Friday, July 17. 2009
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Putting aside, for a moment, the consideration of moral failings, let me suggest that some of the recent pastoral problems in the Antiochian Archdiocese are really nobody’s fault; they are, rather, the result of our fast and phenomenal growth.
This enormous expansion in the Archdiocese, it appears to me, leaves Metropolitan Philip in the position of someone driving a large, powerful land rover endowed with the gear shaft and steering mechanism of a one-cylinder law mower. The experience has to be rather frustrating sometimes. Such a driver does his best at the wheel, nor can we reasonably expect him to welcome the loud honking of horns critical of his driving skills.
In some ways, obviously, the Archdiocese has been able to adapt to our greatly changed situation. Our camping programs provide a good example of this adjustment: As it became clear that Antiochian Village could no longer cope with the sheer mass of our young camping population, the Archdiocese encouraged the development of regional camps under the supervision of our diocesan bishops. These are doing splendid work, and we applaud the wisdom and labor of those responsible. No one claims that this diversity of our camping sites has somehow broken down or diminished the unity of the Archdiocese.
This example from camping could serve as a model for other aspects of the ministry.
The area I have in mind is clergy deployment, concerning which I offer a modest proposal:
It is humanly impossible, I believe, for anyone in Englewood to be adequately informed on either the pastoral needs or the ministerial potential in the many congregations scattered all over this Archdiocese. I do not exaggerate: it is a mystery how Bishop Antoun maintains his sanity trying to manage it all, and, given his nearly impossible job description, only some cleric with a death wish would want to succeed him.
Clergy deployment --- including the selection of applicants for seminary --- appears to me one area in need of pastoral adjustment. The local bishops --- the diocesan pastors most familiar with the particular needs and distinct resources of our congregations --- are surely the ones more suitably placed to make these decisions about clergy deployment.
Those many of us who love Bishop Antoun want him to live forever, of course, but let’s not fool ourselves. There is absolutely NO ONE in this Archdiocese who will ever be able to do this job after he steps down. I submit it is time to take some initial steps in this matter.
I certainly don’t see our local bishops acting as lone rangers in this respect. The selection and appointment of clergy would properly be on the agenda of the regular meetings of the American synod, for the purpose of mutual enlightenment and coordination. No one --- and our diocesan bishops least of all --- wants to weaken the unity of the Archdiocese.
Anyway, this is my suggestion.
#1 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-07-18 08:41
According to a new post over on The Antiochian, just before leaving for the convention, Metropolitan Philip ordered the Archdiocese to stop paying the salaries of Bishop Alexander and Bishop Mark.
If this is true, this is the kind of justice we can expect from Philip and his cronies.
As a member of the Order of St. Ignatius, I now have a new cause to give my donation to. I am going to donate my Order dues directly to Alexander and Mark. I can think of no more worthy a charity than supporting our faithful bishops.
(Editor's note: That website does not have a reputation for probity. I would wait and ask for a clarification from the Archdiocese or from the Bishops involved before making any changes based upon this unsubstantiated report.)
#2 Anonymous on 2009-07-18 08:53
I am guessing that +MP has this convention well under his control. It will go as planned with the yes men in full attendance. As the writer explains, this so-called leader is vindictive and selectively friendly to his sycophants. Those many, many priests who are intimidated cannot afford to alienate the "great leader." I hope there can arise out of the critics someone with the courage to lead us out of this wilderness, and that those who have been silenced and intimidated can find strength in numbers to challenge the dictator. If nothing happens (except as some are expecting, a fake audit), the laity, poor downtrodden and held in contempt by the Leader, need to vote with their dollars--that is, to refuse to support the archdiocese until there is thoroughgoing reform. This state of affairs cannot last forever. The more I hear about +MP and his frequent cruel and thoughtless ways toward those he considers his inferiors, the more upset I become. He has NEVER been the kind and loving father that has been portrayed in The WORD.
#3 anon on 2009-07-18 10:23
Why do you post things like this that are 75% untruthful. Those who are close to Metropolitan PHILIP also have brought in more than most people in this Archdiocese through the grace of God. I'm not saying that there is not favortism, but credit is due where it is deserved. Sometimes even where it is undeserved but I will say that each of those priests have done amazing things in the archdiocese and for this anonymous priest to say otherwise in that respect is completely a lie. But i do agree that favortism is around in the archdiocese so I can not deny that fact.
Just trying to correct the statement made. Also in regards to beards and sloppy looks, I agree with the Metropolitan in that fact...priests should dress with respect for themselves. And having a 2 foot long beard that looks ungroomed or uneven shows me that I would even be fearful of drinking a cup of water at his house due to cleanliness. My two cents, some may agree some may not, but i will not change my perspective on this issue.
#4 William on 2009-07-18 11:45
I favor truth as the most desired feature. Love of Truth. Justice and fairness can only come when truth is the factor by which decisions are based.
Get to the root of the lie, and root out lies, and all who do that will be Orthodox. The rest will not be converts or cradle they will be only cover-them-ups!
MP's favorites are not obedient, just favored because they are servile in his presence and tell him waht he wants to hear.
Culturally, their profession of loyalty is more important tha actual OBEDIENCE.
To put it another way, Their words are more important than their deeds.
MP is more concerned with waht his followers say than what they actually do.
He loves the flattery.
As a westerner, we have difficulty saying things we do not mean.
His sycophants have no problems saying things they do not mean.
Do you think they would do one thing for him if he retired? NO!
This is precisely what MP is a fraid of. He will lose the accolades once he retires.
He will be forgotten very quickly as he NO LONGER HAS POWER TO COMPELL RESPECT.
#6 Betrayed on 2009-07-18 19:33
FYI – There is now a Facebook group called Antiochian Orthodox Christians for Accountability. The purpose of the group is “to help bring awareness to sources of information relative to the scandal and promote true accountability and transparency in our Archdiocese.”
This is an open group and is can be viewed by Facebook and non-Facebook users alike:
You state that the Met. takes sides, This maybe try at least in our situation. If a Bishop lets a Priest and board members get away with wrong doing, then the Met. should be allowed to step in. They should all work together. Again the Bishops are also doing the same thing "Taking favorites" and letting this wrongly done be put under a rug. Even when many long time members and proof is brought to the Bishops attention he turns his head. The board is in so deep now that even if someone as in the Bishop, Priest and Board do come forward their reputations would be tarnished. Letters sent to Met. +Philp somehow after being delivered to Englewood would some how disapper.
All this talk about lies or he said she said makes everything more difficult. No one knows what is what. Bring out the truth-Not just the Archdiocese, let every church every member or even past member who has been harmed or who has proof of wrong doing be able to let their proof be known. Have a commette of members of the church even if for reasons... they might not be giving or taking sacraments from their priest( people have many reasons because of things happening in the church that may not have been solved) from each Archdiocese (do not let anyone on the commette be a bishop, priest, a secratary to the church or a assistent to the church,voting or none voting board member or the other halfs be able to be on this comi . Also if any alligations are against someone or against a board member who was on the board during these alligations. Maybe then the people who do alot of the work will be able to solve some or alot of the matters at hand. One or 2 members of each commette will meet with all the other committes and get down to matters at hand.
With the Archdiocese have 2 members from each church find all the complaints and if documentation or proof exsists then let it be discussed. Same rules apply to be on these comitties No priest, Bishop, Met , board member.... can not be on the committe. Let everything be audited and give everyone a chance to explain the discrepances. There are to sides to every story. If we just keep on blaming everyone and pointing fingers nothing will get done.
#8 long time once active member on 2009-07-19 18:48
Our Bishops were called by the Holy Synod to be Diocesan Bishops
More to come.
What is in print may be opinion.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
A video provides CONVICTION and leaves no DOUBT!
#9 betrayed by Philip, Gabriel, Nast and Antypas on 2009-07-19 20:23
Bishops Consecrated for the Bishoprics of the See of ___________________.
#10 betrayed by philip, nasr, antypas, gabriel, antoun, shalhoub, kfouf and baalbaki on 2009-07-19 22:58
Let us also have “fairness and justice” for: the laity who donated/fundraised for hundreds of hours for scam charities with no audits; those who have tried to tithe with a Church that refuses to allow outside audits; those who suffer unneeded shame after trying to explain to others why our Church has a registered sex offender bishop; and those who were and still feel threatened by criminals in our Church.
#11 anonymous on 2009-07-20 08:41
then the Met. should be allowed to step in. They should all work together
It seems to me that, in a properly constituted synod, one could appeal to the Local Synod as a whole to judge one's bishop, if the matter were really so serious. Obviously, they could choose to appoint parish committees, or whatever, as called-for.
That's just plain-jane Orthodox organization, actually — nothing special about it. It's what we've got back now — and what we had before Feb. 24th!
they might not be giving or taking sacraments from their priest
I hope we're not turning into some kind of Donatists now: Christ is still Christ, whoever the priest is. But if, as a personal matter, you simply can't be at peace approaching a priest for Communion, Confession, Unction, and so on (and you've not been excommunicated) please at least go to another. You need it, and, all over the world, we're missing you on Sunday!
But do consider that this shows a spiritual weakness. Certainly, if a person can't even commune at the parish, he may well not have the sort of virtue and inner peace one would want on an impartial committee.
Of course, if our vision were truly clear, we'd see the angels and Christ Himself at every Liturgy — and we'd set aside all earthly cares. (Not that I 'm anywhere near this!)
#12 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-21 02:24
Sorry, Fr Patrick, but "it's nobody's fault...we just grew too fast" is not an acceptable excuse for this mess. When there's a heavy-handed autocrat at the top of the corporate ladder, who is not prone to accepting advise, much less relinquishing power, things don't get done that need to be done.
As for Bp Antoun, his reputation cuts both ways. People have excused his unacceptable outbursts and behavior for years. Ask the people in Myrtle Beach who built and then left the mission there after his hideous handling of their situation.
If the Synod starts acting more like a real Synod, these clergy matters will get handled the way they should. And the "unity" will become more real, instead of imposed or simply a figment of imaginations.
#13 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-07-21 06:55
Wow, talk about bigoted. The only way a priest has credibility with you is if he looks like a Presbyterian?
#14 Antionymous on 2009-07-21 11:38
That was really hard to follow. What are you trying to say? Are you speaking for yourself or trying to speak for other people? I sense some extreme paranoia, anger, etc., etc. What does your post have to do with anything on the national level? It sounds like you have some kind of axe to grind. Maybe you should get yourself straight with whoever it is you are mad at. Have you read anything that has been posted here? What makes you think that the Metropolitan cannot "step-in?" If you want a Church without Clergy there are plenty of those around. Whew!!
#15 anon on 2009-07-21 20:27
Anger? No frustrated that many members have tried to talk to Bishop Mark and board members (who have gone agaist their constitiution. Who has 4 members on the board who have servered way past what the constitution.
What does this have to do with the Archdiocese? A Bishop has been informed that their is wrong doing at a church not just money being ..... And the board and Bishop turn memberS away. When a Priest lies,a priest who never went to semenary and who has a back ground many people think is unfitting for a priest. If things are brought to the attention of the Met. and information sent to the Met. somehow disappear . This has gone on many years... anger no! frustration that long time members are trying to save a church and Bishop Mark turns his head many think this Bishop as in others have caused coflict in the Archdiocese. Anger NO! Betrayed YES!
#16 past sunday school teacher on 2009-07-23 13:57
To the Editor,
I submitted an entry this past Saturday around 11:45 EST. It started with "Christ is in our Midst! One thing I want to know is where are all the Christians". Why didn't you post it?
(Editor's note: Upon review, no such note came through on this end. This happens sometimes. on blogs. I suggest you repost it if possible. )
#17 Anonymous on 2009-07-23 17:42
If Bishops and Priests make up their own rules. If Met. Philip has been lied to about issues going on. If The Bishop and Priest are doing things to destroy a church and the faith of it's members then it does have to do with what is going on. The Met. knows things are going that should not be going on in different diocese . Then this does have to do with the national level.If the Bishop and Priest and Board will not listen then people need to know.
#18 Anonymous on 2009-07-23 21:00
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