Monday, August 3. 2009
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Nobody really knows what the Patriarch said to +NP, or what +MP said to the Patriarch. I know Bishop Demitri was writing about the lives of saints, and that was a very good occupation for him. I fail to understand why he HAD to retain the position of Bishop. But the ways of the Antiochian Church at the national level are not to be known by mere laity, nor are they to be explained to us, except perhaps the Metropolitan friends, but not ordinary folks because we are far below the bottom of the totem pole. So, if a mere delegate should make a motion (seconded), all the Metropolitan has to do is to ignore it.l That's the way it is. And they have made it clear that if we don't like it, we can leave. +MP "managed" the convention very well, and although a few have said small victories toward transparency were achieved, they probably will be disappointed, for if an true and honest audit were to be carried out, too many secrets would be exposed. So we just let those sleeping "dogs" lie and that's what his challengers and priests are called. I guess we have learned our place in the Antiochian archdiocese as dog, lowely dogs, to pick up the crumbs from +MP and come begging (but not too often) for more.
#1 anon on 2009-08-03 16:31
While I am grateful that Met. Philip has abandoned his attempt to imitate the Popes of Rome and make himself into a super-bishop to whom other bishops are personally answerable, I do wish he would not imitate them on another matter: the confusion of the Holy-Myrrhbearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene with the repentant prostitute who annointed Christ's feet with ointment. Holy Tradition dating to apostolic times teaches that St. Mary Magdalene was a life-long virgin. The Western confusion of her with the repentant prostitute dates to a homily of St. Gregory the Dialogist in the sixth century.
It is a small matter, but. . . .
#2 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-08-03 16:59
Metro. Had it right...just like the OCA scandal and the pepole involved...there were far worse sinners in the world that later became saints...let God decides what happens to them...not the "justice" seekers and the people that only want blood (Stoke)
#3 Still afraid to share his name because he knows too many people on this blasted on 2009-08-03 19:02
I think both the Metropolitan and Chancellor gave very good Christian reasons for the reinstatement of Khoury and as a third party observer, I support their approach on the matter.
Now, if there were other issues where Khoury had caused trouble, or had repeated his behavior, I would not agree.
In the context of my public support for Metropolitan Philip, I think it is important they understand that the principles of forgiveness ought not be applied to only hierarchs. Priests, when appropriate, deserve this as well. If Fr. Herbel is mistreated by the hierarchy, I will summarily retract my support of their statements regarding Khoury (which would then be considered lies as a simple disagreeing priest is worse than a drunk, abusive one).
Holds no water. I'm sure there are Antiochians that have already experienced an uneven treatment of priests, certain priests, and hierarchs.
..my two cents worth tonight..
#4 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-08-03 19:08
Bravo, Sarah Hodges! We need more Orthodox women, and men, like you.
Bishop Demetri UNZIPPED HIS PANTS and made Leud gestures to his female partner at a Casino.
Would you hire him to teach your Sunday school class?
To give a Ladies Retreat?
To Chaperone your Teens on an overnight Retreat?
Then why under heaven would you want him back as a Bishop.
He is a LAW SUIT waiting to happen.
For those seeking a CASH COW he would be a target.
One only has to make an accusation to get a cash settlement from an insurance company.
This one would pay out big given his HISTORY.
so much for letting the light shine. We have nothing to hide! We will take all questions.
MP's boys were rude and disrespectful.
They should have been tossed out.
MP and his cast of charaters and felons need to go.
#6 anonymous on 2009-08-03 19:23
St. Mary was a prostitute? That is "officially" news to me! I understand the R. catholic approach, But for the Orthodox this should be a bit "out there" particularly for a Metropolitan.
#7 the Daniel formerly known as "Reader" on 2009-08-03 20:32
As from another blog - we should have Sarah Hodges as a real voice in the midst of all the Bp Dimitri nonsense! Talk about brain washing the multitude (a very spineless group as has been indicated) the Met. did it again. And as he's done these many years. My delegates not next time for us! Find other sheep as we think for ourselves (not popular in P. Desert) and perhaps the heat outside (114) got to them!
Leaders of the Church without a monastic experience (or piety like demeanor) should be something of the past. Time for the Metroplitan to retire even though he's over the 75+ range ?!!
#8 Anonymous Priest on 2009-08-03 21:12
About the Patriarch being on Metropolitan Philip's side about this. From what I have read I almost believe that the Patriarch and his aides do not understand a word of English. One would certainly hope that someone who oversees an entire patriarchate would not accept the behavior of clergy, laity, and trustees that I have been reading about unless he could not understand the language. I may have been misunderstanding what I have been reading but I seem to remember that MP has not been straight forward with his beatitude at all times. Beside that, according to what the metropolitan originally stated, the patriarch simply asked where Demetri was. Why don't you put him to work? This statement has since been interpreted to mean that the patriarch wants him returned to diocesan bishop status. This very likely was not his intention. But since there is some confusion about cultural differences, language interpretations, and relaying of directives I for one would like a clear statement from Damascus both about the subject of audits, and criminal behavior. That brings up another thing that I wonder about. If the archdiocese is self governing what effect would anything his beatitude says have as far as authority goes? Seriously, I just can't understand how this works. Can you thumb your nose at him on the one hand and bend over backwards to not go against his will on the other? Lord have mercy!
#9 Looking for Humility on 2009-08-03 22:37
Sarah Hodges is a brave woman. She should be the next Metropolitan.
#10 Stephen on 2009-08-04 02:59
Met Philip has a point here; it is very possible that Demetri has repented, I certainly cannot say it isn't so. And, if that is the case, he deserves another chance just like anybody else.
Let us not make the mistake of turning our Orthodox church into just another Protestant denomination by throwing out the upright use of a bishop's authority.
#11 Anonymous on 2009-08-04 05:02
Thank you Mark for printing this. I especially appreciate the illustration of the wonderfully Orthodox view of how women can be considered like Mary Magdalene-Equal to the Apostles.
#12 margaretrainbolt on 2009-08-04 05:37
So much talk in this archdiocese about authority. Where is the holiness?
Felon criminals on the board. Sex offender for a bishop and +MP defending it all to uphold the structures of old world cronyism. Put these things off from us!
Lord have mercy.
#13 MichaelPatrick on 2009-08-04 06:12
Unfortunately this is par for the course for the Antiochian good old boy network. The prepared in advance ambush response that violates the rules of order. The inherent male chauvinism in attacking a woman who dared speak the truth. The smoke and mirrors to divert attention from the real issue. And for an encore demonstarting their ignorance of the life of Saint Mary Magdalene. The ground below the cross is indeed level but it took the Antiochians a long time before they let women have a vote. Unfortunately this discrimination still exists in the hearts and minds of many clergy and parishioners. Bravo to Sarah Hodges for having the courage to stand up and tell it like it is. Unfortunately I know from first hand experience that retribution will follow. It may not be today or tomorrow but it will be coming. It is why I left the Antiochian Church several years ago. There is no hope as long as this crowd runs things. The return of sex offender Bishop Demetri is just the tip of the iceberg. Shake the dust off your sandal and depart.
#14 Former Antiochian Parishioner on 2009-08-04 06:22
THEY ARE LIES, I don't care if the report said this or not, It was hear say from a woman, who cried victim. They always get the upper hand, in most cases, but not all. Statistics show this. I do not believe Bishop DEMITRI did anything to this extent. Maybe flirted because he is human but nothing of this extreme. Give me a break. We knew him his entire life and never would he do this, NEVER.
(Editor's note: William, there is a video of this. There is witness testimony, and the police report. There is a guilty plea. Accept it. )
#15 William on 2009-08-04 06:30
If the Patriarch wants +Demetri to serve in Mexico, that's his business. But the condition for OUR support of +Demetri after his "incident" was that he NOT function as a Bishop. Few have any problem with paying him to do scholarly work etc. The problem is with our paying him to SERVE AS A BISHOP, anywhere in the world.
This is not about compassion, it's about deception.
When is our Local Synod going to start standing up to +Philip?
#16 JPS on 2009-08-04 06:54
+ Dimitri only illustrates why the Antiochians should not remain under the Pat. of Damascus (Antioch). It is the Pat. who wants + Dimitri in a high-level church position. Apparently, the Pat. doesn't understand the legalities of putting someone like + Dimitri in such a position. OK, + Dimitri won't drink - hah! OK, + Dimitri won't hang out with women - hah! OK, + Dimitri won't visit casino's or places of addiction - hah!
The mentality between the 'old country" and America is quite different. Foreign bishops just don't get it!
#17 Anonymous on 2009-08-04 07:12
My Arabic is certainly not the best, but I believe the better translation of Metropolitan Philip's statement in Arabic toward the end of the transcript is "I don't want to." He said, "Ma behdi" which I've always understood as "I don't want". I think he then repeated this in English. I don't believe "I spoke" is a correct translation of his Arabic. Again, I'm not fluent, so if I am mistaken or if someone else has a better translation, please correct me.
#18 David Najjar on 2009-08-04 07:29
I am beginning to think that the real problem is not here - it is in Damascus. They have allowed this man to ignore them, disparage them, misquote them, mistranslate them..... need I go on? He will do whatever he can get away with, and they let him get away with a lot. Clear and active oversight from people who have some testicular fortitude has been lacking. Is it because MP controls the purse strings?
Perhaps we should ship over some strap-on spines?
Seriously - the only way to get anything done now is a lawsuit - forcing proper adherence to the NY laws on non-profit governance, and especially to compel an audit. It is clear that withholding money won't work. MP has too many friends who will keep giving, plus a large reserve of assets.
#19 Marcel Herlé on 2009-08-04 08:07
(In Arabic) “I spoke.
(In English) " I don’t want to vote on it. This is ridiculous. To vote on what? Something the Patriarch did?
"Okay. Let’s move. We have work to be done."
Hmmmm....Is this what is meant by conciliar?
#20 Morton on 2009-08-04 08:32
The Christian monk Xanthias once said: "A dog is better than I am, for he has love and does not judge."
Xanthias, pray for us all.
#21 David Tikhon on 2009-08-04 08:52
.... Why don't you use this site to clean up the OCA. The Antiochians don't want or need you. The OCA still has not even begun their journey of cleaning up their mess and wreckage. Focus on the OCA and then move on to other issues.
#22 anon on 2009-08-04 09:02
According to MP the Holy Synod is the HIGHEST AUTHORITY in the Church.
That is what he told the Bishops who refused to be co-erced into signing the April 24 document that would hae reduced them to auxiliaries.
Actually, MP thinks he is the HIGHEST AUTHORITY in the UNIVERSE.
He will even decide when he will die.
#23 anonymous on 2009-08-04 09:25
I hope he has repented. And, like all of us sinners, he is in need of a second chance.
But he is no longer fit to serve as a bishop. That horse is already out of the barn. Let him be put to work serving the Church in some other capacity, but not as a shepherd of Christ's flock.
#24 Scott Walker on 2009-08-04 10:23
Where did Met.Phillip go to seminary? Why does he use the mistaken western version of St.Mary Magdalan?
I am really starting to have serious serious doubts about him.
#25 Stephen on 2009-08-04 10:31
In light of the courageous words and actions of Sarah Hodges, I've been struggling with some of the ugly (and increasingly apparent) realities of our institutional church.
This recent convention for some reason really put me over the edge. I have been depressed ever since. I decided to pick up the phone and talk with a well-known Orthodox theologian, who has struggled with these issues for over 40 years to gain perspective. I did not ask to use his name, so he will remain anonymous.
What he said wasn't anything - necessarily - that I haven't heard before. But he said them clearly and at a time and in a way that I could see truth in them. I thought a brief summary might be helpful. I hope it is.
He said that the "institutional Orthodox Church" structure is dead. It is still acting alive; still moving, still trashing around, but it is dead. He feels that the current leadership (even) are dead men walking! I asked him: then what are we preaching, what are we promoting? He said: if we are not preaching and promoting the Gospel of Christ, most dependably taught in the Scriptures, the Divine Liturgy, Vespers (etc.), and the Saints, then we are promoting a false Gospel.
I asked him: do you still feel the Gospel is best presented in the EOC. He said: Yes! That doesn't mean there are not other churches that teach truth. But it is most dependably presented in the EOC. He said every time the priest says "Blessed is the Kingdom..." we are entering the Kingdom of God - not an allegorical Kingdom, but THE Kingdom. This Kingdom is not the institutional church structure (the leaders, the politics, the abuses, the corruption - of which he agreed there was much) but it can be entered through the visible, concrete, historic Church - even now with all the corruption evident.
He said the mistake (we) Ex-Evangelicals made and make is trying to find a "perfect Church" (and perfect leaders) in space and time. He said there was never a time - and never will be a time - when an institutional church structure on earth is "perfect". He said we need to be able to discern and distinguish between the gold and the dross, which are often enmeshed in the Orthodox Church. And we need to demand the dross to be swept away, even when it may not be, or even when and if we are persecuted for doing so (as we will be).
I asked him: what should I be doing? He said: tell the truth! The truth, he said, is that our Church has doors that open to the Kingdom and also voices that can lead to hell! He said that God gave the Hebrews the Temple, but Christ and the prophets criticized the chief priests, the priests, the lawyers and the elders. They killed Christ and cut the tongue off of St Maximos, exiled and vilified St John Chrysostom, etc. But they did not curse the Temple or the sacrifices, or the priesthood or say these needed to be done away with! We have to be ready, he said, to be crucified without doing harm or cursing our persecutors, most of whom will be our "brothers and sisters" in Christ.
There was more but this is a summary. This was good for me because I struggled with concerns about an inner dichotomy and being able to do what I have been doing while I experience what I have experienced. His advice: do what I am doing and also speak and write the truth. Don't shrink from speaking the truth because the greatest sin, he said, is to lie.
So (in summary) we are members of the Body of Christ that is transcendent in its spiritual life to all the tawdry visible political and ethnic manifestations, yet at the same time enmeshed with them. This is the reality, this is the truth.
But as we agreed, there are no acceptable alternatives. We must struggle for truth, but we must try to love and not malign and be ready to be crucified. Watching Sarah Hodges gave me the courage to face such persecution.
#26 Anonymous on 2009-08-04 10:42
Bishop Demetri is a convicted felon, and a sex offender. He would not be eligible for employment at your local pre-school. He would not be eligible for employment at your local nursing home (in most states, at least).
Bishop Demetri has paid his debt to society, and should be absolutely forgiven. But he should never, ever, be allowed to hold a pastoral role again. He should retire to a monastery and continue in his repentance.
St. Paul writes to the Corinthians: 1 Cor 5:9-13 9 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."
Oops. Sorry to shatter the illusion with the plain truth of Scripture.
Sarah, keep the faith. You are not alone.
Martin D. Watt, CPA
#27 Dn. Marty Watt on 2009-08-04 11:37
I am one Antiochian Orthodox Christian who very much appreciates this site.
#28 Brian Jackson, MD on 2009-08-04 12:32
You are absolutely right David Najjar. MP said "ma baddi" which means "I do not want to".
#29 Fluent in Arabic on 2009-08-04 12:46
I second the general applause fitly directed to Sarah Hodges.
Let me suggest, however, that the Archdiocese should not cut off funds to support the former Bishop Demetri.
Indeed, I think we should be sending large checks to the Patriarchate (or whoever) NOT to permit him to function as a bishop. Our parish would be glad to contribute to such a worthy cause.
#30 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-08-04 12:56
Why is that some commentators cannot understand that the one paramount 'negative' criterion for ordination is to have nothing in one's life that would cause scandal, because scandal distracts the faithful and is divisive, and that the paramount consideration in disciplinary outcomes for clergy is also the potential for scandal, for precisely the same reasons. As a fine teacher of pastoral theology put it: there is to be only one scandal in the Church and it is the scandal of Christ crucified.
Any scandal attached to a clergyman compromises his ability to keep the scandal of Christ front and center in his parish; it subverts the trust and acceptance needed for effective pastoral care of the flock; it places the scandal-ridden priest - and the playing out his drama - the center of the parish stage. The faithful are tempted often enough as it is to gossip on the one hand, and to lose heart on the other; pastoral scandal only increases temptation. It becomes a real stumbing block. Such a pastor is simply useless as a pastor.
No one says that a bishop or priest or deacon cannot repent of sin and move on to lead a spiritually fruitful life. The canons say, however, that when a serious scandal is properly investigated, admitted or proven, and judgement is rendered by those competent to do so, the outcome must be that he pursue his salvation in some way other than the ministry of his former office. Anything else is a betrayal of the flock. I am afraid that those who think they are being kind and forgiving in allowing a scandal-ridden pastor to continue in his office have no fear of God and no love for the faithful.
AA in M
#31 AA in M on 2009-08-04 13:38
+ Philip graduated from St. Vladimir's Seminary & Balamond. One thing the people of Middle-Eastern ancestry have is a real understanding of the Gospels. After all, the cousins of the Holy Apostles are still living there and the Syrian-Lebanese people know who is who. There is a very strong tradition stating that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Magdala was known for hairdressers and their reputation preceded them.
#32 Anonymous on 2009-08-04 14:49
Thinking of the theme for the Parish Life Conference and the Archdiocese convention "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who do good works in your holy church, and who remember the poor."
Thinking of I Corinthians 13, "And though I bestow all my goods to fee the poor and though I give my body to be burned but have not love it profits me nothing."
Thinking of my sister in Christ, Sarah, with love and concern in her heart she read a statement concerning a situation that does need attention and the right solution.
Thinking of the jeers, the yelling, the rude language that was hurled at Sarah, even the remark from a man close to where I was sitting - "Women in pants, sit down."
Sarah did not turn around and yell back, she did not revile in return. Sarah is a woman and also a lady.
Thinking of those who sat quietly as we heard opinions that we did not totally agree with, yet out of respect did not raise our voices in opposition.
Thinking of why Sarah was not given some respect as others who spoke were given.
Thinking of "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who do good works in Your holy church, and who remember the poor".
And thinking of I Corinthians 13, "and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing."
With truth, honesty and Christ's love problems can be solved and peace will prevail. Without truth, honesty, and the love of Christ problems cannot be solved and chaos continues.
Thinking of Friday, July 24, 2009, a day I heard my sister ridiculed with loud voices and yet she remained calm and strong.
Thinking of truth, honesty, and the love of Christ, for all of us I hope truth will be told, honesty will be heard, and the love of Christ will capture our hearts.
Kh. Dannie Moore
Past president of the AW of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast
#33 Kh. Dannie Moore on 2009-08-04 16:13
What do the people in Mexico think about the Demitri mess? My question is, what is a bishop of the Holy Orthodox church doing in a den of iniquity such as Las Vegas, frequenting a gambling establishment, getting drunk, exposing himself, groping at a woman, and then letting everyone know that he is a bishop and should be let off after his bad behavior? Lord, have mercy.
I seems to me, from reading the scriptures, that a potential bishop should be above reproach. If that was the case when Demitri was consecrated as a bishop and he was (then) above reproach, then his reported sinful behavior including public drunkenness should be sufficient grounds for his "demotion" back to the ranks of laity. The fact that he is no longer above reproach should prevent his ever returning the the ranks of the shepherds that our Lord has placed over His flock.
Yes, he should repent, and receive a penance as any of us should who demonstrate such behavior. As someone else has stated, probably the best course of action for the former bishop would be a monastery. "If" he has repented of his sins, then he is forgiven, but his penance for his behavior should be to depart from the ranks of the bishopric and find a place of further repentance and control of the passions.
Many people, in this modern world, think that they can do whatever they want and everything will be okay tomorrow. Me included. Again. Lord, have mercy
#34 Yanni on 2009-08-04 16:30
I too second the applause of Sarah Hodges.
Father Patrick's suggestion is an excellent one. My parish also would be pleased to contribute. A worthy cause indeed.
#35 Father Michael Laffoon on 2009-08-04 16:55
Metropolitan Philip has not set aside intentions of being the supreme hierarch over the local bishops.
He has demanded that all correspondence to him from the local bishops must include with their signature and title "Assistant to the Metropolitan." Otherwise, he will reject their letter.
Obviously Bishop Basil in his good intentioned effort to broker a peaceful agreement with Metropolitan Philip, capitulated to include in each bishops title "Assistant to the Metropolitan." This concession has only emboldened the narcissistic Metropolitan. If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck - it must be an auxiliary!
Sayedna Basil should have known better. You cannot expect to gain honor through negotiations with one who equates honor to submission and adulation for himself. You cannot cooperate with one accustomed to unilateral rule. You cannot pacify a piranha. You cannot gain virtue by engaging in "unholy" peace. You cannot trust one who distorts and betrays the truth. You may be able to change the spots on a leopard but you cannot change the leopard.
The notion of a local synod is a mirage. Realistically, there really seems little that can be done. Father John Namie of most blessed memory, boldly stated years ago in response to the Joseph Allen abomination, "there is one solution - death!" Father John pray for us and our hostage held Antiochian Church in America.
Disgusted Antiochian Priest
#36 Disgusted Antiochian Priest on 2009-08-04 17:32
Mark (stookie) I wish we could have the main part of the Ant. Conv. discussion on Finances re: Audit! It's off the website now. What a miscarraige of "justice" as regarding, "We have nothing to hide, read the reports!" No balance sheets, listing of assets,etc. What a sham! I was there and the well orchestrated program dominated by the Met. was a gem (by his standards!) NO ONE brought up the 15 to 20 Mil. in bonds, now said to be a "listing of assets". How naive a group of blinded loyalists and followers!" Truth was on vacation perhaps near the pool?
#37 Anonymous Mid westerner on 2009-08-04 20:40
Everything you said until the offensive part at the end was cogent and I really paid attention to your comments. I have no argument against them, but for the last part.
I quote, "I am afraid that those who think they are being kind and forgiving in allowing a scandal-ridden pastor to continue in his office have no fear of God and no love for the faithful."
To suggest my misinterpretation of what you purport as Canons implies I have no fear of God and no love of my brothers and sisters is just as bizarre as anything I've heard.
Why don't you stick with the substance and leave the bad, errant opinion out?
What specific Canon do you make reference to and how does it intertwine with this 'principle of economia', or what we understand as the simple Teachings of Christ to forgive?
#38 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-08-04 20:47
Someone already noted the amazing amount of money the Roman Catholics have paid out over such scandals as this one. In each case it was made more ghastly, the guilt of the bishops so much greater and the penalty worse because they knew for years that the offender was at it and *did nothing*. In fact, they frequently moved the offender around from place to place every time the offenses became notorious. In case you hadn't noticed it cost them several billion dollars. That's billion. Also in case you hadn't noticed this is exactly what is happening with Demetre. He has undoubtably offended, in public, on film, is convicted. Philip and (maybe, why should this part of the story be believed?) the patriarch are moving him someplace else, out of the way and away, they think, from notice. How stupid can they be, and how stupid will the laity be in response? Lets see. And the laity need to make noise before more people (including Demetre, incidentally) are injured. And before a few million dollars disappear quite publicly in a court settlement. Anyone want to see Antiochian Village sold for legal expenses? This is too dumb to believe. Does anyone think the archdiocese will be able to get insurance if Demetre stays in his job? If you can't use your head to think like the Gospel wants, just think about your wallet. How much money down the tubes is Demetre (or the rest of this tribe) worth?
#39 ba'ab on 2009-08-04 22:33
William, you do not KNOW that they are all LIES. How could you know that unless you were intimately involved with the affair (as it were). If you were there... tell us.
#40 Don't do this on 2009-08-05 02:42
Speak for yourself. Many of us Anitochlies are grateful to OCAnews for giving us some transparancy. Light in dark places is painful, particularly those of us who are not used to exposure to it.....but it is necessary and healing.
#41 Antionymous on 2009-08-05 04:03
Dear Daniel Fall,
I hope you do not mind if I give a shot at answering your questions to AA in M, that is, "What specific Canon do you make reference to and how does it intertwine with this 'principle of economia', or what we understand as the simple Teachings of Christ to forgive?" And, I do ask AA in M's indulgence as well.
First, Father Deacon Martin in post 24 cited Apostle Paul's advice to us regarding not keeping company with sexually immoral members of the Church (1 Corinthians 9-13). This passage establishes the possibility of judging fellow Christians, along with Matthew 18:15-17, where the Lord Himself tells us how to approach the sinners amongst us. Thus, it is clear on the highest authority that "the simple Teachings of Christ to forgive" are not as simple as you might think.
Regarding the expectation that an overseer (bishop or presbyter) must be above reproach, we may start with Apostle Paul's job description of a bishop in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and how it may apply to Bishop Demetri (My comments in parenthesis following applicable verses):
" 1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,he desires a noble task.
2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (Carl: Bishop Demetri is not above reproach; indeed, this is not a matter of private opinion but he is a convicted felon)
3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. (Carl: Bishop Demetri was given to drunkenness, was not gentle and was quarrelsome on that fateful night)
4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (Carl: He let a member of his spiritual family take him to a casino, where his mere appearance could have caused scandal and tarnish the reputation of the Church and Her clergy).
5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) (Carl: Indeed!)
6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap." (Carl: He does not have a good reputation--again, he is a convicted felon, and he has unfortunately fallen into disgrace).
I pray that I have not strayed too far from the facts. Nonetheless, you also must have agreed with the gravity of Bishop Demetri's conduct as you stress "forgiveness" of Bishop Demetri's crimes and transgressions. Thus, the question then becomes what can the Church can do about this situation. First, given the principle of forgiveness if Bishop Demetri has repented, I would think that the principle of economia may be applied by the Local Synod and/or the Metropolitan by not deposing the Bishop but allowing him to retire. I would think that such a move would have to be accompanied by public declarations of apologies to the victim and the arresting officers (who were mistreated and cursed by the Bishop), as well as reparations to the victim. What I have seen instead has been excuses made for the Bishop's conduct, and even insinuations that the victim somehow brought this on herself (On the Antiochian blog by supporters of Metropolitan Philip).
To maintain that economia may be stretched beyond non-deposition to reinstatement flies in the face of the Holy Scriptures, common decency, and the canons. You asked which canon is applicable. I will not cite one as you are perfectly capable to find at least one yourself (as I think your question is merely a rhetorical device). However, I will give you one example of a canon that was arrived at because of the overwhelming desire of the Church Fathers to avoid scandalous behavior on the part of Bishops, even though adopting the canon meant overlooking the teachings of the Lord Himself, Apostle Paul and the Apostolic Fathers--Canon 12 of Council at Trullo, of which I have written extensively elsewhere. The reason for such a profound deviation from principle was "And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach."
My point is that the reinstatement of Bishop Demetri is not supported by anything except by a capricious and fallacious application of economia, or rather naked power. As with an Egyptian pharaoh, the Metropolitan has assumed divine powers not seen in Christianity since the Pope assumed ex cathedra powers. I think this is heretical in that it deeply perverts our ecclesiology and theology. We are to seek salvation in Christ and not in Philip. We are not a cult!
#42 Carl on 2009-08-05 12:04
One could easily see that the Convention was NOT the place to let the LIGHT SHINE!
It was NOT the PLACE FOR TRUTH TOP PREVAIL.
IT WAS NOT THE PLACE FOR TRANSPARENCY.
Only one OCAnews has the TRUTH come to LIGHT!
Thank God for Mark Stokoe and OCAnews.
Thank God for the Time Line from the Orthodox Christian Attorneys.
Thank God for men Like the former chancellor, Robert Koory who value integrity over position.
#43 betrayed by philip on 2009-08-05 19:29
I've never been a fan of cronyism.
I'd have to agree that forgiving Khoury might have been allowing him to retire, but its easy to see where cronyism might lead to a different idea.
From my sort of third party, I don't care too much perspective, I would hardly consider a singular error under the influence of alcohol enough to label a person sexually immoral, but I do think Khoury's error grave enough coming from a Bishop to have him retire.
Perhaps the next question to the Metropolitan should be whether the principle of economia has been evenly applied.
#44 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-08-05 19:36
If you remember correctly he also spoke directly in session saying that "he did not agree with the decision but that he would obey" nonetheless.
Perhaps death will change things and perhaps not depending on who is chosen but as far as I understand we still do not have an agreed upon procedure for nominating and electing a new Metropolitain.
Boys we are in for a rocky ten years......
FYI: Fr. John was blessed with a sign at the moment of his burial. About 20 yards from the place where his body was interred a circle of white doves hovered in a clearing. Ask Bishop Thomas.
#45 Delegate #1 on 2009-08-05 21:17
The bishops of our church should be the holiest and cleanest people that our church can produce. Not sinless obviously.... that's impossible. But pious and loving and morally above reproach. They certainly should not be thuggish. And if the bishops are no different than me...then why can't I have the job? If bishops are just business managers but in every other way just like the rest of us, then why all the ceremony and apparently false showing of respect every time they enter a room?
Secondly, we must stop paying bishops large salaries. They are not supposed to be making 100,000 dollars a year. They are unmarried, without families, either living in a monastery or a house provided for by their diocese. Bishops should be of meager means. Most are supposed to be monastics after all.
Last, The bishops should be our EXAMPLES. Their love for God, moral compass and piety should be without question, so we can strive to be like them. Bad or broken bishops can be forgiven, even eventually be Sainted. But in THIS LIFE they can no longer lead a flock. It frightens me that people on this website who are Orthodox Christians think that it is okay for a bishop who has commited a serious crime and has been convicted of it should be a bishop again.
Thankfully, we already know how this ends.... and Hell does not prevail. But for the sake of those newly coming to the Ark of Salvation or just thinking about it... we really ought to clean up our act. Me not withstanding....
#46 Scott Yonkin on 2009-08-06 05:10
All of the audio from the conference is still available on the AFR website:
#47 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-08-06 10:18
What is a "Natural Prerogative? Note how innovations inevitably require novel vocabulary.
Somehow, the hierarchy needs to get to a point where they can exercise their "prerogatives" while still demonstrating that they at least publicly acknowledge the concerns. Any earthly Judge also has "natural prerogatives" to make a judgment, but he generally demonstrates what facts were considered. Here, no one knows if the Patriarch is aware of any concerns with respect to legal risks, loss of insurance, etc.
#48 Steve Knowlton on 2009-08-06 12:27
Being under the influence of alcohol, in and of itself, constitutes a moral deviation from the standards for a bishop according to St Paul. The scriptures are above the canons and should be the bottom line for our life as Christians.
But, when under the influence of alcohol, a person's passions tend to come to the forefront and we lose control. At least, that is my experience the few times I have consumed too much alcohol.
In the case of Bishop Demetry, according to the police report and the videos (reportedly) the good bishop was under the influence of alcohol, unzipped his pants (bishops belong in a riassa), fondled a woman, cursed the people involved, was in a gambling establishment, the list goes on.
Any of the above would prevent a person from becoming a bishop and should be sufficient grounds for removal from the bishopric. Everyone wants to be nice these days, but the only proper course of action for the supposedly recalcitrant bishop is a defrocking.
#49 Yanni on 2009-08-06 12:38
Sadly, this is not Demetri's first indiscretion.
No one will do under the influence of alcohol what is not already in their heart.
This is precisely why one must guard their heart.
Their eyes and their ears.
If one nurtures the passions they grow.
#50 anonymous on 2009-08-06 15:03
Perhaps Sarah Hodges should have asked Metropolitan Philip why it is SHE cannot be a priest. Obviously, we know the answer: there are Scriptural and canonical requirements one must meet in order to be ordained a deacon, a priest, a bishop.
Sadly, it appears that the Scriptural and canonical prohibitions regarding one's gender, over which no one has control, are considered far more important than the one's regarding public morality and the creation of scandal.
Joe Allen, Demetri Khoury...no big deal. But if you have the wrong anatomical structure...well, that's just UNFORGIVABLE.
#51 Clergyman on 2009-08-06 15:40
Interesting. I've excerpted this from a SCOBA statement on sexual misconduct within the Church. It speaks for itself. Forgive me if someone quicker on the uptake has posted this before. In any case, one has to presume it's not considered a 'binding' statement:
The Clergy and Sexual Misconduct
While sexual misconduct is sinful and harmful for any Christian, it is especially grave and painful when the perpetrator is a clergyman, because it so often entails a serious abuse of the legitimate authority of the clergy within the community of the Church, and because it constitutes a betrayal of the trust placed in the person by God, by God’s people, and by the Church’s hierarchy. While every Christian is called to the highest standard of conduct in every aspect of life, the clergy—bishops, priests and deacons— traditionally have been held most strictly to this standard by Holy Tradition and the Church’s canons. A serious sin by a clergyman is not simply a personal matter; it is an assault on the integrity of the entire Church.
Clergy sexual misconduct carries even greater potential for harm to its victims because of the identity of the perpetrator. The relationship of the clergyman to his parishioners is one of a spiritual father to his spiritual children. The clergyman’s authority carries with it an inherent and often unrecognized power. Its depth in this relationship is such that the victim, of whatever age, never truly acts freely. Because the predator is a clergyman, the healing ministry of the Church to those victimized, so based on trust and love, is undermined. The victim’s very relationship with God and faith itself can be severely shaken. The harm to the victim is physical, psychological and spiritual.
We resolve to educate ourselves and our clergy and laity about how we, as the Church, can help victims receive healing. It is our hope and prayer that by dealing swiftly and surely with all those who have committed offenses and by responding in a loving and appropriate manner to the injured, we will encourage and aid the survivors of abuse to continue their relationship with God in Christ’s Holy Church.
We commit ourselves to the healing of parishes wounded by clergy sexual misconduct. When a clergyman acts inappropriately, he inflicts harm not only on his victim but also his own family, the victim’s family and other members of the community. We will give the best possible support to all those traumatized by such misconduct.
The spiritual needs of the offending clergyman must also be addressed. The Church will not turn her back on these former clerics, if they repent of their destructive behavior and receive forgiveness, even though they can no longer serve as clergy or in other positions of authority. While energetically protecting victims, the Church will work for the healing and salvation of all who are affected.
We are aware that we need to examine carefully how we choose and educate our clergy, with the goal of preventing those who are likely to offend from being ordained. All seminarians should be educated with respect to the proper boundaries and professional standards that a clergyman must maintain.
It is recommended that seminaries conduct background and criminal investigations on all applicants. Criminal and background checks will also be conducted on those who apply for ordination. Parishes should be recommended to conduct criminal and background checks on all persons considered for all professional or volunteer positions in the parish.
All these steps must be taken to ensure that the Church as the Body of Christ will remain faithful to her Lord in ministering to her people. We reiterate the goal of this statement that sexual abuse or misconduct will find no safe haven within the Holy Orthodox Church. We affirm that this statement reflects our common mind, and we will make every effort to ensure its implementation through the enactment of appropriate policies in our respective jurisdictions.
#52 Brian Jackson, MD on 2009-08-08 13:46
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