Thursday, September 10. 2009
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I'm sure it is all just a coincidence, Owen. Just like it was a coincidence that we gave a gift to the Archdiocese of Mexico that happened to be the same amount as Bishop Demetri's salary.
I'll bet it's a coincidence, just like the coincidence that the Metropolitan decided seminarians need a more "Syro-Byzantine" education at the same time as he had threatened the OCA seminaries to shut down Stokoe or else.
Yes, it's all just a coincidence. But, then again, we know that Englewood hired PIs in an effort to track down Abdullah Khoury...
#1 An East Coast Priest on 2009-09-10 09:33
Englewood hired PI's to track down A. Khoury - where did they get the money for that huge expense? I certainly hope it wasn't Archdiocese money that is needed to help our missions and working priests more than they are getting right now. If it was, who authorized this expenditure? Nothing is coincidence when it has MP's finger on it. It's all deliberate and well manipulated. He must think He is God himself to act this way. People don't just show up with searchlights in the middle of the night for no reason. Salesmen don't ask nosey questions such as when are you home and when do you work. This is getting more and more scary as time goes on. Is the Archdiocese still an organization, running God's Holy Church, or are they running an Arab Mafia? We can't have both, and we cannot serve 2 masters. Everyone should watch their backs very carefully, keep an eye on your families, don't share private information and report any suspicious behavior immediately. We are not living in a third world country where we have no privacy, but this attitude that we can abuse and use at will day or night must stop. It's nice to know that even after all we went thru with the convention, our fearless leader still doesn't care about us and continues to hunt down his opposition. This won't stop until he is out of Englewood and out of power. Our local synod needs to act, our Patriarch needs to act, and the same attorneys who wrote the "Governing Well" need to make arrangements and fast for restraining orders available for anyone who needs it. We must protect ourselves from this evil man and his "boys".
I'm sure that it's also just a coincidence that the Feb 23 "decision" came out right after glorious leader gave a few million of our money to Damascus.
As a Jon Lovitz character used to say, "Yeah yeah, that's the ticket."
#3 Kevin Klein on 2009-09-10 12:44
Clergy have been terrorized for years!
Threats are nothing new to MP and his cronies.
There are others who have been threatened but are too frightened to come forward.
They want to protect their families and loved ones.
It is simply easier to go to leave the AOCA and go to AN OTHODOX CHURCH
May the Lord be merciful unto us.
WE will not only be judged for every idle word, but for OUR SILENCE as well.
#4 WAKE UP AND SMELL THE KIBBEE on 2009-09-10 13:37
>>”I demanded that he retire and said if he didn’t, I’d turn him into the FBI and the IRS, which I ultimately did. Metropolitan Philip was furious with me.”
I'm sorry, was Ms Sheppard expecting another response? And who is she to demand anyway -- even if MP valued her opinion?
As for the thuggery in both cases -- I'm sorry if I'm playing into "their" hands, but if I was personally being hassled by my "church" I could not come up with a reason why I should stay. I’m sorry to give up so easily, but I have enough problems in my life without hassling with the mob. This is not about the Church of Christ, but the Antiochian Archdiocese and if one is frequently confronted by its corruption, then one needs to either overlook it or leave. I’m not a Clint Eastwood who will set all of these wrongs right and tell the thugs to “get off my lawn”. Fortunately, in my parish, we’re spared these problems and I try to avoid any diocese-related functions (when the bishop visits, I generally attend a parish elsewhere).
The problem is the thugs will go to great lengths to hang onto what they have – where will they go, what options do they have? Every person needs to figure out whether they are willing to go all the way and be willing to sacrifice more than what the thugs will lose. They seem to be connected with those higher up in the food-chain, I am not, so what chance do I have? If I need to fight my church so that it operates with some basic decency, then there is something very wrong.
#5 Anonymous on 2009-09-10 14:05
These old-world intimidation tactics just won't work in America. We have a very stubborn free-speech-streak that run through our veins. The more they try to shut people up, the more people will talk. The thugs will be exposed. I just pray that nobody (else) gets hurt before that happens.
#6 Rdr Mo on 2009-09-10 15:00
Chicago... money launderers... private investigators... non-budgeted donations... secret accounts... threats of violence... forgery and intrigue...
I'm sure it's just all a big misunderstanding!
It could not possibly be that +Philip is allowing the Antiochian Archdiocese to be used as a money-laundering front! Heaven forbid!
We must not allow our imaginations to get the best of us. It's just paranoia on our parts. There's no evidence of anything being wrong. After all, Fawaz said so. And so has +Philip.
Just wait and see what awaits in October. You think the Convention was bad, just see +Philip ignore all of you again and pretend like nothing's wrong. And, you all will take it again because he's had 40 years to train all of you.
Anyone who negotiates with +Philip is just as deluded as he is. You can only negotiate with someone who can keep his word. The only solution will be total defeat for +Philip, or all of you.
This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.
#7 anonymous on 2009-09-10 15:06
....and so horribly sad that even the thought of such activity on the part of the Met. is not rejected out of hand. "Above reproach...."?
#8 Michael Bauman on 2009-09-10 16:03
Protestants seeping protestantism into Orthodoxy is all I have to say. Don't water it down. This and everything else is all hatered towards arabs and there is no proof of anything. Give it up please. I know I boiled some hearts just now, but I do not care because your boiling mine because you keep disregarding the hierarchy and loyalty of the church. NOTHING was done illegally and there is ZERO proof so far that any of these events have anything to do with the Archdiocese.
How can you post this unless you have an agenda. There is zero proof, only speculation and it did exactly what it was meant to do....get people more upset at the Metropolitan for absolutely nothing but hatered towards leaders who lead and arabs who migrated to this country for the church and their families.
Good luck with all you board individuals, mind your own business and pray for your own soul and for the protection of this archdiocese...comments like this is disasterous at the least. GOSSIP is the sin that breads in your hearts.
#9 William on 2009-09-10 19:29
“There are others who have been threatened but are too frightened to come forward.”
They ought to learn from this: by coming forward, they protect themselves in important ways. I think it’s safe to say that Hodges and the Whites won’t be getting any more creepy visitors; and that Ms Sheppard needn’t fear another break-in.
If St. Vladimir’s had gone public with the AOCANA threat as soon as they received it (say, through a leaked memo), it would have been a lot more awkward for Met. Philip to pull those students.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant.
#10 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-10 19:53
Perhaps you meant “prayer and withholding”? The man or his minions may be out of control, but there’s no call for comparing anyone to a demon. Nor is anything accomplished, I think: the facts are so insane that rhetorical excess can add nothing.
#11 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-10 22:25
We know this? How? I’d think it would have been a brief consultation: Q: “Here’s this email from a Yahoo account. Can you tell me who sent it?” A: “Not without a subpoena or three.”
if you can provide some more solid information here, that would be a great improvement. Though, in any event, I’d prefer we stick to things that can be confirmed or at least have named witnesses involved.
#12 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-10 22:54
My experience with Orthodoxy over the years has reinforced for me the truth of Montaigne's dictum that supercelestial thoughts and subterranean conduct are two things that are always found together. Here's yet more evidence. I agree with another comment, Do you really need this from your church?!
#13 Anthony on 2009-09-10 23:07
Stay true to the Faith. Be fervent in prayer. Continue to be both pure in heart and vigilant. Choose to be honorable in action and intent even if those around you have not. The Holy Spirit has not left us and is working still and what is hidden will be brought to light.
This Sunday I plan to light a candle for those who have received unexpected "visitors", for those whose hearts, like mine, have been grieved by all this, for those who want better for their church, themselves, and their children, for those who await the day this dark night will clear, and for all the souls in our Archdiocese from the greatest to the least who are buffeted by this storm.
I encourage you to do the same wherever you are and "Come take light from the Light which is never overtaken by night..."
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
You see, all of this is because the AOCA is still under the Pat. of Damascus (Antioch). It doesn't matter what anyone says or wants, + Philip stays in power because he has the full support of overseas. How to solve this?
1) + Philip must be retired. Health issues are the best way. Don't visit him if you have the flu.
2) A complete split with overseas is ESSENTIAL.
3) The election of a REAL American leader like + Basil.
#15 Anonymous on 2009-09-11 06:47
"all of this is because the AOCA is still under the Pat. of Daamscus . . ." This is sheer nonsense. "All of this" is because we have a corrupt Metropolitan Archbishop. The Patriarchate has been very supportive of breaking the back of +Philip's hegemony on power; the people of North America and the bishops themselves are the ones who keep handing it back to Philip. Splitting with overseas is exactly what Philip wants so that he can run his own show free from the Holy Synod's oversight.
#16 Jay on 2009-09-11 13:56
Oints well taken but probably never to be realized. Met Philip TOO entrenched. The clergy/laity in the rt places complkacent and self serving. Cronies galore who "reward" each other. The Oct Board meeting, indeed, will be business as usual. Full dominance (as usual) with continous reference to the Convention (what a sham) as agreeiung with "him" on all. As Abbot TOUMA wrote it is all about power. Reread his article in NOTES ON ARAB ORTHODOXY. Wish he was our Metropolitan as Many, Many Wish !!!
#17 Anonymous on 2009-09-11 14:56
The level of contempt you people have is rabid. These allegations -- or at any rate, insinuations -- really push the extremes of credulity.
#18 Anonymous on 2009-09-11 15:42
"A complete split with overseas is ESSENTIAL."
On the contrary, I would hate to think in what shape the Antiochian Archdiocese might find itself right now if we had not had the "overseas" to look out for us during this past year.
If one thesis has become clear to my mind during 2009, it is proposition that we Americans are not sufficiently mature to lose our jurisdictional ties with the older churches.
I have reached this inference, I confess, with great reluctance.
#19 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-09-11 16:07
There is of course all this smoke without any proof of fire. The Khalife brothers, convicted felons, indicted for among other things money laundering and now being intimately involved in parish and archdiocesan financial matters....Just smoke no proof that these pillars of society are carrying over their corrupt practices here in our God Protected Archdiocese and that our godfather..I mean father in the faith could in any way be tainted or complicet.
How dare the ignorant rabble question their sayedna. Look at what he's done for you. Just read the articles in any past Word Magazine you unappreciatve dogs.
Why should the Metropolitan cave into the rigid moralists and their calls for accountability, transparency and truthful dealings in matters of ecclessiology and finance?
He's the Metropolitan Archbishop and you ain't. Youse can look it up. That's the way it is. End of story.
You ain't got nuthin on em. Shut up say your prayers and join the order of St. Ignatius. It's a pretty cool medallion with a pretty ribbon and if you want you can wear it to church for special occassions. Maybe that would take your mind off of these unpleasantries and make you all stop the griping.
Let Met. Philip and his lieutentants take care of all the family business capiche?
#20 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-11 17:56
Corrupt, morally bankrupt behavior follows hand-in-glove from the holders of corrupted funds. The thieves are used to supporting their corrupt behavior with corrupt tactics to protect their ill-gotten gain... as long as possible. These thieves clearly plan to go down swinging. Let's keep up the heat, rid the Church of this sickening corruption, and get back to doing the work of our Lord instead of chasing these crooks around the altar. What a waste of time and energy.
#21 Anon. on 2009-09-11 18:08
Read the writings of Archimandrite Touma
The problem does not flow from connection to the Patriarchate, but from that connection having been choked off by Met. +Philip controlling all contacts and putting his own "spin" on all communications. The Holy Synod reads this site, and since June has direct contact with our diocesan bishops, so that era is over.
I for one would be very happy to have our next Metropolitan hail from 'the Old Country' provided he is Archimandrite Touma, or another multilingual, experience monastic with similar ecclesiological views.
#22 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-09-11 18:22
If you take a look at Owen's blog and especially the links section, you could hardly accuse him of Arab-hatred. Likewise it's hard to accuse him of having a Protestant mindset. Unless you count criticizing Orthodox bishops who play dress-up as Anglican bishops or his thoughtful critiques of the Protestantizing ethos of Ancient Faith Radio and Conciliar Press as being Protestant. But then you've gone through the looking glass.
Fact is, there are some people opposed to +Philip who do so out of America-firstism and a fear of traditional Orthodoxy. But, if you look at +Phillip's rhetoric for the past forty years, he is the one who did more than anyone else to teach them America-firstism and a fear of traditional Orthodoxy! Part of the way +Phillip keeps his power is by talking Arab nationalism with his wealthy donors while talking America-firstism to converts and always discouraging any kind semblance of traditional Orthodoxy for anyone. And by refusing to respect the Patriarch and the Holy Synod over the matter of autonomy, he has set an example of disobedience to godly authority that has come back to roost.
All Antiochian Orthodox in America, whether convert or American-born cradle would do well to try and become more familiar with Orthodox life in Syria and Lebanon, and especially the flourishing monastic communities there. It’s especially by preventing the monastic renewal that has happened in Lebanon over the past two generations to spread among Antiochians in North America that +Phillip has allowed his own very idiosyncratic ideas of Orthodoxy to go unchecked. And those idiosyncrasies, ultimately, are what have led to the currrent state of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
I hope Mark will post this. - My words were taken slightly out of context.
What I said to Metropolitan Philip was this:
"I have not yet turned this information over to the FBI, but feel the need to do so unless the following conditions are met:
1) The authority of our bishops is restored
2) An independent audit is performed
3) Measures are taken to ensure the Holy Synod and our Archdiocese are in compliance with best business practices
4) Our self-rule status remains permanently unchallenged (this would need to be put into our constitution, as well as into the constitution of the Holy Synod)
5) You announce your retirement
I went on to say, "It is not my intention to embarrass you or the Archdiocese, but to right the wrongs of the past."
When our deacon told me Metropolitan Philip perceived what I wrote as a threat, I wrote him a second letter and tried to clarify my position:
"As I said in my letter, I was concerned for your reputation and for the good of the Archdiocese. It was my hope the situation could be resolved internally. The conditions are actions that are normally taken by the head of a corporation to restore checks and balances when there is an appearance of impropriety that will reflect badly on the organization. . . I apologize to you if you found my tone offensive. I also apologize if you perceived my letter to be “threatening." I told him I would wait until the end of the month before I did anything, however, when my house was vandalized, I felt I had to turn everything over the authorities immediately.
Was this a "demand?" Not in the sense that I have any authority to make "demands." I characterized it that way to Owen, because that's how Metropolitan Philip perceived it and as a result, he retaliated.
#24 Gail Sheppard on 2009-09-11 19:05
Unless I am mistaken, ocanews.org reported this back during the Feb-Mar-Apr time when the Antiochian mess all started to unfold.
Furthermore, I have inside knowledge that this was, in fact, done, and not so simply as you state. I'm not going to name my sources for their own protection.
#25 An East Coast Priest on 2009-09-11 20:03
He answers to no one.
Patriarch Ignatius IV he is supposedly a member of the Holy Synod, "To whom is MP accountable?"
He openly rejects the DECISION OF THE HOLY SYNOD from June 17 2009.
He terrorized the local synod in North America by threatening them and continues to do so.
Any bishop who does not stand up to MP is NOT a REAL BISHOP!
MP only maintains power beacuse of silence.
Send a loud and clear message "NO MORE MONEY"
Send back the red ribbons.
#26 betrayed by philip on 2009-09-11 20:12
I always wonder if people who make comments like these actually read all of the articles on ocanews or only those about the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Yes, we would all be better off under American leadership. Seems to have worked well for the OCA!!!
In all seriousness, these problems show that we share a common problem in the Orthodox world: lack of accountability, especially amongst the hierarchy. It doesn't matter who our hierarchs are or from where they are elected. If you do not have a system that promotes, encourages, and expects accountability, then the system will undoubtedly fail.
#27 An East Coast Priest on 2009-09-11 20:22
This has gotten sad. Yet sometimes the old has to die for the new to be reborn. It's hard for anyone to let go of power so this ordeal will not end pretty. But I would hope all the turmoil of the last few years does lead us to one true American Orthodox Church.
My question is, how does that happen? What is the mechanism for this occurring? Other than prayers, what can the faithful do to help make this happen?
St. Vladimir's lost all credability when they chose the new deans a couple of years ago. They could have made a bold stroke by hiring an Antiochian with administrative experience (there were two who applied) but instead went the erudite route.
Look where they are now? Out a boat load of students and advertising a "enviromenta/theological green" Orthodox Education Day. Please!!
#29 George from Brooklyn on 2009-09-12 07:21
Yeah William, being beyond reproach and accountable is decidedly UNOrthodox. What were we thinking.
Do the audit William, then let's talk. If everything is clean I will personally prostrate before Metropolitan Phillip and beg his forgiveness. Since it seems this is going nowhere, if I were still in the AOCNA I would be making a beeline to the OCA where for some strange reason we CAN afford external audits and we end the rule of tyrannical hierarchs in favor of pastors. Perfect? Of course not...but if that's protestantism seeped into Orthodoxy? THANK GOD!
St. John Chrysostom
"How should the Church be governed? Should the patriarchs act like emperors, issuing decrees which all believers must obey? Should bishops see themselves as local governors, demanding unquestioning submission of the people? Should the clergy be a kind of spiritual army, enforcing the will of the patriarchs and the bishops, and meting out punishment on sinners? The first consideration for the Church is not how to punish sins, but how to prevent sins from being committed... Moreover, each individual is answerable not to a priest, bishop or patriarch, but to God. So the primary authority of those within the Church is not to issue decrees, but to stir up the sSo the primary authority of those within the Church is not to issue decrees, but to stir up the souls and enliven the consciences of believers... IN short those in authority within the Church should see themselves not as rulers, but but as preachers and pastors."
#30 markw on 2009-09-12 08:32
Why not just join the OCA,then?
#31 Anonymous on 2009-09-12 11:37
Your kibbee smells very good, but the silence of our hierarchs smells and spells trouble for all of us. They need to defend us and protect us. Imagine having to protect the parishioners and clergy from our "Chief Shepherd" - what is happening to our church?
Coincidence????? Not a chance. Gail Shepherd in California writes to MP, demands him to retire, turns him in to the FBI and IRS - yeah Gail - you are fantastic. Then she has unexpected company. Sarah Hodges from Tennessee at the convention bravely moves to stop paying Bishop Demetri, is very rudely treated, shut down by MP, who refuses to vote on the issue. Sarah - you stood your ground with dignity and professionalism. Then her husband Mickey writes a wonderful reflection on the website, and suddenly they are also visited by unknowns. Owen White and his family belong to the same parish as the Hodges family, and I don't know if he has posted anything prior to this past week, but he gets unexpected company. And I vaguely remember at least one other posting, can't remember the state, either before or after the convention from someone else who had suspicious behavior on their property. Let's not forget our friend, Walid Khalife, in Troy, Michigan, his threats to Bishop Mark and George Samra, and Bishop Mark's need for security at his PLC. These are ironic twists of fate, and only tell us that honesty and truth are no longer part of our Archdiocese.
For an Archdiocese that has nothing to hide and only works in the light, things, sneaky and creepy things, are happening day and night, on private property, and threats are being made over the internet. I guess we know the real reason MP doesn't want the audit - perhaps all the "funds" that went to hire these trespassers who are threatening our people will be discovered, and the truth will finally be out.
We should all watch our backs and beware of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. We must stop this before a real tragedy strikes, something that can't be undone. This is beyond belief in America in our Holy Orthodox Church. Maybe some day we will see it return, but for now, it all seems so foreign to me.
First, Fr. Chad proudly states that he is an Antiochian.
Secondly, He came from running St. Herman's seminary....small, yes, but an administrative challange non-the-less...
Third, what is it about caring for God's creation that does not appeal to you?
#33 Antionymous on 2009-09-13 18:50
If "oversees" had been the least concerned with having a real relationship with us over the past 50 years, we wouldn't have gotten into the mess of the last year. And their "help" has been convoluted, byzantine and lacking in openness and honesty. We need this because???
#34 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-09-14 03:46
An audit is not what i meant by my "comment". If not having an audit yet means your guilty then there are many bad people in this world. Let me ask you this question, i am pretty sure you will not voluntarily ask the irs to give you an audit...because it's a pain in the rear. It will be a difficult task but I predict it will happen eventually and things will be fine. Audits on a personal scale are a pain and take a bit of time, just imaging on a gigantic level like the Archdiocese, it will take some time for them to prepare for such a voluntary thing. Give it time.
#35 William on 2009-09-14 06:58
Well, they almost did as you suggested: Fr. Chad Hatfield was received into the Holy Orthodox Church as a convert from Anglicanism by the Antiochian Archdiocese, and not only had administrative experience--as the Dean of St. Herman Seminary, Kodiak, AK (the acceptance of which post had necessitated his canonical release to the OCA)--but missionary experience (in South Africa in his Anglican days).
"Erudite route"? Fr. Chad holds a M.Div. from Nashotah House and D.Min. from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary's Orthodox D.Min. track run jointly with the Antiochian House of Studies. (I know this because he is the founding priest of our little mission.)
If they'd wanted erudition, they'd have picked someone with a Doctor of Theology or an Oxbridge Ph.D. They didn't, they picked someone who had practical experience spreading the Gospel in the Third World, planting Holy Orthodoxy in rural Kansas and supporting Holy Orthodoxy in the Alaskan bush.
#36 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-09-14 09:16
One commentator suggested the Antiochians join the OCA. Well, it appears that the Antiochians have to clean up their jurisdiction. The OCA is still cleaning up it own mess and has yet to right its course. All of the jurisdictions have to "clean up their houses" and then maybe they will be ready to create a unified Orthodox Church in the United States. It appears from reading this blog that many of the Orthodox bishop in the US really don't know how to be conciliar. The bishops look upon the people as those who should have no voice, input on how bishops are selected, or how to run its dioceses. There are some bishops who act as Popes, and some clergy who want to be in "power and money" and near the "bishops centers", like Englewood, Sysosset. There is much work to be done. Withholding "monies from central powers" does push the hierarchs into acting more responsibly. Decentralizing power I believe is important in removing the graft and greed.
#37 anonymous on 2009-09-14 10:10
"If one thesis has become clear to my mind during 2009, it is proposition that we Americans are not sufficiently mature to lose our jurisdictional ties with the older churches."
Excuse me Fr, but that's pure BALONEY! This is the same argument used by + Bart. Ridiculous! What + Philip should have done is join the OCA back in 1971 when Fr. Schmemann and he spoke seriously about doing so. SCOBA agreed as early as 1961 to work toward a united, American Orthodox Church and even said the name should be, "The Orthodox Church in America." Both +Iakavos and +Philip reneged in joining the OCA after autocephaly in 1970. +Philip wanted to remain a "Big Fish in a Small Pond." He also viewed himself as being a great leader not only among the Orthodox in America, but in the Mideast. He couldn't do this breaking with Damascus. What should have happened? After Ligonier in 1994, both +Philip and +Iakavos should have declared their independence and joined the OCA. Instead, +Iakavos was forcefully retired, paid a big retirement and the GOP was completely emasculated. +Philip did nothing. And thus, the continued problems with Orthodoxy in America.
NOW, is the time for a united, Pan-Orthodoxy in America. The ONLY viable vehicle for this is the OCA, not Istanbul, Damascus nor Moscow!
#38 Anonymous on 2009-09-14 10:19
Three undergraduates is not a "boatload", George, even for a small seminary. If I were Philosopher King at St Vlad's, I would likely ignore Greenie Theology, just as I would have ignored Liberation Theology and God Is Dead Theology, but trendiness, alas, afflicts all academic institutions, not just St Vlad's.
(Editor's note: Well, Scott, we are not surprised. You are already ignoring the "Green Patriarch" in Constantinople! But seriously, there is nothing trendy or strange about the insights into our world, tradition and future offered by such worthy Orthodox "green" theologians and authors as Elizabeth Theokritoff, among others. Rather than laughing, I would suggest everyone go to Ed Day and learn more...)
#39 Scott Walker on 2009-09-14 10:58
I would take the word of Owen White or Gail Sheppard any day over that of yet another boldly anonymous internet Defender Of Orthodoxy.
#40 Scott Walker on 2009-09-14 11:10
Wonderful article dealing with the financial situation and the Order of St Ignatius
In regard to the literature of the Order
A friend passed this little pamphlet along to me.
What follows are some excerpts from the pamphlet, with commentary. The text from the pamphlet will be red, my commentary will be black.
Q: What is "The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch"?
A: The "philanthropic arm" of the Archdiocese is an organization of Men and Women who maintain on an annual basis proper spiritual credentials and financial commitment. The Order is under the authority of the Metropolitan Primate, Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and the Governing Council of the Order.
The first thing I find curious here is that members of the order are apparently allowed to capitalize their sex for some reason. Are members of the order more manly or more feminine because of their membership? Then there is this notion of "proper spiritual credentials." Hmmm. Given that the Order is under the authority of folks who threaten to kill priests and parish treasurers, folks who threatened the Holy Synod in June, priests who excommunicate folks who ask questions about money, felons convicted of charity fraud who are brought forth at the Convention to explain why we don't need an audit, a hierarch who backhandedly tried to disenthrone the bishops on his Synod, a hierarch who moved seminarians at the last minute in order to punish another jurisdiction for not behaving in the autocratic manner he does, accomplished forgers, and so forth, I am left wondering what exactly the "proper spiritual credentials" are. Not to mention the fact that the term credentials is a very poor choice of word to connect to the spiritual life. It suggests that spiritual maturity is something that should look good on paper. But as we will see, it's all business for these folks.
Q: Why was it created?
A: To establish an organization of Antiochian laity who would function at the highest level of ministry for Christ and the Church. It is a spiritual movement manifested through financial giving.
Function at the highest level of ministry? Isn't the highest level of ministry the office of bishop? Are laity to function as bishops? I found this language very strange, but then I thought to myself, "Ochlophobist, this is the AOANA, where the function of a bishop is to do what the Metropolitan tells him to do." So if the function of the bishop is to be a yes Man for +Philip, then it is certainly possible for laity to function as bishops. Also, note the further connotation that matters of the spirit are manifested through money.
Q: Some say The Order is all about money. Is this true?
A: Jesus sanctioned financial giving when he honored the poor widow who gave her last two coins. The Order only asks that we give from our surplus.
When I first read this one, I looked at the outside of the pamphlet again to see if it was actually some sort of spoof or joke.
The comparison of a first century Palestinian widow who gave her last two mites in an of faith that constituted a desperate appeal and submission to God to Americans who give (at least) $500 per year to be members in a religious club that calls its members Dames and Knights is offensive to both Christian intuition and to reason. Jesus sanctioned financial giving when noting the widow? Uh, yeah, OK, and this justifies parading ourselves as givers, with honorary titles and kitsch trinkets?
Q: Why do members of the Order wear a cross and red ribbon?
A: It serves as our witness to Christ and a reminder of Him who accepted the Cross for our salvation. We are on display before the world as examples of examples of the Christian Faith. It is an awesome responsibility we bear. The crimson of the ribbon recalls the blood which the Martyr Ignatius shed for Christ. The Cross and ribbon remind us that sacrificial giving is our obligation as Antiochian Orthodox Christians.
The display of cross and ribbon reminds others that you give a certain amount of money to the Church. When not "sanctioning" financial giving via the widow's mites, Jesus said "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." (Matthew 6:3) Displays of almsgiving are shameful and unchristian.
Q: Where does the money go?
A: Within the Archdiocese: Departments such as Missions & Evangelism, Youth Ministry, Campus Ministry, and Christian Education.
Other intra-Archdiocese contributions: Camping Scholarships, College Conference scholarships, Married Seminarian Assistance, the Antiochian Village, Teen SOYO Special Olympics, Theological and Religious Education, and Clergy Retirement.
Contributions outside our Archdiocese: Project Mexico, International Orthodox Christian Charities, The Treehouse Family Ministry, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and other worthy needs throughout the world.
I am sure that many good things have been funded with Order money. But as the AOANA is not audited, we have no way of knowing where exactly this money goes. Who paid for the condo? Is Order money paying for +Demetri in Mexico?
Q: Why should I join?
A: Membership in The Order is a doorway to increasingly renewed personal faith. Though this spiritual ministry of giving, many others receive much needed help, resulting in great Thanksgiving to God.
Spotting 500 bucks and wearing a ribbon is a doorway to increasingly renewed personal faith? If I had some extra cash to throw around, why would it be better for me, spiritually, to give it to an unaudited group with some notoriously questionable leadership that parades its own giving and is bloated with puffed up honors than it would be for me to quietly give to various Church projects?
Q: What is the annual financial commitment?
A: Membership in The Order is roughly the equivalent of buying a cup of coffee every day.
There are three levels [Each has its own different color of cross for the ribbon to be worn; these are shown in the pamphlet.]:
Dame & Knight @ $500.00 per year or $41.67 monthly automatic withdrawel from your bank account (EFT).
Dame & Knight Commander @ $1,000 per year or $83.34 monthly automatic withdrawel from your bank account (EFT).
Life Member @ $15,000 one time contribution or $5,000 annually for three consecutive years or $416.67 for 36 months (EFT).
Dame & Knight Commander. Cute. Who in their right mind gives their bank account numbers to an organization with felons in leadership positions, including a man who fills all of the significant officer roles of a company that settled criminal charges of charity fraud?
Q: How much does The Order give annually?
A: The budget for the year ending January 31, 2010 is $1,400,000.
So they say. Without an audit, such assurances are meaningless.
Q: How much has The Order contributed since inception?
A: Over $20 million.
So they say. Shivers down the spine thinking about where some of that money may have gone.
Q: Can I give anonymously?
A: We strongly urge each candidate to make his commitment publicly. Christ commands us in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." First we ensure that our giving is from the heart and then we can be a true witness to Christ by our example. Suppose our saints and martyrs witnessed to Christ in secret? They witnessed to Christ in a very public way, but not for recognition by their fellow man.
The comparison of the public witness of saints and martyrs to the wearing of a ribbon which tells folks how much money I give and having my name listed in AOANA lists of givers is crassness and banality beyond measure. The verse cited here comes after Christ pronounced the blessed state of those who are poor in spirit and those who are meek. After the verse cited here, in the same sermon, Christ speaks thus (Matthew 6:1-8a):
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them...
Christ seems to be teaching about a holy secrecy here that The Order does not seem to have any notion of.
And I find it truly rich that an AOANA document insists that a matter pertaining to church finances should not be kept secret.
Q: What's in it for me?
A: Your spiritual commitment grows stronger. More importantly, young people learn at an early age that adults put their money where their hearts are. Be an example to our children that our Church is a good investment.
Aside from the illogic of the grammar in the last sentence, I think we might be able to say at this point that it is not a good idea to teach children to give to seemingly corrupt organizations such as the AOANA (at the national level). But one might also note the wrongness of viewing the Church as an institution to invest in. I disdain the manner in which the "what's in it for me" language of commerce has entered so much of Church life. The widow's mites were not an investment. The Christian does not give on the basis of an expectation of return on an investment. Christians are taught to expect a cross in return for faithfulness. Christian giving is sacrificial, it is quiet, it is matter-of-fact, it recognizes that I am a slave and that my resources do not really belong to me. A cruciform life is never vested in anything but Christ's death. That image does not wear kitsch trinkets nor pay for honorary titles, and does not ask what is in it for me.
#41 The DisORDER of the socalled Order of St Ignatius on 2009-09-14 11:35
Don't make fun of those who post without their names. After reading this article, do you want these thugs trespassing on your private property day or night and threatening you? It is our own choice to reveal our names or not, and no one should be forced to reveal their identity. Instead of worrying about where the comments are coming from, read what the people have been writing since day one of this mess. The same themes are being expessed over and over: pain, suffering, disgust, shame, frustration. This is what truly matters, and if nothing is done to remedy this situation, those feelings will only intensify, and it won't matter who is writing. Let's be considerate and concerned for the true welfare of our people, and let's remember who was crucified on the Cross - Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our true Father in Heaven who loves us and will never forsake us ....
Gail, perhaps there is a back-story here that we don't know about. You said "I have not yet turned this information over to the FBI..." What information? Also, do you know OGL? As an acquaintance or have you done work for the archdiocese?
Frankly, as I read what you wrote to MP, it certainly sounds like a threat to me. And if he doesn't know you, doubly so. How can you possibly interpret your "I will go to the FBI if you don't retire, etc.etc" as not a threat? Now, this doesn't excuse vandalism but I'm not surprised that he did not welcome this.
#43 Anonymous on 2009-09-14 13:23
Before you comment or post anything on this website. Please do your soul and us readers a favor by looking at the icon of Christ at the top of this website. It may make you think twice in spreading gossip, or making people upset by fierce comments. Me included, i forget all the time so forgive me.
#44 Look Above on 2009-09-14 14:52
This scandal has the following warning signs of impending violence:
-vandalism or property damage
-association with drugs or alcohol
-exhibits risk-taking behavior
-announces threats or plans for injuring others
-association with weapons
-history of violence, aggression, discipline problems or disregard of laws
-fails to acknowledge the feelings or rights of others
-feels rejection is undeserved
(Editor's note: While all the things you list are accurate, it is incumbent on all of us to work that such things do not happen.)
#45 anonymous on 2009-09-14 17:21
Re 12.3: Fr. Patrick, I respectfully disagree. We are like young adults who need to leave home with parents who refuse to let go because we are too rowdy, too immature, too likely to make mistakes.
We will not ever be mature as long as we are unable to make our own decisions and our own mistakes.
#46 Michael Bauman on 2009-09-14 21:08
I must say, if we have to choose, let’s have erudition. The Orthodox theological scene hasn’t exactly been bursting with creative energy. Administration can be learned and consciously delegated. Besides, Fr. Hatfield was by all accounts doing a pretty good job of getting St. Herman’s back on track until Bp. Nikolai made that impossible.
And what do you mean by a “boatload”? I think that only one student was ordered to withdraw by the Metropolitan.
#47 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-14 22:39
I see you are correct. On 3/22/09, Mark wrote,
“‘Khouri’, who correctly predicated the current crisis now engulfing the Archdiocese some 18 months ago, was considered such a ‘threat’ to the Archdiocese at the time of his first writing that sources close to Englewood relate a private detective was hired to trace him, a search which ended in a dead-end.” [ http://tinyurl.com/m3e6ek ]
If you have additional information about that adventure that might help people such as the Whites and Hodges make sense of what is now going on, perhaps you would be willing to share it with Mark.
#48 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-14 22:51
Owen White called for Met. Philip’s retirement — in an article titles “Anaxios”, and he raised sharp questions about Archdiocesan finances prior to the convention. During the convention, he “virtually live-blogged” the event by receiving reports and cellphone pictures from delegates and posting them alongside his analysis of events. He was the first to report on the use of physical force against audit supporters. Further, he posted several reports from the scene by Fr. Oliver Herbel, who is his also godfather. So, if anyone was going to get a visit from the rent-a-Stasi, it would be the Whites.
#49 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-09-14 23:02
>>"If one thesis has become clear to my mind during 2009, it is proposition that we Americans are not sufficiently mature to lose our jurisdictional ties with the older churches."
There are different thoughts on this -- one being that sometimes folks need to be thrown into the deep end of the pool in order to learn to swim.
However, maybe it also depends on what or who the ties are to the older churches. If those are shakey, then what? If those ties are demoralizing and appear to have ambivalent motives, then we should assume that "we aren't sufficiently mature to go out on our own"?
Actually, we have little historical (aka traditional) wisdom to go on because, in so many cases, national churches were created out of political expediency. There really is no threshold or grade by which to decide if a local church is ready to go on it's own -- it's a value judgement which has wildly varied reports depending upon who is doing the analysis -- obviously the home churches will say they are not ready. By what standard is Fr Patrick rendering his analysis -- what is so obvious to him that isn't terribly coherent to others? Considering the differences between modern America and Bulgaria or Romania a thousand years ago, 2009 teaches us little. I don't believe there was any nation/diocese/archdiocese that was similar to the US in 2009 in all of history. That dog won't hunt. Why is the American Church so incompetent -- because we are not tied taughtly enough to the home churches? Is this the argument?? Or it could be there is insufficient vision in the Old World to let things go. And I think the New World history would show that has been often the case.
#50 Curiouser and curiouser on 2009-09-15 01:52
What do you want, a guitar and drums instead of byzantine chant or a country twang when chanting instead of byzantine music?
(Editor's note: We already have twanging in Byzantine music. Having visited more than one parish in the South, it is kind of fun for this parish to have heard what can only be described as "Nosh-ville" chant. )
#51 William on 2009-09-15 06:33
FALSE, where is drugs or weapons mentioned in any of this . LIES.
(editor's note: The writer, I believe, was referring to the federal indictment of the Khalife's, which specifically mentioned both. You can read more about it at http://www.antiochianinfo.org/)
#52 William on 2009-09-15 07:59
Third party or external audits are done all the time and everywhere even though they are indeed a pain in the rear. Why? Because not doing audits is fiscal and managerial malfeasance and is prima facie indication that an organization is hiding something. In other words, it is suicide, it is shooting yourself in the foot, it is putting a big bull's eye on your back...
Now, it is true that Churches have gotten away with not conducting external audits. Why? Because the Church leadership usually gets the benefit of the doubt: Pastor Smith/Bishop Sheen/Archbishop Makarios (pick any title in any church/denomination) would not do anything funny, how could he? He is a man of God, he has been consecrated to lead (fill in church, diocese, metropolia), etc... William, you know that everybody sins and that nobody is perfect except our Lord. You are betting the finances and good name of the Church on the possibility that our Church leaders will not misbehave. I do not want to take that chance; nobody should.
Please note that I have not accused anyone of any financial misconduct. What I am talking about is standard accounting practice for non-profits and churches; about the red flags that go up anytime starts talking about the huge financial cost of external audits; about the defensiveness that I see when folks who propose an external audit are accused of disloyalty; and indications of irregular practices, such as unreported and unaccounted investment portfolios, placement of shady individuals in positions of trust, pre-signed checks, etc.
I admire your loyalty but you must realize that your arguments rest on very shaky grounds. You seem to be a good man, why don't you come over to the right side?
#53 Carl on 2009-09-15 09:55
Editor, how do you know that I'm "already ignoring the Green Patriarch in Constantinople"? Maybe I agree with him on some points, but not on others. Maybe I think that the making of saints is the true business of the Church. Maybe I think he doesn't go far enough and should forthrightly condemn capitalism. Any of these statements might be a truthful description of my thoughts, but you, Editor, cannot know because I have not told you. Either you are telepathic or you are erecting a straw man. I defy you or anybody else to read "ignoring the Green Patriarch" into anything I wrote.
You're better than that, Mark.
#54 Scott Walker on 2009-09-15 10:11
Michael,you are wrong .To those "parents" we are "a milk cow-or cash cow" and they do not want to let us go because they do not want the "milk-cash"to dry up.Cash is the real reason they are hanging on to us "children"They refuse to see that one Orthodox Church in America can be of much more benefit to them then the numerous jurisdictions that we have.A strong Orthodox Church in this country would benefit world wide Orthodoxy.As some one born overseas this is so clear to me-and as an American(by choice)and a priest I pray for this to become a reality in the near future!All Orthodox Christians must make this prayer a part of their daily prayers.AMEN!
#55 Abbuna Habib on 2009-09-15 10:37
The problem, Father Patrick, is that the Holy Synod has failed to protect us from a man who thinks nothing of using strong arm tactics to impose his will. Surely "doctrine," which is under the Holy Synod's providence and is based on Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Church, is being violated when a metropolitan threatens his flock with lawsuits and violence. They either don't care or are too impotent to act. In either case, we have no use for an overseer who cannot or will not intervene to ensure we have the God directed leadership we deserve.
#56 Gail Sheppard on 2009-09-15 14:32
I agree with Fr. Patrick.
I think that a better working relationship with Damascus could benefit the AOANA, given current ecclesio-political realities.
I am told that the politics in Syria with regard to +Philip is a complicated matter. It is a significant thing that monks such as Archimandrite Touma have spoken against +Philip's tactics.
I fear this language of "kicking the foreign influence" out of American Orthodoxy. Methinks that paleo-con and neo-con political views should not inform our ecclesiology. Phyletism and nationalism are wrong even when they stem from melting pot America. The issues should not be cast as foreign vs. native, but rather, just vs. unjust, or holiness vs. madness, or thug vs. civil, or corrupt vs. with integrity.
There is ideological division and fragmentation in American Orthodoxy. The mere creation of an American Synod free from foreign rule would not make this sad situation go away. It might lead to schism and greater division than is seen now. God help us to have our own Synod when it will not include the machinations of mobsters.
+Philip has been the one non-Greek to have had real sway within SCOBA. I see no reason to believe that an American Synod hastily crafted would be any less corrupt than the problems we have seen within GOArch, the OCA, and the AOANA in recent years.
What is needed now are men of integrity in the hierarchy of the various American jurisdictions.
Frankly, I don't care where they come from.
It seems to me that there is a prudent listening to be done here. Voices like Fr. Touma have spoken of the need for an authentic American Orthodoxy to develop. Fr. Touma has influence within the Holy Synod in Damascus. I would suggest we try our hardest to establish relationships with men such as Fr. Touma and Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev.
Absolutely correct! Four clergy I met knew DIRECTLY of Met P. flaunting the move to join with the OCA for autocephaly. NOW encouraged by many in thye Old World! What and Met P. no longer thye big leader? Excuse:P I will wait for tyhe Greeks. People are SO very fooled. Many times over. too. How's the Audit coming? Just as fast as Bp Demetri sending his checks back !
#58 Anonymous Priest on 2009-09-15 17:07
A relative always spoke of the "order" as a booster club. The Archons of the Greek Arch'd $100K so the avg $500. a paltry sum. But, Oh how true Owen! ELITIST yes with many (I know) who give $500. to the Order and ANOTHER $500. to their local parish EACH year! So they will be recognized as CLUB members nthe special, or as one lady told me, "But think of their sacrifice!"
What Sacrifice ??
Know a parish. mostly converts of course, who TITHE to their fledging parishes. School teachers who give $4000. a year.
BUT but - it is true. Would they give that $500. or $1000. if there were no Order ? Doubt it! Met Philip was clever (a club visionary as Ajalat called him and he loved it!) in dreaming it up. The pride in walking to the "front" on St I. "day" and conventions, parish life conf, etc. is worth it ALL ??!! Many have seen more humility in the local Rotary club!
The OCA "Fos" was more respecable and Christ like. The machinations of Syosset set that way back sadly.
The "good works" of the Order are what ALL jurisdictions should be doing with their regular budgeted charities. Isn't thar what the Church is about, other than saving your soul, of course.
The Lord knows how many big Order "cheeses" big n' small have not hastened the departure of many a Priest in a troubled parish. Met Philip has often asked his clergy, "are they members of the 'Order' ? 3,000 out of 50,000 paying parishioners. Not bad? But at WHAT PRICE ?
#59 Anonymous Antiochian Priest on 2009-09-15 17:35
please reference the exact citation.
#60 Delegate #1 on 2009-09-15 17:38
Well George, you're all wet! Fr. Hatfield, the Chancellor of SVS was brought into Orthodoxy via the AOCA. He has MANY friends within the AOCA. So, your assessment is flawed. Furthermore, SVS only lost ONE AOCA student and this year, the seminary is filled to capacity with students. Financially, SVS is recovering nicely!
#61 Anonymous on 2009-09-15 18:53
I'm not with the Ants, but I must agree. If all those in the
Antiochian Archdisease -whoops! - archdiocese keep obediently
sending their shekels outside of their parishes, then nothing
will change. Money talks and bs walks - everywhere!!!
And I must say I'm not really impressed with the silence of
Bps Basil and Mark. Joseph and Antoun are firmly in MP's camp,
but certainly those two could raise some very necessary hell.
#62 Pauline Costianes on 2009-09-15 19:07
Dear Fellow Orthodox Christian,
I want it to be clear that this is false:
"Further, he posted several reports from the scene by Fr. Oliver Herbel, who is his also godfather."
I sent him a reflection on the last day of the convention simply as a clarification to make sure people didn't associate me with certain comments made toward a few others whom I know and like and respect. I sent him no other reports.
That said, I think my clarification is a positive sign for Orthodoxy. It means that others in the AOCANA are very concerned about what was happening and perhaps now they are trying to get the word out. I sure hope so. It will take more than a handful of people willing to press questions and pursue motions at one single convention to effect change.
#63 Fr. Oliver Herbel on 2009-09-15 19:51
I just received my September 2009 issue of The Word magazine, which is published monthly and mailed to all households in the Antiochian Archdiocese. What I read - or more correctly, what I didn't read - reinforced my belief that this website performs a valuable service to those of us who want to see our Archdiocese run like a Church, not like a cult or a crime syndicate.
More to the point, the September issue reported on the recently-completed national Archdiocese convention in Palm Desert, California. Whenever there is a national convention, The Word has historically reported extensively on what took place, including what transpired at General Assembly meetings - including the discussions that took place and motions brought to the floor and whether or not they passed. The September 2009 issue only included the Metropolitan's speech to the convention. Not one word was mentioned about any of the important issues which were discussed or the motions brought to the floor. Obviously, this is a shameful attempt by _________ (you fill in the blank!) to prevent people in the Archdiocese from knowing what is really going on.
Without this website, I wouldn't know what has been going on in my Archdiocese. So thank you, Stookey, and thanks to those of you who contribute to this website.
#64 Disgusted Life-long Antiochian Christian on 2009-09-16 10:14
This seems nonsensical, in my judgment. No line of reasoning I can think of convinces me otherwise. The burden of proof, however, is really yours. So, since this 'thesis has become clear to my mind', as you say, perhaps you'd like to share a supportive reason or two. How could such a position be reasonably maintained? Merely promoting it without any support, beyond appealing to your own misgivings about considering the effects of the opposing perspective, seems to be tacit support for the way things are. Surely that’s not what you intend though? Perhaps I’m the only one who reads you this way. But isn’t what you are saying something like this: ‘If we had not had “overseas” to look out for us, then the archdiocese would be in worse shape than it is presently, due to its relative immaturity’?
There seems to be good reason to not accept the claim about the shape of the archdiocese. It is in a very pitiful condition presently, and this has been the case, to some extent, for quite some time. Moreover, the pastoral direction provided in the present circumstances, seemingly meager at best, has perhaps exacerbated existing problems, rather than alleviating non-existent ones. This not only seems true now, in the current crisis, but has also appeared to be the case for the past number of decades. Nevertheless, since we are faced with such a terrible state of things presently, which has resulted, at least in part, from present ties with “overseas”, it seems reasonable to not affirm that the archdiocese would be in worse shape than it is if we had not had “overseas” to look out for us. It is even conceivable, though perhaps quite unlikely, that the archdiocese might be in better shape by having exercised ‘other options’, as MP has put it. The question though is would things be worse? It seems difficult to support that claim. You clearly seem to think they would though. And this is motivated, as I understand you, by what you perceive as a lack of maturity on our part. I’m not sure what to make of this. It seems like we might be beginning to chase a red-herring here. For, whether we are mature enough or not, it may well be incumbent upon us ‘to lose our jurisdictional ties with the older churches’, not simply because the grass seems to be greener on the other side, or something like that, but rather because, in the wake of perceived delinquency, there simply seems to be no good reason to maintain them. Perhaps this is not the case. But what evidence is there to support the claim that, given our current level of maturity, we have fared better under the auspices of “overseas” than we would have if we hadn’t been?
#65 michael craig rhodes on 2009-09-16 13:31
One point we must understand the Bishops or MEtropolita is not accountable to us but rather we are to them! However we have some control by with-holding moneyt o the archdiocese.
Metropolitian PHILIP is not accountable to us and our agenda. We may be in America but the Church is a dictatorship like it or not
#66 Anonymous on 2009-09-16 16:22
I would encourage people who wish to see the best for this Archdiocese to do something simple but potentially profound.
Each service you attend, quietly and without fanfare or protest light a candle in your church and with that candle pray a sincere prayer for this Archdiocese, for those who lead us and all who share in it. Don't do this out of spite or revenge but rather to call on God for mercy, strength, purity, healing, and life.
Pay for the candles, be sincere in prayer, and do this as often as you are in Church. If enough people do this both Priests and parishioners will notice the light and as word, without malice or blame, spreads they will know why. Each candle lit will be a quiet and prayerful way of saying "I am praying for, and standing in, the hope of renewal, holiness, purity, and faith."
As you do this also recommit yourselves to all that is good and right in our Faith. As you ask for the light of Christ to fill our Archdiocese ask for it to fill you, and everyone you pray for, as well.
Perhaps it is true that it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness and perhaps in God's time each small candle and the prayers they embody will roll back the night.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
If you think my reference to the Patriarchate being "byzantine" in their relationship with the church here was in reference to music, you got it wrong. It's about byzantine machinations...which lack openness, candor, forthrightness, etc. Everything they say is intentionally vague or lacks specificity, so it can be later twisted and manipulated, etc...
#68 Anonymously sad about it all on 2009-09-18 05:45
I know we are all praying for peace to be restored to our church. Remember the peace movement of the 60's, with the peace symbol everywhere - clothes, jewelry, even students doodling it in their school notebooks? There seems to be a resurgence of that era in our country. I was in some shops recently and found all kinds of jewelry with the peace symbol on it - rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelts, pins. Some were very ornate, but others are plain enough for men to wear. We should all buy peace jewelry and wear them daily as we pray for the peaceful atmosphere to return to our Archdiocese. Give them as gifts - they are useful - and ask people to remember everyone involved in their daily prayers.
Perhaps joy will also return to our lives. Believe it or not, there is no joy in posting comments, looking behind our backs, being angry at those who have abused us, and it affects our daily lives as we try to find the joy in special occasions and times spent with others. This is not a joyful or peaceful time, and that is why we must work hard to recapture our Holy Church and make it a place to be in peace and joy again, instead of in strife, tears and not wanting to be there. God willing, this will all come to pass.
Have a Nice Weekend,
I think we should be careful with regard to presumptions of anger. Some folks get angry when "posting" and reading posts, but others are capable of involvement in these matters without the slightest inclination to anger. Consternation, sure, but not anger.
I have seen ecclesial corruption in various forms my entire life. I did not come to Orthodoxy expecting a magic ecclesial fairy land where everything went with sugar and smiles.
These are difficult times to be in the AOANA, but one way or another all of this will pass. Whatever abuse comes, the notation of it does not involve a requisite loss of peace. It can, at the same time, be met with a right and ordered resolve to not capitulate or venerate disorder.
"We may be in America but the Church is a dictatorship like it or not
I'm still waiting. Is no one going to reply to this ignorant comment?
If more than five people in the Antiochian Archdiocese hold a view similar to this, we can say farewell to Metropolitan PHILIP's good and laudable goal of an Orthodox America.
#71 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-09-19 12:44
Dictatorship, yes, but benevolent. And, if activities are criminal, then the hierarchy is accountable including +Metropolitan Philip. This is America, and the laws seem to be different than the laws in other parts of the world, audits are expected and common in all activities in which people place their money as a trust and they have the right to know that that money was used properly.
Jim Baker (a Protestant money handler) went to jail for using earmarked money (the 'laity' gave it for specific purposes) for other purposes (buying air conditioned dog houses for his pets) and I cannot understand why he went to jail and none of the OCA money handlers or as it now appears the AOANA money handlers have not been given the opportunity to visit his cell block.
#72 Yanni on 2009-09-19 16:04
Prayer is a powerful weapon. Never underestimate its potential. Don't forget, as well, that ultimately we're not, as St. Paul says, wrestling against flesh and blood.
Fr John Chagnon
St Elias Orthodox Church
Don't apologize for your words and your actions. If they misunderstood what you said, that's their problem. You did the right thing by letting Owen White know what transpired, and by turning in MP to the FBI/IRS - now the Feds can go in, with search warrants and mandated audits - and the truth will be revealed, and we will all be set free - all except those who have done the evil deeds. You were very brave to write those letters in the first place, and I'm sorry your car and home were vandalized - gee so soon after MP ordered your priest to tell you to back off, and so soon after he got your address from your deacon? And people still believe these acts to be a mere coincidence -how foolish can we be?.... I hope your priest informed your bishop, and I hope your bishop will act to protect you from further harm. Who's to say they won't return to do more damage? Those who damage people's private property should be arrested, made to pay all the damages and then thrown in jail to mull over the opportunity for a more legal and acceptable career.
"We may be in America but the Church is a dictatorship like it or not
I'm still waiting. Is no one going to reply to this ignorant comment?
If more than five people in the Antiochian Archdiocese hold a view similar to this, we can say farewell to Metropolitan PHILIP's good and laudable goal of an Orthodox America.
#26.1 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-09-19 12:44 (Reply)
Well let me be the first to say farewell to Metropolitan Philip's pretend good and laudable goal of an Orthodox America. I will name the top five, please feel free to add your own. In heierachial order Bp. Antoun, Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Antypas, Fr. Gilquist, Fr. Allen the Khalife brothers ...oops I'm already past five and I barely got started.
#75 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-20 16:35
Re: "I'm sorry, was Ms Sheppard expecting another response? And who is she to demand anyway -- even if MP valued her opinion?"
To answer your question, yes, of course I expected a different response! I have never had a man erupt in anger and violently retaliate against me. In my world, that sort of thing just doesn't happen. His reaction speaks volumes about the kind of man he is, as well as the kind of man you are if you defend him..... On what planet is that acceptable? It shouldn't have mattered what I said. There is NO justification for what he did.
To answer the second part of your question, I'm a nobody. The fact that I am a woman should tell you that I have no authority within Church to make any demands. I felt I owed the man a "heads up." I wasn't threatening him. I was telling him what would happen if he didn't set things right. If a cop pulls you over and says he's going to give you a ticket if he catches you speeding again, is that a threat? ...... His own actions have betrayed him.
#76 Gail Sheppard on 2009-09-20 17:07
I think you have the Orthodox Church confused with the Latin church.
We have no "dictator", no Pope to whom we are all answerable. Bishops answer to synods of bishops, not to Metropolitan Archbishops, nor even to Patriarchs; and all of us, our bishops included, are under obedience to Holy Tradition. Nor should we like it if anyone tries to turn the Church into a dictatorship: to do so is as much an ecclesiological heresy as would be the opposite error, to turn the Church into a democracy.
Under normal conditions, we are obedient to our bishop, not because of his person, but because the office and charism of a bishop includes the guardianship of the Faith, of Tradition, along with the presidency of the Holy Mysteries, but that obedience is not the obedience of the sort commanded by a dictator. Christ Himself contrasted the way the rulers of the gentiles "lord it over" others with the sort of rulership that is to exist in His Church. Under good circumstances, our bishops rule as Christ bade, and we not only obey our bishops but do so cheerfully and out of love. And, there is a presumption that times are normal, and we ought obey our bishop.
But, there have been (and may in the future be, though God preserve us from such times) circumstances in which bishops abandon the defense of the Faith and of Holy Tradition and it must taken up by the faithful--the lesser clergy, monastics, laymen and laywomen--and in those rare times, to disobey the spiritually malfeasant bishop (and cleave to the faithful bishop, if one can be found) is the way of sanctity. If you are unaware of the aftermath of the Council of Florence/Ferrar, you might want to study a little Orthodox ecclesiastical history. And, you might want to look at the reply sent by the Eastern Patriarchs to the Pope of Rome in the wake of the First Vatican Council.
#77 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-09-20 18:52
I think you have the Orthodox Church confused with the Latin church.
We have no "dictator", no Pope to whom we are all answerable.
Ah yes, the obligatory dig at Catholics.
I have refrained from commenting before now, although this is far from the first time I have seen such sentiments expressed in these threads.
But this stuff gets old after a while. Don't y'all have better things to do than compare and contrast yourselves -- invidiously -- with other Christians?
FYI: The pope is NOT a dictator. And, to the best of my knowledge, NO pope has ever tried demoting his entire episcopate to auxiliary-bishop status. Ever.
Personally, I would far rather be under Pope Benedict XVI than under Metropolitan Philip. But that's just me.
#78 anonymous Catholic observer on 2009-09-22 09:32
FYI: The pope is NOT a dictator. And, to the best of my knowledge, NO pope has ever tried demoting his entire episcopate to auxiliary-bishop status. Ever.
Tried and executed in a process taking hundreds of years and finally and officially dogmatized at Vatican I. All bishops of the Latin West are nothing more than auxillaries. He (The Pope) appoints his assistants (auxillary bishops) and can remove them just as easily if so inclined. He is el presidente for life and according to your own dogma his authority transcends Holy Ecumenical Councils.
Seems to be a pretty workable definition of a "dictator"
#79 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-22 13:13
Fr. Patrick, what else are we to believe when bishops and priests DO NOTHING in public because they are afraid? What else are we to believe when the ONLY course of action is to not give to the Church (which has its own consequences even if ultimately effective). What are we to believe when those who ask questions are compared to dogs and threatened (by someone if not MP). Is not a cult of personality a dictatorship?
It need not continue, but until the bishops and the clergy actually stand up together and demand the truth, it will continue--even after +MP reposes.
There is no longer an archdiocese in any meaningful sense. We are a collection of parishes to afraid to talk even with each other on most things that really matter.
#80 Michael Bauman on 2009-09-22 16:07
I certainly hope you have wisely invested for your golden years years and will not be relying on The Archdiocesan Priests Retirement Fund.
In other words you don't stand a snowballs chance in Hades of being a priest in this Archdiocese for more than...hmm 24-36 months tops.
If it means anything or brings you any comfort I for one appreciate you being a man and not being afraid to stand up for what is good, decent and right.
Yours is a much better reward than the scraps others will receive from their earthly masters table.
#81 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-22 19:09
Kevin Kirwan has ably stated the Orthodox critique of Latin ecclesiology. I recall that one of the bishops of the Greek Archdiocese (I cannot remember whether it was Met. +Isaiah or Met. +Maximos) scandalized his counterparts in an ecumenical dialog with your confession by characterizing your bishops as "altar boys" because so much of the authority we Orthodox understand as proper to all bishops has, under your system, been concentrated in your Pope thanks to the innovations of universal ordinary jurisdiction and infallibility.
I gather you weren't observing anonymously during the height of the dethronement controversy, when I criticized the arguments evinced for Met. +Philip's power grab as "the arguments the Latins advance for the Roman Papacy, writ small", as you didn't object back then. Had you been, you would have noted that I had expressed the thought Benedict XVI of Rome was a much more inspiring Pope than Philip I of Englewood. But, as an Orthodox Christian, I much prefer Orthodox ecclesiology to the monarchical model embraced by your church, and which, God willing, and Mr. anonymous "the Church is a dictatorship" and sundry Philipites notwithstanding, Met. +Philip has repented of attempting to impose on us.
#82 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-09-22 20:39
Yes, Kevin and David. I have seen all the shopworn polemics, a thousand times over. Please pardon me for failing to be convinced by them.
Suffice it to say that neither the Pope nor his Evil Jesuit Minions have ever "cased" my house, threatened my physical safety, or written me abusive, threatening e-mails.
Thanks but no thanks. I'll stick with Rome.
#83 anonymous Catholic observer on 2009-09-23 15:15
What you call shopworn polemics others rightfully appreciate as fidelity to Genuine Holy Tradition.
I grew up and was educated in Roman Catholic schools and have nothing but the highest personal regards for the priests , nuns, and lay teachers who I had the privilege of learning under. It was no scandal or personal issue that led to me embracing Holy Orthodoxy as the Catholic Faith of the apostles.
Do not delude yourself into thinking that Orthodox objections regarding Roman Catholic ecclessiology or dogma are rooted in anything other than a desire to remain faithful to the Apostolic Tradition. It is that Tradition that The Catholic and Orthodox East maintained and the Latin West departed from.
Your last parting shot was well..problematic. Given Rome's own recent scandals and an abundantly rich history of past atrocities there is no need to throw this small basket of dirty laundry we are airing here back in our face. It's not a fight that makes anyone look good and one that you could hardly prevail in. Besides this is our squabble and you should be more circumspect in your intrusion.
Humain failing and miserable excuses for heirarchs will always plague both of our churches. Attaching ourselves to either a Metropolitan or Pope will always eventually lead to some real dissapointment and even worse.
The objections you read here to the actions and activities of our Metropolitan are based on a greater respect for the Tradition than for a current officeholder.
Obviously our using the flawed papal model as a way to validate the legitimacy of our arguments offends you. Understand where you are at and who you are among and maybe this will not irritate you as much.
#84 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-09-24 09:00
LOL, Kevin. You have that worn-out playbook memorized very well indeed.
I am saddened that you are an ex-Catholic. I will be praying for you.
Outta here...better things to do.
God bless you!
#85 anonymous catholic observer on 2009-09-25 06:04
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