Tuesday, May 26. 2009
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So now the Holy Synod's story is that Metr. Philip had them so bamboozled that he was able to convince them to hold an emergency meeting and pass a motion in violation of their own by-laws without them suspecting that anything was wrong with what they were being told? Did the dog eat their homework, too? Is the check in the mail? Will they still respect us in the morning?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#1 Nemo on 2009-05-26 19:29
Let us pray that as on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit will come upon all present for this synaxis of the Bishops to restore peace, order and unity through normalizing our Diocesan Bishops status.
They need not only be Bishops of their Diocese but be fully vested with the authority to execise their ministry in accordance with the Holy Scripture, the Sacred Canons, and Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.
May our Lord bless Patiarch Ignatius as he welcomes our Diocesan Bishops. We pray that all will be open to the workings of the All-Holy Spirit.
#2 anonymous on 2009-05-26 21:02
This seems to be very conciliar! The Patriarch of Antioch is inviting the Bishops of the AOCA to a conversation. Philip is made to be but one involved in that conversation and elects to sit out instead! That is telling. These Bishops going to Damascus are going fully informed by their people and with their support. More evidence of some conciliarity. We will see if Philip has played both sides once to often. He now has real bishops on either side of him, in both Damascus and America.
The Phanar should watch closely. If the Patriarch would invite all the Bishops serving in America to a conversation he might be surprised of what emerges pastorally. It remains to be seen if his real motivation is pastoral or something else. Many of us suspect the latter and hope to be proven wrong.
If the argument is about Chalcedon 28 nothing will be solved. The Byzantine Empire is no more and no canon imagines the uniqueness of the present American situation. This means that there must be a conversation in which the Phanar speaks and listens. That will demand that he takes into consideration his real standing in the world and our unprecedented situation in our little American part of it. That will demand real Theological thinking and not mere repristination of canons that do not fit the time or the situation.
(editor's note: Did you mean "re-presentation" of canons, or what your wrote " repristination"? Is the latter a word? I love the concept - the attempt to make pristine once again... and boy does it fit!)
#3 Fr Andrew on 2009-05-27 06:12
Nemo, never underestimate the ability of Met Philip to deceive. He's been playing both sides (the Holy Synod and the Archdiocese) against each other for decades, and both sides are only now figuring out the full extent of that deception. A good con artist can get smart people to do really stupid things.
#4 Ferris Haddad on 2009-05-27 06:55
I find it interesting and a bit ironic that Damascus is basically admitting they have no clue as to what is going on in America with the Church, it's clergy and it's laity. (we thought everything was fine) Doesn't this prove the point that the Orthodox in America NEED an American Church with an American hierarchy? It pretty much proves it as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully the Antiochian Bishops won't have a "change of heart" after this meeting takes place.
#5 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-05-27 09:53
Hopefully the Synod is actually distressed with this manufactured and completely unneccessary crisis. The fact of Metropolitan Philip's not attending this special gathering may be a sign that the Patriarchate is investigating the possible misinformation they have been receiving a steady diet of for years. We shall see.
#6 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-05-27 09:57
Well we are still tied to Damascus. Oh but that the travel costs of 6 Bishops be used for missions or the real poor. The Pat. will assure them all well, just obey, and our "ties" are forever. Met P. without them present in July at the Damas. Synod will buffalo all thru as is the usual. What juoy that they are still Dioc. Bishops? We will as Church In the America's never be totalloy free. Poor tea party never to be held ! A united Ch when? Most say 100 yrs or even more!
#7 Anonymous Priest on 2009-05-27 10:04
correction to above....May the Lord bless Patriarch Ignatius as he welcomes our AUXILLIARY BISHOPS. We pray that all will be open to the workings of the All-Holy Spirit.
(editor's note: Three have never admitted nor accepted the demotion; three did. Let us not prejudge the decision of the Synod, and simply say "Bishops". In that, there is no disagreement. )
#8 Anonymous on 2009-05-27 12:24
also, i would add that my sources tell me that the patriarch did not "invite" the bishops but rather, "summoned" the bishops...nice spin, stokoe. he is expected to confirm the decision and give all the so called "clarification" bishop mark and basil wanted to their faces.
(Editor's note: You have your sources, I mine. The proof will be in the pudding, as they say. Let's wait and see on June 4th - or more telling, after the Synod meeting 10 days later.)
#9 Anonymous on 2009-05-27 12:31
How do you do it? Every time I catch wind of some new turn of events, I take a look at the website here and something is already posted. You must have Ortho-radar.
As for Damascus, this is to me the second shocking announcement in the last 10 days (the first being that Mr. Koory signed the Chancellors' Opinion paper - Mr. Ajalat's signature came as much less of a surprise). In my mind this signals that there is a new wind blowing across the whole landscape of this really unfortunate situation...
I suddenly feel as if all of this just might blow over in a few months - only with the Bishops being "reinstated" as quietly as possible, rather than my earlier guess that most of us in the AOCA would just shake our heads and accept the Metropolitan's leadership in the matter.
Are there much deeper issues in the Archdiocese, such as deep currents of fear among clergy, autocratic direction from Englewood, etc.? Well, of course, and some say these must be dealt with now. They may be quite right, but my hunch is that this will end more quickly and quietly than we think - before the Archdiocesan convention, so that the bishops can show some solidarity and help their people on the road toward healing (if not forgetfulness).
If the Metropolitan hates "disloyalty" and being second-guessed, he hates disunity even more, and fears now (I am quite sure) for the continuance of the unity he feels he has created throughout the course of his episcopacy. He loves the praise and friendship of his Archdiocese, and I don't think he could face them in the Palm Desert.
So here is my prediction, for what it is worth: the meeting in Damascus will raise serious realities in the mind of the Patriarch, and he and Metropolitan Philip will hammer out a solution which includes the reinstatement of the Bishops later in June when they meet. The reinstated Bishops will agree to try to cool down the heated nerves of the people of their dioceses, and the convention will bring a statement from the Metropolitan that will attempt to play down the seriousness of the affair and focus on unity and the future.
What do you all think?
(editor's note: Sorry, there is not such thing as Ortho-dar. What there is , however, is a growing network of Orthodox Christians who share my belief that transparency, accountability and openness are virtues the Church must begin to practice in ever greater depth if we are to witness and minister to this culture effectively.)
#10 Jackson Downs on 2009-05-27 14:48
Perhaps MP fears an audit more than he craves the praise o his small inner circle. MP may prefer to have six angry Diocsan Bishops than an audit, with the IRS, FBI and police outside his door.
As far as the Bishops travelling abroad, I heard they are paying their own way again, as they did in 2004 for their consecrations. Where do are tithes actually go?
Certainly not to the seminarians, they are on public assistance.
Certainly not to our retired clergy, they cannot afford to retire.
#11 anonymous on 2009-05-27 21:30
I couldn't agree more.
However, the EP's primatial standing does not depend solely upon one canon, but upon custom, precedent, historical experience. Yes, one might argue that the historical situation has changed drastically, and that the patriarchal system has broken down in the last century or so, under the pressure of stresses never envisaged. Yet were the EP to do as you suggest and call together all the American bishops for a synaxis with authentically open, face-to-face discussion, there could in fact be no stronger, no more true exercise and demonstration of Constantinople's primacy than that. Rather than making claims, the patriarchate would be acting in the service of unity in response to the actually disunified situation as it is on the ground. Let us pray that this will happen.
#12 Matthew on 2009-05-27 21:44
Sadly, I'm not, but I'm also not underestimating the ability of the Patriarch and his fellow members of the Holy Synod to pretend that they didn't know exactly what was going on and what they were doing. I hope that this does not degenerate into a demonstration of "find the scapegoat." Unfortunately, we have only seen true integrity from two bishops throughout this whole affair; the rest, it seems, have yet to reveal their true intentions.
Incidentally, has anyone said from what funds the airfare for the six bishops to and (hopefully) from Damascus are to be paid?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#13 Nemo on 2009-05-27 21:49
Yes, indeed - "repristination" is a real word: to return an original condition; to renew purity.
That the current situation demands "real Theological thinking and not mere repristination of canons that do not fit the time or the situation" - couldn't have said it better. But where is this real Theological thinking? I don't hear much in the American context.
For some food for thought, see the two very fine essays of John Zizioulas, "Primacy in the Church: an Orthodox Perspective" and "Recent Discussions on Primacy in Orthodox Theology." Worth hunting down.
(editor's note: live and learn. Thanks!)
#14 Anonymous on 2009-05-27 22:17
You are absolutely correct. Three bishops chose to be demoted to auxiliary and three did not accept to be demoted and remain DIOCESAN BISHOPS. Would that mean when or if the others are rstored to their sees, the ones who heald ground would out-rank them as having been Diocesan Bishops long? What irony for those who play games with the Church and people's salvation.
#15 anonymous on 2009-05-28 05:01
I meant repristination: the act of restoring to the first or original state or condition. In our case it is the act of the Phanar forcing the unique American experience into a dead Byzantine one that frankly is not helpful for the saving of Americans with our Orthodox therapy. This reprisination only serves to prop up the Phanar but it does not help in the saving of American people. I love Greeks and have several in my parish and pray for more. Americans for the most part will not become just a little Greek so as to become fully Orthodox. They are comfortable as Americans and we in the Holy Church must welcome them as such! The Phanar being married to it's particular culture is not up to that task!! The Phanar's canon 28 arguement is I believe proof of what I have just said!!
#16 fr Andrew on 2009-05-28 05:37
What's ridiculous about all this is that these bishops still have to go to Damascus. What kind of "autonomous" church is this? It's still under the thumb of foreign bishops. It really is time to throw off any control from foreign bishops - it's non-canonical!
#17 Anon ymous on 2009-05-28 06:01
your speculation is crazy! The bishops did not pay for their own way in 2004! That is not true! How do I know? Because my two good friends (one of of detroit at st. george in troy and one out of boston, ma) PAID for Bishop Mark's trip. Dont make statments that are unsubstantiated.
#18 Anonymous on 2009-05-28 08:43
This is not proven. There is no proof of Mark's article in regards to his concept. It was based on "close" sources. What does that mean...nothing really. I have close sources but does mean i'm right. The only reason Mark's viewpoint is having any weight is because he plastered it on this website.
(editor's note: And the not -insubstantial fact that everything my "sources" tell me comes to pass. I will not claim 100% accuracy - no one is perfect. I will claim 98% though, simply because I do not report things unless they are verified by two sources if at all possible. If I have been wrong in things I have reported - please tell me, and I will correct them ASAP. In short, William, if this website were just Mark Stokoe blathering it would have not have lasted three and a half years, nor be quoted as a source of news - not just an opinion page - around the world. )
#19 William on 2009-05-28 08:47
How very very true. How can you compare such Self Rule (?) with the true Autocephaly of the OCA rom it's "Mother"? Will Antioch (now in Damascus!) ever do that? Not in a storm of years be assured. Keep the "ties that bind" ever formidable in all situations. July Conv. to be a Met Philip structured program (as usual) with reports filling a deay and a half and leaving a half day (Fri) for any real discussion. Again, all programmed by the "vacation fun bound" delegates. As reported 98% with about 75% PROXY only. Some gathering save for the services and semons each day and a good massepent by all at such "gatherings". My Priest wants to stay home but the council says to attend. What would the Met. say?
#20 Anonymous Deacon on 2009-05-28 11:49
Breaking news on the "Antiochian" claims that Bp. Alexander has already met with the Patriarch while visiting there recently and pledged his complete acceptance of the February 24 decision.
I am wondering if Mark has any information regarding this?
(Editor's note: The report the writer mentions on TheAntiochian.com reads:
"Earlier then expected, Bishop Alexander meets with His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV in Damascus.
His Grace, Bishop Alexander, vacationing in Lebanon the past month, requested to meet with His Beatitude, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, choosing not wait for the other five bishops to arrive from the United States next week. Bishop Alexander was visiting in Lebanon when he learned about the Patriarchal request to meet with all auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese. Scheduled to return to North America before the meeting with the other bishops, His Beatitude accommodated Bishop Alexander so as to not disrupt his travel plans."
The writer then continues:
"In the meeting with His Beatitude, Bishop Alexander expressed his loyalty, obedience and complete acceptance of the February 24 decision. He also expressed his love and sincerity to the Primate of this Archdiocese and his brothers, the Auxiliary bishops. The Patriarch welcomed Bishop Alexander’s position and his willfulness to serve the Antiochian Church in North America in this capacity.
We commend His Grace, Bishop Alexander for this heroic and Orthodox position, and pray that the Lord God will continue to inspire His Grace, as he continues to serve the church under the leadership of His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP."
The appellation of "heroic and Orthodox" to Bishop Alexander in this case makes me suspicious a bit , since it would then follow that Bishop Mark or Bishop Basil, then, are "unheroic and unOrthodox"? That seems a bit extreme. Since Bishop Alexander can speak for himself, I prefer to wait to hear what transpired from the Bishop himself; or from the Patriarchate itself.)
#21 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-05-28 13:24
Are you aware that the phrase "Sic semper tyrannis" has been used twice in history as the rallying cry of the perpetrators of political assassinations (the assassinated being Julius Caesar and Abraham Lincoln)? So unless you are urging the assassination of one or another Bishop, perhaps you could find a tag with a less murderous redolence.
(editor's note: We have been down this road, Father. Unless you suggesting the Commonwealth of Virginia is a state full of assassins, for such is their motto, let's just leave it as that - a state motto.)
#22 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-05-28 14:07
I am glad you do check with 2 sources. But are these credible sources, the reason I ask is because factual information has to come from respectable, credible individuals...not someone who has had a past history with issues pertaining to this. The source is more important than the information at this moment I am starting to believe.
(editor's note: What would be the point of publishing uncredible sources? I don't make money at this, I don't have "ratings", nor do I need the noteriety. My goal is to inform, so it would be counterproductive not to provide the most accurate info available. As for your concerns, I understand, but sometime credible people are not respectible - and not all respectible people are always credible. It is not the source that matters - it is the truth of what is being said.)
#23 William on 2009-05-28 14:58
You are quite right, literally, Igumen Philip. "Sic Semper Tyrannis" (trans. = "Thus Always to Tyrants") was invoked by John Wilkes Booth in 1865 after he assassinated President Lincoln.
But the phrase has served as the motto of the Great Commonwealth of Virginia since 1776. The founding fathers of that state had King George III in mind as a tyrant, but there is no evidence, to my knowledge, that the "sic" (i.e., "thus") entailed assassination of that particular royal--or anyone for that matter. As a loyal son of Virginia (through "adoption" in 1988), I disavow Booth's highjacking of the motto in a most unworthy act. Even the motto's supposed ancient lineage is in doubt, but I'll leave that to the classicists among us to determine whether Brutus did, in fact, utter the phrase in 44 BC.
In any case, although the motto does not necessarily imply death (as it is too often mistranslated), it hardly applies to any living Orthodox bishop. Perhaps an admixture of Greek with Latin might work better: "Sic Semper Despotais!"
#24 Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster on 2009-05-28 16:42
And what did you expect. Bishop Alexander born & loyal to his home country gave in! Why not as that is where his "bread will be buttered"! Fellow Canadians disagree with him on this. That leaves TWO true Bishops who truly represent the NEW WORLD !
(editor's note: TheAntiochian.com is hardly a credible, unbiased or unimpeachable source in these matters, so do not be so quick to assume your final sentence is true. Let's wait and hear from the Bishop himself.)
#25 Anonymous Layman & Council member on 2009-05-28 17:45
Both of you are mistaken, they did not pay for any of the Bishop's airfares or hotels. The people referenced were very generous in that they covered much of the costs out of their own pockets for dinners, touring etc. for the bishops and for the clergy that went however, they did not pay for the airfares or any of the accommodations, everyone paid for themselves so neither one of you are correct.
(editor's note: And that dear friends, is why transparency and accountability are so very much needed in the finances of the Archdiocese, the OCA and the GOA. Until it is all disclosed, reviewed and audited, this type of controversy and suspicion will continue and grow and expand without end. And such is not just small-mindedness: as the case of the OCA has shown, there was good reason to be suspicious! )
#26 Anonymous on 2009-05-28 18:02
The Diocesan Bishops paid their own way in 2004. Perhaps your friends donated money for the Bishops' travels and the Bishops never were re-imbursed?
*All the more reason to insist on an audit*!
Who did your supposed friends actually give the money to? perhaps it got stuck in the pipes somewhere?
#27 anon and anon on 2009-05-28 20:38
What utter non-sense! +Bp Alexander is a man of the highest integrity who speakas his mind wthout hesitation.
There is no duplicity in him.
He is not double-minded or like a wave upon the sea.
Given his honesty and integrity it is small wonder he has problems with a priest close to his chancery.
#28 anon and anon on 2009-05-28 20:46
whatever the case may be, he has pledged his obedience to the holy synod decision. metropolitan philip must be pleased!!
#29 Anonymous on 2009-05-29 06:53
If we agree on the deathless version, then it still applies, father, when bishops are acting as tyrants. As Bishop Nikolai has shown and Metropolitan Philip seems to be showing, bishops are not above Hades-bound tyranny. Further, such tyranny is not good Orthodox ecclesiology. It should be opposed when encountered. It could be that this is what you meant, and why you added the Greek. I wasn't sure if you meant this or meant to say bishops cannot be tyrants. Using the Greek could imply we should always revolt against bishops. I prefer to keep it only against tyrants. Anyhow, I wasn't quite sure which you meant. Maybe I'm just too tired today.
#30 Phileas on 2009-05-29 11:09
I feared for Bishop Alexander as soon as I heard he would be the Bishop of Ottawa with a chancery in Montreal. Two "bishops" in one city?! The Economy would never stand for it!!
#31 Anonymouse on 2009-05-29 14:32
I agree with you, fully, father. The word autonomy is not accepted yet by Damascus precisely because it conveys something ecclesiologically that all Orthodox would "get." Allowing "self-rule" and a constitution does not in itself grant that officially and keeps a foot in the door for these sorts of things.
As for the commenter above who wondered when we could have an American Orthodox Church, the answer, barring a miracle coming out of the meeting in June, would be not until we have the courage to follow the steps of the Metropolia and declare it for ourselves, Old World power cravings notwithstanding.
Unless and until we have the courage to do this, we will never have an American Orthodox Church as an administratively united entity.
#32 Phileas on 2009-05-29 16:40
Bleak and bleaker as it now seems in typical Metropolitan Philip fashion the Chancellors who dared speak the truth were dressed down then dismissed this weekend. (If you can believe The Antiochian?)
I hope to hear an in depth reliable report of that meeting here.
(Editor's note: Monday AM)
#33 Kevin kirwan on 2009-05-30 19:20
I think we ae also finding MP does not know the AOCA any more
#34 anonymous on 2009-05-31 17:27
Dear Mister or reverent anonymous,
Please get your facts straight. For your information no one worked harder then yours truly for Bishop Alexander to come to Montreal. He preferred Montreal to Ottawa and during the aftermath of a critical illness, I struggled very hard for the restoration of the chancery and for Bishop Alexander's safe arrival, comfort and whatever else he needed, for his ministry in his diocese.
Economos Antony Gabriel
#35 Economos Antony Gabriel on 2009-06-02 12:43
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