Friday, April 10. 2009
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The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous! It is time the Board of Trustees of the Antiochians decide what their church in America is going to be. Is it going to continue to be a church under the thumb of foreign bishops - a non-canonical situation or a real, independent American Orthodox Church of Arab ancestry? It is time to decide, "WHO ARE YOU?" There is no need to remain under Damascus (Antioch). This is pretty much only symbolic anyway. Met. Philip does as he wishes and the Pat. really bows to him.
So, it's time to decide. Met. Philip cannot live forever. Who do you want as your next Metropolitan? Bishop Basil Essey who is head and shoulders above ALL the candidates or some old country push-in to maintain a non-canonical, status quo situation? WHO ARE YOU?
It really is time to merge with the OCA and become truly autocephalous and run your own church. If not, it's only a matter of time before you start losing all your converts to the OCA anyway while the Antiochians regress back to 1950!
#1 Anonymous on 2009-04-10 06:13
Amen. This document states it clearly and succinctly. The time is now. May God make us one, even as He and the Son are One.
The road before us will be difficult, but it is the path we are aksed to traverse. May God embolden us for what lies ahead. And may we treat all in a Christlike manner, no matter how they treat us, and no matter if they strive against us. If it be of God our cause will prosper. If not, then it will fail. We must simply be faithful to what is right, and trust God to work it all out as it should be.
An exciting time to be an Orthodox Christian!
#2 Antionymous on 2009-04-10 07:14
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
Here is a great way that each of us can plant a mustard seed: "Advocate for the true practice of our Orthodox Faith; don't attack people or personalities. Be respectful in all that you do, no matter how distasteful you find something."
Let us say, "Brethren!" even to those that hate us.
Thank you for the information on this site, and thanks to all who have participated in the comments section with words of wisdom and love. May the Lord guide us now in our thoughts, words, and actions.
#3 Peter on 2009-04-10 09:04
And it is time for the members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees to do their duty. Most of the time, they approve worthy ideas and plans of the Metropolitan with little question, much less objection. But this debacle is not one of them, legally, morally or canonically.
Yes, these are amazing times we live in! I pray that we allow the Spirit to use this moment to direct us toward real canonical, autocephalous unity on this continent.
#4 Anonymous for a reason on 2009-04-10 09:13
Well written and well said! Thank you for keeping us up to date. May the Lord bless your efforts and those of the Association of Orthodox Christian Attorneys.
The Archdiocese needs to be *NORMALIZED*, by returning to a local synod with a voice and true Diocesan Bishops with NO INTERFERENCE from any ONE Bishop or *ARCHBISHOP*. We may not be fully canonical in NA because of the multiple jurisdiction, but we don't need to throw out the rest of the Canons as well.
MP and every Bishop took a VOW to uphold the Sacred Canons of the Church. Why does he flagrantly disregard them? In his mind, he is above the Canons. He is above the Scripture (You shall not be like the Gentile who want to exercise authority over one another. He who would be greatest must be servant of all.) He is above our Constitution.
*His actions, tell us he only wants total domination, not brotherly cooperation and consesus*.
#5 anonymous on 2009-04-10 09:36
Everyone of the above messages describes 85% of the Archdiocese clergy and most (if informed) laity. Englewood will never in Met. P's time ever leave the mandates of far off Damascus
#6 Anonymous Antiochian Priest SoEast Diocese (or Region?) on 2009-04-10 11:02
An Open Appeal to Metropolitan Philip
You have been an instrument of many good things of the Spirit over the years. Please do not allow this un-orthodox action of Damascus to adulterate what you have given to Orthodoxy in America over the past four decades. You have spoken over the years about the unity that you and Archbishop Michael, of blessed memory, brought to the Antiochians in North America. You have extolled the late Archbishop for saying “YES” to unity. Ironically, you can be a greater instrument of unity by saying “NO” to Damascus. You have the sacred canons and the archdiocesan constitution to defend your rebuttal of the patriarchal action. You initially said that you supported this action to preserve the unity of our archdiocese. It is obvious that it is doing just the opposite. When you gather with your brother bishops on bright Friday, candidly discuss and work out the matters of concern that you feel have threatened unity. There is an old English proverb, “Communication is the beginning of understanding.” There is reason to believe better communication between all hierarchs can preempt and resolve the majority of disagreements and misunderstandings that arise.
Your Eminence, please understand that vast majority of priests and laity want a peaceful and just resolution to this potentially destructive scenario. Please be the point of reference to unity among the hierarchy, clergy, laity and Orthodox Christians throughout North America. You have admirably done this over the years of your episcopate, many are counting on you to do it at this critical time. As you said at the 2004 Pittsburgh special convention, “The Orthodox Church of twenty-first century America is destined to chart its own course and shape its own future, despite the obstacles. We in the Antiochian Archdiocese have reached the point of no return.”
In closing, I pray that everyone will take heed and follow the words of St. Paul to the Christians in Philippi, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (4:8). Moreover, act on these things!
With Love and Concern,
#7 Father Dunsel on 2009-04-10 11:44
Much will depend on the actions of our diocesan bishops at the meeting on the 24th. If they meekly accept these illegal and anti-canonical actions by Damascus and remain silent as sheep, then we are betrayed, not only by Metr. Philip and Damascus, but by them, as well. If, however, they stand together as shepherds against this travesty, then we must be prepared to do what is necessary to support them in their resistance.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#8 Nemo on 2009-04-10 13:19
St Raphael intercede for us to bring peace to American Orthodoxy.
As all of us who love our Church and this Archdiocese, we want a peaceful close to this ugly chapter in our history and focus on the forthcoming passion and Resurection of Christ.
Metropolitan Phillip, rightly define the word of truth in this matter. As messy as your hands are, you may consider handing your mitre to a younger leader and save your legacy.
We all must abide by the laws of our Fathers. Sayedna, that means you too.
#9 Daniel George on 2009-04-10 13:39
It is interesting (to me anyways) to note that there was a canonical and self ruling American Orthodox Church established in 1927, and that those jurisdictions that have repeatedly renounced and spat upon it, proclaiming themselves superior and canonical, while labeling it nothing more than a vagante group, are now in the midst of their own crisis's. THEOCACNA continues to preserve and expand, ever so slowly, the mission entrusted to it, while those who have been successful in the eyes of man of usurping its canonical authority are now having their own cancerous dysfunctions exposed.
I pray that the OCA and the Self-ruling AOA can expose their malignant wounds to the healing balm that is the Truth and Mercy of the Light that is Jesus Christ, and that the actions of mere human beings do not cause sincere people to lose this precious faith of ours. I pray also that the Church may one day be united as One-- truly American AND Orthodox.
Peter the layman
I do not know who you are, but seams that you do not want to belong and stay attached to the mother church, therefore, to you and all the converts, here is a big kiss of good bye
You joing Antiochians for what it is, not to change us, therefoare we do not need you......
Good luck in the oca and please remain there.....
To the Converts who want to stay on the Patriarchates, you are most welcome to stay with us as we where and remain..
May God grant Met. Philip many, many years....After him, I pray that the Patriarch will send us someone from anywhere but here in the u s......
Bishop Basil is nothing but another person who should be living in the monestry.....with bm
#11 Anonymous on 2009-04-10 16:49
We have all been assuming that Metropolitan PHILIP initiated this action, but are we certain of that? While he might appreciate it because it strokes his ego, appeals to his paranoia or removes the inconvenience of having bishops who dare to disagree with him, the benefits to him are petty and short term. The cost is heavy and long term.
It seems to me that the real benefit of this goes not to Met. PHILIP but to Constantinople. Suppose The Holy Synod of Antioch's claim that this is to "normalize" the role of bishops really means "bring it in line with the Ecumenical Patriarchate's current (questionable) practice" as discussed in this article http://www.aoiusa.org/main/page.php?page_id=117. At a stroke the threat posed to the EP's ambitions by a "self-ruled" archdiocese in North America is removed and the voices of the North American bishops of the Antiochian archdiocese are effectively silenced in any future "great council". The EP has already hinted that Antioch is "on side" with its views of primacy, and Jerusalem (whose few North American parishes it has recently taken over) and Alexandria are basically dependants of Constantinople anyway.
The rifts in the AOCA caused/revealed by this action are simply more "proof" that North Americans are too "immature" to take care of themselves. Met. PHILIP's own calls for a North American Church have been rendered impotent because the self-rule of the archdiocese has proven to be a "failed experiment".
The infamous address given recently at Holy Cross Seminary suggests that Moscow may have sold us out for concessions closer to home. The EP only needs to persuade/bully/buy-off a couple other old country churches to sew things up in North America and effectively isolate the OCA and anyone else desiring a true North American Church.
If Met. PHILIP really did initiate this action, he picked the worst possible time to scuttle his own legacy. I can't help but wonder if his own personal weaknesses have allowed him to get "snookered" along with the rest of us by the real masters of Byzantine politics.
#12 Phil on 2009-04-10 17:49
Thank your Mark for your thoughtful analysis. I have come to the conclusion that a major part of our problems in the Orthodox Church stems from the use of pretentious titles when addressing bishops. Titles such as, "All Holiness, Holiness, Beatitude, Eminence, and Grace would probably gag the Apostles and early Church leaders.
I believe that the simple and meaningful address of "Father" should apply to all of those ordained into Holy Orders. As a family of Faith, there is no greater title than that of "Father."
(editor's note: Good luck on getting them to drop their every more exalted titles! Some will remember a street corner near a famous seminary that consisted of three churches: Trinity Lutheran Church, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and Most Holy Trinity Orthodox Church! People will be people. Rather than worry about what we cannot change, why not start with the change we can: like stop capitalizing the names of Bishops. God doesn't get his name (or is that his title?) capitalized as GOD except in certain Jewish circles. I would think our bishops should follow His example, and if they won't , we should just do it for them...)
#13 Marc Trolinger on 2009-04-10 17:54
You are one of the rarest emailers to this Website! Pleased very few think like tou, All know the difference!
#14 Anonymous on 2009-04-10 20:20
THEOCACNA? The group founded by Bp. Aftimios who decided, on his own initiative, to marry a girl 30 years younger than him? The group that sues anyone who criticizes it for copyright infiringement, claiming, "Anyone who infringes our rights intentionally can be held liable for up to treble damages in court?" The group that, from 1966 to 1995, had no clergy whatsoever? The group whose "hierarchs" have spawned countless episcopes vagantes? That group?
#15 Nemo on 2009-04-10 21:06
Here it is right here....A bishop from "anywhere but the US."
I don;t even know what to say...
#16 Antionymous on 2009-04-11 05:17
BINGO! you get the gold star - this is what is happening before our very eyes. If you piece it altogether.
#17 Anonymous on 2009-04-11 11:40
I pray that will be the case...
Live Long and Prosper!
#18 R. Daystrom on 2009-04-11 12:06
In a few days our Bishops will be meeting and it would be good for us to pray for them, that God would both protect them from evil and fill them with the Holy Spirit, that He would grant them true light, a conciliar spirit, and a sense not just of the moment but of history and the future.
Many are concerned, I know I am, about what will come from this meeting but I have to trust in God and call to mind that He still has events in hand. If a chorus of prayer comes up from all of our Archdiocese who knows what good will come of it and there will certainly be no harm. Perhaps in our humility the One who raised Christ will also raise us to life as well.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
Converts or craddle born. It doesn't matter. So please stop your racist remarks about arabs, just because there is a high population. It was and will always have traces back to the mother land from where the ancestors came from so accept this and stop being ignorant of that fact. Love your brothers and stop saying stupid things about arabs who are part of OUR archdiocese, they can say the same thing about other ethnicities but that is not what the church is about. It is no mans, but for all. The church in America was started by thousands of immigrants who had children and more came over time so please do not judge that fact. You are probably not even wanting 1 line in arabic, greek, or russian. You probably prefer 100% english services, but this is not right, you know how good it makes people feel to hear about 3% in their ethnic language. Have an open mind and think it is beautiful to let them have 3% in some churches or 50% in other highly populated churches. Think about it. I went to a Greek church and it was 100% greek. I knew the service by heart but couldn't understand 1 thing, but when they said some things in english, I felt good. Roles were switched. See my point. God bless you.
Christ is Risen! Al-Massih Qam! Christos Anesti! Christos Vas Cres! and other languages if i knew them.
#20 anonymous on 2009-04-21 09:42
No one has made any racist remarks. Read carefully habibtay! Do you not realize how many children of the immigrants have left Orthodoxy over the last 100 years? I am telling you, they have left Orthodoxy because it was in a foreign language they didn't understand. They grew up in America and married non-Orthodox Americans and they left the Orthodox church by the thousands. Yes, you are right a few words of Classical Arabic (most Arabs do not use in everyday conversation), Byzantine and Koine Greek (most Greeks do not understand these languages) or Slavonic (a language no Russian or Slav comprehends) won't hurt. But it must be used sparingly, in order not lose the little ones to Protestantism, Catholicism or the secularism of North America.
#21 iskander Ibrahim on 2009-04-21 19:17
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