Tuesday, August 16. 2011
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Mr. Stokoe, what on earth encouraged you to write such an absolutely useless story about Americans not being encouraged to
visit Lebanon & Syria? Where has your 'breaking news' skills gone?
You have become a major disappointment sir. You never properly followed up at all on the tumotulous situation regarding the 'internal audit' that 'never' was properly done regarding the Antiochian archdiocese. You 'never' concluded any news of the scandals that plagued Detroit & the St. George of Troy money / tax / mess. But whats even more disappointing is that you never concluded what occurred with the former two chancellors & the 'rumors' that became a hot topic. Mr. Stokoe, I'll be impressed if you actually publish my comments- (and one small side note for you, didn't you hear, didn't anyone inform you that the Mid-west clergy of the Antiochian archdiocese recently held a huge 'fundraiser support dinner' for the murdering dictator Bashar al Assad of Syria! That is a terrible thing- he's killing his citizens every hour and our clergy are openly supporting him- write about that one Mark!
(Dear Mr. Haddad: One cannot schedule events in areas of great turmoil and pretend nothing is happening. That would be falsifying the story. On the other hand, I have no direct sources to Syria or Lebanon these days. Rather than being criticized for "taking sides", I simply included what the State Department says, and let people draw their own conclusions. Your description of "murdering dictator" works for me, though.
That being said, it has been the custom for Antiochian bishops to be consecrated in the old country, as well as in this country. Perhaps in light of recent events one might ask if it does not behoove the Patriarch to consider doing it here this time for the safety of all involved, given the State Department's warnings? God forbid, what if something happened while the three (and no doubt, many who will accompany them)? Would that be a testimony to Christianity, or solidarity, or just plain foolhardiness?
As for not covering the stories you accuse me of ignoring, you are mistaken. There has been no audit of the Archdiocese, and it was clear to everyone ( but you, apparently) there would never will be a real audit after the departure of Bishop Mark. I can't report on something that has not happened, other to repeat the obvious: short of a miracle, it won't happen. I did report the conclusion of the St. George tax mess - I reported they had to pay. Once again, with the departure of Bishop Mark there will be no more to that story because no one in authority will press the issue in any way. And those who did, have been removed. And yes, I did report on the demonstration of support for Assad by Antiochian clergy, among others, in "News Around The World". Please go back and check.
I am sorry that my coverage of the AOCNA is lacking in your mind, but, practically speaking, issues of transparency and accountability are dead in the AOCN until a new generation of leadership allows such questions to be asked, or its members rise up and demand to know where their monies are being spent. If they choose to do that I will report it. If not, there is no "breaking news". Sorry.)
#1 George Haddad - on 2011-08-16 13:51
All things considered Lebanon is significantly more stable right now than Syria (functioning central government or no), so I don't see why it would be a big deal to have the consecration there. (Lets be honest, all three will be consecrated at the same service - there's no need to speak of "consecrations.")
Syria, on the other hand...
(Editor's note: I suggest you read the US State Department Travel Advisory again. I appreciate your point about consecrecation as opposed to consecrations. However, since each bishop will be consecrated individually, albeit at the same service, the issue is confusing. )
#1.1 Weldehazen on 2011-08-18 22:16
I agree with Mr. stokoe it would be prudent to Conscrated all three Bishops in the US due to the political sisuation - however the decission is the APtriarch's to make and we should respect is decission as oru Patriarch.
Regarding Clergy fundraising for the syria President, I think they were not fundrasing but rather showing support for the syria Government no difference that the Patriach said last month on Al Jazeera. The Syria sisuation is quite complex and we as Americans should not rush to judgement but ask ourselves; what type of government will replace Assad and would it be a fundimentalist Islamic goverment which would be woorst for the Church.
Currently in syria Christian are treated fairly well
We should all pray for a peaceful resolution.
. Haddad if you are that angry with the Antiochian Archdiocese than go elsewhere.
#2 Anonymous on 2011-08-16 14:46
Perhaps you should consider that it's the Church's support of bloody dictators (and czars) that causes the blow back against Christians once the dictator is removed? I don't know how it can be considered that we're "treated fairly well" if the guy is killing thousands in the streets, unless of course you consider yourself more worthy of life than they. If I were a Muslim watching my family being murdered in the street while the Orthodox are providing financial support to the murderers, I'd be pretty angry, too.
#2.1 Richard on 2011-08-17 11:15
Your arguement is missing some facts: a) Syria is 75% Moslem and 25% Christian, with 2/3 of the Moslems are Suni, while one 1/3 is Shia; b) President Assad is member of a minority of the Shia sect (allowi), which represnt 10% of the Shia. c) Since President Assad is a minority is protect minority rights of Jews, Christians, Aremenians and Shia in Syria.
The Syria uprising since March is primary Suni, whi would like a more Moslem govenments to take over rather than assad Non-Religious goverment.
This is one reason why PAtriarch Ignatius support Assad, who in fact support Church socialprojects.
We need to be weary before we as American try to remove Assad,w e must wonder who will take over in his absence and would that bring more stabality or less. In my opinion if Assad goes we will see IRran of 1979 all over again! Do we want this to occur, or a stable Syria with assad is in all of our interest.
#2.1.1 Michel from Norte de Liban on 2011-08-18 08:26
Iran of 1979 again? Assad is the biggest friend of the Iranian mullahs in the world! The Assad family has been a state sponsor of Islamic terrorism (PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and so on) and agent of chaos in the region for decades. That noted, your remarks validate what's been said already. The Antioch Patriarchate is run by a mafia clan mentality ("he's a bastard but he's good to me, that's all that matters") and not by men living as shepherds of Christ, shepherds that would call out against the mutilation and murder of children in the streets regardless of their religious affiliation.
Good luck with the blow back, as a 25% minority regime that brutalizes the other 75%, along with its supporters, has no chance. It will be interesting to watch the drop in the money flow from the American converts, afflicted by Stockholm Syndrome, once it becomes more widely known where those donations have been going recently.
#220.127.116.11 Richard on 2011-08-20 12:01
How ridiculous that new bishops of a supposedly "self-ruled" (autonomous) entity MUST be consecrated in Syria. What a joke! Furthermore, nothing has really changed in the AOCA since 1968 when + Philip took complete control. This is truly DESPOTIC control (Eis Polla eti DESPOTA). Monies disappear and not accounted for; no guaranteed retirement for priests; priests falling in and out of grace at whim; American priests regarded as second class citizens; etc. What a sad way to run any church. An American church? Fat chance! ....
#3 Anonymous on 2011-08-16 15:29
Thank you Mark for posting such an insightful article about the issues going on in Syria and Lebannon today. If nothing else, it will illustrate how much faith the new bishops will exhibit, merely by going to these war-torn countries that often degenerate into chaos. These are some consecrations that I will not be attending! However, to the three men, especially Fr. John whom I knew years ago, Axios!
#4 Sean O'Clare on 2011-08-16 18:24
Mr. Stokoe, in response to your reply, I was and am disgusted as to what has happened to the Antiochian archdiocese. This archdiocese has been lead by a man whose accomplished many things, but has instilled such a fear in his clergy that they are petrified to stand up to him. My wife, and daughter and I attended the convention in Chicago last month & I witnessed a few incidents that did not sit well with me. The first thing I witnessed was the Metropolitan himself outright lying to the people in attendance. I'm an certified public accountant, and my family sometimes attend St. George of Cicero and sometimes we attend the Greek church in Chicago. Counting is my speciality. Towards the end of the convention, I counted at maximum for six church services around 435 people. During the 'grand hafli' I walked around the entire ballroom and counted 788 people- yet, Metropolitan Philip mid-week announced that there was 2,088 registered guests and on Saturday he announced that there was 2,245 guests. That's an outright lie. But that shouldn't surprise anyone. This man stood by and charmed Charles Ajalt and Robert Koory into donating collectively hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the archdiocese, yet the very first minute that they dared questioned his integrity and honor, he basically told them to hit the road. Let's put Bishop Mark aside for a minute, the Mid West region priests aught to seek confession rather quickly in particular Fr. Joseph Antypas. Can anyone explain to me
how the man is a millionaire and yet his church is desperately struggling? Mr. Stokoe, you realize that my real name isn't George Haddad. I had to use my middle name and my wife's maiden name, in order to disguise my identity. I did this because the vindictive tyrant Metropolitan would throw my first cousin under the bus if he knew who I was. My cousin is a freshman priest. Put all of that aside, the very poorly attended convention displayed an intense almost absurd amount of security. My daughter commented that she'd never seen such security to get into the 'General Assembly', in fact, I brought my Mac computer to do work for my firm while sitting at the meeting and two 'thug' off duty policemen literally threatened to confiscate my laptop if I didn't go up to our suite and put it there. One in particular was one step away from being vulgar. The poor customer service at this convention was evident in many ways. But, to wrap all of this up, my nephew lives in Wichita and attends the Cathedral that Bishop Basil has his ministry, and my nephew shared that people, not only in Bishop Basil's region, but in many regions have totally lost the allegiance and loyalty to Metropolitan Philip. Mr. Stokoe, please for the love of God, explain to me what it is that connects Fr. Joseph Antypas, Metropolitan Philip and the ever so corrupt governments of both Syria and Lebanon? What is it that Fr. Antypas has, what 'hold' what 'scandalous corruption' does he have on our old Metropolitan that made Phililp leave his sick bed, to travel to Detroit and officiate at
wedding of Fr. Joseph's daughter? ....
Good luck explaining his 'extra' income... Perhaps Walid Khalife or better yet, the Antiochian archdiocese's new Vice-Chairman, Fawaz El-Khoury of Boston, who himself is a twice convicted fellon, and who now holds the highest office in the archdiocese given to a laymen- interesting....
#5 George Haddad on 2011-08-16 18:46
You are completely ignorant. It doesn't matter what kind of money a priest has, better yet any person. No one's business except their own.
There are many wealthy priests that come from millions, through family investments or inheritance, yet you are suspect to them because they have more than you?
They can make good investments, have money inherited, or just saved every penny they make. If you are an accountant, do yourself a favor and ask yourself how you made the money you have today, what investments have you made...if you did you will understand basic mathematics of how an investment can grow and reinvest throughout years. It's not rocket science...and your and accountant?
In regards to your comments pertaining to the Wichita church and people loyal to MP, you somewhat incorrect. I know for a fact that many are sick in this Diocese of the monastic culture hurled on them, flung on them, and put upon them. We are NOT monks, we ARE laity that try to be Christ like, not BASIL like (i.e. monk-like)
Simply put, those that are not monks follow MP, those that are monks follow BASIL with their prayer ropes and slippers. I can pick a false monastic or a power monger in a second these days, all due to the culture that evolved in DOWAMA. It's truly pathetic to say the least. This is not the way the Archdiocese was, but thank God it has gotten better since everyone is Auxiliary.
#5.1 Happy Days are Here Again on 2011-08-17 10:10
Isn't it just awful? No kibbee in the social hall during Lent. Priests insisting people be, you know, Orthodox before they receive Orthodox sacraments. Liturgy on the minor Feasts, even when it conflicts with the men's group dinner.
I mean really, you'd think we were on Mt. Athos or something.
#5.1.1 The Anti-Gnostic on 2011-08-17 15:33
Observing a fast is not what I'm talking about. Give me a break with those types of comparisons. You know exactly what I meant.
#18.104.22.168 Happy on 2011-08-17 16:36
At this point, I don't know what you meant. State specifically what awful burdens these crazed monastics are imposing on the laity. We are called to be like Christ. I can't think of a heavier burden that any mere priest or bishop could dream up. Or are we going to go over the whole cassock thing again?
#22.214.171.124.1 The Anti-Gnostic on 2011-08-18 06:56
I think you missed the point we need a balance between the Monastic and Urban Life. I agree we should observe the fast at Church functions; However having clergy in cassocks with several children and eating in resturants with their unclean beards, prayer beads is going a bit too far. There need to be a balance not one extreme or another.
(Editor's note: Really? Really? "Several Children?" One wonders just how many children you think is appropriate for a priest, or anybody, to have? "Unclean beards"? One suspects the problem is not with the number of children a priest has, or his beard, or his beads, but that he does not comport with your rather narrow, middle-class, Middle-American ideals of propiety. I speak, of course, as a middle-class, Middle-American with ideals...)
#126.96.36.199 Anonymous on 2011-08-17 17:43
My beard is clean. Shampoo every day--conditioner twice a week.
My kids are grown now, but when little were well known for their good behavior in the restaurants to which I dragged them, and made very good friends with several of the staff that waited upon them (and I was even the one doing the tipping!).
At a retreat in Indianapoplis, I once heard Mother Alexandra of Elwood City (of blessed memory) criticize several (many?) of the people present for wearing their prayer ropes too obviously, thereby giving in to spiritual pride and show-boating (the latter not her term).
Several sides to every story, and much room in between extremes.
#188.8.131.52.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2011-08-18 16:02
Do you have any details about the two criminal convictions you allege have been received by the new Vice Chair of the AOCA Board of Trustees? What specifically are you referring to?
#5.2 Disgusted Antiochian on 2011-08-22 18:24
From what I understand, the travel for the consecration for the first round of bishops for the Antiochian Archdiocese -- er, auxiliary bishops and assistants to the metropolitan -- was no cake walk either, in arguably more peaceful times. I'd heard military escort was part of the trip even then, once the candidates set foot on the soil of the Levant. Why go all that way and into such danger when there are enough bishops here to pass on the succession? Are sacraments any more holy or effective if they are celebrated in Damascus, or does the Spirit blow wherever he pleases (John 3:8)? We really need to do some remedial work on our ecclesiology...
#6 Gregory on 2011-08-16 19:29
There’s only one reason the 3 sub-bishops are being consecrated in the Middle East – there will be a cash transfer from the archdiocese to the patriarchate. It is a historical fact with every consecration of a bishop(s) for North America there is an accompanying bag of money.
Money - the language and doctrine of Antioch.
(Editor's note: It is rather standard practice for Americans to give money to Churches in the Old Countrie, consecrations or not. Are you suggesting something more?)
#7 Disgusted priest on 2011-08-17 06:45
I have heard it from direct participants.
#7.1 Disgusted priest on 2011-08-17 07:27
The Patriarch who is over 90 have the right to conscrate the three new Bishops, if he chooses he could allow it to occur in the Us like he did with Bishop ANTOUN and BASIL. It is not about money but it is about the Patriach Conscrating three new Bishops for his Church if he desire.
#8 Anonymous on 2011-08-17 08:33
“The Patriarch who is over 90 have the right to conscrate the three new Bishops…”
Here we go again, the Antiochians writing their own ecclesiology. In Orthodox theology the patriarch is simply the “first hierarch.” His is a position of honor not power. But it seems that as centuries have passed we have more Orthodox Patriarchs who want to exercise powers like the Roman Pope, whom the patriarchs say is in error, but whom they wish to emulate.
The fact is that if, and that’s a big IF, the archdiocese is self-ruled, which in one aspect it is, for it is ruled by the Metropolitan-Archbishop of New York, then it should follow that the bishops who were elected locally, versus the synod in Damascus, should be consecrated locally. But the patriarch obviously wants to show that the bishops are subject to the Orthodox Synod of Antioch, even though they have been proposed, nominated and elected at the direction of Metropolitan Philip and to whom they will be totally subject, as evidenced by his ability to release Bishop Mark to the OCA without the action of the synod in Damascus. Plus, above all, do not dismiss again the influence of money in all such things.
#8.1 Disgusted priest on 2011-08-19 10:32
"HADDAD IF YOUR NOT HAPPY- LEAVE"
"Are you SUGGESTING SOMETHING MORE?"
Let me share something with you - enough telling people to 'leave' this archdiocese takes our money, is filled with cold unwelcoming people & the most arrogant clergy I've ever seen in my LIFE!
I overheard a lady at the Starbucks coffee shop, inside the host hotel at the archdiocese convention actually say that she walked up to her previous parish priest ...........and she asked him to hear her confession, his reply was 'I'm busy' twenty minutes later he was sitting with a crowd of Arabic people at the hotel restaurant, half of whom were drunk- LEAVE? Why don't you leave! What are you people up too? Where is the money going? I emplore an answer! Corrupt, oh yeah... It's disgusting - and 'what are you suggesting' please people wake up- you have clergy threatening bishops, such as the case with Fr. Anthony Gabriel & his ongoing outright open disrespect for Bishop Alexander in Montreal- and what the Midwest priests did to Bishop Mark - come off it- this is a church NOT a quick business - people, the convention in Chicago was proof in itself that an overwhelming majority of this archdiocese is damaged and hurt. And your reply is "LEAVE" - that doesn't work anymore- ........- eventually that's going to hit the ceiling - anyone on the inside knows that Metropolitan Philip has old friends within the government, but even the U.S. government isn't going to sit back and let him play his games for much longer. If anything comes out & it becomes clear that he's involved with Antypas, Khalife and foreign governments, that's not good... Not good at all...
#9 George Haddad on 2011-08-17 11:12
Do you believe in aliens or the New World Order? The only reason I ask is you are a conspiracy theorist seeking for answers that do not exist else they would have.
I pray your questions are answered, but even with hard evidence proving your accusations aren't true, I bet you will then think it was all a pay off and it won't change your opinion. However I wish you the best in search of your proof to your accusations.
#9.1 Happy Days are Here Again on 2011-08-17 12:34
I must second Mr Haddad's comments. It seems like the "Troy Boys," are back in full swing with the comments I have seen. Once again in plain view is a very characteristic style, or lack of, in the grammar and spelling displayed in those posts. The AONA is in a world of hurt right now. Fr. Antypas believes that he and his council have dodged a bullet and that with the new bishop, happy days are here again. It is such a crying shame that St George Troy has become a mere shell of its once vibrant life. I continue to hear from my cousins still there. You reap what you sow and the harvest in Detroit is very bitter fruit indeed.
#9.2 Dorothy Darany on 2011-08-17 15:07
I'm not in full swing, nor am I part of any "Troy Boys" group. I was born here and just have my own opinion.
I'm sorry if i was typing that on my phone and i have chubby fingers which caused me to misspell words. Grammatical errors also were caused by the 4 inch retina display on my mobile phone. This is a proof that you conspiracy theorists are and will always be troublesome.
I was born in America and live over 900 miles away from Troy. I participated in the church life in my early youth and lately again. I don't care about "Kibbeh" though it is good. I observe the fasts, I try to be an example of Christ every day of my life, though i fail 99% of the time.
It appears not only me that if you are from the "Old Country" than you are in some kind of clan and wrong, but if you are America you are correct and right. Maybe it's the good old selfish American way of life – trying to intrude on everyone's business in the world and making everyone conform to our norms because we are right.
However I admit, you are correct in the following 2 points.
1. Everyone who stands up for the "Troy Boys" or whatever is wrong.
2. Let's all grow our beards and look disheveled. This way we all can get along and sip tea after church together. You have convinced me that this is the correct way to represent the church when trying to welcome people and expose Orthodoxy.
In regards to the Syria issue, it also seems that you only read MSNBC, FOX NEWS, or DRUDGE REPORT. Try to look outside the box and read the news from other country websites. You will see that Assad is the only one who protected the Christians and allowed them safety. Also these "rebellions" are all staged. They are encouraged from US, it's a cheaper method than going into war and spread our democratic way of life by billions of more dollars in debt we can not afford. Connect the dots people.
And finally, the consecrations SHOULD be there, though i would LOVE to be a part of this historic event here in America. The only reason i believe this is because we are from the Antiochian Archdiocese and just that alone should say that the Antiochian Patriarch should consecrate them in ANTIOCH.
(Editor's note: I think you mean Syria, for the city of Antioch does not really exist, and what is left, is in Turkey these days. Of course, you might mean "The Antiochian Patriarchate" , which would include the US as well, unless of course you meant "The historical lands of the Antiochian Patriarchate" in which case, wouldn't Lebanon or Syria be just quicker to say?)
#9.2.1 Happy Days are Here Again on 2011-08-18 07:05
Thanks Mark, you are correct.
#184.108.40.206 Happy Days are Here Again on 2011-08-19 13:10
MR Haddad: Leave.
#10 Anonymous on 2011-08-17 11:37
Consecrations in Middle Easty. All about CONTROL and all know it. bring the $$$$. Convention statistics are a LAUGH. $20. from anyone who attends any one event or more. Delegates? Clergy receive a packet (e.g. one per 100 souls in their parish) even though only 1 or2 or 3 are PRESENT at delegate meeting time. The clergy fill out the ballots - call THIS delegate representation.What a laugh. Yes, about 400 at avg. church service ... where the 2400plus ? Few wanted to attend and fear abounds and the Met. won't retire. Why not with now 8 "Helpers" with no real authority, budget, etc. Accountability not withy the prepared agenda at Board meetings sop my parish attendees have told me. Very sad and to lose Bp Mark,
my good faithful only convert Bishop we ever had. Gifts for Assad a distinct possibility we're told via Englewood.
#10.1 Anonymous Priest on 2011-08-17 21:52
Nobody here gets it. The primary reason why the consecrations are in the Middle East is that every last vestige of the control usurped by the Maymonites is being flushed out once and for all.
#11 Michael on 2011-08-17 13:21
To understand Antypas, you have to understand who he is. In the "Old Country," he comes from a very rich and well-connected family. + Philip brought him here as a celibate deacon and he married. His wife was a Palestinian who was part of the Nassar clan. Antypas already had money and connections and + Philip jumped on that band-wagon. I believe Antypas was also a lawyer. So, + Philip put him in the "prime" place where Lebanese & Syrians are in the U.S. - Detroit.... he was able to hob-knob with those with $$$ in Detroit who supported + Philip. So, there you are....
#12 Anonymous on 2011-08-17 17:22
Yes, and also Antypas was the deacon of the Patriarch in Damascus. In a sense, + Philip & Antypas have direct lines to the synod. "Money talks and no body walks!" The entire Antiochian Archdiocese in the U.S. is controlled by a select handful of individuals. Converts are pawns and will never aspire to any real authority. + Joseph has already been chosen as + Philip's successor and as this past Archdiocese Convention has shown, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Ajalat and anyone who had influence has been emasculated. Paranoia has set in by the Arabs to ensure control. Ethnicity is more important than a real American Church. The Greeks believe this also. The Greek controlled Episcopal Assembly (former SCOBA) is a joke. The Greeks still believe only THEY are the real Orthodox and everything must be under them and + Bart. The ethnic bishops wish to remain ethnic bishops and use the "old country" to support their power & authority. Yet, according to Orthodox Canon Law, foreign bishops are forbidden to claim land, territory, people & churches not within their direct territory. Enjoy Orthodoxy and those of you in the Antiochian Archdiocese, learn to grovel! Oh, and why more bishops? So in the Episcopal Assembly, the Antiochians will have more leverage.
#13 Anonymous on 2011-08-18 08:37
UN report finds brutal crackdown in Syria ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, August 18, 7:34 AM
GENEVA — Government forces in Syria may have committed crimes against humanity by conducting summary executions, torturing prisoners and targeting children in their crackdown against opposition protesters, a high-level U.N. human rights team said Thursday.
Their report recommends that the U.N. Security Council refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for prosecution of alleged atrocities, a move that is likely to be discussed by the council at a closed-door session in New York later Thursday.
“The mission found a pattern of human rights violations that constitutes widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population, which may amount to crimes against humanity,” the U.N. investigators said in their 22-page report.
Crimes against humanity are considered the most serious of all international human rights violations after genocide.
Among the specific atrocities mentioned in the report are the alleged execution of 26 blindfolded men at a football stadium in the southern city of Daraa on May 1; indiscriminate firing of live ammunition at peaceful demonstrators using snipers and helicopters, resulting in the death of hundreds of people including women and children; and the killing of injured protesters in hospitals — including by locking people in morgue refrigerators alive.
“Children have not only been targeted by security forces, but they have been repeatedly subject to the same human rights and criminal violations as adults, including torture,” the report found. It cited the case of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib from the southern village of Jiza, whose mutilated body, with his penis severed, was delivered to his family weeks after he disappeared April 29.
The U.N. team, led by Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang, was denied access to Syria itself, but conducted interviews March 15 to July 15 with witnesses in the region, including protesters and former members of the security forces who had deserted and fled the country.
The investigators also examined video evidence and photographs of alleged abuses, and invited comment from the Syrian government on the allegations.
They concluded that at least 1,900 people had been killed in the unrest by mid-July, a figure the Syrian government confirmed but said included at least 260 members of the security forces.
The Syrian government told the U.N. team that it had instituted several political reforms in response to protesters’ demands, and set up investigations into alleged abuses. But the government of President Bashar Assad claimed media organizations had distorted facts about the events in Syria, and accused the U.N. team of bias for referring to the Alawite sect — of which Assad is a member — as a “repressive minority.”
The authors of the report said they have compiled a confidential list of 50 alleged perpetrators at “various levels” of Assad’s government, who could face prosecution before the International Criminal Court. Syria is not a signatory to the Rome Statutes, which would give the ICC automatic power to prosecute alleged abuses. But the U.N. Security Council can also refer countries to the Hague, Netherlands-based tribunal.
International pressure on Syria was mounting Thursday. Switzerland announced it was recalling its ambassador to Damascus due to the crackdown. And the U.N.’s top human rights body in Geneva said it would also be examining the situation in Syria at an urgent meeting Monday. A draft resolution circulated by Poland calls for a second investigation into events that have happened since July 15.
Syria’s Assad told the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a telephone call Wednesday that military operations in his country have ended. But activists said Thursday that security forces shot dead 18 people nationwide and intense shooting had erupted in the flashpoint city of Latakia.
#14 Any Mouse on 2011-08-18 09:33
As side note the U.S. President and EU tighten sanctions, which is leading to a Travel ban in
the short-term; this may have been a factor as well!
#15 Anonymous on 2011-08-18 11:33
isn't it unamerican to be tied to a church that is controlled by a foreign government? if we are truly americans shouldn't we espouse an american church? and if we claim to be aligned with a foreign church controlled by a foreign government is it not our duty to emigrate back to that country? we cannot have our cake and eat it too - we are in america, we function under american laws - regardless what our church leaders think - isn't it the responsibility of our leaders to embrace this country and become wholly american? - our church is for the worship of God not for the continuance of an ethnic ethos - ethnicity is a secular not a religious entity - no - i am not saying we become protestant or roman catholic - but i am saying, english, american music, shorter services, out with the long unkempt beards and pony tails with abhorrant rubber bands, and more outreach and community involvement, and becoming part of the fabric of this nation sans foeign church involvment is what we need to prosper and grow - Christ is not russian, or greek, or arabic - he is for everybody and our churches should be for everybody and not ethnic ghettos split into this is what america says we must do and this is how it is done in the old country - if you want the old country so bad why are you here ? and if you are here but miss the old country so much do not aborgate your respopnsibility to spread the word of God by creating an ethnic ghetto. we have been charged to be missionaries and to be fishers of men and to evangelize, i do not see anything in the Bible that tells us to perpetuate ethnic ghettos and align ourselve with repressive, controlled and corrupt foreign prelates under corrupt and oppressive governments - we need to be free and unencumbered advocates of christianity and not allow our wings rto be clipped by foreign intrigue ( forgive the spelling errors), we have a responsibility to america, are we truly fulfilling that responsibility?" may God save us all, and show us the light - amen
#16 rjklancko on 2011-08-20 06:45
Having been in Lebanon earlier this summer (and in 2007 and 2010) and traveled all over the country (including to areas under the influence of Hezbollah), I can definitely say that the State Department's travel warnings for Lebanon are as usual vastly overblown. The biggest danger to any prospective bishop will be the traffic in Beirut.
#17 Orthodox traveler on 2011-08-20 12:46
Agreed its traffic is woorst than New York.
The people in Lelbanon are great and friendly to everyone.
#17.1 Anonymous on 2011-08-22 08:19
You got it all wrong! Stokoe? He's a fight'n Badger!
You can't silence truth, my football coach was heard to say more than once in the locker room; "truth scores, assxxxxx perish"
#18 ASPCA on 2011-08-20 16:08
Look, it really is simple. The Mideastern Arabic countries are dictatorships. This arises from the "TRIBAL SYSTEM" that their cultures are based on. Many tribes, one dominant tribe with one dominant leader. He will meet with all the other tribal leaders, but clearly, the top banana rules. When the top banana starts killing his own peoples, it's time for him to be purged. The Antiochian Archdiocese runs the same way - it is tribal. + Philip is the top banana and dictator. The Antiochian converts are a tribe; the Arab Americans are a tribe; the Arab-Arabs are a tribe; etc. His power source is from the Arab-Arabs linked to the old country. One thing the Antiochian Archdiocese is not is an American Church!
(Editor's note: Not all Arabic countries are dictatorships. Nor is Egypt tribal, in the same way say, Libya is. You paint with a broad brush. )
#19 Anonymous on 2011-08-21 07:12
Note that Met. Archp. Antony (Antiochean) was Consecrated in NYC in 1936. Also much later Bishop Antoon in NYC (same Church) and Bishop Basil in his Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas, no less! All this is for control by the Pat. who has disappointed us with demotion of the position of a BISHOP. He at 90 nand Metrpolitan Philip at 80 should retire to Antakya (real Antioch) if they with cash can allow the Turks to take them "in".
#19.1 Anonymous on 2011-08-23 21:53
We have suspended our weekly tithe since October 2010 to our parish of the self-Met-ruled archdiocese until such time as the independent audit is completed and published and that the church assets held by the Met P in his own hands are returned to the American church under control of a lay board of trustees with supporting professional accounting and financial management.
Put another way:
1) Move away from the notion that the bishop owns the assets of the church.
2) Institute regular independent audit.
3) The assets of the archdiocese managed by lay leadership with professional oversight.
4) Get the money and other assets obtained with church funds returned.
5) Get the convicted felons off the payroll and removed from positions of control.
#19.1.1 MWP on 2011-08-25 14:30
The brush may be broad, but it appears to be very accurate.
#19.2 no name on 2011-08-24 06:12
Bashar goes ballistic
Security forces punch harder than ever
Aug 20th 2011 | DAMASCUS | from the print edition
FOR the first time in Syria’s six-month-long revolt, warships pounded coastal districts on August 13th, according to protesters. The embattled regime of Bashar Assad unleashed a rolling wave of all-out military assaults on its own people that Mr Assad says is now “stopped”. The main focus was on Hama, Latakia and Deir Ezzor—respectively Syria’s fourth-, fifth- and sixth-largest cities. Over 350 people have died since August 1st, the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and contemplation. In total the regime has killed at least 1,800 this year.
#20 MWP on 2011-08-21 17:19
Ancient Antioch still home to many Christians
In one of the birthplaces of Christianity, worshippers continue to
practice their religion side-by-side with their Muslim "brothers".
By Anna Wood for Southeast European Times in Antakya -- 27/08/11
The Orthodox Church of Antakya was built with the permission of the
Ottoman state in 1833 and remains a center of Christian worship today. [Anna
High above the modern Turkish city of Antakya (Antioch) lays a relic of a
former age. The Church of St Peter, now a pilgrimage site with a clear trail
marking the way, was once a hidden centre of early Christian worship.
Composed of just a one-room cave about 13 meters wide, this sanctuary was
crucial to developments in the history of Near Eastern Christianity, and is
old enough to be mentioned in the Bible itself. It is here, according to
legend, that followers of the newly emerging religion first called
Though the church now serves as a heritage site and museum operated by the
Turkish state, a hike down the mountain and into the city below leads
visitors to a number of churches that have active congregations and daily
Official studies of the population of Turkey estimate the number of
non-Muslim citizens to be less than .02%. In this corner of the country,
however, the religious and ethnic diversity is much higher and,
significantly, religious conflict nearly absent.
"There are no problems here," the head priest of the Catholic Church of
Antioch, Domineco Bertogli, explains. "We live openly, we worship openly."
Indeed, the Italian priest's church is located next-door to a large mosque,
and prominent plaques point the way.
Adalet, a young woman who works in the church with Bertogli, grew up in
Antakya and takes pride in the city's level of tolerance and
multiculturalism. She points to a poster hanging on a bulletin board that
also displays church announcements and service hours.
"Do you see that?" Adalet asks, smiling. "Antakya was chosen as one of
UNESCO's cities of peace."
Also on display are pictures of Bertogli shaking hands with President
Abdullah Gul and standing next to the Pope. Sent to Turkey initially in
1966, Bertogli spent years working in a church in Izmir before coming to
Antakya. Over the course of the 45 years Bertogli has worked here, the
priest has assimilated, learning the language fluently and, he says, being
happy to serve the church.
The Catholic community of Antakya is not the largest Christian population in
the region. Many more Orthodox Christians, whose traditions separated from
those of Catholic Rome during centuries of Byzantine rule, live and worship
here. The Orthodox Church of Antakya underscores the presence of this
community, with its elaborate iron gates and large courtyard open to the
Antakya is the largest city in the province of Hatay, and, like many urban
areas, has developed as a centre of diversity. Farther away from the city,
however, active Christian communities still prosper.
Near the Syrian border in the Altinozu district, two almost exclusively
Christian villages remain, Sarilar and Tokacli. Villagers are nearly all
Orthodox, with perhaps a handful of Catholic families.
Emin Mizikacioglu, an Orthodox Christian who runs a small market in Sarilar,
expresses a mixture of tolerance and pride regarding religious differences.
"We live together like brothers, all of us," he says, then breaking off his
sentence to tease the Muslim bus driver about how slowly the vehicle is
A few minutes later, when Sarilar becomes visible over a ridge in the hilly
landscape, he softens his voice and says with some excitement, "This is my
village. You won't find a single Muslim family here. Not even one."
This dual perspective -- that Muslims and Christians and Jews are all
siblings, but that a Christian village is still something to be treasured --
may be part of what enables these varied communities to maintain their own
identities while engaging peacefully and productively with other groups.
Bertogli, perhaps drawing on his experiences while working elsewhere in
Turkey, emphasises that while Antakya and its environs may truly be cities
of peace, they are not necessarily indicative of the situation elsewhere.
"There isn't just one Turkey," he says. "There are many Turkeys."
#21 Anonymous on 2011-08-27 15:07
Just some ideas
If Patriarch Ignatius IV is the head of the Antiochian Patriarchate (eventhough he resides in Damacus); and the Archdiocese of North american is part o the Patriarchate is it apporiate for the Patriarch to Conscrated new Bishops for the PAtriarchate even they will resides in the North American Archdiocese?
If you think this undermine a unfied American Church, we are nott here yet nd this issue will be discuss when we are at that point
#22 Food for thought! on 2011-08-30 10:28
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