Wednesday, May 13. 2009
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LORD HAVE MERCY!!!
#1 Anonymous on 2009-05-13 13:10
For the record, these sites are in no way different than yours. Also Fr. Nasr only had one post, and if you read it, it only said to leave us alone and pointing out exactly what happened in regards to the "poison" of this website and those alike, these are all dangerous websites. I suggest just wait till the national convention. I'm not surprised your not selling stuff on this site yet, like advertising space. If so I would like to advertise due to hits. thanks.
#2 Mike on 2009-05-13 13:12
There is a person writing as "Fr John" on theantiochian.com but I wish people to know that this is not me. I will always sign my full name to my posts.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
I was banned from the site. Quickly I discovered that one person has developed characters that all use the same language and grammar and agree with one another. They go hog wild on anyone who disagrees (or whom they assume is disagreeing with them). Sadly it makes all of the Antiochians look bad. When you have a loose cannon like that championing you whether you want that person to or not the insanity is spread by association. You have to love the internet, flame warriors and all.
#4 Davil L on 2009-05-13 14:56
Thank you for sharing this information with your readers. I'm glad that Doug Kramer denied that there was any official connection with Englewood on the pro-Metropolitan website because if there had been, it would be a disgrace. I think that ocanews.org has performed a great service for those in the AOCA so they have been able to voice their opinions without fear of retribution. No one knows how this controversy will end, but it appears that the Metropolitan is going to have to explain the events more clearly than they have been explained up to this point. There is deep, deep frustration across the country because of his actions. I fear for the future.
#5 anon on 2009-05-13 17:00
You are the same person that posted 8 different times on theantiochian.com using different names with the same IP address making fun of the metropolitan and of others on the site. Im glad that they banned you because you offered nothing in the course of the debate. For people who are trying to get a real understanding of what is going on, you offer nothing in return except cynicism. Websites like this one and theantiochian.com are giving us a forum to speak, but you abuse it. If you continue the same trend on this website, hopefully mr. stokoe will ban you too.
(editor's note: Pardon my ignorance, but how is that you know David L. posted 8 times under various aliases from the same IP address? Are you a principal of the site? Or did the principal make the above public?)
#6 Subdeacon Paul on 2009-05-14 06:09
This site is the same way.
#7 Oh so familiar on 2009-05-14 06:26
It should be clear to all what this is all about. We have + Philip who will have to step down shortly. So, who will take over? The "Loyalists" (mostly old country priests and sympathizers like Frs. Gabriel and Allen) want to keep the status quo. Then you have the "Progressives" who embraced "autonomy" and want the AOCA to act like an independent church. (mostly convert priests and "well-educated" Orthodox in the AOCA).
So, we have "old country" foreign bishop control vs. an independent Orthodox Church running it's own affairs. Which is correct? Which is Canonical? According to Orthodox Canon Law, ONLY local bishops have authority over local churches. The entire concept of ANY Patriarch have authority over churches in North America is NON-CANONICAL! + Philip knows this and even spoke forcefully against Canon 28 the Phanar's claims of authority in North America. Well, the same is true for the Pat. of Antioch (Damascus); the Moscow Patriarch or any other. The ONLY church which has canonical authority in North America is the indigenous, church originally formulated in North America by the Russian Mission. This is the OCA. For this reason, the Phanar continues to pretend the OCA doesn't exist or is some how "non-canonical." Silly and stupid.
The only hope for the Antiochians is for + Philip to retire; + Basil be elected as Met. via unanimous acclamation; and the AOCA bishops address the Pat. of Antioch enforcing the AOCA's claim of "AUTONOMY." Next, joining the OCA and becoming a fully, autocephalous church in North America.
(editor's note: Let's just start with the first claim, before we go on to all the rest: what makes you think that Metropolitan Philip will shortly have to step down?)
#8 Anonymous on 2009-05-14 06:45
Thank you so much for this article. I checked out The Antiochian and I really had a good laugh. It brought a moment of levity to my otherwise boring morning at work.
I am sure The Antiochian will provide many more hours of free entertainment. Really, they should consider charging for the funnier stuff -- like when the admin posts uncivilized, rude and insulting messages messages banning posters for being uncivilized, rude and insulting!
#9 Anonymous Antionchian on 2009-05-14 07:22
www.theantiochian.com is an extension of the AOCA web site. Just what everyone expected!
#10 Anonymous on 2009-05-14 07:50
Our Council discussed the sad "situation" a few days ago agreeing the new website Antiochianinfo.org could not respond via our computers. Met. P. has already lined up those to defend his position in the Convention (July). Little to be achieved! The Trustees meeting in late May have but three non-arabs chosen to show "representation". One a AEOM clergyman's son who may speak out (doubtful), abd the other two much more doubtful. The millionaires club await their recognition days and gold medals as they become "honorary" members by suggested retirement. Mostly to make room for new wealthy. Old standbys loyal to the inch as they are constantly reminded of "much growth" by Met. P on a constant basis. Light bat the end of the tunnel? All agree little possibility as the, "What's in it for ME", syndrome continues.
#11 Anonymous Priest & Council Chairman on 2009-05-14 08:56
Perhaps Doug Cramer has nothing to do with it or his department has nothing to do with it "OFFICIALLY".
Secondly givn the lack of financial accountability from +MP , can we believe it is NOT FINANCED by the Archdiocesan *FUNDS*?
#12 anon & anon on 2009-05-14 12:56
It sadly reminds me of the liberal and biased media in this country.
#13 Michael Geeza on 2009-05-14 12:56
Davil, they're called sock puppets (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_sock_puppet).
In the case of TheAntiochian.com, until the sock puppets figure out how to spell "shepherd," and also that Little Rock is in the Lower 48, I won't be going back.
Actually, I won't be going back in any case...
#14 Peter on 2009-05-14 12:59
This reminds me of the battling Web sites during the tenure of Abp. Spyridon in the GOA. We should have seen the parallels between Abp. Spyridon and Metr. Philip long before this; the climates of fear they both created, their heavy-handed administrations, their common callous disregard for financial accountibility. Unfortunately, Metr. Philip is somewhat more firmly entrenched than Abp. Spyridon ever was, which will make it more difficult to cast out the disease from the body.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#15 Nemo on 2009-05-14 13:07
This not about the loose cannon, but the loose canons! Many canons are loose, because the loose cannon loosens them!
Bring us hierarchical duct tape and ecclesiactic elastic bungee cords, that we may bind up the loose cannon and not have any more canons loosed on us.
Otherwise, we will all become losers of the looser.
Time for some laughter, because the sorrows have not abated.
(Editor's note: Or paraphrasing the Bard:
That it's mad, 'tis true; 'tis true 'tis pity,
And pity 'tis- 'tis true....)
#16 Habibi on 2009-05-14 13:13
THIS WEBSITE TOO SHOULD SHUT DOWN! IN THE EYES OF GOD IT HAS NO VALUE! AND THE SAME FOR M.C.!! YOU DO AGREE STOKOE!
(Editor's note: Heeeeeeeee's back...."
#17 Anonymous on 2009-05-14 14:12
What I did was demonstrate how a website like theantiochian.com can be manipulated because of it's lack security measures to assure that one person can not use multiple names. The admin had to change my posted name to an ip address. The admin there has the ability to use multiple names because no one else has the ability to know who is who. We are at the mercy of an anonymous administrator (and dare I say the voices in his or her head). I never made fun of the Metropolitan, just the poorly constructed site (if it is meant for serious discussion). I stated seriously that I didn't know enough to have an opinion but that I feared that Satan was at work in the church (on both sides) and then one of the characters attacked me. I love Metropolitan PHILIP. One reason I became Orthodox was because of his writings and vision. I am so sad that this is happening to the Antiochians. Satan really is attacking the church and some faithful and some nominal members of the church will and are going to be tools. God forgive me if I have. My advice is stay away from the site and be thankful if you get banned. It was my hope and this time a dream came true.
OCANews is quite a different site. I may not always agree with content, etc but it is intellectually dishonest to equate this site with theantiochian.com
#18 David L on 2009-05-14 14:38
I don't consider it appropriate for me to comment at length on this board, but I want to clarify something mentioned on this thread. Neither myself nor anyone else on my team at the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry is involved in any way, formally or informally, with either of the websites mentioned in the above article.
Believe me, we've got more than enough on our plate maintaining and improving the one website for which we are responsible, www.antiochian.org, where we're endeavoring to publish content reflecting the wide range of work currently being done by the ministries of the Archdiocese.
Christ is Risen!
Chair, Dept. of Internet Ministry
The admin on theantiochian made us aware that David L. was posting via many names under the same address. In fact he even posted a comment and signed your name to it and then wrote another comment arguing against what he initially said only under a different name. The admin removed his aliases to his comments and left his ip in place so people can see. I hope you don't tolerate these stupid gnaws that people play.
#20 Anonymous on 2009-05-14 19:28
Note of Interest: OCA Arch'd News mentions selection of AUDITING COMMITTEE MEMBERS selected. Please note Englewood as you have never had one and perhaps never will !
#21 AntiochianLayman on 2009-05-14 19:38
We were now able to get into ANTIOCHIANINFO.ORG and it exceeds what we were informed as to this excellent analysis of the Antiochian "mess". All should read it as it does apply to the entire No American scene. Well done and how can the facts be refuted, we agree, without the loss of truth! Many years authors!
#22 Anonymous Priest & Councilman on 2009-05-14 20:20
I think Anonymous #7 may be on to something. It is obvious that Metropolitan Philip will sooner or later retire. Who will succeed him? The Holy Synod cannot be so foolish as to think they could just send over someone from the Old Country and expect him to be accepted. So the choice would be from among the locals. Despite disagreements with Metropolitan Philip, Bishop Joseph would likely be the Synod's choice. However, if the "self rule" were still in place, the vote of the people, laity and most clergy, would be Bishop Basil. This would be unacceptable to the Synod and the "old guard" for a variety of reasons. For the Synod, Bishop Basil would represent a step away from the generous financial support of Metropolitan Philip’s tenure; for the "old guard" it would mean an end to the freewheeling laxity on canon and doctrine, the "draconian" narcissism and self-promotion, and the financial mismanagement that includes fleecing the sheep while arrogantly portraying themselves as poor and humble servants....
#23 Hiding till the all clear on 2009-05-15 04:22
Actually, theantiochian.com is located in Waltham MA via Icdsoft Ltd. and "sam farah" is rumored to own two other domains. Hmmmmm.
#24 Anonymous on 2009-05-15 06:43
Mr. Stokoe's "burning house" reference when our Antiochian brothers and sisters began their struggle has stuck in my mind. When he made it it "seemed" inoffensive and I make no judgment as to whether it was appropriate or accurate. In the "American" context, we value openness and transparency highly. It is socially acceptable and encouraged in Western society to engage and to be involved in the social and family structures of others. In the Arab cultures, it seems that familial relations and privacy are more highly valued. Might this difference of cultural values have a bearing on what we are seeing in the conflicting websites and clashes on this website? It seems that the well intentioned mention of our neighbor's house fire may be viewed as interference by our neighbor. The 911 call may have been appreciated but the ongoing new media coverage of the smoldering house may appear to be a bit over the top. Understanding this might give some context, our Arab brothers and sisters may not like their dirty laundry aired in public as is common in the West. Because they don't, we automatically think that something is hidden away. Keep that in mind before we ridicule their "style."
#25 Curious Onlooker on 2009-05-15 07:45
At first I thought the Antiochian site was an Oniondome parody. But it seems to be real. One can ask some people "Are you right handed or left handed?". Some will honestly answer "Hamhanded". Now you know where to find them.
#26 ba'ab on 2009-05-15 10:34
Speaking of Websites my fellow bro. Priest tuned me to CONCERNEDORTHODOX@verizon.net Wonder if they are still functioning or "silenced" by AOC. The Priest Fr. I.H. prev of Ft wayne, Ind. and his wife were excommunicated (documented in the WORD magazine) for accepting thru nthe legal Ind. courts owed severance and health funds owed him. Sad it took the cts to repay him and what a price they paid? "No, he is not vindictive!"
#27 Anonymous Priest (Eastern-Region or Diocese??) on 2009-05-15 13:13
There doesn't seem to be any news coming either from Damascus/Englewood or the non-signee's of The Loyalty Accord thrust before the use to be's.
The ball is now in Met. Philip's court and I am awaiting the first overbearing act i.e. attempting to transfer one of the recently demoted Diocesans or some sort of discplinary measure taken against one of them.
When (not if) that occurs it will begin the real shakeup in our God Protected but assaulted by the devil anyway Archdiocese.
#28 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-05-15 13:29
"(editor's note: Let's just start with the first claim, before we go on to all the rest: what makes you think that Metropolitan Philip will shortly have to step down?)"
What do you think this whole mess is about? Rumor has it, when the Pat. (Antiochian) was in the US last Nov., Met. Philip addressed his retirement. Why? Health, old age, can't do it anymore, wants to live out his last days in peace - take your pick. He wants to maintain the status quo - an old country bishop running things here and staying loyal to Damascus.
(Editor's note: If he picked this way to "live out his last days in peace" he made a fearful mistake, no? Your speculation remains just that - speculation.)
#29 Anonymous on 2009-05-15 15:12
Who in the world is M.C., All Caps Anonymous Guy? Is it Master of Ceremonies, like Burt Parks used to be on the "Miss America" pageant?
#30 Scott Walker on 2009-05-15 16:07
The "Concerned Orthodox" website is still in operation, but not current! The Priest jointed a Russian Jurisdiction (perhaps not canonical) but what choice did he have? The leaders of our Church accept each other's "dictates", and so the exodus to Jerusalem groups, etc. Too much vindictiveness in the Church. We're told a Jewish Judge hearing the case in Indiana stated, "And these are Christians?" How sad.
#31 Anonymous E. Region Priest on 2009-05-15 17:20
It is reallydisturbing that people who post on these sites claim that what the Holy Synod did was against church canons. This is simply not true. The Orthodox Christian tradition in general treats its canons more as guidelines than as laws, as the Holy Synod is able to interpret them to allow the faithful to adjust to cultural and other local circumstances. Some Orthodox canon scholars point out that, had the ecumenical councils meant for the canons to be used as laws, they would have called them nomoi/νόμοι (laws) rather than kanones/κανόνες (standards). Thus, the decisions of the Holy Synod are to be obeyed since they are essential for the Church’s unity.
#32 Anonymous on 2009-05-16 05:49
On the most recent thread of "TheAntiochian", you can see those claiming to be clergy licking their chops at specific "exiles" of their former diocesans.
Another example of holding to St. Ignatius' teaching on the place of the episcopate. Some, (one hopes few) contemporary antiochian clergy seem to root for the lions.
Priest Yousuf Rassam
#33 Anonymous on 2009-05-16 06:04
From your friend the Buddhist convert. A famous saying in Chinese and Greek: "crisis equals opportunity".
This will be an interesting summer.
Heretofore, whenever one sees any press about the Orthodox world it is either irrelevant or negative: 1) a bearded Greek priest throws a cross into the cold river and some kid dives after it. This always makes the news. 2)Monks at the Holy Sepulchre arrested for fighting. 3) OCA can't get their financial house in order, elects unknown Metropolitan. 4)Antiochian turmoil over power hungry regional bishops.
Metrpolitan P. was too nice to overbearing bishops and now the battle escalates. It is a time of crisis and opportunity. Get beyond the bad canonical advice, the warring websites and merge with the OCA to staighten out two messes at once: ecclesiastical and financial. Elect one leader to guide us. Instead of tearing each other apart, heal and move on with an American Orthodox Church in the vision of our teachers from the past.
Competing websites and "gothcha" canonical arguments are going nowhere. Sit down and have a merger and come together. Lets get some positive press. CARPE DIEM.
#34 Orthodox Shaolin on 2009-05-16 07:38
I am always perplexed when commentators attempt to explain bad behavior by blaming cultural conditioning. It is apparent reading the gospels that Christ never condoned or excused the conduct of the Pharaisee's who after all were merely attempting to be really good jews. (At least this was their excuse)
The hypocrisy and duplicity of religious authorities should always be exposed. I am truly sorry that is upsetting to some who feel they must find a way to explain or rationalize the behavior of those who are supposed to be shepherds.
I can certainly understand the consternation of those who want to defend Met. Philip and the actions of the Synod against unwarranted criticisms. Unfortunately for them such criticism is not only needed but warranted if one truly loves the truth.
There is a simple remedy to this mess and it is not ignoring it. How about the folks who are acting badly stop it?
#35 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-05-16 09:00
Why must everything be reduced to a conflict between "East" and "West?" For the love of Pete, we live in the United States of America. That is in the dreaded "West". If people don't like "Western" attitudes, I suggest they leave the "West" and go to the "East" (and see how they like there).
Every time someone of an "ethnic" background does something wrong, stupid or mean (like trying to reverse self-rule, demote diocesan bishops without cause and declare himself King of the World), the "difference between East and West" is proffered up as an excuse for his or her bad behavior.
I'm tired of it. There are absolute standards of conduct for the entire race of men which transcend the artificial boundaries of "East" and "West." Let us no longer give people a pass when they transgress them.
#36 Anonymous Anitochian on 2009-05-16 09:39
There are many who know that few (if any) writings are attributable to Metropolitan Phillip. His ghost writers (one resides a mile from him) and others write his material. He ends every Convention message with some quote to "inspire" his audience. I wonder what other Prelate had 5 books written about him by those seeking his admiration (and bronze medal). He is a brilliant middle eastern CEO and time and history will prove it.
#37 Anonymous East Coast Antiochian Layperson on 2009-05-16 11:13
When Christianity and culture disagree, Christianity trumps culture -- and Christianity favors openness and transparency, judging from Ephesians 5:11-14, for starters.
#38 Gregory on 2009-05-16 20:51
Can anyone comment on the leaked opinion of Chancellor Charles Ajalat that seems to declare the February resolution null and void?
#39 Anonymous on 2009-05-17 05:38
Oh now the lawyers are involved!! Lets start the litigation..this is real helpful. A well crafted 15 page wordweb...I think Ajalat and Koory should have cosulted with Met. P. and reviewed Church history. Did you ever here of the term "ECONOMIA"???
The Patriarch and the Metrpolitan have the discretionary power to manage and govern the Church as they see fit for our salvation. All canons are subjet to the spirit of the law before the letter of the law. "Put not your trust in princes and sons of men, in whom there is no salvation".
The bottle, the genie and the can of worms are all out Humpty Dumpty. Kyrie e Leson.
#40 Orthodox Shaolin on 2009-05-17 08:03
I take back anything I ever said ill about attorneys....I have two new heroes.
See boys and girls, you CAN stand up for what is right.
#41 Antionymous on 2009-05-17 09:30
Mark, you latest posting just blew me away. Why don't you have a comment link on it. BTW, of course there is no mention of it on the Phillip propaganda site.
#42 Steve on 2009-05-17 10:31
If you appeal to the spirit of the canons ahead of the letter, I think you will find that there are even more canons that the purported dethronement of our diocesan bishops violated in spirit than in letter.
Economia may be used as a defense of not imposing canonical sanctions when a priest or bishop deems it for the spiritual good of a penitent or the Church--as, for example in Met. Philip's dealings with Bishop Demetri's misconduct, where the canons would have permitted an ecclesiastical trial with deposition from the episcopate as the result of conviction. It cannot be used as a defense of authority not held by bishops--in this case a faction of the Holy Synod of Antioch (or Met. Philip alone if he is misinterpreting or misapplying the decision)--to remove other bishops from their diocesan thrones without charge, trial or consent.
As an extreme example to show that you are misapplying the concept of economia, the Pope of Rome could not have asserted economia as a support for his claim of universal ordinary jurisdiction. Economia lets a bishop (or priest by delegation) chose to not exercise canonical authority, it does not create authority with no basis in tradition, the Holy Canons or Holy Scripture.
#43 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-05-17 13:37
Equating privacy with evil (the darkness) ? I don't buy that one. And beating up on the east vs, west analogy completely misses the point. If two loved ones disagree, do we need the whole world listening in on the argument? No. And if you're advocating your way or the highway, I guess we can't disagree in the good old USA. Off ramp please.
#44 Anon on 2009-05-17 17:46
There are proper canonical bodies with full authority to make decisions concerning the administration of the Antiochian Archdiocese. One of them is not a discussion group on the internet. Everyone should calm down and let these bodies, the Local Synod, the Holy Synod, the Patriarch, the Board of Trustees and General Assembly of the Archdiocesan Convention, resolve any issues concerning the administration of the Archdiocese. Representatives of both sides have gone to extremes and are only fanning the flames of division among the Antiochian Orthodox in this country. I am offended by the criticisms of my Metropolitan from the opponents of the decision of the Holy Synod. Too many people are reporting what is really only gossip as if it were fact. I have served under Metropolitan Philip for 30 years and know and respect him. The accusations that he has done something dishonest on this matter are without foundation. One should remember that we are Americans. In America a man is innocent until proven guilty. No one has produced anything that proves Metropolitan Philip guilty of anything other than concern for the unity of his Archdiocese. One may disagree with his views, but never, ever, resort to slander and spreading unfounded attacks on his personal character. From personal experience, I know that he is not a tyrant and that he does not micromanage his clergy. My personal experience of him is that he does not want his clergy to be yes men, but that he always gives them a fair hearing of their concerns.
I am also offended some of the statements of the other side. Our Bishops are dedicated servants of Christ. To characterize any Antioch Bishop as a “renegade,” is offensive. The lack of respect towards Bishops Basil and Mark by some priests is a scandal. Even if our Bishops are Auxiliary Bishops, the priests under their authority must obey and respect them. It is tragic that some priests are so filled with pride that they think they can insult his local Bishops and still be faithful to Metropolitan Philip. A priest who does not respect his local bishop, regardless of his title, does not really respect the Metropolitan under which he serves. One can and must be loyal to the Metropolitan and still be loyal and obedient to our local Bishops.
There is in some of the postings an implication of ethnocentrism and a we vs they mentality. One must make a distinction between those aspects of his culture that are Orthodox and those that are merely ethnic. A convert must accept all aspects of Orthodox culture, but he does not have to abandon his own ethnic culture and embrace another ethnic culture. Make no mistake about it, just as there is a Russian, a Greek, a Serbia, and an Arab expression of Orthodoxy, there must also be an American expression of Orthodoxy.
We must also remember the heritage of Antioch, which was the first place that non-Jews were welcomed into the Church. There are not converts and cradle Orthodox, there are only Orthodox. Converts and those who have been Orthodox all their lives, must respect and love each other. Converts must not look down on cradle Orthodox, but cradle Orthodox must not look down on converts. I am just as much an Orthodox Priest as someone who has been Orthodox all their life and whose ancestors have been Orthodox for 2 thousand years. Whether a priest receives his education at Balamand, St. Vladimir’s, Holy Cross, or St. Tikhons is immaterial. A priest is still a priest regardless of where he studied for the priesthood. There is no place in the Orthodox Church for ethnocentrism or for treating those not born in the Faith as second class Orthodox.
However, this turns out; I am prepared to obey the higher authority of the Church. However, I repeat the internet is not that higher authority. Everyone should calm down and let those with legitimate authority discuss this matter and make the decisions. In any case, we must not allow ourselves to become divided over this matter. Instead, everyone should pray and accept whatever decision the responsible bodies make. If our Bishops remain Auxiliaries we must accept that outcome. If they once again are made Diocesan Bishops, we must accept that outcome. In any case, we must understand that there are appropriate places for this discussion; anonymous letters to the internet is not one of them. Let the Bishops, the Board of Trustees, the Holy Synod and the General Assembly discuss this matter. Finally, let us remember that we are all brothers in Christ regardless of our opinions on the administration of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Archpriest John W. Morris, Pastor
St. George’s Antiochian Orthodox Church,
(editor's note: In other words, children, settle down and be quiet. You are disturbing the drivers.)
#45 Archpriest John W. Morris on 2009-05-19 08:25
(editor's note: In other words, children, settle down and be quiet. You are disturbing the drivers.)
Frankly, I am greatly offended by the “editor’s” sarcastic response to my recent post. He owes me an apology. I do not deserve his disdain. Nor should my heartfelt ideas be belittled.
This may shock some people, but the Church is not a democracy. Thank God, it is not. If I wanted to be part of a religious body where decisions were made by who could gather the most support through a quasi-political campaign, I would have remained an Episcopalian. All of the discussion on the internet makes no difference, because we do not make decisions in the Orthodoxy Church through the internet or even, in some cases, by majority vote. One important aspect of Orthodox ecclesiology is missing from all the discussions on the internet, the concept of obedience. As a priest, I am under obedience to my bishop. It does not matter what I think about any issue. St. Ignatius wrote a faithful Orthodox Christian must, “submit to the bishop as you would to Jesus Christ.” (Letter to the Trallians). In this case, there are bodies with legitimate authority to decide on the administrative structure of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Whatever they decide a faithful Orthodox Christian must accept their decision.
At least, I have the courage to sign my postings.
Archpriest John W. Morris
(Editor's note: With such black and white positions, Father, one wonders how you explain away the 16th Council of Carthage (held in 418), for example, composed of over 200 Bishops, held as valid both in East and West, and their canons, one of which, #10, in the second paragraph contains the following interesting method of deciding matters of controversy in the Church:
“If the Donatist bishop has himself become Catholic, the two bishops (he and the Catholic one) shall divide equally between them the two communities now united, so that one portion of the towns shall belong to one, and the
other to the other bishop. The bishop who has been longest in office shall make the division, but the other shall have the choice.
If there is only one township of this description, then it shall belong to whichever See is nearest to it; but if there are two equally near, the people shall decide it by the majority of votes.
If the votes are equal, the elder bishop
has the preference.
If, however, the towns to which both parties belonged are of unequal number, so that they cannot be equally divided, the remaining one shall be dealt with as was prescribed above, in the preceding canon, with regard to a single town.”
Those shameful Bishops - asking people to express their opinion by voting, and allowing them to do so! Apparently they had no one to tell them about about "obedience" in the 5th century!
I have yet to read anyone advocating "democracy" in the Church, Father, on this site - ever. That you do says more about you than the opinions expressed here. Surely, we can do better than to reduce those we disagree with to characticure. Isn't that exactly what you are accusing me of doing through satire?
However, I do apologize for offending you. That was never my intent - it was to amuse. But I do not apology for the content of my heartfelt remarks - for as your further comment makes clear, you do believe what I think, what you think, what anybody else thinks but a select few, matters in the least. Fortunately, God cares what I, you and everyone else thinks, otherwise he wouldn't have given His Life to convince us of his love. )
#46 Archpriest John W. Morris on 2009-05-19 16:22
While I can appreciate some of what Fr. Morris has to say I must take issue with some of his musings.
He asks us to remember we are Americans in granting Met. Philip the benefit of the doubt regarding his role in recent events. I believe there has not been unwarranted or excessive criticisms of the Metropolitan in this regard. Criticisms and rightful indignation at his words and conduct following the Synodal decreee absolutely. His attempt to have the now auxiliary bishops sign a loyalty confession the most recent example of his super episcopal coercion.
Let this serve as a reminder to His Grace that he is indeed dealing with "Americans" Something in times past he himself reminded the Holy Synod, when attemting to explain the neccessity of our autonomy.
Fr. Morris also asks us to "accept whatever decisions the responsible bodies make" I certainly do not have to cite for Fr. Morris who is an academic how many so called "Responsible Orthodox Bodies" in our history have failed to uphold either Catholic dogma or Holy Tradition. I am sure Fr. Morris understands and appreciates the dangers of that sort of blind obedience.
Be careful about discounting the rational sheep as being something less than responsible participants in Christ's Holy Church and the matter now before us.
#47 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-05-19 17:39
Christ is Risen!
As other have pointed out, there have been times in the history of the Church when letting 'responsible bodies' sort everything out would not have served the interests of the Holy Orthodox Faith, and it was the laity and ordinary clergy who preserved the Faith.
We would not be having this discussion at all if the laity and ordinary clergy and a 'renegade' bishop had let the 'responsible bodies' sort out the aftermath of the Council of Florence/Ferrar. The model of ecclesiastical governance set forth by Met. Philip's application (or misapplication) of the purported revision to the Patriarchal Bylaws would be well-established, with all bishops serving as auxiliaries under the universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome. (Can one really revise Bylaws at a meeting which violates those Bylaws by not having a quorum present? But I digress.)
The 'Johnites' who supported St. John Chrysostom in his exile had orange groves instead of an internet forum, but they, not the 'responsible bodies' of the day were the ones who upheld the Faith.
Met. Philip is deserving of much praise for the building up of the Archdiocese, and with it the Holy Orthodox Church in North America. Unfortunately, his misapplication of the purported Synodal decision, has no purpose or effect other than to destroy his own crowning achievement--the creation of proper, reasonable-sized dioceses, with ruling bishops able to know not only their priests, but their minor clergy and a good portion of the laity, mostly with their bishops not collated with bishops of other Orthodox juridictions, as a necessary step toward Orthodox unity in North America within the normal canonical structures of the Orthodox Church: one city, one bishop.
The whole affair gives on the horrible feeling that one is seeing in real life the figure in bishop's robes hanging on one of the upper rungs of the Ladder of Divine Ascent by a hooked foot while a demon tries to pull him entirely off.
Make no mistake. The arguments about 'unity' evinced for abolition of diocesan bishops, and with them the local Holy Synod, represents an ecclesiological heresy of the same sort as the Latin papacy.
Pray that all of us, especially Met. Philip, will be delivered from it.
#48 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-05-19 22:44
Since we are bandying offenses right now let me offer mine. I am offended when a cleric whether a Bishop or Priest resorts to demands for obedience when truth or justice can no longer be relied upon as an ally.
This is especially egregious when one equates that so called obedience as unto Christ Himself. Is it without qualifiacation that Fr. Morris believes that you "must" submit to a Bishop? I hardly think St. Ignatius was intending to give a carte blanc check to Episcopal prerogatives and that the only response available to the faithful is some sort of submissive groveling.
I had stated earlier that Fr. John obviously understands the dangers of such blind obedience. His further clarifications have now convinced me otherwise.
I also wonder if Fr. Morris is willing to concede that the Chancellors of this Archdiocese can be counted amongst the "Responsible Bodies"? So far their legal opinion and articulate testimony seems to be by far the most compelling indictment against the ill-advised actions of Damascus.
Finally I am offended by Fr. Morris's courage compairisons to his fellow clergy because he signs his letters. As far as I can tell none of his brother priests can transfer, discipline, or otherwise make life miserable for him as can the Metropolitan he defends. There are more than a few clerical casualties among those who dared question let alone resist his Eminence. Give your brothers a break.
#49 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-05-20 09:02
I hope Kevin and the other realize what we are seeing with Fr Morris's contribution to this dialogue.... I would wager that Metropolitan Philip got the word out early on that his allies were to jump into the fray and defend him. First we saw Economos Gabriel, then his wife, Fr Hughes, Fr Washburn, Fr Nasr and others. This is unfolding much the same way as when a scathing article was published around the time of the Ben Lomond debacle. The word went out from Englewood that "senior" priests should each respond to the article with a counter point or broadside. The pressure to show loyalty to Metropolitan Philip was intense and move to crush the opposition was heated. (It would be instructive to re-visit the facts and principle movers in that situation, particularly Bishop Joseph's role)
While some of these priests are good men, dedicated the the faith, and faithfully living out their priestly vocations, others have much in their lives and priestly history they will pay heavily for on judgment day - and their self agrandizement, earthly honors, and vindictivenss portrayed as righteousness will gain them nothing.
What Metropolitan Phlip and his friends can't stand about this website and others is that the anonymity of the charges are not slanderous, they reveal truth and, in some cases, knowledge of facts that at the least embarass, and in the worst case show blatant disregard for pastoral duty, Christian virtue, fiscal responsibility in managing the treasures of the Church....
As Orthodox Christians we have a right to expect heroic virtue and selfless dedication from the clergy and bishops of the Church. Too often with Metropolitan Philip and other 'leaders' in the AOCA justify selfishness as balanced by 'the good' that they accomplish in other areas.
In the days ahead, the Convention will attempt a resolution supporting the Patriarchate and the Holy Synod. This will be presented as simply avowing unity and solidarity with the Mother Church. The result will be complete dissolution of 'self rule' - which Antioch was never quite comfortable with in the first place. Later, when Metropolitan Phlip retires Bishop Joseph will be proclaimed the new Metropolitan.
Just wait and see. In the meantime, I'm keeping my head down.
(editor's note: And in so doing, you are different from those you accuse in what way? Where is your heroic virtue, etc? By "keeping your head down" you offer no solutions - you just perpetuate the problem. There will be no "all clear" - and no chance for whoever picks up the reigns from Metropolitan Philip to do any better. The solution is not to hide and cower - but to call on the Metropolitan to be all that his supporters claim he is - honest, truthful, a leader. Open the books, practice transparency, be accountable, dispel the fear that forces men (and women) such as yourself to "keep their heads down". Should we expect any less from our leaders? )
#50 Hiding till the all clear on 2009-05-21 04:20
While I appreciate your words, and am justly chastised for not displaying my own heroic virtue, I, like others, have learned the hard way to keep my head down.
#51 Hiding till the all clear on 2009-05-21 15:08
Subdeacon David Yetter wrote, “As other have pointed out, there have been times in the history of the Church when letting 'responsible bodies' sort everything out would not have served the interests of the Holy Orthodox Faith, and it was the laity and ordinary clergy who preserved the Faith.” This is correct. Relevant to this discussion, I would make two points. The first is that the controversy concerns administrative issues, not dogmatic concerns. Whatever title or authority the local bishops have when the dust settles it will in no way change the Orthodox Faith. Regardless of what decision is made, our Holy Orthodox Faith will remain the same. Throughout the history of the Church different areas have had the freedom to develop administrative forms that best suit their circumstances. Here in America, we have much more lay involvement in the administration of the Church. After Peter the Great, the Russian Orthodox Church was a department of state administered by a layman appointed by the Tsar. Although this was actually uncanonical the Russian Orthodox Church was still Orthodox. The Church of Greece was organized following the example of the state churches of Europe after Greece became a monarchy ruled by first a Bavarian, and then a Danish dynasty. Despite the interference of the state with the Church, the Church of Greece was still Orthodox under the monarchy. The forms of administration can be changed without changing the Faith of the Church.
The second is that the faithful do have the ability to express their concerns. Every diocese will have a Family Life Conference this summer. In July the Archdiocesan Convention will meet. These bodies, along with the Parish Councils and the Board of Trustees provide the proper forum for the faithful to express their concerns on the administration of our Archdiocese. I cannot take seriously unsubstantiated accusations made by someone who lacks the courage to identify themselves or who may bring a personal and highly subjective bias to this discussion.
Finally some of your posts have implied that I have written what I have written to curry the favor of Metropolitan Philip. This is not true. I have written what I have written on my own and not because anyone asked me to write.
Archpriest John W. Morris
(Editor's note: The Board of Trustees are selected, appointed and may be removed by the Archbishop. How does this forum provide laity with a chance to express their concerns? Since the Archbishop does not attend the all parish/family life conferences how does this venue allow laity to express their concerns to him - except, of course, to their diocesan bishops, who, one assumes, already know them as they are the chief victims of the debacle? Thus, the only serious venue you mention for laity to express their concerns is the Archdiocesan Convention - which, of course, does not seem to matter since even the Constitution adopted by it can be overturn by fiat, as recent events have demonstrated. Might I suggest an alternative? Rather than complaining about the "inappropriateness" of the internet as a forum of expression, why not begin discussions of how to harness it for mutual benefit? Finally, correct me if I am wrong, but are you arguing that being "uncanonical" ( as in the case of the Russian Church's administration in the time of Peter, or Greece later) is not a problem if the Faith is secure? And that this is therefore a model for the Archdiocese - that while the Faith is secure, the administration is not relevant? That seems to me to be an argument that could come back to bite one in the future...)
#52 Fr. John W. Morris on 2009-05-23 15:08
I suppose what troubles me the most about this whole controversy, is that I do not understand what all the controversy is about. The local bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese were not independent ruling bishops even before the decision of the Holy Synod to change their title. I have spoken with two Antiochian Bishops who tell me that nothing much has really changed. We continued to commemorate the Metropolitan. His signature is still on the antimension. We continue to refer matters of divorce to him. All baptisms, marriages and funerals are registered with his office. All transfers have to receive his approval. I distinctly remember being told that since His Eminence had led the Archdiocese for so long that he would continue to exercise most of his old authority. Thus, all that really happened is that the Holy Synod clarified the situation and changed the title of the local bishops.
As far as your other comments, we do not have mob rule in Orthodoxy. We certainly do not allow a group of people writing anonymously on the internet to determine the policy of the Church. From some of the comments, I believe that some of your contributors have a preconceived bias against our Metropolitan and probably against the Antiochian Archdiocese in general.
As imperfect as you may consider them, there are real placed for the laity to express their opinion and help determine policy in the Antiochian Archdiocese. We have Parish Councils that can write letters. We have diocesan conferences, where laity and clergy can express their opinions and ask questions. We have the Board of Trustees, which is made up of representatives of the laity. They can hardly be considered a group of “yes men” since the Chancellors have written a very strongly worded opinion on this matter. Finally, we have the General Assembly of the Archdiocesan Convention, where anyone can speak on any issue. However, the Holy Synod of Antioch is still the highest authority over the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Archpriest John W. Morris
(editor's note: What concerns me is that any time any one seems to ask a question in public, allegations of "mob rule" are brought up. If the Archdiocese is so fragile that serious questions may not be asked, I would suggest it has more serious problems than the internet. Finally, if you do not know what the problem is, that may be an indication of the depth and scope of the problem itself. And I would suggest that problem is the purposeful ambiguity perpetrated on the diocese by the Metropolitan - for we can all agree he was in charge - concerning the Bishops, dioceses and Self Rule tself. Such ambiguity must now be faced and if you have spoken to two bishops who see no problems, I can show you three absent Bishop signatures that indicate there is a problem. It is clear that the Archdiocese can only go forward in transparency, openeness and accountability - for the old way of secrecy, lack of accountability and opacity has only led it into the current impasse and dead end. Instead of worrying about a mob that does not exist, why not suggest ways in which the Archdiocese can go forward towards increasing transparency on the Board of Trustees, increasing accountability in terms of finances, and openess on the part the Archdiocese as a whole? )
#53 Fr. John W. Morris on 2009-05-26 07:21
Fr. John mentions the fact that after the enthroning of the Diocesan Bishops Metropolitan Philip was still deferred to in matters of discipline and in other areas that should have been the prerogatives of a Diocesan.
In their desire to show deference and respect to his Eminence our Diocesans made a tragic blunder which has now come back to bite them.
When it comes to His Grace were they not aware of the possibility that no good deed or intention would go unpunished?
#54 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-05-27 10:11
Christ is Risen!
I must humbly disagree with the assertion you and Metropolitan Philip have made that the controversy "concerns administrative issues, not dogmatic concerns." The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, and as such has a proper structure or taxis set down in the canons of the Holy Ecumenical Councils and local councils received by them--and thus, if we really believe our hymnography that calls the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils "the Harps of the Spirit", by the Holy Spirit Himself--and in the life of the Church down the ages since Pentecost.
The fact that the Church has continued to function even when wounded by the machinations of Westernizing Tsars and nationalist governments does not mean that those who argued for those aberrations were merely meddling in 'administrative concerns', rather than holding an heretical ecclesiology.
You would do well, Father, to read the critique of the whole notion of auxiliary bishops by Met. George of Mount Lebanon at www.orthodoxattorneys.org/docs/exh/Ex_13-3_-_2003_1018_Article-MetrGeorgeKhodr-inEnglish.pdf
The idea advanced by supporters of the dethronement of our diocesan bishops that the Archdiocese is somehow disunited if it is
ruled by a Holy Synod of equal diocesan bishops under the presidency of our Metropolitan as prime inter pares, that unity is only achieved by having only one real ruling bishop, is the argument evinced by the Latins for the Roman Papacy writ small. We did not reject the universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome even back in the days when the Popes of Rome confessed the Orthodox Faith in matters of Christology, triadology and soteriology as "an administrative concern" but because the theory that there is (and must be) only one real bishop for the Church to be united is a novelty, an error, a position contrary to Holy Tradition, in short a heresy.
Like all heresies it is also, quite simply false. If our beloved Archdiocese would be disunited by following its Constitutions, then every Orthodox partiarchate, autocephalous or autonomous church in the world, governed in like manner with proper diocesan bishops ruling diocese and forming a Holy Synod, which under its chief hierarch abides by both clauses of Apostolic Canon 34 (or 35, depending on who's counting), (meaning all of them) are disunited. That is an absurd position.
The Orthodox faithful have as much right to defend the Church against ecclesiological heresies as we have to defend it against Christological or triadological heresies.
Subdeacon David [Yetter]
#55 Subdeacon David Yetter on 2009-05-27 10:31
I think that I speak for most Antiochian clergy. We do not agree with either extreme in this dispute. One group wants to hang Metropolitan Philip, the other wants to hang one or more of our local bishops. I do not like to read attacks at the Metropolitan. Neither do I like to read attacks on one or more of our local Antiochian bishops. I have read personal attacks addressed at me simply because I am willing to accept whatever happens and plan to continue to serve God and be loyal to my Metropolitan and my bishop regardless of his title to the best of my ability. Everyone should pray that God’s will be done and let the responsible parties resolve this issue. In any case, trading insults and accusations on the internet is no way for Orthodox Christians to deal with such important matters.
Archpriest John W. Morris
#56 Fr. John W. Morris on 2009-05-27 12:56
In response to Kevin Kirwan. I suggest that you look at the Orthodox Attoeney's site. Look at the list of exhibits and read the one marked Hierarchian Handbook. It was written several years ago, long before this controversy. It shows that from the very beginning certain powers usually given to a ruling bishop were reserved to the Metropolitan.
Archpriest John Morris
(editor's note: The document is the "Manual of Hierarchical Duties", exhibit 30.5)
#57 Fr. John W. Morris on 2009-05-27 16:15
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