Thursday, November 6. 2008
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In his letter of refusal to be considered, His Grace Hilarion demonstrates more clearly than have the words of his advocates that he might indeed by a wise and great Metropolitan!
But, it's not to be.
So, we are left, as we should be, to get on as responsible adults and loving Christians with the business of solving our own problems.
#1 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-11-06 10:02
His Grace is to be commended for putting this matter to rest. I'm sure we all look forward to hearing much from him in the future.
#2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-11-06 10:10
+ Hilarion is probably taking the best route. The AAC will be an all out fight the way it is. Introducing an outside element would only make things worse. The OCA isn't completely void of talent; it just lacks another "water-walker." We are looking at a new Met who can give stability for at least 4 years. At the next AAC, all things can be re-evaluated. Now, between now and 2012, let's take a serious look at the married episcopacy.
#3 Anonymous on 2008-11-06 11:23
The AAC does not have to be an all out fight. But it does have to be profoundly different in tone than previous AACs. We need serious, honest, personal, and loving discussion of our past issues and our future vision. No feel good fluff, but no needless bickering either.
[and next AAC is in 2011, it's the US presidency that's every four years]
#4 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-11-06 13:07
Bravo Father Oleksa for another homerun! I hope people are actually listening this time!!! Are you?!?
Speaking of Hebraic roots, everyone should read "Surprised by Christ: My Journey from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity"
by Father James Bernstein, he does a great job showing just what these roots consist of. Conciliar Press has it for sale. good stuff!
Moses the Tlingit
#5 Moses on 2008-11-06 13:32
Well, excellent! Now the OCA can drop the "deus ex machina" bit and get down to the business of behaving like a viable autocephalous Church, choosing one from among its own numbers as Metropolitan.
Again, it was wishful thinking to imagine that, even if he had been elected Metropolitan by the ANAC, the Russian Church would have released Bishop Hilarion from its jurisdiction for that purpose--and he himself said as much in his open letter.
#6 ejv on 2008-11-06 13:36
Talk about a married episcopacy undermines the legitimacy and Orthodoxy of the Orthodox Church in America and raises serious concerns over the laity's (clergy's) ability to participate responsible in the governance of the Church - that is, it gives credence to a top-down, 'pray, pay, obey' view of church governance. If a married episcopacy were introduced, we would very quickly find ourselves with not only our autocephaly unrecognized by most of the Orthodox world, the entire Orthodox world be break communion with us - and rightly so. If such a move were to be even seriously considered by the OCA, I, for one, would leave and would do all I could to get my parish to leave with me. If I wanted to remain a Protestant picking and choosing doctrines and practices on my own or by the authority of my favorite scholars, then I never would have converted to Orthodoxy.
I agree with you Rebecca that the AAC can be an humble, honest and loving exchange of thoughts, as long as we know that all of our thoughts added up together are not worth a "hill of beans" if we think that there is another way but the way of humility that leads to being a mature person in Christ.
Without sincere humility we can accomplish nothing because without humility we will preclude the Grace of the Holy Spirit to inform us and direct us.
I certainly take seriously what is presented here and the work that is before us, but I don't take seriously anything that I offer. In the most profound sense if we gather in Pittsburgh with the Lord's words ringing in our ears and residing in our hearts Matthew 6:33 - "But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" then indeed, all these things we can accomplished will be given to us.
#8 Anonymous on 2008-11-06 14:10
Seems Bishop Hilarion believes in the OCA more than many .... who dominate it's policy making. It is a sad revelation that a foreign Bishop has a clearer vision of the OCA than do many of it's leaders.
#9 Anon on 2008-11-06 14:25
You don't know what you are saying. Marriage IS NOT an impediment to the episcopacy. Again, it was for practical reasons celibates and monastics were chosen for the episcopacy. 1) Ancient laws made the progeny of bishops inheritors of church property 2) monasteries were where the libraries were and therefore, educated men 3) many monks were orphans raised in the monasteries and had no renown histories 4) local married priests were mostly uneducated.
The married episcopacy is part of the "Tradition" of the Orthodox Church. It is now time to re-visit it.
#10 Anonymous on 2008-11-06 14:45
I read Hilarion's letter and I appreciate his open honesty. It's refreshing in these days. However, I must confess my first thought and response was so much for being guided by the Holy Spirit! I guess the Patriarch and some public opinion about having a "Russian" metropolitan take precedence over any guidance by the Hand of God. It seems to me anyone totally committed to the growth of the Holy Orthodox Church should be totally open to the Will of God and to wherever that may lead. I would hope Hilarion would reconsider.
#11 anon on 2008-11-06 14:46
Probably not the case. + Hilarion's decision is wise. He knows every move he'd make would be watched closely. Furthermore, he would have a better shot at Pat. of the ROC eventually if he minds his P's and Q's.
#12 Anonymous on 2008-11-06 14:49
This is simply another diversion; the reason being: It would take a Council of the Whole Orthodox Church to change this tradition/canonical ruling of the Church. It was attempted many years ago in theory by the Church of Finland...and didn't wash with the Ecumenical Throne then (in whose jurisdiction it was under at the time)---and it's NOT going to work now. Again I will state, ALL the present situations of the Church came about for a GOOD and HOLY reason...(and not just because of property either!). If the OCA ever DID this...then we would find ourselves outside of communion with the ENTIRE Orthodox Church...rather than just five or six patriarchates! The OCA needs to establish solid monastic communities from which to draw candidates (like the Synod Abroad has always done) and this is the first place where we should focus our energies...instead of trying to find quick and easy solutions. Are there not candidates here in America now just waiting for us to have the spiritual discernment to choose them? Do we lack that much ability to be sensitive to the Spirit? Or is it, that we do not have enough FAITH and TRUST in the presence of that Most Holy Spirit, Who is in and will be IN OUR VERY MIDST (during our Sobor) and Who will there there to help us to seek and find a candidate??? I have faith that we CAN and MUST do better. We can do it! (to quote the President-Elect) Most importantly in these days before our gathering, we should be living in 'the discipline of prayer' in order to prepare ourselves for this event in the life of our Church. Perhaps we should (all of us) spend some 'quality time' with the Lord daily instead of writing here/using our computers? Maybe this, together with some solid authentic fasting and prayerful reading from the Acts and the Gospels would be more of a help than dreaming about things that we not going to be? We might also agree to daily praying a Canon to the Mother of God (Mother of the Church) or an akafist in her honor rather than trying to come up with new and 'worldly' solutions to spiritual problems.
In His Holy Name,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#13 Fr. Pius on 2008-11-06 14:56
We all owe a debt of gratitude to +HILARION for removing himself from consideration to become our next Metropolitan. My opinion of the man—which was already quite high—has soared upon reading his letter. It is a source of great joy simply to know that this Bishop exists in world Orthodoxy today, and I wish him well.
As a non-delegate, and thus one of the vast majority of OCA members who will not have a direct voice at the upcoming AAC, I want to take the time to convey my thoughts and concerns regarding this pivotal gathering.
I hope and pray that as each of you votes at this AAC you will do so recognizing that you are not there to act as your own agents, but rather as members of one body through whom the Holy Spirit may move. This upcoming Council is an opportunity for corporate—not personal—prayer and action. If you’ll excuse the analogy, this is not the time for a Ralph Nader or Bob Barr vote. Such a vote might make you feel good and pure for a moment, but it would accomplish nothing for the body at large—except to throw the decision to the Synod. If there is anything that should be abundantly clear to all at this point, it is that there would be very little trust in ANY selection made by the Synod at this AAC. Those of us with no vote at this gathering are counting on the delegates to act as the reason-endowed sheep that you are and come to some agreement as a body. I think it’s safe to say that most of us do not want the Synod to choose our next Metropolitan.
You are faced with a dizzying array of suggestions and resolutions. For example, Father Hopko proposes a change in our Statute that would have our Metropolitan chosen by lot—but whether that change would take effect for this election still has not been authoritatively clarified. We know that God is not the author of confusion. Rather, as His children, we are to employ the antidote to confusion—thoughtful, thorough and prayerful deliberation—before any vote is taken. As delegates, please be sure to have all of your questions answered before you vote, and then vote in peace and clarity.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that if I did have a vote at this AAC I would vote “No” on the issue of selecting our Metropolitan by lot, and I would vote for +JOB as our next Metropolitan. You are, of course, free to come to other conclusions, but I personally hope that +JOB will be chosen by such a sound majority as to confirm that he is God’s chosen vessel to lead us—at least for a time—out of this period of darkness and into greater light.
If it were to fall to them, would the Synod choose +JOB? Probably not (another reason to make your first vote count). But if the delegates were to choose +JOB, would the members of the Synod—as an act of humility and, for some, penance—agree to be led by him? In my view, a positive answer to that last question would do a great deal to heal the wounds and divisions in the OCA, and could bear abundant fruit throughout our church as our hierarchs lead by example in the next few years. Let us see what they can accomplish working together in true humility and conciliarity—free of the oppressive rule of the former Metropolitan and others. We might just be “Surprised by Joy.”
#14 Cathryn Tatusko on 2008-11-06 14:58
I am disappointed Bishop Hilarion shot down the idea. Read it over. He's a GROWNUP. When was the last time you saw an OCA bishop write like that? Have you read his ideas about the liturgy? Doors *open*, prayers *out loud*? He is needed and badly. He says he's a Russian. I wonder if the current crop of bishops could be persuaded that they are *not*?Europe is richer for having him, we are pooer for needing to use the same old bachelor's club to draw from. Maybe he'll reconsider. Remember Milan, remember St. Ambrose. Stranger things have happened.
#15 anon...And on and on... on 2008-11-06 15:02
Get a grip. A married episcopacy is a matter of discipline, not doctrine. There is nothing wrong with a small delegation of “king-makers” going to a particular married priest, who shows great promise, and asking if he and his wife would be willing to separate (she to a convent) so that her husband could be consecrated a bishop, when there was a dire need.
As for a married bishop-elect keeping his wife, it won’t happen, although I think the entire Orthodox oecumene should consider returning to the earlier discipline of allowing married men to become bishops – at least in areas where the pickins are slim and the track record dismal.
#16 Terry C. Peet on 2008-11-06 15:56
Fr. Oleska, thank you for the excellent commentary. In many parishes, unfortunately, the simple, easy to sing Little Russian melodies/chants have been lost. It would be wonderful, if some one could reprint them so they could be used in the parishes/missions. Especially missions, where simple melodies and chants can be learned and sung. Many missions do not have enough voices for four-part harmony. One note, especially of sadness is that those who are at the root of the financial scandal were the decesandants of the those humble, Little Russian people who so desired to be Orthodox in America.
#17 cshinn on 2008-11-06 15:59
The celibacy of bishops was established for pastoral, not dogmatic reasons. To go into schism over a change to such a practice, and to threaten to do all one could to 'take my parish with me' ironically reveals a 'Protestant' mind-set. Nay, less than Protestant; even Martin Luther knew one only had the right to challenge the church's authority on dogmatic, not practical errors.
#18 Anthony on 2008-11-06 16:58
Kudos to Bishop Hilarion's wisdom. At a time when we already have a considerable dimension of mistrust between laity, clergy, and the hierarchs, what a terrible idea to bring in an outsider that people would inherently mistrust. To suggest we have noone competant is really shameful if you ask me.
I still believe Bishop Hilarion might be a great person to assist the OCA in developing a strategic plan. As an outsider with only a single voice of influence, his perspectives may be valuable to us and not subject to getting discounted or mistrust.
It would seem like a very brotherly gesture to the Moscow leadership as well to ask of his service.
In fact, for those who suggested Bishop Hilarion to serve as Metropolitan, I encourage them to work towards this goal and bring him onboard to support that effort. It might cost some money, but I think it could be of great value to have him offer a different perspective.
As to whether he has a clearer vision of the OCA as one person commented, since we have no strategic plan, I don't know how one could jump to that conclusion.
#19 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-11-06 17:11
Firstly let me say that it took great courage and a refusal to allow ego to raise its ugly head, for Bishop Hilarion to back out from what a number of people had wanted him to take on. Bravo!
Secondly, on the subject of a married episcopacy, we must remember that some of the Holy Apostles were married and indeed a married episcopacy existed for a long period in the early Orthodox Church. We have a married clergy which logically raises the question - why not a married episcopacy? The reason given by some for the cessation of the married bishops was to stop title and land being passed on to offspring and the the attendant cost of providing for the wife and children of the bishop. The same scenario for the demise of the married clergy in the west!
#20 Archpriest Ian - Port Charlotte,FL on 2008-11-06 17:15
A few threads ago, someone gave me some heat for suggesting a bonus for the Chancellor if goals of the strategic plan were met. As soon as people think bonus, they start thinking big money, but the bonus could be a weekend in the Poconos, or dinner at a nice restaurant.
After the past Chancellor bonused himself millions, now we would strip the position of any opportunity for a hundred dollar bonus for meeting the strategic plan? The notion that priests take a vow of poverty is a myth based on what I've been told. And gratitude for a job well done is usually expressed in some way. Are we so hard that a Chancellor meeting the strategic plan for the year shouldn't be thanked and he should just simply be pleased with his efforts?
Another poster on that thread suggested OCA parishoners are poor. I would be willing to bet most OCA parishoners meet the US income averages. We may have an aging demographic, but we can't prove it and this needs to be a part of the strategic plan to understand the age of our people. Removing the head tax and putting in place a roster with parishoners ages would be far better.
Based on some of the attitudes expressed on the prior post, it seems rather obvious why someone might decide to implement their own bonus program. Work hard, meet the goals of the church, and get no recognition or thanks?
Our parish priests get gifts from time to time, they get invited to dinner, they get a house sometimes and improvements, they get a car sometimes. What's so terrible about a little extra gratitude for the positions in the cca?
I hope people are able to move beyond punishing the future positions for the past abuses.
#21 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-11-06 17:41
While embracing a married episcopate may be a change in practice, it is certainly not a change in doctrine. We have no dogmas of the Church that condemn or preclude married bishops. In fact, St Paul, in his Epistles to Timothy and Titus, describe a suitable bishop as "the husband of one wife." Pastorally, we need to bring closure and healing to move beyond this crisis before even considering a married episcopate. However, the rant that bishops have to be taken from the ranks of the monastics is just nonsense. There are many single and/or widowed priests in parishes who would qualify just as well as a so-called monk would. I say "so called" because our recently-"retired" Metropolitan, who claimed to be monastic, would frequently leave the Vigil service early to go eat supper. I, personally, am a self-confessed food addict, and I've never left a service early to go eat!! So, how "monastic" is that behavior??
I believe we should focus more on other qualifications for future bishops, as well as the process of bringing them about. Men should not be made bishops just because they acted like a rock-concert groupie, following a bishop around like he was an all-knowing guru, in the hopes of having his name entered as a possible episcopal candidate. And one thing is DEFINITELY true: We MUST STOP consecrating people who do NOT have a theological education!! No one in his or her right mind would put their physical health in the hands of a "quack" who didn't have the proper education and training from an accredited medical school!! Why, then, should we put our spiritual health in the hands of someone who does not have the education, training, and experience that comes with a seminary education??? THIS is a much more essential topic regarding bishops than married or single!!
#22 David Barrett on 2008-11-06 18:06
YOU ARE SO RIGHT,THANK YOU. i can't understand why the "married bishop thing" is brought up again and again. such a monumental decision could only be made by an all orthodox great council. and, besides,married men are no better then celibates. the former chancellor is a married man.
#23 Anonymous on 2008-11-06 18:19
On a different subject,
I have just read the (once again) revised AAC agenda, and it appears that a chunk of our time to discuss the SIC report will be taken away by an IOCC presentaiton and video, and a chunk of our time to discuss the budget will be taken away for an OCMC presentation and video.
This is crazy! For the record, I am a big proponent of IOCC & OCMC. In fact, our parish line-items both groups every year, and we have sponsored OCMC priests numerous times.
But the AAC is not the forum for this! We have precious little time to do a LOT of important work for the OCA. To have chunks of time taken up for advertising, no matter how noble, is simply wrong thinking.
Almost every delegate is already familiar with the great work done by both groups. Please, can we dispense with the videos and stick to the meetings in which we discuss the pressing business of the Church?
Move the videos and presentaitons to the end, if there is time.
Priest Christopher Wojcik
#24 Priest Christopher Wojcik on 2008-11-06 18:24
It is sad to see that some anticipate coming to the AAC and participating in a fight. While there have been some serious moral and ethical breaches, one can only pray that we can behave as God has called us to - and come with the expectation of cooperation and true fellowship.
We know we are in an imperfect world, and are surrounded by imperfect people. Too often we get caught up in the negatives, when the many positives seem to escape our sight. Can we look at the tasks that lie before us, embrace the positives that are right before us and make the best of what we've got?
#25 Wendy C. on 2008-11-06 18:44
Phew, a close one. That the bishop of Vienna sidestepped the
particular minefield of the OCA is as much a tribute to his
intelligence as to his lessons learned in Great Britain.
That +Hilarion was the only bright young thing that fr. Hopko could find is telling of the particular culture of Orthodox theological education in America. Young men in the OCA have been directed away from monastic life since the Parisian fathers arrived. Where is the American seminarian who can say that he is in monastic obedience to his hierarch to be sent to Juilliard, say, or Paris, Oxford...? There are no brilliant monks because the previous generations did not encourage monastic priesthood.
That as a model of monastic obedience to the Patriarch of Russia, he might continue to compose oratorios in the Western model and travel around the world for their performances with his retinue, as well as to continue to deliver learned papers here and there to the stimulation of underchallenged academics, let us pray to the Lord.
#26 hierodeacon Amvrosi on 2008-11-06 20:24
With out structure and hierachy we can not be open to the Holy Spirit, we only become open to our own desires.
#27 Michael Bauman on 2008-11-06 20:30
Perhaps, Fr. Amvrosi is being ironic ? If so, it's lost on a straight talking, rural rube, like me.
Hilarion should stop wasting his time composing useless symphonies, which are inappropriate for Orthodox worship. Hilarion should use his erudition to do the work of a bishop, which is preaching the Gospel.
Hilarion should go back to Russia and teach Putin, Medvedyev and Lavrov about the dread Day of Judgement, and the fate that is waiting for unrepentant murderers !
Let him teach that wretched hypocrite, Aleksei, that God will certainly curse the man who "blessed" weapons of mass destruction.
Let Hilarion pray for the 130,000 homeless Georgians, who were "ethnically cleansed" from their homes this past August, and left destitute. Let him pray for the 300,000 Georgians who were driven from their homes in the previous Russian invasions of 1990 and 1993. Let him pray for the thousands of Orthodox Christians who were bombed or burnt to death in their own homes by the Russian military, whose bodies were literally bulldozed into unmarked graves by Kokoity's Ossetian militia.
Let Hilarion do these things, and I will call him a Christian and a bishop.
May God protect the Orthodox Christians of America from the machinations of the Kremlin spy-master.
May the Eternal Judge, bend down the heavens and hear the outcry of innocent blood ! May the Merciful One hasten the day of judgement aginst the murderers of our kin!
#28 Francis Frost on 2008-11-06 22:12
#29 Anonymous on 2008-11-06 22:24
How curious it is that the withdrawal letter appears on the day Mr. Obama is elected President of the US. +Hilarion admits he had known of the plan to propose him for "several weeks" so why did he wait until this moment to kill it off?
(Editor's note: Oh please, let's stop with byzantine conspiracies and accusations of spying and murder, etc. Such things are diversions that prevent us from focusing on the real tasks ahead of us - electing a new Metropolitan. This topic is closed.)
#30 Anonymous on 2008-11-07 03:40
Amen and amen.
#31 Ever and anon. on 2008-11-07 06:38
I find it hard to believe that there are those in the OCA who would toy with the idea of having a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate lead them.
I was for many years a parishioner in a wonderful ROCOR church and I know that many of the people I knew who have gone to their rest are probably turning over in their graves. The Russian government had a plan for ROCOR and it managed to pull it off. ROCOR can't even name its own bishops unless Moscow approves. Don't let the same thing happen to you. They want to pull all jurisdictions who had ties to them back into the fold. Don't doubt that for a minute.
#32 Greg on 2008-11-07 06:41
Bombastic. Ignorant. May +Hilarion continue to use his God-given artistic talent to continue composing “useless” symphonies. [Abbe] Liszt would be turning in his grave.
#33 Terry C. Peet on 2008-11-07 07:11
To the post of Francis Frost:
Amen and amen!
#34 Ever and anon. on 2008-11-07 09:27
To Francis Frost: yes, I was being tongue in cheek, thanks for picking up on it. And to Terry C. Peet: Abbe Liszt may indeed be turning in his grave, but for reasons other...
#35 hierodeacon Amvrosi on 2008-11-07 10:11
People here ask, "Why does the married episcopate keep coming up?" Simply, because there is a need for it! There is NOTHING wrong with married bishops in the Orthodox Church. Wifes DO NOT have to be put away. Married Archpriests are in effect, married bishops! Where bishops aren't available, the senior archpriest should administer. So, to actually consecrate them, is only pragmatic and NOT Protestant or an innovation. The OCA needs bishops and to turn over every rock to find a celibate (many of who are celibate for good reason) to "lead" is just ridiculous. If other churches don't wish to have married bishops, so be it, but there is NOTHING wrong according to Orthodox doctrine which prohibits this. 11 of the 12 apostles were married. The church needs to revert to this. And while we're at it, why not the reinstitution of deaconess'?
#36 Anonymous on 2008-11-07 13:00
Father Chris is right. We need to deal with the scandal, not watch videos. The previous agenda was much better, although some have suggested that we put off the Act of Reconciliation until after the Metropolitan is elected.
Much more important than IOCC and OCMC videos, more important than even the election of our Metropolitan, is to discuss the scandal and give those named in the SIC report the chance to explain themselves, or admit their guilt and repent before all. This includes all bishops, Bob's Administrative Committee members, and Syosset officers during The Embezzlement Years.
As important as the election for Metropolitan is, it is much more important for us to hear from our bishops in specific admission of wrongs and personal repentance and from all those named and involved.
Father Mark Hodges
And the first order of business should be to amend the agenda and move back to the plenary sessions being focused on the issues that MUST be addressed in this Council.
Leading off with the videos harkens back to a vision of the AAC as a show organized by the administration for delegates serve as a passive audience to be entertained, inspired, and ultimately ignored.
#38 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-11-07 15:43
Dear Anonymous at posting #18:
I would like to point out that Canon 12 of the Council of Trullus (692 AD) actually insists on the separation of the bishop and his wife. Although technically not an ecumenical council, this council is generally accepted as authoritative by the Eastern Orthodox churches.
The text of the canon is "MOREOVER this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offense to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all filings tend to the good of file flock placed in our harris and committed to us,--it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach. For the divine Apostle says: "Do all to the glory of God, give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye imitators of me even as I also am of Christ." But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed."
To reiterate points made elsewhere and at other times:
1. There is no Scripture or Canon that prohibits the consecration of a married man to the episcopacy. The current situation is without formal warrant and is merely a practice that evolved through the ages. It appears that the Church changed from (a) married and single bishops (with married being preferable--Epistle to Timothy and Apostolic Canons) to (b) married and single bishops (with married bishops forced to separate from their wives--Council of Trullus) to (c) the current practice of bishops chosen from the monastics (no formal rationale found--by me, in any case).
2. Since a truly ecumenical council did not proclaim the current arrangement, Canon 12 remains a decision of a regional council. One could also argue that the Trullan Council is akin to a local council because it was undertaken by the principal imperial church of the time--Constantinople, with the other patriarchates falling in line as quasi-vassal or subservient churches. One could argue that technically OCA could revert back to the Apostolic practice that Canon 12 claims to honor in exception--see text of the canon above).
3. As Mr. Christopher Orr and Father Pius have vividly demonstrated, such a unilateral decision may be condemned by most if not all of the other local churches. Indeed, such a step could be construed to have been taken contrary to the very reason that Canon 12 was instituted in the first place, that is, to prevent "giving scandal and offense to the people." Thus, such as step cannot be taken without praying and planning long and hard.
4. It should be pointed out that a disciplinary canon is a rule that is not necessarily applicable in all circumstances, locations and times. Again, if we use the same good reason of not giving scandal and offense to the people, we could say that the current situation of elevating only monastics to the episcopate offends the people and offends the Holy Apostles and their teachings. As pointed out above, there is a gulf between this position and the actual practice of the Church. If one believes that all Church practices are as valid as the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Canons, one cannot even consider such change. I would just ask such persons to reflect on the implications of such a stance. Not only do I think that such an uncritical stance is not truly Orthodox, I believe it may be cultic.
I apologize if I have offended anyone with my frank views and I welcome corrections to my premises and conclusions. Respectfully,
#39 Carl on 2008-11-07 18:30
Are you serious? Who would respect ANY man that would put his wife away so that he could be a Bishop.
#40 Sergei on 2008-11-07 20:49
Alas, we have let our own interior fears and inadequacies keep us from considering an intelligent man as our Metropolitan. It is our loss. By all means, let us continue to look for "home-grown" talents which has been inoculated with the same lousy vision which has led us into our present mess.
Sure, maybe +Hilarion wouldn't have been elected, maybe there is someone, somewhere, who will rise up from among us to lead us forward. But from the comments of those opposing +Hilarion I see that the OCA is still very much stuck in its insularity, arrogance, and fears. Insularity by refusing to cooperate with those outside for help. Arrogance for thinking that we don't need any help. And fears for thinking that people who do things "different" (i.e. has accomplished things) are going to railroad us for our own failures. We could really use an objective set of eyes to evaluate what we're doing wrong (yes, we're doing something wrong, we're shrinking by the minute) and some new ideas on how to achieve growth. But, oh no, we don't want to be critiqued, we don't want ideas on how to do things different. Oh, no. While we may fear that what we are doing is failing, we are too arrogant to want to listen to others point out those failings. They make us feel bad. So we make them go away.
Honestly, people, grow up. The reason why +Hilarion refused to come here is because he recognized that people here were afraid of him. That says that he is a bigger man than we are. Let's wake up and realize this.
#41 Anonymous on 2008-11-08 07:29
Assuming you will attend the AAC as your parish/mission clergy delegate, simply move a change in the agenda during the first session of the Council to (a) reschedule the OCMC presentation as one of the lunchtime workshops, and (b) add the time originally scheduled for the OCMC presentation to the that scheduled for consideration of the budget . I feel certain that another delegate would second the motion; I think it highly probable that the Council would vote in favor of the motion.
NOTE: I am attending the 15th AAC as an observer, not a delegate.
#42 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-11-08 07:53
Local canons are just that, local canons to deal with "local" issues in their churches. Possibly their married bishops were spending too much time with their "wives" and ignoring the church(s) under them. Again, having a wife DOES NOT disqualify a man from the episcopacy. The Orthodox Church for too long has the corrupted idea that there is something wrong with a man having sexual relations and being a bishop. Celibates were chosen for expediency where a bishop would theoretically only concentrate on the churches under him. What we have found is that many celibates may not be as well-adjusted as married clergy. Marriage and sexual relations does not disqualify a cleric from the episcopacy.
#43 Anonymous on 2008-11-08 07:55
The agenda including the two videos is another masterful attempt at deflection from the essential issues at hand, something that the "good ol' boys" network is good at! This happened last year (2007) at the New England Diocesan Assembly held in Meriden, CT. At that time, we were deeply mired in the muck of this crisis, +Herman was still the Metropolitan, +Nikolai was still spewing his evil up in Alaska, and acknowledgements of wrongdoing were totally absent! Despite the crucial need of spending each moment dealing with this crisis, a good chunk of time (ninety minutes) was spent with a "show-and-tell" presentation of the Dean of the Connecticut Deanery giving a talk-and-slide show about his one-month missionary trip to Africa (he spent one month there, and ten months back home giving these presentations around the Deanery). This new tactic of the IOCC and OCMC videos is just another attempt to shut up the delegation by depriving them of vital time to deal with these essential issues!! I guess, after all that has happened, we're still expected to "pray, pay, and obey!!" Sounds just like the ground rules of the Soviet system of government! It seems they have learned nothing! I believe Dr Paul Meyendorff's idea of looking for a clean slate is even more appropriate than ever!!
#44 David Barrett on 2008-11-08 08:13
Just one correction: You mention only monastics as choices for the episcopacy in current practice. However, single and widowed men are also candidates, as was the case of the late +Bishop Boris of the Diocese of the Midwest, as well as the current +Bishop Nikon of New England! I understand the omission, because it seems the bishops in the Synod right now are only looking at monastics, while chanting the tired, old refrain of "there are no viable candidates!" Maybe if they again began including single and widowed men, they would find some!!
#45 David Barrett on 2008-11-08 08:23
It's been known to happen. And the wife accepts monasticism of her own free will and out of love of the church as does her husband. I have a friend, a bit younger than I, who is a priest in the Serbian church -- his parents later in life -- in their late fifties -- separated willingly and became monastics, usually after all the children are grown and out of the house. The priest-husband does not put away his wife; rather both agree to do so much in the same manner that the wife must consent to her husband's ordination to the priesthood in the first place.
One does not hear of such things in North America, but in the old country, it's not that uncommon where monasticism looms much larger in church life.
#46 Terry C. Peet on 2008-11-08 20:37
In Christian antiquity the Fathers and ecclesiastical writers testify to the spread through the East and the West of the voluntary practice of celibacy by sacred ministers because of its profound suitability for their total dedication to the service of Christ and His Church. St. Paul himself says that he prefers that "...you be as I am..." It would seem that since the bishop is THE representation of Christ in the midst of the Church, that he should be the symbol par excellence of "in persona Christi" and give his life for her as his model (Christ Our Blessed Lord) did. Besides, every 'archpriest' (bishop) IS married---to the bride of Christ, the Church! The bishop is 'married' to the altar---the very symbol of the Body of the Lord. It is in the center of the Altar that he lays down his head at the time of consecration and it is the fullness of Christ's servanthood that he takes on at that moment, thus laying down his life for the Church.
We don't have to go far to see that married priests in huge positions of responsibility have not faired any better in their living out of their commissions. Look at the former chancellor of this jurisdiction! So we should expect MORE from a married bishop??? Humbly, it seems to me that we should strengthen the monastic life of our Church first and then, only after we have done so, should we look at other options. Virginity for the Kingdom has an incredible value and witness in the Church and it always has. Some of the most remarkable bishops, now canonized Saints have moved entire societies and cultures by their total dedication and re-presentation of Christ to the whole world precisely by their celibacy for the Kingdom. I know that I'm simply an old monk, but I would suggest to you, "don't throw out the baby with the bathwater" here...but rather see the tremendous value of this kind of consecration and dedication. Young people in our time are looking for images of complete dedication and sacrifice and must not be sold short, but rather we must continue to give them models for complete dedicated service to Christ and the Church.
In His great mercy,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#47 Fr. Pius on 2008-11-09 12:27
Your message has numerous logical fallacies. The OCA is not ROCOR. Therefore, what happens in ROCOR does not necessarily happen in the OCA. The OCA has autocephaly. ROCOR was never granted this staus, ROCOR was autonomous, yes, but this was an anomaly, and this anomalous situation was rectified by bringing it into the heirarchial structure of the MP. The OCA's status does not need to be rectified, not in the eyes of the MP, and therefore there is no grounds for them to bring the OCA into the MP. The last thing in the world the MP wants is to strip the OCA of its autocephaly. An autocephalous OCA gives the MP bragging rights in world Orthodoxy. Why would they give that up?
#48 Anonymous on 2008-11-09 12:57
Dear Father Pius,
I certainly understand the impulse and reasoning behind your position; it appears to have been held by many in the universal Church (by most in the West) and certainly St. Paul's exhortation is very appealing. Indeed your piety is inspiring.
All that aside, it remains a fact that there are only a few Scriptures and Canons that are germane to this issue, with the Trullan Canon 12 being the last "word" chronologically.
By the way, the issue is not a choice between married bishops and celibate bishops. The issue is whether we can have married bishops in addition to celibate bishops, using the same criteria that we now use for priests. As a side note, David Barrett is correct that we also consecrate single or widower priests to the episcopacy. I think that in each instance the candidates spent some time in a monastery to have that "indispensable" monastic background.
I will not delve into the relative vices of married and celibate clergy. As you know, all are sinners. However, I would point that celibacy in the world is very, very hard. That may be the reason that Roman Catholic priests used to live together under the supervision of an older priest, just as the vast majority of the Orthodox celibates (monks, monk priests) live in a monastery under supervision. Forgive me this little levity--the same is true of Orthodox married men (priests or otherwise) who live under the supervision of their wives.
#49 Carl on 2008-11-10 07:26
Sorry, you are correct. I am merely speaking against the idea of introducing (after over a millenium!) the practice of married bishops that have not separated from their wives. Celibate and widowed men can, of course, be considered in addition to monastics - though they would be required to receive monastic tonsure prior to consecration to the episcopacy.
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