Thursday, March 19. 2009
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There are also rumors on usenet about the selection of an unnamed monk to head the vacant Bulgarian Diocese:
"In residence around the Washington, DC area lately are several monks from Greece that have been here from the enthronement of Jonah on to today. Sister Seraphima, spending quite a bit of quality time at St. Nicholas cathedral ... is the abbess of a monastery in Thebes under the elder Metropolitan Dionysios, who is also around here with a couple other American monks. ... One monk he brought with him I originally met at St. Tikhon's and may be becoming head of the Bulgarian Archdiocese ...."
Melanie Jula Sakoda
What a complete OUTRAGE!
THE OCA IS THE AIG of Orthodoxy!
You've heard nothing, you've learned nothing.
I am completely disgusted.
To all youns in WPA: GOD IS WITH YOU, WE ARE WITH YOU, please do not give in, do not give up. Axios!
#2 no name on 2009-03-19 16:03
Where is the article these are comments on? For that matter where are the rest of the articles about +Philip's purported deposition of his entire Archdiocesan Synod from their sees? Only the original article posted on 9 March is available.
It would be nice if the comment threads had a link back to the articles they comment on, or were headed by a copy.
St. Mary Magdalene Mission, Manhattan, KS
Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America
(editor's note: All the articles are on the home page. The address is www.OCANews.org
As for posting the article in the header of each thread, the system does not allow that. Sorry.)
#3 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-03-19 17:47
So this is to be the new OCA?! Does anyone still believe in the fairytale of renewal and reform brought on by the selection of Metropolitan Jonah? The more one sees of the machinations of the unholy OCA Synod, the more one realizes their successful coup and ruse at the AAC last year.
If only half of this report turns out to be true, it is an unmitigated disaster for the OCA and anyone still hoping for a new era that rejects the high-handed practices of the past. It is time to set aside illusions and false hopes that the current hierarchical leadership of the OCA is anything but a continuation of the bad old days.
(Editor's note: I sincerely hope you are wrong, Ken, and will suspend judgement until we see how this plays out. Who knows, they may heed more sound counsel.)
#4 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-03-19 18:03
While I empathize with the situation of the people in the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania, they are still more fortunate that those of us here in New England. By that, I mean, they have waited four months for an answer. When (then-) +Bishop Job was yanked out of New England in 1993, we were told that the episcopal vacancy would be filled "soon." Their (the Holy Synod's) idea of "soon" turned out to be ten years!! And, this was not the first time this was played out on the faithful of the Diocese of New England. In the early 1970's, (then-) +Bishop Dimitri was our bishop, before he, too, was yanked out of here to be moved to the Diocese of the South! Whatever happened to the concept of a bishop being wedded to his diocese?? In that case, our Diocese of New England has suffered two "divorces" in the past quarter century!! So, hang in there, Western Pennsylvania faithful! If you get an answer this spring, you'll be years ahead of the responses we in New England have been subject to! May God bless you and grant that Archimandrite Melchizedek becomes, through His will, your new hierarch!
#5 David Barrett on 2009-03-19 19:11
sound council? I vote for a sound spanking! hours later, i am still shocked and filled with rage. i think that we must stay angry now, otherwise nothing will change.
#6 no name on 2009-03-19 20:21
Now, hold on for just a second. The State of Pennsylvania (46,055 sq mi) is currently being served by only one bishop. Two would be better, sure. But let's take a look around the OCA...
The State of Alaska (663,268 sq mi) has no bishop.
The States of "the South" (1,002,757 sq mi) are served by only one bishop, and he is in his late 80s and frankly not doing so well.
The States of "the Midwest" (746,000 sq mi) are served by only one bishop, who has declared his intent to retire.
The States of "the West" (820,350 sq mi) are served by only one bishop (and he's also serving the State of Alaska, see above).
The States of New York and New Jersey and a few others (111,023 sq mi) are served by only one bishop (and he's also the Primate).
The entire Dominion of Canada (3,854,085 sq mi) is served by only one bishop.
I admit, the square mileage thing is over-simplistic and addresses only one facet of many in this topic. But it does paints a picture. I feel like sometimes the east-coasters have an different perspective from the rest of us. Maybe I should have begun this post with, "Did you know that you can fit 64 Western Pennsylvanias within the territory that Bishop Benjamin travels every day?"
The point is, we're at crisis-level in our need for bishops. Reasonable people can disagree on where the next bishop is most needed without disgracefully shouting names at the Holy Synod. They just may be right this time.
#7 A Chicagoan on 2009-03-19 20:57
O Lord give us representative councils with decision making powers and married bishops!
#8 disaster on 2009-03-19 22:38
I noticed that when this site gets stale , you must go back to RSK. I personally enjoyed hearing about the anti's and bulgarian's. Your obsession with RSK is old and it's like hearing a broken record. Listen to the top 20's.
#9 Anonymous on 2009-03-20 05:04
I am honestly weary of it all and do not have the patients for new outrages all I can say is although the truth can often be very mundane I feel all this proves that the coruption is of such a scale that church heirarchs feel it has to be covered up at all costs because it (truth) will not only destroy the OCA but adversly effect Orthodoxy in general. At this point one has to suspect personal misconduct on the scale of the Catholic Church, financial misconduct in keeping with the times and the involvment of some element of organized crime. What else would prompt such unexplanable actions. The Church is incapable of taking care of Church business in this atmosphere and should call for law inforcment to intervein because none of these problems or their motivation has anything to do with the Church.
#10 Anon on 2009-03-20 05:25
All these posts about doom & gloom in the OCA. These are people who are for the most part, outsiders and wishing the worst on the OCA. The reality is that W. PA. has taken a big hit in the US recession over the last 20 years. There are no more steel plants and interrelated businesses. There has been an economic shift going on and the church has to address this. Where bishops aren't appointed, Sr. Archpriests can easily pick up the slack. Eventually with the OCA strategic plan, many things may change. However, a bishop for Pittsburgh should be installed.
#11 Anonymous on 2009-03-20 06:30
+ Dimitri wants BRUM??? He was the hand-picked guy by RSK - that should tell everyone volumes. RSK chose Brum to write canonical opinions to enforce many of his questionable decisions. If Brum is the best the SW diocese can do, close it!
#12 Anonymous on 2009-03-20 06:34
That's not true, it's not doom and gloom it's an Orthodoxy free of the rotting stench of byzantium that we want in America which can be an example for all of Orthodoxy.
#13 Anon on 2009-03-20 07:00
Unless it has changed radically since my day, the diocesan constitution requires that its Bishop be of Bulgarian descent. And given some of the past history between Greek-speaking and Bulgarian-speaking folk in Macedonia, it's not likely the diocese would accept a Greek as its Bishop.
#14 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-03-20 07:12
Hear, hear! Fully 50% of WPA's parishes need to be merged or closed anyway, and the course of action of any new bishop would begin there. How many parishes in WPA have less than 20 people? And the same in EPA for that matter? How many priests in those dioceses are serving multiple parishes within 5 or 10 miles of each other, and that only hold a handfull of people?
The money issue is moot. Make the 1.25 M restricted so that STS can't touch it. Besides, no amount of diocesan money will change the reality of the parish situations.
#15 Anonymous on 2009-03-20 07:33
Depressing news almost giving me heart palpitations! I was rescued by your brilliant alliteration (papal/paypal), which is sheer genius.
(Editor's note: It was not original. I plagerized with permission, though. The honor of it belongs to a reader, who wishes to remain anonymous. )
#16 Terry C. Peet on 2009-03-20 07:40
Anschluss? Fair game to talk about the maneuverings that go on but to invoke nazi imagery? Aren't we getting a bit melodramatic? I mean papal and paypal. You're hit the trifecta with these three. Nazi's, popes, and money? The "OCA Code"? A bad song or a bad novel. Gee, maybe I just got the point.
(Editor's note: You have been watching too many films - in this case it seems the Sound of Music and the Da Vinci Code.)
#17 Anon on 2009-03-20 07:47
Quite right, Fr. Philip. As a point of information, this requirement is still in place, though amending the diocesan constitution has been discussed.
But regarding Melanie's comment, note that the post she quotes says that "Metropolitan Dionysios . . . is also around here with a couple other American monks" (my emphasis). It is of these American monks that the poster further says: "One monk [Metropolitan Dionysios] brought with him I originally met at St. Tikhon's and may be becoming head of the Bulgarian Archdiocese (sic)". So if this American monk is of Bulgaro-Macedonian descent, as far as the current diocesan constitution goes, "nihil obstat."
Last week, some clergymen of the Bulgarian Diocese met with Metropolitan Jonah in Washington, D.C. Was this alleged candidate presented to them at that point?
#18 ejv on 2009-03-20 08:50
It is Lent and I really, really did intend to be a good dog for as long as possible - no annoying of local cats, no chewing up slippers, no tearing up the neighbors' flower beds, no posting on ocanews. But a one sentence prayer from Ol' "disaster" here, and I want to chase him or her right up a tree and howl for an hour.
In the Old Testament historical books there was a long period after entry into the Promised Land during which God led his people through the judges and prophets. But Israel saw how the other surrounding nations had kings and stubbornly asked God for one. They got Saul, a very mixed bag to say the least.
Ol' disaster, who has unwittingly chosen my current candidate for most apt pseudonym employed here in 2009, seemingly takes a cue from the Israelites. In asking God for "representative councils with decision making powers" can we extrapolate that s/he has subconsciously besought God for church government by what the nations around have, by ...gasp ... a Congress?
Now there's a way to get just the sort of Church someone named disaster will love...and deserve! Constant campaigning at AACs, pork-barrell competitions among the dioceses, junkets to Russia for all, lavish golfing vacations paid for by vestment making cartels and the candle-vendor lobby, government by internet sloganeering, Jim Lehrer interviewing Stokoe and Brooks on the evening news. Blagoyevich can do the bishop nominations for you, Wilbur Mills as the baptism instructor ... I'd better stop barking now before I rupture something or the dog catcher has time to get here.
Disaster's post is an example of "grass is greener," oversimplifying, a sort of wishful or magical thinking. A representative council will certainly do away with the characteristic problems associated with an oligarchy of old men. But not give us some Utopia in its place, let alone anything Orthodox. Rather it would just be a new set of susceptibilities to the weaknesses common to legislative bodies. And, yes, government by internet has its inherent tendencies and weaknesses too, especially as practiced by the anonymous.
(Editor's note: We do seem to be doing so much better with the whims of one person, don't we father? I refuse to accept the reduction of conciliarity to mob rule, any more than I do that hierarchy necessarily implies dictatorship. We've had imperial bishops, and all the empires have failed. No one wants bishops elected for five year terms, either. So why not try at least conciliarity, which is where the OCA Statute and the Archdiocesan Constitution were leading us? It would be refreshing, don't you think? )
#19 Fr. George Washburn on 2009-03-20 09:04
Think again if the OCA is being decentralized. Looks to me as if it is being recentralized into a functional Holy Synod. But why appoint vicars or auxiliaries? These days both Metropolitans Philip and Jonah seem to favor the use of vicar or auxiliary bishops.However, this question is a larger one for Met. Philip. He can be further asked: what happens to a local synod if its bishops, all but one, are reduced to auxiliaries? Can centralization be defacto in one man? Come on even God is Triune.
Back to the OCA. Effectively, the OCA Diocese of Western PA followed the process allowed by statute for the nomination of its candidate for local bishop. To this point the statute works. As that diocese awaits election of their episcopal candidate by the Holy Synod, it is with the Holy Synod that other genuine concerns slow down the process. Merging Western and Eastern PA Dioceses? Why, because Eastern PA is in financial straights? Sorry, the solution doesn't fix the problem. Maybe after the bishop of Western PA is established, his diocesan council should be appointed the role of financial adviser to Eastern PA and together set up the necessary parameters to lead them out of financial trouble. This would even be in line with Met. Jonah's thinking that the metropolitan council be the fund raising arm of the church at large. Hence the task of the diocesan council as well. Let the burden be bore out where it lies. This is not to blame the faithful of Eastern PA for its current situation, the result of a few lords. The hard road for the faithful of Eastern PA to own the recovery from the disasters created by a select few, and the measure of how bad things are for them will be surpassed by the strength of bearing the burden. I believe other diocese would not let them go under financially but perhaps even share the burden according to how large the heart can open. It would be a colossal mistake to merge these dioceses.
Baby steps. It is reasonable to say that just because change is coming to the OCA, it doesn't have to happen in one clean sweep of the hand. The efforts of the Diocese of Western PA should be honored by the Holy Synod. Their bishop should continue to also preside over the Bulgarian Diocese. It should be the mandate of any bishop overseeing an ethnic diocese over time to work with the people to fully integrate their administration into the local geographic diocese of in our case the OCA. In this event full administrative integration means an initial blending of diocesan councils until a common vision of the best administrative/financial practices are in place and honor the local church statute. If the mother church of an ethnic diocese had received financial support that support should continue but be redefined with specific goals in mind with new consideration to the local diocese. A common liturgical life must allow the local traditions and musical heritage of the people but comply with the overall liturgical vision, i.e. any particular practices established in common by the Metropolitan with the Holy Synod and local Bishop.
These are merely my thoughts and suggestions, for whatever they are worth.
#20 idea that counts on 2009-03-20 10:29
Igument Philip wrote: "Unless it has changed radically since my day, the diocesan constitution requires that its Bishop be of Bulgarian descent. And given some of the past history between Greek-speaking and Bulgarian-speaking folk in Macedonia, it's not likely the diocese would accept a Greek as its Bishop."
The snippet from usenet didn't give the ethnicity of the monk. It simply said that the supposed candidate was American and that the writer had met him previously at St. Tikhons. While the supposed candidate appears to be currently affiliated with a Greek monastery, it does not necessarily follow that he is Greek. After all, Fr. Melchisedek, the candidate for bishop in WPa, is also affiliated with a Greek monastery, and he isn't Greek.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
I've always felt the OCA needed more bishops, not fewer, so the argument that WPA could represent the look of our future makes sense to me. I can't imagine how one bishop would keep up with the parishes in Alaska, many of which are remote; or in the West, Midwest, and South, where distances are enormous. Even smaller dioceses with dozens of parishes seem too much for one person. And Canada? It's the second largest country in the world! How could one bishop possibly keep up with more than 3 million square miles of territory?
I'd rather have more bishops and smaller dioceses. If the size of dioceses were limited to, say, 15--20 parishes they would be much more manageable. And I am not one who is afraid of expanding the Holy Synod. I believe at least some of our past scandals could have been avoided, or at least lessened, if the Synod had had 20 bishops instead of nine. It's usually harder to pull off a power grab in a larger group with more diverse interests or to keep secrets.
To accomplish all this, I would suggest converting some (or even all) the current deaneries into dioceses. And where would all these new bishops come from? Well, when we were discussing who would be an appropriate candidate for Metropolitan, I counted at least 100 OCA priests who met the minimum canonical requirements. I'm sure some of them would be decent bishops, especially if the job were scaled down; and there are probably other suitable candidates in other jurisdictions whom we might want to consider (such as some of the recently disempowered Antiochian hierarchs).
#22 Morton on 2009-03-20 11:46
One other theory came to mind, Mark: the CHANDELIER THEORY regarding episcopal elections. (For those who don't know, that's the idea that no bulb in a chandelier wants a brighter bulb outshining it. When a bulb needs to be replaced, the other bulbs want to choose a comparably dim, or dimmer bulb.) I'm sorry, but it really did come to mind. While I'm guilty of an ill will and evil thoughts, the Synod has certainly encouraged it in me and they need to consider the weaker brethren including me especially since they've wounded so many.
(editor's note: Anybody who thinks
+Benjamin or +Jonah are dull bulbs is lacking a little wattage themselves. Many on the Synod, to their credit, are aware they are not the brightest bulbs on the porch; but then, the brightest in academic terms, was Archbishop Peter with a doctorate from the Moscow Academy, which was exceedingly rare in those days. And we all know how that turned out.... Our Bishops are smart enough - they just need to realize that there are thousands willing to help them and work with them, if they would be reach out and encourage and empower them to do so....)
#23 Stupid Commentator on 2009-03-20 16:53
I thought of posting a couple weeks ago when I became concerned about a couple rumors I heard, one being about Fr. David Brum, another older rumor about Robert Kondratick/RSK; but I thought, God-willing these are only rumors. Fr. Brum, it was said, was on the “fast track” to the episcopate, to become Archbishop Dmitri’s vicar. Lo and behold, this is coming to pass. What’s wrong with this picture? As our editor Mark kindly reminds us all, Fr. Brum was a member of the inner circle of our former-Chancellor, the defrocked RSK. I hoped and prayed that Fr. Brum would remain in parish ministry, where I hear he’s doing good work. His cohort in Syosset was Fr. Joseph Fester, who went from a position of power and authority in Syosset to a position of power and authority in Dallas. I had hoped and prayed that after leaving Syosset, Fr. Fester would go to a parish and toil as a normal parish priest, but he did not choose this path.
RSK is still being paid for parish ministry at Holy Spirit Church in Venice, FL, wearing a cassock, representing himself as “Fr.” Bob. His former-secretary Fr. Fester is Chancery Assistant and a Dean in the Diocese of the South. RSK’s supporter and MH+’s former-secretary Fr. Brum on the “fast track” to the episcopate. This paints a disturbing and painful picture. It is only 3 years since Frs. Fester and Brum resigned from their positions in Syosset over RSK’s termination as Chancellor. Also, as I recall, when they were questioned by the SIC about RSK’s bestowing of trips, meals, etc., answered that he (RSK) is very generous. Generous they called it. Misappropriating donations of the people of the church.
The rumor I’ve heard about RSK? Not so new now, but it’s that he may end up receiving a parish assignment from either the Moscow Patriarchate or from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I guess we’ll have to wait and see about this one.
It's more like that Mel Brooks giggle-fest, "The Twelve Chairs."
#25 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-03-21 03:29
Wouldn't it be great for a change if the criterion would be spiritual brightness! Probably the dim bulbs would still not want anyone to outshine them. Sigh...
#26 Ever and anon. on 2009-03-21 06:40
Why is it that our posters never give the OCA a chance. When Fr. Garklavs was named Chanellor, his first writing was picked apart sentence by sentence.
Now the possibility of Diocesan reorganization is broached and suddenly it's impossible, devistating and giving heart palpitations. I haven't read any real concrete reasons why this may not be a good idea
You can't constantly demand change then rip every attempt due to your own personal bias. Maybe the change will be good for the OCA, how about looking at the plusses and minuses of the concept. If it is really a bad idea, how about some REAL suggested solutions instead of nonstop b_tching. The regular group of posters are impossible to satisfy.
Unfortunately many of you regulars have turned this site to a location where I go for a good laugh rather than substance.
I defy any of you to tell me why anyone in their right mind would take a postion of authority in the OCA; so their every move can be ripped and over analyzed from ridiculous angles. If you want real positive change, create a positive site with real constructive suggestions and a positive attitude.
(editor's note: Hogwash. I gave several good reasons why joining the dioceses may not be a good idea. Feel free to disagree, but they are there. The point though, is whyare such momentous things being discussed even before asking the dioceses involved? If Syosset is "being picked apart", it is because the old way of "we'll decide, you do", seems to be being followed, rather than the
"let's all talk about it before decisions are made". That old way led us to disaster, and will lead us there again.
As a matter of fact, no one picked apart Fr. Melchizedek's selection process, because it was open, above board and conciliar in the best sense of the word. No one has picked on the OCA finances for a year - because they are now being done openly, above board and in a conciliar manner in the best sense of the word. Begin to notice a pattern here? The reason is simple: there is nothing to pick on when it is all done openly, above board and in a conciliar fashion....)
#27 Give em a Chance on 2009-03-21 18:18
Indeed, but square mileage is misleading if you include Pennsylvania, which is dotted with many OCA parishes, many more than most areas of the US. And not to be picky, but the journalist is mistaken. There is a Holy Trinity in Camp Hill, but it is a GOA parish. Father John Reeves is the pastor of Holy Trinity in State College. I know because it is my parish, and he is my priest and father confessor.
Pennsylvania needs two bishops. One cannot possibly cover all of the parishes in the state.
All of this can be a big bruh ha-ha. Maybe there is something wrong with the chosen candidate for bishop of WPA? The joining of the two diocese may be a smoke screen. Let's wait and see. Are there 2-3 candidates available for WPA?
(editor's note: Since the nominee was vetted by the Synod before he was allowed to even become a candidate, your speculation is unwarranted. There are not 2-3 candidates available for WPA: one has already been chosen.)
#29 Anonymous on 2009-03-22 14:25
Changing the number and shape of the dioceses has more impact than the number and responsibilities of the bishops. The composition of the Metropolitan Council is also affected.
On the one hand, you can understand the Synod wanting to seize the moment when there are so many vacancies to do some needed reorganization. On the other hand, with the strategic planning process pending, it's odd to leapfrog the outcome, assuming the outcome is to be determined and isn't pre-wired.
#30 Rebecca Matovic on 2009-03-22 20:18
"(editor's note: Since the nominee was vetted by the Synod before he was allowed to even become a candidate, your speculation is unwarranted. There are not 2-3 candidates available for WPA: one has already been chosen.)"
Vetted or not, I'll bet I'm right! The problem: continually only considering celibates for the episcopate. We really need to return to our Orthodox Tradition and consider married men for the episcopate. Continually trying to look for monastic types, many who fall very short, is just bad church management. Again, there are no theological reasons why married men cannot be considered for the episcopate!
#31 Anonymous on 2009-03-23 05:27
Can this kind of decision be made locally? or does it require the decision of the entire Orthodox Church?
#32 Anonymous on 2009-03-23 11:46
I had anticipated that this would be brought up last night at St Alexander Nevsky and some answer would be given, since both +Jonah and +Tikhon were there. I have seen nothing yet, however.
Maybe I'll ask my priest what he thinks of this, though I suspect I know, given that he's been quoted in every article I've read about this.
It was decided at the First Ecumenical Council that candidates to the Priesthood may be married men (if qualified) but Bishops should be chosen from the monastic ranks (and I believe for good reason). The fighter for a married Priesthood was Paphnutius who also gave good and valid reasons why Bishops should be chosen from the monastic ranks (celibate).Forget about married Bishops.With 10 to 30 parishes on their shoulders they dont need the extra weight (responsibilities) of a wife and children.Anyone want a married Bishop? Go to the Polish National Church....The decision for Bishops as is now was made by an Ecumanical Council and can be changed only by an Ecumenical Council.
#34 Anon on 2009-03-23 13:31
If,according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazeette,Kondratick was the ringleader of the disappearance of some 4 million dollars,and MH also mentioned,then why are they sitting in jail? How come no criminal charges have been brought against them? If this is true ,then what is holding everything up? Something is wrong somewhere...but where?
(editor's note: In RSK's case the monies in question from ADM were misdirected in the 1990's. The statute of limitations applies, since the Church did not pursue the issue in 1999. By 2006, it was too late. Such is the cost of denial.
As for Metropolitan Herman, the police are currently investigating matters at St. Tikhon's.)
#35 Anon on 2009-03-23 13:39
No; an Ecumenical Council is not necessary. This is NOT a theological issue, but a church management issue. It just takes a local church with cahones to do it. The entire Orthodox Church can't reject something which is inherently part of it's own tradition without theological impediments.
#36 Anonymous on 2009-03-23 14:05
I really fail to understand the fascination a married episcopate has for many members of this site. As a former Episcopalian, this is something of which I have had long experience. Believe me, it is a protection against neither financial scandal (Google the name "Ellen Cooke" if you don't believe me) nor moral degradation. Would things be different with a married episcopate loyal to the Orthodox Tradition? Perhaps, but I am personally not ready to regard married Bishops as a panacea (and remember, if a married man were to be consecrated, he would be breaking with what is at the very least the long established practice of the Church, the first step towards breaking with Tradition; this is even more the case if it were done unilaterally). I am especially unconvinced that, given our society's confusion about sex, gender and marriage generally, that it would be a wise idea for this change to be made at this time and in this place.
#37 Mark AC on 2009-03-23 15:52
If the church is the bride, then.......
#38 Anonymous on 2009-03-23 19:17
Believe me, it is a protection against neither financial scandal . . . [n]or moral degradation."
Case in point: RSK, a married man who had nearly unlimited administrative power in the OCA, and who, had we had married bishops, would undoubtedly have been one of them. Ever thought of that? Truly, as Mark AC notes, married bishops are no panacea.
#39 Anonymous on 2009-03-23 21:02
I agree with both A Chicagoan and the Anonymous person commenting below who think we need more bishops, not fewer. But to A Chicagoan's point first. The OCA dioceses are clearly reflective of a different era and need to be rearranged anyhow. The South is growing: Pennsylvania is moribund. WPA definitely appears to be in better shape than EPA, overall.
FWIW, I think WPA should be left as it is and not combined with EPA, if for no other reason than that EPA is too thoroughly tarred with our former metropolitan's brush. EPA does need a rescue plan, but merging the dioceses would only create more bad blood, and that alone is a good enough reason to leave well enough alone.
But every parish I've seen in PA (monasteries as exception) appears to be either in its death throes or on life support. Beautiful old buildings with 8 elderly attendees...The next generation is not there (not even middle-aged people!). And certainly there are no youth or children. What happens when they die? What happens to that parish? The OCA parishes of PA must get some converts or perish!
Why is the Diocese of the South growing while PA is shrinking? I believe it is because they know they cannot depend on the faithful to come from the traditional ethnic group(s) but must have outreach to everyone. So the old steel mills have left and the 'traditional' ethnic groups the Church has long depended on have left. This is an opportunity! So there's fresh blood in PA? Sieze the day! Why can't that fresh blood become Orthodox? It's not like we've got a shortage of buildings--or priests! (At least, not in the OCA.)
In re: more bishops: I heartily agree. If we had more bishops, they would have an easier time overseeing their dioceses, and would have a more personal relationship with their parishes and individuals in them. I like the idea of present day deaneries becoming dioceses. The bishops of the large cities could be archbishops.
Of course, that begs the question of why every single episcopal vacancy seems to take forever to fill. Truly, the election of Metropolitan Jonah was a miracle! Even with our relatively small number of dioceses, we have a ridiculous number of vacancies. And the example of New England is a good one. Why should they have had to wait that long for a new bishop?
I think all the dioceses that currently lack a bishop that have not held an episcopal election should make immediate moves to do so, and WPA should get the go-ahead to get their duly chosen bishop. Does anybody really think it makes any canonical or administrative sense to leave so many dioceses without a shepherd? This is not good governance. To fill the vacancies is simply common sense.
This is just my opinion, going down the well...
#40 an observer of events on 2009-03-23 23:01
Wasn't Fr. Brum already passed up once before? and didn't the clergy of the DOS unanimously say that they wanted a true monastic (like +MJ) for a bishop. I don't see how the people in the south could whole heartedly accept Fr. Brum, nice guy that he is. I hope the clergy and laity will raise their voices once again. If the people come to trust, respect and love him and he shares what seems to me to be the general ethos of the clergy and people of the south (that is: planting new missions, monastic houses, and reaching out to ALL people, and bringing people of various ethnic backgrounds together) then "blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord". But if the clergy and people do not, or are not given the opportunity to even know him, as we did with +MJ, then I would hope that Fr. David Brum would realize that and step aside, and that the people lobbying for him would realize that as well and let the God's will be done and not thrust him upon the people, many of whom have only known one pastor, +Dimitri.
I hope and pray that those in positions of authority will sensitive to that and not sow seeds of discord among the clergy and laity, pitting one group against the other.
My main concerns with Fr. David Brum are:
1. He obviously does not meet the requirements as spelled out in our "constitution": Has not been orthodox for at least 15 years; was not educated at an Orthodox seminary. If the Synod is ready to make an acception, then there is are still others much more qualified and who are more inline (based on their proven "track" record) with the general ethos and mission of the South. I've heard of another name, not one that has been mentioned here, but one that has people excited because he resembles +MJ in so many ways. Fr. David Brum, nice guy that he is, has not generated any much excitement, as far as I have been able to see. On the contrary, his name seems to generate anxiety.
2. He is not a monastic, much less an abbot as the clergy ( and i think the people) would like.
3. He is part of a group of clergy that are too closely connected to the misdeeds of RSK, +MH, and +MT. He may not have participated actively in all of that, but according to his "Brum Doctrine", he had no problem with handing over a whole lots of power over to one person, and that one person abused that power, that is an undeniable fact. I don't know if he still defends RSK, but if he does ,as others that were in that inner circle still do, then his appointment to the episcopal throne of the south can only lead to one thing: strife, discord, endless argumentation, suspicion, and most tragically, a lack of love for one's heirarch.
4. His "Brum Doctrine" is very, very, very problematic and divisive. You can read the very good discussion here: http://www.ocanews.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/84-The-Brum-Doctrine.html
To those pushing for his elevation to the episcopacy: Please, please honor the work and ministry of +Dimitri. He worked so hard to build up a diocese from the ground up. He has worked tirelessly to build up a diocese were the clergy work together and love each other. He has worked to build a diocese were there is respect and love for other langauges and customs of all people. He has worked hard to build a diocese where the people love their heirach and are genuinely excited to see him. To bring in such a contreversial figure, I think, threatens that work. Don't get me wrong, we have a strong body of clergy and a dedicated body of lay people who will continue the work and vision of Vladyko Dimitri. What will be threatened is that close love, trust and relationship that the flock has for their shepherd. What happens when the flock does not love its shepherd and the shepherd does not sacrificially love his flock: +MH, +MT, RSK
#41 Anonymous on 2009-03-24 08:17
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