Monday, June 8. 2009
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We are delighted to hear Patriarch Ignatius did not
1. Insist on signing anything (and perhaps never did)
2. Did not use the term Auxiliary Bishop, and perhaps never intended it
3. Never questioned the OBEDIENCE of our Diocesan Bishops.
4. Act like he could unilaterally dictate the outcome of a meeting, like so often happens on this side of the ocean.
Given Patriarch Ignatius has shown his concern to learn the truth first hand by meeting with our Diocesan Bishops, we should have very confidence he will direct the deliberations of the Holy Synod in a fatherly way for peaceful and responsible resolution to this crisis in North America.
At the outset, we must realize they will not make veryone happy by whatever decision they make, but let us pray that their decision is one pleasing to God.
One thing we must realize is that either self-rule goes or Mp goes. He does not have the ability to work with equals on this side of the ocean or the other.
#1 anonymous on 2009-06-08 22:52
I remember Bishop Basil long before he became a Bishop, and always felt that he was an honest man. I believe his clarification to be true. I have been trying to get a fair picture of where the truth in all of this intrigue lies, and have looked at other websites, The Antiochian, Orthodox News, Antiochian Ardiocese website, and the one website that seems to twist and retract the truth is the Antiochian. Who runs the Antiochian?
#2 anonymous on 2009-06-09 02:44
Bishop Basil’s communications, while giving clear, albeit inconclusive insight, spark some interesting observations and possibilities.
Apparently, I, like many others, have underestimated the understanding that Patriarch Ignatius has of the situation in the North American Archdiocese. Obviously, he and other members of the Holy Synod have been keeping a close watch of the unfolding saga in North America and are commensurately concerned.
What they will or will not do about this crisis remains to be seen. It is a certainty that Metropolitan Philip and his accompanying loyalists will put on a “full court press,” to use the basketball vernacular for pressure, upon their arrival in Damascus.
Several issues that come to mind are that there has been a long history of tensions between Metropolitan Philip and Patriarch Ignatius. This may be the first instance where the Patriarch holds a decided upper hand in that Metropolitan Philip's credibility has taken a critical hit, thanks in great part, to the work of the Orthodox attorneys showing inconsistencies and contradictory comments by MP over the past eight years.
It is has been my understanding for several years and it has been confirmed that the Holy Synod has never accepted the Self-Rule status of North America, contrary to what Englewood has propagated over the past five years.
One important point of consideration, it should be recognized that while for the most part the Holy Synod makes decisions independently, the members do have to be mindful that they all live and work as a minority in nations that can exert subtle but powerful political pressure on the hierarchs. For decades, Metropolitan Philip has cultivated strong relations with the political leaders of Syria and Lebanon. He surely is going to use these alliances to assist him as his primacy is challenged as never before. Accordingly, it will not be easy for the Patriarch and Synod to act independently of the political realities of their environment.
In the end, if a compromise is reached that all sides can live with, the result will be that the North American Church will remain an integral and accountable part of the Patriarchate, Metropolitan Philip will remain largely in control of the Archdiocese, however with major credibility issues with the clergy and laity and the status of the Archdiocesan Bishops will be clarified by insuring that they serve and function at the pleasure of the only recognized synod – the one that meets in Damascus.
So much for autonomy...oh yeah, that word doesn't exist in Arabic.
#3 Anonymous on 2009-06-09 06:17
Reread, reread, reread ! How true by the experiences of many through the years " ! Bishop Basil is the only hope for our children . Many years, true Master !
#4 Anonymous Deacon on 2009-06-09 09:14
Now that the Patriarch knows beyond all doubt that +Philip has not accurately represented the North American bishops, clergy or laity to the Holy Synod, he should be emboldened to override him. Hopefully he now also understands that if he enforces +Philip's autocratic diktats the AOCA will gradually fall apart and the money flow to Damascus will slow to a trickle.
#5 JPS on 2009-06-09 10:32
For those without any concern for their emotional health and feel inclined, dip into theantiochian.com site for the Admin advising Kevin Kirwan about yet another "official statement" to be released in 24 hours which confirms the Admin's inside "sources" in Damascus which contradicts Bishop Basil, but the Admin likes Bishop Basil not that he thinks he's "right" and so he did not comment...well, perhaps no need if my summary suffices...
For the slothful and those inclined towards suffering ponder this quote from the Admin:
"My point is this. Being an Auxilary bishop or a Diocesan bishop doesn’t really make the bishop. It’s the way they carry themselves by doing God’s ministry that counts."
All jokes aside though and here I am not being satirical though some may consider it melodramatic, over the top, or falsely pious, but the sum total of all of this...it's demonic. And it's not funny anymore, however clever people's intended satire or the unintended satire of sycophants. Or one's own attempt to cope through the salt of irony.
It has sobered me up, without anger...
#6 Steve on 2009-06-09 11:22
What comes out of this meeting is that + Basil is the victor. To the shock of his enemies, the "old country" guard and + Philip's inner circle, + Basil is the obvious choice for Met - sooner rather than later. Next, REAL autonomy and "AUTOCEPHALY."
#7 Anonymous on 2009-06-09 14:08
You have accurately outlined the reasons that all these trips to Damascus are an utter waste of time, if the objective is independence and Orthodox unity in North America before the Second Coming. None of the main characters (i.e. MP or the Antiochian Holy Synod) are the least bit interested in this outcome (unity and independence) as evidenced by their past and current conduct. And frankly, anything but movement towards true independence with an eye towards unity should be completely unacceptable to the faithful of the AOCA.
If the faithful of the AOCA are going to be pacified and satisfied with the sop of being able to call their bishops "diocesan bishops" they will have been hoodwinked "big time." There are even more important issues at stake.
#8 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-06-09 14:38
Racist remark. Go take confession if you're Christian.
#9 William on 2009-06-09 14:52
Not only has MP lost credibility with me, but he has destroyed all the respect I had for him when I came into the church 6 years ago. I first became concerned when I read THE WORD magazine and noticed that usually it had many more references to and photographs of the Metropolitan than it did icons of Christ or references to him. Then I started noticing how many resources were going into his pet projects and his travels and entertaining. Finally, this most recent course of conduct is indefensible if one is against or for self governance. His conduct undermines my entire faith because I believe that if any church is true, it is the Holy Orthodox Church. However, I also have come to conclude that if the Orthodox Church does not have the degree of transparency we expect of corporations and governments, perhaps I need to move on. My bishop is his grace, Bishop Basil, and I see in him the simplicity and purity of a true Christian hierarch. I am hurt by the pain caused him by the Metropolitan.
#10 Diogenes on 2009-06-09 15:01
Listen to me friend, a bunch of Arab juhushes run that ridiculous site!
I just don't know why anyone would even go there for any sort of information. They never get anything right because they are all mughnoons!
I am telling you, read OCA news. Mark Stokoe is a very wise man!
#11 Iskander Ibrahim on 2009-06-09 17:35
Perhaps the Antiochian Patriarchate should consider a solution to the North American situation similar to what the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church recently did to make a transition from an elderly Metropolitan.
COMMUNIQUE OF THE HOLY ASSEMBLY OF BISHOPS
OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
on Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Holy Hierarchical Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church during its meeting on May 21, 2009, based on the recommendation of the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America regarding the restructuring of the existing dioceses in North and South America, rendered the following decision confirming the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South
America, according to which the Dioceses of our Church on that territory will be structured in the following manner:
1. THE METROPOLITANATE OF LIBERTYVILLE-CHICAGO, with its See at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville (comprised of St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois and the Holy Resurrection Cathedral Church with its three parishes), whose Metropolitan shall be president of the Episcopal and Central Church Councils and of the Church-Laity Assembly, and thereby the ex officio representative of the Serbian
Orthodox Church on that territory.
2. THE DIOCESE OF NEW GRACANICA-MIDWESTERN AMERICA, with its See at New Gracanica Monastery (comprised of all the church school congregations, parishes and monasteries in Chicago - with the exception of the aforementioned Holy Resurrection Cathedral - and of the other states of the previous Metropolitanate of Midwestern
American, as well as all the church-school congregations, parishes and monasteries of the previous Diocese for America and Canada of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate on the territiory of the previous Metropolitanate of Midwestern America).
3. THE DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA, with its See in Pittsburgh/Mars (comprised of all parishes the Church-School Congregations, Parishes and Monasteries of the current Eastern American Diocese and the Church-School Congregations, Parishes and Monasteries of the previous Diocese for America and Canada of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate on the territory of Eastern America)
4. THE DIOCESE OF WESTERN AMERICA, with its See in Los Angeles/Alhambra (comprised of all the Church-School Congregations, Parishes and Monasteries of the current Western American Diocese and the Church-School Congregations, and Parishes of the previous Diocese for America and Canada of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate on the territory of Western America).
5. THE DIOCESE OF CANADA, with its See in Toronto/Monastery Milton (comprised of all the Church-School Congregations, Parishes and Monasteries of the current Canadian Diocese and the Church-School Congregations and Parishes of the previous Diocese for America and Canada of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate on the territory of Canada).
With this decision on restructuring, inasmuch as it alters and amends Article 8 of the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, the previous titles "Metropolitanate of Midwestern America" and "Diocese for America and Canada of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate" cease to exist, and the new borders for these Dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America are established.
Bishop Irinej of Bachka
Spokesman of the Holy Assembly of Bishops
#12 Anonymous on 2009-06-09 19:18
My comment today is that the only account of the trip to Damascus on the official website is that of Bishop Antoun's, also the only one on theantiochian.com, the illiterate website. Where are the writings of the the other Bishops? Is this the "official" account accepted by Englewood? Upsetting.
#13 anon on 2009-06-10 05:20
With Bishop Antoun's statement (on theantiochian.com and antiochian.org) I find one interesting passage:
"The next morning, we went to have coffee with the Patriarch, thinking our official meetings had ended. To our surprise, however, he met with Bishops THOMAS and MARK privately and then we all joined together along with Metropolitans GEORGE of Homs and SABA of Houran for a final session. Questions were raised as to what our titles would be if we were no longer diocesan bishops. His Beatitude again stressed that we are there to help wherever needed for the benefit of the Archdiocese. He told us, you are bishops and you have been neither demoted nor promoted. A bishop is a bishop, no matter where he serves and there is only one man married to that Archdiocese."
Bishop Antoun is surprised that the Patriarch met privately with Bishops Mark and Thomas. This begs the question whether Bishop Antoun really understood why they were all called to Damascus. The idea of private one-on-one meetings was part of the original announcement, wasn't it?
The Patriarch is said to have stated that they were neither demoted nor promoted. This either brings to the fore the whole issue of whether the Archdiocese was ever granted any autonomy, or else indicates that they remain Diocesan Bishops with matters of relations to the Archdiocese and Metropolitan still to be 'regularized' (i.e., worked out).
#14 Hiding till the all clear on 2009-06-10 07:01
What a huge difference beween Bp Basil's Comments and Bp Antoun's on antiochian.org
I cannot imagine PI would ever think of a diocese within a diocese. Englewood is certainly up to its old and continuous tricks of SPIN.
The boys in Englewood are grasping for some way to make the visit with PI negative for our Bishops when it was obviously positive. Why do they want to continue to stir the pot.
His Beatitude has sought t calm things down and it seems it has worked to a large degree, but Englewood is bent on driving a wedge even deeper into the Archdiocese based on LOYALTY to MP.
Hopefully, MP will decide it is better to retire than divide the Holy Synod and the North American Archdiocese.
Even if the Holy Synod makes a decision in his favor against the Diocesan Bishops, MP will still have the National Convention, the Board of Trustees and the Faithful to contend with. They will want hishead on a platter.
#15 anonymous on 2009-06-10 11:26
Bp Antoun's recollection on antiochian.org states the Bishops are there for the benefit of the Archdiocese.
If we were truly addressing the needs of the Archdiocese we would embrace a fully Diocesan Structure.
By moving away from a Diocesan Structure and returning to the notion of auxilaries, regardless of the terminology it does not serve the needs of the faithful but ONLY THE EGO OGO MP and his LUST OF POWE (St Ephraim the Syrian). ) :() :()
#16 anonymous on 2009-06-10 11:41
In a letter attributed to Bishop Antoun, he writes that the Patriarch said, “A bishop is a bishop, no matter where he serves and there is only one man married to that Archdiocese.” When I asked one of the bishop's in attendance about this alleged statement of the Patriarch, he replied that such a comment was never made in the presence of all the bishops. The obvious motive for this misrepresentation is to make the case that the “bishops” in North America are not married to their diocese or territory, only the Metropolitan. Furthermore, if a bishop is a bishop no matter titles given, i.e. Patriarch, Metropolitan, Archbishop, then can we deduce that no bishop should serve under the authority of another bishop? It has always been my understanding that in Orthodoxy, the only ecclesial authority over any bishop is the autocephalous synod of bishops. Once again Antiochian.org should be renamed “Antiochian Pravda - the Voice of the Empire.”
#17 Anonymous on 2009-06-10 11:51
What I understand now is that when Metropolitan Philip talks about the "Self Ruled Archdiocese of North America," the "self" he is referring to is his own.
A look at the Archdiocesan webpage indicates that if you wish to communicate with his grace Bishop Basil, you may do so at the addres: "firstname.lastname@example.org" This appears to be an attempt at monitoring the communications of those who wish to contact his grace. There is a more direct contact with the good bishop to be had at:
Please let him know you are praying for him and that you love him and that the Holy Church needs for him to be strong in the face of outrageous and heretical influence of the sycophants of MP.
#18 Legion on 2009-06-10 15:23
+Antoun's comments as always put a peculiar spin on matters. I find that disturbing. The distinction between ranting politics as usual and the words of a man who knows God by the Holy Spirit (+Basil) are enormous. Sure, we want answers, especially ones we agree with. Our taste for politics and quarrelling has been fed by too much secular politics, listening to gossip and not enough time in prayer. Now is the time for patience and prayer. Perhaps it will be a time for sounding trumpets after the Holy Synod meets but this week is not that time.
I do pray that Bishop Basil is not disappointed in the faith he is placing in the Patriarch. In truth, he already has the hearts of the archdiocese and has replaced MP in that regard ... not through politics but by the work of the Spirit in our hearts. This is how men of God are chosen when we listen. He has proven himself a trustworthy pastor of his priests, one who keeps the apostolic vision always, a man of prayer and a true friend. If God should be seen to raise him up, this should not push down any other ... even MP who has served well in the past.
If indeed the Patriarch said in part, "...there is only one man married to that archdiocese" it is time to recognize that the acceptable time is now and pass the mantle on. The next step is to move the headquarters out of that wretched state of New Jersey (my apologies to its residents) and into the heartland.
#19 monologistos on 2009-06-10 23:24
Please do not be discouraged. While the present crisis is disheartening, and Met Philip's conduct (both in the past and today) is shameful, this does not mean that we are not still the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
The history of the Church is full of bad bishops and corrupt administration. Yet the Church has survived intact, thanks only to the working of the Holy Spirit which continues to this day. Please do not fall into the error of Met Philip himself, making him out to be more than he is. We as a Church, in this world, have many failings and problems. May God grant that we confront them and overcome them. In the meantime, please rest assured that the Holy Spirit has not abandoned us.
#20 Ferris Haddad on 2009-06-11 05:39
His Grace Antoun, a bishop consecrated as a result of Metropolitan Philip's threats to the Holy Synod (Metropolitan Philip's account) and who in a recent gathering admitted he never thought there was a difference between a Diocesan or Auxiliary Bishop, is the offical account giver of the meetings in Damascus? What a surprise!
One only needs to compare the coherent and trustworthy account of His Grace Basil and compare it to the account of Metropolitan Philip's personal auxiliary.
And what about this strange suppossed quote from His Beatitude? "There is only one man married to that Archdiocese" Huh? The Patriarch wants to insult the gathered Bishop's and their own commitments and Episcopal callings? Why does this sound more like an interpolation of a syncophant rather than a clumsily uttered affront by His Beatitude?
#21 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-06-11 09:03
Yes, and to a greater or less extent on theantiochian.org site "unofficial comments" impugning Bishop Mark were allowed to be posted and then "reacted to"...only for a lack of proof...
On what day again did Metropolitan Philip say that none of the Bishops had done any wrongdoing?
#22 Steve on 2009-06-11 10:48
I never really understood why MP retained the title Metropolitan of All North America if we were self ruled. He was Metropolitan of New York and washington DC.
As such he would preside as the Metropolitan ove a synod but would not INTERFERE IN THEIR ADMINISTRATION.
Sadly, he lacked the strength to relinquish his control. Due to his weakness we are now in "a real fine mess."
#23 anonymous on 2009-06-11 13:38
This is a wonderful idea. The Holy Synod could simply re-allign the Diocese.
MP would be the Abp of St Nicholas cathedral and all Brooklyn, NY (and that is all).
We could then elect a new Archbishop for NY and Washington DC to preside ove the council of Nort American Bishops (not a synod)
#24 anonymous on 2009-06-11 13:45
Were not the Bishops to have two days of meetings with His Beatitude?
Then why would Bp Antoun be confused?
I would think after an initial meeting and the rest of the day to digest and process the discussion, one may have further questions or concerns that came to mind by the following day.
Perhaps, Bishop Antoun was confused by being on Syrian time, i.e., late. Maybe it was not a private meeting at all, just the one he was late for?
Did Bp Antoun have nothing further to say or discuss the second day? He looked to be quite disturbed in the picture.
It always helps when we can talk about it. ;-() )
#25 anonymous on 2009-06-11 13:54
That, and what was also confusing to me was the idea that we had an "archdiocese," composed of "dioceses"? I suppose an archpriest is composed of priests?
These little distinctions show the mind of His Emminence.
#26 Antionymous on 2009-06-12 17:33
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