Thursday, March 12. 2009
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Last renovated in 2002, the question arises as to why the property is in need of additional renovation only six years later?... If the Diocese of Washington and New York is being asked, yet again, to repair the residence, is it not reasonable the Faithful be told why?
While confirmation would be welcome, it would seem that the reason is due to the fact that the "property in Bronxville, NY" is being renovated "for use as a diocesan center". It was previously, primarily the personal home of the Archbishop rather than a "diocesan center".
This likely hinges on what a "diocesan center" will be used for, and how this is dramatically different than the configuration of a home. I would hazard a guess and point to the Metropolitan's call for an increase in the Church's work regarding college student housing and the like given Bronxville's proximity not only to St. Vladimir's Seminary but to all the colleges and universities in the NYC metropolitan area - an area that would be prohibitively expensive to buy new property in for not-for-profit purposes, even in this economy. The Orthodox in the NYC area are also short of space to host events or groups of any size (at least when SVOTS is in session). For instance, the Ancient Christianity & African-American Conference wanted to hold an event in the NYC area, but affordable accommodations and space were not available to host the event, so it was held elsewhere. Given the African-American and African immigrant populations in the NYC region, this would have been an outstanding evangelism opportunity.
(editor's note: While I am not familiar with regulations in Bronxville, a very upscale neighborhood, it seems hardly likely the town would allow a conference center of any sort in a decidedly residential area where parking is limited to the street. Great idea, but unlikely....)
I gotta hand it to Metropolitan JONAH, the restrictions on Metropolitan HERMAN may not seem severe to a layman, but they are brutal. For a Metropolitan to be deprived of wearing the white klobuk is the 'cherry' on top. I'm speechless! This will definitely make +Herman pause to reflect and (hopefully) bring about much repentance. Pride comes before the fall...and the fall is much more painful when it comes from high up. May he come to the realization that Christ is enough for any and all of us...and that if we have the Lord and His grace---we have EVERYTHING and need nothing!
Have mercy on us all, O Lord!
In His Holy Name,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#2 Fr. Pius on 2009-03-12 18:09
Good to see some progress is being made on follow-up on the SIC Report.
#3 Bruce W. Trakas on 2009-03-12 20:14
Bravo for +Metropolitan Jonah!! A very pastoral move, indeed!!!
#4 David Barrett on 2009-03-12 23:38
Besides MH losing his hat , this is beating the same old horse. Was that SIC report BS if we're on the same stuff again ? I don't believe that statement about " no audits and we're the law". Why didn't these "several" step up during those months of the making of the sic reports. Seems like smelly and dirty laundry.
P.S Nice report on the Anti. Church
(Editor's note: Thanks. But as for NY/NJ, the laundry is smelly, but now seems to be getting some air. Whether it is dirty remains to seen, no? As for "stepping up", someone must have during the SIC process, because they recommended this be investigated. That they did not do so publicly says more about the state of our Church, where fear of reprisals still abounds, than it does about the SIC. )
#5 Anonymous on 2009-03-13 03:51
To be honest, the Bronxville residence has not been "unoccupied" the last few years, but occupied by a person who, when she left, left behind piles of stuff. Some her's, some +Peter's, but tons of stuff. Some St. Vlad's students were hired to pack up most of it, and St. Vlad's library is sorting through all the books and media. But I'm sure much more work needs to be done to make it even habitable again.
I've heard that +Jonah has been kicking around a number of ideas for the property. While these ideas may be good, it is evident that this whole thing needs a whole lot more, what's the word again...oh, transparency. Updates should be posted on the diocese' website, and area priests should be involved in the process. I think there may still be legal issues with the former squatter (I mean, resident), so they may be trying to keep this "lying low" as much as possible. Which is understandable, but they should instead be trying to say the very most that they possibly can.
As for +Peter's expenses and medical bills, another example of a bishop using his diocese for his own personal purposes rather than giving himself to his diocese. It's tragic that apparently the "powers that be" at that time saw nothing wrong with that.
#6 Anonymous on 2009-03-13 05:44
The Holy Spirit may not move when we want Him to (in our time) but He does move. Glory to Jesus Christ!
Linda Elizabeth Weir
#7 Linda Weir on 2009-03-13 07:31
If someone in NY/NJ really wants to get to the bottom of the smelly finances, all they have to do is dig real hard into the "Russian Orthodox Theological Fund" that morphed into the "Chancellor's Fund" under the exclusive control of the late Fr. Alexander Wareneke" and was handed over to Fr Jaraslov Sudick as a slush fund. Remember it was that fund under Sudick's control that got +Peter retired when the late Archbishop tried to go after Sudick - only to have Herman and Theodosius gang up on the old man when Sudick (a major fundraiser at the time) for St. Tikhon's postured that he would blow the whistle on the stuff at St. Tikhon's, and of course no more money for Herman. Follow the money in that chancellor's fund and you will now have something to report in a meaningful audit.
The bad part of this digging will expose a lot current clergy and laity in hot water.
#8 An Interested NY/NJ Observer on 2009-03-13 08:32
"the Archbishop, who had Medicare and health insurance, was, in addition, personally wealthy"
Here is the source of all the trouble.
A bishop is supposed to be a monk.
A monk takes a vow of poverty when he is tonsured.
If someone is a monk, it is impossible for him to be personally wealthy.
The only possible outcome here is that the "rich monk" never took his tonsuring seriously. The people who tonsured him never took it seriously.
How can we expect a bishop to be a good bishop if he is not first a good monk? We can't. So, this becomes a very clear pointer to the root cause of all our troubles. Monasticism in the OCA is not what it should be. Fix this problem, and in time all others will be fixed as well.
Maybe we need to focus more on the monasteries and get them right.
(Editor's note: The late Archbishop received the bulk of his fortune as an inheritance from his parents. )
#9 Anonymous on 2009-03-13 08:39
I happened to visit the late Archbishop's house late in 2008. The house struck me as dated, actually, not renovated. A key question would be, if unanswerable, what the original renovations were for. It is worth noting that not all areas called Bronxville are posh; both the house and the neighborhood of the Archbishop's house are modest by most standards, even if real estate & taxes are exorbitant. The OCA might wish for a palace in Bronxville - what it has is a dated ranch house in "the other half" of Bronxville. I am not at all surprised to hear it needs fixing up. The house would need help to sell, much less inhabit.
(Editor's note: the most recent renovations were for updating electrical needs, windows, and roof repairs. )
#10 anonymous on 2009-03-13 09:22
To everyone who has some concerns about the house in Bronxville I just wanted to add my two cents.
I visited it a couple of months ago with Fr. Joseph Lickwar and the place was a mess. God bless him and his matushka for helping to clean it up. Besides just the immense amount of clutter, the house does, indeed, need some additional work. The kitchen was clearly recently renovated however the floors were in terrible shape, the rooms all needed to be painted, and it appeared that there was some water damage as well.
The house is in a very expensive neighborhood but it clearly is not the best house on the block by a longshot.
(Editor's note: Thanks for the added info.)
#11 Priest Michael Tassos on 2009-03-13 12:43
So I just read the post on oca.org and one phrase caught my eye:
"with the recent decision of the Holy Synod that only the ruling Primate of the Orthodox Church in America will have the right to wear the white klobuk."
So, will Metropolitan Theodosius get the same visit from Jonah?
(Editor's note: A letter, not a visit. And, as I understand it, yes. This is not a new decision, although enforcing it will be. In the '80's Metropolitan Theodosius dis-invited the former Metropolitan Vladimir of Japan from attending an AAC because he refused to not wear his white klobuk.... So, it seems, what goes around, comes around.)
#12 Michael Livosky on 2009-03-13 13:30
Until there is "means testing" for people of means who can pay for a government service, you can't blame the late Ab. Peter for taking advantage of a government program like Medicare.
As for the simplistic view of monasticism, "fix this problem and in time all others will be fixed as well" that all depends on what view of monasticism a Church incarnates. You have an expansive monastic life in Russia and Greece, but that does not mean that good bishops will grow from that experience! You have many despostic bishops in both Churches.
However, if a man is humble, self-sacrificing, missionary, chaste, conservative in terms of morality and Church Tradition while sensitive in terms of the application of the Gospel in a particular location, then whether a man is a formed monastic or not is less absolute.
(Editor's note: I did not criticize the late Archbishop for using his rights to Medicare. I was critcizing the former Diocesean administration and the former OCA administration for using such a patently lame excuse while divertin, or allowing to be diverted, over a hundred thousand dollars somewhere else that still remains to be determined.)
#13 Anonymous on 2009-03-13 16:23
Dear Editor's Note,
Who was talking to you? I was speaking to the poster. It was the poster who made the Medicare inference, not you!!!
(editor's note: Sorry. My bad. )
#14 Anonymous on 2009-03-13 18:23
It is good to see Metropolitan Jonah taking these needed actions and my comments are nearly unneeded.
It is rather awful to take pleasure in another's demise on one hand, but on the other hand, it is too painful to think the mistakes made by our two former Metropolitans are rewarded.
It is sad to say, but the white hat has lost alot these past few years. It will be hard for Jonah or any man to bring it back into respect for many. And for me, it will be hard to not squint a bit when I look at them in pictures and hear them named in Liturgy.
That is to say, I will probably always question their goodness.
It sure would be good if the church was more ethical.
#15 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-03-13 19:55
better still fix the episcopate by retoring married men to that office.
#16 Fr Anonymous on 2009-03-13 19:56
For information purposes, this is the house that Abp Peter lived in:
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/33-Hewitt-Ave-Bronxville-NY-10708/33017443_zpid/ (I should note that Zillow high-balls house values in my experience, and with the real estate market in free-fall, if the OCA sold that house they would probably not get what Zillow claims the house is worth.)
As you can see, it's a modest single-family dwelling, not a grand posh palace. My way of thinking is that Met Jonah's wish to use this as a "diocesan center" means he wants to allow retired bishops to live there, use it for temporary stays, or perhaps use it as a monastic house. At any rate, MJ wants to put it to some kind of use appropriate to a house its size and condition. That sounds much nicer than letting it sit empty.
#17 pobrecita on 2009-03-13 20:57
Glory to IC XC!
What sane, God-fearing, wife-loving man would do that to his marriage???
Many thing would have to change before we could even consider such inflictions.
#18 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2009-03-14 14:48
The renovation of the Bronxville house may have more to do with the installation of a new vicar bishop for Met. Jonah for the Washington NY?NJ diocese then just doing a "flip this house" routine! Met. Jonah does want a vicar so that he can tend to his primatial duties while not leaving his own diocese with an episcopal presence. Sounds like the house in Bronxville would be a perfect location to house a vicar.
#19 Anonymous on 2009-03-14 15:03
A true tragedy! Could Shakespeare his (or her) self have written such a tragedy of the life of +Herman, a priest who rose to power and used power and greed to dictate havoc on the church.
In my mind, there is absolutely NO difference between +Herman and Madoff. Both men stole and abused monies entrusted to them.
I applaud +Jonah, and have the utmost respect for him. I imagine his decisions, mostly made in isolation of the synod, must be extremely painful. Telling a former Metropolitan he can no longer wear his vestments? Humiliating. But none so much as being tried in civil court and jailed. +Herman and his colleagues (past Treasurers, priests and deacons) were crooks. Not all of course, but there were many. If there is wrongdoing, they should be brought to civil court.
Again, I am shocked and thankful at the swift actions of +Jonah. However, my message to him if I could send him one would be to PLEASE hold off in the decentralization of the church. If anything, the financial mismanagement at St. Tikhon's, NY/NJ and elsewhere show a need for a strong central church; a strong Metropolitan.
Our church truly is being cleaned. Glory to God! But, like the stock market, perhaps we need to uncover more and fall even farther, before we see a true turnaround.
Regardless, I am extremely hopeful. Thank you +Jonah. Thank you Mark!
#20 Anonymous on 2009-03-14 21:14
Are you sure you want a "strong central church"? Isn't that what gave us the OCA scandals of the amazing disappearing investment portfolio -- well before the recent crash began -- and the privately redirected funds of the charity appeals? Look at the recent postings on this web site and the Orthodox Forum concerning the current upheaval in the Antiochian Archdiocese; it appears to this outside observer that the Antiochians have had a "strong central church" for quite some time.
I think that what we, the Orthodox in North America, need is a "strong central church" balanced by "strong dioceses" and "strong parishes" in the conciliar, consensual relationships among the hierarchs and between the hierarchs, the "lower clergy", and the laity, the sort of relationships it appears the canons envision. We need a "strong central church" to undertake and oversee those activities best done at the national/continental level; we need "strong dioceses" to undertake and oversee those activities that are best done at the intermediate or regional level; and we need "strong parishes" at the local level to do the work of the Body of Christ. But this all, including the canons, assumes that each and every hierarch has both a well developed humility and a love for mankind, both those near and those far, that makes it unthinkable that a hierarch would make decisions in any manner other than the conciliar, or consensual, mentioined above.
#21 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-03-15 04:21
Dear Father Woycik,
Even the most ardent proponents of the Apostolic model of episcopacy would have to agree with you that many things will have to change. I would think that aside for the formalities, there must be vast sea changes in the role of the deaconate and the laity.
Right of the bat, a Council must repeal Trullan Canon 12, so that the bishop and his wife is not forcibly separated.
Second, the deaconate must be returned to its original purpose, from a mere step toward priesthood to a stand-alone office. It may be an excellent idea to also reestablish female deacons.
Finally, the real hard part: we should redefine the functions or ministries of a church and determine who would be primarily responsible for them and who will be secondary (one-deep functions are quite unwise). We have plenty of Scriptural evidence for laity contributing to the life of the church in accordance with the talents and gifts given to them. Why is this necessary? Because we expect entirely too much of our priests (let alone bishops). In many of our churches, there is already such an arrangement, where lay persons run the ministries of chanting, directing the choir, running the school, teaching classes, acting as secretary, treasurer, etc... We could have other folks running community outreach, visitation to the home-bound and the sick, running food pantries, etc...
Of course, at the diocesan level, the same pattern must also exist. In addition, married bishops would come from folks who match the job description in 1 Timothy 3. Regarding wives and children, this would mean in practice mature men and mature and proven families, who can undertake the rigors of the office. Saint Paul's job description is truly wise. If only we had the wisdom and courage to try it!
In Christ, Carl
#22 Carl on 2009-03-15 09:47
Hmm...so this huge speech that Met. Jonah gave at the AAC all has turned around and made him a hypocrite. This whole moving on that he talked about has turned out to be B.S. Someone is pulling his strings...and I wanna know who.
#23 Interesting on 2009-03-15 18:06
Two Metropolitans. Two individuals that used our church's highest office of leadership for greed instead of renewal; lust instead of growth; selfishness instead of serving others.
Two Metropolitans. Two men ordered to pray publicly in confinement, rather than preaching and expanding the church.
Two Metropolitans - absolutely disgraceful. Two men which typify perhaps our church as a whole. Perhaps we were not ready to be our own church; still are not ready.
Metropolitan Theodosius has hid behind his illness, which inevitably have become worse from the anxiety of his legacy. For Metropolitan Herman, there is no such hiding and if there are criminal actions then he should be tried in a civil court, along with all of his other accomplices.
The church is as much a business as it is a spiritual haven. It requires marketing, financial management, human resources and strategic planning. We could learn a lot from our evangelical friends.
And, still it amazes me that we still do not teach one single business course in our seminaries! Not one.
Neither +Herman or +Theodosius were accountable to the church and men. Soon, they will be to God himself.
How disgraceful not to be able to serve and preach freely.
Shame on them!
#24 Anonymous on 2009-03-15 22:49
Indeed, Metropolitan Jonah and the Synod have "moved on" since the 15th All-American Council. Have they reconsidered the "discipline" dispensed in response to the Special Investigative Committee (SIC) report? No! What are they addressing in the "mess at St. Tikhon's"? They are dealing with the misfeasance and malfeasance identified by the investigation overseen by Bishop Tikhon. While the allegations of misfeasance and malfeasance pre-date the SIC efforts by many years, when was a publicly acknowledged investigation undertaken? Not until the SIC report was made public. The confirmation of misfeasance and malfeasance is "new business." That the manner of handling the confirmed misfeasance and malfeasance at St.Tikhon's is so different, and more in keeping with what should happen in the Church, is perhaps an indication of how much has changed and the direction of change within the Synod.
#25 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-03-16 03:19
This is a very good and sensible comment.
Taking it one step further, I suggest that we would be enlightened by a process of brainstorming, organizing, and prioritizing the answers to a seemingly simple question: A good parish has/is/does what (fill in the blank)? Not only would people surely bring up things I alone would never think of (and vice versa), but the prioritizing would tell us a lot about our selves: what we need, but also things about our understanding of the Church that need to be fixed. The same applies to a good diocese and a good national/continental Church. We too readily assume that we know the answer to such questions and that all agree on the answer.
Imagine a cadre of well prepared moderators fanning out to a wide variety, if not all, parishes to hold such brainstorming workshops as part of the Strategic Planning process.
#26 Anonymous in NYC on 2009-03-16 06:52
I agree with your presentation of a balanced organization of "strong" elements within the Church. Furthermore, concerning your last point that all this "assumes that each and every hierarch has both a well developed humility and a love for mankind," makes it all the more imperative that there be checks and balances, not just on the material aspects (such as auditing accounts), but spiritual checks and balances, as well! This means (as I've questioned before) the need for holding the hierarchs accountable for "working out [their] own salvation in fear and trembling," namely, having to answer for the fact that they, too, are regularly and consistently partaking in the Sacrament of Holy Confession!! If a man becomes a bishop and the membership of the Church "assumes" he still goes to Confession, without any accountability for such (as there still is for the rest of us), and he (as a bishop) goes along for a period of time with*out* going to Confession and nobody seems to notice, how can this man at all resist the tempting thought that he is now autonomous and doesn't have to answer for anything? Again, I believe it is just this precise process of deluded thinking that led the perpetrators of this crisis to feel autonomous and infallible to the point of actually committing these sins! If we had had not only the financial boundaries in place (ledgers requiring specifics about where monies went), but also these spiritual boundaries, it stands a good chance that this crisis would not have occurred in the first place! The Church is, first and foremost, a spiritual body, because she is the Body of Christ Himself!! Unless we address the spiritual dimension of accountability, the stability of the material dimension will remain tenuous, at best!!
#27 David Barrett on 2009-03-16 07:47
I heard the Metropolitan's speech also...and do not see any disparity whatsoever. When one is ordained a priest, he/we often feel that we're going to "change the world"---but with time, one usually realizes that one's power to change EVERYTHING need be a little more modest. I think that is all that is happening here...and nothing more sinister.
We need to remember that as followers of the Lord Jesus, we MUST be people of HOPE...and must never allow our faith to so weakened that it is deprived of that virtue of hope! A true 'dyed in the wool cynic' is not a Christian...however one is often called in these times to be a pragmatist.
In His great love for us all,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
#28 Fr. Pius on 2009-03-16 09:00
Be careful what you wish for. It is my understanding that +Herman has a degree in business, and look where that got us.
#29 Anonymous on 2009-03-16 17:14
Just what "accountability" applies to the rest of us when it comes to the Mystery of Repentance? The pathetic minimalism of Article X,5,b of The Statute? Your own rector's rule of thumb? What? And how in the world do you know whether or not any given Bishop is making his Confession regularly? You seem to be claiming both an infallibility and omniscience that even Benedict XVI doesn't claim.
And PLEASE! let's not have any nonsense about judging the frequency or honesty of someone's Confessions by their behaviour. That always involves a snapshot of a moment in time, not the full-length movie of the person's life. I've been hearing Confessions for more than 36 years, and have witnessed some horrendous and horrendously long struggles of falling and getting up, falling and getting up, falling and getting up. There have been cases where victory came only towards the end. In the short run, such folk look like hypocrites; over the long haul, they're bloody heroes, because they hang in there and keep fighting and keep getting up no matter how often or how hard they fall; because they refuse to surrender to their besetting sin; they refuse to give up on following Christ.
And just FYI, I make my own Confession usually weekly, or at the longest, every two weeks. How often to you yourself repair to the Mystery of Repentance? I mean, if you're going to comment on the frequency of episcopal confessions, surely you owe it to us to say how frequent yours are, yes?
Until you have John 7:24 nailed absolutely and infallibly, how 'bout you just worry about the frequency and integrity of your own Confessions?
#30 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-03-17 04:37
Let us not get sidetracked in the sophistry of trying to determine how confessions constitute a proper spiritual life. There seem to me to be two separate, yet interrelated subjects of concern and discussion: the maintenance of a healthy spiritual life by our hierarchs, and hierarchical accountability.
Since last September, I have become increasingly concerned with the ability of our hierarchs to maintain a healthy spiritual life given the administrative demands they face. I have seen the weariness and fatigue on Bishop Benjamin's face and heard it in his voice as the Special Investigative Committee worked heroically to meet the deadline for completing their report. I saw the fatigue on Metropolitan Jonah's face during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts last Wednesday evening: the fatigue of seven days away from home; a number of important meetings, including one no doubt unpleasant but necessary; and a significant amount of time spent in evening appearances. How do these men maintain a healthy spiritual life while traveling frequently and over extended periods? It seems to me that without a healthy spiritual life -- frequent contact with their spiritual elders -- there is no way for any of them to bear the crosses of their offices.
What of hierarchical accountability? It seems to me that the key to hierarchical accountability is the maintenance, if not the growth, of spiritual health, and that is based on a strong relationship with a spiritual elder. Having the appropriate governance structures in place and following them is important, but governance structures mean little if the strong spiritual life that I think the requirement that hierarchs normally be chosen from the ranks of the monastics implies is absent. Is that not one of the lessons we should draw from our recent scandals in the OCA?
#31 Mark C. Phinney on 2009-03-18 03:43
His "degree" is a 2 year bookkeeper's degree! He may be able to balance a check book, but he's never been CFO, COO or CEO quality!
#32 Anonymous on 2009-03-18 13:41
Challenging the tyranny of untested assumptions---especially negative assumptions about other people---is hardly sophistry. I Corinthians 13:7 demands that we give others the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their intentions, while John 7:24 demands that we refrain from surface evaluations that lack all the facts; and calling for obedience to those Scriptures is hardly sophistry.
And you, also, seem to be making some huge assumptions. For example, you seem to assume that "spiritual elders" are easy for a Bishop to find. They're not. In North America, true "spiritual elders" are few and far between...and God preserve us from the mindlessly and lovelessly zealous "young elders" who have caused such spiritual chaos and harm to souls in Russia and Ukraine in recent years!!!
You also seem to assume that it is easy for a Bishop to find someone whose keeping of confidentiality is complete, someone who maintains absolutely "velcro lips" when the hierarch opens his soul. Such are the conditions needed for true honesty with a spiritual father. But again, your assumption is more sanguine than real. More than one Bishop has been burned in precisely this way.
Do Bishops need to maintain and grow in a strong life in Christ and be spiritually accountable to their confessor or spiritual father? Of course! That's basic to every Christian, and I can see neither Scripture nor Canon nor patristic teaching exempting hierarchs from it.
But is that task remarkably difficult for conscientious hierarchs bent on doing their job, given the insanity of huge dioceses, small diocesan administrations with equally small budgets,
and the North American cultural obsession with activity and speed rather than contemplation and caution? Yup.
And please note that just being a monastic, even a monastic with a proper formation, is no guarantee of a true and growing and deepening life in Christ: just ask my confessor or---for something less scary---consult The Arena and/or the Desert Fathers and/or the Athonite Gerontikon for cautionary examples of monastic delusion and failure.
Would it be helpful for the Holy Synod to mandate for its members a yearly one-week retreat for each hierarch at a monastery of his choosing; a regular confessor of his choosing for each Bishop; one complete day off each and every week (excluding Great Week but including weeks with Synod meetings) as a "desert day" to be spent in prayer and spiritual reading (with the cook having the power to enforce it: no desert day -- no eats!); etc.? I think so. As a matter of fact, I'd like to see that mandated for every priest and deacon too. BUT if the rest of us think that's a good idea, we have to be prepared for a slower pace in diocesan/parish administration and delays in decision-making; less immediate access to the Bishop/rector on OUR timetable; and so on.
Do we need pastoral leadership deeply rooted in the risen Jesus? Certainly. But do we WANT and will we follow pastoral leadership deeply rooted in the risen Jesus? even...nay, especially...when such leadership prophesies against our culturally comfortable assumptions and against our pet sins? even...nay, especially...when such leadership calls us to strict adherence to the Gospel and its total ethic? We may need saints to lead us, but do we actually want them and will we actually accept and and follow them and the extreme discomfort they bring to our neat little lives?
I would like to think so. But sometimes I gotta wonder....
#33 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-03-19 05:02
Suggestion: Take Sociology of Religion 100 & 101...then you may just change your mind about a married episcopate...as well as the other ideas!
1st. This Deserves some thought: Why did the Church change this ruling in the first place (and pleeeeeease don't give us the 'Church property' ruse!). Study seriously what Sociology of Religion teaches us about this subject...and you will see, that on a very practical level, there was a GOOD and PIOUS reason why the Church changed this ruling in the first place. Secondly: men like Rodion K. (a.k.a. "Fr. Bob") always rise to these positions in the end anyway...and how would that have helped us??? Some help having HIM as a married priest in a high position of authority helped us?!?!?! DAH!
Next: Study the history of the female diaconate. There is no longer a need for it...and if there were, this would NOT be the time (amidst feminist who see the priesthood as a "power position" within the Church) to do so anyway. Again: study Sociology of Religion 100 & 101---and you'll see from a a purely natural science why these things will not work...and how they can only bring the 'spirit of the world' into the midst of the ancient Church of the East---that's entire theology is trying to point to THE KINGDOM!
I think that after 44 years of monastic life, I have enough experience and have seen enough to know what will bring down the house----and your ideas (though sincere and well intentioned, I'm sure) are dangerous spiritually for the vast majority of believing Orthodox Christians.
In His great mercy,
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
P.S. What you will learn from Soc of Religion is that ANY kinds of change within the structures of a people's faith tradition drives people AWAY from that tradition and hence from God. Look what such changes did in the Roman Catholic Church during the last 40 years!
#34 Fr. Pius on 2009-03-19 13:40
I have become increasingly concerned with the ability of our hierarchs to maintain a healthy spiritual life given the administrative demands they face.
Here, here. I wonder if a solution may be for our dioceses to become much smaller, perhaps the size of deaneries. This would allow our bishops to be more like chief pastors of parishes, rather than the managers of the pastors of parishes. It would also decrease the work load and the distances needed to be traveled.
Purely administrative functions can be centralized - with oversight - much in the way Congress has 'outsourced' many rights it retains to the Executive Branch for management (e.g., the Federal Reserve). The central church authority can then become an internal resource to the dioceses which can decide to use them or use their own, can establish standards, be responsible for oversight and transparency, and external affairs, etc.
When the demands of a diocesan bishop are right sized, then the qualifications would less expansive than is currently expected of a strong priest in a decent sized parish who also sits on various committees and the like. They would also 'cost' less as they aren't expected to be leaders of vast 'kingdoms'
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