Wednesday, December 22. 2010
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+ Jonah makes it clear from his remarks that he doesn't believe in the OCA nor it's autocephaly. And simply, he shouldn't be the leader of the OCA. I'm 5th generation OCA/Metropolia and I understand what OUR people went through. + Jonah has no clue. Only when ALL the other Orthodox form themselves into an autocephalous church in North America can the OCA even consider a merger. Not a church dominated by Greeks or Russians, but a true American church without foreign bishop intervention. It's clear, + Jonah is not the leader we thought nor the leader we want!
#1 Any Moose on 2010-12-22 16:27
An excellent Reflection, based (as it should be!!) on the Holy Scriptures and our Holy Tradition!!! This should be the canon, the "rule" or "measuring stick" by which we should proceed!!!
#2 David Barrett on 2010-12-22 17:32
When a decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch appears to go a certain way our Metropolitan is fond of saying, “The Holy Synod is the highest authority in our Church.” When, on the other hand, the suggestions or decisions of the Holy Synod lean in other directions, he is quick to say that the people of the archdiocese will not accept what they are proposing.
Are you suggesting that His Eminence Philip is duplicitous and hypocritical or merely hypocritical?
#3 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-12-22 17:32
No, no, and no and yes, we're hearing the voice of a "stranger." - A better question to ask is this: "Where is the voice of our Lord?" Why aren't his shepherds speaking out? Have you all become mute? You fear reprisal and the loss of your retirement, but it is the Lord you should fear.
#4 Gail Sheppard on 2010-12-22 19:23
I hear the voice of a stranger...but I do not know what to do. Do I uproot my family and flee to the OCA? Do I actively resist within the walls of the Antiochian Church? Do I stay quiet and pray until things are corrected?
#5 M.A. on 2010-12-23 08:49
Your article is something a first year seminarian would write, very lofty and idealistic but with NO PRACTICAL application or direction. You write as if you have just come to this conclusion, please be reminded that senior churchmen are readers of this site and they know this all too well, that is why they continue to search for answers to their predicament.
Perhaps if you have a family outside the reach of our hierarchy you could lead an effort to organize the faithful of the Archdiocese to ACTION rather than write lofty articles about things we already know.
Forgive my tone but after two years my patience is waning, what we need is a game plan and a venue to develop and organize one.
#6 Delegate #1 on 2010-12-23 10:26
One of the delusions of power is to equate silence with agreement.
#7 Anonymous on 2010-12-23 10:33
I share your frustration more than you know. I am neither a seminarian nor a clergyman. I am a no-body grandfather whose family is well beyond the reach of our hierarchy. I have no power, precious little influence, and am very discouraged by this “painful period of ignorance or laxity.”
Ignorance: Those who have been deceived into believing that Metropolitans and synods really are the highest authority in the Church; those who tell us to sit down and shut up; those who by their actions demonstrate that they are ignorant of the Truth Himself.
Laxity: Those who know better while doing nothing and saying nothing lest it upset their little world; those who deceive themselves into believing that the Truth – and standing up for the Truth – will somehow harm the innocent, all the while allowing wolves to devour the same; those who refuse to sacrifice anything for the Truth; the parochial who cannot seem to fathom how this could possibly effect them because it seems so remote from their little parish; those who fail to realize that faith and praxis are inseparable (“As long they don’t TEACH heresy what does it really matter?”); those who are willing to wait until someone dies, not realizing that the precedent we are allowing to be set will live well beyond him.
When I speak of ignorance and laxity I am loathe to include our clergy, most of whom are neither. None has the relative immunity from retribution that the laity enjoys, and they bear a far greater responsibility than we can imagine. If any choose to stand, I will rejoice and support them, but I will not participate in indicting them for cowardice.
As to the practical, your point is well-taken. You yourself have undoubtedly discovered (as I have) that this combination of ignorance and laxity leaves us attempting to communicate to ears that either cannot hear or refuse to hear. The patriarch has received a signed letter from me - with no response. The archdiocese has no doubt read my signed donor restriction letters and filed them away - with no response. Our local parish council has thus far failed to act in any way in spite of there being general agreement that ‘something’ should be done. The attitude seems to be, “Yes, people we love are being hurt. Yes, the Truth is being trampled underfoot by tyrants. Yes, our ecclesiology has been corrupted. Yes, a bishop has been forced out for little more that his integrity. And yes, personal loyalty to a Hierarch, gifts of money, and worldly prestige appear to have become the measures of ‘spirituality’ in the AOANA; but let’s just wait and see what happens...and please, please don’t sign your name to anything lest we all be implicated.” (I am sorry to say that I honored that request though I personally have nothing to fear.)
So while this reflection is indeed elementary, I’m afraid that the ignorant deem it to be rebellion or heresy, and the lax have become so accustomed to comfort in a context of tyranny that they have forgotten the simplicity of obedience to Christ.
I am not opposed to organized efforts, but obedience is not a political battle where the majority wins. I always hope others will stand with us. Experience tells me most will wholeheartedly agree, talk about how sad it is, and then quietly take a pass on saying or doing anything. In my mind, the action that is required of all of us all within our own personal spheres is speaking and acting courageously in the fear of God. This can include…
The personal steps I have taken including:
-Respectful letters to the Patriarchate (or others).
-Placing donor restrictions on all donations (although I do not believe for a moment that withholding funds is itself the solution).
The corporate steps of:
-Parish councils voting to refuse to send in their assessments until canonical order is restored with an explanation of the reason copied to their respective (assistant?) bishops. It would be even better if a way could be found for the parish councils who are like-minded to coordinate the timing of this gesture so the archdiocese hears from all of them at once.
-Developing a clear consensus and firm contingency plan in each of our parishes that provides for a worst-case scenario, including an absolute commitment to provide for the long-term financial support of our clergy and their families should they choose to act or are adversely effected by our actions. It should be noted that ALL property except Real Property (which means everything in the temple/building that is not “nailed down”) is completely within the control of the parish council until the parish is legally dissolved. That includes ALL FUNDS and any furnishings, icons, vestments, etc. that are not permanently attached to the building or its land. It is within the legal right of parish councils to vote that these assets be dispersed however they choose.
-Being fully prepared to accept the consequences of faithfulness to the Truth, including the possibility of being forced to vacate our buildings and surrender them to the archdiocese.
I am of the opinion that in these dark times it is unlikely that we will be able to find a way to be faithful to the Truth that does not require real sacrifice or even some form of persecution (albeit relatively mild – after all, we wouldn’t be risking the confiscation of our personal property), but I firmly believe our Lord when He says that in losing our life for His sake we will find it. The powers that be in the AOANA are firmly entrenched and well-financed. Many, it seems, would rejoice at our departure. So regardless of whether any of these measures proved ‘successful’ in terms of correcting what is in error (That is best left in the hands of God anyway), we need to be faithful even if it means being forced – and I do mean forced - to find another jurisdictional home.
I am the first to admit that this is simplistic. But in my own experience it is the simple and obvious choices of obedience that I prefer to complicate because they require faith in God and a venture into circumstances I can neither predict nor control. God is in control, but I am nevertheless often reluctant to obey and let Him have His perfect way with me.
Having said all this, I would welcome a private forum to discuss prayerfully any and all ideas with you or anyone else.
#7.1 Anonymous Churchman on 2011-01-27 20:04
I hate to be the one to break the news, but the new Episcopal Assembly website's alleged "wealth" of information is all second-hand material that has been available on the internet for months. There is nothing new of substance at all here. After much anticipation on the part of those who fervently pray for the re-unification of the Orthodox Church in America, seven months have elapsed since the actual meeting, and now we are supposed to be encouraged by THIS? I guess it must take a long time to make sure they have everyone's name and address spelled correctly.
#8 Cal Oren on 2010-12-23 20:32
Well said. Whatever the intention of the Holy Synod of Antioch, the iconoclastic attempt to reduce diocesan bishops to something else without canonical cause and remedy is an attack upon the ecclesiology of the Church. The office of bishop is not merely functional but it is iconographic. I do not receive this teaching.
Those who hate Metropolitan Philip because he offers up this strange fire have themselves fallen in their hearts. To hate is to fall away from Christ. Even our fearfulness speaks poorly of us. We should be watchful by what spirit we speak, by what spirit we are motivated. Is it selfless love or is it not? I, myself, am chief of dysneptics ... but of that, I repent. God grant us a holy Nativity and a good end to the fast. Maranatha!
#9 Monologistos on 2010-12-24 17:42
Amen. Amen. Amen.
Those who teach another Gospel Anathematize themselves, they betray Christ.
He who would be greatest among you let him be servant of all.
Christ came as a servant and washed the disciples feet.
The recent decision of the Holy Synod is a betrayal of Orthodoxy and of Christ Himself.
Bishops are called to be FAITHFUL stewards of the FAITH once and for all entrusted to their care, NOT INNOVATORS for filthy LUCRE!
The so-Called Holy Synod has revealed them to be false shepherds and HIRELINGS.
#10 anonymous on 2010-12-24 21:28
For those wondering about the odd and seemingly out of context sentence at the end of this reflection:
“It should be noted that this is in accordance with the Canons to the degree possible in the context of the present jurisdictional morass in the Americas.”
This was intended as a footnote in reference to “…the Body of the faithful universally understood and received them as being true enthronements of diocesan bishops who comprised a fully functioning local synod over which the Metropolitan was to preside in accordance with the Holy Canons of the Orthodox Catholic Church.”
Probably just a formatting issue.
#11 Anonymous Churchman on 2010-12-25 16:51
I converted to Orthodoxy a few years ago and subsequently learned of Orthodox Christians for Accountability. Needless to say, I was more than a little shocked but in the absence of clerical accountability it is not surprising that a misuse of authority occurs. I have become very chagrined by the behavior of Orthodox clergy. The small parish I attend seems to be withering on the vine. The priest seems more interested in clerical gossip than interacting with his parishioners. I have never heard him speak of an individual's prayer life. He lives an hour away. His tenuous contact with parishioners was manifest when a mother brought her new born to Liturgy and the priest didn't know she had delivered. He seems interested only in the mechanics of the Liturgy and nothing else. This is very upsetting and there doesn't seem to be a positive way to address a Priest's lack of accountability. Does the Metroplitan or his office provide any oversight to Priests in matters of pastoral care?
Max's valid concerns about a Priest's lack of accountability (and that just as validly applies higher-up in the clerical pecking-order) could be addressed to a significant degree if a lay "anaxios":
1) had real teeth, and was not merely a perfunctory exercise with no real lay input,
2) was capable of over-riding and vetoing any episcopal "axios"!
This is also a consequence of the Imperial State Church reducing the effectiveness and scope of operation of a Biblical Prophet to merely a "fool-for-Christ"! who did not have to be heeded or taken seriously if it was not convenient to do so.
[In the Latin West, this reached its nadir in these Prophets being reduced to a court-jester!!!]
Another factor in this problem is the Canons that have grown around Constantine's Silvestrine appointment as "bishop" of Rome. Sadly, these now include Canons from Ecumenical Councils that need revisiting and repeal.
These Canons were specifically designed by the Byzantine State to protect in office a "political" incumbent that was manifestly "anaxios"! And to specifically repel a true Biblical Prophet that declaimed "anaxios" over the State Appointee. And sought to overturn the State Appointment.
With the collapse of Byzantium in 1453, these Canons were retained and reinterpreted to empower a self-perpetuating oligarchy (usually found in a "Holy Synod") to take the place of the Byzantine State and to install into and to maintain in office all future manifestly "anaxios" clergy. With, of course, no real lay input as before under the Emperors.
This does not pretend to be the full answer, but at least it offers the essential starting-point for the journey towards the solution.
#12.1 John Battye on 2011-01-27 04:12
Mark, your site should have a 'like' button for its articles like FB has. This would get a 'like' from me.
#13 Anon. on 2011-01-01 22:35
#13.1 Anonymous on 2011-01-25 11:27
Excerpts from Follow Me
Concerning Church Scandals
by Metropolitan Augustinos of Florina (State Church of Greece)
One reason young people are not attracted to missionary work is the sad state of the Church today. One has to be blind not to see it. Must we bring to mind all that the Christianitke Spitha and other Church publications and religious periodicals have written in the past decade? How can our young people be attracted to serve the Church when they see—unfortunately, holy fathers, they have eyes and do see—clever, vile persons who offer no essential service to the Church or community, by the most evil means succeed in jumping into the flock and climb to the highest places, pushing aside the faithful and talented? Or when they see that such people, taking the tiller of Church government in their hands in our democratic homeland, exercise almost absolute authority and treat Christians as irrational beasts? Or when they see that faithful men and women are held in ill favor, but flattery and worldly minded relatives surround the bishop and comprise the select staff of his Metropolis? Or when they see that a metropolitan's tour reaps a golden harvest? Or when they see that the ranks of the Church, coming from the poorest of families, are carried around in gleaming limousines, which even statesmen and generals envy? Or when they see that luxury reigns in certain metropolitan palaces in which magnates are welcomed and are amazed at the life of ecclesiastic rulers? Or when they see in the middle of Athens apartments and palaces that are the personal property of bishops and their relatives? Or when they hear that sisters and nieces are given generous dowries taken from despotic treasuries or that elite grooms are bought for them with sacred monies? Or when they hear that metropolitans do not happily stay in small or poor metropoles but, after tasting the demon of greed and vanity, leave no stone unturned in their efforts to be transferred to palaces and richer sees, neither fearing God nor shamed by man? Or when they see that preachers of the Gospel, faithful people, are persecuted to extinction for condemning illegal and uncanonical practices by the leaders of the Church? Or when they see that no war or battle is waged against the powerful of the day, who by anti-Christian word and deed offend the laity? Or when they hear that scandals of a moral nature break out in the halls of archbishops and are circulated throughout the entire region without the official Church becoming alarmed or disturbed? Or when they hear that dying bishops leave enormous amounts in their wills to their blood relatives and other dear persons, and the heirs, like blackbirds, gather round these wretched wills, coming to blows and going to civil court to settle their differences? My dear Church, how can I express all the sufferings that the Mystical Body of Christ has endured at the hands of the evil shepherds, who have not entered into your holy flock by the gate, but another way?
So, when our youth are witnesses by eye and ear of the reigning disorder and wretchedness within the Church, how do you expect them to be attracted by missionary ideals and make the decision to serve the Church in extreme selflessness? There are no educated young people with high interests in life today because there are no models, no heroic examples among our priests. Youth is attracted by heroes; it worships its heroes from whatever walk of life they come. Through his example, a heroic general inspires the officers and soldiers under him and leads them to victory, glory, and honor. On the other hand, a cowardly general can disappoint even the bravest men, and create a spirit of defeatism, leading to shameful defeat. A lion can lead deer to victory, but a deer commanding lions leads to defeat. So when Christian orders are devoid of leaders who are equal to the task of holy mission, nothing grand or high can be accomplished. The mission will vegetate.
From Follow Me, by Augustinos N. Kantiotes, Bishop of Florina, Greece. Trans. and Foreward by Asterios Gerostergios (Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1989), pp. 370-378.
#14 Anonymous on 2011-01-04 18:39
To put things into perspective
A lot of attention was given to some remarks delivered, at the end of December 2010 in Canada, by His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, the leader of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of America. A few things should be said in the first place.
Thank God we live in a normal society and in a free society. Among other things that means that we do not take the words of a person in authority as decisions. They are his opinions and as such subject to debate. More bluntly said, thank God, we do not have a 'dear leader" to obey unconditionally. We are free people and free to express our feelings and our opinions, in good faith but very clearly. What was said is true in the case of our Hierarchs as well. In fact the decisions in the Orthodox Church are synodal,the conclusion of debates .In Orthodoxy there is no place for infallibility.With this short introduction let us talk about Metropolitan Jonah remarks .
In those remarks His Beatitude said that the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of America is neither a threat to any other Orthodox jurisdiction in the New World, nor an attempt to control them. More than that in his humbleness, almost singular among the today Orthodox Hierarchs, Metropolitan Jonah said that the autocephaly of the OCA should be considered but a step toward an independent Orthodox New World; independent canonically and equal among equals with all Orthodox jurisdiction.
His Beatitude extended an olive branch to all those who ,in effect, ganged against the very idea of an independent Orthodox jurisdiction in the New World. He tried to accommodate all opinions and ideas, even those circulated by the fanatic Chambesy group.
But it would be absolutely wrong to interpret those wise words as a "capitulation" of the OCA ,as a direct or indirect renunciation to autocephaly or ,even less so, as a "victory" of the Old World.
His Beatitude Jonah was ,in my opinion, very clear about one issue: the canonical independence of the New World is and will be not negotiable. What is negotiable are the ways to achieve this goal. More than that.
The fact that in December 2010 the Holy Synod of the OCA issued a declaration, to all its faithful, a declaration signed solemnly by all the members of the Holy Synod, is a clear and irrevocable affirmation that the way to canonical independence of the New World reached the point of no return.
It is regrettable that His Beatitude remarks were misinterpreted as a sort of renunciation to the OCA's autocephaly. It is regrettable because ,in fact, it is not even in the Metropolitan's authority to rescind the tomos of autocephaly. It is also a fact that the Metropolitan didn't suggested such a thing. In addition a tomos of autocephaly can not be rescinded.
It is up to the New World Orthodox faithful to support the OCA and the movement for complete canonical independence of the New World. The New World Orthodox faithful should express their will for canonical independence with unflinching determination.
"Valerian D.Trifa.Romanian-American Heritage Center"
#15 alexandru nemoianu on 2011-01-05 10:15
I might be wrong, but I haven't seen an official report in the WORD Magazine on the Fall Board of Trustees Meeting of the AOCANA. If I missed it, someone please direct me to it. If not, does anyone know why we haven't been informed of all the business that was conducted there? If they are waiting until Christmas, they either missed it or have a very long wait. We all want to see in writing what transpired there at that infamous meeting.
Jan 18, 2011
Russian women dress like 'strippers': church spokesman
MOSCOW - RUSSIAN women's figure-hugging outfits and full-on makeup got a pasting from a senior Russian Orthodox Church spokesman on Tuesday, as he slammed women for dressing as if they were strippers.
Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the synod's department for relations between the church and society, called for a national 'dress code' to tackle the issue in an open letter published by the Interfax news agency.
'There is a problem ... of people who mistake the street for a striptease,' archpriest Chaplin wrote, adding that women who dressed provocatively would not find decent husbands.
'A woman who is barely dressed or made up like a clown ... certainly will not find a man as a partner in life who has the slightest rudiments of sense or self-respect.' He called for an all-Russian dress code, taking the lead from dress codes in offices and schools.
Some women who are devout Russian Orthodox believers wear long skirts, long sleeves and headscarves, but Russian women generally prefer more revealing clothing and makeup.
Mr Chaplin is known for his outspoken statements. In December he controversially claimed that women who wore mini-skirts and got drunk were to blame if they were raped, and told women to dress more 'seriously.' -- AFP
#17 Anonymous on 2011-01-18 07:12
I'll start, what the hell is going on in Worcester. And before anyone asks, I am from Worcester, go to St. George and wonder what the hell Met. P is thinking or if he's thinking at all?...
The council apparently took a vote last Monday to keep Fr. Milad, by Thursday we all had a letter in the mail stating that Fr. Milad was now our new priest. People are up in arms, stating that Mr. Michael has been fired without due process. Can anyone shed any light on what is going on at our Cathedral?
#18 Sinner on 2011-01-19 17:50
I'm truly sorry that there is chaos at the cathedral, but, honestly, you're not going to get the answer here -- you will get alot of speculation and accusation. Write to the bishop -- be respectful, be sincere. You may want to tone down the "what the hell Met. P is thinking..." so as to get past the secretary.
#18.1 Anonymous on 2011-01-25 11:34
Thanks for the advice. It's just so maddening, to see and hear things and still nothing is being done about them. We love our cathedral, we truly do and the wedge that we have splitting the church is a disgrace. I know the Metropolitan is also saddened by the happenings of our cathedral and we need Fr. Milad to help heal our church. The way the counsel is going about it is all wrong, there should be no secrets from the parish we are all in it together.
#18.1.1 -sinner on 2011-01-26 16:40
People, there is a given topic here. It isn't absolutely anything you can think of to say. I wish Mark would delete those posts (including this one) which have nothing to say on topic.
(Editor's note: Should I delete yours before I post or after? You know, people have to be responsible for their own postings, and if they are not, it is up to the community to call them on it, not me to act as the censor based on my prejudices.)
#19 monologistos on 2011-01-25 15:31
Make sure to love this Faith at least as much as you are tired of the old men in charge.
#20 Macarius on 2011-01-31 08:29
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