Friday, October 22. 2010
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I read Mark's entire article and a few things struck me: First, I have never met +Mark, but I understand that people always crave stability. Anytime there is a transfer, even under positive circumstances, there is a certain level of trauma involved. +Mark walked into instability and now if he is transfereed the incoming bishop is going to have to deal with it twice-over. Not a good situation. +Mark seems like a capable shepherd and he should not be removed at anyone's whim. Secondly, the financial issues our country is facing are quite real. Couple this with a lack of finanical transparency and there are sure problems ahead. I was in an Antiochian parish for about five years that required a financial audit every two years. It was amazing how much confidence the people of that parish had in their parish leaderes, both the priest and the council. It's just a very good idea for every organization. Finally, as I've mentioned before, Met. Philip is mortal. His presence as primate is very fragile and temporary. For those who disagree with him, time will deal with the issue soon enough. For those who support him, time casts its shadow as well. And for a double "Finally", I want to thank Mark for being such a great editor. I truly enjoy and am fascinated by the entries on this site each week.
#1 Sean O'Clare on 2010-10-22 09:43
Our father in God, Bishop Mark teaches the Orthodox Faith and Orthodox ecclesiology. With all respect, Metropolitan Philip does not teach Orthodox eccelesiology. I stand in the Orthodox Faith, therefore I stand with Bishop Mark. May Panagia guard and protect him, give him long life, and preserve him as our Bishop!
I just want to congratulate you and the rest of the Russian Church members for the great addition that they will receive soon, and that is Bishop Mark. Congratulations and good for the Midwest as it may grow now.
(Editor's note: You have us confused with our cousins. Moreover, I wouldn't count my chickens before they hatch, so to speak.)
#3 Zakzak on 2010-10-22 11:50
Bishop Mark of Toledo and the Midwest, has conducted himself ethically. .... The metropolitan does not appear to very coherent lately as evidenced by his sometimes confused responses during the recent interview on AFR. .... His actions are taking the "self-ruled" church backwards both in maturity and in health. That he is undoing so much of what he worked to put into place is puzzling, disheartening, and alarming. I fear that all this isn't saying much for our other bishops, either.
#4 MWP on 2010-10-22 12:29
+Mark's forced departure is only the tip of the iceberg.
It ain't over till it's over and even when it's over it may not be over. There are always possibilities.
The deceitful machinations of the most cunning have a way of coming back to eventually bite the initiator and his accomplices.
Ah yes, time wounds all heels.
#5 Priest Dunsel on 2010-10-22 12:31
If there are any attendees that wish to update us on the meetings, please feel free..
#6 Delegate #1 on 2010-10-22 14:26
MP: "...I will do that not out of vindictiveness, God forbid. I will transfer him for the well-being of this archdiocese.”
Obviously this great show of restraint and Christian virtue only applies to Bishops - sorry Fr. Herbel, Ben Lomond, and many other priests too numerous to list.
#7 Delegate #1 on 2010-10-22 14:30
Bishop Mark was placed into a situation where he could never be successful, the former Toledo Diocese. Not being an Arab has made it impossible for him to get the support that he truly needs to completely administer that diocese. He is a wonderful man that just should never have been placed in that diocese.
As I recall, the people of the diocese accepted him as their diocesan bishop after he was elevated to the episcopacy, but he was never elected to the midwest diocese in a manner similar to the OCA's election of a new bishop. He was, quite frankly, appointed to that diocese by Metropolitan Phillip. Perhaps if the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America wishes to truly be autonomous, they should actually allow the people living the respective dioceses vote for the person they feel should be the next diocesan bishop.
I was in Pittsburgh when the votes were taken for Bishop Mark and had almost no competition. The pickings were frankly pathetic and this is the tragic result. I think Bishop Mark would make an excellent bishop under different circumstances and a different location, but in the former Toledo diocese, forget it.
And if he is moved, who will take his place? Even if they do something like leave it vacant for a little while and try to find another candidate, there aren't a whole lot in the Antiochian Archdiocese to choose from.
The stacked deck approach to separate dioceses in the Antiochian Archdiocese has backfired and it appears that it will not get better any time soon unless the hierarchy admit the flaws and weaknesses in the current system and work to rectify them.
#8 Antiochian Priest on 2010-10-22 14:53
May God protect BP MARK yeah we do not want his harm. However, he is done with the archdiocese. And by the way, if there is a mistake that MT PHILIP did in the past, it is ordaining BP MARK as a bishop.
AS for Mr. Mark the editor, I would like to say I'm impressed with your recent openness to the other opinion. Trust me the only one that will hatch is Bishop MARK and his few close-minded fellows...
#9 Fr. P on 2010-10-22 15:08
I know that Bp. Mark's departure from the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest would be, on a personal level, disappointing for me. I have found him to be a good, capable, and decent man with a real heart for the Orthodox Faith. During my tenure at St. Elias in LaCrosse, WI, I found his care for that small but rapidly improving parish to be exemplary.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Paul, MN
Let just one man or woman stand up at this meeting and act the saint and denounce this Herod. Of course you might lose your position...doubtful you would end up losing your head?....
#11 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-10-22 16:06
Following is a letter which I sent to Met. PHILIP and to Bishops BASIL, THOMAS, JOSEPH, ALEXANDER and ANTOUN Oct. 21.
"I am Immediate Past President, 2005-2009, of Midwest Antiochian Women. Also as Public Relations Director of the North American Board of Antiochian Women, I am editor of the NAB newsletter, the DIAKONIA.
"I am writing in support of His Grace Bishop MARK of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest.
"Following his enthronement I was at the very first service where he presided as Bishop, held at St. George Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio. Since then I have attended many services with him including morning prayers at St. Elias Church, Sylvania, Ohio which is adjacent to Toledo; morning prayers are held there Tuesday through Friday.
"In 2005 I was elected president of Midwest Antiochian Women and since that time I have enjoyed working with him.
"At His Grace's request, in 2006 I started an annual spring retreat for Midwest Women (held at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan). We have had five weekends retreats since then; our 2010 speaker was Mother Abbess Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village. Other speakers have included Fr. John Abdalah, NAB spiritual director and The Word editor, and Joy Corey, author, of the Antiochian Church. Fifty or more women from the Midwest attend these retreats.
"At our Midwest Parish Life Conference in July 2010 in Toledo we had 34 women attend our meeting and 84 attend our luncheon!
"Also, I have served on the Midwest Missions Commitee and attended meetings at the Chancery and at parish life conferences. Midwest Antiochian Women have donated thousands of dollars to the mission fund to help these 11 new parishes.
"His Grace assisted me when I started a spiritual study group at my parish one year ago; we meet monthly and also have an annual retreat (women from other jurisdictions also attend).
"In the event that His Grace leaves the Midwest I myself would be very disappointed and unhappy; I know that many, many others also would be. There is a wonderful momentum of development in the Church going on in the Midwest, there is much work being accomplished here.
"I believe His Grace Bishop MARK to be a holy man, and I am blessed to be able to know him and to work with him."
#12 Roberta Royhab on 2010-10-22 19:50
Ah, an involuntary transfer! Just like the one Bishop Mark wnted to force on Fr. Isaac Henke of Fort Wayne! You know, the one where he demanded he uproot his family and move to Northern Wisconsin on pain of deposition. It's unfortunate that it's now happening to him, but really, here Bishop Mark is only reaping what he sowed.
#13 Anonymous on 2010-10-23 01:31
I have gotten to know Bishop Mark during the past three or four years, and I love and respect him. In all his efforts to improve the Diocese, he has been undermined over and over again by priests aligned with the Metropolitan and his supporters. I believe that the Churches in the Midwest will suffer greatly if he is removed. But we are dealing with a dictator who sees things in only one way, His way, and I believe His will be done. What a shameful situation.
This kind of controversy is damaging the Church, especially when personal loyalties are put above the best interests of the people of the midwest.
#14 anon on 2010-10-23 07:57
#15 Anonymous on 2010-10-23 12:28
Yes, we're all checking our computers today off and on, anxiously awaiting word from the meetings, which should be concluded by now. The other shoe is about to drop, for the 10th time at least, and we want to know ASAP how much more turmoil our Archdiocese will be in for and for how long. We are growing very weary of this mess, and we all want peace returned to God's Holy Church.
God bless Bishop MARK - AXIOS, AXIOS, AXIOS!
Do you even know about Ben Lomond?...apparently not. Ben Lomond was not a possitive situation for anyone, especially THIS archdiocese.
#17 Happy on 2010-10-23 14:27
Under orders from Met P. Bp Mark tried to work thiungs out. Fr Henke was deprived of severance pay, I recall. Think the Judge ruled in his favor.
#13 you are very correct as ALL others above. Wish we cdould transfer thye Met. to his beloved Old Country as AUXILIARY to his Patriarch. Bring good $$$chk along,too!
#18 Anonymous Priest on 2010-10-23 15:56
Thank God Metropolitan Philip has removed Mark from this diocese. He never tried to endear himself to the parishes that could have supported him. He was always antagonistic to the Arab churches and never tried to work with those clergy. He had many opportunities and failed on all accounts. He could've had a successful tenure here if only he tried to reach those churches and not align himself with the converts and "Americanized". I'm not saying he should alienate those peoples , but to be successful in the Midwest means to have the Arab clergy and laity too. This is something that he couldn't understand.
#19 Anonymous on 2010-10-23 17:34
You ask who will take his place and that our archdiocese does not have much to choose from? Think again. We will have few from overseas come and replace him or bring Dimitri.
#20 Anonymous on 2010-10-23 17:55
Fr.P (very interesting name for a priest)Metropolitan Philip,who is an old friend going back to 1963,DID NOT ordain +Mark.That would have been uncanonical as in the Orthodox church it takes two or more bishops to Consecrate a bishop.Bishops are not ordained but Consecrated.May I make a suggestion and tell you to go back to the seminary(if you went to a seminary) and ask for your money back as you did not learn a very basic consept of Orthodox Eclessiology.In Christ,V.Rev.Dragan Filipovic
#21 V.Rev.Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Dragan Filipovic on 2010-10-23 18:08
Dear Kevin,I would rather loose my head than my sou,as I am sure you would too !!!!!!!!! In Christ,Father Dragan
#22 V.Rev.protopresbyter-Stavrophor dragan Filipovic on 2010-10-23 18:18
And thanks be to God His judgments and pure consuming love will eventually heal (now or in the aeons to come) all who wound, even Bishops. If you can believe St. Gregory of Nyssa.
#23 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-10-23 18:23
Nothing like kicking a man when he is down,thus showing the real depth of your Orthodox faith.It might surprise you that His Grace Bishop Mark did only what he was told to do by Metropolitan Philip.It might help you in the future to get your facts right before making an a_s of yourself even though you are afraid or ashamed to sign your christian name.Anyway, may God forgive your vindictivness.In Christ,Father Dragan Filipovic ( my real name-no fear or shame here!)
#24 V.Rev.Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Dragan Filipovic on 2010-10-23 18:30
Don't you know who was really pulling the string behind that one? Think about it....
#25 Antionymous on 2010-10-23 18:55
Initially, Bp. Mark tried to mediate the problems between Fr. Henke and certain powerful and influencial parishioners. He gave sound advice to Fr. Henke which was rejected. In the end Metropolitan Philip ordered that Isaac be deposed. As was often the case during the paper diocesan structure, the metropolitan's will prevailed.
#26 Someone in the know on 2010-10-23 20:23
Mark will be going to the OCA....his services are no longer needed in the midwest. let him go there to destroy what others have built.
#27 Anonymous on 2010-10-24 04:36
I am very saddened at even the thought of Bishop Mark leaving and pray whatever truths there are to be learned come to light and pray there is a change of heart in those involved.
#28 Carol Yonov on 2010-10-24 13:24
1) I have never totally understood what happened with the Henke matter (and it is perhaps worth noting that he was laicized and excommunicated, as published in The Word, and that he is now serving a schismatic ROAC community). I have been told that whatever Bp. MARK may have wanted to see happen, things had deteriorated between Henke and a chunk of his parish enough that he felt he had no other choice but to reassign the man to give everybody a clean start, but it's also been suggested to me that Henke's supporters were behaving in a manner just as unacceptable as that of his detractors. What I've also been told is that the Henke situation was one that existed before Bp. MARK had anything to do with it, and that there wasn't anything to do by the time he got involved except try to clean up the mess. Given other cases with which I am familiar, it certainly does seem that clergy assignments appear to have been a consistent thorn in Bp. MARK's side, and unfortunately so.
2) Bp. MARK has been a wonderful spiritual father to our parish in Bloomington. For our hodgepodge of a community, made up of a little bit of everybody and concentrated generally on the middle-to-lower end of the economic spectrum, he has been nothing but well-loved. It is unfortunate that he has not been received as well in other parts of his vineyard. Perhaps the characteristics of the parishes in the diocese are simply at opposite extremes and are not going to be easily navigable no matter what.
3) I agree, whatever I may think of either situation discussed above, that perhaps Bp. MARK is now in a situation where, even if he wins, he loses, much as appears to have been the case with Henke. Again, this is terribly unfortunate.
Lord have mercy on all of us.
Sean, just to let you know (re #1) I've been told since I first became Orthodox in 1987 that I should not worry about Met. Philip as he would be dead soon. I've begun to think he might be correct in his statement and the convention that he would decide when he dies.
Simply waiting in apathy is neither a charitable nor Chrisitan response to Met. Philip or good for our own souls. God demands the truth from us and indeed learning the truth about ourselves is integral to our salvation.
If we love Met. Philip, or the Church we must insist upon the truth--the truth of our finances, the truth of our 'autonomy' and the truth of the authority of our bishops (do we have a local synod or just a bunch of glorified puppets)?
One of the prime functions of any bishop is to rightly divide the word of truth. We should hunger and thirst for that truth to be delivered; praying fervently that our Our Lord God and Savior will bless Met. Philip abundantly with the truth and the strength to carry out the truth so that we may all be free. We must also pray for each other that we have the humility to receive the truth.
For me it is simple, We need the truth about our money. Jesus will ask an accounting of all the talents He has given us. Are we to do less while we watch and pray for His return?
We need not, indeed should not, be vengeful, fearful or spiteful in our prayers and our requests but we must be heart-felt and persistent.
O Lord, send down your Holy Spirit upon your servant, Met. Philip, and our other bishops.
Clearly reveal your will for +Mark and for your Archdiocese in North America that no man may stand in your way. O Lord reveal to all of us the truth of the financial resources you have blessed us with so that we might become better stewards of your wealth. Humble us as we need to be humbled, strengthen us as we need to be strengthened, embolden us and empower is with your love, mercy and wisdom. Through the intercessions of the Blessed Theotokos and St. Raphael of Brooklyn, we ask this O Lord and thank you for your grace.
#30 Michael Bauman on 2010-10-24 15:19
I was reading the October issue of The WORD Magazine, hoping to gain some more insights into exactly what was reported by MP at the Synod Meeting in August. The initial reports only said he gave a report on our Archdiocese, but the same thing was reported in the magazine article.
The curious thing is that there were no details as to what he said and the accuracy of his report. We all know that Bishop JOSEPH was also in attendance, the reason still unknown, but was he given an opportunity to speak to the report, giving additional or different details, or was the word of MP, who isn't sure what side of the fence he will be on each day, just taken at face value? What was the purpose of Bishop JOSEPH being there if he was not called upon to speak or to verify the report given by MP. He may as well have stayed home. Without more specific minutes, we don't know what was said, and how truthful it all was.
Once again, the Patriarch and the Holy Synod have taken the word of one man, a man who has caused so much trauma in our Archdiocese, without a thought to anyone else. Could they not have asked specific questions and checked out his statements to be sure he was giving them an accurate report of our status? We all know his word is not dependable, and yet who do we turn to? There is no one to help us, no one who can overturn his deeds and help us to make things right, holy and whole again in our Archdiocese.
Expect to see some amazing events in the very near future in the AOAANA. Damascus is not sleeping and decisions have been made. Hope has been offered to save a man once praised for holy action and good intentions, now sadly diminshed by age, poor judgment and pride. Who will leave Englewood? Who will move in? With the departure of Bishop Mark decisions are being pushed to a more drastic concluson. The repercusions of his mistreatment will be as the falling of a small stone that starts an avalanche.
#32 A Nony Mouse on 2010-10-25 04:29
You know, of course. You're absolutely right -- I'm just trying to remember exactly where saints like Chrysostom stress the importance of bishops endearing themselves to the powerful. I know it's got to be in there somewhere, given how that's what people like yourself are pointing to Bp. MARK as evidently not doing. Surely somebody can refresh my memory with where the fathers talk about it being of primary importance for bishops to suck up to the rich and self-important?
#33 rex vexans on 2010-10-25 07:49
"if only he tried to reach those [Arab] churches and not align himself with the converts and "Americanized" ...
How long do people intend to hang their hat on Arabism? Unless you plan on forcibly preventing out-marriage, the entire Archdiocese will be convert and "Americanized" within the next two generations.
#34 Doug on 2010-10-25 17:24
Bishops are ordained. There is no distinction in Greek between ordination and consecration--that is a borrowing from Latin terminology.
#35 Interesting Name on 2010-10-26 07:57
I have been in the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Orthodox Church for about eleven months and have been extremely saddened by the decsions that have come from our leadership. I may be taking my family to another jurisdiction.
#36 Michael on 2010-10-27 08:38
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