Monday, March 21. 2011
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Refreshing for someone to come at this in a manner that steps back from the unhelpful and somewhat artificial division into "camps."
#1 Rebecca Matovic on 2011-03-21 08:17
A very nice article. I have often felt that a Metropolitan must rely heavily on his advisors, especially in the first couple years of his leadership. I heard Fr. Lazar say once that a new priest in a parish should not change anything for a full year, but gradually as he learned the needs, strengths and weaknesses of a parish, to begin hinting at what needed to be done. For a Metropolitan with limited leadership experience, advisors are key. He must choose wisely, and yes, learn from both past mistakes and from the flock that is under his care. Sheep don't enjoy radical movements or changes, but neither can they forever stay in the same field lest they starve.
#2 Sean O'Clare on 2011-03-21 09:48
All of you converts bringing your baggage to Orthodoxy; WAKE UP! The "state" has always been in conflict with the "Church." In Christ's time. Paganism ruled. Abortion is nothing new! It's been going on since the beginning of time. Even when Christianity ruled the Roman/Byzantine Empire, massive killings, abortion, inhumanity, wars, etc. were common. The difference is that the Christians learned to follow Christ amid all the anti-Christian "states." Whatever stance any govt takes about abortion, euthanasia, etc. the Christians DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW! This is what we must teach our own. Not everyone is going to follow what we follow nor agree with Christ. HOWEVER, WE MUST! This is what the Orthodox Church teaches. We need to lead by example. We can preach what we believe, but only by example can we be truly effective!
#3 Anonymous on 2011-03-21 13:13
"All of you converts" -- your Christianity is so obvious in your judgment. It's nice to know the problem is solely with "the other." Hopefully the OCA will stop accepting converts soon.
#3.1 anonymous convert on 2011-03-27 16:34
First the Metropolitan is the bishop to his diocese. Second, the Synod of Bishops act in unison to solve the administrative and spiritual issues with their dioceses and in the OCA as a whole. Third, the OCA's Metropolitan is to be the spokesperson for the entire Church (for the entire Synod), he should not be putting forth a personal agenda. The Metropolitan should be setting an example of conciliarity--not a one man band. In fact, his one man band is way out of tempo and tune with the entire OCA. It is a true embarrassment to our Church and just shows the other jurisdictions that our house is still not in order. How can we as a Church "preach to the world" while our house is in disarray. It is time for the Metropolitan to be silent. If the Metropolitan believes that he should be within the Patriarch of Moscow, then he should request a transfer, go to Russia to a monastery and be a simple monk -- not lead the OCA.
#4 anonymous on 2011-03-21 14:24
How dare our bishops preach the truth to Washington. How dare orthodox christians take a stand. Lets not take the gospel anywhere except our own homes and churches. Let Satan rule over all of washington while christians sit idle in their own communities and watch our country morally fall apart. If the Kingdom of God doesn't become active soon in our nation; be prepared to watch our church become trampled underfoot.
#4.1 Isaac Galvez on 2011-03-21 18:08
Yes, by all means, Isaac, let our bishops preach the truth to Washington. Let them tell Washington that war and torture are sinful. Let them tell Washington that taking away bread from the poor but refusing to cut the budget for bombs is immoral. Let them tell Washington that racism and xenophobia are not God-pleasing in the debate over how to deal with immigrants and foreigners. For God's sake, let our bishops preach those truths to Washington. Thus far, they've been silent as clams about such things. Do they bother you as much as the "A" and "H" words the so-called "religious right" is fixated on?
Bring the gospel into the public square by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, nursing the sick and visiting the jailed at your own expense, Isaac. Then you can tell the rest of the world what to do -- only you'll probably be too tired and broke, and thus truly humbled, to do so.
#4.1.1 Diogenes on 2011-03-24 06:48
I just want to echo what poster number four has said. For the first time I went to the ocatruth site and read the praise for +Jonah. Give me a break! I have friends who have more followers on their facebook accounts. For a church with 30,000 plus members, this isn't exactly a glowing affirmation of his leadership.
The OCA is not the United States and +Jonah is not the president of the U.S., (despite his attempts to reach out to people in congress and move things to Washington). +Jonah does seem, though, to be living his life as if he really believes that his position is a lot more important that it really is (and I'm sure that serving in Christ the Saviour cathedral in Moscow doesn't help the situation either).
The OCA is just an orthodox jurisdiction like the Serbs, Antiochians, Greeks, Carpatho-Russians, Ukranians, Russians (ROCOR and Mospat), Bulgarians, Albanians, Old-Calendar Greeks, etc., Why is it so hard to understand that +Jonah, or whoever the next metropolitan is, needs to minister to his people. And quite frankly "his people" are not most of the people walking the halls in congress.
#4.2 Anon. on 2011-03-22 07:35
Anonymous writes that the "Metropolitan is to be the spokesperson for the entire Church (for the entire Synod), he should not be putting forth a personal agenda. The Metropolitan should be setting an example of conciliarity--not a one man band. . . . It is time for the Metropolitan to be silent."
Church History would be rather different if this (recent) rule had been adopted earlier. I am thinking of former Metropolitans in the Church, who seem not to have been aware of the approach suggested here by Anonymous.
Ambrose of Milan comes to mind, and Basil of Caesarea. The list is rather long, actually.
#4.3 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2011-03-22 08:52
Nicely stated, "A Priest of the Orthodox Church in America."
#5 Anon on 2011-03-21 17:33
From the Priest's View:
"I still believe that the possibility exists for the Metropolitan to make good on expectations and to become the type of leader people hoped for at the last AAC. For that to materialize, however, he must be patient, regardless of personal vision, and be willing to love and work in concert with an entire Body that has already experienced great dissension."
It seems that from the four reflections, I found The Pries't View as the closest in resonating or articulating with what may be one of the underlying difficulties, as many of us have been following all the the events that have unfolded, and as one of his sentences describes it above.
But, I hate speculating, because to me, I really only know in bits and pieces. After Pascha a whole bunch of meetings will be taking place. Much will be discussed... and perhaps more decided...
I hope we continue to pray for the upbuilding of the church. I know we had petition prayers for the Japanese. Would we not want petition prayers for +Jonah's well-being and health?
#6 Patty Schellbach on 2011-03-21 17:46
In every OCA parish we pray for Metropolitan +Jonah and our Diocesan hierarch (if it's not his Beatitude) in every Great Litany and at the Great Entrance. Those prayers are certainly for their physical and spiritual well-being in addition for their exercising of their offices to the benefit of the Church. I don't know about anyone else but in these past few years those prayers resonate very strongly with me. Our hierarchs certainly do require our prayers as we require theirs.
Rdr. David Maliniak
Christ the Saviour, Paramus, NJ
#6.1 David Maliniak on 2011-03-24 07:39
Thank you, Reader David.
This is true! We do pray for +Jonah at our liturgy.
I hope God is hearing our prayers.
#6.1.1 Patty Schellbach on 2011-03-24 19:12
I'd be more impressed with the Metropolitan had he truly entered the "public square" by discussing the socio-economic crisis facing the U.S., ( i.e; growing income inequality, the horrendous child poverty rate (25%), health care availability,the huge military budget, etc;etc;).
Instead, he follows the neo-conservative agenda of focusing on abortion and same-sex marriage.
Following the latter course is easy. Following the former course is prophetic.
#7 anonymous on 2011-03-22 06:04
Dear Father _____,
I am just a little child and will need to be admonished for this comment, just like Father Hopko did with his little boys, his bad "sons," Metropolitan Jonah and Father Joseph.
I am not a good "son" like his other little boy, Mark.
I am sure, Father _____, that after you read this, if you knew me, you would sit me down and have a little corrective chat, and say, "hey, guy, enough is enough, you need to be silent..."
After all, I am the one who is offended by your article, and your namelessness, and you are far wiser than I am. I know you are happy with what you wrote, and happy no one knows who wrote it. After all, nobody knows where this is going, or how this will end, and we all want to look good on the other side... whatever side we were on, and whomever we supported for all those years. Crow is nasty when we have to eat it, especially in front of people we criticize.
But since I am not there to talk face to face, and since you are so wise as to know Fr. Hopko's mind, and since I am so clueless and immature that I can't begin to know yours, may I ask why, when you submitted your article, you did not sign your name and take responsibility for what you wrote?
You might want to think about that. But wdik? I really do have to submit this anonymously, to protect myself..., in case Mark decides to post it.
#8 Anonymous on 2011-03-22 06:52
Didn't you just answer your own question in your last paragraph? And, while you may justifiably fear the mightier-than-the-sword-pen (keyboard?) of one Mark Stokoe, I suspect that he is NOT in a position to affect your vocation, livelihood, the well-being of your family or even your ability to partake of the Holy Mysteries of the Church. Please review the previous (or is it still current?) brouhaha among our Antiochian brethren before faulting a priest for going anonymous.
One who does not do so,
Fr. Dennis Buck
#8.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2011-03-28 07:57
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
- Leo Tolstoy
#9 Any Moose on 2011-03-22 07:48
Now here's the ticket regarding all of this:
#10 Anonymous on 2011-03-23 07:29
Glory to Jesus Christ!
I believe, in all humility, His Beatitude was elevated too suddenly and being so young is full of zealous energy and ideas, but the OCA expression of Orthodoxy as inferred before is difficult to transform even in 50 or more years of synergy between clergy and the laos. Contrariwise our Church was so riddled with scandal and corruption we needed a person untouched by that corruption--which His Beatitude fits perfectly. We may not be ready or have ever been ready for the Gift of Autocephaly, however, the fact remains it is doubtful the MP will revoke it anytime soon, since our Autocephaly has always been a way our Mother Church in Russia slaps the Patriarch of Constantinopolis in the face loudly declaring that tiny Patriarchate's irrelevancy and overrated prerogatives; since now there is a Third Rome, one that exists in spite of oppenents delarations of the theological and historical weakness of that proposition, and the MP is in true fact the de facto Chief Patriarchate not only based on numbers, but also on Her dignity not as some papacy, but a real and true emerging primes inter pares. A balance is needed--not bowing to Constantinople which exludes our Church from real work and collaboration with the other Autocephalous Churches toward a "Holy and Great Council"--which will most likely be so reformist that many Orthodox will not recognize it, especially the Old Caledarists which will convene their own Ecumenical Council which will anathemizatize the "modernist" Council as an Anti-Council.
Orthodoxy is messy and does not express itself as a well oiled machine like Rome, but neither should it use that as an excuse to allow our Church to become a bitter word in the mouths of converts who came to our Church to have the pleroma of Grace, unfortunately what they are seeing is the same if not worse corruption and lies they experienced in their own traditions.
May our Light so shine before men that they may glorify God.
Along with what I have said I believe God knows best.
Many Years to all the God-Bearing Hierarchs of all Orthodox Churches.
In Christ God,
#11 Alexis Horwath on 2011-03-23 13:23
For the sake of clarity and precision, let us simply take careful note of Canon 34 of the Holy Apostles, which sets forth the proper relationship among Bishops and between the Primate and the Synod (noting also that Article I of The Statute binds all and sundry to obedience to, inter alia, the Sacred Canons). The clarifications in brackets are taken from the commentary by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain:
"It behooves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognise him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but instead each of them should do only what is necessitated by his own parish [i.e., what today we would call a diocese] and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one [i.e., the primate] do anything [i.e., of common concern and interest] without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Perhaps if and when all parties in this mess actually try to be obedient to the clear and plain teaching of the Church on exactly and precisely how they are supposed to work together and relate to one another, we will get peace, order, concord, true conciliarity, and sound administration.
But I'm not holding my breath. As the Greeks say, "It's Lent, and the devil dances."
#12 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2011-03-24 05:06
It's funny you call HB a leader to lead, yet you wont let him without taking orders from the Synod or approval from the Synod. What kind of leader is that? It's a puppet. Let the man LEAD THE WAY!
#13 Happy on 2011-03-24 11:41
Leading is not just dragging people kicking and screaming to your point of view. Unfortunately what has occurred in the OCA over the past few years is a lot of reactionary conflict. I know + Jonah and asked him when he was first elected metropolitan to take some time to reflect on those items which he felt were most important to the OCA, to write them down and to articulate them to the faithful in videotaped messages that could be downloaded and disseminated. Unfortunately, since his election he has waffled considerably on what is important, he has not written down his thoughts, and he has spoken off the cuff many times.
I for one do believe that he is salvageable as a metropolitan, but +Jonah is going to have to sit down and learn that to lead, he needs to consider all of his constituents, i.e. bishops, priests, seminaries, lay people, and world orthodoxy. Before he jumps into trying to transform American politics, I hope that he takes a long hard look at the family at home, namely the OCA.
#13.1 Anon. on 2011-03-25 12:11
I'm not sure I understand the entire picture, I know and believe one can not make everyone happy and will always be criticized when in a leadership role. However, what exactly did he do that was completely wrong? All I have seen our read was was good. The only thing I see really is pieces of disagreements on moving the OCA headquarters, an unfair attempt at accusing he did something wrong for expressing Orthodox views on abortion, and a caught red handed attempt to make him look like he is incompetent in terms of leadership and some faulty email communication against something about the sexual misconduct issues, which look as ocanews uses the term "forged" by a circle who are trying to undermind him. I would like some clarification that has an ounce of truth some where because those email leaks exposed a lot to me personally. Thanks in advance.
#13.1.1 Happy on 2011-03-27 08:42
Happy: The article in the Wash. Post is + Jonah blowing his own horn. It does not address the REAL issues of why + Jonah is having problems. Apparently the ENTIRE Synod of Bishops wanted him to take a leave and undergo a rest & evaluation. There is much more to this than the Wash. Post story!
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2011-03-27 21:20
Fr. Basil Biberdorf has posted an insightful and discerning commentary on authority and responsibility on The Orthodox Leader blog. Sharing it below since it provides a lot of information to reflect upon and consider.
Authority is Responsibility
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