Saturday, June 20. 2009
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I am thankful that our Patriarch and Holy Synod have affirmed the proper status of our Bishops. I hope to hear my Bishop Mark's name added once more to the prayers of the Great Entrance tomorrow.
The Holy Synod's statement also makes clear that "self-rule or autonomy" are not acceptable at this time. Although that is a dissapointment, Being part of a Patriarchate that brings together both converts in the New World and Faithful in the Old World has significant blessings.
My experience of Orthodox Christianity is greatly enriched by my parish family. Many of my parish brothers and sisters are from the Middle East with family histories that go back to ancient times. Being a part of this faith family connects me in more direct ways to the Holy Lands and to those who have, and still live there.
Although jurisdictional unity in North America is of great importance in our ability to share the treasures of the Ancient Christian Faith with those who seek the joys that lies within, peace within the family is of even greater importance for us all.
#1 Marc Trolinger on 2009-06-20 11:10
It appears that the Holy Synod had to backtrack without appearing to backtrack, so they said as close to nothing as possible. I'm glad to see Bp. Mark take the lead on this as I'm sure Metr. Philip and, by extension, The Word and www.antiochian.org will attempt to spin this as saying that, for the diocesan bishops to "assist the Metropolitan," they must bend to his will. Bp. Mark has taken the important first step; now, affirmed as the diocesan, he should take the equally important second step of disciplining the impudent and disrespectful priests who foolishly attempted to usurp him. Perhaps some early retirements will be forthcoming in the Detroit area.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#2 Nemo on 2009-06-20 11:58
Just a lot of ambiguous mush that does make clear, however, that the AOCA is anything but independent! Therefore, one step forward and two steps backward.
So much for those clamoring for placing "your trust in princes or the sons of man."
#3 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2009-06-20 12:11
If I were Bp. Mark, I don’t think I would be dancing for joy just yet. He is reading the decision as, “Yes, as true Diocesan Bishops, we are here to assist the Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in America by governing the Diocese to which were we consecrated to govern.” Yet, I’m sure Met. Philip is reading the decision as, “There you have it. The Holy Synod has said once and for all, that all of the other American bishops are here to assist me; that is, to do as I say. As we know, the Holy Synod of Antioch is the highest authority on earth in matters of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church.”
The whole problem now boils down to how the Synod is defining the word “assist?” If you think things looked ugly before, just wait to see what lies ahead!
#4 Anonymous on 2009-06-20 12:38
Dear Mr. Stokoe,
What you have published has no patriarchal seal as will the document which was sent to the American Metropolitan this morning only will ccontain. You have published a document which states that the other bishops in America were reduced to mere assistants. Helpers. When I wrote before, I thought you would not publish my comments and you did not.
How can we ever respect the American media which in this case also continues to state as fact that which we know is not true? Have you studied journalism and is it really so important to give a bad impression of us?
Who gave you this early draft of a statement is no friend of truth but a fomenter of disruption. If you like I will ask that a copy of the document which has actually the seal of the patriarch sent to you.
I may not be successful because it is the responsibility of the
North American Archdiocese to do that.
If you do publish this I will believe in the probability that you are interested and do care about the truth. This is what I hope. Such a forum could do so much to bring a positive aspect to the wonderful intentions of the declaration of the Holy Synod.
Y. Boustani from Damascus
Editor's note: The original from Damascus was not able to be posted to my site for technical reasons I do not yet understand. Therefore I appended the arabic version used by Bishop Mark in his letter to the his clergy. I trust that is of sufficient validity for you. As for the interpretation of the document, that is up to the members of the AOCA.)
#5 Yahya Boustani on 2009-06-20 12:59
The Supreme Leader has spoken. "You say helper , I say auxillary...its all the same." (sung to the tune to tomato.tomatoe.
Thanks fo the text in Arabic, it was really helpful, it brought transparency to a whole new level.
#6 Orthodox Shaolin on 2009-06-20 13:37
Here come the revisionists!
Just like with Holy Scripture, now will come the people who will try to tell you that the words don't mean what they say!
For example: "diocese" doesn't mean "diocese", "bishop" doesn't mean "bishop", "enthroned" doesn't mean "enthroned", "assistant to" means "auxiliary of", etc, etc, ad nauseum.
#7 Joseph on 2009-06-20 14:06
I repeat my comments from the "Foreign Bishops" thread.
Read in conjunction with +Mark's letter, the statement is clear: a bishop is a bishop is a bishop. The Diocesan Bishops of an Archdiocese assist their first among equals, the Metropolitan, and the Metropolitan in his turn represents the Archdiocese on the Holy Synod. All quite canonical and proper. Should +Philip attempt to transfer or demote a diocesan bishop, the latter has recourse to the Canons. That is what clearly follows from the statement that the nature of the Episcopate is one and the same to all consecrated bishops.
Now, with this context, the meaning of the latter part of the statement is clear as well:
No one Diocese is the Archdiocese. In other words, neither the Metropolitan's Diocese nor any other individual Diocese is the Archdiocese, and only the Holy Synod of Antioch can establish an Archdiocese.
Which is to say, "In case you're getting any ideas, +Metropolitan, remember that WE decide what constitutes the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, not you."
The statement is subtle, short, and diplomatic. But make no mistake: they brought the hammer down.
And if this whole dust-up really was just because of a few restive clergy in Toledo and the Midwest, I can only shake my head in astonishment and dismay.
Well, here we go. Another nebulous statement. Unless Bp Mark has info not made public--the clarification is anything but clear.
It apprears that the Holy Synod attempted to satisfy everyone and will ultimately satisfy no one.
So do we ask for another clarification or will live with spin and individual interpretations coming forth. I suspect that this "cloudy" clarification will or cause much confusion in the AOC in NA.
I also agree with another poster that the Synod wording leaves the AOC self rule in question.
I was hoping for light from the East not increased heat!
#9 Anonymous on 2009-06-20 14:42
But make no mistake: they brought the hammer down.
That must be the 'velvet' hammer as it doesn't make much sound (or sense) to me.
#10 anon on 2009-06-20 15:11
While I would love to believe Bp Mark's interpretation of the Byzantine nonsense, surely Met Philip is not going to let this stand. He will continue to fight this.
And Damascus? I fear they are shaking their heads in agreement with one another about the fine job they did issuing this statement! Clearly, they do not understand us, our concerns, our situation, or our desire for a plain and simple answer: do we or don't we have real diocesan bishops?
Dear Synod of Antioch, if we do not have real diocesan bishops in our dioceses, what is your understanding of a shepherd without a real flock? How is that possible? How can that ever be the right way for the Church and her faithful to live?
#11 Anonymous for a reason on 2009-06-20 16:41
This decision seems to be meticulously crafted to say nothing. I have to admit that when I first read it I thought it was the worst possible news. To me it reads as if the Bishops are, to paraphrase the great Bob Dylan, only pawns in the Metropolitan's game. I suspect a veritable chess match is soon to begin on our side of the pond. I was delighted to see how HG Bishop +MARK interprets the decision, but I have a feeling that his will not be the only opinion.
#12 Rdr Mo on 2009-06-20 16:54
Stop all this skata! Dump the foreign bishops and retire + Philip. Elect Bp. Basil as the new Met. and take the AOCA to autocephaly by uniting with the OCA. Enough of this!
#13 Anonymous on 2009-06-20 18:05
I trust you realize that your perennial phrase, "Sic semper tyrannis," actually means, "Thus, always to tyrants," and not "Death to tyrants!" Just an FYI. For confirmation, type this phrase in the search bar on wikipedia.com.
#14 David Barrett on 2009-06-20 18:20
A comment on the Arabic of the Holy Synod's Decision supports Bp Mark's comments. All Bishops are equal ontologically, i.e., by nature. The are not assistants by nature. These are very fine nuances in the Arabic. Thus the Hooly Synod has spoken loud and clear. There are Dioceses and an Archdiocese. Only the Patriarchate may establish an Archdiocese.
The Bishops in North America have their Bishoprics, i.e., Dioceses. As such they administer their Dioceses and assist MP as full Bishops, the SAME as he is!
As there is only one Diaconate, One Presbytery, there is only one Episcopate.
Taken from Orthodoxchristianity.net:
In the Arabic it is understated, but quite clear, that the bishops are bishops, not auxiliaries. I can guess what the supporters of their demotion would want to change, based on the Arabic language: changing the third clause from a verbal relative phrase "bishops who help" to a participial phrase "helping bishops" (or bishops who assisst to assisting/assisstant bishops, it doesn't make much difference in the English translation), and change the word used from "yusaa'iduuna" to "yu'aawiduuna" (which echoes the term in the Feb. decision for "auxiliary"), changing it from a verbal sentence back to a nominal sentence.
I know this means practically anything to most people here, but the last change would reaffirm "auxiliary" as an existential statement (which is why the statement on the nature of the bishops is important I think), instead of being a description of their duties. If they used the same term as the Feb. statement, but in verbal form (quite natural and regular and easy to do), it would have been a codified restriction on their powers.
The facts (LOL, that is, if the rumors are true) the Metropolitan and TheAntiochian had wind of this beforehand, and TheAntiochian disinfomation compaign (e.g. that the term "auxiliary" was used) would show that, although understated, the message has gotten through loud and clear.
Btw, on "bishopric" I was trying to convey the difference between abrashiyyah eparchy (the Greek term is the origin of the Arabic), diocese, bishopric, parish; and usqufiyyah episcopate, bishopric, episcopacy.
As for the fourth clause, I have a feeling that has more to do with the shifting tetonic forces in Orthodoxy today: this mess, the Cyprus meeting, and now the OCA bombshell, which I am now going to turn to. (end)
Actually, according to what I haveheard from multiple sources te priest from Detroit tried to pull a fast one on the Patriarch himself and change the English translation. He is rather a dullard, if he thinks there is no one else that can read Arabic.
The Patriarch should have deposed him on the spot!!!!
Now we have perhaps multiple Arabic texts floating around polluted by their aganda as well as English texts which have been modified.
His Beatitude now clearly sees the non-sense the faithful in North America have endured at the hands of MP and his cronies.
We pray none of our Diocesan Bishops sufferany further because of these bastardizations of the inner circle.
What do they have to HIDE that they would take such drastic actions?
What does MP have to HIDE that he allows them to do such things?
Why hasn't he put the Arabic Text with the Patriarchal Seal and its English Translation with the Seal on the Website.
Is not the Holy Synod STILL THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY in the Church?
Hopefully, now the Holy Synod will see it is time for MP and friends to go as they only intend HARM to the Archdiocese in North America.
#15 anon and anon on 2009-06-20 20:42
From the OrthodoxChristianity.net forum:
...the Arabic is carefully worded and doesn't blacken Met. Phillip's but it supports Bishop Mark's read on the matter. There is a change in the term for help/auxillary (saa'ada versus 'aawana)
The last sentences "And that, furthermore, any diocese of the one united Archdiocese, under any circumstances, cannot be considered independent Archdiocese. The Holy Synod of Antioch alone has the prerogative to establish Archdioceses in the See of Antioch" actually might be better phrased "And that this cannot mean under any circumstance any bishoprick of this one [united] diocese, can consider itself an independent bishoprick because the decision to create bishoprics is restricted by the Holy Synod of Antioch." ...
... Remember, we just had this announcement on these "episcopal assemblies" or whatever Chambesy is calling them, the threats in the archdiocese to go OCA, and an upcoming convention. I say that the convention and trustees should word a affirmation of the official English translation along the understanding of Bp. Mark.
Btw, I might as well translate the rest:
A Synodal Decision.
Indeed the Holy Antiochian Synod with extensive and profound examination of the synodal decision published with the date of February 24, 2009
and on the basis of the recommendations of HB the Patriarch
and after emphasizing that the nature/constitution of bishops is one the Holy Synod reminds and emphasizes that the bishops of the Antiochian diocese in North America are bishops who help (NOTE: not "are auxilliary bishops," the phraseology makes that clear) the metropolitan. And that this cannot mean under any circumstance any bishoprick of this one [united] diocese, can consider itself an independent bishoprick because the decision to create bishoprics is restricted by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
In the Arabic it is understated, but quite clear, that the bishops are bishops, not auxiliaries. I can guess what the supporters of their demotion would want to change, based on the Arabic language: changing the third clause from a verbal relative phrase "bishops who help" to a participial prase "helping bishops" (or bishops who assisst to assisting/assisstant bishops, it doesn't make much difference in the English translation), and change the word used from "yusaa'iduuna" to "yu'aawiduuna" (which echoes the term in the Feb. decision for "auxiliary"), changing it from a verbal sentence back to a nominal sentence. I know this means practically anything to most people here, but the last change would reaffirm "auxiliary" as an existential statement (which is why the statement on the nature of the bishops is important I think), instead of being a description of their duties. If they used the same term as the Feb. statement, but in verbal form (quite natural and regular and easy to do), it would have been a codified restriction on their powers.
The facts (LOL, that is, if the rumors are true) the Metropolitan and TheAntiochian had wind of this beforehand, and TheAntiochian disinfomation compaign (e.g. that the term "auxiliary" was used) would show that, although understated, the message has gotten through loud and clear.
Btw, on "bishopric" I was trying to convey the difference between abrashiyyah eparchy (the Greek term is the origin of the Arabic), diocese, bishopric, parish; and usqufiyyah episcopate, bishopric, episcopacy.
As for the fourth clause, I have a feeling that has more to do with the shifting tetonic forces in Orthodoxy today: this mess, the Cyprus meeting, and now the OCA bombshell, which I am now going to turn to....
#16 anonymous blocker and copier - for clarity's sake on 2009-06-20 20:46
Implicit within the Holy Synod's Decision is the following
All Bishops are Equal
As Bishops are elected by a Synod of Bishops
No Bishop is UNDER another Bishop (or a single Bishop)
No Bishop may be DISCIPLINED by a single Bishop
No Bishop may be transferred by another Bishop
Bishops are accountable to Synods and ultimately the people.
This truly is a major reversal of the February 24 decision
This is truly a defeat for MP who backed the Decision tenaciously, (But HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT ---LOL)
Why hasn't he sent out the swift responses like the february 24 decision? Because he was behind that one!
#17 betrayed by philip on 2009-06-20 21:06
I think Lewis Carroll's Duchess summarized the Holy Synod's official statement better than they did: "Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise." Talk about falling into a rabbit hole. . .
#18 G. Sheppard on 2009-06-20 23:18
To think in this day and age we have to try to deciper the strange language of Damascus. A Synod so removed from us in language, ethos and clarity and distance. And mentality! Many who have never even visited the "New World" yet many of whom enjoy the funds distributed from Englewood. What did you expect? A hundred forums as those held at St Vladimir Seminary will never bring the results prayed for. ONLY when the faithful rise and say enough as now must govern ourselves. I have seen it all with little transparency and lack of deceit in high places.
#19 Anonymous(Eastern Diocese) on 2009-06-21 00:01
The statement basically says all bishops are equal.
They are brothers.
No one is the father and no one is a son.
The Diocesan Bishops are here to help as ALL BISHOPS should help one another in Brotherly LOVE.
The one who helps obviously has strengths the ONE IN NEED OF HELP LACKS, Just to put things into perspective.
If we were reading it in Greek, perhaps the word would be paraclete, used for the Holy Spirit sent to help us.
Hopefully, we do not veiw Him as inferior to us.
#20 anon and anon on 2009-06-21 05:16
Why does Bishop Mark come out with a statement INDEPENDENTLY minutes after the Patriarchate issues their comment.
Was Mark assisting Met. Philip with this interpretation? Did he pass it by Philip before he disseminated his thoughts? Is this how an archdiocese works decently and in proper order?? Where is the compliaance in this matter? Mark is sowing the seeds of discontent yet again...
Do you see why Philp has had enough with these independent bishops??
#21 George on 2009-06-21 05:51
Some of us never quit commemorating our bishop.
#22 Phileas (From the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest) on 2009-06-21 06:52
And what happened to "self Rule"? That was always a Met P. "sham" concept. We have always been SELF RULE. What did the Met. ever take to the Synod to have approved? Witnesses to the Synod gathering when the Joe Allen "debacle" was presented simply "tired" of the Met. insisting on Allen's remarraige. It had already been done! Some said the Met. was "rude and insistent" before the Patriarch. Interesting that Allen and his parishioners visiting Syria/Lebanon a few years back were NOT allowed to serve at any Altar. A fact! The Met. has missed MANY meetings if the Synod. He wanted autonomy and interpreted his con-cept of "Self Rule". And NO proper translation of these words Self Rule & Autonomy. How convenient? May we live to have a true American Orthodox Church with our own Patriarch? In OUR livetimes? Doubtful! Everyone needs a Mother and everyone needs to get out on their own !
#23 Anonymous Clergyman on 2009-06-21 08:37
Now the real crisis begins. Apparently Bp. Mark and I suspect Bp. Basil take these words as a clear affirmation of their Episcopal authority.
Rest assured His Eminence Philip is poised to test that particular assumption and will at some opportune moment attempt to show that assisting him means unconditionally bending to his whims and will.
Clearly assisting the Metropolitan cannot be understood to mean the vacating of Episcopal prerogatives held by these duly consecrated "Non-Auxillaries" no matter how Englewood attempts to spin it.
Far from being a resolved crisis, my take, is that it may be the real beginning of troubles.
#24 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-06-21 13:39
Bp. Mark misses the mark...
I am shocked and outraged at the actions of Bishop Mark. His preemptive and careless interpretation of the Patriarchal Counsels letter is childish. He is not showing wisdom with his quick response.
He again shows that he is "a loose canon". Any CEO of a company would censure such actions by a member of the company let alone the Church.
He should be re-assigned...
#25 John of St. Elias, Ohio on 2009-06-21 15:07
Four months ago, I was told by some in a position to know (and recently this was reaffirmed to me by another genuinely in a position to know) that the Feb. 24 decision had nothing to do with North America. Indeed, for those who know anything about the patriarchate outside its North American colony, it was known that one of the diocesan bishops inside Syria, whose diocese was a constituent of an archdiocese, was acting as though he was now the head of an archdiocese and not in any way dependent upon his metropolitan. The Feb. 24 decision was aimed at him and (I am told) possibly one other non-American bishop who was behaving in an inappropriate manner. That is, as the archdiocesan chancellors correctly said, the decision was never intended to be aimed at N.A.
Metr. Philip ready did have nothing to do with the Feb. 24 decision, but he took it as an opportunity to deal with his "buyer's remorse" at having his former auxiliaries enthroned as diocesans and new diocesans consecrated.
The June 27 statement of the synod only makes sense if one takes into account the original situation being addressed by the Feb. 24 statement, as well as the subsequent situation created by Metr. Philip's adaptation of that statement for use in his own archdiocese. Why else, for instance, would the synod make its remarks about establishing new archdioceses? It is because of the wayward Syrian bishop with pretensions to independence.
At the same time, the June 17 statement also indicates to N.A. that our local synod is to function precisely as a local synod, that the dioceses are not independent of the archdiocese of which they are constituent. In other words, the N.A. metropolitical system (once common, but now almost unique in the modern Orthodox world) prevails -- the diocesans are real diocesans, but they are to function in appropriate concert with the Metropolitan.
#26 An Antiochian priest on 2009-06-21 18:13
On the contrary, +Mark either knows Arabic, or has the assistance of somebody who does.
(editor's note: I do not speak or read Arabic. I do have the assistance of many who do.)
You must be honored that so many of the (Admin) people who frequent (rabidly backing support of Metropolitan Philip and claiming the moral highground while consistently failing to show even an iota of moral integrity) theantiochian.com website (is) are now (raging) commenting on your site's discussion forum.
Interesting thing: theantiochian.com website seems to have multiple filters that disallow references to you, your website, and if circumvented, the source of comments that don't (fit) follow the (party line) truth.
#28 Bemused onlooker (at grammatical details) on 2009-06-21 19:14
Obviously you find Orthodox ecclesiology offensive.
Our Bishops were entrusted with the Pastoral Staff to shepherd the flocks of their Dioceses.
MP is not anyone's boss, he is the brother bishop.
#29 anon and anon on 2009-06-21 21:47
The decision was made on June 17, 2009. Why has MP decided to withold release of the Decision with the Archdiocese in shambles.
Does he NOT CARE for the FLOCK? Or course not, it has always been about him.
Thank God we at least have Diocesan Bishops who care.
Bp Mark's letter to "His Clergy" was sent out three days after the Holy Synod signed the statement.
This does not seem rushed.
You obviously are looking for an opportunity to criticize.
#30 anonymous on 2009-06-21 21:52
The Arabic Original may be found on the webste for Association of Orthodox Christian Attroneys. It does have the Patrairchal Seal
#31 betrayed by philip on 2009-06-21 22:01
Phillip is not the Pope, George. If you think a Pope is necessary, there's a real one in Rome, doing a terrific job by all accounts. Just what about all bishops are equal do you not get? Bp. Mark, by virtue of his ordination as a a bishop, has teaching authority over his flock and needs no permission from Phillip to teach, particularly after the Holy Synod made it quite clear that Phillip's version of ecclesiology is out of line.
#32 Scott Walker on 2009-06-21 22:24
I sincerely believe that there will NOT be a big fight over the translation of this, because the Patriarch's name has been attached to the statement and, thus, his intentions are directly associated to this statement. To reinterpret his words in such a way that contradicts his intention would be inadvisable to say the least, since the Patriarch himself is the ultimate arbiture of his own words and thoughts.
We should realize that what goes on here in America is now of utmost concern for the Holy Synod, since we are in a great deal of trouble and we bear the name of the Church of Antioch. They will not sit by and allow this problem to worsen, lest they become a laughing-stock to the other churches. Remember Archbishop Spyridon? Yes, even the Patriarchate of Constantinople knows better than to let an eparchy implode for the sake of maintaining the 'dignity' of the episcopacy.
I am quite certain the Bishop Mark, in the very least, expressed the situation as it had been described to him by the Patriarch. Bishop Mark also has the right as a Diocesan Bishop to speak to his own clergy. Yes, I did say his clergy, because that's precisely what the statement of the Holy Synod affirms: he is a Bishop of a Diocese, not an auxiliary administering for another.
To be a Bishop of a Diocese means that he is responsible for the clergy and laity within his Diocese. His ministry is within the context of the Archdiocese, with the Metropolitan as responsible for coordinating and aiding the ministries of the Diocesan Bishops within his Archdiocese, just as the Patriarch presides over the Holy Synod of Metropolitans and is responsible for their ministries.
I think we are entering a new era of conciliarity, as many of the dioceses are now forming Presbyters Councils, so that this image is repeated on a local level. See how it emanates: Christ and the Apostles, Patriarch and Holy Synod, Metropolitan and Local Synod, Bishop and Presbyter Council, Priest and Parish Council.
Besides, I think Bishop Mark's detracters ought ot be less worried about his statement and more concerned, nay, frightened, about the growing discontent over the Archdiocese's finances. You think this was bad? Palm Springs will be a powder keg in a blacksmith's shop. My parishioners are already discussing the possibility of demanding an audit and even withholding funds from the Archdiocese despite my best efforts. We'll see what happens.
#33 anonymous Antiochian priest on 2009-06-21 22:45
You are joking, right? First of all, what makes you think that Met. Philip ought to be the interpreter? (Remember: don't be circular!) But, indeed, normally this would have been something for the whole American synod, with the leadership of the Metropolitan, to speak on. That is what you do when the synod members are acting in good faith.
The problem is that Bp. Mark has reason to believe that the Metropolitan has not been acting in good faith. After all, he claims he had nothing to do with the Feb 24th decision. Does anyone really believe that? We can at least appreciate why +Mark might not.
Further, Met. Philip has a demonstrated record of altering the text of Holy Synod decisions to suit his purposes. That is what he did with the Damascus Agreement in 2003 — going so far as to change the official English text in ways opposed by the Patriarch (as he later made clear) and place it over the signatures of the Holy Synod members ! That latter detail, frankly, opens him to charges of actual forgery. (Thankfully, presumably for the sake of the peace of the Church, he was merely rebuked by letter.) All of this, including original documentation, is available via the 2003 section of the "Timeline" document at [ orthodoxattorneys.org ].
Adding those two facts together, one can say that what +Mark did, though irregular, is perfectly understandable — and even defensible — even if one disagrees with it.
#34 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-22 02:36
"He is not showing wisdom"
On the contrary. See my comment above. Did not the Lord say that we must be not only gentle but also "wise as serpents"?
Let's not pretend that this is a normal circumstance in which the metropolitan, or any of us, should expect that normal protocol would be observed. The process has not been collegial to this point, but rather one charged with politics and power-plays. Change the rules, inherit the wind.
Incidentally, Churches are not led by CEOs, so it doesn't really matter what what a CEO would choose to "censure" or punish with a transfer to the Siberia office.
I find it astonishing that people continue to make this analogy. It's like when people insist that a President ought to act like a CEO. Frankly, it demonstrates a simplistic, reductionistic understanding of organizations that universalizes the special priorities and requirements of the business world. Let's try this: "Wonderful Counsellor, Almighty God, CEO of the Universe, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
One of these things is not like the others.
#35 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-22 03:06
Your only intent seems to be to malign your Bishop in complete disregard to MP continuous manipulation of correspondence from the Holy Synod over the years.
#36 anono and anon on 2009-06-22 04:15
Who are you kidding? MP and friends were the architects from the beginning.
Now the Patrairch and Holy Synod have clarified the matter.
MP i the Bishop of his Diocese of Washington DC and New York. The Other Bishops are Bishops of their Bishoprics.
MP simply chairs the meetings.
Each Bishop has full responsibility and authority t act within his Diocese or Bishopric.
Now would be a good time for a few clergy to seek a transfer to MP Diocese
#37 anon and anon on 2009-06-22 06:25
Despite so many demanding financial transparency it ca be assured that Met Philip and his cohorts have already begun to plan their replies to those at the proxy filled convention in Palm Springs. Atty Ajalat introduced himself as "Chancellor" at the recent forum at St. Vladimir Seminary and word has it that Atty B. Koory also0 will be reinstated. They have enjoyed the "power" too long to be left out and both are wealthy large donors to Englewood coffers. Also, two trustees affirm that Met. P. told them in advance of his 55 min denunciation at the Trustees meeting. A "stage" to demonstrate his affirmation od what we believe is the Apr. 24 Synod decision. The Metropolitan is a famed "chess player" and measures every move. What? It's Monday and still no AM issuance of the official Damascus Synod Patruarchal decision. Aaahhh byzantium you are alive and well !!
#38 Anonymous Priest on 2009-06-22 07:40
Thank God that we have Bishops in our Archdiocese who are willing to courageously stand up for what is right. Bp. Mark in particular should be thanked for his brave defense of the Synod’s June 17 clarifiaction regarding the episcopal prerogatives that are not only his to exercise but prerogatives he must defend.
I know that all of our Bishops will to the best of their ability rightfully assist the Metropolitan when appropiate and needful. Clearly they are not his personal “Auxillaries” and they should now be left alone to administer their duties without the unwarranted meddling they have recently been subjected to.
As His Grace Mark stated “Bishops answer to Synods” if that Orthodox Ecclessiastical Principle is not acceptable then I would suggest those who clamor for the contrary view, appeal to Rome.
You may find a most sympathetic ear there.
#39 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-06-22 08:15
It strikes me that those who keep insisting on the "auxilliary status" versus "diocesan" miss the mark in this way: Several of the bishops were specifically ordained and enthroned for the Dioceses where they now serve. Ecclesialogically, they are therefore diocesan bishops. For those who were axuilliaries the enthronements to dioceses in North America have the effect of recognizing that the former dioceses to which they were "wedded" have, in fact, ceased to exist. Therefore, unless one were to attempt an argument that once "widowed" a bishop could not be 'wedded' to another diocese, it must be understood that the act of enthronement itself constitutes the change from "auxilliary" to full diocesan status.
This, coupled with the remarks about the actual cause of the February ruling, shows both the duplicity at work in the AOCA in attempting to deceive the members of the local synod and the need for further action to solidify the authority of those bishops and stabilize the North American Church (which would likely include the audit being called for by so many).
#40 Seeking clarity on 2009-06-22 09:20
Dear Father Mark:
Please correct your headling: "Metropolitan Jonah Makes Makes Major Statement Regarding the OCA and the Future" to remove the duplicated "makes".
No need to make this comment public.
(editor's note: Thanks for the correction. Always welcome. )
#41 Grammatical Curmudgeon on 2009-06-22 09:22
The Antiochian.org website as their version of the text with arabic and english. Woah! Quite a different read.
#42 Anonymous on 2009-06-22 10:31
The statement was just uploaded on the Antiochian Archdiocesesn website; they are Auxiliaries.
#43 Arthur on 2009-06-22 10:47
Did I call it or what? The AOCA Website has posted a PDF that claims that the diocesan bishops are really auxiliaries. And Metr. Philip claims that he wasn't behind us? I wonder how much of the Order's money he just spent to get someone in Damascus to insert the word "Auxiliaries" in that fax?
Sic semper tyrannis,
#44 Nemo on 2009-06-22 11:13
Englewood has released an obvious fraudulent document showing the the patriarchal seal and the Patriarch's signature.
Note on top of the pages of the forged documents that the date, Nov. 18, 2005 appears.
The Patriarch avoided using the term auxilary in his recent discussions with the North American bishops and it is widely reported that he challenged Fr. Antypas for attempting to gain Patriarch Ignatius' signature on a deliberate mistranslation of the synodal resolution. +Philip should immediately be suspended for fraud and misrepresenting the Patriarch and Holy Synod.
#45 Anonymous on 2009-06-22 11:14
The Archdiocese website has issued an alternate version of the Decision...as was predicted. It looks like this is not getting any better and in my opinion as a longtime priest of this Archdiocese Palm Desert is going to be a low point in our history with divisions and mud-slinging galore.
God have mercy on us!
#46 Fr John on 2009-06-22 11:29
have you seen the official document on antiochian.org? it "affirms" that the Bishops are "Auxillairies." ach du liebe! I knew this was gonna be a mess. I really want to agree with HG Bishop +MARK, but it seems it's only beginning.
#47 Rdr Mo on 2009-06-22 11:41
Well, for those who don't know Met. Phillip's "official" translation is now up at the antiochian.org website. And it uses the term AUXILIARY. The politics and games continue, at the expense of everything else.
#48 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-06-22 12:24
The AONA just published the synodal resolution of June 17. The posted English version references "auxiliary" bishops.
#49 Kinahura on 2009-06-22 13:03
Looking at the three page fax from Englewood (oops, er... Damascus), I am reminded of the fact that at least one senior priest in the Archdiocese has a rubber stamp with Metropolitan Philip's signature. The reason for this curious artifact is one of speculation. I wonder if such an artifact with a different signature could possibly be in the possession of an even more senior member of the North American clergy.
#50 Curious on 2009-06-22 14:32
Now the Englewood Resolution has appeared. The one they tried tirelessly to slip to the Patriarch.
How desparate are these guys. They look like complete fools.
The Decision was sent out in Arabic to each Bishop. Hopefully, His Beatitude will post the Authentic Text tomorrow. Will MP submit? Unlikely. He will still try to put his own spin on things.
Enough already. He has embarassed the Archdiocese, the Bishops, the Board of trustees, the Chancellors, the Holy Synod, and the Patriarch...
#51 anonymous on 2009-06-22 14:41
I will preface my question by acknowledging my ignorance in the technicalities of precise church terminology. On the Antiochian website is the official English translation of Antioch’s June 17, 2009 decision. First, it appears to reaffirm the February 24, 2009 decision by stating the “affirmation” of the February 24th decision. They also reaffirm that all the bishops who assist the Metropolitan are “his Auxiliaries.” Yet, in between those two statements the Synod states “it affirms that the nature of the Episcopate is one and the same to all those who are consecrated as bishops.”
To me this is somewhat contradictory. To “affirm that the nature of the Episcopate is one and the same to all those who are consecrated bishops” seems to imply that all bishops are equal in authority. The difference between a Metropolitan and a Diocesan Bishop would be that of administrative duties only. Yet, “Auxiliaries” would seem to put the other Bishops under submission to the Metropolitan. If this is understood to be administratively and not authoritatively, it seems to be quite Orthodox. If, on the other hand it does mean authoritatively, that would seem quite Papal.
These are my questions: Is there something being lost in the translation from the Arabic to the English? Or does the Synod of Antioch hold to the beliefs of a Papal form of government? If so, they are not Orthodox. So assuming (hopefully) that the Synod of Antioch rejects a Papal form of government, why are they not extremely clear and precise in defining a Diocesan Bishop governing his Diocese which is part of the larger Archdiocese? It seems to me that if all Bishops are equal in authority then the only place Met. Philip would have the final decision on anything would be in the diocese which he is directly over, that is, the Diocese of New York and Washington D.C. Likewise, all of the other bishops would have the final decision in all matters in their own respected dioceses. This decision from Antioch doesn’t seem to be very clear on this matter.
It also seems quite odd to me that the Antiochian Church is comprised of nothing but Archdioceses. No other country but America has any dioceses within the archdiocese (assuming that the dioceses that were created in America still remain “dioceses” and have not returned back to “regions”).
Can someone explain to me the reason why they think the Synod of Antioch would be so ambiguous? It would seem to me that as the leaders of the Antiochian Church they would want to bring peace, harmony, and clarity to the Church and not division and confusion.
#52 Anonymous on 2009-06-22 16:40
Guys, the "official" decision is posted on the antiochian.org website. Get this - it was faxed on Nov 18 2005!!!! Look at it quick before they have time to "edit" it again.
#53 Steve Tinker on 2009-06-22 16:43
Very interesting read here, brings up a lot of questions about the documents appearing on antiochian.org. (not my site, I actually came to it because some one placed the link on theantiochian.com)
#54 Daniel on 2009-06-22 18:16
why does the pdf version of the decision on antiochian.org have the date of the fax being in 2005?
#55 Nick on 2009-06-22 18:28
I turned my eye as a veteran of the blogosphere's debunking efforts on the fake Bush National Guard memos on Englewood's posted document. Here's the analysis so far (and this is without the help of anyone fluent in Arabic):
The fax header with From and Fax number fields blank and a date stamp three years and seven months off from the approximate date of sending, appears only on the two pages that don't correspond to anyone else's copy of the document. On page 2, there is an odd line under the right of the fax header that doesn't seem to make sense if a clean document was faxed.
Only the, apparently valid, third page (which agrees with the Arabic version released here, and which was evidently the basis for Bishop Mark's letter to his clergy) has the bottom of Patriarchal stationary visible.
On the first two pages, the proper title of the Patriarchate appears in Arabic *and in English*, while on the third page it appears in Arabic and French as would be the normal usage in Syria.
The first two pages each have identical blotches down about half an inch (to judge from the 'actual size view') from the Patriarchate's title, which are absent from the third page. And each of the first two pages has an irregular vertical row of dots between the text field and the right edge of the page, suggesting a physical cut-and-past job, or pasting in soft-copy as graphics and not quite covering a previously exiting text field.
The date on the English version is done in American (civilian) style (albeit with an extra comma) "June, 17, 2009". It is unlikely that a Syrian (or Lebanese) would write the date in that order, as the nearly universal usage outside the U.S. is 17 June 2009 (with some exceptions in Francophone countries, as for example official documents in Quebec which would write 2009 June 17), and the Arabic order is 17 June 2009 (allowing for the different direction of Semitic scripts).
The third page is much darker and less distinct, suggesting that it may have been a re-fax of a document. I'm not sure what to make of the blotches above the Patriarchal letterhead on page 3, possibly a cut-off version of the fax header from the original sending.
Even without knowing Arabic, it appears that the first two pages are a bad forgery, which leaves the question of why the third page was attached to the document. Might the forger have not known it was on the bottom of the stack when it went through the fax machine? Or was the forgery done in soft-copy in pdf, and the original mistakenly left in the pdf document which was then faxed from a computer? And, of course, the question of who the forger is, and the motive. Was it an overzealous and incompetent supporter of Met. Philip's neo-papal ecclesiology? Or was it an enemy of Met. Phlip who is trying to push him over the edge or make him appear as a rebel against the Holy Synod?
The date is the most curious detail. Why the extra comma? A Syrian or Lebanese faking the American order and not sure where the comma went? More likely an American who didn't think that the Patriarchate would have used order used by the rest of the world.
I guess there really is a reason that Westerners assigned a perjorative meaning by Byzantine.
A few things would be interesting to know: has anyone received a recent fax from the Patriarchate that would verify that the date stamp on the Patriarchate's fax machine is correct? (Mark?)
Are there any other extant examples of Arabic/English letterhead from the Patriarchate?
Has the Patriarchate previously used the common Hindu/Arabic numerals in dates of Arabic documents, or does it always use (real) Arabic numerals in the Arabic version as on the third page?
(Editor's note: You can see the correct time stamp on a recent fax from Antioch on the February 24th document itself, contained in the Orthodox Attorneys Timeline. I suggest you plow that timeline as well for stationary with the English heading . It would not surprise me if such existed. As for the use of Arabic numerals in their Arabic version, as opposed to Arabic numerals in Roman script, I imagine both are used - although why one would create to versions of the same Arabic document using one and the other is beyond me...)
#56 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-06-22 19:42
Probably, the fax machine just needs to have the right date entered in for the time stamp.
I have a hard time thinking that someone would forge the document shown on Antiochian.org although I am disappointed in seeing the word auxiliary.
I hope that the Patriarchal Web-site will upload a copy soon.
#57 Methodios on 2009-06-22 19:46
I note that the rather distinctive font used for the posted English translation is the same font used in all recent communiques issued by Met. Philip....I don't recall any English documents from Damascus having used this font....hmmm
#58 JPS on 2009-06-22 20:01
You may have a long wait. The news section of the Patriarchate's website seems to have last been updated in 2007.
#59 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-06-22 20:04
Your comments reveal your contempt for true authority and reason. Bishop Mark has every right as a Bishop, not a CEO, to remark as he did. God give him strength to endure and wisdom to hold the line.
#60 anon on 2009-06-22 20:09
They met for three days, and we got what, 3 or 4 sentences that had to be immediately amended when the initial reaction showed that the first version was so poorly constructed, so diplomatic and nuanced that it actually was seen as a reversal of Feb 24? One wonders if they even understood what the controversy was about?
And indeed it does seem as if their mind was made up long before they met. What a waste of energy. Now their credibility is permanently damaged.
#61 Steve Knowlton on 2009-06-22 21:05
IF this is an accurate document (and I do not believe it is, there are too many inconsistencies) then there will be worse than the mud-slinging Fr. John was talking about.
It will confirm in the mind of many that +Philip has either bought the Synod, or that the Synod is so completely out of touch with the needs and wants of the Archdiocese and its people. Or worse, that they are ethnophylites. Either way the effect will be to put into the minds of many that this was a robbers council.
It will not stop the calls for an accounting of the money. It will not stop the love and respect that many have for their bishops. I doubt it will stop Bishop Mark or Bishop Basil from doing what they believe to be right. But I believe it will set the Archdiocese back 20-30 years. It certainly rewinds the clock to make mockery of any idea of irrevocable self rule.
+Philip will not be able to salvage his legacy if this keeps up. Indeed, his legacy is fast becoming the Bishop who damaged the Archdiocese with his high-handed ways. His only legacy may be that of Louis XV of france who said: “Après moi, le déluge” (“After me, the deluge").
MP now shows his own understanding of OBEDIENCE by thumbing his nose at the HOLY SYNOD .
Those who cannot follow cannot lead.
He threatens others who are labeled as disloyal because they disagree, yet he blatantly disregards our Patriarch and Holy Synod.
OOPS! HE BLATANTLY DISREGARDS HIS PATRIARCH AND HOLY SYNOD
#63 betrayed by Philip on 2009-06-23 03:54
Ah, but there is an explanation. From "admin" a big supporter of Metropolitan Philip and webmaster of The Antiochian:
“According to our sources within the Patriarchate who attended the meeting, it is reported that the first arabic document that was released indicated that the bishops were to serve to assist the metropolitan. in this document, the word auxilliary was not used as the meaning of auxilliary is to assist. however, the holy synod meeting spanned over 3 days and more deliberation continued. there was worry that some may misinterpret what it means to “assist” the metropolitan (like bishop mark did in his statement earlier this weekend) and so the synod put forth the second document in arabic and in english to provide further clarification. the arabic and english versions are the official resolutions. all three were made available to show that the meaning of all documents are one and the same. thanks!”
So, the Holy Synod voted and passed the resolution on page 3 of the pdf file. The first two pages were created later by the "synod" to take out all doubt that the Holy Synod meant "auxiliary". The unnamed members or staff of the synod thus doctored the original document to make the point. No mention by admin of a second vote to bless the additional documents. What I don't get is why do this in the first place; they could have produced a memo that explained what they meant.
#64 Carl on 2009-06-23 05:33
I appreciate your voice on the matter. I have been feeling like a combatant over the need for order and obedience during times of strife and upheaval. I am Greek Orthodox and loyal to the Ecumenical Throne. For this view and for precisely pointing out instances where various clergy and laity in the states have been unorthodox in their approach to service I have been banned and slandered. My intellectual capacity has even been questioned by the very people who believe that I have been mudslinging. Even for the plain non academics like me some things are plain. We are members, participants and stewards of the church. We are not suppose to gain position and elevations for vainglory or power but for obedience first to the thrown and then for greater service to the body. It would appear at least on the surface that sometimes the upper ranks are more interested in keeping their medieval city-states mentality then do the Lord's work set before them. Sometimes from the outside it appears to be career before ministry. www,elgreca262.blogspot.com
Where is +Joseph on this??? He was at the Synod. If the English statement published on antiochian.org turns out to be doctored and Joseph says nothing, we'll know for sure that our problems aren't over when +Philip is gone....
#66 JPS on 2009-06-23 05:55
If it is true.....that documents have, once again, been changed
if it is true.,....that bribes were made thru friends, priests, of Met. Philip to bishops of Syria, etc.
if it is true....there has never been an audit of the Antiochian Archdiocese
if it is true....that priests fear to speak out because of transfers, reprimands, withholding of pensions
if it is true....that Archdiocese board members remain silent at meetings to stay in the good graces Met. Philip.
if it is true....that if board members dare to disagree, they are no longer on the board
if it is true...that at Archdiocese convention, the counting of new trustee election votes are totalled by only one bishop, thus giving the appearance of "voter irregularity."
If most of the above is true, there must be a time and place that the people of integrity stand up and be counted. I would propose that the time and place is already set - the Archdiocese Convention. If the "people" are not allowed to speak, then I propose a walk-out or similar action. I would hope that a few trustees would join in such a move.
#67 anon on 2009-06-23 06:40
Geoge, Now that MP has posted two versions of th decision do you still maintain he can be trusted?
He is a manipulator!
He is thumbing his nose at the Holy Synod and the Patriarch where it can be seen and read around the wholeworld.
He has really gone too far.
NO ONE CAN DENY WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES (read that anyway you like it) IN NORTH AMERICA.
#68 BETRAYED BY PHILIP on 2009-06-23 06:56
Surely the Archdiocesan Office of a Self-Ruled Church with a budget just for office staff of $760,000 would have a correct date on a fax machine.
Correct dates on documentation is standard protocol.
This is truly pathetic. MP looks like a real fool.
MP knows what the Decision was.
We all know what the decision was.
Is his judgment so impared by pride, greed and lust of power that he cannot admit defeat and embrace ORTHODOX ECCLESIOLOGY?
#69 BETRAYED BY PHILIP on 2009-06-23 07:03
YOU ARE ALL STUPID IDIOTS! The Doccument DOES NOT restore Diocean Bishops, what its states on eitherr version is that all Bishops are equal as they function, And the Bishops of our god Protected Archdiocese are here to assist Metropolitan PHILIP.
They key issue is "What does the word assist mean"? In my opinion not much has changed. The Origional doccument may not use the word "auxiliary" Bishop. In fact the doccument is very clear that we must have a unified Archdiocese and no Diocese is independent of the Archdiocese.
If all belive in this Doccument then prove it by supprting your MEtropoltian and let put this issue to bed and have a Productive Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert.
#70 Anonymous on 2009-06-23 08:10
Sad but true. In modern parlance, MP has jumped the shark. If it keeps up, this Archdiocese and the See of Antioch will jump the shark with him.
#71 Makarios on 2009-06-23 08:18
Congratulations on your promotion, Father! When was the ordination? I'd have come!
(Editor's note: If you are active in the Church, you must be a priest, right? I rest my case that clericalism infects our Church. )
#72 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2009-06-23 08:27
You would think that with all the unrest and uncertainty that THIS time they would get it right...
If the second document were simply a clarification (after a meeting the purpose of which was to clarify things) why not a focused specific response?
Why would they issue an "official statement" whiich in short shrift required a clarification?
To set up certain Bishops to make them look like liars. It really is that simple.
#73 Steve on 2009-06-23 09:06
I just read "THE FAX" who wanted to start a new Archdiocese? What does that have to do with anything?
There is nothing here about Bishops remaining in their diocese, or that they are Diocesan Bishops.
I am confused.
#74 Jacob Lee on 2009-06-23 09:09
Do you know the living cost in New Jersey, do you know how many people work at the Archdiocese? Do you think that just because they live there they shouldn't get paid. There are over 8 people working there. That 8 times the salary would make complete sense.
Stop trying to be offensive. If you are so concerned then by a new fax machine for them. Plus Fax machines do not work well all the time. Just look at where it is coming from too. Have some respect. I should audit you.
#75 William on 2009-06-23 09:18
How comforting to know an ancient patriarchate is being run with the same level of competence found....In all ancient patriarchates. One of the old problems used to be that the Ottomans hand picked the most trouble-free people as bishops for the Millet. Easy to hold them in your hand and shape them. One of these centuries we ought to break the mold and pick ones that have talent, even if they have a wife. Expand the gene pool or put up with feeble minds.
#76 ba'ab on 2009-06-23 11:27
This is indeed tragic.
Patriarch Ignatius please step in to help us. We ask the Holy Synod to protect its integrity.
has not Metropolitan Philip mocked the Holy Synod and Patriarch enough.
If any priest had shown the least bit of disagreement with MP he was immediately rebuked, suspended or deposed!
Let us not have double standards any more.
#77 anon and anon on 2009-06-23 13:36
I really don't see how you can think that allowing married bishops will open up the pool for more qualified applicants. Although I think it's a tragedy that the major qualifier for bishop candidates these days is celibacy, I don't agree that a married bishop would necessarily be better. Go to the presvyteras, khourias, and matushkas you know, and ask them, if their husband could be consecrated a bishop, how would they feel about being the wife of one? My guess is that you won't get very many volunteers.
A good reason for having celibate bishops is the same reason so many Antiochian clergy have been fearful of speaking out during the recent crisis. Married priests can be moved around at the whim of their bishop, and that could result in drastic consequences for their families. I don't think it's too ridiculous to imagine that if Bps Mark and Basil had families, those families would be suffering from Met. Philip's wrath as well. A hieromonk, on the other hand, can't be manipulated in that way. He has to fear only consequences for himself, and, being a monk, he receives all as from the hand of God. I think that's an excellent attitude for a bishop to have, and why a monastic formation should be regarded as crucial for episcopal candidates.
I think that a better solution to the problem is to cultivate more healthy monasticism in America. The Antiochian Archdiocese has been hamstrung in this regard (thanks to Met. Philip - yes, he strikes again!), but the OCA and GOARCH might be on the right track.
#78 Cordelia on 2009-06-23 22:24
Tell us.....how much does it cost for you to live there?
#79 Antionymous on 2009-06-24 04:44
I offer my apologies and ask forgiveness for the un-Christian attitudes represented by the individual posting comments above under pseudonym "John" from St. Elias, OH posted June 21.
Being the Protopresbyter of this community for fourteen years, I must confess that this spirit of anti-clerical dishonor "John" has shown to the clergy is certainly not reflective of the faithful Orthodox Christians who comprise our community.
The pathos of such demonstrated disdain for any Hierarch is certainly indicative of a disease which we continue to confront with love, through prayerful adherence to Christ's divine admonition: "Judge not, lest ye be judged".
The criterion by which this individual so undiscernedly passes judgment demonstrates a criterion of judgment foreign to the mind of the Church. Again, this is not representative of the faithful of St. Elias, who seek to be obedient to Christ's commands.
We continue to pray fervently for those who reveal through their attitudes and actions the distance of their exile.
It is my sincere prayer that the readers of this website will forgive us for this kind of disdainful representation of an otherwise good and faithful community of Orthodox Christians.
It is also my personal prayer that those within our archdiocese will be guided to embrace the words from St. John the Divine's epistle: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)
We will continue to hold fast to preserve the Faith delivered to us, once and for all from the Saints, and pray for all our beloved hierarchs, presbyters and deacons who have been called by Christ to the Sacrament of the Holy Orders: to be Icons of Christ Jesus. We will not dishonor any of His holy icons, but continue in love to seek reconciliation and healing during these challenging times.
In Christ Jesus on this blessed feast of the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner,
V. Rev. Fr. Paul Albert
St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church
#80 Anonymous on 2009-06-24 14:35
With all of this tragic mess, maybe a little humor would be healing at this point: All anyone in Englewood had to do, to avoid this confusion, was to leave out all the false headers, reverse commas, and ask for authentic documents from Damascus in the plain, clear manner of Sgt. Joe Friday, "Just the fax, ma'am!"
#81 David Barrett on 2009-06-25 08:01
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