Saturday, July 25. 2009
Your comments are welcome.( Update 7.27.09: It is policy of OCANews.org to remove comments whose authorship have been called into question. Mr. Hamatie informed us today that he has never written to OCANews.org, and so the Letter to OCANEWS.org, previously attributed to his name, has been removed. We regret the inconvenience.)
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Re: Anonymous Antiochian Priest, on Met. Philip using scholarships to buy the loyalty of seminarians
It's worth noting that Antiochian seminarians who are not ordination-track (i.e., mostly women) are never given scholarships by the Archdiocese. I guess Met Philip doesn't consider your loyalty to be worth buying if you already know you'll never kneel at his feet.
Anyway, I would hope that even ordination-track seminarians in the Antiochian Archdiocese will seriously consider whether they want their education to be purchased with money from this archdiocese. Can't an Antiochian seminarian attend seminary with the bishop's approval, but still refuse the archdiocese scholarship? St V's or St T's are pretty manageable with some student loans and summer work. You'll probably graduate with debt, but, hey, integrity is priceless, right?
#1 Cordelia on 2009-07-25 19:03
Our relative from the MidWest upon hearing the pathetic story by Metr. P. concerning "dogs", stated to me the following:
Despite his advanced years he stated that the late Metr. Antony Bashier, would never have said such a statement. He began the Scholarship for Seminarians Program in his episcopate from the earliest years. This self- adoring Prelate should think before he speaks. A free education only to serve God's people/ Shame Metr Philip! .... Roman
Archbishops retire at 75. You're overdue !!
#2 Anonymous Eastern Diocese Priest on 2009-07-25 20:04
Dear suffering priest,
God bless your efforts and the dozens of other priests who serve in the Antiochian Archdiocese, but are not a part of the Metropolitan's inner circle. The only way you can get respect from this man is to scrape and bow to his wishes. I know this seems like a harsh statement, but it is true. He throws you a crumb and you are supposed to lick his hand not just once, but forever. What a shame, bringing shame to you and other priests, but shame on him and his cronies.
On the other dreadful website, there were short, mostly illiterate congratulatory comments about the Metropolitan's masterful performance at the Convention, and it WAS masterful, managing to evade almost every issue, and giving a 45 minute lecture extolling for himself all of his wonderful accomplishments, the most self-serving exercise I have ever seen. Where is his humility as he demands obedience from everyone else?
But the crowning blow is that almost all of the tributes to the Metropolitan spoke of the opposition as "dogs" the worst insult (in middle eastern terms) that one can give another human being. I know you did not mean it that way, but your comment about being the Metropolitan's sheep dogs is sadly apt. Anyone who would dare to disagree with the Leader earns the contempt of being compared to a dog. God help us all.
#3 anon on 2009-07-26 06:19
Where ther is smoke there is fire. If the archdiocese has nothing to hide, then independent audits of its books should be no problem. What price do you put on the trust of your people? Is a couple hundred thousand dollars too much to allay the justified concerns of the people who pay the archdiocese bills? Any organisation that refuses to disclose its financial statements and holdings is leaving itself wide open for questions like this. +Metropolitain Phillips job as a good shepherd to his flock is to say, Definitely, we will contact Price Waterhouse or whatever major accounting firm and have them come do our books. And not just this once, but annually, like any other publicly held corporation. The AAOA may not be traded publicly, but the public has a vested interest in its affairs. Open the books!!
#4 orthodox monk on 2009-07-26 13:11
After all is said and done, the only really awful thing that happened was the attempt by the Metropolitan to demote his brother bishops.
All the rest is fairly trivial, but rather enlightening.
Absolute power corrupts. Keep the light on them.
Done with Christ's love, the outcomes can be positive.
The debate about Khoury is far from clear in that regard. Condemnation was supposed to be ended with the New Testament. I don't have any answer, but a drunken man grabbing a woman inappropriately happens alot and many men aren't sentenced for it. In fact, some are rewarded, so let's not be too absolute about this one. Policy really needs to be established and followed. In the absence of policy and enforcement, there is lawlessness. It wouldn't be my place to suggest what the policy ought to be on a matter such as this one; it is just too vague.
I pray that the Metropolitan isn't retaliatory toward Fr. Herbel. Fr. Herbel is a good and decent fellow and his lack of fear of the Metropolitan should be something the Metropolitan values, rather than fears. Fr. Herbel became Orthodox after studying religion, so he is a true believer in Orthodoxy and it would be a testimony of their character for the Antiochians to boot him and really say nothing about Fr. Oliver unless it is his wish to be removed from the bunch.
I truly believe if the Metropolitan reflects on things, he will find that good can come from all of it.
...my thoughts as an innocent third party observer who was only really disgusted over the Bishops issue...
#5 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-07-26 15:53
"the concept that people oppose Bishop Demetri remaining in his position because they are "uncharitable," "refuse to forgive," or are "judgmental.""
This sort of attitude was one of the worst features of the struggle we underwent in the OCA in the last couple of years, and I suspect it will continue to trouble the Church in a variety of contexts in future. I recommend Fr. Ted Bobosh's blog post about the 'meekness' of Moses according to St. John Chrysostom here:
#6 Anonymous on 2009-07-26 16:26
I have three questions -
1. When do the lawsuits start?
2. When do the lawsuits start?
3. WHEN DO THE LAWSUITS START??
Enough is enough.
#7 Steve on 2009-07-26 16:54
After listening to the financial report podcast and the address by +Met Phillip, I am still amazed at how anyone can not see there is a problem. If there is no fire, why is there so much smoke in the air? Never mind past history on what we have accomplished, open the books and put the issue to rest.
#8 former antiochian parish councillor and st ignatius holder on 2009-07-26 17:55
I remain amazed by the double standards practiced by Met. Phillip and Bishop Antoun. The comments offered by Met. Phillip to not judge the registered sex offender Demetri (who should be defrocked) contrast wildly to the treatment of the late Fr. George Romley of Baltimore Md. Fr. George was the priest at St. Mary's in Hunt Valley Md. for twenty some odd years or so....When Fr. George came upon crisis in his personnel life he was thrown under the bus by Bishop Antoun. Instead of helping this God loving man they removed him from the priesthood. Shortly after Fr. George fell asleep. He was given a regular funeral service and buried in a suit. Not one bishop was present for the funeral service but all of the Orthodox priests in the Baltimore area served at his funeral. After his nearly twenty five years of service this was a sad ending. May the priest George's memory be eternal.
#9 David Rudovsky on 2009-07-26 19:20
Thank you for your lovely and heartfelt words. I think no one could have expressed more sincerely the emotions of so many Orthodox around the world this weekend. I have told several people this weekend that your letter is perhaps the best post I have ever seen on OCA news since the inception of this site several years ago. Though I have read this site for years due to my involvement in both the AOANA and OCA, I have never seen fit to comment until now. Your reflections says it all. May God grant you many years and much peace in the coming weeks, months and years.
#10 Anonymous on 2009-07-26 21:37
>>"It sounds like Altamont, not Palm Desert"...
Well, no, Altamount had the Stones, the Dead and Jefferson Airplane playing. I heard a little bit of vespers in Palm Desert and it didn't sound like them.
#11 Curiouser and curiouser on 2009-07-27 01:21
I think I figured out the secret identity: Stokoe becomes Stookey becomes Stuckey's. I think the originator of this site is actually the owner of the Stuckey's stores you find down south. Just one question, Mark: what's your secret for making those pecan log rolls?
Sorry to make light of all this, but some people seemed to get rather carried away. Mark: please keep doing what you're doing for Orthodoxy in the US.
#12 Fr. Stephen Mack on 2009-07-27 07:45
Dear Andy (Geleris),
I think your article captures well the response to the convention many of us who were there share with you.
I believe we are experiencing what I can only call a "clash of cultures" over the style and substance of our governance. I had a long conversation with an Antiochian seminarian from Syria at St Vlad's (at the book kiosk). He explained to me some of the cultural dynamics that are - I believe - at play here. Some of this is + Philip's personal style, crafted perhaps by 40 years of near autonomous leadership. But some of it comes from Middle Eastern ethos. He explained that in the Middle East, Christians never air their dirty laundry in public, for fear they will show weakness to their Muslim overlords. Much that needs to see the light of the sun therefore is therefore swept under the proverbial carpet. What goes on in the backroom, stays there. The idea of a free press or a "new media" or open discussion for that matter is seen as a challenge or the work of "spies" (as was alleged). Middle Easterners also respect power, not weakness, in their leaders. Humility is often mistaken for weakness. Leaders are never questioned or challenged publicly, because that is dishonorable. To question a leader in this way is to show disrespect. If the leader responds to this challenge in any way other than by showing strength, it proves his weakness and he loses respect from his supporters. A lot of this comes out of a culture where Christianity is the minority and Christians - it is believed - must "stick together" and show "unity".
Although disappointing and foreign to many of us raised in the States this helps me (to some extent) to understand the almost blind loyalty and adulation you refer to in your reflection, and perhaps even + Philip's style during the convention. + Philip has lost significant "face" over the issue with the bishops. He responded by showing strength and control of the proceedings. The fact that he was questioned publicly at nearly every turn must have been disarming, to say the very least.
I don't know where this all goes. I think there is a growing "culture gap" (note I didn't say ethnic or racial!) in the archdiocese on many levels. I cannot imagine how this will get resolved during + Philip's tenure. I do fear that if Demetri is brought back in - which would in my view be a huge tactical mistake for +Philip - priests and laity will leave the archdiocese. I pray that Philip does not make this mistake.
May God have mercy on all of us.
#13 Anonymous on 2009-07-27 08:12
Hmmm....it looks like part of my message didn't get posted..LOL! What I intended to say was, what made that quote interesting is simply that comparing Mr. Stokey's personal life to Met. Phillip's PUBLIC life, and how he administers the CHURCH are two completely unrelated things. No one asking about + Phillip's PRIVATE life, nor do I think anyone even cares. What we care about is his, and all the heirarchy's public administration of the Church. Mark's private life, or my private life, or the clergy's private life has NOTHING to do with what is going on. It's amazing how people so easily confuse these 2 issues.
#14 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-07-27 09:47
In response to #13. Daniel, a bishop must be above reproach. Sexual abuse, intimidation of clergy, referring to clergy as "dogs". Really, the Antiochian Archdiocese shouldn't throw stones at the OCA, when their own house is made of glass, the boomerang might just come back and hit them in the ... you know where.
#15 anonymous on 2009-07-27 10:22
In what instance are men rewarded for grabbing women inappropriately (and without permission)? I couldn't think of a single example, but I am naive on such matters, I fear.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#16 Dn. Marty Watt on 2009-07-27 12:28
The only problem with the notion that because Metro. Philip was raised in the Middle East and there fore has a different cultural way of expressing himself is that he has lived here for 50 years! (most of his life)
#17 Bubba on 2009-07-27 13:14
There is always a double standard. Bishops will always take care of one of their own. In the OCA, we have far too many bishops who should've been deposed, but continue to enjoy the perques and benefits of the 'retired episcopacy' - whatever that is.
Theodosius, Herman, Tikhon of the West, Nikolai, all of them are disgraces, but were protected by our Holy Synod, simply because they were bishops.
It's an amazing fraternity, and you hardly ever see priests treated with such forgiveness and delicacy. The defense is that "bishops have devoted their lifetimes to the church," as if priests haven't. To bishops, it seems, priests are expendable... or worse. Pathetic. Anaxios to any hierarch who protects another for the wrong reasons.
#18 Anonymous on 2009-07-27 15:53
Mr. Falls, if you don't have the imagination to realize how you'd feel if you were a woman being groped or fondled against her wishes, can you imagine how you would feel if the person being fondled and groped was your mother?
#19 Josephine on 2009-07-27 16:57
Forgive me for the harshness of this post.
I don't understand what good the clash of cultures argument does us. Don't we believe that Christ transcends culture? Isn't the clash of cultures just an excuse? There is much about American culture that is wrong, but it is no excuse for my own sin. Shouldn't the question be whether or not +Philip's behavior is in line with the gospel? I agree that we are seeing a clash of cultures. Forgive me, but so what?
I was appalled by the audio from the conference. Honestly, it was far worse than I expected. If the issue were simply about +Philip's authoritarian leadership style I might be sympathetic. But how can culture be an excuse for the corruption that has been revealed over the past few months? The fiasco from Feb 24 was just the tip of the iceberg. Major players in the Archdiocese are felons. The reinstatement of a sexual offender bishop is being righteously defended. Audits are being rejected. And this is just what we know! I can't imagine what remains hidden.
Forgive me, but how can we continue to excuse this?
Ah, Marty, the reward would be in the response from the woman. In this case, the woman didn't like it, but that isn't always the case.
And to the other fellow/person suggesting a bishop ought be above reproach... Are you suggesting in order to be a bishop, the man ought to be imfallible? If you believe a bishop ought to be above reproach, I think you have fast forgotten that Bishops, too, are men, and the only imfallible Bishop is, ahemm, the Pope. Please don't patronize me with a rebuttal to my sarcasm either.
In Metropolitan Philip's eyes, perhaps he believes he is following the Teachings that we must forgive and that the New Testament overrides even secular law....?
Again, I'm not suggesting a policy direction for the AOCA, heaven forbid, it isn't my place. I'm just saying this thing isn't really as clear as it seems. The guy did something wrong that sometimes isn't even considered wrong by some of the offended, or in some countries. I won't defend him because I think she gave him a warning, but maybe an earlier kind smile from her was taken the wrong way by Khoury...or maybe Khoury is a bad apple altogether. All I'm saying is it isn't a crystal clear situation and policies must be followed. If Metropolitan Philip signed onto a policy outside the AOCA, he ought to follow his own policies, or he ought to be called out.
But frankly, if you want my opinion, our society trivializes violence and villifies sexuality. You can watch movies on tv where 30+ people are killed on a regular basis, but Janet Jackson shows a covered nipple on a bare breast and gets the scorn of millions and censure and penalty from the government overseers of media that allow the credit card razor neck slashing scene from a Segal movie. Europe doesn't share this perversion, it is a USA judeo-christian twist. The judicial system shares this flaw to a degree. There are plenty of people that have physically beat someone to near death and have been tried and convicted and served time and the government doesn't make them report their movements, but the guy that was drunk and rowdy and grabbed a woman's breast must report his moves til he's dead. I'm sure it sounds like I'm defending Khoury, I'm not. I'm just saying this one isn't really crystal clear unless you believe the US society has judeo-christian philosophy down real well ( I don't ).
Here is one thing I don't get, though... If Khoury was breast grabbing, why would he want a celibate life? This is a real and human approach to the same issue. Does he wish to bear out the same condemnation I defend him from? Seems to me he rather likes woman and had a rough day of drinking go awry.
#21 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-07-27 17:36
If a drunk guy grabbed my mother's breast in a casino, I'd clock him if I was there, but I'd get arrested, too.
If I wasn't there and he did it and got arrested, I'd want to make sure it wasn't a behavior he'd repeated, or I'd want it treated severely. If it was a first incident, I'd expect the person to get treatment or support for their actions. I wouldn't expect his life to be destroyed for a drunken indiscretion.
#22 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-07-27 20:48
A rough day of drinking? Excuse me, but just what the hell is a bishop of Christ's Chruch doing indulging in a rough day of drinking, topped off by a friendly bout of boob-grabbing? Oh, and condemning the cop and his family to hell once he gets busted? Have you ever been to Vespers and actually listened to the Reader? What's with the making excuses for sin? We aren't supposed to be doing that, Mr. Fall. We can hear it every Saturday night.
Anybody grabs my daughter by the breasts and I happen to be there, the perp is going to hit the ground, hard, and wake up with a brutal headache.
Sorry I'm too Judaeo-Christian for your taste, Mr. Fall, but there is no excuse for loutish behavior such as grabbing a random feel because one happens to like women, bishop or not.
#23 Scott Walker on 2009-07-27 22:18
David, you make an excellent point. Fr. George was a friend of mine who I have fond memories. He did wonderful things in his ministry, especially when it came to caring for the needy, which I know (through your father) that you were actively involved. If Father George was one of the Detroit, Montreal or any other "fair haired" priests, he would have been treated with compassion and given support to treat his problem. But it is obvious that in Englewood there exists two separate standards - one for the chosen and another for the "gentiles."
May the Judge of all render "judgment without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy."
And may He Who rose from the dead, grant pardon and remission of sins and blessed repose, to the soul of Fr. George.
#24 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-07-28 05:49
My goodness, Mr. Fall, about the ONLY thing I agree with you on is how our American culture glorifies violence and demonizes sexuality. You're quite right in that regard, and I reckon many people would probably agree with that statement. We certainly have our priorities topsy tervy and we certainly have much common ground in that area.
However, I find your statement about "no condemnation" under the the New Testament, and following statements implying such, quite disturbing. What are we, a bunch of eternal security believers? Or something akin to the 1st century Church in Corinth which thought being out from under the law, and under grace was a license to sin? Come on. Look what Paul wrote:
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person-1 Cor 5:9-13
And here the Church is not "putting away" the evil person, but continuing to pay him, and many want to reinstate him with full authority as a Bishop again? Huh? The whole idea that "this is no big deal" as some say, is just as disturbing to me as the glorification of violence. This is not just a laymen who made a mistake, but someone who took vows (supposedly as a monk) before God, and then was ordained with the priesthood, and later the Bishopric. The idea that the clergy are no more accountable to God than the laymen is entirely a modern concept. They are not "better" than us for sure, they are no closer to God than we are, they are not mediators, but indeed, they are, or should be held more accountable because they are invested with a special Grace, and have a higher responsibility...with much power comes much responsibility. Indeed, perhaps the whole celebacy of the Bishopric is something we can talk about, however NO ONE forced Bishop Dimitri to become a Bishop. He could have married, and become a priest, or not become a priest, or whatever. He could I suppose be layicized in some way, remain in the Church, in Communion, and all the rest....but to be on the payroll, not to mention for his supporters to talk about being made a Bishop (or even the next Metropolitan as I saw on another website a few people suggesting) is outrageous. Sure he could have done something much worse, and indeed he should be forgiven, but he still, as a Bishop needs to be held accountable. And most people simply don't feel like that has happened yet. others feel like he has, but the majority do not feel that way, and in the end, perception is reality.
#25 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-07-28 07:43
This is in no way a defense of the bishop or his actions. But it is worth observing that for the past 50-plus years the AMA has classed alcoholism as a potentially terminal illness of both body and mind.
We have a tendency to be rather scornful of alcoholics, because even acknowledging the disease, it still seems to a certain extent self-inflicted. Yet 10% of all people of drinking age have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. For many of these people, once they begin drinking they have no more control over what happens next than they do over the weather. Some become violent; some morose or depressed; some metamorphose into gregarious revelers. Many times, the alcoholic can't remember later what happened during last night's drinking bout.
Of course, it would be irrelevant if they never picked up the first drink. But our Orthodox culture in particular is one where drinking is very, very pervasive.
I believe the questions about an alcoholic in an organization ought to be: Does this person have talents and abilities from which the organization can benefit? And: If the alcoholic were able to get and remain sober, would we want to retain them in some capacity? Assuming both to be the case with Bishop Demetri does not necessarily mean reinstating him as a ruling hierarch. I am sure he would be able to serve effectively in many other ways. Naturally, a lot would depend on his ability to make meaningful amends to the woman he harmed.
AA members have a slogan that may be germane here: They say, "We aren't bad people getting good; we are sick people getting healthy."
#26 Morton on 2009-07-28 09:21
And some build monuments with their words is actually borrowed from the *Jerusalem Talmud*-
The Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta'anit Ch.2) records: "Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says, `We do not make nefashot / monuments for tzaddikim; their words are their monuments'."
If you google the phrase, a number of Talmudic references come up. Apparently, Philip is versed in more than just the Koran (and the Bible).
#27 anonymous Antiochian priest on 2009-07-28 09:23
Thank you Dr. Geleris for your profound analysis. I am not too sure about the last paragraph, however. I am hesitant to assume that sense of responsibility for what we must do to make things better. The solution, I fear, is "FAR ABOVE OUR POOR POWER TO ADD OR DETRACT".
The powers-that-be must be receptive and it is clear they are not. The discovery of that fact is the conclusion we must draw from the disappointing, yet predictable events of last week.
A clash of cultures? Not really. I am a cradle Orthodox with strong emotional ties to the plight of those in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine! And I have had strong emotional ties to the Metropolitan during the entire 43 years of his Bishopric.
However - I deeply resent the insult to the intelligence of those of us who have finally concluded that blind loyalty is not the answer.
It is amazing that more unequivocal caring was shown to one absent individual who - by his own actions - blew his God-given opportunity to maintain the trust of those he was committed to serve in Christ's Church...than was offered to any of the brave souls who tried to make a positive difference by offering any heartfelt suggestion for the future.
Mere underlings can also - some might be amazed to learn - experience strong feelings of betrayal. Brash, unwise, unkind, and other such authoritative acts committed by some over the past many months (and years) have brought this unfortunate situation about. It was NOT the actions of those of us whose eyes were finally opened to what had been going on around us.
Do not let my seeming anger fool you. My overwhelming state of mind for months has been pure_sadness.
#28 Sadder but wiser on 2009-07-28 09:24
The cultural divide makes sense. All the more reason for him to retire so that we can elect an Amercian primate. Its time, Sayedna......
#30 Antionymous on 2009-07-28 09:54
Perhaps because until you understand your opponent you cannot hope to successfully engage him.
I didn't see Mr. Allen excusing anything, but rather explaining it.
Things have to change, yes. Do you honestly think that the change will be better if we completely ignore the cultural realities of the other side? Shall we adopt the tactics of those who we oppose?
I'd rather seek to understand while still seeking to change things. That CAN be done without giving a single inch on what needs to be done.
They've run roughshod over us, do we in our hurt and anger return like for like? That isn't what I was taught.
Yes, that is a curious thing and one of the ironies [that His Eminence has lived in American culture for 50 years]. I am not exactly making a "cause and effect" argument that because one is of Middle Eastern or American descent one necessarily thinks or acts in certain, robotic way. That is precisely the "racial" argument and divide His Eminence Philip rightly rejected [and to which I do not hold], on several occasions. My point with the post was to try to understand the other view; to try to see what could be behind the differences in viewpoints, that were clear to me as an observer. If part of it isn't "culture" and the expectations about what "church" polity looks like, what church leadership looks like, then what is it, what is expected of the church - why then so many downcast faces, on the one hand, and high-fives of triumph, on the other? I reject the view that the cause is simply "bad men" or "good men". Metropolitan Philip has given his life to this archdiocese - far be it for me, a sinner, to even think to question his motives for that which he has given his life to. I give our bishops the same respect. But there is something that divides us and that was what I was (and am) trying to discern.
#32 Kevin Allen on 2009-07-28 12:39
I have heard much discussion regarding gaps. Racial, Ethnic, Cultural and I am sure a few more besides.
The only "Gap" as an Orthodox Christian I am concerned about is The Gospel Gap. This particular expanse situated between the teachings of Christ and our self esteeming heirarchy's implementation of their ministry, is immense and to my eyes, almost as big as the one described in
As long as those who are called to serve, love and demand the adulations forbidden by Christ (Mt: 23) and as long as a Royal Priesthood of Believers willingly accomodates this subjugation, what other conduct or outcomes can we expect from those we address as our Masters and Lords?
Even the best and most humble among us when called Lord, Master and Most Holy, long enough, eventually succumb to the lie. We know what fruit that bears. In every man and in every age.
#33 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-07-28 12:39
Also, Met. Herman and those at Syosset tried to do the very same thing, and they are all American. He tried all the same tactics that Met. Phillip is using. He tried to destroy those who revealed the truth and those that wouldn't let this all be swept under the rug. He also intimdated the priests and ruled by intimidation and fear. I think this has always worked in all of the Orthodox sees for a long time.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all--I know how painful it is.
#34 Janice Chadwick on 2009-07-29 18:56
Well said: "I'd rather seek to understand while still seeking to change things. That CAN be done without giving a single inch on what needs to be done."
I understand the point more clearly now and agree with you (& Kevin).
I'm sorry for the tone of my post. I know now that you are trying to understand rather than excuse. Thank you.
#35 David Feliciano on 2009-07-29 20:05
I get your point. But for the sake of those non-Orthodox who may see this, I have never seen anyone refer to or say to a hierarch "Lord" or "Most Holy". It is not in our tradition, that I am aware of. When we sing "Eis Polla Eti Despota", we are saying "Preserve, O Lord, our Master and Hierarch, for many years..." The "Lord" refers to Christ, Our Lord. We have a different understanding of hierarchy from that of Protestants, most certainly, but let's not go over the edge with hyperbole or sarcasm! Some reading this site may take you literally or seriously.
#36 Kevin Allem on 2009-07-30 12:14
I wouldn't expect his life to be destroyed for a drunken indiscretion.
If he were a bishop, I would expect it to be the end of his archpastoral career. As St. Paul makes clear, a bishop must have a good ethical reputation among "those outside." It is telling that the arresting officers simply could not believe that he was actually a bishop. Incidentally, deposition needn't destroy such a person's life. There are lots of jobs, not requiring ordination, that need doing in the Church.
The fact that he's in a sex-offender database, as such, is not the point — it merely underscores the fact he no longer meets the requirement. If he had been thrown in prison for getting into a drunken fistfight at a casino, I (and I think most others) would be saying the same thing.
Consider a sample of non-Orthodox people. If you tell them your bishop got a speeding ticket, they'd probably think it chuckle-worthy. But say that your bishop went to the big-house for getting plastered and feeling up a stranger in a casino, and even the most untutored secular libertine is liable to say, "Wait — and they let him stay a bishop?"
This is among the ways in which Met. Philip's reference to St. Paul in this regard missed the mark. Among the reasons St. Paul was an effective evangelist was his excellent reputation among the Jews at the time of his conversion. He could, as he himself occasionally pointed out, be faulted in nothing according to Jewish law; and their moral laws were rather more strict than those of the Romans.
#37 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-07-31 12:52
I wish you were right, but we must not be afraid to admit what we in fact practice. We address our heirachs and clerics with salutations such as lord, sayedna. master, your grace, your eminence, holy, father ect. ect. We do that. We say it to them personally. They receive it and even now expect it.
It most certainly is our tradition, but as to it being Tradition? Well, the source of Holy Tradition himself is pretty plain in Mt. 23. when he warns his disciples not to imitate the pharaisee's who love such salutations. It is he says, "not to be this way with you!"
Why are we afraid of our Lord's words? In Jn. 6 He says unless you eat my body and drink my blood you have no life within you. We are quick to point this out to our protestant friends and admonish them to believe what Christ says and not to spiritualize it in such a way as to negate it.
But what do we do with Mt. 23? We do that very thing which we condemn others for doing.
Those are the facts. It is hardly shocking that century upon century of flatteries and fawnings would create anything other than a heirarchy steeped in it's own superiority and self importance.
We make it a habit to discount just about everything else Christ teaches us why would we expect anything different with something like this?
What I say is not hyperbole. It is, what it is and it is, what we do.
#38 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-07-31 13:26
Kevin & Kevin,
I believe the EP is often refered to as his "All Holiness." This is a title I am very uncomfortable with.
(Editor's note: It reminds one of the (probably apocryphal) corner in well-known Eastern city where four churches were to be found across from each other: Trinity Presbyterian, Holy Trinity Lutheran, All Holy Trinity Catholic, and Most Holy Trinity Orthodox....)
sorry, I did not intend to make this post anonymous.
Not sure it's worth chiming in on this topic, however...
If you read the Church Fathers, Bishops writing other Bishops, etc., you find great "flattery" and extreme decorum, lofty titles and outrageously, over-the-top deference. I do not believe the titles or the flattery CAUSES the things we see today. It is rather lack of authentic Orthodox Christian spirituality and the infection of modern secularism.
My being called "Father" and even having my hand kissed does not give me a big head, but reminds me of my tremendous responsibility and the burden I carry. Now if I had a chauffeur, a butler, an entourage, attendants, etc., maybe!
I believe the term "Master" for bishop in most old world languages is a much more endearing term than as it comes across in English. Vladika or Sayidna are loving and intimate titles meaning more like "My dear Master."
Personally I think it's a bit superficial to say that the titles create or even perpetuate the problems we are seeing. Some of it is the loss of real monastic formation of episcopal candidates, humility, and holiness. Bishop Basil is called "Master" too and I don't see it going to his head. St. Symeon the New Theologian complained about the institutionalized, "professional" clergy of his time. At that time the practice of interior prayer had been waning, much as it has in more recent times. I'm always very cautious when people start suggesting it is tradition, not Tradition. My two cents.
#41 A Priest on 2009-08-02 21:49
You gave your opinion that "our society trivializes violence and villifies sexuality." I agree with you entirely on how our society treats violence. The neat contrast you are asserting, however, fails to take into account the fact that once another individual has make clear their rejection of someone's sexual advances, what follows after that IS, in fact, properly placed in the realm of violence. If you and I were having a friendly wrestling match in my family room, it is sport; if I don't consent, it is assault. If I approach my wife with caresses and kisses, it is part of the Holy Mystery of Matrimony; if I force myself on some other woman, I am committing violence. Any priest or bishop who cannot go this far in figuring out the rules of our society, is in constant danger of reoffending. Do you want your own daughter to be the target of such an approach? I don't.
#42 Alexander Patico on 2009-08-04 08:16
To: A Priest,
You may be correct on everything you say. Flatteries, lofty titles, addressing clerics as master, lord, all holy ect. may not neccessarily mean they succumb to the fawnings. There certainly seems to be an example here and there of priests and heirarchs who successfully resist the ongoing temptations presented them.
My point can best be reduced to this simple observation. Christ specifically and emphatically told His apostles not to engage in this now traditional practice.
I am not conviced of the wisdom in ignoring something so plainly stated by Christ no matter how reasonable the contrary explanations are.
#43 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-08-06 09:02
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