Monday, June 30. 2008
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//However, there is one typo that stands out. On page 17, in “The Liturgy of Preparation”, the text of the new edition reads, “By being nailed to the Cross and pierced with a spear, Thou hast poured immorality upon men.” Not “immortality” as the text calls for and previous editions have stated, but “immorality”.//
THERE IS A GOD AFTER ALL! I may laugh for a year. Thanks Your Beatitude, your legacy is secure!
#1 no name on 2008-06-30 19:29
It's just curious how little information is presented on the OCA web site. One has to wonder why it is so hard to post anything new for weeks. No photos, no events, no press releases. It's as if there is absolutely nothing happening in the OCA. There were no diocesan events? Where are the pictures even of the town halls? None of the monasteries or seminaries have any events that are noteworthy? Is there nothing happening with ecumenical affairs? Do we do absolutely nothing with the youth of the OCA? Is someone doing anything in the area of Christian Education? For a national church this is a complete disgrace.
So I wonder ... is it on purpose? There is really no new information to speak of on the website. In fact, there is more information about the town halls on this site than on the OCA site. I hate to say that it looks like people are either completely incompetent or there is a deliberate attempt to control the content. Which is it?
#2 Anon. on 2008-06-30 19:32
I pretty much disagree with a lot of perspectives on the town hall meetings.
The meetings are a genuine effort to work towards a better church, but people just find themselves incapable.
Here are the questions:
How have the events (i.e., the scandal) affected you personally? This question is so the church can gauge the impacts and each of us as well.
What solutions would you offer to make things right? Solutions are important, more problems are not helpful.
What would you like to see happen at the All-American Council?
How would envision the OCA in the future?
All of these questions are solid, but to answer with laying all the blame on the Metropolitan is wrong.
I won't have a town hall forum, but here are my answers:
The scandal has affected me by raising my doubts about the Orthodox churches ecclesiology (a new word from the scandal) and even Christianity. This is perhaps the greatest disappointment. I doubt the structures of the national church and question their reasons for existence.
The solutions I would offer are to demand the resignations of all MC members in place prior to July 2005. I think the Metropolitan needs to do this if he decides to resign. The church needs to fully explain who got compilation reports since 2001 and to give each of them an opportunity to publicly explain their perspectives on those reports. I would ask the Metropolitan also to tender his resignation or to publicly explain what happened when he told Wheeler to 'take it like a man'. I deserve the Metropolitan's side of that ugliness. I would ask that the structures of the church be changed so that the Metropolitan Council has more than influential authority in the church (I'm not sure they even have this) and has a quotient of real power. I would also make it very easy for the laity to recall any elected member of the MC and require all MC members to be elected by a diocese.
I would like to see the next AAC vote in new members for the MC members elected prior to July, 2005. I would like to see the next AAC give Metropolitan Herman the chance to engage in any question and answer and then for the church to give him a vote of confidence after that dialogue. Although my confidence in him is not strong, he has affected positive change in ridding the church of RSK.
In the future, the central administration of the OCA must work toward developing more places where people can go to church. Of course this means managing all resources, financial and non-financial the best ways possible. I would also hope that the OCA runs well enough to disinterest Mark from publishing this website.
#3 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-06-30 19:37
It appears to be more of the same.
The people are crying out and the metropolitan and his staff does not care. The good people need to work through their anger and grief. Continue to obey and pay!
#4 MP on 2008-07-01 01:42
Just a very minor correction, Mark. On Sunday, Metropolitan HERMAN actually stayed around during coffee hour following Liturgy at the Cathedral for longer than usual. He did not run right out as he has sometimes done in the past...
#5 Anonymous on 2008-07-01 05:38
It looks like the more things don't change, the more they stay the same!
Folks continue to return from St. Tikhon's with the news that Met. Herman is stubbornly, consistently unaware of any real problems, energized by the situation as he perceives it, and convinced he is doing a superb job of dealing with a few troublemakers.
That's how things are, and that's how they likely will remain until the Lord Himself sees fit to intervene one way or another. Cate
#6 cate on 2008-07-01 06:27
Obviously Metropolitan Herman's remarks are troubling... not simply because he is so blind to the reality of the situation, but because he sounds so entitled to be Metropolitan. That lack of humility should indicate he is unfit to be a bishop, much less administrative and spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in America.
If the flock can no longer trust in him or his pastorship, then a bigger man would acknowledge that and step down. This happens in other areas of the church, in business, and in government: when there doubt in the leader's ability to lead, he gracefully offers his resignation. But Metropolitan Herman continues to cling to his Metropolitanate. How embarrassing. Even Donald Rumsfeld had more tact, and care for the people involved.
Honestly, if he would show some sincere sign of repentance, would actually change his ways, and offer his resignation, I would be stunned. He would be providing for us, his flock, an example of grace and dignity. And honestly, if he did that, I don't think any of us would want accept his resign.
It is his resistance -- his infantile "I'll only go kicking and screaming" attitude -- that is so disappointing. And that is the only reason anyone want to see him go. No vendettas. No personal judgement. Just a lack of confidence in his ability to be our pastor.
from St. Andrew's Church, Dix Hills, NY
#7 Rdr. Nilus Klingel on 2008-07-01 08:32
In response to "A Providential Typo From God," the reflection by David Barrett:
Thank you so much for writing clearly and succinctly what must be said about the new Liturgy book from Metropolitan HERMAN and St Tikhon's Press.
Perhaps in our day one of the most important qualifications for Metropolitan should be his vision for American Orthodoxy and concern to reach out this nation's citizens with the Faith of the Apostles. Saint Tikhon taught, "Orthodox people must care for the spread of the Orthodox faith among the heterodox. The light of Orthodoxy is not lit for a small circle of people." Tragically, the changes in the new Liturgy book reveal our Metropolitan to be unqualified for his office. I write this with absolutely no ill will toward His Beatitude, and I believe he should be replaced regardless of whether he participated in Bob Kondratick's / Metropolitan THEODOSIUS' embezzlement or not.
Praying the Liturgy --the people's work-- silently is a battle I thought was fought and won long ago in the O.C.A. To backslide into such misguided practices shows a lack of vision for an American Orthodoxy where the people participate and the liturgy is truly the prayer of all.
But even moreso, reverting back to the title, "Lord," for the Metropolitan (I'm told it is a common slavic practice) demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of American piety and a total disregard for the concern of American Christians to recognize the preeminence of Jesus Christ as the sole Lord of the universe. This is beyond evangelistic insensitivity, beyond a refusal of our mandate to enculturalize the Gospel in America for Americans, it demonstrates a rejection of our mission to be apostolic and to become The American Orthodox Church.
As Father Michael Oleksa so aptly put it, “The Church has always been, in the minds of her saints, in America for Americans, and needs to adjust her procedures and mentality, her style and her structures to accommodate this society, this culture, in this land... We must embrace the place, the land, the people, and the culture, and present Orthodoxy as the fulfillment of what was already here, as the ‘rest of the story,’ the completion of whatever has gone before.”
In America today, any Metropolitan who rubricly codifies reciting the prayers of the Liturgy silently and requires himself to be addressed as "Lord" should be removed from Synodal leadership simply for approving those changes in our service books alone. Such a Metropolitan truly fulfills Saidna PHILIP's critique: "Orthodoxy, despite her past glory, remains the best kept secret in this land because of our failure to understand the missionary dimensions of the Church." With or without scandal, such a Metropolitan should be rejected by the American faithful --without hard feelings and without condemnation, but rejected none the less. He is simply not right for America, because he will not lead us forward in the establishment of a truly American Church.
Sadly (horrifically), the "immorality" typo speaks for itself.
Father Mark Hodges
St Stephen the First Martyr
#8 Anonymous on 2008-07-01 08:38
You inquired as to why no pictures are published on the oca website. I can’t answer that since I read the following in Mark’s essay:
The rules were:
1. No attribution (Although curiously, Martin Paluch took photos of most everyone who spoke..)
Martin is busy taking pictures but to what purpose, we’ll never know I guess.
On another point, I also read the following in Mark’s essay:
Throughout the meeting Metropolitan Herman remained quiet, stoic and aloof to his surroundings. All notions of his dispassionate demeanor dissipated, however, when he gave his closing remarks. After a very brief comment thanking participants for their devotion to God and the Church, he proceeded to berate his critics and detractors, essentially stating that no one is in a position to judge him but Our Lord Himself, which he gladly awaits. He also intimated that all in the OCA bear some responsibility for the current state of affairs.
Also in Mark’s essay:
He is confident that he will be able to stand before our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is concerned about the Last Judgement, but he is confident in his actions.
Such arrogance. Proverbs 1:7 states: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
No where does +Herman state any fear of God, maybe some “concern.” I am left with the impression that he is a stupid man and that may explain much of his actions and inactions. And on that last note where +Herman intimated that all in the OCA bear some responsibility for the current state of affairs. I agree, everyone who financially sponsors this man and his minions are to blame for this ongoing saga.
#9 A sinner who fears God and His judgment on 2008-07-01 09:02
I must disagree with Reader Nilus' comment that if Met. Herman were to actually humble himself and retire, probably none of us would want to accept his retirement.
I, for one, would be very happy to accept his retirement at any time (the sooner the better)--and at this point there are absolutely no circumstances under which I would change my mind. The time is long, long past when he might have regained the good will and respect of his flock by stepping down gracefully--and if he were to attempt to use some false "offer" of repentance or remorse at this point as a means of staying in office, I would hope that the vast majority of the OCA would see through the ploy.
Met. Herman has once again demonstrated his complete lack of humility and insight into his own sin. It is well past time for him to step down, but in his selfishness he refuses to do so. We in the OCA must find a way to force this man out of office in the very near future if we are to have a future. We may as well cancel the AAC if we can't oust this man first. It would be a tremendous waste of time, effort and resources to try to hold the AAC without dealing with the need for new leadership in advance. Do we want to spend all of our time in November rehashing this basic problem, or do we want it dealt with ahead of time so the AAC can be about planning for our future under new and godly leadership? To me, the choice is clear.
#10 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2008-07-01 09:32
Dear Fr. Mark - I have always wondered, if we don't hear the "silent" prayers, how we are supposed to interpret "...for unto Thee are due all glory, honor and worship...", i.e. if we don't hear the first part of the sentence. The Liturgy is full of examples like this.
btw, one of the readers at our parish was reading the post-communion prayers after Divine Liturgy, and suddenly stopped, looked at me with confusion, and summoned me to his side. Turns out he had purchased the new and improved St Tikhons book, and found out that they have separated the post-commuion prayers into two, discontinuous parts.
Supposedly they are also working on a new edition of the Apostol. I don't know whether to look forward to it with dred or anticipation.
#11 Michael Strelka on 2008-07-01 10:51
Well said Father Mark! Hopefully these trials and tribulations we are encountering now will lead us to clear away the debris of corruption. Then we can begin to fullfill Sayedna Phillip's missionary vision, which is a restatement of the same vision expressed by Sts. Tikhon and Raphael almost one hundred years ago. This missionary vision is a shared responsibility that must be cultivated by all Orthodox Christians who take the Faith seriously.
#12 Marc Trolinger on 2008-07-01 10:57
Thank you Fr. Mark,
I appreciated your comments. You appear to be a true fool for Christ, a position truly needed but also very rare. I believe Fools for Christ have been manifesting themselves on this site but I don't think they are necessarily enjoyed by those who seem to not want to listen. They truly help guide us to the true spirit of things.
#13 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-01 14:26
Hrm... I really should've proofread that a little more closely.
Also, I wish I had read Mr. Barrett's reflection before writing that post. It serves only to reinforce my concerns about Metropolitan Herman.
#14 Rdr. Nilus Klingel on 2008-07-01 14:51
Thank you for your kind words. As you stated in conclusion, "sadly (horrifically) the 'immorality' typo speaks for itself."
What makes matters worse is that +MH is not the only hierarch functioning with his head dislocated to another part of his anatomy. As of today, July 1st, I have left the parish I was in (Southbury, CT) and going to the parish in Ansonia, CT. You know, the one with all those "naughty" people who had the affrontery to vote (unanimously!) to withhold their national assessments until certain resolutions took place. Well, it seems I am not being allowed to "transfer" in to the new parish: +Bishop Nikon is "freezing" all transfers into Ansonia until they start paying their money again. Therefore, the dean of our Connecticut deanery (the pastor of the parish I'm leaving, and also the reason I'm leaving) has stated that I am only "visiting" the parish. Can you believe this? I'm a cradle Orthodox (baptized when I was 19 days old), and I have never before heard that a layman's transfer from one parish to another, within the same deanery of the same diocese of the same jurisdiction as the parish he is leaving, needed the blessing or "signing off" of the bishop!!
I attended the Parish Council meeting in Ansonia last night (as an observer, of course). The dean gave a very long, protracted talk about how Ansonia is causing "grief" to the other parishes in the diocese, the other priests in the diocese, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah!! And this from a priest who, to this very moment, has not had the courage and the so-called spiritual leadership to even acknowledge the existence of this crisis in his own parish!!! Not even: "We are all aware of the crisis afflicting our Church. We ask everyone to pray for all those involved, and to ask God to lead our Church to healing and closure!" And, this in a parish where the deacon (Dn. John Zarras) has been the head of the Reorganization Task Force for the new personnel hired at our national Chancery in Syosset!!
I am not going to comment on whether the action taken in Ansonia was correct or not, or even effective or not. I *will*, however, state that, if those who have so much time and energy to come down like a house of bricks on this parish would put some of that time and energy to better use (like, constructive action to resolve this crisis, deposing the psychotic former bishop of Alaska, etc.), parishes won't feel backed into a corner with the thought that they have no other option but to pursue actions like the withholding of monies!!!
As always, Fr Mark, thank you for your spiritual courage and boldness to "speak the truth in love" (Eph 4:15). I remain, your brother and friend in Christ,
#15 David Barrett on 2008-07-01 15:47
The silence issue is hitting the Diocese of the West hard. It's enforced, and any objection ignored. Believe it or not, the West has problems as well as the East coast. And every bit as much episcopal enthusiasm to listen to the laity on any topic you care to mention. The liturgy, you see, is none of their business.
#16 bob on 2008-07-01 16:04
OK, we have had our fun with the typos, and the west and alaska and the rest. Let is keep our eye on the prize. It is +Herman out, SOB'S out and replaced. Clarity, honesty will only come with a COMPLETE change of all old personel, no one from the past-good or bad.
Sprinkle in a few good people here and there, like some say Garklavs is, and in the end they will all be ground up and spit out. They are being used, they just don't know it.
Keep the eye on the prize!
What is they gave an AAC and nobody went?
#17 no nmae on 2008-07-01 16:55
Towards the end of the recent comments of the four town hall meetings Mark wrote:
"Following Saturday’s Town Hall, the Metropolitan attended Vespers at the Cathedral, but left the Vigil because of his sciatica. Walking only with difficulty, he did not serve Liturgy on Sunday at the Cathedral, but sat in the altar. He left as quickly as possible after the Liturgy. According to witnesses, this is the second time the Metropolitan’s sciatica has altered his service at the Cathedral. At Pascha the Metropolitan was unable to fully participate due to his back pain as well."
The situation of the OCA and all the stress and strain (particularly what the Metropolitan has been dealing with) can most likely take its physical toll on the body.
In light of these physical difficulties, I sometimes wonder if +Herman is not carrying out one of the roughest internal battles with himself about his situation.
I sometimes think that +Herman wanted to become Metropolitan for years. He waited so long and patiently that to resign or retire appears to be what he says he won't do.
Is it that his closest circle, the Holy Synod, has not asked him yet to retire or resign?
No one wants the heavy cross of power and control. But an attitude of servant leadership should not make that cross heavy to bear. The attitude of servant leadership would allow the uneventfulor peaceful resignation or retirement of this current Metropolitan.
I don't think he is not unconcerned; for +Herman appears to be trying to move the church forward in certain ways. But I have searched long and hard to find in most people the quality of wisdom. Wisdom appears to be one of the most allusive qualities to capture. Perhaps this is why our psalms talk about it so much: to go after wisdom.
I have talked before about the OCA drowning in a sea of mediocrity. With the lack of wisdom to retire for the good of the church it surely seems so.
#18 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-01 17:43
Even more telling than hearing the half-sentence, "...for, unto THee are due all glory, honor, and worship,..." is during the Anaphora: Let's say the main celebrant is Fr Paul or Bishop John. If everything is said secretly, and then, all of a sudden, I hear, "Take, eat! This is my body!" or, "Drink of it, all of you! This is my blood!", what am I really hearing? THIS is what I'm hearing: "Take, eat! This is MY, meaning, Fr Paul's or Bishop John's body or blood!!! And we're supposed to sing "Amen!" to THAT??? That's the rankest form of heresy!!!!! Yet, in countless parishes where things are done secretly (wasn't that the modus operandi of the KGB??), this is precisely what is affirmed!!
#19 David Barrett on 2008-07-01 18:06
As you heard at the Parish Council meeting last night at Three Saints, we are unified in our demand for full transparency and release of the SIC report before reconsidering our position to withhold assessments from Syosset. For doing so, we are being made to feel that we are the guilty party and that WE are causing division, disharmony and strife within the OCA. What a joke! The truth is that the lay people of Ansonia, the royal priesthood, are taking a stand for the integrity and holiness of the Church. We understand that our very existence is at stake because the shepherds have failed us. In the long history of the Church, it has been the royal priesthood that has safeguarded the Faith when corruption and immorality at the highest levels rule the day.
In our own day, the shepherds are becoming more and more revealed for what they really are - hirelings who will fleece and then abandon the sheep. I ask you very simply, are their actions (for example +Nicholai) reflective of the grace of Jesus Christ? Where do we see a burden for lost souls? Where is the care for the desperate, the needy and the lost? Where is the tender love for the widow or orphan? Where is the concern for the future of the Church, our young people and their needs? The reality is that all these urgent matters of a living and thriving Orthodox Church are sacrificed on the altar of covering one's rear end, spending all the sacrificial gifts of the faithful for legal fees, comfortable lifestyles and putting on a big show. Instead of admitting 30 plus years of sexual abuse in the OCA, they go after the victims to marginalize and destroy them.
Frankly, I feel like our people have been raped by their leaders. Stop blaming those who seek to defend the truth and take a good long look in the mirror. These so called leaders need to confess their sins openly, repent and step down. Nothing less will save the OCA from complete collapse.
#20 Rich Kendall on 2008-07-01 18:25
A great and insightful observation! However, even retirement would be like sour grapes. This "man" (and I even use that word reservedly) should be deposed!!! Period!! Any priest, deacon, or layman behaving as he has over the years would have been canonical road kill by now. The same goes for Nikolai: anyone that abusive should, at least, be deposed, if not given long-term residency in a rubber room!!
#21 David Barrett on 2008-07-01 18:27
Met Phillip is shackled to Damascus an was denied autocephaly and took on to show many his supposedly "Self Ruled" archdicese. Not true he is answerable to Antioch Holy Synod which disapproves of his proclamations even to the point thatr at the last "Convention", no message from Pat. Ignatius. Let's work with our own AUTOCEPHALY as at least we can try to ease our plight minus Moscow.
#22 Anonymous on 2008-07-01 18:54
I was interested to see I wasn't the only one catching errors in the new liturgy book; page 90 has two I can think of. Sad thing, for this edition was actually a good binding and on paper that you can't see through unlike earlier OCA publications. David is correct in noting some oddities about the layout. Page 69 has the prayer before the Lord's Prayer --- completely separate from the end of the litany preceding it! it's just assumed the priest says it anytime rather than when it ought to be said, so might as well put it *anywhere*. I'll go a step further than David and suggest that just about no one even needs the priest's liturgy of preparation in their book at all. That part really is the priest's.
Also, pp. 231-35 for the dressing up of a bishop...Really needed?? The less than 1% of the time a bishop is there doesn't warrant extra pages.
#23 bob on 2008-07-02 00:04
With all due respect, not all the prayers of the Liturgy are prayers of the people. There are, indeed, some prayers where the supplicant is the priest, and he is praying on behalf of himself, not all those assembled.
That said, however, these prayers are not "secret", but more accurately "personal". How the priest prays these prayers is a personal decision, and, as one wise liturgist stated, should be consistent with the priest's own prayer discipline. Thus, the priest might pray quietly or in a speaking voice. We are talking about prayer and worship, not "theatrical performance".
The sorrowful issue is that this service book was probably prepared without the help of a qualified liturgist. As seems to be so common in the efforts of the OCA "leadership", mimicry takes precedence over substance.
#24 Overseas Observer on 2008-07-02 00:48
Concerning the new Liturgy book, there is another flaw: at the beginning of the Anaphora, in the sentence beginning "It is meet and right ...," the text also omits "to praise Thee." So proof-reading was not properly done.
As for the issue of "silent prayers," it is interesting to note that both the Church of Greece and the Church of Serbia have directed their clergy to return to the ancient practice of reciting these prayers loudly enough to be heard by the people. (It caused riots in Serbia; but then, Serbs, unlike we Sicilians, have always been a tad excitable.) It is also interesting to note that Novela 136 (or is it 137? I can never remember) of the Emperor Justinian outlaws the INNOVATION of the Anaphora being said "silently."
All of the "silent prayers" except two (prayers recited quietly by the priest before the Great Entrance and before "Holy Things for the Holy," both of which are clearly personal to the priest) were meant to be said aloud. Why? Because they are offered in the name of the whole assembly. The "Amen" sung by the people is an assent, not just to the doxology, but to the whole prayer; and as the Apostle asks in 1 Cor.14:16, how can a person say "'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?"
It was sheer laziness ("Can't we make this thing shorter? There's a chariot race this afternoon!") which led to their being said while the choir or people were singing. That the Metropolitan is attempting to return to a theologically unsound innovation is sad, liturgically pathetic, spiritually destructive and, not surprisingly, out of step with developments in world Orthodoxy.
And speaking of the word "liturgy," let us be clear that the word does NOT mean "work of the people." It means "a work done FOR the people by a private individual at his own expense" (e.g. a soldier serving in the army without pay and buying his own armaments &c., or a public official serving in office without pay). And just to be clear: the "private individual" in this case is NOT the priest, but Jesus Christ. The word was chosen because it describes perfectly what the Divine Liturgy celebrates and makes present: the saving work of Christ in His death and Resurrection. The authentic definition of "liturgy" does not at all justify the clericalization embodied in "silent prayers;" but words must be used properly.
#25 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-07-02 03:47
Thank YOU for your reflection! The worst change by far is to revert back to praying the liturgy silently. I was taught this came from around the 400's as a result of well-intentioned but misguided piety (and fear, like the practice of postponing baptism until one's deathbed). With the silent prayers came the addition of the so-called "Little Litanies," whose purpose is solely to give the priest time to pray without being heard. What a far cry from the liturgical vision of St Basil when he champions his cathedral rite!
Perhaps the "lord" issue centers around the question of every Orthodox generation, "What is Holy Tradition?" (We must not equate customs --even venerable ones-- with Tradition. “Loyalty to Holy Tradition demands of us a constantly renewed act of discernment between the two.") I think it also focuses on one of our most needed debates, "How are we to reach out to and baptize this nation?" The question of the convicted at Pentecost, "What must we do to be saved?," is a valid one for this time and people, too --not in minimalistic terms like many Protestants would frame it, but like the Church at the first council in Acts 15. Americans are coming to faith in Christ within His true Church; what is required of them?
I sincerely appreciate and am aware of the fact that in Serbian, Greek, Russian and other languages the use of the title, "Lord" continues to have widespread acceptance and is understood properly. The point is not that in other
languages and other cultures and in other times the word "lord" is unacceptable, after all the Bible itself praises Sarah for calling her husband Abraham just that. The whole point is we are in America, and in twenty-first century America at that. We wouldn't force our wives to call us "lord," because in this society today --and I'm talking about both American secular society in general and the subculture of Evangelical, Protestant, and Charismatic America-- to call someone "lord" is as close to ascribing divinity to them as you can linguistically get.
A related issue we need to face is our need to understand and listen to this culture in this time. Just as we Orthodox since the Seventh Ecumenical Council would not use the term "worship" or "adoration" for anyone but God (we would not say, "I worship you" to another human being), so also modern American Protestants (generally speaking) do not use certain words, like "idol" (an Evangelical would never say "I idolize you," or, "so-and-so is my idol"), or "Savior," or "Lord" (capitalized or not). Simply put, no matter how the title was used in centuries past, to call the Metropolitan "our Lord" is to say that we consider him to be our God. If we are to reach out to Americans, we need to hear this, understand and appreciate the good basis for why this is, and accommodate our speaking so as to best communicate in this culture and in this time to this people.
One may perhaps counter that in many areas we should intentionally not accommodate this prideful culture, rather, we need to teach this nation how to honor its leaders. But this subordinates our true purpose in America to an attempt to impose Russian or Greek Orthodoxy here. Our mission is to redeem this culture, and our goal is to baptize America. It's a matter of not putting additional and unnecessary stumbling blocks in front of the Gospel. Perhaps the acceptability of "Lord" and other similar impositions is debatable as a matter of degree, but my opinion is quite strongly that while we do have many things to teach this land (and there are already so many essential things which require Americans to make whole paradigm shifts to become Orthodox), the "line" should be drawn well before we insist on calling the Metropolitan our "Lord."
The point I'm trying to make is that the new Liturgy book has been published "out of context," without consideration or even caring about the people it's for (or even the modern English language --but that's another issue!). Metropolitan HERMAN's approval of these changes (silent eucharistic prayers, "Lord," and others) in our service books indicates a lack of vision, sensitivity, and care for America. Irregardless of whether he is guilty of crimes and without any imputation of guilt or malice, he is not right for The Orthodox Church in America in the 21st century.
Father Mark Hodges
Respectfully, you are very wrong. To argue over whether our "autocephaly" is better than your "independence" is to totally miss the point. Neither is worth a damn if the underlying structure is corrupt and their witness a sham because of disunity. And let me now take the quasi-heretical step of suggesting that what foreign potentates want and are willing to give is more and more irrelevant with each passing day. Every autocephalous Orthodox jurisdiction has had to fight for its independence, and was often sanctioned as a result, so what's the big deal? Sanction North America? Ha! Ha!
Met. Philip is at least "talking the talk" as did Met. Theodosius in his day. Putting these two jurisdiction together and inviting all the others to join in a unified North American witness is not only long overdue, but essential, if Orthodoxy is to survive here. Let's see who can be the first to humble themselves, in imitation of our Lord, so that unity at last may be first!
#27 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-02 07:51
This particular forum hardly seems the place to carry on a discussion of broad liturgical measures.
With regard to the silent prayers and language ("our lord, Metropolitan..."), this seems to be getting blown all out of proportion.
The "our lord" is a common fixture in other service books. It's bracketed in the Priest's Service Book translated by Archbishop Dmitri, indicating a usage not found in the base text but common enough elsewhere. While the term may be an artifact added rather late, I'm unsure why it's offensive when our bishop is called master (despota, vladika) so often. As for confusion with Lord (capitalized, referring to God, particularly the Father), is this really an issue? Is anyone confusing the bishop with God? Christ himself tells us, "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven," (Matthew 23:9), yet no one cringes that priests, deacons, and monks all bear that as an honorific. St Paul even alludes to it for himself, in referring to his disciples as his children (1 Corinthians 4:14).
As for the silent prayers, there's simply no way to say, categorically, that all the silent prayers (except two, according to Fr Philip) were meant to be said aloud. What about the Trisagion prayer (following the little entrance), which includes, "who hast vouchsafed us, thy humble and unworthy servants, even at this hour, to stand before the glory of thy holy Altar, and to offer thee due worship and glorification..."? Who is standing before the holy Altar?
What about the two prayers of (or "for") the faithful, before the Cherubic hymn? "We give thanks unto thee, O Lord God of Powers, who hast vouchsafed unto us even now to stand before thy holy Altar, and to fall down before thy compassion for our sins and for the ignorance of the people. Accept, O God, our supplications, make us to be worthy to offer unto thee supplications and prayers and bloodless sacrifices for all thy people...."
"Again and ofttimes we fall down before thee and pray thee, O Good One who lovest man, that thou, regarding our supplication, mayest cleanse our souls and bodies from all pollution of flesh and spirit and mayest grant us to stand guiltless and uncondemned before thy holy altar. Grant also, O God, to those that pray with us progress in life and faith and spiritual understanding...."
What about the prayer of the prothesis, after the gifts are placed on the altar?
"O Lord God Almighty, who alone art holy, who dost accept the sacrifice of praise from those that call upon thee with their whole heart, accept also the prayer of us sinners [i.e., the priests], and bring it [the prayer; Taft argues the pronoun refers to "them," the celebrants] to thy holy Altar, and enable us to offer unto thee both gifts and spiritual sacrifices for our sins and for the ignorance of the people...."
All of these examples draw a clear distinction between celebrants praying for themselves, particularly their own unworthiness, and the faithful. It is a gross oversimplification to say all of these should be read aloud. (None of them are scandalous, so no one should care that people know what they are.) It seems to me that the better guide is to be found in the wishes of one's own hierarch coupled with the broader OCA practice (not just in the Northeast or upper Midwest). For each individual priest or layman to make a decision about the "proper" course of action without giving any consideration to these other factors is nothing less than congregationalism. In very practical terms, it leads to chaos any time a new or visiting priest arrives and has to figure out all the local quirks.
Finally, Fr Philip, with all due respect, the word "liturgy" defies a simple definition. Trying to find a definition was the subject of my MTh thesis at St Vladimir's, based on the content of the Divine Liturgy itself. It's a multi-faceted thing, to say the least. I am appreciative though, that you've at least batted away the "work of the people" cliche.
P.S. The typos in the new book are an embarrassment and should be corrected immediately, with existing copies in circulation replaced with good ones.
P.P.S. I read the anaphoral prayers aloud.
#28 Fr Basil Biberdorf on 2008-07-02 08:10
I was wondering why the prayers which were said aloud since the 1970's were recently not be said aloud by the clergy. I thought there was a "liturgical committee" which oversaw the publication of new liturgical books. Guess I was mistaken.
Fr. Schemann students who are now middle age men should speak up.
The hierachs come to the parish and spend a few hours. They are completely out of touch with American parishes and their flocks. My teenage daughter subscribes to a non Orthodox teen magazine because not one jurisdiction in America is reaching out to the Orthodox Teenager(12-17 age group). In the 1960s a teen magazine was published with teenagers helping to write the magazine. Syosset has done nothing to building up of the Orthodox Church in America. When I was a kid in the 50's and 60's our hierarchs didn't speak English only Russian(and their was financial mismanagement back then too, lots of lawsuits and parishes changing jurisdictions) now our hierarchs all American born (including Canadian because I'm referring to North America) aren't any more in touch with American and what is their excuse. There was great expectation by my parents generation (who are now in the eternal kingdom or very aged--WWII generation) for an American Orthodox Church and our great hierarchs have wasted this great opportunity. It is time for the hierarchs to resign.New hierarch to be installed.
#29 firstname.lastname@example.org on 2008-07-02 08:29
Thank you for saying exactly as we feel in our parish. Take comfort that you are NOT alone. My parish has been withholding for quite some time now. Keep up the good fight.
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. "RSV
#30 Anon on 2008-07-02 08:38
Yes, there are some prayers that are personal prayers of the priest (such as before the Cherubic Hymn, the prayer that begins, "No one who is bound with the desires and pleasures of the flesh..."), but these are *very few*. And, let's face it: the Anaphora? The very center and nexus of the Divine Liturgy, should be said silently??? Let some of these long-winded, yappy people cut off a good fifteen minutes of their twenty-five minute sermons (as though the Liturgy is about them personally, where they need to take up a third of the Liturgy to speak)!! Then, the Liturgy will actually take less time, because saying the full Anaphora out loud does not take fifteen minutes!!! As the late Fr John Meyendorff (of blessed memory!) said on more than one occasion: Let's stop focusing on the snick-snacks and concentrate on the meat and potatoes of what is actually going on here!!
#31 David Barrett on 2008-07-02 09:19
Thank you for your thoughtful and considerate post. There are a couple of short prayers which are the priest's personal prayers, such as "No one who is bound with the desires and pleasures of the flesh is worthy to approach or draw near or to serve You, O King of Glory...," "Attend, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, from Your holy dwelling place...," and perhaps the two prayers popularly called "The Prayer of the Faithful."
But the vast majority of the prayers in our Liturgy are the people's corporate prayers to God, including the antiphon prayers, the prayer before the trisagion, the anaphora, and the thanksgiving prayers. These are not personal, but corporate, and as such they should be at least heard by the laity at Liturgy. As Fr Paul Lazor puts it, "If the Eucharistic Liturgy is indeed, as Fr Alexander Schmemann asserted, the presence now of the Banquet Table of the Kingdom of God, and the center of the Church's life, then the many issues relegating most Orthodox Christians to non‑participance in that Banquet, must be identified and addressed. If the Anaphora is indeed, as Father Tarasi terms it, 'Our Story,' then it once again has to be read aloud. If the Sacrament of Repentance is the renewal in our life of the grace of Baptism, then the fact that confession has either disappeared, or has degenerated into a yearly formality, a kind of 'tea,' as he called it, opening the door to the annual reception of holy Communion, must be faced and changed. If Baptism, Marriage, Unction, and the Liturgy of Death have become private sacraments, concerning only those immediately involved, then they, too, require a public and ecclesial renewal. They must be inserted again into their proper places in the very heart of the Church's liturgical life in the mind of the faithful."
I would even go so far as to say the prayer before the Gospel ("Illumine our hearts, O Master Who loves mankind, with the pure light of Your divine knowledge..."), is the people's prayer. But I admit I'm not a liturgical scholar.
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, speaking to the Kiev Theological Academy, explained, "The active participation of lay people in the Liturgy presupposes the possibility of their responding to the exclamations of the priest and hearing the so-called ‘silent’ prayers. In contemporary church practice these prayers, as a rule, are read by the priest silently, which creates an additional barrier between the priest and his flock. More importantly, this habit deprives the faithful since the main point of the Liturgy passes them by... The so-called ‘silent’ prayers were originally read aloud by the celebrating clergy. I think that in our time the faithful should have the opportunity to hear these prayers in their entirety, not only their concluding subordinate clauses (these signify that the prayers have been read but do not give the least notion of their content: ‘That being always guarded by Thy might’, ‘Singing the triumphant hymn, crying…’, ‘Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee…’)... The celebration of the Liturgy is a creative act in which the fullness of the Church is involved... Just as with the reading of the ‘silent’ prayers, the hiding of the clergy behind massive royal doors does not at all encourage a better understanding of the Liturgy by the faithful. On the contrary, it creates for them a sense of a lack of participation in what is happening in the sanctuary. The impression is that the Liturgy is viewed as something that takes place between the priest and God, in which the congregation plays no active role." (Father Andrew Harrison also has a brief, personal essay on this issue at http://www.stlukeorthodox.com/html/evangelist/2005/silentprayers.cfm)
We may debate a prayer or two, but the point is the prayers of the Liturgy were never intended to be silent or effectively unknown to the faithful.
St John of Kronstadt wrote, "The Church and its divine services are an embodiment and realization of everything in Christianity. Here, in words and actions, are told the entire economy of our salvation, all of Sacred and Church history, all the goodness, wisdom, faithfulness and immutability of God in His deeds and promises, His truth, holiness and eternal might. Here we encounter a wonderful harmony in everything and an amazing logic both in the whole and in the parts. It is the divine wisdom, accessible to simple, loving hearts."
Father Mark Hodges
I think we actually agree. If Metropolitan Herman had shown humility, repentance, and a true desire for change, we would not be in the position we are now. He has done none of these things, and has lost our respect and confidence. That is why he must resign.
My comments about 'not accepting' a resignation really applied to a time months (years) ago when there was still a chance for reconciliation. I think we are past that time now. Besides, we'd never see a situation where he'd offer his resignation anyway.
Sorry for presenting such an unclear and poorly written post.
#33 Rdr. Nilus Klingel on 2008-07-02 09:38
the serbian church has not made an official decree on the reading of the prayers.bishop ATANASIJE jeftic is the one pushing for the prayers being said aloud,bishop JEFREM of banja luka is against any liturgical change.both schools of thought have followers and they are fighting which each other.the serbian church is not centralized as the oca.every bishop is supreme in his diocese and the priests follow the instructions of their bishop.this is a very dangerous subject which could lead to a schism.remember the old believer schism in russia basically was over minor liturgical reforms.orthodox people don't like change.bishop jefrem very scolarly defends his position.i hope and pray for a peaceful solution between the two sides.our HOLY PATRIARCH PAVLE,over 93 years old is very weak and has not been able to solve the problem.MAY GOD PRESERVE HIM!
#34 Anonymous on 2008-07-02 10:12
Hello Overseas Observer,
I don't mind the formal liturgics if the prayers are supposed to be said by the priest in a personal way.
But I believe at least one seminary, SVS, has made it a practice to say some of these out loud. If it is only for educative purposes, as they are a teaching tool, I think this is fine.
In fact, I think education is the key. I grew up in an Orthodox church not knowing those personal prayers. I hear them now as an adult. They are very inspiring. Very noble to hear.
Even with the converts coming to the Orthdox church, I do not see many of them holding a liturgy book to follow along. I see them listening and experiencing.
Hearing several of these personal prayers outloud seems to bring more meaning and depth to the liturgy.
#35 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-02 10:19
I too found that statement to be incredibly arrogant and completely lacking in any spirituality whatsoever. He has learned nothing in all his years of ministry, he wears vestments without knowing what it means, he mechanically "serves" a liturgy with no inkling as to why he's there. He thinks that the liturgy exists so that he may be on display. There can be no other explanation when he blurts out a statement like that. He thought he was being defiant to those that made statements about the situation, but the statement was defiant to God Himself. This is another incredible statement that goes along with his "righteous suffering" was it? Have you noticed how no one, no one at all, ever defends the little guy? There are shills and all for all the other characters in this show but no one, no one at all, defends the little guy. If there is any one thing that ALL of us can agree on that is that Herman, is sadly to say, not a good person. Maybe he needs to spend some time in Venice at the parish there to be part of the massive resurgence. Maybe get some God into his veins down there.
But upon further thinking, to fear God and the judgement you must first believe in God and know he exists.
#36 Anonymous on 2008-07-02 10:35
I second that, he must be deposed.
But, think about it... if he was to drop to his knees in repentence, would anybody believe him? The lies have been gushing for and with such intensity for nearly three years now that its become what we know him to be. We can't believe him, we doubt any sincerity, we have reason to question his real faith. This is a person who has so damaged his name and reputation that we just can't believe anything he ever says.
Retirement is merciful to him, but its an affront to the sanctity of the Church. Deposition is the only way and not to be done in a manner of revenge or retribution, but as a real statement of trying to preserve the sanctity, honor, and integrity of the Orthodox Faith.
I do not know how we can have a man leading the spiritual lives of people when he openly says he's comfortable facing his judgement knowing that God will judge him well based on his actions. That is a whopper that matches with Nikolai comparing himself to Christ on the Cross. People, are these men of God? People, your Synod is defending and putting up cover for these, or at least did til one was finally removed by overwhelming demand.
Deposition, no other path but deposition. The last thing this Church needs is to honor him with the funeral of a bishop. It will be the last slap in the face of the Church by him if that is to occur.
#37 Anonymous on 2008-07-02 10:43
Well, it is refreshing to see that it is poured out on men only.
#38 Linda Weir on 2008-07-02 13:08
Forgive me if this seems nit-picky, but it would really help if you put a blank line in between your paragraphs. I would make your comments much easier for me, and perhaps others, to read!
#39 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2008-07-02 18:29
Thanks again for a great post! I totally agree with everything you said, especially that other Sacraments, such as Baptism and Marriage, should not be private affairs! Yet, it is very interesting but tragic that certain clergy don't even get the point. Or, if they do, it is in a double-standard context: my former pastor and the dean of the Connecticut deanery says that these two Sacraments should be community-based and part of the Eucharistic Liturgy. Yet, a few years ago, his own daughter got married on a Friday night, in a totally private service, where not only the parish community wasn't involved, even the choir was not allowed to sing at the service!!! Again, it reminds me of the warning our Lord gives us and that we hear during Holy Week: "You blind guides: straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!!"
#40 David Barrett on 2008-07-02 19:23
Over the last two decades, Syosset has elevated the art of "spin-news" and its version of double-speak to a high art. The OCA is so used to telling lies that it does not know how to tell the truth, sadly. These are the same people who have been making the rules on communion, confession, rubrics, etc., etc., etc. What does that say about the state of our worship life? For example, why do we make such a big deal about keeping non-Orthodox away from the cup when we are living like hell ourselves? It is pure hypocrisy!!! All news is expunged of truth in favor of presenting the facade of normalcy, even when Rome is burning, so to speak. They will go down in flames pretending that nothing is wrong. MH's behavior is indicative, but certainly not isolated. Don't expect differently. Lets face it, their hearts are so hardended they will never change. Lets get on with the rat killing; they're everywhere; at all levels. Expecting them to repent at this stage is foolishness. Those compromised by this scandal need to (1) confess and repent, or (2) resign. I am not in favor of a truth and reconciliation idea. This will just allow these frauds to continue to play with their stolen ADM and widows and orphans funds.
#41 Anon. on 2008-07-02 19:59
i think that even your average american knows that "lord" is a honorific title,lord and lady are very widely used in england to address persons of nobility,but it does sound strange when used in the english services.they tried to literally translate from the slavonic text.you cannot do that. for example vysokopreosvyashchenstvo,the title for an archbishop is tranlated into english as eminence,but it really doesn't mean eminence at all,literally translated it means "highly most consacrated(or sanctified)one".you cannot say that in english,so in english we simply use the roman catholic title eminence.in the litanies it would be best to simply pray "for our metropolitan...,for our bishop or archbishop.... that's what's in the greek service books,"yper tou arhiepiskopou imon..."in essence all of this is nonsense and not important.
#42 Anonymous on 2008-07-02 20:23
You ask, "Who is standing before the holy altar?" as to imply it is only the priests standing before the holy altar. Well, it is *everyone*, clergy and laity alike, standing before the holy altar. Most church sanctuaries are not big enough to fit everybody in the small, two-foot-square space directly in front of the altar table. All of the people in the church are facing the sanctuary and the altar, and offering the Liturgy. In fact, it is a canonical norm that if the priest begins the Liturgy with "Blessed is the Kingdom" and there are no people (laity) to respond with "Amen", he is to remove his vestments and go home. There are NO private Liturgies in the Orthodox Church!!!
#43 David Barrett on 2008-07-02 22:07
Let me expand a bit on what I was referring to as "personal prayer" and "performance". There are indeed several prayers in the Liturgy which are meant to be the "personal prayers" of the priest, in that he is praying on behalf of himself and/or other clergy at the altar. As such, one might, as the liturgist I mentioned, hold that the priest should simply say these prayers in a manner consistent with his own personal prayer discipline, as he is communicating his supplications to God. Requiring him to either treat these prayers as "secret" or "public" imposes a manner of prayer upon him, typically for the edification of others. If the priest is required to say his personal prayers in a manner intended to please a worldly audience, then one must wonder if it thus becomes a "performance".
I have no issue with a priest saying his "personal" prayers in the Liturgy out loud. If that is how his spirituality moves him to pray, that is wonderful. The words of those prayers are stirring. If his spirituality moves him to pray in a quiet voice, that is equally appropriate. We are talking about his prayers, and once we insert rules about how publicly these prayers are to be uttered, can we still consider these his "personal prayers". Should it not be the supplicant's choice as to who, other than God, hears his personal supplications to God?
In the remaining prayers of the Liturgy, when the priest is praying with or on behalf of all assembled, it would seem absurd to do so in "secret" or inaudibly.
In short, I was not advocating "secret" prayers. I was simply stating that there are some prayers which are not the prayers of all or for all present, and that it would not be inappropriate for a priest to pray these prayers quietly, if that were his manner of prayer.
Back in the 60's, I remember someone from SVS cautioning us to remember that it is "The Mystical Supper", not "A Magical Supper". Perhaps this confusion is at the root of some of the more inexplicable practices inserted in some Liturgy books we see?
#44 Overseas Observer on 2008-07-03 00:17
The loss of respect and loss of confidence are not valid reasons to depose any of the hierarchs. There are three related reasons I urge the clergy and laity of the OCA to do all that is necessary to protect the Orthodox Faith by deposing each and every active hierarch of the last five years: apostasy, heresy, and unbelief. The behavior of each hierarch as a member of the Holy Synod in responding to the recent scandals falls into one of those categories, any of which demands deposition -- removal from the hierarchy and the clergy. If enough of the laity and the clergy demand deposition of the hierarchs, it will happen. We, the laity and the clergy, need to ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom to identify the threats to the Faith, the courage to defend the Faith, and the strength to "fight the good fight."
Lord have mercy on us sinners.
#45 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-07-03 03:08
Yeah, you all are not alone in the effort to destroy the OCA in order to save it. ("'We had to destroy it, in order to save it..." - Robert McNamara, patron "s"aint of ocanews).
Y'all have lots of help:
"The whole essence and effort of the devil is to separate and remove our attention from God and entice it toward worldly concerns and pleasures. He works interiorly, in the heart, suggesting good works and resolutions and reasonable, or rather unreasonable, thoughts. We must not pay the slightest attention to these things. The spiritual combat consists in keeping the mind fixed on God, in not entertaining or approving impure thoughts, and in not paying any attention to the phantasms which the detestable, diabolic picture maker stirs up in our imagination." - St. John Chrysostom
(Editor's note: Sadly, the realities OCANEWS.org details are facts, not phantasms.
I would suggest it is your Potemkin Village image of the OCA that is the phantasm.
As for destroying the OCA, I remember the late William F. Buckely, I believe, stating once that if one's faith could not survive a night course at Hunter College in NY, there wasn't much there to begin with in the first place. So too, the OCA. If the OCA cannot survive one website, there wasn't much there to begin with. You may think that - but I do not. The OCA will not, cannot, be destroyed by this website; but only by the indifference and indolence of its members.)
#46 Anonymous on 2008-07-03 05:27
I appreciate many of your posts Ken, but I must question your solution.
To suggest the only way Orthodoxy is to survive is through greater unity is somewhat baseless if you ask me.
In fact, if there are two churches in the same town and one is Antiochian and the other OCA, won't the marriage of those into one threaten both church cultures and likely reduce the total population? I hate to tell you this Ken, but the truth is some of the people in the OCA have left the Antiochian church over cultural issues and I'm sure it has gone both ways.
I could name a few, but it'd be inappropriate.
More churches is important to me and I don't care what Bishop "rules".
I don't agree with North American unification and in fact find the diversity to be a way to provide strength to Christ's church. I understand my thoughts may seem out of concert with some things in the Bible, but there are plenty of things in the Bible we need to read with a great degree of caution.
You and I can agree that scandal is not unifying and extremely destructive to Christ's church.
And we probably could debate long over the best way to resolve the scandal.
Again, I appreciate many of your posts, so hope you can be objective with my feedback.
More churches means more places for people to learn and follow Christ. The OCA has not done a superb job of growing. A merger would not be growth, but it would shrink the number of churches.
#47 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-07-03 05:31
I agree with Cathy
#48 Linda Weir on 2008-07-03 05:39
What has been poured into the cups of the OCA and drunken eagerly (like Kool-Aid) is a libation from hell.
It is a shame to credit (blame) the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the Desert Fathers foresaw times like this. It's sad to see the Orthodox Christian body known as the OCA playing its role so obviously:
And I’ll tell you this, my child, that the days will come when the Christians will add to and will take away from, and will alter the books of the Holy Evangelists, and of the Holy Apostles, and of the Divine Prophets, and of the Holy Fathers. They will tone down the Holy Scriptures and will compose troparia, hymns, and writings technologically. Their nous will be spilled out among them, and will become alienated from its Heavenly Prototype.
For this reason the Holy Fathers had previously encouraged the monks of the desert to write down the lives of the Fathers not onto parchment, but onto paper, because the coming generation will change them to suit their own personal tastes. So you see, the evil that comes will be horrible.
Then the disciple said: So then, Geronda, the traditions are going to be changed and the practices of the Christians? Maybe there won’t exist enough priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?
And the Holy Father continued: In these times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall onto the world. One nation shall face-off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. The church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern.
All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They will be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they will not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them. But rather they will complain and say that “if we had lived in those times, then we’d have behaved like that.”
And the Bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended; they will afflict widows and harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most won’t believe in God; they will hate each other and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other; they will be drunk and will walk about as blind.
The disciple again asked: What can we do in such a state?
And Elder Pambo answered: My child, in these times whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
#49 Anonymous on 2008-07-03 05:47
Thank you, Father Basil, for an eloquent, level-headed, sane, reverent and respectful discussion concerning the silent prayers of the Liturgy. The OCA needs more priests like you. Most of all, I liked the charitable tone of what you wrote. It is not for me to judge a priest or a bishop based on whether or not he recites the silent prayers of the Liturgy aloud or says them in a low voice. I have known godly priests and bishops that have done both. In all honesty, I can see the benefits of saying the prayers in a low voice AND the benefits of saying the prayers aloud. Without attempting to judge or provoke argument, I have asked priests that want the prayers recited aloud to explain their position to me. I have had several priests make what I considered to be a very convincing case for the prayers to be recited aloud. Usually included in their reasoning was the idea of better catechesis through the Liturgy, that is, allowing the actually text of the Liturgy to instruct the faithful. I can see that point and respect it. However, I have also asked more traditionalist priests why the prayers should continue to be recited in a low voice, and I have received some very convincing answers in regard to that position too. Often cited in support of the silent prayers was the Rule of Saint Vincent of Lerins, that is, "always, everywhere, and by everyone." The advocates of saying the prayers silently can point to the universal practice of the Christian Church, East and West in ascribing some silent prayers to the Celebrant. Not only the Byzantine tradition does this, but every single ancient apostolic Liturgy contains silent prayers for the Celebrant, including the Latin rite, the Ambrosian, the Mozarabic, the Sarum, the Coptic, the Jacobite, etc. If silent prayers were merely a corruption inherited from bad practice in Constantinople, I doubt their existence would be so universal. In short, I have learned to respect the traditionalist position that wants these prayers recited silently.
I think the Church has more important tasks to do that to divided into factions and fight each other over whether these prayers should be recited aloud or not. Can we not simple love one another, and tolerate a diversity of practice on this issue? I am reminded of a quote from Thoreau that "uniformity is the hobgoblin of small minds."
#50 Tikhon Griffin on 2008-07-03 06:18
who are you to judge? you said, "I do not know how we can have a man leading the spiritual lives of people when he openly says he's comfortable facing his judgement knowing that God will judge him well based on his actions." I can say I am comfortable when that day comes to me! Are you? If not I still will not judge you for that and you shouldn't judge MH or anyone else.
Yo also mad ethe statment that, "The last thing this Church needs is to honor him with the funeral of a bishop. It will be the last slap in the face of the Church by him if that is to occur." what does this mean. A bishop gets a bishops funeral not matter what. I would like some clearification on that is you would please. Thank you and God bless us ALL!
#51 no name on 2008-07-03 06:53
Amen (and I'm sure there are a loud and vocal chorus of them coming from the "peasants" out there) to your post, Fr. Hodges's and, of course, Fr. Philip's.
I really find it hard to take the arrogance and clericalism that drips from every line of Fr. Biberdorf's post. While he may find it distasteful that this subject has been addressed on a mere "lay rag" like OCA News, I find his comments illustrative of all that is wrong with OCA and a mindset that hearkens back to the "good old days" of clerical control and dominance.
His vision is a dead end for Orthodoxy in North America--in fact, it is a dead end period.
#52 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-03 07:30
I think you just wrote a fitting epitaph:
"If the OCA cannot survive one website, there wasn't much there to begin with."
(editor's note: It was not meant so. I think, and pray, and hope the OCA will not only survive, but be better for the past three years of self-reflection - if this period of introspection and reform leads to a new beginning by November. If not, well, let us deal with those troubles when they come, hoping and working so that they never do....)
#53 Anonymous on 2008-07-03 07:33
I always thought that the prayer "O Lord God Almighty, who alone art holy accept also the prayer of us sinners…” is elevated on behalf of all present. If there is only one priest serving is he really referring to himself in plural? I realize that these are set prayers but are they really so inflexible as to not make sense grammatically? As much as I would like to disqualify as a sinner it is not the case, so I am hoping my priest is offering this prayer on my behalf as well.
The shift from the aggravation over administrative matters toward misgivings about liturgical issues is lamentable but also predictable. This administration’s disregard and disrespect for the people has produced resentment and as long as the current culture is in place it will continue to provoke wariness about various aspects of Church life. It is a clear indication that the Metropolitan’s refusal to take responsibility and step down is indeed damaging the Church.
Perhaps if the bishops had behaved in a more fatherly than autocratic fashion people would not now be balking at the usage of “lord”.
#54 Karina Ross on 2008-07-03 09:54
Hello Overseas Observer,
I really enjoyed Fr. Mark Hodges' continuing comments about this and his citation of St. John of Kronstadt's words about liturgical prayer.
To me, the Orthodox church does not lose any of its mystery even if all the prayers were said aloud. All these prayers are accesible to the faithful anyway if they choose to follow along with a published book.
"Mystery" is one of attitude and a proper frame of a humble, prayerful relationship with Christ. "Mystery" is never cheapened or marginalized by knowing what is said, or if this is said outloud, for that is published already for anyone to read and know.
Now, if those prayers were not published for anyone to read, then I have a real problem with a church that is a cult, not having a proper humbleness or attitude rooted in the Holy Spirit.
As I said, I don't mind the formal liturgics of who says what and when. But hearing more prayers while being at SVS and seeing priests coming out of SVS saying these aloud has just deepend the mystery, not cheapened or marginalized it.
#55 Patty Schellbach on 2008-07-03 12:39
Dear Mr. or Ms. Johnson--
If this post is addressed to me, you err in your attribution. The quotes in your note are not from my earlier post. I believe they are from an anonymous poster (and I can assure you that I do not post anonymously).
#56 Cathryn M. Tatusko on 2008-07-03 12:47
Dear Mr. Tikhon Griffin,
While I appreciate your effort to find a middle ground--to be a peace maker, I must disagree with you that this is a small issue.
Silent prayers in a public service, such as the Divine Liturgy, serve to divide the faithful into two distinct kinds of Christians: laity and clergy. I am not talking about mere difference in function here, the distinction is much deeper. It is almost as if the clergy and the laity are two different species (Yes, I know this was Luther's argument against the Roman Catholic church.
Nonetheless, he was correct here)
No wonder that in some places and at some times the laity felt as if they were the beneficiaries of the clergy's quasi-magical acts.
So, out goes the concept of the priesthood of believers, the core tenet that each one of us are created in the image and likeness of God, in free choice, in full membership in the body of Christ--in short, good bye to true Orthodox Christianity and hello to some kind of gnostic magick religion.
Where, only the clergy (particularly the episcopacy) may know and appreciate the mysteries; where our salvation is not tied to Christ our Lord but to obedience to our earthly lordlings and to unknowing, robot-like participation in the rites of the church; where the laity and lower clergy cannot read, understand, and think for themselves; and where, if we are part of the Body at all, we are like skin cells that are shed and regenerated by the millions, while the clergy comprise the rest, with the bishops claiming the brain, heart, and all of the vital organs.
We have to be careful not to regress to our dark ages that maimed but not killed the True Church. The Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires; overly nationalistic ideologies and practices; and occasional bad leaders have surely distorted Orthodoxy. At the same time, I believe our Lord did not give up on us and helped us arrive to this point in history. Let us not reject this providential gift by not claiming our rightful status as full members of His Holy Body.
#57 Carl on 2008-07-03 15:06
Re: Transferrability of Parish Membership.
This "locking-in" of one's Parish Membership is a Gentile innovation that arose after the fall of Jerusalem in 135CE. Its principal impetus came from Carthage, and was apparently endorsed by Cyprian. It found legislative enforcement from Constantine down through Byzantine novellas as a means of state control through the "Department of State" called the (Constantinian) Church.
Membership "mobility" was not all that feasible until after the Second World War and the advent of the motor car. This "free-market" fact of life (unpleasant as it is to ecclesiastical "control freaks") is now grudgingly accepted by all western denominations.
It has forced their clergy to be more pastorally-responsive to the needs of their Parish, as unresponsiveness will lead to a Parish implosion, and death.
This pastoral responsiveness in the context of Episcopal failings has inadvertently been referred-to by By Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B. on his website:
Most Holy Family Monastery
4425 Schneider Rd.
Fillmore, NY 14735
In his essay
"The answer to this question is No! During the Arian heresy in the 4th Century, only 1-3% of the Episcopal Chairs (i.e., the Bishops’ Sees) were occupied by Catholics, the rest were overtaken by the Arians, as the eminent patristic scholar Fr. Jurgens notes.
“At one point in the Church’s history, only a few years before Gregory’s [Nazianz] present preaching (+380 A.D.), perhaps the number of Catholic bishops in possession of sees, as opposed to Arian bishops in possession of sees, was no greater than something between 1% and 3% of the total. Had doctrine been determined by popularity, today we should all be deniers of Christ and opponents of the Spirit.” (W.A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 39.)
In the 4th century the Arian heresy became so widespread that the Arians (who denied the Divinity of Christ) came to occupy almost all the Catholic churches and appeared to be the legitimate hierarchy basically everywhere."
While I would not want to in the least attribute doctrinal heresy to any cleric in the OCA (pace Arianism), what we are seeing is Administrative Heresy in the form of top-down autokrator clergy operating according to the Pagan Roman model that was "sanctified" by Constantine. Hence the OCA's woes.
Out of all this heartache and tribulation the OCA is suffering at the moment, light will eventually dawn, and with the daw, will come a form of Church governance that has nothing to do with a "Roman" model.
During this time, many Orthodox, including those beyond the OCA camp have been fervently praying the Jesus Prayer. The time is soon coming when He will be "merciful to us as sinners", and release us all from this autokrator "captivity".
Man the Lord hasten that glorious day!
#58 John Battye on 2008-07-03 15:41
Regarding that typographical error: it reminds me of the notorious "Wicked Bible" of the early seventeenth century. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
#59 Serge Keleher on 2008-07-03 16:01
very well said,there can be unity in diversity.each jurisdiction in america has its own history.yes,overlapping jurisdictions in the same territory is against the canons and irregular,but must be tolerated by economia.there will never be just one local orthodox church in america.for most cradle born orthodox the so called "small t traditions"are very important.there are parishes that successfully combine greek,russian,serbian etc.traditions and everyone is happy,but those are few. most greeks would never attend a serbian or russian church and vice versa.the same holds true for converts.a pious oca anglo convert would feel uncomfortable in a serbian parish,not only because of the language but mainly because of the different mentality.many serbs come late to church and talk,commune very rarely,many only once a year.coffee hour is more "rakija(brandy)and beer" hour.and you can't change that.the social aspect of the church is very important to most of our people.it may be very wrong but unfortunately is A FACT OF LIFE.if i am in a small town i'll attend whatever orthodox church is there(if it is canonical),but in a large metropolitan area i'll look for a rocor or serbian church. presently i am forced to attend an oca church in a small town(because of work) i recognize it as orthodox and as good as any other orthodox church,but i would prefer a serbian or russian church.but in the big city i would never attend an oca church(with some exceptions)AMERICA IS A FREE COUNTRY and i go to the church i like. hypothetically,if all the bishops in america tomorrow got together and created one church and made english obligatory,we would probably loose more then half of all the orthodox faithful in america. BUT,IMPORTANT IS, that the major orthodox jurisdictions in america serve together at the altar and commune from one chalice. all orthodox in america must cherish and cultivate this eucharistic union, because the union of the church is made manifest in the eucharist.BUT, most orthodox in america are not willing to give up their ethnic churches.the jews keep their hebrew and faith after 2000 years so will the serbs,greeks and russians,where ever they are.i am NOT against anglo-americans having THEIR orthodox churches complete with high tea and cucumber sandwiches. converts should have their parishes were they can live the faith as they like. anglo-americans are just one of the many ethnic groups that live here, but other ethnicities also have a right to exist.the rumanians leaving the oca is ample proof of this fact.we may be different and still be ONE, AS WE ALREADY ARE IN CHRIST.
#60 Anonymous on 2008-07-03 17:19
Liturgical books with such a blasphemous (even if unintended) typographical error ought to be destroyed and reprinted correctly, lest they scandalize those who read them -- orthodox or heterodox.
#61 Gregory Orloff on 2008-07-04 21:50
For prayers read aloud, see Met Hilarion of the Moscow Patriarchate, a D.Phil who was a student of Met. Kallisto Ware:
Another fellow from the past, Fr. Georges Florovsky (boy do we need a mind like his now!) speaks well on the subject:
"The secret recitation of the anaphora was an unfortunate device to emphasize the august mystery of the Eucharist, but, in fact, it only obscures the common and corporate nature of the eucharistic celebration, especially in the situation when the people are not aware of the content of the prayer offered by the celebrant on their behalf. Strangely enough, it is often contended today that the congregation should not know the text of the anaphora, and special editions of the Euchologion are sometimes produced for the use of the worshippers, in which all secret prayers, including the anaphora, are simply omitted, under the pretext that they do not concern the congregation, being, as it were, a kind of private prayer of the officiating clergy. That, of course, is poor and confused theology, in flat contradiction of the open purpose and intention of the eucharistic rite itself." From: http://www.philosophy-religion.org/diaconate/
"Poor", "Confused"....How familiar it all sounds. True in 1968, true 40 years later. Why can't the modern Russian wannabes be as sensible as the actual Russians of both today and yesterday?
I'm eager to see any argument to the contrary. Please state it silently.
#62 bob on 2008-07-05 20:41
Leech (Merriam-Webster): def. 1: archaic physician.........def. 2: freshwater annelid worm.......def. 3: a hanger-on who seeks advantage or gain Syn.: parasite
#63 Guileless on 2008-07-06 20:37
You state, "unpleasant as it is to ecclesiastical 'control freaks'." You hit the nail on the head: my former pastor, also the dean of the Connecticut Deanery, is the quinessential "control freak", to the point where he has driven away a good dozen people over the years (including the current proto-deacon in Ansonia!), some of whom were so scandalized that a priest would act in that manner that they never came back to church at all! Again, as I've said in the past, it is time to emulate the perspective and behavior of +Archbishop Job, who operates in an atmosphere of conciliarity!!
#64 David Barrett on 2008-07-07 07:09
You raise a correct issue- we are one in Christ by the Eucharist, and yet seem to fail to be able to draw the obvious conclusion. By the Canons and indeed the Dogma of the Church, their is one Lord Christ, One Orthodox Faith, One Baptism, One Bread and One Cup: the logical conclusion is that in any place their is One local Church, One Bishop who is the "presider" of the one Eucharist in his diocese - the presbyters are his representatives. To fail to have one Bishop in one place is thus a failure to manifest the Dogma of the unity of the Church, the unity of the Eucharist the Unity of Christ. It fails to uphold the New Testament teaching about their being neither jew nor greek.
Yes, economia means we don't make this worse by deepning the existing schisms by breaking communion. But Economia exists for the salvation of souls, and can not justify such a betrayal of the dogmas of the Church. Thus economia can not justify maintaining the status quo.
No one ever has a pastoral need for the New Testament and basic Christian truth to be set aside. The "liberty" to do so in this free country is not the blessed liberty of Christ, can not be by definition.
I fail to see how an Orthodox could deny these principles without falling into some sort of heresy. It seems often instead of denying the principle, Orthodox in the West simply ignore the logical consequences of holding our beliefs. It is not the first, nor will it be the last example of Christians avoiding the "cost of discipleship".
If the above is by principle true then we have to "suck it up" and not imagine a non-existant "right" to "our church" whatever that may be. I conclude that we have to tolerate a great deal of things which are not to our taste, and even rubrical issues of which we do not approve. Most of the correspondents, for example, who are writing about manner of recitation of the Anaphora could at least excercise a little tolerance for practices which have obtained for many centuries.
This principle applies equally to more "American" and more "ethnic" Orthodox.
I can't help but point out that you are terribly wrong to equate "anglo-american" with anglo-phone. English is our lingua franca in America most of Canada. it is usually now the first language of Orthodox Children of whatever background who grow up here, as well as of converts. This justifies English as the primary liturgical language, (not only but *primary*). The desire for the Gospel to go out and be heard in the language we most of use every day all our lives is not the same thing as a desire for a culturally "convert" parish.
Also, do not confuse "anglo-american" with "anglo-phile". Very few people who use English in this continent are so "anglophile" as to want a very british high tea. That's rather silly, and I suspect you know that.
If such anglo-phile Orthodox exist in this country the same thing applies to their ortho-high teas as should apply to maslenitsa, baklava etc. etc. The Church may be a venue for such, but not at the expense of basic truth. To do so would not be as the Apostle says to put milk before meat, but rather to put a superfluous desert before both, and even ahead of our most improtant Meal.
Dcn . Yousuf Rassam
#65 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 08:51
Regarding the silent prayers, Archbishop Paul, of blessed memory, also enforced the reading of the "silent prayers" outloud decades ago.
Ah clericalism. It gave us slient prayers, the closing of doors and curtains to "protect" the laity from the "awesome" Mystery and infrequest communion for the same reason.
I commented to a bishop server at my parish recently that when he closed the curtains, a practice my priest does not follow, it made me - a temple of the Holy Spirit, a member of a "Holy Nation. the people of God" and the Royal Preisthood", feel left out. He responded that I was supposed to feel left out at that point, pointing out the curtains were one of the more ancient aspects of the Liturty. I bit my tongue and did not respond that the more ancient custom was NO curtains.
#66 Linda Weir on 2008-07-07 09:16
The entire idea of "SECRET" prayers in any Orthodox Liturgical Worship is ridiculous. There is "NO" secret or silent or private prayers. These were called such and added to make the worship service go faster and many priests didn't say the "SECRET" or "SILENT" prayers at all. The idea of silent prayers is an innovation to Orthodox Liturgical Worship, not the other way around. Just like in years past, the 1970-80's, St. Tikhon's and their leaders, rejected frequent communion as an "innovation" and non-Orthodox, they were WRONG! In this case, the same institution and leaders are WRONG again! ....
#67 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 09:21
As I originally suggested, this particular venue isn't exactly the best place for a discussion of liturgics, especially one that benefits from looking at texts in other languages.
You make the point: You ask, "Who is standing before the holy altar?" as to imply it is only the priests standing before the holy altar. Well, it is *everyone*, clergy and laity alike, standing before the holy altar.
To which I respond: this just doesn't agree with the natural sense of the liturgical text. In the first prayer of the faithful ("We give thanks unto thee, O Lord God of Powers..."; see my post above for the full thing), there is a contrast between "us" (who have been vouchsafed, or permitted by God's condescension, to be there) and "the people". "Us," the priests and bishop, pray for our own unworthiness, so that our entreaties on behalf of the people would be heard: "...make us worthy to offer unto thee supplications and prayers and bloodless sacrifices for all thy people. And enable us whom thou hast placed in this thy service...to call upon thee ... and..that hearing us, thou mayest be gracious to us in the multitude of thy goodness." There is a repeated distinction between "us" and "the people" in most of these prayers. I suggest that the interpretation you propose renders this language nonsensical.
The second prayer of the faithful (again, see my preceding post), is similar: "...we pray thee...that thou...mayest grant us to stand guiltless and uncondemned before thy holy altar. Grant also, O God, to those that pray with us progress in life and faith and spiritual understanding." If that prayer is the communal word of all present, who are the words, "to those that pray with us," talking about? Our visitors?
Concerning the prayer of the prothesis ("O Lord God Almighty, who alone art holy..."), it's worth noting that contemporary practice places this in the middle of the Divine Liturgy, but, as the name prothesis suggests, it was originally part of the formal prothesis rite (the preparation of the gifts, aka the proskomedia or proskomide) that took place just before the Great Entrance (and before the service today). As I mentioned, Taft argues that "bring it" should be "bring us". He argues this in his Great Entrance book, but also in a helpful article at http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/taft_evolution_5.html :
While the deacons were bringing in the gifts, the presiding minister washed his hands, requested the prayers of his fellow ministers, then together with them said the following Prayer of the Proskomide:
O Lord God almighty, who alone are holy, who alone accept the sacrifices of praise from those that call upon you with a whole heart, accept also the prayer of us sinners, and bring us to your holy altar, and enable us to present to you these gifts and spiritual sacrifices for our own sins and for the faults of the people, and make us worthy to find favor in your sight, so that our sacrifice may be acceptable to you and so that the good spirit of your grace may rest upon us and upon these present gifts and upon all your people.
The prayer asks for three things:
1) that the ministers be conducted to the altar,
2) that they be enabled to offer there the eucharist
3) that they be made worthy so that this offering will be acceptable, and the Spirit come.
It is not a prayer of offering but a prayer of preparation for the true offering, the anaphora. It is a prayer of accessus ad altare [approach to the altar] in which the ministers pray God to make them worthy of the ministry they are about to perform. It exists only in function of what is to follow, a pattern also seen in the two prayers of the faithful. [Emphasis mine] In the first, the ministers pray for the grace to intercede for their people, i.e. for the grace to say the intercessory collect that immediately follows.
On top of what he says about the content of the prayer of the prothesis, note carefully that last paragraph with regard to the prayers of the faithful.
There is much more that could be said about all of this, and time prevents me from writing much more. However, it seems to me that the furious indignation at the suggestion that the "secret" prayers actually be read secretly is unjustified, and, in all likelihood, reflective of a desire to remove many (if not all) distinctions between clergy and laity. I make the latter point not in a spirit of clericalism, but only as an observation. To take that point up would be worth a lengthy paper in its own right.
If every prayer must be heard by every person present, I suppose I should start expecting greater attendance at the proskomide and hours prior to the Divine Liturgy, to say nothing of the lengthy prayers at Vespers and Matins. Finally, none of this should be understood as critical of those priests, especially under the guidance of their bishops, who read the prayers aloud. I'm more concerned about the misplaced anger in the event the prayers are read according to the received rubrics.
What I'll close with is this: The liturgy involves both clergy and laity coming together before God. It is a symphony in many respects. In the same manner as an orchestra, every participant plays the same piece, but not every participant plays the same notes.
#68 Fr Basil Biberdorf on 2008-07-07 10:32
fr.dcn.,i DID state,that that our jurisdictional situation was very wrong,but again,unfortunately,it's a fact of life. we could have different ethnic parishes in one diocese,that would not be against the canons.lets say ONE BISHOP of los angeles and the west overseeing ALL orthodox parishes of ALL ethnicities in his territorial diocese. it would not make sense to have a bishop for each state,as some states have very few or no orthodox churches at all. the continent could be divided up into may be 12 such territorial dioceses,headed by ONE ARCHBISHOP. some of the diocesan bishops could have ethnic vicar-bishops to serve the needs of the heavily ethnic parishes. if people were more open minded, this could be done and may be, someday it'll happen,but you'll probably never be able to eliminate ethnic parishes,and it is not necessary either,because ethnicity does NOT divide. greek,serbian,russian etc. parishes could perfectly coexist and function under ONE diocesan bishop. but, for the time being all we have is EUCHARISTIC UNION. great serbian bishop ST.NKOLAI velimirovic of zica and ohrid,who reposed here in america at St.Tikhons used to say about our people "ubi nas neznanje" that means "ignorance kills us". this holds true for many cradle born orthodox of other ethnicites as well. most of our people know very little about the teachings of the church,even those who go to church. converts generally know a lot more about the faith,because they studied the teachings of the church before converting. GOD HELP US !
#69 Anonymous on 2008-07-07 13:21
Have levelled several accusations against Fr. Basil
3) His vision IS the end of Orthodoxy in America.
Could you elaborate what you mean and how Fr. Basil's comments are 1) arrogant, 2) evidence of his clericalism, 3) the end of Orthodoxy in North America.
Your categorical condemnations of all who don't hold your views is indeed frightening, brother. While I want to understand your point of view, I find it hard to see beyond the animosity and anger you hurl at your poor victims. I understand Christ used harsh words towards the pharisees, but he, indeed possessed omniscience and knew their hearts and everything he said was out of love, and indeed, he wept for them.
any way, brother, if you don't mind please elaborate what you meant.
#70 Baustista Cabrera on 2008-07-08 07:01
The bishop has no say so on where a layman may or may not go to church. If you were a cleric, that's another story. If there are no canonical impairments for you to attend any parish and receive the sacraments then you can go wherever. Another reason the bishop could interfere is if you were a known "trouble-maker" and entering the Ansonia parish to divide it, but that isn't the case. If they really wanted to push things, they could say you weren't allowed to receive the eucharist in Ansonia and then they MUST provide canonical reasons - usually trumped up reasons.
With Ansonia withholding their money until Syosset comes clean, it is causing disruption in the NE diocese. Many churches wish to do the same, and they should! Get this, Dn. Zarras had the audacity to threaten Fr. Michael Roshak telling him that he (Fr. Michael) was outside the brotherhood of the other clergy in NE.... Who gave him a crown to be the righteous judge of senior priests in NE?
Every church in the OCA should withhold their assessments until + Herman steps down and all the books are opened. Did you know that the "2ND" official report of the scandal has now been pushed back further for release? They'll be lucky to see a "sanitized" report at the AAC in November!
#71 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 08:19
Bishop Benjamin certainly didn't learn to be inflexible ...at St. Vladimir's. Heck, give him a beer and an opera and he was a happy guy. He wasn't known for being dogmatic in his approach and certainly Fr. Schmemann DID NOT teach that secret or silent prayers had any place in Orthodox Liturgical Worship. Maybe he forgot what he learned at SVS - if so, it is a sad, sad day in Mudville!
#72 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 08:29
Gladly, although I think it should be self-evident from this thread and many others where I am coming from, as well as Fr. Biberdorf.
There is now underway a tremendous battle between those who on one hand see Orthodoxy as an unchanging (from what time frame however is often amusingly in dispute) and uncorrupted institution beset by the many evils of modernity, and those who see the Church being run by pharisaic and fundamentalist clerics, and their groupies, in love with their own power and prerogatives and unconcerned about an effective witness in the modern world. While I have no problem with personal devotional practices and beliefs that to me are quaint or out of date or even borderline heretical, I find it intolerable when these practices are foisted on the entire Church under the rubric of being indispensable tradition and mandated in our liturgical observances.
The Father Biberdorfs of this world are more concerned with the unseemliness of lay intrusion into what they perceive to be their prerogatives and role, which to my way of thinking is inappropriately elitist (of course they would say, wrongly, properly hierarchical) and fairly characterized as clericalism. It stands in marked contrast to the teachings of the Schmemanns, Meyerdorffs, et. al., whose vision has been abandoned in so many quarters, here and abroad, over the past 35 years. The modern world can not, and should not, accept a vision of Orthodox governance and practice born of a corrupt alliance with the State (however understandable and defensible in the past) which is now clearly passe.
It is highly ironic that I, as a life-long conservative, now sometimes sound, to some, like a radical reformer. But Edmund Burke, the father of modern conservatism, was also a reformer where right reason dictated change and adjustment to current circumstances. My "anger" is born of this refusal to face the necessity of reasonable change so that the Church can continue to grow and prosper--not degenerate into a cult with less and less relevance to our suffering world. For if this indeed becomes the case, I will be forced to renounce and abandon a vessel so devoid of content and godliness.
#73 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-08 12:15
You see Bautista, Mr. Tobin has proved Fr. Basil's point about this not being a place for such a discussion.
He has decided that this is about arrogant clericalism, thats what the thread is about, and the struggle which has two sides, (only two, let's not worry our selves by the pesky ambiguity of reality), and since Fr. Basil expressed a point not on his side, he must of course be on the wrong side, ergo he is an arrogant clericalist. He is guilty, you see, even if no actual arrogance can be found in his post. He isn't on board so he is the enemy, and has the vices Mr. TObin likes to ascribe to his enemy class. Then he doesn't actually have to think about what Fr. Basil wrote.
This is the sort of approach to the world which gives us alot of feminist critique in academia, it is seen in publications like "watchtower" and "Awake!", and more destructively in things like the "destruction of kulaks as a class", the cultural revolution etc. It ill becomes a "lifelong conservative" , let alone a Christian.
But then Mr Tobin "has no problem" with "borderline heretical" devotions!
I would really like to have a heart to heart with Mr. Tobin but I doubt it is possible.
Kudos to Tikhon and Carl below, for a civil discussion. Carl, I submit that while not a small matter indeed, Tikhon's middle position, is perfectly acceptable. Certainly we have seen many remarkable Orthodox Saints who came from the many centuries. Their practices, while perhaps not always perfect, can not be thought to have been "gnostic magic". Is that what St. Herman and St. Innocent preached in Alaska? Is this what St John and Alexander died for? At the very least, we ought to consider if this issue is not being excessively magnified, used for divisive purposes (by the lover of division): and have a little of the charity and long suffering with one another with out which there is no Christianity whatsoever. Tikhon's position seems to have such a charity. It reminds me of Gamaliel's in Acts. It might take a couple centuries to be really sure. It wouldn't be the first time.
In the meanwhile, let us silently and aloud pray for one another.
Dcn Yousuf Rassam
Los Angeles CA
#74 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 22:51
As one in the Diocese of the West, I haven't the foggiest idea what "Bob" is talking about. Or Anonymous for that matter.
*The only written down formal instruction from a Bishop for Anaphora prayers outloud that I have seen came from Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) retired of the West.*
It is (still!) online on the Diocese of the West website under Liturgics in the "Liturgical Order for Cathedrals". (others may exist that I haven't seen, of course) As far as I can tell it is still in force.
I just heard Bp. Benjamin himself read the Anaphora quite audibly at Fort Ross, according to the same form as the "Order for Cathedrals". Just like Bp. Tikhon used to read the Anaphora audibly, and still does on those occasions when he serves.
Dcn Yousuf Rassam
Los Angeles CA
#75 Anonymous on 2008-07-08 23:16
The meeting notes from the PCC Town Hall Meeting held at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC, on Saturday, 28 June 2008, have been posted on the 15th All-American Council blog site
The only comment posted so far is a copy of an email received by Fr. Andrew Jarmus from someone who did not attend the town hall meeting. A copy of my personal statement, a printed copy of which I provided to all who attended the town hall meeting, has yet to be posted as a comment ... although I sent an electronic copy of my statement to the PCC email address email@example.com on Tuesday, 2 July 2008, to avoid any delay in posting it on the ACC blog site.
I was under the impression that all personal statements made at the town hall meetings would be posted under the appropriate blog entry as comments. My personal statement is 422 words long (per the Microsoft Word 2003 word count utility) to ensure that it met the 500 word limit announced after the Ottawa town hall meeting.
#76 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-07-09 04:14
Oh please Deacon Rassam, spare me the hypocritical lecture on civil discourse!
It was Father Biberdorf who some time back attacked Mark Harrison for an appeasement analogy he did not find to his taste. For that matter, you and Batista have used rather strong argumentation in some of your previous post. So if you can't stand the heat--get out of the kitchen! (BTW, I did like your post on the previous thread with regard to unity).
As a defender of the former Bishop of Alaska, one would think you would be a bit more reticent about attacking those decrying clericalism and its underlying causes--arrogance and pride and a misunderstanding of the "priesthood" of the laity. In my view, the tone of Fr. Biberdorf's remarks reeks of clericalism, whatever the merits or demerits of the particular issue in question. His fastidiousness about the venue for the discussion, constantly repeated, and his ever present concern for the prerogatives of the clergy just underscore my point.
You are free to disagree, of course, and I recognize their are gradations of opinion on any particular question or argument. I find myself agreeing with posters on this site far more often than not, but when I take issue I will continue to forcefully speak out, especially where the clergy are concerned. I know many of them are not used to what they probably consider "back talk," but under our current circumstances a little less "civility," or in reality "obsequiousness," and a lot more truth is just what the doctor ordered.
#77 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-09 05:14
OK, you expanded your definition of clericalism, but you did not answer one iota of my question. You added more words to your obviouse dislike (hate) of the Fr. Biberdorffs of the world, but how does that apply to Fr. Basil in particular. Your broad sweeping statements did not in the least bolster your argument that Fr. Basil is 1)arrogant, 2)promoter of clericalism 3) the usherer in of the death of Orthodox in America. What do you know about Fr. Basil personally that has given you the boldness to condemn him so completely and publicly?
Again, no more platitudes, just the facts, brother. Give me specific examples from Fr. Basil Biberdorff ministry that "unmask" him for the "arrogant" "clericalist" and "killer of Orthodoxy" whom you obviously hate. (If on the other hand all this actually a sign of your Christianly love, please, love him a little less.)
Any way, I thought you quit this site not too long ago? What ever happened to let your yes be yes and your no, no.? That must be quaint and obsolete.
But, I guess the answer is in the last line of your last post. The doctor ordered truth, and you have answered the call and appointed yourself. So, correct me if I'm wrong, you think you are the best man for the part? Who told you that your were? Your elder, your spiritual father, your wife...or just you, yourself?
Explain to us again how Fr. Basil is arrogant?
#78 Bautista Cabrera on 2008-07-09 06:36
So, out goes the concept of the priesthood of believers ...
I would like to comment here. I have held my voice for several days about this but I can be silent no longer. As an Orthodox Christian, I do not believe in the Protestant doctrine of the so-called "priesthood of all believers." Rather, I believe in the apostolic priesthood of the Orthodox Church, established by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Priests bless things. Priests consecrate things. Priests offer the Holy Oblation. Priests beseech the Holy Spirit to come down and transform the gifts into the Body and Blood of Christ. Priests absolve people who repent. This is the priest's function. It is what he is ordained to do. I, however, am not a priest. I am part of the laos, the laity, the people of God. It isn't that I am "lower" than the priest and the priest is "higher." I have a different FUNCTION in the Body of Christ because I am a layman. The priest has a different FUNCTION in the Body of Christ because he is set apart and blessed to perform a specific task, especially to offer the Holy Oblation. Now there is a sense in which all the baptized are a "royal priesthood" as the Holy Scriptures say. But it is NOT the same thing as this so-called Protestant doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers." The Protestant view denies the very real distinction between the ordained priest (who has received the Sacrament of Ordination at the hands of a bishop) and a lay person who has not. Because we Orthodox believe ordination is a Sacrament, and not merely a quaint human custom, we rightly believe that the priest is given something in ordination that we unordained are NOT given. How else could it possibly be otherwise?
What I am sensing here is the passion of seething anger, and that disturbs me greatly. I believe the source of this anger is pride, a pride that comes from an exaggerated sense of egalitarianism. It is a very worldly spirit, the spirit of "hey you, you aren't any better than me!" It is really the spirit of rebellion that seethes with anger at any expression of rank or hierarchy. It reminds me of the angry 8th grader who views himself as the center of the universe, and who shows contempt and disrespect for all authority because in his mind, he ALREADY knows it all. What can adults possibly teach him? It isn't very far removed from that type of mindset to think "What can the Tradition of our Church teach me? After all, I am a superior modern person. I have been to college. I have a degree. I am a professional. How DARE that priest try to teach me anything? I'm not a peasant. How DARE that priest recite MY PRAYERS in a low voice. Just who does he think he is?"
#79 Tikhon Griffin on 2008-07-09 08:33
Just for the record, I reject your accusations and insinuations. If you do not have "eyes to see and ears to hear" that's your problem. Otherwise, you get the last word.
Be assured, I will when I think it appropriate continue to post for now.
#80 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-09 10:37
If it is to be one, it must be all, unless one shielded the rest from truth.
If all the hierarchs were deposed, the entire body of the MC seated before July 2005 should be gone as well.
#81 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-07-09 13:30
Dear Tikhon Griffin,
I am afraid that in my zeal to combat what I view as a thoroughly un-Orthodox practice, I may have misled you, and apparently perturbed you. I ask your forgiveness.
My reference to Luther was meant in the following sense. In his article, The Priesthood of All Believers and Other Pious Myths, Timothy Wengert maintains that in Luther's own writings, as opposed to later interpretations, "we discover a far more revolutionary approach to Christian ministry—one that, to be sure, totally eliminates the (Papal) distinction between the laity and clergy, while at the same time giving new authority and purpose to the public office of ministry in Christ’s church...Luther has eliminated the laity as a separate category of Christian existence. In this sense, we are all priests, but only in the sense that the word “priest,” is used here, namely,
as “a Christian or spiritual human being...However, this did not imply for him a democratization of the Christian church or a denigration of the pastoral office."
So, it is clear that I do not reject the critical functional distinctions between the laity and the clergy. What I was ranting about is the real danger that some believers (abetted by some of the clergy) may think of themselves as a different and inferior class of Christians, a different species or estate.
As I am sure you have read elsewhere on this blog, many Orthodox priests, bishops, teachers and believers are also concerned with the deleterious effects of silent prayers. You must also have seen some very thoughtful distinctions made between a priest's personal prayers and those prayers that he offers in the name of the believers. In all cases, you have seen passion and conviction. Why? Because our Orthodox divine services matter a great deal--with the Divine Liturgy being preeminent. They are an integral part of our Holy Tradition.
We cannot afford to have the Liturgy adulterated with innovations like silent prayers. We cannot afford to lose even one soul to the belief that a layperson is not an equal part of the Body of our Lord. We should not encourage even the appearance of such an unnatural, un-Christian and indeed un-Orthodox division.
#82 Anonymous on 2008-07-09 16:07
I am sorry that I was apparently not clear: each and every hierarch, that is, all of the Holy Synod, needs to be returned to the rank of simple monk to contemplate his actions and inaction during his time in the episcopacy. No vote of confidence, as Dr. Meyendorff as has proposed; all of the hierarchs have shown themselves unworthy of their calling to episcopate and a danger to the faith they were to defend and the faithful they were to protect.
As for the members of the Metropolitan Council, if a member has publicly acknowledged his or her failure in oversight and asked forgiveness, then are we not required to forgive him or her? Assuming so, I see no reason to prevent that member from continuing to serve.
I don't understand why you want to give the members of the Metropolitan Council since July, 2005, as pass on their inaction. I think that the Metropolitan Council has had the power under the Statute to far more forcefully intervene than they have been willing to do. I grant that doing so would require a great deal of "unpleasantness" on the part of the MC -- directly opposing the Metropolitan and, if necessary, taking legal action against the Metropolitan -- but doesn't occupying such a position carry with it the requirement to do so, if the need arises?
#83 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-07-10 03:56
Brother, all I asked for was a clear and unequivicable explaination of how you justify all of your accusations directed against another Christian based specific examples from his life. If there is none and all your basing them on is his posts here, then I think those condemnations are unjustifiable. You can disagree with him, and even strongly at that. But words such as "arrogant", "clericalist", killer of orthodoxy must necessarily imply that you know him backwards and forwards, inside and out and thus qualified to pronounce judgement on the entire character of his life.
Forgive me for speaking so boldly and directly, but one thing I cannot stand is for one person to openly condemn another person without the slightest shred of facts.
If we want to express opinions, fine, we can say all we want.
But if we want to openly condemn and attack other people, let it be based on facts, and better yet, let us obey the words of Christ in the Matthew 18:
15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
Again, brother, forgive me and pray for me who am more pridefull and vain than you could ever be.
#84 Bautista Alvarez on 2008-07-10 06:28
This really is my last word on this subject.
I only "know" Fr. Biberdorf from his posts on this site, so my comments are directed to those posts--pure and simple. I don't presume to judge Fr. Biberdorf, or anyone else, in their entirety--that's God's prerogative. If I have overstepped those bounds I apologize.
As for you being more vain and prideful than me--I doubt it.
#85 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-07-10 10:21
Dear Mr Tobin,
I am glad that you appreciated my comments on the unity of the Church. Thank you.
I do not object to strong and/ or forceful arguments. I flatter myself to think that I can make such, and I appreciate your saying that I have used them myself.
It is not so much civility that I would "lecture" you on but "discourse" itself. For a blog like this we have bare words- no facial expression etc. It pays to make sure we use words precisely and correctly. It pays to define terms. What is clericalism for instance? This does not weaken argements, it strengthens them.
Also, what is "attack": did Fr Basil "attack" Mark Harrison, or merely disagree? (I don't remember that exchange). What exactly does it mean to "reek of clericalism"? What is "insinuation"? Bautista (mostly), did not make insinuations about you. He pointed to specific accusations you made and asked you to back them them up. You failed to do so.
Also, it is neccesary for discourse to make sure you understand the nature of the disagreement. For this, one has to actually take the effort to comprehend what the other person is saying. What is the point of having discourse at all if one does not make this effort? To what can one liken two people arguing who have no desire to understand eachother? A sword fight in the dark? Ships without a light house in the night sailing around eachother whilst lobbing canonballs will nilly, in the direction that their prejudice says the other ship will be? How pointless! How can you convince someone to abandon a conviction they hold if you don't understand that conviction? Such an argument seems to exist only for the purpose of satisfying one's own desire to proclaim their own opinion. Other persons involved are merely props for the excercise. Not only pointless, but disrespectful to the humanity both of one's own self and the other.
To make the effort to understand those with whom one disagrees does not weaken arguments , it strengthens them.
It is very easy to react to what other people say based on association or personal "hot buttons" etc. I know it is easy for me to do, and it seems to me easy for most people to do. It is easy to digress, espescially to ride one's own hobby horse positions. I know how easy. From this it is easy to descend to slogan repetition. Easy, indeed! But to be resisted if one has any desire at all to actually communicate. Strong arguments communicate. Forceful arguments compel by their inherent truth.
Thus again, it is important for communication to be as specific as possible, so as to be certain that you know exactly what you are arguing for and against. This, again, does not weaken arguments, it strengthens them.
Civility and courteousness are not weakness, not failure to stand for one's position. They are forms of conduct which greatly enable communication. They can steer an argument away from merely passionate/ irrational shouting. It is true that they can mask a lack of love, since it is possible to practice them with no actual charity in one's heart. Never the less, they can prevent one's hatred from growing more extreme with no reason. It is harder to imagine one who really has charity/love in his heart making no use of civility and courtesy. The civility and courtesy of which I am speaking do not impede plain speach.
But it is not particularly incivility that I accused you of. To be plain, the accusation is being a narrow ideologue.
The examples of narrow ideology such as Bolshevism, Moaism, certain forms of academic Feminism, and Jehovah's Witnesses all share with you that peculiar inability to have any discourse at all. That fact that you are flip, discourteaous, and uncivil are I think symptoms, not the disease. Those examples, I hope convey the futility of narrow ideology, since those examples all fail to produce the good which they promise: a classless, peaceful utopia, better understanding of women, better Christianity. You proclaimed yourself a lifelong conservative: I have always found the great strength of conservatism (espescially from a Christian point of view) to be emphasis on the person in the here and now, not the utopian future of an ideology. Of course, in the past 2 decades, conservatism has become more of a narrow ideology itself. Call people liberals or RINOs or whatever in hopes that in the absence of real communication no one will notice that the fiscally responsible, small government, lift us from those corrupt Clintons movement has given us more pork spending, bigger government, more corruption. I for one do not wnat communication in the Church to become as crass and as ideological as our civic discourse has become, and I will, when I feel the ability fight it.
You have not on this thread, or very often in my memory, used really strong, and forceful arguments. You use weak arguments, or rather no arguments at all - just bare assertions. These are augmented by sloganeering "he doesn't get it", "he who has ears and eyes" etc; namecalling, "arrogant", "clericalist" etc., and back to bare assertions, "thats how it seems to me and I am entitled to my opinion".
What don't I and others get? What is "it"? Surely the rectitude of your point of view is not as ineffable as a late Syriac Dionysian Anaphora which must be reverenced by silence to the unitiate?
What are your eyes seeing and your ears hearing that mine or Bautista's don't? I hope you don't really think that the apprehending the rightness of your wrath is what Isaiah was talking about. You are not merely an animal with eyes and ears, but a rational being with speech, who presumably has the ability to describe with words what he hears, sees and percieves.
In short, were I look to your posts and expect to see a forceful and strong argument, I find bluster and hot air.
Hot air reminds me of your other recent slogan "If you can't stand the heat ..." . It seems more heat than light. Rather than standing it or leaving this blog-o-kitchen, I have tried to douse it by appealing to your rationality. Failing convincing you, I hope that others might be persuaded to forswear ideology and sloganeering, might not completely surrender to the hysteria of the moment.
I hope that you see I do not ask of you obsequiousness, I invite you to thoughtfully present your opinion. Bautista did too, and you refuse. I want more truth, not less. I do not accept that a lying central church adminstration, clergyman, or hierarch justify your bluster, hot air, or failure to make your case. You can not point at the Met. Theodosius, Met. Herman, the Synod, RSK and expect that there real or imagined bad behavior justifies your own. It doesn't.
I will give you another example: You state "In my view, the tone of Fr. Biberdorf's remarks reeks of clericalism, whatever the merits or demerits of the particular issue in question. " That to me seems like a justification based on your perception of Fr. BB to Not communicate, to Not understand, to Not have discourse. But since you have already decided what Fr. BB's tone is, are not the vices of that tone imputed rather than actually found in his posts? Is it not possible that you see in Fr. BB's posts only what you have decided already to see? Thus, Fr.BB's "fastidiousness" hardly need be clericalist. His posts were lengthy and involved a rather denser use of text than is usual in this blog or most internet discussions. I have written now at length myself and problems of communication which I see here. (And which, BTW are hardly confined to KRT!!!!) It is not clericalist to think that perhaps such arguments (that is arguments of that complexity) are better made in a less passionate and slow moving venue. I do not see any evidence at all that Fr. BB would exlude the non-ordained from such a venue. As for prerogatives of the clergy that are ever present, you are agin not specific as to what these prerogatives are that he "ever present" ly defends. I saw these as possible: a real distinction in liturgical function between the ordained and unordained. That there is a difference in liturgical function in Orthodoxy, and always has been, seems obvious to me. If you don't like this you will have to jettison several passages of St. Paul on the several gifts of the Spirit, for starters, (Like "Are all Apostles?") He points out a functional difference in that the clergy stand about the holy Table. Well what functional difference exists for Orthodox clergy if it isn't to serve the services? And the final prerogative: For presbyters and bishops, thus so standing about the Holy Table, to confess and protest their own sinfulness and unworthiness to be doing so, according to the prayers handed down to us by Tradition. That seems to me exactly the "prerogative" clergy should excercise when they serve: not "Lord, I am worthy to serve and hear the Anaphora and they are not" but "Lord, I am not worthy at all to stand here, let alone to utter the Anaphora, but allow it for their benifit". No one, from the loftiest hierach on down has the absolute right to hear, let alone offer the Anaphora.
Finally, your strange, to me, announcement that I am defender of the former Bp. of AK, and that this should make me "reticent" about those "decrying clericalism". Let us assume that clericalism was/is Bp. Nikolai's point of view, and that I am "on his side", that is, on the side of the clericalist, would I not then be one who is exactly Not reticent to defend clericalism and "attack" anti-clericalists?
You know, I frequently simply find myself for any number of reasons unable or unwilling to post. You will find that I have posted only on a minority of threads here. Don't assume too much based on my silence. For instance, I haven't yet said a word about Mr Barrett's reflection and repeated posting. I would hate it if people assumed from my silence hithertofore that I thought it was great, and that I couldn't possibly think that an assertion that God Almighty Himself sends typos into service books that associate "pouring immorality" with the Passion of Christ so that we can yet again see the faults of our neighbor is simply a stupid and blasphemous assertion, far, far exceeding in awfulness even what you ascribe to Fr. BB's posts. Yes, indeed I could think that. (OK, that verges on insinuation, but it is fairly transparent).
I don't think you can find me arguing for or against Bp. Nikolai In the whole of 2008. If my memory serves, I asserted that Bp. Nikolai had the authority (limited by certain elements of tradition) to regulate the liturgics of his diocese. For that argument, I do not repent. Now that he is retired, he no longer has that authority. For that argument, you can take out the name Bp. Nikolai and insert the name of Abp. Job or whichever ruling hierarch you think regulates liturgics aright, a hypothetical one if need be, and I stand by it. I also bitterly protested our host, Mark Stokoe, publishing of the Sidebottom letter exposing Fr. Isidore. Again, You can take out Fr. Isidore's name, and put in, for instance, Kenneth Tobin's name and most embarresing event in his private life, and I object as bitterly, as strongly. You see, these are assertions and objections of principle, that ultimately don't have to do with this or that personality. Mark Harrison, who does not seem to me at least to be a bad sort, approved of the same because he thought it was good that such things finally get out. I am afraid a stressful situation may have led Mark H to an "ends justifies means" position. As wounding as it was, it didn't do nearly the damage to Bp. Nikolai as some village priests insisting that they were basing their position against him on Love.
I suppose I have gone on quit long. You asked me to spare you a lecture, I obviously have not. I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. I hope you know, I really, really am trying to communicate to you. I hope that you understand and forgive.
Dcn. Yousuf Rassam
Los Angeles CA
#86 Anonymous on 2008-07-10 18:42
One must hope that this conditional apology as in "if I" did it "then I apoligize" is received more graciously than other "if" apologies, such as those that have been offered by OCA hierarchs in the past three years.
Dcn Yousuf Rassam
#87 Anonymous on 2008-07-14 03:29
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