:16
You are presuming too much, my friend. This isn't about the "passions." You are not seeing the "anger of Cain." Righteous anger is a virtue and what could be more righteous than defending the Church? My obedience is to Christ and those above me who represent Him. Metropolitan Philip doesn't qualify on either count.
You say, "Antiochian priests have been slow to discern the hand at work in Philip's deterioration." I've talked to many, many priests and they ALL knew, but were too afraid to do anything about it. He didn't "deteriorate." He has consistently rewarded his friends and punished his adversaries. Are you saying this is not the case?
You talk about "spiritual risks." The greatest spiritual risk is doing nothing in the face of evil, because then you become complicit. To ignore what happen to Father David makes one no better than the priest who passed by the man who was robbed or Lazarus who ignored the beggar. How can you caution people to be "smart" and protect themselves when good priests have been "robbed" of their priesthood and are left to "beg" in their retirement?
You say, "Names will be returned to their rightful owners soon enough." If God finds me worthy, let me be the first.
Re: "As Fr. Schmemann once said, 'We do not worship life, we worship Life Eternal." - This is about the only thing you said that makes sense so I suggest you heed your own advice and stop scaring people into "being smart" (translation: do nothing of consequence), because they will have to answer for it one day. God does not expect us to bury our talents. If He's given us a voice, and everyone who speaks out on this list has one, He expects us to use it for His glory. Fear does not bring God glory. What you are recommending is perpetrating a lie and calling it "the Church."
#54.1 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-05 12:17
Well said, Gail! You are one of my heroes.
#54.1.1 Karen on 2010-11-06 11:22
It will be hard for Fr. David and his family to see it now but it is the best thing for them to have the AOCA in their rear view mirror. My family was also tossed out of the AOCA church that we have been in for more than a decade by the tribe (translated:wealthy Arabic families) for being troublemakers (translated: speaking the truth). Anyone who believes that this isn't a cultural issue just hasn't been there. + P and his side kick Antoun brings out the worst in the worst members of the tribe; respectful questioning or dissent is not tolerated and revenge will be coming for all who cross the line. Your friends will desert you because they fear it will be them next. It is sad and pathetic to see this grotesque behavior repeat itself over and over. Thank you Mark for having a forum to expose this un-Christian behavior for all to see. May God bless Fr. David and his family. You are not alone; many are praying for you; many have shouldered this same burden before you and know that all will be well for you and yours.
PS I remain anonymous because I still live in the same city as the AOCA church I was thrown out of; my children are adults now and live here as well. I will not risk any further revenge against my wife or children. May God bless and keep the tribe far away from me.
#55 Former AOCA member on 2010-11-04 04:28
Former AOCA Member,
Are you kidding me? They threw you out of a church and you fear them? Do they have a goon squad also? There is no place for this in our churches (or any denomination for that matter) the church is to be a safe haven from the evil of the world. When a church "harbors" such evil individuals it ceases to be a real church, its just a club house.
#55.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 21:29
The Assassini (Italian for "assassins"), as an archetype for a lone priest or a secret society of priests involved in the sanctioned killing of (non-supernatural) political opponents of the Roman Catholic Church or a faction within the Church, can be found in several works of fiction.
#56 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 06:01
Are you suggesting people consider assassinating the Metropolitan? Agree with him or not that kind of attitude towards anyone is frightening to say the least. As heated as these arguments can get we still have to consider the salvation of the other as a primary goal. It's not just about transforming things and structures its also about transforming people, ourselves included.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Paul, MN
(Editor's note: Well said, Father. )
It seemed to me that the "Assassini" post suggested the opposite: referring to the mafiosi within the loyalist tribe who enforce church policy through brinksmanship, and the post seemed to insinuate there were few limits on how far some might hypothetically go to punish men who act out of conscience. That was my logical conclusion since critics of archdiocese policy who post here have advocated nothing more than prayer and withholding money. What the loyalists advocate amongst themselves, we do not know.
#56.1.1 David S on 2010-11-04 09:56
That was my take on it as well.
#18.104.22.168 Makarios on 2010-11-05 08:47
I'd just like to thank Fr. John for his presence on this site. I've been reading this site for over a year, and have appreciated Fr. John's words of wisdom, grace, and humility throughout that time. It is a blessing to have a spiritual father occasionally heard clearing his throat among this sometimes unruly crowd. Also a source of inspiration when things appear especially dark, such as now.
Thank you, Fr. John.
#56.1.2 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 14:11
Let's keep it in works of fiction, then.
#56.2 John Congdon on 2010-11-04 10:27
Or perhaps suggesting that "Lover of MP" or others of his ilk should take it upon themselves in some misbegotten scheme to support MP. It hardly matters. Evil is not a constructive path for anyone or any side. It is somewhat worse than an unhelpful suggestion, regardless of whether there was intended humor that was not conveyed in the writing. As it is, it serves as a kind of off-the-cuff implied death threat levied equally against everyone. I wish that such things were less common to "casual conversation". Perhaps the author would clarify his intent?
#56.3 monologistos on 2010-11-04 18:32
Actually, it makes more sense for me to say the Church and friendship are a crucible rather than a cauldron. The more tired I get, the more I start sounding like Yoda ... at least I said anger is the mark of Cain and not the path to the Dark side.
#57 Monologistos on 2010-11-04 07:14
Take a page from the GOA: when things like this happen, there is only one way to stop a tyrant...and it's the job of the LAITY! It was that way 1000 years ago..and nothing has changed.
Your poor priests can't take care of this monster...there are too many ways he can hurt them, as he just demonstrated with Fr. David.
It's time for the laity of the AOCA to wake up. Stop your archdiocesan dues...just cut them off. And leave your poor priests OUT OF THIS. The priest needs plausible deniability, and must be able to answer the call from Englewood with a very sincere, "I can't control them..."
I can't tell you how many Greek priests took me aside, after the charter embroglio, and told me "thank you" for what we did in OCL - in particular for taking on the heavy lifting...without endangering them.
Look...our priests have given everything they have to the Church...but this is simply NOT their battle. They cannot do it...and it's an unfair match from the beginning.
The LAITY, on the other hand? What is Metropolitan Philip going to do to us? Cut our pay? Throw us out of our homes? All he can really do is refuse us communion...for which there are 15 other jurisdictions just waiting for our donations.
One parish does this, and it's a target. Get 25 parishes to do it, and the war is won.
This is the JOB OF THE LAITY. It's time to see if you are up to the task!
#58 Dean Calvert on 2010-11-04 07:24
Sadly, Dean, if the money dries up, Metropolitan Philip will hold our priests responsible. He can transfer them, withhold their retirement or cut them loose, as he did in Father David's case. He can demand that they refuse communion or worse excommunicate those who refuse to cooperate. Mark my words, he is going to clean house and as I said before, he has a long memory. But this is what happens when you give a man enamored with power free reign. You can't run from something like this. This battle should have been fought a long time ago, but with each passing year, Metropolitan Philip has been given more and more latitude to the point where he now has total control.
To the clergy: What were you thinking? Why didn't you ban together and stop him? In an effort to protect your position and your families, you have placed yourselves and your spiritual children in the worst possible position. I do not agree that the laity can stop this by withholding funds. Metropolitan Philip will implement Fr. Antony's 52-step plan to guilt us into contributing and when that doesn't work, he will make tithing a requirement. You will be expected to punish and remove those who refuse. Are you prepared for this? Because it's going to happen.
To Bishops Basil and Alexander: Why do you stay? There is nothing you can do for us as "auxiliary" bishops. You could/should take a stand by asking to be transferred out of the Archdiocese. If you don't do it now, it's only a matter of time before Metropolitan Philip does it for you. However, if you leave of your own volition, it will send a clear message to the Orthodox world that we are in serious trouble. This is the LAST stand you can take. Don't stay hoping it will get better when Metropolitan Philip retires or, God forbid, dies. The perverse culture he has created will survive him. You will never be free.
To my own Father in Christ, Bishop Joseph: I know you don't approve of the things Metropolitan Philip does, because you are not like him. Your greatest flaw is your greatest virtue. You are a monastic and you follow orders. Surely God expects you to (first) be obedient to your office and to protect and nurture your flock. Metropolitan Philip has made this impossible for you. However, if you brake rank and recommit yourself to being obedient to Christ, you and brother bishops could tip the scales. How sad that you abdicated your voice when we had Bishop Mark. The four of you could have put a stop to all this. I wouldn't want to inherit Metropolitan Philip's legacy for all the riches of the world, but you reap what you sow. When you become metropolitan, you will be beholden to the same people. Frankly, I don't think you have the stomach for it. At our Holy Unction service in 2009, I saw what all this was doing to you. You nearly collapsed. My heart breaks for you.
The only recourse we have left now is to pray. God, alone, has the power to clean up this mess. For as long as you can, give your tithes directly to your priests. They will need it.
#58.1 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-04 14:04
Most priests where suits, always wore suits in America. Your talking about assimilating to American culture right? Forgetting the old world ways right? Well wear a suit then! Don't wear a cassock like the "Old world", we are in America right? That's the argument everyone is saying?
As you all keep proclaiming, which is true, we in America have our own culture, unfortunately for those cassock wearers that means a suit and collar. So please, don't give this cassock tradition argument, it is contradicting yourself about moving on with our American Culture.
(Editor's note: If we are to enculturate in America, it must be the America of 2010, not 1960. Mad Men, with their suits and ties, is a popular TV show; popular reality in America is neither a majority of suits, nor ties, nor even white men. What people wear makes no difference to most people under 30; what they do, does.
#59 Happy on 2010-11-04 07:27
Actually, Happy, I would rather see America become Orthodox than see Orthodoxy become American. In any case, I'm about as Anglo as they come (Danish-English heritage), and I'm not sure I understand how "American culture" means "suit and collar," sorry.
I'm Anglo too, but I'm looking at it from a historical perspective of Orthodoxy in America. They never had this issue before the last decade. It was a case-closed subject if I'm correct. Maybe a priest from the past can confirm this.
#59.1.1 Happy on 2010-11-04 10:24
Cassock type clothing was common among American protestant pastors before the 1900s. Because of the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, the black business suit is not respected among the non-Christians. I found these quotes online and they seem to apply in this discussion:
"...issues of order and clerical appearance are decided according to what pleases the eyes of people who spend their off hours in “country club casual”. But this is the west, riassas and jibbis will alienate Americans. They will think we are Muslims or something. No, these are unfounded excuses. Americans are more sophisticated than that. Believe me- the culture that gave you hippies, punk rockers, and cowboys can handle seeing a priest in a riassa. Those who want all priests to wear the black business suit are under the false impression their sesitivities are universal. That opinion originates from one socio-economic group, mainly upper middle class baby-boomers, who want their preferences applied everywhere. "
"The Orthodox in my local neighborhood spend their week interfacing with lesbians, neo-pagans, atheists, and assorted ethnicities... That’s what life is like for those of us who can’t afford to attend a resort hotel convention. Give me one priest with beard and rasso, and I will take him to parts of America where he will attract the lost like moths to a flame."
#59.2 David S on 2010-11-04 10:16
Reality check II:
Fr. Moretti spent a summer internship with Fr. Atty 3 years ago. He incorporated some of Fr. Atty’s successful ministry tenets in Terre Haute. Since Fr. Atty has moved on to St. Tikhon’s +Philip cannot go after him so he went after one of his protégé’s.
Fr. Albert has been assailed for years by the old guard of Sylvania who are a relatively small minority in the community. These non-church going, un-sacramental members are closely aligned to Fr. Antypas. They have conspired for years to seek the ouster of Fr. Albert so they could regain control of the parish. These tribal minded people are not interested in a transforming spiritual church, but a social club that performs minimal rituals when desired.
Fr. Hannah is the last president of the +Philip ordered defunct mid-west diocesan presbyters council and a close advisor to Bp. Mark.
What all these priests shared along with others, is loyalty, respect, fidelity and desire to assist Bp. Mark in what was considered his diocese ministry. These are among the most spiritually grounded priests in the archdiocese. But that doesn’t cut it for Englewood – where it’s all about the money and the ruthless power it buys!
O Lord save the faithful!
O Lord save the Orthodox!
And hear us!
#60 Former Philipian on 2010-11-04 07:45
OK, a recap for those seeking Holy Orders:
---The AOCA has a crazy leader and no pension is assured. The "tribal" mentality rules and all bishops except the Tribal Chieftain have been emasculated. Until a new, AMERICAN leader is chosen, serious risk! Good food, most people are nice, but tribalism prevails!
---The GOA is extremely ethnic. Greek is preferred and if you aren't Greek, you will always be an outsider. On the other hand, most Midwest parishes are Americanized; pay their priests well; a pension plan is in place and many vacancies exist. Learn some Greek and this could be a nice place to be! Please note, Greeks tend to believe that only they are Orthodox.
---ROCOR, although now under Moscow, are still nutz. They believe in externals, towing the line with bishops and pretend to be Russians from 1800. If you like cults, this is a good place!
---The OCA tends to be the most receptive to Americans and converts in general. They have come out of their scandals nicely and are re-grouping. They still have an identity crisis between American or acting like Russian emigres. Also, most of their parishes are taken. A good place to go, but not without issues. Long-term, the OCA offers the best hope for Orthodoxy in N. America. All priests are fully vested in their pension in 20 years!
#61 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 08:11
A true post of cowardice!
How dare you insult ROCOR like that. Obviously you have never visited Jordanville or Wayne West Virginia.
May God forgive you for your insults.
#61.1 Michael on 2010-11-04 11:43
Sorry, I missed the part where "towing (sic) the line with bishops" is "nutz"?
Funny you should mention the Greeks being "extremely ethnic". Every OCA parish I've ever been in has struck me as "extremely ethnic" as well -- the ethnicity is simply American. Well, a particular kind of American, anyway.
I am becoming increasingly convinced that Orthodoxy is not a set of abstractions that can simply be uprooted from their cultural context, transposed to an American Evangelical key, and *poof*, there's "American Orthodoxy". I believe we are going to better off in the long run drinking from wells that already exist rather than trying to synthesize hydrogen and oxygen on our own. I know, we're Americans, and we prefer to make our own water, but I'm just not at all persuaded that that's going to work the way we want it to on this one.
(Editor's note: If you have to become Greek, or Russian, or Serbian, or Arab, or whatever, to become fully "Orthodox", I doubt many Americans will ever be interested. Do you really think that people who have chosen to be "in exile" from countries they have never visited, who ape lost empires, and mroes abandoned in their own homelands, will speak to the heart of the megachurch society? We do not have to create our own water; like rain, grace falls from heaven for those who are willing to embrace it, and receive it. And its transforming power works in America too. Of course, you are welcome to raise your umbrella, and curse it. But why?)
I said nothing about "having to become ", and I'm uncertain why the poles of "Baptizing Evangelical Protestantism" and "Becoming Greco-Russo-Levantine" are always what seem to be presented as the only options. What I think has to happen is a thing more subtle and nuanced than having to "become an ethnicity". Rather, it's the realization that we have to accept cultural Orthodoxy on its own terms, and that there might even be something valuable we can learn from doing so, rather than reflexively writing it all off as being a "nominal ethnic thing" or a "little-t tradition thing". Somebody else mentioned that Russia took the Byzantine tradition and made it her own, and this is true -- but it took centuries of slow, organic historical movement.
Let me give you an example. A few years ago, my priest decided that he wanted to adopt the practice in our parish of strewing basil leaves around the church during the Liturgy of Great and Holy Saturday. All well and good -- except that people who showed up AFTER the Holy Saturday Liturgy to help cook and prepare the church for the Paschal Liturgy saw the basil leaves on the floor and said, "Why did Father throw salad all over the floor?" They picked up the basil and baked it in a lasagna. We don't do basil leaves on Holy Saturday anymore.
The problem here is twofold -- people don't know what's going on, but they're also not there when the explanation is given. We have three choices -- do it and explain everything at every step, simplify it and cut it down to something that casual attendees can digest without needing to hear the announcements from the night before, or just do it, and figure the people who get it, get it, and the people who don't, don't. (We also have to be ready to stop people when they're picking up the basil leaves.)
What I am arguing is that, rather than writing off everything we don't understand or that makes us uncomfortable as "little-t tradition" or "ethnic folk piety" or labeling it as one thing or another that makes it negotiable if not deletable, we have to be prepared to adopt a posture of humility, ask questions about what we don't understand, and be willing to accept what the answers are, rather than assuming we know what we're looking at and doing something quite premature as a result.
Of course, what that requires is for the people who need things explained to show up, but it also requires the explainers to show up. I have friends who were baptized together while they were dating, and they made it plain throughout their catechesis that they were planning on getting engaged and married in an Orthodox church once they were baptized. Well, they were baptized with the same godparents, and THEN they saw the sign at the Greek church where they were getting married that said, "Godchildren of the same godparents may not marry." The priest who baptized them had known but totally forgotten about this; the godparents had done some measure of due diligence and tried to research the matter, but the GOA website doesn't discuss this restriction beyond saying that godchildren and godparents may not marry. Baptismal certificates were very hastily reissued and all wound up being fine in the end, but it was a mess for a little while. A Greek friend of theirs told them, "This isn't your fault. It's our fault for not being more up front about explaining these things and why they're important."
I also didn't say anything about "cursing" anything. What I said is, I'm not convinced that Orthodoxy as an abstraction that we render in American Evangelical-speak, divorced from cultures that actually have a history of lived faith within the received tradition, is actually going to do anything to make America Orthodox. It may well generate something that we choose to call "American Orthodoxy," but I don't see how that's necessarily the same thing. Catering to and validating the assumptions of the "megachurch society" is not, in my view, actually going to convert anybody to Orthodox Christianity. What reached me about Orthodoxy was not the points of similarity between it and the megachurch I had attended with my mother as an adolescent; rather, it was the realization that the ROCOR cathedral I was standing in was about as different from said megachurch as it could possibly be and still be recognizably Christian, and I wanted to know how that could possibly be. Does that somehow make me less "American"?
Are there American characteristics that are usable? In the long run, sure, just like there were in Russia. On the other hand, as happened in Russia, I tend to think that it will be well to look to what folk culture as we might find here rather than to the consumer culture. Just three weeks ago I heard a Byzantine chant specialist -- and a Greek, no less -- say that he'd love to hear somebody try to do a bluegrass setting of the Divine Liturgy (minus instruments, of course). So... who knows.
Re: "ROCOR, although now under Moscow, are still nutz. They believe in externals..."
And this sets them apart from the rest of the Orthodox in America?!
So what has this belief in the "externals" done for them? Off the top of my head I can think of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Boy, did he love the "externals" and look where it got him!
Let's see, what else...Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God...Brother Jose Munoz-Cortes, saintly-martyr and bearer of the Montreal Myrrh Streaming Icon of the Mother of God...Metropolitan Laurus, simple monk and healer of the Russian Orthodox Church...Reader Nektarios bearer of the Hawaiian Myrrh Streaming Icon of the Mother of God...Myrrh Streaming Icon of St. Anna in Philadelphia...ok you get the picture.
Now what does disbelief in the "externals" get you? Perhaps the recent action of Metropolitan Philip can provide a partial answer to that question.
Dostoevsky ('A Writer's Diary', 1877) has some fine words on this matter:
"A vessel containing a precious liquid is being carried; everyone falls to their knees; everyone kisses and worships the vessel containing this precious vivifying liquid; and suddenly some people stand up and begin shouting, 'You are blind! Why do you kiss the vessel? What is precious is only the vivifying liquid within, what is precious are the contents, not the container. But you are kissing glass, simple glass; you worship the vessel and attribute all sanctity to the glass and ignore its precious contents! Cast the vessel aside; smash it; worship only the vivifying liquid and not the glass!' And so the vessel is smashed and the vital liquid, the precious contents are spilled on the earth and disappear into it, of course. The vessel has been smashed and the precious liquid lost."
#61.3 Yianni on 2010-11-04 16:34
>---The GOA is extremely ethnic. Greek is preferred and if you
>aren't Greek, you will always be an outsider. On the other hand,
My my, there are a lot of stereotypes being floated around here. I am not Greek... but when my priest (who also is not Greek) and I spoke with Metropolitan Alexios concerning prospects for my ordination, I was never made to feel like an "outsider" or a "second-class citizen." And His Eminence was very encouraging... and obviously he knows I am not Greek.
> most Midwest parishes are Americanized;
It would be interesting to do a survey... I suspect more GOA parishes use quite a lot of English than some people would think or like others to think.
>Learn some Greek and this could be a nice place to be!
No one's ever suggested I need to learn demotic Greek. Liturgical Greek, yes... because this is the Greek Orthodox Church and there will always be a place for it in the services even with a large amount of English.
>Please note, Greeks tend to believe that only they are Orthodox.
In YHWH Made Flesh, Christ our God,
Thanks, Dean. You are absolutely right.
#62 Makarios on 2010-11-04 08:52
Point of Clarity.
Fr. atty is still in AOCNA eventhough he is at St. tikhon. He was not release to the OCA. This was reported on this site in early June I belive.
Maybe the real problem is Fr. atty and his opinion of the archdiocese and his opinion have rub off on his protégé’s.
#63 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 09:30
In response to #61. I am not ROCOR, but my godmother and my son's godparents are. I take great exception to you calling ROCOR nuts. Some people are, but that's true in the most Americanist parishes and jurisdictions. Look, when the Church evangelizes a culture, some things can be co-opted and some things cannot. The canons of the Church call for a priest to have long hair, a beard and to wear a cassock. It's one thing to give a dispensation for this so a priest can work in a secular job (which ROCOR interstingly enough, often does). It's another thing entirely to tell a priest that he may not dress according to the canons even when he desires to and is able to do so. Long hair, beards and cassocks do not, for the most part, turn off or alienate most Americans. As a matter of fact, like the religious habit of monastics, a distinctive priestly dress can be very attractive to people, and serve as an opportunity for evangelization and for witness. I think it is false humility to say that our priests have to look like American businessmen-more likely a lack of nerve to perhaps stand apart from the mainstream, which in many cases is actually a good thing. ROCOR can be a bit legalistic at times, in my experience, but at least no one is going to get into trouble there for trying to live a traditional, ascetic, Christian life. We need to convert America to Orthodoxy-not dump all Orthodox distinctives in order to become just one more denomination. If you want business suits, cigars, brandy and glad-handing with the rich, I hear there are still some old school Episcopalians around. Try them and leave the ascetic life of Orthodoxy to those among us who really do consider it the Ark of Salvation, and who are willing to conform to it rather than asking it to conform to us.
#64 Teena Blackburn on 2010-11-04 10:17
"The canons of the Church call for a priest to have long hair, a beard and to wear a cassock."
(Editor's note: The same ones that forbid men from wearing pants and women skirts. I forbid anybody on this site from beginning a canonical war, citing canons from centuries ago sans context, culture, and meaning as if they were Koranic injunctions, to "prove" their points. There are not enough electrons in the world to contain all those canons, commentaries and debates. Let's move forward.)
#64.1 Michael Strelka on 2010-11-05 04:43
Gee Teena, exactly which canons state that a priest should have long hair, a beard and wear a cassock? I can't find this canon. It must be a VERY local canon!
#64.2 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 05:34
All of you Antiochians:
Do you all recall how Bishop Basil was warning all of you NOT to read and pay attention to what is on the Internet? That it's all gossip and evil rumors? Well, take some of these posts by Mark Stokoe and send them directly to Antiochian laity. They need to know what "Crazy Phil" is doing. Don't hesitate, don't hold back, but make widely known what their tyrant leader is doing now. It is clear, their leader is NOT in his right mind!
#65 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 10:24
I guess this means that Metro Phil's moves have ensured that the incredible amount of cauldron stirring by the convert Monasticists is now about done.
Our parishes can now go back to being joyful places full of life, instead of being full of dour people getting railed at by priests who shout "you people suck" from the altar.
#66 anonymous on 2010-11-04 12:37
Hmmm? A good bishop has been forced out and will now represent the OCA. A good priest is terminated for violating the protestant "dress code". Another priest has been removed from his parish of 20 years. And you say we can return to joy and fullness of life??? You are under the impression that priests have been insulting the people from the Altar???
You are living in some type of alternate reality.
#66.1 Michael on 2010-11-05 05:43
Whoa.....now THATS an interesting comment.....can you unpack that?
#66.2 Antionymous on 2010-11-05 05:46
Wow. Can you send me the audio on that?!
Usually... it's my friends that tell me I suck. My priest will be happy to know that he too can pile on.
#66.3 Ivan HadEnough on 2010-11-05 07:56
What has our Orthodoxy become? Who will save Orthodoxy? Who will be a Champion of Orthodoxy? Certainly no one from this generation...certainly the inside of the cup is filthy and full of disease. The Church in the final days will be relegated to a few people that still hold the Truth of Orthodoxy in their hearts. What has Metropolitan Phillip done? He has been given great responsibilities from God and he will be judged accordingly. The Day of Judgement will be a dreadful day. The Lord has given Fr. Moretti a blessing and saved him much heartbreak and tribulation. Truly the Lord sees Fr Moretti's heart and has blessed him. He will now beable to live a Orthodox life in a truely Orthodox Church with true Orthodox Hierarchs. Many AOCA priests envy your position, they are left to deal with this tyrant or face severe punishment like losing their pension or jobs. God will have his vengeance.
#67 Terribly Sad on 2010-11-04 13:50
1) In France which has become a soft atheistic state, it is unthinkable that a worker be fired for a fault without a meeting with the autority during which he may be assisted by a collegue (and even a lawyer) to give explanations and discuss the matter. It is also forbidden by the law to cast a man out of his home (even if he occupies it illegally) during winter (approximately from the begining of october to the end of may.) It seems therefore that the atheistic masters of the world in which we live are more sensitive to human values than some orthodox christian authorities.
2) Some people on this site consider +Ph. acting like a pope. This is an insult to the pope of Rome. He could never do what +Ph. does, because in the latin communion the canons are very clear and positive, inspired by the roman laws, and the pope, too, is subjected to them : all his decisions are closely checked by others.
No, +Ph is not a pope, but a guru. Read closely his statement in 18 points. It draws the relationships prevailing not in a church but in a sect.
3) I pray with all my heart for the priests and deacons, not knowing what to do, fearing to endanger their families for a word which could be reported to the insane authority, fearing to take difficult decisions concerning people who, as a revenge, could make false allegations against them.
Bad time ! Time for the laity, as Dean said above, to protect priests, deacons and all ministers. To protect them, to love them and to be obedient to them in all spiritual matters. (Forgive my poor english).
#68 Kolia on 2010-11-04 14:19
Good post Kolia. You are correct. Pope Benedict would not be able to wield the same absolute power which +Philip has acquired. And you are also correct about this being an issue regarding insensitivity. Let us read what St John Climacus says about insensitivity:
"Insensitivity is a deadened feeling in body and spirit, and comes from a long sickness and carelessness....The insensitive man is a foolish philosopher, an exegete condemned by his own words, a scholar who contradicts himself, a blind man teaching sight to others. He talks about healing a wound and does not stop making it worse."
#68.1 Michael on 2010-11-05 06:01
I think the comments about seminarians in various "churches" is pretty much spot on! The smaller groups such as the Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians, etc. are even a bit more clannis or "tribal" since their churches seem to be based as much on language as anything else.
I do have a comment about the characterization of ROCOR, however. ROCAR is just as consumed with ethnicity as any of the other overseas patriarchiates; it's just that they are modeled on the paradigm of "Holy Russia" in the 18th century. A good friend of mone once told me of a conversation with a very high ranking bishop in ROCOR just before the reunification with Moscow. The story he told went something like, Okay you guys will be canonical but you won't be Russian anymore. Obviously - if this is true - everyone opted for being Russian which is why their seminary in New York is conducted in Russian, etc. It really isn't a cult anymore than the GOA, etc. is a cult, it's just made up of strongly nationalistic people who tend to identify Orthodoxy with a qualifier like "Russian Orthodoxy", "Greek Orthodoxy", "Romanian Orthodoxy", etc.
The problem or challege as I see it is that the OCA has their head in the right place and can move in the right direction especially if St. Vladimir's continues to shrug off its Parisian theology and move back to Patristics. But and, this is the big but, the OCA has no supporters overseas with the "decision makers" as witnessed by the EA where Met. Jonah can be sidelined without discussion.
I also think the comment on the laity being the transforming power is also spot on...but with this caveat: Orthodoxy in this country needs to move away from an ideal where newly ordained priests are looking for assignments with ready made salary, benefits, etc. We need missionary priests who aren't afraid to borrow some of the playbook moves of the evangelical protestants, move to a town, start meeting in a living room and build a church. It isn't easy but I've done it twice and I know if the Holy Spirit is in it, it works! Maybe we need a corps of non-seminary educated (but pious and learned) bi-vocational priests who will go and plant churches without needing to lean on a national group for financial support. This kind of grassroots church planting is really the norm throughout the world, Orthodox and non-Orthodox. It's tough to do, but it's the way the Gospel is spread.
(Editor's Note: Friend, it was that "Parisian" theologian Fr. Georges Florovsky, the former Dean of SVS, who engineered and popularized a "Return to the Fathers" in orthdox theology. And Fr. Alexander Schemann, another "Parisian" former Dean, who returned us to the sources of our Liturgical life; and another Parisian, and former Dean of SVS, Fr. John Meyendorff, who "returned" Gregory Palamas to the Church's consciousness. So, stop spreading ignorance -and preaching it as a way forward. Anti-intellectualism is an unhealthy aspect of American social life, and your belief in ecclesiastical "narodniks" is equally unhealthy. We need to follow the fathers, like the Cappadocians, not the social revolutionaries of the 19th century, and engage our society at its highest levels and aspirations if we are to thrive. We claim to be the Church of all mankind, for all times; not a sect of the "pure" who must escape all mankind, and our time, to "preserve" our Faith like a jar of grandma's jelly. )
#69 george osborne on 2010-11-04 14:20
Classes at ROCOR's Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY are now conducted in English.
#69.1 melxiopp on 2010-11-05 07:32
Well, the current dean of St. Vladimir's is the Chuck Norris of patristics, so I'd say they made a step in the right direction.
#69.2 Cordelia on 2010-11-05 07:50
A hierarch becomes pre-eminent, he's expected to have his enthusiasms. Enthusiasms.
#70 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 15:55
Thank you Al Capone.
#70.1 Antionymous on 2010-11-05 05:53
"the OCA has no supporters overseas with the "decision makers" as witnessed by the EA where Met. Jonah can be sidelined without discussion."
For the OCA, it's decision makers are RIGHT HERE! The OCA isn't bound by dictates from Moscow, Istanbul or anywhere else. Out of humility the OCA participated in the EA fiasco which has NO canonical authority. + Bart wanted to show his card and all the bishops had a nice tea & dinner, but beyond that, a fruitless endeavor, just a big show. As Met. Philip said, "There was no reason to get rid of SCOBA. At least SCOBA had a constitution."
#70.2 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 06:12
A friend of mine puts it thus: we're the one group in NA that doesn't have to "call home."
#70.2.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2010-11-10 15:40
Perhaps Mark could get an address from Fr. David to which expressions of support and contributions to his family's expenses could be sent and post it for us. Perhaps those who have or are about to discontinue their pledges to the Order of St. Ignatius out of disgust could send some of the monies to Fr. David instead, while the rest of us chip in, too. (I say some because I would not be surprised if there will be other parish-less priests to support before sanity and canonical order return.)
#71 DNY on 2010-11-04 16:50
I have met many priests in my life and none of them have ever been as sincere and as caring as Father David. He is one that was full of zeal and love for the Orthodox faith and it was a truly refreshing thing to witness. It is sad that such a priest and his wonderful family have to be put through this. What happened to one holy catholic and apostolic church? Now it is just a fragmented society that has lost a bishop and a priest within a week.
#72 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 17:41
I am suffering writers block. I so much want to write something so profoundly asinine that it would force His Eminence to discipline me but I just can't seem to find the words. Wait I know!
Hey Your Eminence. I am wearing a cassock. Well it's more like a blanket I had in my closet and uh.. oh crap, I am just a layman..I have a little goatee not a full beard. But if it would compel you to act I would be willing to let it grow out. You know sort of like you do when you are not ill and go to Damascus.
C'mon Mark You have got to post this what's the harm?
(Editor's note: C'mon Kevin, we have enough people in the Orthodox Church playing dress up!)
#73 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-04 18:00
Dear Kevin: A "Slanket" does not a cassock make.
#73.1 Ivan HadEnough on 2010-11-05 08:15
Not bad, Kevin. You got potential. Look to the professionals for profound examples. This website is a good place to start:
Study the masters and learn from them.
#73.2 Bob Koch on 2010-11-05 10:44
Every time I think "ok, it's bottomed out...it's gotta get better from here on out", Philip goes off and does something new. At best, he is no longer capable of controlling his behaviors and his staff and is to be pitied. ...
Either way, we seriously need to pray, pray, and pray more for deliverance for the archdiocese.
#74 Mary Brigid on 2010-11-04 20:49
There is a solution for lay and priests alike: a protest vigil, which is a Byzantine invention. The Alexandrians, in order to have Athanasius ordained as their bishop stayed several nights in church. A similar tactic was followed by the Nicomedians who wanted Gerontius to remain their bishop; instead of staying in church, they took to the streets of Nicomedia and Constantinople singing hymns.
Vigils were the means to protest for Flavian and Diodor, but this time against the local bishop Leontius of Antioch, does this ring a bell?
At the beginning of the fourth century, two laymen, Flavian and Diodor, in order to rally the orthodox of Antioch, performed vigils at the tombs of the martyrs, in which antiphonal singing was instituted. From Theodoretus’s account, it emerges that those vigils were frequent, all-night long, and attended by many.
The early Christians had prayed at night-time during persecution , and the martyrs performed vigils before being put to death. With their vigil, Flavian and Diodorus declared their party both persecuted and heir to the church of the martyrs.
What about establishing a vigil on St lavian's feast and proclaim it as a day against abuses of episcopla power? Also donations can be made for priests suffering form persecution. That is the 27 Spetember
#75 Sleepless in Toledo on 2010-11-04 21:04
For those who think a vigil has a strong un-American flavor, we can gather afterwards at the nearest port, river, or lake and throw in the water boxes of baclavas, *from Beirut, only, please, not the Gk or Cypriot immitations*,and other middle-eastern delicacies. Even MP will get that message
#76 Sleepless in Toledo on 2010-11-04 21:31
I think there is more to this story than just wearing a cassock in public, if Metropolitan PHILIP would release a priest for this he would loose a lto fo his clergy! I think there is more to this story that meet the eye, and we should all not be so rash to judge!
(Editor's note: If there was more to this story why did the Metropolitan write what he did? Was he lying to the parish? Dissembling? COnfusing? Why would he do any of that? I think we owe the Metropolitan to be taken at his word - and in his own words.)
#77 Anonymous on 2010-11-04 22:07
We've been disturbed by the latest actions towards Fr David M. Many have voiced their outrage and have offered ways in which to counter these actions. However, let me ask --- it's been warned that this is only the start and more are going to follow. Are we all going to go through this same excercise for each infraction? I understand if the priest being hit is one's own, but, for most of us, that isn't the case.
When the next thing happens, will we pretend to be surprised or rather be outraged by yet an example of MPs power. Or will we be forewarned and provide a measured, serious response to something that we expected all along? Please, in the next round, let's not have all of the "anaxios" and "pope philips" -- if you are so prescient, the next steps will not be a surprise. In the spirit of Christ, how should we respond to the next thing that happens? With bravado and rebellion or with waiting on what God prepares for us, his wastrels?
#78 Rob Stevenson on 2010-11-05 00:59
I was disgusted to learn that people at 2 other Orthodox Churches in the Toledo area were talking about Fr. Paul Albert's transfer on Sunday. He received his letter on Monday. One month for a transfer is too short of a time to plan especially in this economy.
Does anyone know where it was leaked from?
Soon to be a former member of St. Elias Sylvania & the Antiochian Church
#79 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 03:38
I can only hope and pray that the OCA will be more than welcoming to this priest and others who will be leaving the disintegrating former church of Antioch.
I am truly horrified that I am alive and witness to all work of the evil one in Orthodoxy and its bishops. Truly we are done for.
The time is coming when to be True Christian in going to be only in our hearts... I see it here in Kodiak, I see it reported in the newspapers, I see it everywhere...
I never was convinced that any religion was God sanctioned and set up by God or Christ... this is really evident in the present time isnt it.
#80 Ted Panamariof on 2010-11-05 03:48
It's responses like Ted's that convince me that the Millstone Quarry just got a new order from On High.
How many Bishop's do you think have been fitted throughout the ages for these little anchor weights? Imagine the scene when bad men give an account for their evil acts. Now compound the difficulties they face because they did these deeds in Christ's name and caused his children to stumble.
Not a pretty sight to be sure. No wonder we pray for Bishops at each and every liturgy. Who is in greater need of mercy than they?
#80.1 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-05 07:12
If you honestly have never believed that any religion is God-sanctioned, not only are you NOT an Orthodox Christian, you never have been.
Orthodox Christianity is the faith that established the universe.
(editor's note: It is the faith that established the ecumene, which is the "known", non-barbarian world, not the universe. The liturgical texts are misleading in current translations. The universe existed before Orthodoxy, so let's not over state the case. Not before God, but before Orthodoxy, f'sure.)
#80.2 Cordelia on 2010-11-05 07:41
I'm sure the OCA will welcome displaced priests, but in order to provide the priest with a parish, at least some of the people will need to move with him (Fr. Oliver Herbel is a prime example). After all, the OCA has seminarians and unassigned priests already.
Dn. Marty Watt
#80.3 Dn. Marty Watt on 2010-11-05 11:58
Two responses to two different remarks: First, I agree that the Church will be an American church. I'm not in exile from Russia. Neither, however, am I an Arab sitting under a despot in the Middle East. We are still working on how the church can be American without taking on certain aspects of American culture that cannot in fact be baptized, and how to be American without dumping all of our past. Russia adopted the Byzantine tradition-and then made it her own. As to comment 62: what in the hell is a convert monasticist? I love the fact that Orthodoxy allows us to eat, drink and dance. It's beautiful. However, that's not the essence of the Church. Dour and serious are not the same things. Finally, if you stand in your church and observe corrupt politics, a lax ascetic life, and live in fear that your leader will kick your priest to the curb in a fit of temper, well, that doesn't make for a place full of life and joy.
#81 Teena Blackburn on 2010-11-05 05:36
Priestly fashion is a side-issue here.
To get back on point, (1) the eccesiology of the AOCANA and the Patriachates are broken. (2) The unchecked questionable recent actions of MP beg for real local synodal review.
The problem with getting (2) done is that (1) broken. MP has no checks and balances.
It appears to me that his dress-code is just another rule that's in place to be broken so that his arbitrary judgements may be meted out under the cloak of maintaining order.
Blind obedience to authority has never been a Christian virtue, nor an Orthodox imperative.
#81.1 MWP on 2010-11-05 08:33
Brothers and Sisters,
Tomorrow, being the first Saturday of November is the day we Antiochians commemorate our Father among the Saints, Rafael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn. May I suggest (and plead?) that all of you join us in our churches or in your homes petition him for his holy prayers for the Arab Christians, and the converts and all the Orthodox in North America that we struggled so heroically to serve. May His Holy prayers before our Savior, deliver us from this time of calamity, bring peace to the Church and unity among the Orthodox of North America.
Holy Hierarch Rafael, Pray for us!
#82 Antionymous on 2010-11-05 06:02
The best protest for both + Mark & Fr. Moretti would be NOT to vacate their premises. Let + Philip get court orders and sheriffs to come to execute the orders. Invite TV and all news media to attend and report to the world such injustice.
#83 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 06:30
AMEN to that!
DO NOT GO GENTLY INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT!
#83.1 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-05 13:13
What a crazy topsy turvy world is the AOCNA. The Feudal Lord MP has reduced his Synod to the equivalent of a council of presbyters, and his council of presbyters to a nation of serfs.
I think I will write off Topsyturvyland as a tourist destination.
#84 John Peter Presson on 2010-11-05 07:55
All we wanted... all we hoped for... was to be immersed in The Church of Jesus Christ.
#85 Ivan HadEnough on 2010-11-05 08:28
Investigate joining the OCA. Far from flawless, we would never allow a Metropolitan to operate in the fashion that Metropolitan Philip is now allowed to operate.
Just my thoughts.
PS In your videos, there is something missing. Email me personally if you'd like to discuss it. email@example.com
#85.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-11-06 07:24
Thank you posting the link to the first part of a wonderful retrospective on the Evangelical Orthodox Church, its reception into Orthodoxy through the Church of Antioch, and what the face of American Orthodoxy might look and sound like.
I commend to all who visit this web site this set of videos. Consider the love developed and shown by all -- including the Patriarch of Antioch and Metropolitan Philip. How different the attitude of Metropolitan Philip in this current situation.
St. Raphael pray for your children here in North America.
Mark C. Phinney
#85.2 Mark C. Phinney on 2010-11-06 19:01
You don't want to argue canons. Fine. Let's try a little philosophy, a little logic. It is very amusing to me to hear people say that they want the Orthodox church (and its clergy) to be American. It is patently obvious that is not true. If you wanted the Church to be American, you would welcome converts rather than making disparaging remarks about them. (I would note that all Christians are converts by definition, but that's another argument). If you really had absorbed the American ethos, you would be tolerant of personal choices such as attire-the priest could wear a cassock or not. No problem either way. Be careful though, unless you want your priest to show up on the altar in jeans and a flowered shirt. That's real American too. If you really want your church to be American, then get ready for laity to have a lot of say in everything and hold all the clergy right up to the Metropolitan accountable-perhaps we'll even start firing them and electing others when they make us angry. How American do you want to be exactly? Which version of America at that? It would seem to me that if you are a serious Orthodox Christian, you would be delighted when people converted to your church and then tried earnestly to live a traditional Christian life-fasting, coming to Church regularly, perhaps even adopting out of respect some of the customs common to old world Orthodoxy such as beards,cassocks, etc....But no, you claim out of one side of your mouth that you want the church to be American while vocally despising American converts who lean to traditional practices. What that says to me is that you don't want an American church. You want a church that remains your ethnic enclave, taking on the trappings of American success and materialism, while at the same time having church power politics go on as usual. Converts are welcome as long as they don't make you look bad by their (sometimes wrong-headed) zeal. I go to church with a lot of Arabs. Among them are some very pious people that would put any average Christian of any stripe to shame. However, I also experience a large section of the community as nominal in their practice, ignorant of the facts about their faith, and as materialistic and unevangelized as any Anglo-American. The Church exists to bring people into the Kingdom. It exists to save people. It's for everyone-it is the property of no ethnic group. It's beautiful to carry on our customs, but that is not the essence of the Church. It's about Christ, not kibbe. It's silly to think that putting priests in Roman collars is going to make them more attractive to an average American than allowing them to wear cassocks. After the 1960's, do you think anyone is put off by long hair and beards? Do you think our pierced, tattooed, tribally decorated American youngsters are going to be put off by that sort of thing? No. Maybe the issue is you don't want those people-you only want people with deep pockets who wear really nice business suits. The Church came to us with the immigration of certain ethnic groups. We should be eternally grateful for that. To belong to that group, however, makes you no more Orthodox than I am. What makes us both Orthodox is believing and practicing the Faith. We will have to struggle to figure out how to make the Church "American" while still being faithful to what the Church is. That's going to take time. But I will say this, the next time some cradle Orthodox disparages crazy converts not because they're actually crazy but because they simply strive to be really Orthodox, I'm going to look them straight in the eye and ask them if the real problem isn't that a lot of converts shine a light on the nominal practice and laxity of many (but by no means all) cradles. If you're pious yourself, other people attempting serious practice shouldn't bother you, now should it?
#86 Teena H. Blackburn on 2010-11-05 09:02
you rock, Tina
#86.1 David S on 2010-11-05 13:13
Dear Lovers of the Lord, the God of Truth:
I give up. When I am convinced that Metropolitan Philip can do nothing further to debase the Gospel and the Holy Church through his conduct, he proves me wrong. I have thought about this and prayed about it. I can not engage in personal evangelism with the conduct displayed first by Herman and now by Philip. For this I can go to Rome.
On my way out, I suggest, having seen that the Internet petition is subject to vandalism by Philp's thugs, that someone draft a petition which can be downloaded and that an address be made available for each of us and those whom we contact can send the original. Further, I recommend that each of us also send copies to Englewood and to our respective (not auxillary) Bishops. They may be looking to the flock for an indication of whether the Church is accepting Philip's Romanish innovations.
#87 Diogenes on 2010-11-05 09:37
Perhaps it would be a kind act to send Father and his family a gift card to Krogers Grocery (or Walmart) so they will be able to allocate money for their rental deposit. The cost is only $2.50 for shipping, and they will not have to deal with cash or checks.
Fr David, his family and the parish are in our prayers.
#88 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 11:07
Many emails describe Fr David as a good man and priest, and I am sure he is. However, "a good priest" in the Antiochian Church means the following: make sure when Met Philip visits there are plenty people ready to sign up for St. Ignatius, church dues to Archdiocese are paid promptly, church services should not be too long, banquet speeches brief, and agree with everything that comes from Englewood.
Met Phil is loosing hold of his power, and he wants us all to know that he can still bully and priest or a bishop. Where is the Patriach; where are the board members?
#89 Dizzy on 2010-11-05 11:13
While I know what you mean about an Antiochian "good priest", the kind of good priest we are talking about here is:
Martins every morning @7am
vespers twice a week
liturgy more than 4 times a month
visits the hospitals regularly (sometimes daily)
leads bible studies
visits families that haven't been attending recently
very involved with teen SOYO
very knowledgeable about the history and traditions of the parish
counsels engaged and married couples
most important it is clear he cares and does the best he can to be a Father to the parish
#89.1 Antonia Perpetua on 2010-11-05 13:39
Thank you Antonia for summarizing the view that I have of my brother, Father David Moretti. He is indeed a "good Priest" and December 1, 2010 will be a very sad day for him, his immediate family, his Church family in Terre Haute, IN and the Antiochian Archdiocese of NA.
To the leaders of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, members of Antiochian Orthodox churches across the country, and specifically to the members of Saint George Orthodox Church in Terre Haute, Indiana:
As leaders and members of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, I am writing to you to ask for your help. I am not a member or in any way affiliated with the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, except for the fact that my brother is Father David Moretti, who was recently wrongfully terminated and relieved of his duties as a Priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. Obviously, after thirty-eight years, I know Father David very well. Even with his faults, (as all of you, including Metropolitan PHILIP possess), Father David is a good man and a good Priest. He has dedicated his entire life to serving God and the Orthodox Christian Church. He uprooted his family and altered his entire existence as a father of two children and a husband of a wonderful woman (and loyal servant to the Orthodox Church) to attend seminary in Pennsylvania and learn from experienced professors and existing Priests. After receiving his Master’s degree, he then moved once again to spend the last two years with his beloved parish in Terre Haute, Indiana. I have witnessed first-hand his zealous nature during church Vespers and Sunday Services. He writes and delivers beautiful and meaningful sermons and provides all around heart-felt services in Terre Haute, Indiana. He selflessly has dedicated his entire existence to the Orthodox Church and his Saint George Church family.
In the corporate world, if a manager observes actions that he or she is unsatisfied with while performing job responsibilities, that manager must progressively discipline the employee before terminating him or else it's considered wrongful termination. When Metropolitan PHILIP initially disciplined Father David for wearing his cassock in public, Father David responded and ceased wearing it immediately. He dressed the way he was directed to outside of church services and I have pictures to prove it. Father David did everything right in his role as Priest of Saint George’s Church, including supporting Bishop MARK, who is and will continue to be both a mentor and a friend. Clearly evident in my eyes is that because Father David supported Bishop Mark, Metropolitan PHILIP has decided to personally retaliate by removing Father David from a life and profession that he loves and at which he is exceptionally effective. THAT is the real issue at hand. Father David could play a superb role in the future of the Antiochian Church. Upon Meeting Father David, you can see his energy, love, and admiration for the scripture and for the Orthodox Church. It’s just not right what’s happening to Father David and his family.
For a Priest and family (two teenage children, a wife, and two dogs included here) to go through this is absurd. For Father David to be removed from his home and Church and virtually put out in the street three weeks prior to Christmas is unfathomable. It's simply not right. It's not like Father David is a millionaire....as Metropolitan PHILIP has personally admitted himself as being recently.
Since I am not part of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, my hands are tied. I hope that you, as concerned leaders and members of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, support Father David in whatever way is most appropriate so that it is clear that you will not accept such an unjust and lone action. Metropolitan PHILIP single-handedly altered Father David's life and church and Father Albert's life and church forever. It makes me angry and sad for a Priest who only wants to dedicate his life to serving his parishioners, God himself, and the Antiochian Orthodox Church to be treated so horribly and unjustly. Please help Father David and the future of your Antiochian Orthodox Church.
With sincere respect,
#89.1.1 Lisa Moretti on 2010-11-09 17:12
I am so proud of our dear son, Father David and his gentle acceptance of this whole unjust and unfair treatment. His response is that of a good priest and shows that he is indeed obedient to his Bishop. He will rise from this as the true victor as he is trusting in our Lord to lead him in the paths of righteousness. Please pray for this wonderful family who need your continued love and prayers. Carolyn Moretti
#22.214.171.124 Carolyn Moretti on 2010-11-10 12:55
There was a commenter on another thread here who referred to a book, The Closed Circle by David-Pryce Jones. The book is an interpretation of Arab mentality, tradition and history. The shame/honor system, Islamic absolutism, and tribal nature of the culture are described in as honest a way as I've seen. I suggest that Americans who are confused by these developments in the Antiochian church read this book. It explains a lot.
#90 Stu on 2010-11-05 11:38
As an Arab american I have read the book, once I had time to absorbed it they make some valid points of how the mind set of the Araba nd Arab american are (Perhaps including myself).
I think you can not use one book to pre-judge an entire culture
#90.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 12:20
Or they can simply have a look at the heading of the patriarchte: "Greek" and then have a look at the other Kree churches. Then they would know that every Metropolitan in Greece is a Philip
#90.2 Sleepless in Toledo on 2010-11-05 20:49
St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians (Chapter 6:10 - 6:13) the following regarding spiritual warfare:
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
May the Lord have mercy on my soul and may He comfort Bishop Mark, Fr. Moretti and his family and all of the priests and laity who will suffer in the wake of this travesty.
#91 Soultana Grether, St. Elias Orthodox Church, Sylvania, OH on 2010-11-05 12:57
#91.1 Carol Yonov on 2010-11-05 19:54
Clarification about customs: It seems odd to me that I can adopt the ethnic customs of Arabs (food, music, dancing), and that's considered great. Greeks, Arabs and Russians alike will hold onto ethnic customs with both hands. However, if I adopt a venerable religious custom such as covering my head, or a priest wears a cassock, then there is screaming that we need to give up that old world stuff and be American. I would suggest religious customs hold more weight and importance in the church than ethnic customs, although these are lovely and can be closely connected to the religious customs. They are not, however, the same thing. I would never suggest a priest need long hair or a cassock to be a good priest or be saved. I don't however think these customs are just meaningless relics to be cast off casually for the sake of fitting in. If your ethnic customs mean a great deal to you, why would you not hold your religious customs at least as close, if not closer? Why would any good Orthodox disparage a convert who managed to find their way to the Church because they adopt certain religious customs? I mean, really, if a priest is clean, why would anybody make a fuss if he has long hair and beard and wears a cassock? What is the motive for punishing a person who chooses to dress that way?
#92 Teena Blackburn on 2010-11-05 13:50
Dittos to that Teena.
I am an Amercian of Lebanese descent and have observed that sometimes the "old county" culture becomes the religion. I love my heritage, but I know that I am an Orthodox Christian 1st and foremost.
#92.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 18:46
So after all of this what are we going to do? I think we should set a date where all of us, as a unified Orthodox community, fast for three days and then leave the Lord to do His will.
#93 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 15:56
Amusing to hear or believe that Bishop Joseph of the West (Diocese?) is different than what we KNOW and have SEEN! Did he stand with Bps Basil & Alexander? NO! He is for himself as future (very hopeful) successor to the Tyrant! He will be the same, no different and as they say, "plays his cards close to the deck") I have with others noticed these many years! As for his Holy Unction appearance at a So CA parish he was no more troubled than a goldfish, supporting the Met. when questioned. Pray for Bp Mark, Fr Moretti, who many of us knew in CA, and dear Fr Alberts, as most kindly soul.
#93.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 16:35
How about M, Tue, Wed of the first week of the Nativity fast?
#93.2 Antionymous on 2010-11-06 08:14
What on EARTH does this Metropolitan not understand about the fact that orthodox clergy wear CASSOCKS....not western protestant clerical garb. Has he never visited a monastery?
This sickens and disgusts me. I did not convert to Orthodoxy for some milquetoast, warmed over, western version of the Church.
This man is out of control and must be removed
#94 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 16:55
Check out the 1st 25 seconds...
regarding +Mark "to the Bishopric of See of Toledo and the Midwest"
I'll let this speak for itself.
#95 Anonymous on 2010-11-05 19:06
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
^Right. I'm a bit mystified that people just don't grasp that verse. Instead, I see detailed posts about ethnicity, culture and the clash thereof, especially regarding those who are attempting to remake everything over into their own version of the Culture Club. Until the mist clears from folks' eyes, it just ain't gonna make much of a difference. Until every single last person in the Church looks at himself and herself as a convert, wherein we daily make the choice to follow Christ, then we're all nothing more than just a bunch of sick puppies.
I don't need anyone to tell me what my own culture is about anyway- I've got it covered, thanks- and I do it better than someone who isn't part of it; and I don't intend to play at being part of someone else's, though I can appreciate theirs. I follow Christ- badly- but I do try. Traditional Orthodox cultures aren't better than mine (lovely they may be)- cause I've yet to see any culture that can't be consecrated to Christ. We all need to get over ourselves. (Cassocks and beards are okay in America, btw. I bet we could do an internet poll of even the non-Orthodox and they wouldn't give a flip.)
I admit, I've been taking all of this terribly. I was raised in a heterodox form of Christianity that makes it way too easy for one to be jaded with authority figures, because they fail and fail often. It was terrible experiences and spiritual abuse that made me leave Christianity as I knew it then on the rubbish heap. I will not stand for letting this happen to the only Truth I've ever encountered- and it is only by the grace of God that I ever did. Do some just not realize what they have here? People search the world over to find what we've got in Orthodoxy. What an absolute shame this is. It is extremely difficult for someone like me to just accept something so ridiculous and unfair from the Metropolitan. I hope he reads this. (Not going to the parish life conference, btw, Sayidna! You make me sad. Wake up. You are my bishop, but it doesn't feel like you care.)
We need prayer!
(Someone who is passive aggressive and stubborn enough to just not care that the internet knows her name!)
#96 Michelle Anderson on 2010-11-05 19:54
What we need to do is proclaim a Sunday as a day of protest against + Mark & Fr. Moretti - Nov. 21st. Every church participating should have a petition at coffee hour for everyone participating to sign against these injustices. All those participating should buy a "Snuggli" which looks like a cassock and wear it to church. Take many photos to post on-line. When the petition is fully signed, make a copy and send the original to Damascus to the Patriarch. Start a blog or photo album on line to also post the petition and photos!
#97 Anonymous on 2010-11-06 06:51
Do you mean Snuggli or Snuggie?
It might be easier to just wear a bathrobe backwards!
#97.1 Cordelia on 2010-11-06 10:03
In my cultural background it was a common practice for our people to paint their faces blue, attack their enemies stark naked and return to camp to worship tree's and animals. I hope this serves to explain some of my own perplexing behaviour.
While I fight these inner ancestral impulses on a daily basis I am thankful for being saved (mostly) from such irresistable compulsions. I'm pretty sure Christ could do the same for my Arab brothers and their own societal conditioning.
#98 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-06 08:07
Regarding obedience & loyalty: This is a hypocritical argument. It seems those inside the closed circle have the luxury of giving obedience & loyalty to whomever they want to.
If you want obedience & loyalty from clergy outside the circle, then man up and give obedience & loyalty to clergy outside the circle.
Kirwan: Alba gu bragh!
#99 David S. on 2010-11-06 10:08
"When people treat us unjustly, God justifies us." ~Elder Epiphanios of Athens +1989
"...take a look at two olive trees, one with leaves and the other without. Which one of the two do you prefer? The one with leaves or the one without leaves? Once when i was at the Kalyvi of the Holy Cross, I peeled the trunk of an olive tree and wrote, 'A priest without his cassock is without his virtue too.'..." ~ Elder Paisios of Mount Athos +1994
"The priest's cassock is the flag of the Church of our Christ: for this reason we must try hard to honor it, we who wear it, with a holy life, so that those who don't wear it will honor and respect it." Elder Amphilochios of Patmos +1970
"I am proud of the cassock I wear and consider it more valuab;e and seemly than every other kind of garmet, even than the royal purple robes of kings. I consider myself unworthy to dress in such a modest, honorable and holy garb, which was honored by numberless monastic Saints, monk-martyrs, confessors, and Saints. I am saddened by and pity those clerics who reject the cassock and who shave their beards." ~Elder Philotheos of Paros +1980
"Priests shouldn't cut their hair. In Asia Minor, when priesys would comb their hair, they would put a white clth down and whatever strands of hair fell, they would gather, put them in a little bag, and when they died, they would bury it with them. Thus is because, when the Holy Spirit descends during ordination, the priest is sanctified; even his hair is sanctified." ~ Elder Iakovos of Evia +1967
#100 Nathan Speir on 2010-11-07 04:59
Yep, the return of FUNDAMENTALIST ORTHODOX. "Smells & Bells" lacking any substance! Pure baloney!
(Editor's note: Smells and bells by themselves do not consitute any lack of substance - but like anything else they can be used to mask lack of substance - as can suits, collars and a clean shaven face. Friends, in the Orthodox Church clothes don't make the man, a man is not what he earns, and a woman is not how she looks. This whole discussion is unseemly because it would evidence just the opposite, to our discredit. )
#100.1 Please on 2010-11-07 07:21
Please understand that despite everything that is happening God is not absent and His power is not broken. Yet a little while the thing that God wishes to do among us will be revealed. The one who says "Behold I make all things new..." has not forgotten His people and His ends are not inconvenienced by the troubles of any moment.
#101 Macarius on 2010-11-07 06:22
I don't think anyone is saying they make the man, Mark. Obviously, that's not true. Nonetheless, there is certainly nothing wrong with dressing that way, and if done for the right reason, is a pious act of love for God and His Church. It's the forbidding of them on the silly idea that dressing like a RC is somehow more fitting and modern that is the issue here-and more, the deeper problem of throwing out a priest and his family for something that obviously is not significant enough to justify such actions. But, yes, this is God's Church, and all will be well in His time.
#102 Teena Blackburn on 2010-11-07 07:33
The truth is, most clerics roaming around town wearing a cassock, long beards and pony tails is just nutz! In fact, if you examine these people, I'm sure you will find most have limited theological education and supplement this via externals. Much like immature teens wanting to drive cars with huge engines making lots of noise to compensate for their insecurity - the same. In Western society there is no need for clerics to "play priest" in public. Liturgical garb belongs in church and street garb belongs on the street!
#103 Anonymous on 2010-11-07 08:49
"In Western society there is no need for clerics to 'play priest' in public."
That's a very interesting comment. Can you say some more about what you mean by that? What is different about, say, Greece (where I never once saw a priest with a collar and jacket -- priests in cassocks riding the metro, speaking in front of academic audiences, etc.) that there is a need for clerics to "play priest" in public that doesn't exist here? And what do you mean by "play priest"?
This is an interesting post. It well presents the writer's "limited theological education".
#103.2 Anonymous on 2010-11-08 07:55
The only man who would be playing priest on the street is a layman dressed like a priest (collar or cassock, makes no difference). A priest can be a good priest, he can be a bad priest, he can be an indifferent priest. But however he lives -- or looks -- he IS a priest, unless he is defrocked. And note that the word we use for disciplinary removal of a man from ordained ministry means, precisely, "take off his robe" as he is no longer considered a fitting witness to the One that the robe represents.
#103.2.1 Schema-monk on 2010-11-09 13:34
Ah yes, the infamous anonymous poster rears his/her ugly head again to accuse people (Orthodox priests) of being nutz [sic] for wearing cassocks and/or beards and long hair in public. Each time you post---you make yourself look nutz!!!
#103.3 Michael on 2010-11-10 07:11
I am so amazed that 230 comments are posted concerning this first term priest in a small Indiana parish. Comments from all over the United States give this a feeling of a major issue bringing back memories of the schism from the days of Toledo Archdiocese vs New York and North America. Met. Philip was also the center of attention then. He showed leadership and finally the peace was made. +Philip also had the vision to establish Antiochian Village where youth from many Orthodox backgrounds can come and pray and grow in the faith. Everyone should pray that he can find strength and the vision to forgive Fr. David if he has committed any wrongdoing and allow him to continue to preach the Gospel as he does in such a great way. Fr. David visits the sick, prays for those who are having trials and tribulations and lives by the scriptures. If he has said a "disparaging" comment about the Metropolitan, he should be required to show penance but taking him out of the priesthood is denying his parish a loving and good leader. The T. H. parish has had great priests and some "not so great" priests.
Fr. David is up there with the best of them and this is only after two years. As a young priest with much to learn, please forgive him for any transgression against the authority of the Metropolitan. His alleged "Facebook" insult was slight and perhaps even unintended. His dismissal appears to be partly due to his relationship with Bishop Mark. Yet, as a dutiful priest when Mark was his Bishop, he was obliged to support him and follow his directives. Mark allowed Fr. David to wear the clothes that were cited in the letter from +Philip. How many of us have made mistakes in judgment in our lives and in our work? As is said in the scriptures, "let he who has no sin cast the first stone". Terre Haute has a heavy heart about this matter. I know that the vast majority of the parish think that dismissing him is the wrong thing for the Archdiocese and the parish. Fr. Albert may be a wonderful priest and man but he may not be what is needed in Terre Haute. St. George of T.H. is a community in transition. It is multi-ethnic and has a small congregation.Even during the tenure of some priests that were later kicked out of the archdiocese, T.H. kept the faith and pressed forward. Placing the wrong priest in this parish this time will result in a loss of parishioners and may doom it to a future of uncertainty. The parish has been around since 1927 but a mis-step this time could be fatal. Many individuals have worked hard over the years to keep St. George of T.H. strong and a place where new generations can worship.
We pray that wisdom is found and that a good and prayerful priest is permitted to stay in the Antiochian archdiocese to do what he does best-live by example.
#104 concerned about St. George of T.H. on 2010-11-07 18:22
Just as a clarification, the Antiochian Village had nothing to do with + Philip's vision. The Antiochian Village was the vision of the late Fr. Nami who was a good friend and classmate of + Philip. It was HIS idea and HE found the property and initially pushed for what is today, the Antiochian Village!
#104.1 Anonymous on 2010-11-09 12:43
Metropolitan Philip seems not to realize that times have changed. The ethnic parish, which for decades has been bending over backwards to be more American than the Americans, is no longer working. The metropolitan's insecurity with the norms of Orthodoxy; monasticism, fasting, liturgics, has profoundly influenced his Archdiocese. A growing number of his clergy are more traditional and more liturgically minded than the metropolitan and much of his generation. People are seeing the authenticity expressed by other jurisdictions and are questions if the metropolitans attitudes.
#105 Formerly of Antiochian Archdiocese on 2010-11-08 14:47
27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
#106 Macarius on 2010-11-09 16:42
This is excepts from an email sent to me in Kentucky from a parishioner in Sylvania at St. Elias, my former parish:
Fr. Paul officially announced his transfer on Sunday. There were some surprised faces. After liturgy he baptized his granddaughter. It was beautiful. There were a lot of people crying during liturgy as well! It's upsetting because we all love Fr. Paul so much. I've already heard some parishoners say that they will no longer attend services at St. Elias because of all this which is also upsetting because it breaks up the family. I understand their anger. I don't understand; however, what the Metropolitan is doing. He could very easily send a replacement to TH instead of here but as is quite obvious, he wants to punish Fr. but for what reason? Supporting Bishop Mark?? Is that what Orthodoxy has become? A forum for punishing priests and bishops that simply question the Metropolitan? I mean, we are not in Syria here where dissension could mean life or death!! Give me a break!!!
"I always bragged about Orthodoxy being the "true form of Christianity" and that the only true leader of our church is God himself. But it appears that has all changed and we have become worst than Roman Catholicism with the Pope. BUT Metropolitan's close ties to Damascus and the Dicatator, excuse me, the President of Syria seem to have influenced Orthodoxy to also become run by one Dictator. I do not mean to disrespect the Metropolitan in any way, but he is not supposed to have total control of everything. Whatever happened to checks and balances? Sorry, I don't mean to vent like this but I just don't get what is happening. If by any chance you hear anything in regards to St. Elias please let me know, nobody knows who is coming in his place!!"
In a follow-up email: "You are definitely right in all you have written. We must never take our eyes off the prize and let things take us away from our faith in Christ. I was born and raised in the Orthodox Church. I believe in its teachings and fundamentals. I am an Orthodox christian because I choose to be. It is part of who I am. Which is why I find these things so disturbing, because it is my life.
If you want to publish my letter, it's okay with me. I ordinarily would put my name on it; however, since some of the remarks could be construed by others who do not know me incorrectly maybe this time it's better if it was anonymous!!"
I continue to pray for our archdiocese.
#107 Name withheld by request on 2010-11-10 06:51
It's really very simple; I don't know why everyone doesn't get it. Liturgical garb belongs in the church and street garb belongs on the street! Why is that so tough? Parishes aren't monasteries. Western street garb isn't Eastern street garb. Why is this so difficult to understand? I think I know why. We have bishops and priests from overseas who wish to create their homeland here. HELLOOOOOO! This isn't Greece or Russia or the Mideast; this is America! Even the Sainted Met. Tikhon understood this; why are clerics having trouble with this today?
#108 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 14:38
HELLLOOOOO . . . . it's really NOT ABOUT THE CASSOCK!!!!!
#108.1 anon on 2010-11-10 16:44
"Western street garb isn't Eastern street garb."
Also a very interesting statement. When I was in Greece I saw people wearing pants and shirts and shorts and dresses, pretty much exactly the same as here. "Western" and "Eastern" street garb were indistinguishable.
So what's the deal with making clergy exceptional?
HELLOOOOOO! This isn't Greece or Russia or the Mideast; this is America!
Ain't it interesting? This is America when it comes to attire but and an Islamic State when it comes to administering an Archdiocese. Go figure?
#109 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-12 06:39
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