Thursday, August 20. 2009
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How much kool-aid must one imbibe to wash down this Archdiocesan dreck? If Englewood wants to spin this, at least attempt to make it plausible.
If our Metropolitan is so concerned about our seminarians, I suggest we all call Englewood at (201) 871-1355 and ask if the Mathewes' have had their baby yet and if the check is in the mail to cover the extra moving costs.
#1 Mickey Hodges on 2009-08-20 11:48
As this reflection makes clear, the Metropolitan's explanation for the transfer of students from St. Vlad's and St. Tikhon's to Holy Cross is simply a sham. And I am grateful that ordinary laity have this forum to have their opinions heard. Because of this website and a few others, the Metropolitan can try as hard as he can to "cover up" his actions or to continue his dictatorial ways, but he can no longer hide the truth from the people in this Archdiocese. It's just a matter of time before the Leader will have to submit to an audit for the Archdiocese, and answer for many other actions. The period of idolatry is coming to an end. We can respect our Bishops and Metropolitan, but to make idols of them is wrong. Thank you, Mark Stokoe, for providing this forum.
#2 anon on 2009-08-20 11:51
The author of this reflection states "Certainly some good instruction may be offered in these programs [The Antiochian St. Steven's course], but most famous are its instructors who advocate giving Holy Communion to any Arab (Christian or Moslem) who approaches the Chalice."
Wow, can someone elaborate on this?! Which instructors and when have they advocated giving communion to Muslims? Am I just naive, and is this well known?
#3 Scared on 2009-08-20 12:01
For clarification, no priest has ever said at the House of Studies to give communion to muslims. That is absurd and a rumor that was started. Please correct that statement because it is NOT true. I have never heard this until people said it through comments.
#4 William on 2009-08-20 12:24
This is absolutely well attested! Ask seminarians!
#5 Not the original author on 2009-08-21 08:52
OK, he didn't say it AT the House of Studies.....
#6 Antionymous on 2009-08-21 09:46
And how would YOU know, William?
#7 pelagia on 2009-08-21 10:52
There is no need for the Antiochians to have their own seminary. + Philip has poured millions into Belamond and let those who wish go over there to study.
So how did the Antiochians start their "House of Studies?" After Joe Allen was told that he couldn't teach at SVS if he remarried and remained a priest, he started this out of the Presbyterian Seminary in Pittsburgh. In reality, it's a sham!
St. Vladimir's Seminary (since 1938) has always had the vision (since Florovsky) of being a Pan-Orthodox institution of higher learning (an academy). Met. Antony Bashir embraced SVS and even helped it acquire it's present location in Crestwood, NY. Antiochian students ALWAYS went to SVS because it was and still is the "BEST" Orthodox theological education in the Western Hemisphere. So, Met. Philip can play his games - it only hurts the Antiochian Archdiocese and the vision of united Orthodoxy embraced by Met. Antony Bashir and all hierarchs truly interested in an American Church!
#8 Anonymous on 2009-08-21 11:14
What a sad, sad joke Metr. Philip has become.
Sic semper tyrannis,
#9 Nemo on 2009-08-21 11:26
I called Englewood and asked, surprisingly the secretary knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the Mathewes, and almost seemed apologetic in her tone.
What thuggery. This sort of thing disgusts me. God bless Mark Stokoe and our OCA for no longer indulging mafia-style cover ups. God bless the brave Antiochian seminarians... maybe this first taste of being used as political pawns will win them over to another jurisdiction.
#10 Isaac Crabtree on 2009-08-21 11:29
I graduated from the three year St Stephen's Program and attended each summer's residency at the House of Studies, and no instructors taught about communion to both Christians and Muslims. One professor Fr Michel Najim did go in depth on Orthodox history in the middle eastern context. See his slides and syllabus at http://www.frmichel.najim.net/courses.html
Because of Fr. Shalhoub's close relationship with the Metropolitan, I do not feel it is wise to give my name. However, I was present at the Antiochian Village some time ago when Fr. Shalhoub was lecturing the seminarians and certain of us new clergy recently received into the Church when he made these comments. The context he was addressing was that of turning away people from the chalice. Fr. Shalhoub's position was that anyone who came to the chalice should receive Communion since the refusal could start a conflict in the parish. It is better to have peace and give Communion to everyone than it is to turn away a person and 'embarrass' them, in which case the entire family and community of friends would inevitably side against the priest in this regard. So, he did not advocate direct communion, but that such cases should not be refused. Upon questioning by one of the priests, he specified Moslems should receive Communion if they ask, especially if they are married to Orthodox. Fr. Shalhoub repeatedly stated that peace in the parish was paramount, and that refusing Communion to anyone was an unnecessary risk. I do not think he would deny these remarks, and they were made as a lecturer blessed by the Metropolitan. I was there and I heard it with my own ears. When I asked Fr. Allen about it, he said "well that's his opinion." Nothing more was said. To be honest Metropolitan Philip has also stated that we should give Communion only to Orthodox, but since he knows about Fr. Shalhoub's practices and does nothing, I think he will permit it so long as it does not result in complains to the Archdiocese.
#12 anonymous Antiochian priest on 2009-08-21 12:01
An Antiochian priest in Michigan was accused of this offense earlier this year. When I made him aware of the accusation, he categorically denied it.
Keep this in mind: In the large Arab communities in our urban areas (Detroit, Toledo, and Chicago come to mind), a certain pastoral delicacy is required when a Muslim joins the Church (often enough in order to marry in the Church).
In such cases, a concern for the safety of family members (in the Old Country) prompts the pastor not to make a fanfare of the conversion.
The baptisms, in these cases, are often done quietly and privately. Indeed, the foreign passport of such a convert may still identify that person as a Muslim.
I trust our Arab priests in this matter, and I believe them when they deny giving Holy Communion to Muslims.
#13 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-08-21 14:02
Sorry, William. But I have heard firsthand not from one, but from two different students that they were told that communion should be given to the Muslim spouses of Parishioners.
This wasn't a "I knew someone who once said" or "so and so's brother's, sister's dog's vet said." These were two different people, who were seminarians at the same time back when the seminarians sat in on the regular House of Studies programs and they each recounted communionfor Muslim spouses being taught.
Of course, the question should be raised, how many parishioners are married to Muslims in the first place, and isn't that in and of itself a little problem?
Sorry, I wish it wasn't true as well.
#14 Former HOS student on 2009-08-21 14:36
William--It is so nice for us to learn that you absolutely know that Archdiocesan priests are not communing heterodox Christians or even Muslims. Would you be kind enough to tell us the source of your certainty? Thanks, Carl
#15 Carl on 2009-08-21 16:25
Fr George Shalhoub has said at the House of Studies that Muslim women who marry Orthodox men should be given communion and they are full members of the church, without even being baptized.
#16 An East Coast Priest on 2009-08-21 16:49
See my response to comment #3 above. It has been said and multiple people have heard it.
#17 An East Coast Priest on 2009-08-21 16:50
William did you attend the 2008 Symposium at The Village where after the immam presented Islam to the "guests" we were told by +MP that Islam and Christianity are 90% the same with "only" the Divinity of Christ and the Virgin birth were not recognised by our "brothers"-the Muslims.So when you hear that no priest needs to tell you that Muslims can Comune in our churches.In the old country on Holy Saturday Muslims are Comuned with the Orthodox-every year!My Bishop was there and heard this "theology"from +MP.Cheer up,an old country saying says that"all power lasts three days" but this three days is lasting more than four decades.Pray for us all and dont let this destroy your spiritual well being!
#18 Abbuna Habib on 2009-08-21 17:21
"In such cases, a concern for the safety of family members (in the Old Country) prompts the pastor not to make a fanfare of the conversion."
Wait a minute: word makes its way all the way back to Syria and Lebanon from the Michigan/Ohio area? Then it seems, Father, that the Old Country is not the sole concern here.
Do you not see what serious issues this implies in first, the AONA and second, in the United States of America? The Church is unable to protect its flock; the State is unable to protect its citizens.
I find your comment appalling, because the logical conclusion is that the various permutations of this conflict will not end until one side is physically intimidated by the other and the fight must, of necessity, involve overseas parties.
Well, the Church has seen worse. And now so must America, apparently. Gird yourselves, brothers and sisters.
#19 Doug Smith on 2009-08-21 20:04
It is true that Arab clergy find it hard to turn people away from the chalice. However, I have never known any Orthodox priest in Lebanon to even marry a couple if one of them was a muslim. One or the other party has to convert before marriage, even if this is done half-heartedly, and they get married either as muslims or as Orthodox Christians.
The Melkite Catholics are the only ones who allow their members to marry a muslim without this arrangement, provided the muslim partner signs a paper vowing to baptise the children and send them to Catholic schools. So, as Fr Patrick seems to imply, "muslims" seen taking communion may well be Orthodox who cannot declare their baptisms publicly our of fear for their overseas parents and relatives.
#20 Elias on 2009-08-22 04:36
I only attended the House of Studies one year (2005). That year, during one of Fr. George Shalhoub's nightly talks, an elder priest who was sitting near the Metropolitan (who had walked into the room for part of the talk) noted that in the Middle East, a woman automatically takes on the religion of her husband. Therefore, if a Muslim woman marries an Orthodox Christian, she should be allowed to take communion regardless of being baptized. This was said specifically in the context of instructing future priests as to what they should do if faced with such a situation. This priest's answer was clear: serve them communion regardless.
Neither Fr. George Shalhoub or Met. Philip disagreed with him.
#21 Jordan Henderson on 2009-08-22 07:39
Guess we will always have to exist concerning ourselves with the "Old Country". Reread Abbout Touma's article - even for the few yrs he was in America he defends the OCA as a viable Church for Unity in this land. The Old Country supporters should spend time there seeing empty churches for the most part and a decaying Faith. Hooray for the Boston Tea Party but of course had our "faithful" lived then I'm sure they'd support England!
#22 Anonymous Priest (so. West ) on 2009-08-22 10:14
Although the context is of Muslims receiving Communion, the more usual variation of this I've run into locally are Catholic women (probably Melkite) who are married to Orthodox men, the Catholic women being considered Orthodox upon their marriage to the Orthodox men. They're married in the Middle East and then come to the States, where the same arrangement with regards to Communion prevails.
However, I've straight out asked several Antiochian priests (convert as well as immigrant Arab), what would happen if such a couple (both immigrant) married in America - would the Catholic wife be turned away from the Orthodox chalice or not? I've never gotten an actual answer, just blinks and stares.
#23 Michele Hagerman on 2009-08-22 17:34
Anonymous priest, after asking for your prayers, I must say I have no idea where you're coming from. I am not suggesting anyone concern themselves with old or new countries. But when people make claims about the Middle East, I like to simply state what I know. I haven't attacked anyone, taken sides or claimed to know everything about either the Middle East, where I no longer live, or America, where I have never even visited.
Abbot Touma was speaking out of his understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology. He did that when both sides of the argument had appealed to the "old country" to speak concerning their status. You may disagree with him, but the point is that his article proves that there are people in the "old country" who do not want to control the North American Church and would rather you had your own united and independent structures.
God bless you all. The whole Orthodox world needs a vibrant North American Orthodoxy.
#24 Elias on 2009-08-22 22:36
The issue of communing is straightforward here in our area (California): if a person is not Orthodox, no communion. Period. Being married to an Orthodox spouses (no difference whether husband or wife) does not render one competent to approach Holy Communion; rather, BOTH appropriate initiation into Orthodoxy AND proper personal preparation is required. I have the practice of inquiring of strangers, and turn away non-Orthodox suppliants when they come. This, of course, demands follow-up pastoral care...
#25 Fr Patrick B. OGrady on 2009-08-23 22:31
I had thought that Muslims actually do believe that Christ was born of a Virgin--but they nonetheless deny His Divinity. There are, of course, numerous other differences. But, for the sake of a thought experiment, let's imagine that Islam agreed with the Christian revelation in all points except the divinity of Christ. In essence, "Hey, we agree with you on all points except the very cornerstone of your faith!" This would make them little different than Arians who were soundly anathematized by the ancient Councils and refused communion in the Orthodox Churches. When one is speaking of the Theanthropos, Whose significance is infinite in regard to our faith, silly talk of "We're 90% the same other than that!" is ludicrous and despicable.
#26 Brian Jackson on 2009-08-24 09:02
Fr Alexander Atty detailed such a situation in his Lenten retreat talk at St Vladimir's Seminary: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/svsvoices (scroll down, it is in several parts). In this case it was a Maronite wife, and the priest (not Fr Atty himself but a different priest) was ordered to commune her, and he refused. What happened to this priest will not surprise anyone following the current situation in the archdiocese.
The chalice is for baptized, chrismated Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves by fasting and recent confession. Any priest or bishop who communes, or condones communing, Melkites, Maronites, non-Chalcedonians, or any other heretical group, should be deposed immediately. He is a betrayer of the faith. He has broken his ordination vow to protect the Lamb.
#27 Cordelia on 2009-08-26 05:46
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