Tuesday, November 3. 2009
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I don't mean this as a criticism of this letter writer but of the kind of language into which we are forced.
One of the things that is nice about America is that, excepting in certain cultlike subcultures, being obsequious to the point of crawling on one's belly in and out of the presence of leaders, is pretty much a thing of the past. I do "get it" that certain of those in authority require such false humility if one is to have access. But let's not fool ourselves that forced obsequiousness is anything like humility. It is humiliation, plain and simple. We seem to do that pretty well as political gesture. Demanding that those subordinate in the power structure humiliate themselves is a sign not of "good order" or respect but of wicked tyranny and of making one's dignity an idol. Perhaps this is why the current autocrats have no time or respect for genuine monasticism. Rather, we have the cult of personality.
It's hardly surprising that once again, the requirement of independent, external audit is thwarted by delay, deception, and obfuscation. This new committee, regardless of good men serving, is no more true to the requirement than if I should seek out my own conscience for Confession ... and then absolve myself.
Avoiding the appearance of impropriety is an important value. Frankly, I'm tired of being asked to swallow examples of amazingly bad judgment as is self audit in this case ... by way of illustration of principle, that so-and-so is only "sleeping with his neighbor's wife" ... not having sex or anything wrong. I'm tired of being told in such analogous context that sleep is good. Let us not delude ourselves that God is fooled by such childish reasoning. It is possible to be culpabily guilty of making an appearance of impropriety ... and being a scandal to the Church.
#1 Monologistos on 2009-11-03 15:27
I'm kind of wondering how this entire letter will go over with the low-level functionaries who will read it -- there is the usual obsequious flourishes then there are lines like, "In a way, it's your fault." I don't think OGL is used to being talked to like that.
But I think I know what Englewood's response is -- stop reading this -- uhh -- "stuff" -- on the internet. Just pray and go to church and give to the church and let the metropolitan run things and don't worry about it. Don't worry about what bishops are doing or what other parishes are doing or what happens to seminarians because it's none of your business.
Oh, yeah the line about Bp Antoun yelling at people. Wow, yet another angry Bp Antoun story, imagine. The author that mentions that says, "Hear our cry, Father". His right-hand man will not let you near to disturb him and MetP picked him for the job, so I kind of don't understand the tenor of this letter.
#2 Catholicus on 2009-11-04 11:42
You only see your Bishop your priest. Not everything can and will go well if you let the Bishop rule. The convert Bishops get advice from priests. In our church the wrong advice has chased away over 100 people. When the Bishops listen to the Priests and board members or should I say in many instances (The board are the priests puppets) and when the Bishops, Priests do not listen tothe members of the church we are then not talkingabout Orthodox Christians we are now talking a new gereration who are turning into a cult. If we say let the Bishops rule their little corner of our churches then you get different rules, which in a way can be called different kinds of Orthodox faiths. All churches have their problems. Then their are the people at the churches who are making up their own rules with out letting the people of there church have a say. The ones who think the church belongs to them not Christ. The UNITY of a church is the church that holds in it why we go to church in the first place. I know why I go do you?The priests and Bishops who chase their flock, the ones who do not try to bring back their flock that have left. They are the churchs who are the ones more like a cult then a home of God. I once read if a Priest can not keep his flock together then Christ does not exsist in the church. The devil can also read from the Bible, but the words are only words when he reads it. The Met. does know what is going on. He knows who is destoying the faiths of the Orthodox people. These people are just as bad as a rapist. As they are raping us of our faith. We are not the ones to punish or reward for everyones pushishment or reward will be givin to them in the KINDOM OF HEAVEN. Or didn't I get the new memo? Have this changed to?
#3 Chris on 2009-11-04 23:08
Oh, how to get things to change? Two sources know the Houston Bd meeting would have been DIFFERENT with a paper ballot. Stop calling it secret? Met P. prefers roll calls. Wonder why?
#4 Anonymous on 2009-11-05 00:45
What convoluted thinking.
Do we not have multiple Metropolitans in the Patriarchate?
How many Metropolitans are there in Lebanon?
How many in Syria?
How many Churches in each of their Archdioceses? 10 or 12.
North America is TOO LARGE for one Metropolitan, Archbishop or Bishop, by territory and number of parishes.
The people do need to have access to their Bishop, you are correct.
Presntly only those with money have access.
I guess you are one of those!
Sounds like you want a POOPE.
#5 anonymouse on 2009-11-05 06:30
"Oh, yeah the line about Bp Antoun yelling at people. Wow, yet another angry Bp Antoun story, imagine."
I just read on a parish on-line bulletin (not Antiochian, I'm afraid) that fasting drives out anger and other passions. Let's all fast starting November 15! It might start a trend. And hierarchs could lay off their chefs for the duration.
I'm ducking and running anonymously for this one....
#6 anonymous on 2009-11-05 14:59
It might just be that all the trouble expended to get the "Diocisan" bishops recognized was a waste of time. They are no more up to the job than any other variety. Let them be called any type of bishop they want, they're still over-titled and under-worked. I look forward to a lay organization meeting together and not having a bishop in attendance. The lay groups that try and get change have a very odd habit of having one of them on hand for some reason; it makes no sense at all. You need to meet and tell them what you have decided. The laity pay the bills, all of them. The bishops show up and have someone dress them and hand them things. And take pictures of them. It's getting kind of embarassing to think of telling someone about the Church. I don't want to have to explain all the dumb looking hats anymore.
#7 Ba'ab on 2009-11-05 16:57
“If we say let the Bishops rule their little corner of our churches then you get different rules, which in a way can be called different kinds of Orthodox faiths.”
I’m sorry, Chris, but you are missing some theological information. It is actually a fundamental principle of Orthodoxy that each bishop is in charge of “his own little corner” of the Church.
This isn’t optional — we're talking about the Apostolic Canons here, which were confirmed by all the Ecumenical Councils!
Canon 35: “The bishops of every country ought to know who is the chief among them, and to recognize him as their head, and they ought not to do any great thing without his consent. Rather, every bishop should manage only the affairs that belong to his own diocese, and the places subject to it . But let the head bishop not do anything without the consent of all the other bishops ; because in this way there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”
Canon 41: “Let the priests and deacons do nothing without the consent of the bishop, for it is he who is entrusted with the people of the Lord , and he will be required to give an account of their souls.”
( [ http://tinyurl.com/yerztfc ] I have modernized the language somewhat.)
#8 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-11-06 11:09
So now the Emperor walked under his high canopy in the midst of the procession, through the streets of his capital; and all the people standing by, and those at the windows, cried out, "Oh! How beautiful are our Emperor's new clothes! What a magnificent train there is to the mantle; and how gracefully the scarf hangs!" in short, no one would allow that he could not see these much-admired clothes; because, in doing so, he would have declared himself either a simpleton or unfit for his office. Certainly, none of the Emperor's various suits, had ever made so great an impression, as these invisible ones.
"But the Emperor has nothing at all on!" said a little child.
"Listen to the voice of innocence!" exclaimed his father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another.
"But he has nothing at all on!" at last cried out all the people. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.
#9 Anonymous on 2009-11-06 13:26
I think you are too hard on our bishops. They have been put in an awful situation, with no precedent to guide them in navigating these waters. And lay "committees" can ONLY work with the bishop's blessing.
Besides, I would rather explain the hats, which gives me a chance to share about Holy Orthodoxy, then try to explain the plastic tab collars and pink buttons which has NOTHING to do with Orthodoxy....
#10 Antionymous on 2009-11-06 13:54
My comments were not meant to add to a sense of hopelessness I hear from some quarters. While there is absurdity and error in believing MP to be the closest man we will experience to our Lord in this life as some sychophants have claimed, any personal shortcomings of the man do not invalidate the holy, catholic church throughout time. That reality is lived within Orthodoxy as we have bishops, priests, deacons and laity together praising and giving thanks to God. Let's not fall into a depressed Zeitgeist. This scandal does not sum up the Church. Don't forget our Lord is risen and that He has asked of the Father and the Holy Spirit has come to us.
We cannot rightly put ourselves in the position of the zealot, Simon Judas, not trusting our Lord's mission like the Protestants who cease to be the Church in their misbegotten notions of serving the world on its terms. Nor should we be like Catholics in these strange, late days, imagining that the throne of Peter (or MP) has displaced our Lord in this world. It is precisely the conciliar rule of bishops that is Orthodoxy.
I am saddened to hear that some here do not have a holy bishop for a father and friend. Would that we all could benefit from such a man. Suffice it to say that the patience to which we are called with one another is not in vain when it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit sustaining and upholding us. Look at your feet, man! Are you flying or does the earth uphold you? We are upheld and sustained and it is right to be thankful to God and not gloomy with the tragedy of mortal life. God's work in us is to be praised ... for it is Life Eternal that is taking root in us and we are taking root in the Kingdom.
So let us begin by being the Church ... be faithful in Confession and in attending the Eucharist. Do not be faithless but hope in the Lord. The entire history of the Church is replete with corrupt leaders who stumble and fall. If the Church was dependent for her Life upon men, She would long ago have ceased to be. First, we must be the Church ... that is our joy and our being ... only secondarily do we seek what needs to be done, and that as the Church. Already, our Lord works among us and new things are coming to pass.
#11 monologistos on 2009-11-06 20:23
The major angry Bp Antoun story I first heard about was just before Great Lent quite awhile ago. I'm not sure the fasting seasons have much bearing on the problem.
#12 Catholicus on 2009-11-06 21:53
Ba'ab writes: "The bishops show up and have someone dress them and hand them things. And take pictures of them. It's getting kind of embarassing to think of telling someone about the Church. I don't want to have to explain all the dumb looking hats anymore."
You know, Ba'ab, you don't have to put up with this unbearable situation.
As an alumnus of Southern Baptist Seminary, I am on close personal terms with a whole bunch of godly pastors to whose care I would be happy to recommend you.
They work very hard, and they don't wear funny hats. You would like them.
Just let me know.
#13 Father Patrick Reardon on 2009-11-07 08:45
You are over concerned with external things,are you even Orthodox?
#14 Abbuna Habib on 2009-11-07 09:15
Well, you certainly make it sound interesting, father. So I guess the choice might be an honest Baptist minister...Or Bishop Antoun? Perhaps Herman or Nikolai? Can I get back to you on that? You're sure the Baptist doesn't have a hat thing? He can dress himself and everything? He has more to his job description other than "Single"? Sometimes we take the silliness of our hierarchs so much for granted that we assume it's impossible for them ever to have a shred of dignity. Is there any sign that they even want to do otherwise? I do have to put up with it, father. What I do not have to do is like it. You however, DO! If you say anything out of line we both know how long you'd be in business. Are you as patronizing to all laymen?
#15 Ba'ab on 2009-11-07 23:15
I do understand and know the cannons. You misunderstood what I ment. I think the met and Bishops should all discuss major desions. If Bishop's are not even willing to sit down with members of a church who have tried over and over to try to solve a situation or disagreement or problem... They ask the Bishop to step in and listen so both sides may be heard. When the Bishop turns his head don't you think the Met. should be able to step in? Especially if proof of the matters that are causing the problem is supplied to the Bishop and he will not ever look at it. What I am saying is If the Bishop is not doing his job then shouldn't the Met. step in?
#16 Chris on 2009-11-08 00:00
The laity pay the bills, all of them.
So you'd prefer the Bishops pay all the bills? Would that make it okay for them to run things?
I'm sort of scratching my head, here.
Sure, there are do-nothing bishops. There are also crooked pastors, but that doesn't mean we should become priestless Old Believers.
#17 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-11-08 11:45
Perhaps Ba'ab has not given up on real Holy Apostolic Tradition, but rather the trappings and traditions of the imperial period which are neither Holy nor Apostolic.
If we truly want to share the Orthodox Christian Faith in North Americal, we need to discard the trappings, pretentious titles, and false ecclesiological constructs of the imperial period.
#18 Anonymous on 2009-11-09 06:12
If the Synod votes that he should. That would PROBABLY happen....but I want to see it....
#19 Antionymous on 2009-11-09 06:33
Ba ab and Chris,
How can you two individuals consider yourself Orthodox Christian when you make fun of what is in place for people with a collar. I love the "hats" as you call them, I love the way they dress because I do see dignity, I do see respect to the Lord, I do see a true clergyman, I do see someone who laid aside earthly cares for Christ, because believe me, I guarantee a few of these priests miss wearing other cloths. But this is part of the the Holy Orthodox faith.
It keeps people in order, it shows unity amongst the brotherhood of clergy. It distinguishes laymen from clergy.
Yes, it could be called tradition, but if you are so unwillingly not "liking" it then you can always watch televangelist Benny Hinn who was born Orthodox but sold out for the cash flow.
Do what you wish but do not criticize our beloved faith by your ignorance in understanding it.
I don't even understand it completely, but you know what...I embrace it because it embraces me...hats or no hats..
#20 Again? on 2009-11-09 10:53
Father Patrick's comments, heretofore, have been fairly balanced and reasonable. However, this 'get out of Dodge" type of answer is astounding.
Mark: Are you SURE this one was really from Fr Reardon? It seems more harsh than we've come to expect from him.
(Editor's note: Yes, it was from Fr. Reardon.)
#21 YetOneMoreAnonymousCommentator on 2009-11-09 11:36
I think that if you all think you are doing a good thing, I'm here to tell you that you aren't. We love Fr. Antypas and Fr Ayman.
Trying to take them from us because you have a hidden agenda is obsene. Its hurtful and vindictive. If you can prove something, it would be one thing but hiding and writting anonomously is because you are a poison pen and want to spread poison like a serpent. If you don't want to be a good follower of Christ then leave us alone and go on your way to find another place to poison. If you remove Fr Antypas and Fr Ayman you will kill the church. I for one will find another church to call home, thou it would kill me not to see our beloved St George again.
Think and stop being evil and selfish. Others don't feel lke you do.
(editor's note: While I appreciate your love for your parish priests, I must strongly object to your allegation there is a "hidden agenda" here. The Treasurer of the parish has raised serious questions. He has not recieved answers - so if there is something being hidden here, it is not an agenda, but the facts. Mr. Samra has asked for a full, external, independent audit. That is surely a reasonable request given the magnitude of the facts he has already uncovered ( forged checks, etc...) I would suggest rather than attacking those who ask questions, you consider euqally why those who fail to answer continue to do so. This could all be resolved quickly - and it is not Mr. Samra who is holding up progress in these matters.)
#22 Najwa Bournias on 2009-11-11 20:10
Ba ab and Chris are correct in pointing out the absurdity of hats, staffs and whatever other garments our clergy have accumulated over the past two thousand years within a certain context. I know based on the testimony of Christ Himself that whatever externals being relied upon for the demonstration or proof of piety are routinely condemned as useless if they are mere whitewash upon a sepulchre.
I do not think they would have an issue with these externals if they believed integrity and humility were being adorned. This is for us Orthodox a never ending struggle is it not?
#23 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-11-13 12:28
Interesting cover photo on the November Word Magazine I received in the mail today. A stern, even angry looking Metropolitan Philip is glaring from the podium at the National Convention.
My guess is that he must have just caught a glimpse of someone he thought was Mark Stokoe entering the auditorium?
#24 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-11-20 08:54
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