Wednesday, November 10. 2010
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For those of you who have repeatedly made excuses for Metropolitan Philip, I hope this gets your attention.
#1 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-10 16:16
..... I never thought I would live to see such a wolf in sheep’s clothing!!! Shame on Philip, Shame on his birth, Shame on everything he believes in and most of all Shame on those who permit this wild man to act the way he does! Cowards and more than Cowards seem to exist among the clergy of Philip! !!!! But the Laity under that wolf shall give the Orthodox World …COURAGE AND HOPE because their strength comes directly from the Lord Jesus Christ! May the Grace of the Holy Spirit strengthen the humble laity during these awful and sinful days! So Sad!!! But so happy to know that JESUS CHRIST WILL WIN!!!!!!!!
#2 fr theodore on 2010-11-10 17:07
+PHILLIP once related the story of how he explained to Damascus why he allowed the debacle of the Mary Gwyn McDowell’s article, “The Newness of the Spirit: the ordination of men and women” to be published in WORD magazine (The WORD, Volume 48, No. 5, May 2004). He said his words (loosely quoted) to them were “You must understand: in America we have freedom of speech. We do not have censorship here.”
How wonderfully open-minded, tolerant…and (it comes as no surprise) hypocritical in the extreme.
Fr. Elias’s comments on this site were the wisest, most beautiful, loving, compassionate, and grace-filled words I have heard in many months. He is blessed with true spiritual freedom while others are slaves to fear. He spoke words of truth that resonate within the hearts of everyone who knows the true Shepherd of the sheep, those who know His voice and will not follow a stranger.
What will it take? How far are we willing to let this madness go?....
I have been extremely hesitant to say this, and I do not say it lightly, but it is time: ANAXIOS!
#3 Brian Van Sickle on 2010-11-10 17:08
Hmmm. Hope he doesn't start de-tonsuring readers for posting
#4 Reader Mo on 2010-11-10 17:11
My heart breaks for him. Lord, have mercy upon your servant.
I really think that's just about the last straw. I love my parish, I love my friends. But that's just the last straw.
Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance!!!
#5 Mary Brigid on 2010-11-10 17:28
I'm active on discussion forums that have absolutely nothing to do with Orthodoxy. People know I'm Orthodox and will ask for a parish/jurisdiction recommendation. I'd been sending people to either OCA or Antiochian parishes, depending on what was available in their area (I'm OCA). I will no longer send anyone anywhere near an Antiochian parish. Period. I'll send someone to the Greeks if I have to (which I prefer not to, due to personal experience with heavy-handed ethnicity and language issues). People who know me will be shocked to hear me saying I'd send someone to a Greek parish before I'll send them to the Antiochians.
I hope others concerned about Fr. David Moretti and Fr. Elias Yelosvich are putting their money where their mouth is.
#6 Michele Hagerman on 2010-11-10 17:44
Shame on Fr. Pier & Bishop Thomas, but I guess they were just following orders -I wonder if that will be a good excuse at the dread judgment seat of Christ
"He cried in a whisper - he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath —"The horror! The horror!"– Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
(Editor's note: It wasn't even sufficient at Nuremburg, and that was 65 years ago. One doubts it will be sufficient before the throne of God either.)
#7 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-10 17:48
The people who can tell you of the real tragedy of this dismissal have no voice on the Internet. They are the homeless population who live outside our Mission. I saw them just tonight and they were again asking when "the Reverend", as they call him, will be back. When told he is not coming back they weep and they say that they love him. I know this is true. Why do they love him? Because he has been a force of love in their lives every moment he encounters them in and outside the Church. He prays with them and never dismisses them as unimportant or invisible. He makes them supper and coffee and he cleans up their excrement when they have accidents. He gives from his own pockets to make sure they have food, water, heat, medical care, whatever they need. He teaches Christ through action and word. He does this in humility, never feeling that what is provided is enough. He is equally as tireless working for the Parishioners and for his family. To worship and work with this Priest is to see the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Time and time again, we have experienced this in our little Mission. May God grant that we can worship together again soon.
#8 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 17:54
Fear not, the Metr. is finished! He may have many cower beneath him for their own pers. security! Before other Bishops of N. America they will greet, listen to his positions - BUT they KNOW what he is like.
As a seminarian who was "asked" to help on the Metr. mansion and grounds, without renumeration, but being reminded our seminary tuition pid by - WHO ELSE! As if the funds came directly from his pockets rather than the good LAITY by their gifts to the Church!
Many yet to GO. Yes, a true tyrant. What an EXAMPLE of love. Read Mt. 25 Your Eminence!!
#9 Anonymous Mid West DIOCESE Priest on 2010-11-10 18:10
It is time for us to have a count on the top of this website to show how many innocent clergy members have been removed due to the pathetic reasons published by the dictatorship.
#10 Mary on 2010-11-10 18:15
This priest is clearing a loving and pastoral man. BUT, the content his posts bring into serious question if he should be allowed to continue in parish work. He is a pastoral soul, with a great capacity to love others, but if people will read what has been going on in his parish, I think that Metropolitan Philip had no choice. I'd like to see His Eminence take him under spiritual care, and eventually find him some priestly duty, but NOT in charge of a parish. Your Eminence, well done!
#11 no name on 2010-11-10 18:24
There's still somthing of the Lutheran left in Fr Elias - thank God!
#12 Anthony on 2010-11-10 18:26
Comment removed at author's request.
#13 Fr. Richard Rene on 2010-11-10 18:33
Fr. Elias, you have shown us a great example of courage and integrity, and now you are suffering for it. May we be worthy of you and may your sacrifice not be for naught.
#14 Antionymous on 2010-11-10 18:35
Attempts to justify many atrocities have been prefaced by the declaration: “I was only following orders.”
In this particular instance the collaboration and acquiescence of Fr. Pier and Bp. Thomas is as offensive as any action to date. ... While only God knows the inner heart of man, accordingly He will judge each person by their moral choices.
#15 A former peer on 2010-11-10 18:45
"Let his days be few and let another office take his office."
Why is ANYONE still in the AOANA other than ethnic loyalties? From another guy would be called a "fundamentalist":
“Let these offenses, introduced by Ecumenical Patriarchs Sergius, Pyrrhus and Paul into the Church, be removed; let those who have introduced them be deposed; and then the path to salvation will be cleared of all barriers, and you will walk on the smooth path of the Gospel, cleansed of all heresy! When I see the Church of Constantinople as she was formerly, then I will enter into communion with her without any exhortation on the part of men. But while there are heretical temptations in her, and while heretics are her bishops, no word or deed will convince me ever to enter into communion with her.”
If St. Maximos the Confessor could take such a stand, so can You!
#16 VSO on 2010-11-10 18:47
Come, people, it's time.
Bishop Mark might have may have escaped and so missed his chance, but Fr Elias is now suspended--and unless he chooses to die first, Philip will not let him escape with his priesthood. That might be the chance. For what, you ask? Well, for these four words:
I APPEAL TO CONSTANTINOPLE.
You know who loves a fight? The EP. You know who loves to win a pissing contest? The EP. Philip might think that he can win that one, but he'd be wrong. Ask the mighty Moscow Patriarchate how is Basil Osborne these days.
Come on, someone, unleash the toughest, meanest bully of all on the petty bully of Englewood. You know they've been itching to get to him ever since that whole Palestinian Vicariate episode.
It's sad it has to boil down to this, but at least when the bishops are fighting their turf wars against each other, the Christian people can live in peace. Better that they are busy scheming against each other than against you.
Can you imagine if any one set of these guys were the only and unappealable game in town? We'd all be toast. Very non-ecclesiological of me, I know, but so very true.
#17 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 18:54
Post Deleted At Author's Request
#18 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 19:24
Shame on you.
Fr Yousuf Rassam
#19 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 19:26
Good idea. Let's have a letter writing campaign! The address is:
Rum Patrikhanesi, 342 20 Fener-Halic, Istanbul.
This wouldn't be the first lay movement to change the Church.
Be sure to include that the Synod of Antioch is of no help, and actually enables this vicious tyrant.
#20 Cordelia on 2010-11-10 19:30
Thank you for the words you wrote on this site. They were very moving, and will long be remembered. The fact that you are the latest victim of this absurd and diseased game puts you in Good Company. May God continue to bless you and those you love. We will pray for your parishioners and for all of those to whom you have ministered.
Anonymous because I love my own priest.
#21 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 19:36
This sad tale regarding Fr. Elias has much more to it than what has been posted on this website. His recent postings on OCA News were likely simply the final straw in a much larger bundle.
While it is true that Fr. Elias is probably a very well-meaning man, there has been some serious spiritual dysfunction going on under his care.
One of the most obvious examples is his proclamation of a mentally disturbed parishioner as a "prophet," whom he not only makes his parish council chairman, but then goes on to declare him as his "spiritual father" and "confessor"! On top of all that, this supposed "prophet" is not even in communion with the Church.
He also obsessed about supposed "miracles," exorcisms, etc., that he had performed, going on about them with great pride all over his deanery and keeping a detailed record of his supernatural accomplishments.
It has been well known throughout the deanery that something was very much amiss with this priest for a good amount of time. This latest episode was only what finally forced action on the part of the episcopacy after many attempts to bring him to repentance.
What is sad is that an instance of genuinely needed discipline like this is being interpreted solely as an action by a supposedly tyrannical Metropolitan. Yet this was what it was: a disciplinary action by the local bishop of a wayward priest.
And now that bishop and his senior clergy are being compared by the website to Nazis at Nuremberg!
#22 Abd'al-MasiH on 2010-11-10 19:57
Care to enumerate WHAT exactly has been going on that would warrant such drastic action by His Eminence? With no warning, no counsel, no discussion?
As a parent of 4, I know that to treat my children thus would be seriously to alienate them.
The mission has had its bumps in the road to be sure, but the good that is done there far outweighs the struggles. If this was not the opinion of + PHILLIP, then surely a more measured approach would have born more fruit. As it stands, one wonders who will be able to trust His Eminence and the AOC "Auxilliary" Bishops again. He has injured more than he knows.
#23 why no name? on 2010-11-10 19:57
Mark (The Editor): I noticed when opening the comments page that there is a virus embedded on it from xxxxxxxxxx. It wasn't there yesterday. (I run linux so I'm fairly immune but still, I hope people notice)
(Editor's note: We hope we have corrected the infection. Someone doesn't like people commenting....)
#24 Demi on 2010-11-10 19:57
I wholeheartedly agree with metropolitan Philip. If these clergymen show no respect to those directives, then itsntime for dismissal. Dojt let the door hit you on your way out fr.
#25 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 20:02
What is a reliable way to help these priests?
(Editor's note: Send help in care of their former parishes.)
#26 Anon on 2010-11-10 20:19
First bishops, then priests, and now the parish council chair. Moving down the food chain, I see.... Who's next, the catechumens?
#27 Makarios on 2010-11-10 20:23
And the purge marches on; a horrible, painful distraction.
Let's not forget an independent audit of Englewood is needed. We may never know why finances are being hidden, but getting light on them is even more important now that all all trust has been broken and people are being hurt.
#28 MichaelPatrick on 2010-11-10 20:26
So everyone has an opinion, valid thoughts and plans. What are we to do? How do we release this man of his post? How do we get him to leave the bench? He is like a dirty judge on the surpreme court with many in his pocket. He has placed people where they don't belong, given them authority where they have no right to vote. He taketh and he giveth. What are we, parishoners to do? How do we take our churches back to where they once were before the tyranny of Met. Phillip? How do we tell him that ...it's way before sundown and it is time for him to step down before he takes us all with him? What do we do, please, give us answers, someone, anyone, hear our prayer!
#29 LB on 2010-11-10 20:36
When the water buffalo fight it is the frogs that suffer. Old Greek saying
#30 constantine v on 2010-11-10 20:59
Another shoe just dropped today, and more steam and disgust spews from our bodies. Is MP going to dismiss every clergyman who posts news and uses his name? Or does he have spies around finding out what everyone is doing? This must end now.
I re-read the two articles by Fr. Elias. I had already read them when they were first posted. Gee, MP didn't take very long. 2 days after the second post, Fr. Elias was on his .... list already. But then Bishops shouldn't have good and bad lists, if they truly are loving fathers and worship God, not themselves.
These two articles were so beautifully written, with such respect and love. You were very kind, Fr. Elias. I would not have been so kind. You were sharing your ministry and your faith and your experiences with everyone, and not a mean word came out in either of your articles. You have that faith of simplicity and joy, something which brings you great rewards, and you only expect others to share in that simple faith as you follow the True Shepherd, GOD, who loves us no matter what we do. You have chosen not to follow MP, thank God for that. You have chosen to stick by your words, not to take them back, which you don't have to because everything you said was true. You have chosen to accept the punishment, even though it has no authenticity and is not acceptable to the rest of us. I'm sorry you have been removed and suspended, but I'm not sorry you made the right choice, as we all know this is what it takes to stand up to that monster in Englewood. I don't know if you have a family or other responsibilities, but everyone needs to back Fr. Elias now and help him financially until he finds other "secular employment." It seems our clergy, more and more, will be pulling off their collars and entering the secular world of jobs, but sometimes that is what it takes to make changes happen, and change is what we need right now.
To Bishop Thomas - if you were that upset and couldn't talk to Fr. Elias right away, where is your conscience? How can you sit back and allow MP to do these evil deeds, one right after another, and do nothing about it? You have no business being the "locum temens" for one diocese and the Bishop of another. You have allowed yourself to be put into a very stressful and unholy situation. You should contact MP immediately and surrender your "locum temens". You obviously have enough to worry about in your own diocese - how can you manage both right now and until next summer?
To Bishop Joseph - I realize you are very busy right now on your pilgrimage to the Middle East, where you are visiting many members of the Synod in Syria and Lebanon. What do you say about this? Will you be the next Bishop to get a call from MP, telling him you have to suspend one of your priests in your Diocese, and will you follow thru? Or will you have the courage you have been lacking so far to say no, I won't suspend anyone. I hope you are sharing with these great synod members the truth about the most recent happenings, tragedies, played out here in our Archdiocese.
I was so shocked to see the lack of support for Bishop MARK from Bishop Thomas and Bishop Joseph. They are supposed to be brothers in Christ, and is this how they treat their brother?
To Bishop BASIL and Bishop ALEXANDER - you are our real hope, and you were the only two who stood by and defended Bishop MARK. Please come forward and say something. We have heard nothing from either of you since Bishop MARK got the axe, and now we have lost 2 good clergy, and we hear there is more to come. Please stand up and do the right thing.
SEND YOUR MONEY TO THESE CLERGY WHO NEED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE RIGHT NOW. THEY ARE VERY STRONG IN THEIR CONVICTIONS AND DESERVE OUR SUPPORT.
ANAXIOS ONCE AGAIN TO MP....
WHAT ARE YOU HIDING??????????????????????????????????????
At the end of Fr Elias' comment from 27 October, Mark Stokoe, the editor of this website, wrote the following: "[I]f anyone ever wondered why we have comments, it is because amidst all the fun, and clutter, and ocassional name-calling, and information, and opinions, all valid ( 'cept the name-calling) one gets a cry from the heart, that is so authentic it makes one stop and look again. This is one of those. My thanks, Father."
Mark acknowledged Fr Elias' cry from the heart!! And now, with this despicable act, +Philip shows us, once again, that he has no heart at all!!!
#32 David Barrett on 2010-11-10 21:29
I'm curious, why would you say he is not fit to continue in pastoral work??
#33 Brian on 2010-11-10 21:34
I live in Maryland, and while I do not not attend this parish or the AOANA, this effects us all. This is terrible news. Praying.
#34 Brian on 2010-11-10 21:37
It seems as if +Philip missed his true calling to be a machine politician. I can certainly see him running Chicago ! Apparently he is a believer in the Gospel of Machiaveli, which states;
"Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with."
I pray for my Fr. Elias and my friends in the AOCA that this is resolved as quickly as possible. They are real examples of our faith and a denial of the world.
#35 Rdr. Rick Wagner on 2010-11-10 22:14
Here is the hit list:
1. Fr. Oliver Herbel
2. Bishop Mark
3. Fr. David Moretti
4. Fr. Paul Albert
5. Fr. Elias Yelovich
Bishop Basil, have you no words of protest?
Are you happy to sit back as secretary of the EA?
Didn't someone tell you that Chambesy is closing because of the Greek economic meltdown?
There won't be any money to fund all the committee work that needs to be done. And now SCOBA is no more.
Meanwhile, madmen run the archdiocese into the ground and the work is implemented by episcopal "leaders" who failed seminary.
#36 Iskandra Tannous on 2010-11-10 22:53
I read the full comments of Fr. Elias and I hear two things: a man who could have better used the council of his bishop and a man who is making the mistake of actually believing the Gospel. The first of these failings falls upon Bishop Thomas. The second falls upon MP ... because it is for this that Fr. Elias is condemned by him. I can say no more on this as it tears my heart.
If there is no primary First Rome, Second Rome, nor Third as these are not in the Bible as MP says, so also there is no Metropolitan Marriage that is other than a bishop married to his diocese. That nonsense may be tradition but it is not HOLY TRADITION. If MP has no money and therefore owes no taxes, how is the money his until he chooses to die? This is self-contradiction. Rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's is not only the law of this land but the duty of Christians. Who does not hate heavy tax burdens? But we are not talking about the poor or middle class for poverty is only a memory for MP - he has said rightly he bears no tax burden. We are talking about a worldly prince living in a mansion and firing God's servants as if he was Donald Trump on a bad hair day.
One thing is needful here. MP should today give all his money to the poor and seek out a monastery where he may yet be restored to his right mind. I do not mean this as a punishment. God forbid we put him under condemnation, though he persecutes his children in Christ. Our Lord said each child's angel bear witness before the throne of heaven ... but no word is borne up to our Lord speaking the name of abusers. It is not spoken in heaven. I do not curse abusers but I recall that God is light and in Him is no darkness. There is no place with our Lord for abusers and deniers of the Gospel so the urgency of repentance should come home to every man, lest we come before Him and He say to us, "Depart from me, for I do not know you".
I have a serious concern for the man who is MP's confessor. Where is the pastoral counsel that would not warn of the millstone? Living like lords is the curse of the episcopate and its destruction. Monastic vows? Not hundreds of millions but only millions of dollars and he will do with them as he pleases now and when he dies. The astounding arrogance should be a warning to us all to see to our own repentance. Pray for him, brothers and sisters. Pray for me, a sinner.
#37 Monologistos on 2010-11-10 23:12
Who's next? Which priest will it be next week?
The courageous and holy ones will offer themselves up first for crucifixion and cry, "I AM SPARTACUS!!"
#38 Stu on 2010-11-10 23:35
All the humble, saintlike & martyric activity appears to be on one side of this situation. May God bless Fr. Elias for his inspirational epistles & Christlike sacrifices.
#39 Rdr. Stephen Schumacher on 2010-11-10 23:36
You don't get it. He was not disciplined for what happened in his parish. He is being treated this way because of the criticism of Philip and his refusal to take it back.
Philip is responsible for this man. He approved his ordination. He has a canonical responsibility to care for him. If he throws him out because he is unfit to serve, who was it who blessed him to be ordained without an education or perhaps some professional evaluation of his character? Philip did!
It is true, it all begins and ends with Philip. 'Well done' you say, but if this man was a bad priest it is Philip's fault that he was ordained to begin with. Now you poise to strip him of vestments with such joy, but Philip is the one who is truly naked. He has peeled off the glory he once had, and now has become a bully of the defenseless.
You 'friends of Philip'... God is watching and is taking note. Learn mercy, because you may soon find yourselves in the hands of those you have looked down on.
#40 anonymous on 2010-11-10 23:50
It is said in the Episcopal/Anglican Church that the fist thing done when consecrating a priest bishop is to remove the backbone. Apparently this is also true for the Antiochian jurisdiction as well. We all know about Bsp Joseph, Bsp Eichmann and Bsp Toady but what about Basil and Alexander? Have they put their tales between their legs and slithered away to the comfort of their chanceries?
All one needs to know of is the personal and family sacrifices made by so many Episcopal priests as they stood for what they knew to be right and left the comfort of the Episcopal Church for Antioch. What a disappoint for them.
Bishops are supposed to be the "Defenders of the Faith" not the destroyers of churches.
#41 anonymous on 2010-11-11 00:30
Let's suppose Constantinople will not hear the case: Are there any Bishops (Jurisdictions) courageous enough to receive a large group of priests and whole parishes (minus the buildings) without a release? My guess is that the answer to that question is a resounding NO. O.K., now what should they do?
Will YOU rally around your priest and "guarantee" his salary for months, if necessary, if he is courageous enough to take a stand and cannot find other work? It is time to "put up" before you ask a priest to lay it all on the line.
The reality is that there are many, many, many pious Antiochian priests who love their flocks, are loved by their flocks and are sick to death about all that is transpiring. Should they leave these people high and dry? What if there is no parish anywhere nearby? Tough luck?
If the truth be known, many (perhaps the majority of) priests across the archdiocese are in quiet rebellion. Could it become a vocal rebellion? Time (and support from those who like to comment on this and other sights) will tell. Many are praying fervently and trusting that the Patriarch and Holy Synod of Antioch will see the insanity that is transpiring and act to remove +MP before there is a complete meltdown. None of this is catching god by surprise.
So the next time you ask a priest to be courageous- make sure you have your checkbook out.
#42 Frustrated Antiochian on 2010-11-11 00:46
>>"I am sickened at this papalistic behaviour."
Wait, I'm sorry, why do you use the word "papalistic"? I'm not RC but why do you say that? -- this is very insulting. He's not borrowing from anyone (except emporers of past eons).
#43 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 02:33
It is with sadness that I read of the news from Westminster, Md. I was a resident of Carroll County Md. for twenty three years. For the Orthodox Christian in Carroll County prior to the St. James mission, you had to plan on spending your Sunday driving if you wanted to attend church. Baltimore one hour away, York Pa. one hour away, etc. This mission (St. James) is of great importance to the faithful of all backgrounds in Carroll County. I had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Elias at a function several years ago and I was touched by his love for Christ and his excitement for the St. James mission. Finally for the first time ever the Orthodox had a home in Carroll County. I hope that St. James is able to survive this terrible situation inflicted on them by +Phillip, +Thomas and Fr. Pier. I pray that Fr. Elias is able to salvage his priesthood and make a move to the OCA.
#44 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 05:24
Bishop Thomas has publicly stated he was told at St. Vladimir's Seminary, he was not seminary or priest material. Why didn't anyone take heed? Perhaps because +Philip only wants soldiers who can't or wont think for themselves. As the saying goes, "a quiet conscience sleeps in thunder."
Where is the outrage? Where is the indignation? Where is the just response? Where are men of good conscience? Apparently the Antiochians have few.
#45 Former peer on 2010-11-11 05:45
GOOD JOB SAYIDNA!! CLEAN THE HOUSE OF ALL THE DISSIDENTS AND TRASH THAT HAS DESTROYED OUR ARCHDIOCESE. IT'S SPRING CLEANING IN WINTER, BABY!!!
#46 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 06:20
Those who know me, know I'm not a big fan of Protestant hymns, but for some reason the first two verses of this hymn rattled around in my head as I read these powerful comments.
Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the King of kings.
Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
and end the night of wrong!
LORD, SAVE YOUR PEOPLE...
#47 Ivan HadEnough on 2010-11-11 06:23
A father never beats his children? Oh, but they do. I know priests in the GOA who were dismissed for no reason at all except that they displeased a few rich contributers who had the ear of their Metropolitan. One fired priest had one of the most successful parishes in his Metropolis. Now +Philip is acting just like them!
+Philip seems to be persecuting his priests because he cannot stand the criticism. GOA bishops hate criticism too but they like money more. God save us from vindictive hierarchs.
#48 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 06:24
I wouldn't summarily dismissing the Greek Archdiocese as a home for inquirers... there are parishes, such as my own and others around here I know, which use a lot of English.
When I was at SVS I went to a service at St. Nicholas GOA church in Flushing... the main service there was mostly in Greek, but they also did a mostly English service in the side chapel. I'm sure others do this as well.
In YHWH Made Flesh, Christ our God,
"God became Human so that human beings could become gods." ---- St. Athanasius the Great, On the Incarnation
More insanity from "Crazy Phil." Will someone please remove him? Put him in a car and take him on a nice long vacation. His actions aren't those of an honorable Orthodox bishop....He must be removed!
#50 Any Mouse on 2010-11-11 06:57
Fr. Elias, you are a man. You have my unworthy prayers.
#51 Scott Walker on 2010-11-11 07:01
"...if people will read what has been going on in his parish, I think that Metropolitan Philip had no choice..."
Enlighten us please: what has been going on in Fr. Elias's parish? From their website, they appear to be a devout mission in an extremely challenging location.
+Philip has robbed this tiny, enthusiastic flock of its shepherd. It is an appalling violation.
Do you really think the clergy and hierarchs who came of age in the liturgical and monastic renewal in the US and Middle East will tolerate +Philip for much longer? The man better retire now while he can still draw a crowd at a Hyatt. Because the way things are going, he'll be lucky if anybody will spring for baked chicken at the Day's Inn.
#52 The Anti-Gnostic on 2010-11-11 07:06
This is the thing, the people are shell shocked. It may be the case as you say....but because of the arbitrary displays of power, any action by the primate is going to be seen as such.
#53 Antionymous on 2010-11-11 07:33
Here the priest for yourself on the liturgy of St. James.
#54 Antionymous on 2010-11-11 07:40
"shake the dust from your feet as you leave a home or city that will not receive you or hear your words"
'To remain silent is to say much about whose will we actually do serve.'
Thank God that there are some men in the AOCA with the courage to speak these words publicly. +P and his enablers repeatedly demonstrate by their actions that they are not Christian. Thanks for having this forum to expose their actions which have previously been hidden under a bushel. God's blessings for all of those who have been abused by this crowd. God bless you Father Elias.
#55 Former AOCA Member on 2010-11-11 07:48
#18: If what you say is true, how interesting that all this dysfunction was tolerated for so long...it took gently criticizing the Met. for him to be removed. Priorities of Englewood? How about the fact that rather than calling him in and disciplining him, he's thrown out on the street on a few days' notice? Or, that what he's called to repent of is what he said about the Met-not this supposed spiritual dysfunction, which, if true, would call for action.
#56 Teena Blackburn on 2010-11-11 08:00
The other issues which you cite were not addressed in the discipline "letter" which was read to fr Elias.The only issue was his postings on this site - the only thing the despot Philip cares about. Philip doesn't care about prophets he only cares about profits! Fr Elias is being used as a terrorist tactic - plain and simple by a man who will do anything to achieve his ...ends. If you can not see this then I fear that you too must share in his delusions.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
#57 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 08:08
A letter from Fr. Elias to his parish:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
How strange it is to write this last email to all of you at St. James. I am still at this moment a priest, but no longer your pastor. I have been removed from that great honor by his Eminence. This I accept with sadness and without resistance to his authority. I do not know if I will be permitted to remain in the priesthood, but either way I freely offer back to the Lord Jesus Christ that which He gave to me to begin with, His priesthood. My Epitrachelion now rests beneath His feet before the iconostasis at St. James.
I want you all to know how very much I love you. The past four years with you have truly been the best of my life. Serving the Liturgy at St. James with you, seeing your little ones line up for the Holy Mysteries, sitting with you in discussion, standing with you in prayer and helping our homeless dear ones outside the door of the Temple with you have been the very, very best moments and times of my
life. How I will miss you!
My final direction to you is to follow the clear instruction of the Holy Apostle Peter, who tells us: We must obey God rather than men! (Acts 5:29). Ask the Lord in all things to help you to do His will, to obey Him and to submit to whatever He wants. That, Brothers and Sisters, is always the simple way; it is never complicated. It is the way of truth, purity, honesty, gentleness, humility and above all, charity. The discernment of His will is not limited to the righteous; He makes it just as clear to us sinners; it is no great secret. But it is a difficult thing to submit to it when we want our own way. Only His will and the following of it can lead us to that peace that passes all understanding, for which everyone in the entire world yearns.
Keep to your prayers and remember our family in them, as I will remember all of you in mine. May God grant that we meet again soon!
All my love in Christ,
[Retrieved from http://stjamesorthodoxchurch.org/schedule/weeklyemail.pdf on November 11, 2010.]
#58 melxiopp on 2010-11-11 08:09
Perhaps you are right that Fr Elias is suffering from spiritual delusion; that is something that all Christians must be wary of. But if the real reason for his suspension was that he has become spiritually unfit, why is that issue not mentioned by his bishop? Presumably his questionable practices and relationships (if that is what they were) have been going on for some time; but only when the Metropolitan's ox was gored was any action taken.
In any case, even if you are entirely right about this particular case (and you may be right for all that I know), this incident shows that Metr Philip's arbitrary and tyrannical actions have damaged the Archdiocese. Now every act of clergy discipline -- even ones that are entirely legitimate -- are suspect and tainted, because so many other disciplinary acts have been unjust.
(Editor's note: I do not like to comment on anyone's "spiritual fitness" or conversely, "spiritual unfitness". But I commend to your reading Fr. Elia's final email to his parish yesterday, posted here. While one letter doesn't answer all the questions, if this is "spiritual unfitness", we all need more of it.)
#59 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 08:13
Michele Hagerman writes:
"I'm active on discussion forums that have absolutely nothing to do with Orthodoxy. People know I'm Orthodox and will ask for a parish/jurisdiction recommendation. I'd been sending people to either OCA or Antiochian parishes, depending on what was available in their area (I'm OCA). I will no longer send anyone anywhere near an Antiochian parish. Period. I'll send someone to the Greeks if I have to (which I prefer not to, due to personal experience with heavy-handed ethnicity and language issues)."
All right, what do we have here?
According to the official web page of "Orthodox Christian Synergy: A Pan-Orthodox Ministry of Chicago," Michele Hagerman is the President of this organization.
The same web page describes Synergy as a general ministry for the good of the Orthodox Church in Chicago: "This site is sponsored and maintained by ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN SYNERGY, a pan-Orthodox organization consisting of clergy and lay representatives of Chicago-area Orthodox Christian parishes who seek to project awareness of Orthodox Christianity to the public at large."
According to this same site, Synergy represents the following Orthodox jurisdictions: "Albanian Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox, Byelo-Russian Orthodox, Carpatho-Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Orthodox Church in America, Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox."
In view of Miss Hagerman's public declaration that she "will no longer send anyone anywhere near an Antiochian parish," let me suggest that Synergy has a serious problem with respect to the stated goals of its ministry.
In charity, I hope they will deal with this problem.
#60 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-11 08:25
I agree he's a madman and should be "dethroned" but these hysterical self-reightous comments are so camp I wonder where these folks are really coming from.
#61 anon on 2010-11-11 08:25
Sorry, Lisa, but the same 1st Amendment that guarantees free speech also requires that the Federal government stay out of internal church affairs. No judge in his right mind is going to rule that a bishop cannot depose a priest.
#62 Scott Walker on 2010-11-11 08:30
OK, Met. Philip, we get it YOU ARE IN CHARGE. My only question is, In charge of what? A bunch of scared intimidated clergy and disheartened and embarrassed laity?
What a legacy!
#63 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 08:30
Bless, Father ! Forgive me this startled reply to your post; however, please do not write "shame on his birth" about anybody. Any individual can reflect and repent. Thank you.
#64 Antonia Colias on 2010-11-11 08:34
Well, one wonders where to begin.
In the first place, though it is neither of our business, you would prefer he be seeking his spiritual counsel from which bishop: the strongman version who is busy winnowing a scythe of torment throughout his archdiocese, or the pseudo version who just fired him by proxy? One must find spiritual consolation where one can in these times.
Secondly, are you maintaining that an Orthodox priest of the Lord Jesus Christ should refuse the pleadings of anyone who claims to be in the grip of demonic possession? If he should not, then what other method do you suggest the priest take?
Lastly, do we take the metropolitan archbishop at his (twice-removed) word or not? One might wish to assume that if the priest were being removed for the reasons you state, his bishop(s) would be good enough to tell him the true reasons, rather than to throw up the smokescreen of a harmless comment on a web site.
Anonymous because I love my priest.
#65 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 08:42
The Aleuts went years between visits by priests. Visiting the nearest parish once a month, once a fasting season, etc. is a valid option. I know one family that travels 90 minutes each way to the nearest Orthodox church, why compromise oneself by opting for the closest parish if that parish or jurisdiction is acting wrongly?
Readers Services are not hard to serve and all the resources you need are online.
Beyond a token amount for receiving the sacraments, why not send most or all your alms to IOCC, FOCUS, OCMC, or one of the seminaries or a local monastery? Starve the beast. Sure, it will hurt the local parish and priest, but as has been made abundantly clear there is no local parish and priest - they are merely extensions of the person of the Metropolitan himself. It seems the Archdiocese has made the calculation that any drop in giving can be made up for by wealthy friends of the Metropolitan. Let them, call their bluff. Perhaps the Metropolitan himself will make up the difference out of his millions.
#66 melxiopp on 2010-11-11 09:02
Please, please , please do not forget the board of trutees who have resigned:
there are others but their names escape me.
Then there are those who have left our parishes
Then there are the Catecuemuns who have left, perhaps Orthodoxy altogether.
Make no mistake their blood will be required of the Holy Synod and Patriarch Ignatius IV as well as they are responsible for giving the Metropolitan unchecked power.
Where in Orthodoxy has a Holy Synod completely abdicated to an inferior?
#67 anonymous on 2010-11-11 09:18
What commenters are not telling you is that Fr. Elias was indeed approached again and again over many, many months to repent of the spiritual delusion he was promoting in his parish. This was not out of the blue. He had been warned again and again and again. He would not listen to his bishop, his dean, or other clergy of the diocese.
This latest incident was just the final act in this sad play. He was given one more chance to repent and practice as a normal Orthodox priest, but he explicitly refused.
What is a bishop to do with a man who thinks he's some sort of divinely chosen spiritual superstar?
(Editor's note: Then why not just say that in dismissing him? Why pretend it was for posting a comment? Why not tell his parish the truth? Why dissemble before the world and confuse the faithful? And no one can argue, you have certainly managed to dissemble and confuse!
Sorry, you, yourself, have made your case less than credible from the start. And indeed, if you think he is delusional, you have only accentuated his delusion, and foisted it on thousands more. Not to belabor Fr. Elia's point, but if such is really the case as you infer, you might take his advice: press the reset button, friend. Because such a path as you have begun to go down ends only in misfortune for all.)
#68 Abd'al-MasiH on 2010-11-11 09:18
What was read to him was not the official letter of discipline. It was simply an appeal for him to repent. In any event, those things were indeed in that message, and we can be sure that they are certainly in the official notice, as well.
Official letters of discipline are sent by mail. I have no doubt that a copy of it may make its way onto the Internet sometime soon.
This has been an inflamed priest for a long time. It's unfortunate that he decided for it to flare up again in the current climate.
#69 Abd'al-MasiH on 2010-11-11 09:22
Fr. Patrick, I suggest you and Miss Hagerman "take it outside."
#70 Antionymous on 2010-11-11 09:22
I have to apologize to Michelle... I've seen such anti-GOA comments on this site I confused her with someone else.
And I am glad to see that she did say that she would refer inquirers to the GOA.
Regarding post #18 above:
Bishop THOMAS himself described Micheal as a "man with prophetic gifts" and being a priest, it would have not have been for Father Elias to assume spirtual direction underneath someone without the blessing of a hierarch. The Diocese was well aware of this relationship and was not opposed to it.
Father Elias does not boast about what has happened at the Mission and in the lives of people in the Church at large. He simply reported and recorded, *as requested by the Diocese*, the works of the Lord.
The writer makes it sound as though "miracles, exorcisms, prophecies" are the fruits of the psychologically unsound. Return to the New Testament and see the works of the Lord and the first Apostles. Is God not God in 2010 as He was in 33 AD?
#72 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 09:23
Ah, now I see clearly the problem....he's not Englewood's type of priest. A sniveleing spineless "yes man."
#73 Antionymous on 2010-11-11 09:27
This perceived "spiritual dysfunction," I say perceived because what Father Elias described may very well be at the hand of God, was not the reason given for his suspension. The reason given was that he refused to "publicly repudiate his published comments" and agree not to post "similar comments in the future." If there was a general concern about the man, the deanery could have addressed the situation in the "good amount of time" that they knew about him. Let's stick to the facts. Our priests are not allowed to express their own opinions unless Metropolitan Philip shares those opinions, end of story. - Is this what you intend to do, my friend? Vilify our priests every time he says, "Off with their heads?" - MP has no compassion, no humility and most importantly, no shame. He is a weak, flawed little man who is so full of himself he can't see the forest from the trees. He is to be pitied. - Those of you who are thinking of leaving the Archdiocese, don't! Let him huff and puff. He won't blow our house down.
#74 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-11 09:28
It's worth mentioning that at a time when a tidal wave has hit the Antiochians, people still find time to vacation. Bishop Joseph is on pilgrimage to Damascus. Nice to know those at the helm are out of town. That's an auxiliary in action. Synonym: nonessential. Extra. reinforcement. What possible need has Philip got for these? What possible use are they at the moment? If they all went to Damascus, what difference would it make?
#75 Bob Koch on 2010-11-11 09:28
Why don't the clergy form a union like the Romanian priests have?
Is it illegal for clergy to unionize?
Maybe if they have a union it will slow down Philip and get him to think more before he acts. It does not have to be a rebellion and it may stop one from rising up.
#76 anonymous on 2010-11-11 09:28
Editor: I'm not really sure which messages got leaked to you, but it was indeed all said to him. There was never any pretense that the only problem was posting on this website.
This is yet another example of this website's editor taking one or two pieces of data and creating a pseudo-narrative out of whole cloth without any thorough investigation.
I wonder whether you solicited from Bishop Thomas what was in the letter he was sent. Did you ask him why Fr. Elias was removed? I'm pretty sure the answer is no.
(Editor's note: LOL. I would love to interview Bishop Thomas! Could you arrange it? It would help future "pseudo-narratives", whole cloth running short these days of economic downtown. Fortunately, there seems to be a lot of rope lying around in the Orthodox world for bishops, clergy and lay people to hang themselves with, after which, at least in your opinion, I can make up stories about them doing it.
Actually, the facts of the story were confirmed by multiple sources, as is my practice. If you don't like the facts cited, produce the text read to Fr. Elias. Oh, that's right - none was sent to him. )
#77 Abd'al-MasiH on 2010-11-11 09:35
Bishop Thomas never described him in that way (though I suppose some people might wish he had), and Fr. Elias was explicitly told he that it is never permitted for a priest to have one of his own parishioners as his confessor....
What this whole situation needs is a real exorcism. There's definitely a spirit at work here, but it's not the Holy Spirit.
#78 Abd'al-MasiH on 2010-11-11 09:39
As our Kind and Merciful Savior once taught us: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake." I must therefor address Fr. Elias as Blessed, for truly he has earned that singular distinction. Of the many priest's who have whispered timidly about the evil actions of the ravening-wolf Philip, Priest Elias alone has had the courage to boldly speak the truth in humility. Like him, I must echo the question:
"So, brothers in the priesthood. Where are you?"
Indeed - where are you Fr. Patrick Reardon? Fr. John Chagnon? The many, many 'Anonymous" Antiochian priests' who have spoken from the shadows? (I do not include you in this list Fr. George Washburn because, well, to paraphrase: to whom little is given, little is expected.)
Where indeed is my former spiritual father, Fr. Christopher Salamy, who, when queried about this mess counseled me with the cryptic message that "obedience" is necessary. Obedience to whom and to what? An evil Despot or a loving Savior; a cowardly culture of fear that kowtows to evil personified or a plain proclamation of the truth that sets us free of all tyranny and bondage?
"You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Speak up now our Fathers-in-Christ. We will not forsake you if you have the courage to lead us.
Be bold and summon courage, knowing that "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house." Respected Fathers, our temples are dark; strike the spark that will usher in the cleansing light of heaven.
Yes. I have named names and am signing my own to this post. The time for silence and covering ones arse is past. This is the time to eschew silence and boldly speak, lest we all succumb to the Evil One and his willing servant who stalks and feeds in our very midst.
Lastly, Fr. Elias, you have "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." You are a new John the Forerunner to the cursed Herod aped by Philip. I thank you from the depths of my troubled heart, Blessed Priest Elias, that you have shown the strength of your convictions and allowed us all to glorify our Father in heaven by your selfless sacrifice. Pray for me a sinner.
#79 Jerry "Isaac" Sanders on 2010-11-11 09:49
Let's see, "dissidents and trash", yes...Annas and Chiaphas tried to get rid of them by killing the leader...didn't work. Diocletian tried it...didn't work. The commies tried it...didn't work. Philip is trying it...it won't work.
Shame, shame, shame on you for such a statement as this!
Repent...press your reset button.
Fr Michael Spainhoward
#80 Fr Michael Spainhoward on 2010-11-11 09:52
Will All respect!
Kory Warr, resigned because he is getting Married; Dr. sam Kouri is still on the archdiocese Board; Charles Ajalat resigned due to his cmitment to FOCUS North America is taking too much of his time.
Both Kory Warr and charles Ajalat left on good terms!
We could all respectfully disagree as lay eople, but when a clergyman is given instructions from a Bishop - even if the order violates the U.S. Constitution (Freedom of PRess and Speach), that clergyman MUST be obedient
So everyone. stop the nonsense, we are not here to be 'monday morning quarterbac' - the Metropolitan is within his rights tpo transfer and displine clergy, without be accountable to you bunch of idiots!
(Editor's note: With all respect - you bunch of idiots? May I suggest that you would get further with a consistent message ( respect, or insult) as well as spell check.)
#81 Someone who thing OCANEWs is hurting American ORthodoxy on 2010-11-11 10:01
Can anyone give an account for evidence of a life of prayer for the Metropolitan? Should not the head shepherd lead a life of prayer for those for whom he must give account?
In parishes serving Sunday Divine Liturgy and a modicum of Orthros and Vespers as well as other Divine Liturgies on Feast Days, Readers Vespers, Akathists, Hours, etc., we pray for Metropolitan Philip by name at least 500 times per year (7 times 70 is a familiar close number).
We need to be certain that he, as a pastor/priest/bishop, has prayed at least this many times for those by name and for a comparable period, whom he rebukes, chastises, disciplines, etc. I would hope such would also be the case for his prayers for all the churches he claims to serve.
Unfortunately, I do not perceive a life of prayer in the actions that have been taken. It appears more to be actions of the secular show, The Apprentice: no prayer, no pastoral care, only financial motivations, no love or charity or consideration of collateral damage to the flock and the death of souls.
How do these actions represent Christ and His message to His Church? I do not think Ignatius, who offered himself as a sacrifice to protect the Church or St. Gregory of Palamas, the Damascene or any of the Saints would recognize these actions as emanating from prayer.
In whose image and likeness is Christ's Body being made through these actions of force? It is becoming mocked and this is grievous! Ps 79:10-11 (KJV) and countless other Psalms describe the actions of Saul against the annointed and servants of the Lord, yet we know Saul was not victorious even though for awhile he ruled.
Regarding the current rule: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.
Yet we will continue our prayers. Let us pray to the Lord, Lord have mercy!
May God forgive and have mercy on us all that we may know, love and do His will to the Glory of His Name.
#82 Daniel on 2010-11-11 10:03
Sorry, but this is not a respectful request.
I have simply pointed to a new problem that affects the Orthodox Christians in Chicago.
This is no mean problem, inasmuch as the Orthodox Christians in Chicago have---for a long time---set a high standard of co-operation in various ministries.
"Team Chicago," for example, has been responsible for sending dozens of missionaries to foreign countries.
The united Orthodox parishes in Chicago are currently collecting Christmas gifts for the foster children of the city's social agency. We have been doing this for over a dozen years.
Similar examples of such co-operation can be cited.
The leading lay organization for this ministry is Orthodox Synergy of Chicago. All of these ministries are likely to suffer if any bad odor is attached to that organization.
I regard it as a very serious problem, therefore, when the current President of Synergy posts a public comment like the one posted by Miss Hagerman.
I also regard it as an exercise in high arrogance when someone called "Antionymous" tells me to "take it outside."
If this web page is truly dedicated to accountability among Orthodox Christians, my concern on this point is certainly pertinent to the discussion.
#83 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-11 10:08
Fr. Elias Yelosvich got what he deserved, His Bishop ask him to refute he comments, which he did not. wE can respect him for that but his bishop and the MEtropolitana cted within their rights
We should not make these Clergymen out as folk hero's or Metropolitan PHILIP as a bad person; maybe the 1000's of negative comments on this website have some bearing on recent decissions.
If you the article about Fr. Elias Yelosvich - the letter was read via phone to him,s o no copy to be posted on this website or mis-used. Does that make you think and smell the coffee: OCANews and the comments section is the problem.
MArk with allr espect, I value your website and the articles you post, however allowing everyone to psot what every they want with no validity is the root of the problem,and yopu should remove that section from the site!
(Editor's note: So, reporting the news is good, but talking about it is bad? As for people posting what they want, is the answer only to allow postings you, or I, want? Free speech, which is one of the cultural, social, economic and political bedrocks of this society, usually means all or nothing. I choose to error on the side of all, for I have seen and experience the error of nothing. )
#84 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 10:09
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people
#85 Macarius on 2010-11-11 10:09
I doubt Bishop Basil has much to say. Just the Sunday before last, his Archpriest Fr. John Connelly (Western Rite Dean for the Central States), denounced +Mark as an "evil bishop" from the pulpit at the very start of his (typically dull) homily. If +Basil were to summon an ounce of courage and speak plainly then he too would be branded as 'evil' and frog-marched into the wilderness to join +Mark. God forgive me and grant that I am wrong, but I do not see +Basil following +Mark's example.
#86 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 10:13
How come if all of you "+Phillip supporters" are so convinced of his utter righteousness, and you have the full support and backing of the hierarchy (which you certainly would have, being his cheerleaders), you can't sign your names? Don't you want +Phillip to know who his supporters are? Aren't you proud to be who you are? By constantly signing yourselves "anonymous" you are seriously undermining your position. For heaven's sake, have some backbone. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose as far as +Phillip is concerned!
#87 Matushka Anna on 2010-11-11 10:15
#1 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-10 16:16 (Reply) Here is the hit list:
1. Fr. Oliver Herbel
2. Bishop Mark
3. Fr. David Moretti
4. Fr. Paul Albert
5. Fr. Elias Yelovich
The great baptismal scene from Godfather I comes to mind. While all scores would be settled in just that one day there, our scene will play out for some time.
You just gotta love the religious facade cloaking the dark deeds in both instances.
#88 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-11 10:22
This is tyranny the likes of which I cannot even wrap my mind around! Not in anything that dares to call itself a Church anyway. You merely disagree with your bishop and you're out? This is not the Orthodox Christianity I signed up for. I'm not even Antiochian, and this has me so disgusted words do not even begin to express how I feel. A sad, sad day. Why is no one else standing up against this type of action? Where are the bishops of the other churches? Are they are too afraid or politically correct to speak out against actions such as this? Fr. Elias has always written thoughtfully and with great wisdom. May god grant him and his family many years. It's good to see a man (any man) stand up for what they know is right even if they know the consequences will be harsh.
I can officially say that I am now embarrassed to call myself an Orthodox Christian. Very sad indeed.
#89 Chuck Shingledecker on 2010-11-11 10:24
Why are so many powerful and influential lay members of the Antiochian Church who understand the travesty unfolding before us and seeing the unjustified persecution of so many decent and loving clergy still silent? How much worse will it have to get for them to SPEAK OUT and ACT!
While listening to Ancient Faith Radio last summer I heard a really insightful quote from St. Ambrose. I don’t recall the exact wording, but here’s the gist of it.
St. Ambrose exhorted Christians to not only take care of the poor but also to share the truth with others. He said that those that know the truth and fail to share it are just as culpable, or more so, than those that do not do acts of charity for those in need.
The closest quote that I could find by St. Ambrose that matched the one I heard was this one:
“Not only for every idle word must man give an account, but for every idle silence.”
With tears of concern and a heavy heart I also repeat Fr. Elias' call to all the good shepherds in the Holy Orthodox Church:
"So, brothers in the priesthood. Where are you? Remember that to go against conscience, as we have all heard from past formation, is “neither right nor safe.” To remain silent is to say much about whose will we actually do serve. As my father taught me, so I repeat to you once again in love: *A father never, never beats his children. Never. Should that not be all the more true of a father in Christ?*"
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
The time for silence and inaction has long ended. It's time for every faithful shepherd and true sheep to stand for truth, for justice, for the defense of the innocent, and for Christ. Too many good shepherds have been persecuted and too many sheep scattered by a devouring wolf who remains unchallenged and unaccountable before the entire Church.
O please. Does anyone imagine that a bishop of the AOCANA is in Damascus at the moment just to taste the tabouli?
That's not a simple vacation for sure.
Fr Yousuf Rassam
#91 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 11:02
Imam Phillip is well on his way to turning HIS [and I don't mean God's] church into a horribly oppressive institute. Let us pray for all it's members and hope they will be welcomed with open, loving arms into the OCA. The OCA has had it's hardships, some of which still continue, but out of it has come a more genuine Christian community....
#92 annon on 2010-11-11 11:02
Brian you are absolutely correct. In speaking the truth, in a loving, humble, and courageous manner Fr. Elias is indeed truly free and shows us that he is a representative of the True Shepherd, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His words resonate within our hearts and minds because they are true and right. We recognize the authority of God and the working of the Hoy Spirit in what Fr. Elias is saying and humbly say AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!
We also understand and remember what our Lord has said will happen to those of us who chose to walk that narrow road and dared to challenge the lies and corruption of the world:
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin." (John 15:19-23)
We have to ask ourselves a very serious question then: If Fr. Elias is a good and true shepherd, speaks the truth, and shows us Christ in both word and deed, why then are Met. Philip and Bishop Thomas punishing and persecuting him and scattering the innocent sheep that he is caring for? Who are they really serving when they act as enablers of such atrocities? I'm afraid the answer before us is as plain as the mid-day sun in the sky!
Why then brothers and sisters in Christ are so many of you still silent?
The emperor HAS NO Clothes!!!
#94 Constantine V. on 2010-11-11 11:22
Please be in prayer for us at St. James. We will meet Sunday after Liturgy to discuss the future of St. James the Apostle Orthodoxy Mission in Westminster.
#96 Karl Hjembo on 2010-11-11 11:28
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights applies to the Federal Government and, by precedent, the several States. It does not apply to voluntary associations.
(They do still teach Civics, no?)
#97 Rdr. John on 2010-11-11 12:18
The problem is: a priest serves at the leisure of his bishop. He can be removed, transferred or suspended for disobedience. A defrocking must be shown for good reason to do so.
#98 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 12:23
I find the whole rather confusing, difficult, sad, etc.
MP has written his explanation. Seems clear.
And yet there are things in Fr. Elias's claims that make me uncomfortable? Yes. Archimandrite Zacharias of Essex writes that "the whole of our tradition" is to keep what Fr. Elias has claimed... secret. He writes further that speaking of gifts of the Holy Spirit tends to divert them and the Holy Spirit's gifts tend to be withdrawn. He writes that this is the teaching of the Church, the Tradition, and especially of our monastics. So where Fr. Elias speaks to his authority by way of speaking of these gifts leaves me uncomfortable.
But then I am a convert some years back and perhaps may be forgiven for my ignorance. MP's action is clear for what it is as he has written it. And in all candor, perhaps it is better to say of someone that they were dismissed for web posts rather than delusion. We might credit that possibility.
I do not make these comments as a way of defending the MP's actions, as I think they rise and (mostly) fall on their own merits. Time is clarifying more than protests could. And to be fair to our Subwhatever Bishops... they have already taken 18 arrows in their independence that were fired first. If they have been staggered by this and unsure how to respond, it is also possible that the fact that these dismissals did not come beforehand may mean these folks were being defended by these same folks in silence.
And yet as much as I am saddened here, I am also saddened that the meaning of obedience is narrowed in such a way as if God offered that Abraham could just take his son up for a picnic "or whatever!". Clearly God said something else, and Abraham didn't say, "I'm outta here!" So whether we care for it or not, we are ALL being tried - it's not just our shepherds - but all of us. I'm afraid for my part, the "right" path just doesn't seem as black and white as it does to some with more experience. I'm listening... but a bit more and more dismayed.
Sign me: Waiting for Godot (but certain he's already here).
#99 JtTH on 2010-11-11 12:45
I don't have a dog in this fight, but your post reminds me of MR. ALL CAPS GUY from years gone by. To be serious, I am amazed and saddened at your glee over the removal of a priest from the church. It is clear you have no idea of the pain the folks at St. James are feeling now.
#100 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 12:46
See comment #43 below, or, as the commenter there notes, http://stjamesorthodoxchurch.org/schedule/weeklyemail.pdf
Fr. Elias' letter is something people really need to read. I just didn't want it to get lost in the confusion of comments.
#101 Ann McLarnan on 2010-11-11 12:53
According to the holy canons, as I understand them, it is much, much easier to depose a priest than a bishop. There may be a hearing, but, ultimately, all priests serve at the pleasure of their bishops. This is something they knew before ordination. They accept this as part of their cross. The faithful, however, are not obligated to blindly accept these actions of their bishop. They have a right to speak, to complain, to act in lawful, God-pleasing ways, expressing their concern over the actions of the bishop. Ultimately, apart from the bishop being canonically dethroned, retiring, repenting, or dying, there isn't much else anyone can do about it except pray to God with tears and pain of heart, support those who have been mistreated (both the clergy and the parishioners and all the other Orthodox of the country--we suffer together), and have faith with hope that God will act and things will turn around for the better. Things could always be worse, as they have been in the past. Thank God none of our bishops (that we know of) are engaged in murder or other violent acts. According to Fr. Georges Florovsky, if a bishop is guilty of canonical infractions and the synod fails to correct him, it is the responsibility of the people to dethrone the bishop. I don't know that Metropolitan Philip has violated explicit canons in this matter (as he did with the Joseph Allen affair), but he has caused scandal, confusion, and consternation so as to impede his effectiveness and call into question his service as a "father" in Christ.
Some people I know want to ignore this, as if it is going on far away and does not affect us. But injury done to another member of Christ's Body affects us all. I do not know what injury Fr. Elias did to Metropolitan Philip by expressing his confusion. We are all confused because His Eminence's actions are not explained and appear as erratic. Our Archdiocese has become a weird ghetto in which the ecclesiastical order is in a state of constant flux and terrible confusion. The Metropolitan, who has never visited my parish, has no idea what is going on at the ground level. This is a recipe for disaster. A bishop has a double responsibility. He is called "master" by the people, but the Lord, the Master of us all, says he must be the slave of everyone. I do not see humble service on the part of the Metropolitan. Maybe he has it, but all I see in "The Word" are pictures of him at fancy dinners. All I see in the press releases and news articles are his deposings of priests because they expressed concern for those he did not like. This is not how our examples of how to be a bishop, the Lord, the Holy Apostles, and the Holy Hierarchs behaved.
Some commentators here have expressed joy that people were being kicked out who they claim have "destroyed the Archdiocese." I'll spare them the platitudes of shame. But how can anyone rejoice over such things, even if they were done for valid reasons--which is a matter of debate? I look forward to the day the Antiochian Archdiocese is no more, to when it can be part of a functional, local church instead of the anomaly that it is. What archdiocese do these people want to preserve? One that is dedicated to Christ and His Gospel, or one that is dedicated to ethnicity, the heresy of phyletism...., and raising obscene amounts of money with no accountability?
#102 Eric Peterson on 2010-11-11 13:33
Life is short. For those who've had enough with the situation in the AOCA, consider starting an OCA mission:
I was involved with a start-up OCA mission once and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Give it a go!
#103 Stu on 2010-11-11 13:34
Editor: Once again, you are misrepresenting the facts. I do not know if it is deliberate, but I suspect so.
Have you considered emailing Bishop Thomas or calling him? His contact information is plain for all to see on his website: http://www.antiochian.org/east
Will you try it? Or will you just keep pretending to know the facts, when you don't? Don't you think that claims about what someone did or did not do warrant contacting them before making accusations of being a Nazi?
You've so much as admitted you haven't tried to contact Bishop Thomas (though of course there are shadowy "sources"), so I think we can all conclude that you don't actually know what you're talking about.
(Editor's note: I accused someone of being a Nazi? That's rather unlike me. Unless, of course, you are referring to the recent comment about the Nuremburg defense, which while used by Nazi's was hardly unique to them, either before or after the Trial in 1946.
As for Bishop Thomas, I suspect, since we are both suspecting, if he had something to say, he would send something to me, even as his Metropolitan did, through his Aide, a few months ago with his "statement of clarification" concerning Self-Rule.
But once again, friend, I am not the problem, and trying to make the problem is not the solution. I've been down this road a couple of times.)
#104 Abd'al-MasiH on 2010-11-11 14:14
For Fr. Elias' sake I would note that the ROCOR Diocese of Eastern America and New York has a vacancy in Sugar Notch, PA, 163 miles northeast of Westminster.
#105 Formerly Diogenes on 2010-11-11 14:20
Anon writes: "I agree he's a madman and should be "dethroned" but these hysterical self-reightous comments are so camp I wonder where these folks are really coming from."
Anon, I resemble that remark. What does it matter how we speak in our grief? It is sad that while claiming to know MP should be dethroned, what you chose to do is mock is the expressions of grief about the damage being done, the damage done. Tone is difficult to read, but it would be my wish that we might care more about the people of the archdiocese and feel a bit less embarrassed that we are rubes. So what? If you have been spared the grace of being a pompous fool like me, count yourself fortunate not to share the debilitation...but don't simply counter with cynical mockery. I doubt one is better persuasive writing than another.
Abd'al-MasiH, you are here to contend with the truth. Good luck with that.
#106 Monologistos on 2010-11-11 14:26
"take it outside" may have been a bit un-serious in tone, but I'll un-anonymously state that I find the spectacle of a priest publicly undermining a former parishioner rather distasteful.
#107 Rebecca Matovic on 2010-11-11 14:48
"Where indeed is my former spiritual father, Fr. Christopher Salamy?
- Presently in Syria with Bishop Joseph...lol
#108 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-11 15:03
Post deleted at author's request.
#109 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 15:07
Dear Former Peer: ....Ask any of his class mates and they will tell you the truth.Abuna Habib
#110 Abuna Habib on 2010-11-11 15:09
WOW-- Real insider information! I bet a St. Ignatius cross that your IP address is from Michigan. ( I have had a couple crosses recently returned )
Mark, do you know that you could retire twice over if you sold all the IP information to Englewood? But then again you may actually believe in the things you stand for like free-speech, confidentiality and integrity and all that American Civil Liberties nonsense.
(Editor's note: You bet, which makes me a Leftie, or a Libertarian, or a Burkian Conservative, take your pick! And I have no intention of retiring, thank you very much.)
#111 Delegate #1 on 2010-11-11 16:27
Usually I check ocanews.org out to see what crazy shenanigans are going on among Orthodox bishops whom I've never met nor probably ever will. But a couple of weeks ago when I read Fr. Elias's post on this site, tears came to my eyes. Truly a man of God.
But honestly, I imagine that Fr Elias knew that his dismissal was a real possibility, yet he had courage to witness to his Christian conscience. Today on Veterans Day when we honor the courage and sacrifice of our American veterans, it's fitting to also honor Fr Elias's selfless (yes, completely selfless) courage and sacrifice. These are the actions that will receive Christ's reward.
I recommend anyone interested to listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on Ancient Faith Radio entitled "When Bishops Disappoint." It was published on 9 Sept 2009. Here is the link:
I also downloaded it for free on iTunes. Listening to that podcast, where Fr Tom describes who true Christian bishops are, what they must hold as important, what their primary role is (it is to serve the people), it is clear as day that Met. Philip does not carry out the role of bishop as it is meant to be from an Orthodox Christian understanding. It is not judgmental to say this -- come on, it's clear as day! It's pointing out the obvious.
Yet God is certainly aware of what is going on, and He allows this to happen to allow those who are true Christians to shine forth and to come forth and lead. It is time for the true Christians to lead, and to get rid of those who attack the Church from within. And that is what is going on -- the Church is being attacked from within.
I attended AOANA parishes 5 of the past 10 years of my life, but I do not now as there is a wonderful OCA parish here. I pray for and stand with those whom I came to know in my former Antiochian parishes that they can withstand these attacks from within their own church and call true bishops to lead their flocks who actually care about their sheep, and who understand that a bishop's first priority is to serve his people, not to be served.
Fr Elias's situation is similar to when a former OCA priest was stripped of his Soviet citizenship in the old USSR -- in response, he said: ""The rash decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, stripping me of Soviet citizenship, I accept as a high honor, in that this act of the Soviet government places me on one plane with such people as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Maximov, Valery Chalidze, and Zhores Medvedev. I call this action rash because it is evident that I do not merit such a high honor. But I will strive to."
Fr. Elias, you are better off now out of the AOANA, but I imagine that you already know that.
Praying for Met. Philip's urgent and fast retirement and for the healing of the AOANA. And it will happen. 5 years ago there were those who said that Met. Herman would never, ever retire.
Gregg Gerasimon, MD
Major, US Army
#112 Gregg Gerasimon on 2010-11-11 16:30
...well well I think it may have been removed from his website.
If you have the audio file post it somewhere and link it us to it
#113 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 16:55
Charles Ajalat did not leave on good terms. He left because he had no choice but to obey God and not MP. Charles was chancellor for over 20 years, stood by MP and even closed his eyes when the man did things he should not have done. When Charles had enough and wrote the Chancellor's Report, MP went into a fury and mistreated him, like he does anyone else who gets in his way. FOCUS had nothing to do with this, but thank GOD it has brought him a new ministry, a healthy and holy and honest ministry for him to give his time and money to. You didn't see the pain in his eyes and hear it in his voice before, during and after that political convention in Palm Desert. I did for many months, and I knew his conscience was trying very hard to clear itself of this garbage so he could focus on other things.
Thank God, I think the worst is behind Charles Ajalat, a man of good faith who has freely given to the church whenever the money was needed, not to mention his many hours of devotion. He is a man, who if he lost his money tomorrow, he would still be the same Godly man he has always been, and those faithful who know him well know how badly he was hurt and how God has lifted him from all of that and given him a new purpose in life.
The others I don't know about, but the one thing I do know is that we still have felons on the BOT and local Parish Councils, even after we voted last year in Palm Desert to not allow felons on the BOT. Yes, MP went along with the vote, but that's where it stopped. He had no intention of carrying thru...
You write: "So where Fr. Elias speaks to his authority by way of speaking of these gifts . . ." Father Elias never spoke about his authority! He made it quite clear that he was the "least of the least." There was no boasting of his own gifts. All the glory was given to God.
Regarding your statement, "and in all candor, perhaps it is better to say of someone that they were dismissed for web posts rather than delusion:" Father Elias was a deacon in the AOC for six years and a priest for five. He celebrated the fifth anniversary of his ordination a few weeks ago. If he was delusional, it sure took people long enough to deal with it!
Sometimes things are exactly how they seem. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck. . . well, you know the drill. For some, I suspect Father Elias' statements regarding the wonderful things God has done under the category of throwing perils before swine.
#115 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-11 17:06
Dear American Orthodox people, including our dear immigrant family and friends:
There's not any viable options for a quick fix to the AA's trouble. I think the best that we can do to stop the madness is to quietly turn off the money supply, be honest and meek (unflappable) and try to live in the light of the beatitudes. And above all, preserve our children and keep them from abuse. We need not fear a bad outcome. MP can try to padlock doors and fire one priest after another. The more abuse that is heaped upon the people, the quicker shall we be free of this tyranny. We need to stand fast and not abdicate. We don't need to publicly browbeat our good clergy to rise up. I think we just need to stand fast and hold our ground: the high ground. There's going to be casualties, but none that cannot be healed by the grace of our Lord.
The biggest mistake we can make is to barter for foreign interference, as some have suggested, to resolve this hash. Our overseas patriarchs and "friends" are a big part of the current problem. If we aren't careful our several diocese will be fully absorbed into some remote synod like what happened to the GOA. The GOA gave up 80 years of virtual autonomy when the EP stirred its pot with Spyridon and then the EP forced a bad constitution upon them. We are more than "diaspora", my friends. We are here. They are over there. We can be friendly, but we ought never aspire to volunteer the we are somehow less human, less capable or less Christian. On the great protocol stack of our faith, here and abroad, the peers are equal: bishop for bishop, priest for priest, layman for layman. The Orthodox overseas have nothing on us, except that they have better antiquities than we do. As a rule they certainly are not more or less pious, devout, nor are they inherently more faithful.
We are capable of self-rule and we can elect better bishops and we can raise up saints. Turn off the money supply: put it escrow. Boycott MP's self-promoting parties and conventions.
Thanks for listening to my very humble opinion. If anyone knows of a better way and guidance, I am all ears.
#116 MWP on 2010-11-11 17:31
What is being undermined, on this web site, is the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Loving this Archdiocese as my family's home, I have steadfastly done and said nothing that would bring harm to it, during this time of severe trial.
Now, I find myself actually obliged to defend my beloved Archdiocese from public obloquy by a former parishioner.
When the current President of "Orthodox Synergy of Chicago"---an organization founded to advance Orthodox unity---publicly insults the Archdiocese, one hopes somebody will undermine her efforts. Somebody needs to hold her accountable.
Mark Stokoe founded this web site to encourage accountability. Yet, I can think of few sites where so few people are held accountable for their comments.
(Editor's note: I founded this website to encourage accountability in the administration of the Church, not to police people's comments about it. You are blaming the medium and the messenger, and one would have thought you would know better. I am neither the author nor cause of the turmoil in the Archdiocese, nor did I remove the Bishop that is causing your people such distress. You know who did - and it was not done by people expressing their opinions on this site. Finally, I do not forment rebellion - unless of course, allowing people to express their opinions is rebellion. That may indeed be the case in Orthodox America; but then I would suggest that such is neither Orthodox nor American. I am not your problem, Father. Nor is the internet, nor comments. The problem is that the comments on the internet won't let the problems be hidden as in the past....)
#117 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-11 17:49
Thank you, Father Michael, for speaking up. It is so easy to send venom into cyberspace (from either side of a disagreement). But by doing so we make ourselves worse than the ones we condemn.
#118 Schema-monk on 2010-11-11 17:50
I think there is a distortion that happens when a priest serves under a heterodox or abusive leadership. Who hasn't seen the rationalizations of the remaining Episcopalian priests bending so far over backwards they've become human pretzels to accommodate the apostasy of the ECUSA? In the same way, Antiochian priests, who seek to be faithful to their bishops and Church become distorted in their logic and in their service when forced to serve under abusive leadership ... where even the Holy Synod of Antioch hands power to a despotic metropolitan in the grips of Prelest. This is inescapable because we are one.
#119 Monologistos on 2010-11-11 18:21
In this seemingly short time we have read about the inexplicable removal of two priests and one bishop from their ministry, Frs. David and Elias from their parishes and Bp. Mark from his diocese ("transferred"). I cannot comprehend any of the "reasons" given by the hierarch in his pronouncements. I am saddened by these events.
I was greatly moved reading Fr. Elias's words today. (Thank you, Mark, for including his two comments for those of us who might have missed them earlier - like me.)
I pray that all three of these workers in Christ's vineyard will be comforted and led by Our Lord to the new place of ministry He has chosen for them.
I pray that this "time of troubles" will pass soon. Let us love one another!
I've kept fairly quiet about events in the Antiochian Archdioscese in America because I'm in the OCA. As a matter of conscience I did not want to let a fine priest suffer injustice without speaking up, however. By all accounts Fr. Elias was a good shepherd to his little flock, and an effective evangelist to those outside of the Church. This is sad, for him, for his parish, and for the Antiochian Archdioscese, which seems to me to be bent upon driving out their best people.
While I have no authority to speak for the OCA, I'm delighted to see that Metropolitan Jonah has been welcoming many of the refugees. I have no doubt whatsoever that ROCOR and the GOA would do the same as well, and may be doing the same already. The AOA is suffering, and in my prayers, but the Church is alive and well.
Lord, have mercy!
#121 Catherine Jefferson on 2010-11-11 18:41
I see nothing inappropriate in Rebecca's comment to Fr. Patrick regarding Michele Hagerman to "take it outside".
In my opinion, his comment regarding Michele's position as President of the Syngergy has nothing to do with the discussion here regarding Fr. Elias' sorrowful situation nor that of the Antiochian jurisdiction.
Fr. Patrick commented that the a statement made by Michele was contrary to the mission of Synergy which is in part, "...Chicago-area Orthodox Christian parishes who seek to project awareness of Orthodox Christianity to the public at large." Michele is projecting awareness of Orthodox Christianity to the Chicago public in that currently there is a struggle going on in the Antiochian jurisdiction and she cannot in good conscience refer an inquirer there?
Also I would ask Fr. Patrick, why he is not signing his name in such a manner as to identify himself as Orthodox clergy? Is that not just as pertinent as perhaps Michele's position? She did not, nor has ever to my knowledge, identified herself as Synergy president on this forum. She has not used this forum to forward or disparage the Synergy mission. Nor has she stated that she would not refer a potential inquirer to any other jurisdiction that may have a parish in their respective areas. I am not clear as to why he felt it necessary to bring that to a public forum when a private email to her might have been more appropriate.
Just my 2 cent. YMMV.
#122 Athanasia on 2010-11-11 19:12
"Where in Orthodoxy has a Holy Synod completely abdicated to an inferior?
One theory is that Damascus is fomenting the chaos in order to eventually step in, bring peace, and then reduce the American church to several dependent diocese much like how the EP reduced the GOA a few years ago. Orthodox unity and autonomy in America runs counter to the agenda of the hierarchy in Damascus. That's the theory. It sounds plausible to me.
#123 MWP on 2010-11-11 19:42
Anonymous, Christians do not call other people "trash" even when they disagree with them, for even those with whom they disagree are still icons of God, made in his image and likeness. You spit in ALL CAPS on icons.
Jesus said: "If you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell" (Matthew 5:22).
#124 Gregory on 2010-11-11 19:43
Your comments suggest that you know very little about spiritual fatherhood, Confession, the nature of prophetic gifts. God is not the author of confusion. The confusion you are trying to stir up will not cover the plain and simple truth.
#125 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 19:44
Please add to list ....
Fr. Stephen Ziton ....
The late Geo Geha ...
Fr Isaac Henke ....
John Boojamra ...
And MANY. MANY MORE!!
#126 Anonymous on 2010-11-11 20:55
Jerry "Isaac" inquires,
"Indeed - where are you Fr. Patrick Reardon?"
Still here in Chicago, laboring to feed and support a congregation saddened and distressed by the loss of a beloved bishop some weeks ago.
Meanwhile, there are a thousand irresponsible voices---on this web page---vilifying Metropolitan Philip and urging rebellion against him. Good grief!
This is the Church of God, friends. Rebellion is always spiritually dangerous, but in the case of the Church it is a guaranteed one-way ticket to hell.
If the purpose of this web page is---as Mark Stokoe designed it---to encourage accountability in the Church, I urge everyone to think hard and carefully about their comments here.
I would dearly like to see, on this web page, less vituperation and more evidence of love for the Church.
#127 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-11 21:01
I am a loss to understand why you do not identify yourself as "Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon" if you are he. Well, no I do understand your reluctance to identify yourself as a priest given the recent conduct of King Lear, oops, I mean Metro Phil
#128 Diogenes on 2010-11-11 21:10
With all respect I look forward to the day when the priests and laity of the Antiochian Philip ownself ruled Archdiocese stand up and demand accountability and liberation from the thugs who are calling the shots at this time. When the priests and laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese show the kind of sacrifice of First and Second Century Christians, perhaps other Orthodox Christians and even worldly persons will be persuaded of the things you teach.
#129 Diogenes on 2010-11-11 21:19
I hope St. James will join the OCA with Fr. Oliver and his parish. I hope our parish will not be far behind. Maybe Met Philip will yet receive credit as the primary catalyst for jurisdictional unity.
#130 anon on 2010-11-11 21:20
Here is my third party perspective, offered freely.
I thought the articles from Fr. Elias were honest, daring, and foolish unless he expected what he got.
I found some of Fr. Elias' comments a little unusual. To be honest, I thought some of the spirit/miracle/demon stuff a hard pill to swallow, but I expect the mission is in a tough neighborhood and a miracle might be something as simple as someone getting off drugs to him. I wasn't quite sure how to interpret some of those things, so didn't try too hard. I found it unusual the priest referred to another person as his guide (my verbage is slighly off). For me, I'm not as spiritual as the next person, so I struggled a bit with the letters, but I got the intent.
The Metropolitan, however, didn't seem to be concerned a tad about any of these matters.. Crediting instead his remarks here and requiring he recant doesn't imply any issue with any of the things I struggled with reading his letters. And if the problem were the priest's-call it wackiness, the Metropolitan certainly could have gone down a pastoral road (if he were pastoral).
I think Fr. Elias is a man of good conscience who simply could not work with the Metropolitan's own odd behavior and statements, which I have already stated is very inconsistent.
If you were keeping score on oddities, the Metropolitan wins hands down. Here are a few oddities for the Michigan readers.
Crediting Bishop Mark for poor oversight, but then not wanting audits...
mentioning theft, but wanting to keep things out of the courts...
crediting Bishop Mark for poor attendance at the party through a 'lack of inspiration' while saying he is a very, very good Bishop...
saying it isn't the economy when the unemployment is the worst since the Great Depression and the government had to help the car industry..
.telling the masses he isn't going to Damascus to discuss self rule and bishop's status and then taking full control..
.elevating bishops to diocesan and then reversing it...
WOW, didn't think I'd recollect all that, what have I missed? paying clergy sex offenders maybe?
How much baloney can an honest man take?
God Bless you Fr. Elias, if your mission isn't on the hook to the Antiochians, I'll pray your group can join the OCA. And even if you are a little wacky, I'll take a wacky honest guy any day over a guy who contradicts himself within a paragraph. Hope I didn't here.
As for the rest of the Antiochian's, I wouldn't add this one to the Metropolitan's wacky behavior. All of that already happened. This move actually makes sense. Metropolitan Philip is acting like a manager who needs a critical incident to keep the rest of the staff from getting unruly. Back in pirate days, the captain would make the guy walk to the front of the ship tied on each side and run him over with the keel...lot nicer now, you just take the guy's career, not his life.
#131 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-11-11 23:04
No, Miss Hagerman is most certainly entitled to her personal opinion on the matter regardless of any organizational badges she may wear; and if someone should ask her which parish, *in her considered opinion*, an inquirer into Orthodoxy should attend, she is of course free to suggest or not suggest to her heart's content. That she personally does not refer inquirers to parishes of a certain jurisdiction does not in any way impede her work as president of a voluntary organization whose aim of to increase the visibility of Orthodox Christianity as a whole in a certain geographical area, unless it is somehow supposed that EVERY inquirer in that large and densely populated area is necessarily channeled through the president of said organization, in which case NO inquirer would ever make it into parishes of the jurisdiction in question. To borrow a phrase from the Retired Bishop of the Internet, "What an idea!"
#132 Former Chicagoan on 2010-11-12 02:18
Fr. Patrick, with respect and appreciation for books of yours that I have read with pleasure - the problem right now is that the administration of the AOANA stinks to high heaven. Instead of attacking the problem, you are attacking someone for being disturbed by the stench. If one pretends the stink does not exist, then your points would have logical merit. But since the stink does exist, your points instead feel like "blame the messenger" diversions.
Having read your fine books on Job & Chronicles, and having "Christ in His Saints" on my table, I see some of the same prophetic courageous upright spirit in Fr. Elias' writings & actions. If you agreed, are you not prohibited from saying so? How can you blame anyone for not recommending the AOANA under these conditions?
#133 Rdr. Stephen Schumacher on 2010-11-12 02:22
This is not a response to anyone on the site. It is not /about/ Metropolitan Philip Saliba. It is addressed directly /to/ Metropolitan Philip Saliba. I'd request any of his loyal disciples who happens to read it recite it directly to him, if they would: "An insignificant servant of Christ who converted to Orthodoxy from heathenism at 40 days old begs you to read posting number 8 in these responses and then to ask your Soul what it means for you to crush one who is loved in this manner. After doing so, ponder this: You have slain an icon of Christ whose washing the feet of his humblest brethren included feeding their bodies and souls, giving them drink in their thirst for the fountain of immortality, and cleaning the lowliness of their waste, all for the love of Christ. You have murdered their father. You, a consecrated arch-shepherd, were were once a loving father. You started out decades ago as a minister of Christ, embracing a special calling to become a Sayedna Paul who brings the light of Orthodoxy to Americans. Without noticing, you have been transformed into a Sayedna Saul. Come to your senses now, before it is too late. If, when reading/hearing the next sentence, the response in your heart is a burning anger, then take that as a sign of your inner recognition that the preceeding sentence is true....
#134 Herald on 2010-11-12 04:33
What in the Fr. Elias' description of parish life indicates to you that Metropolitan Philip should intervene, place Fr. Elias under his "spiritual care?" From the brief description, it sounds to me as if Fr. Elias was doing what each one of us is supposed to do: proclaim the Gospel and render aid to those in need out of thankfulness for the love shown us by Our Saviour.
Mark C. Phinney
#135 Mark C. Phinney on 2010-11-12 04:53
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I John 4:18
I am afraid that His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP might believe that those who comment on this site are a small minority, and that the majority of his priests do not reflect the views presented here.
I can say, as a priest with many friends in the Antiochian Archdiocese (both clergy and laity), that this is not the case. Those not speaking right now refrain, in most cases, out of fear. Fear for their families, fear for job security, fear for their parishes, fear for their promised pensions and fear of their arch-pastor. If His Eminence wants to rule in this manner, than he can be assured that the driving force is not love, because as St. John in the Gospel points out, perfect love casts out fear.
I'm not "with" those who say that Metropolitan Philip should be worried about his legacy; rather I feel that he should be concerned about the abiding words of the gospel, and caring for his flock in a manner consistent with the words of our the psalmist who commends us to "Live together in unity."
I do not provide my name for fear of my own "job," but out of respect for the Antiochian priests I know who are terrified about their own security and their own association with anyone who might submit comments on this sight ... a sad commentary indeed.
#136 Unsubmitted on 2010-11-12 05:14
The tunnel-vision of +Philip is clear to all because he stopped not to think about the fact that he made these men martyrs. And we Orthodox love our martyrs.
As Gregg said above, it will happen, +Philip cannot live forever.
Bless Fr. Elias and all of the AOANA priests.
#137 Anonymous on 2010-11-12 05:48
About St. John Chrysostom:
In 397, during the reign of Theodosius the Great, at the age of 49, John was elected Patriarch of Constantinople. He was consecrated a bishop the following year (in 398). His outspokenness had made and continued to make many enemies for him, including Pope Theophilos of Alexandria and the empress, Eudoxia. His enemies forced St. John into exile in 403. After his removal, his many followers raised such an outcry that he was returned to Constantinople within a few weeks. But, the following year, he was exiled again after the Empress was offended by his sermons. From St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church website, Golden Colorado.
#138 Marina on 2010-11-12 05:53
Appealing to Istanbul is ridiculous. First, this takes months if not years and second, they would side with the bishop. He could appeal to Damascus, but that too would fall on deaf ears. Best course of action: go to the OCA and wear liturgical garb in church and street garb on the street!
#139 Any Mouse on 2010-11-12 07:26
I feel bad for Metropolitan PHILIP because everyone else has caused him so much grief. People are calling him "Pope". Those people don't understand that as a Metropolitan he has the full right to clean house.
We have lay people thinking that disagree and don't see the big picture, they have personal vendettas against MP, and I pray for their souls because they are lost and poisoned by anger and delusion, much like the priest that had a prophet and a non-priest spiritual father in his church. (I didn't make this up, you can read that for yourself.).
Metropolitan PHILIP is the best there is and ever was. I pray he CONTINUES to clean house of all those that don't understand the fact that he is the Metropolitan and has every right to correct the errors of the last 7 years. God knows this holy man is doing what has to be done, even if it makes him look bad. He is taking the burden on his shoulders for cleaning up the Archdiocese, therefore I will CONTINUE to support this man.
God bless you Metropolitan PHILIP, we love you, and please do not listen to the minority on this website. You are in my prayers daily. Axios!
(Mark, can you post this please. Thank you).
#140 Happy on 2010-11-12 07:43
I keep having this recurring image in my mind, Jesus riding into Jerusalem with all his possessions on his person. Contrasting that image is one of MP, the banquet loving Metropolitan. Where is his fear of God? Where is the humble authority of the Son of Man? MP's tenacious grip on the reigns of power is just so sad to witness. Please MP, retire to your condo ...
#141 Jim Keys on 2010-11-12 07:46
With the commission of this latest spiritual atrocity by Metropolitan Philip, it becomes clearer and clearer that his real role model here is not any Pope or Patriarch, but Henry VIII of England. Unbridled egoism coupled with virtually unlimited and unaccountable power is a recipe for tyranny as old as the human race itself.
Since I am currently reading a book about the Tudors, I am struck by the degree to which fear and passive complicity enabled such monsters to run unchecked, even when a courageous few were putting their very lives on the line to witness to Christ and the truth. One can only hope that increasing numbers of persons within the AOC will see it as their Christian responsibility to, in every way possible check, and ultimately stop, the outrages being committed...
#142 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-11-12 08:22
Please MP, retire to your condo ...
#74 Jim Keys on 2010-11-12 07:46 (Reply)
You forgot to remind him to leave behind his..uh I mean ours or is it his/ours check book with the several million dollars he has accumulated while serving Christ so humbly these past decades.
Since His Eminence claims not even to own the shirt upon his back I propose when he hands over the checkbook (As if that will ever transpire) and the keys to the Englewood shack he resides in, that we provide him with some sort of clothing allowance?
Now granted some of those cassock wearing rebels who undermined this Diocese and their benevolent father for years were simply turned out without so much as bus fare, they haven't suffered the cruel deprivations of their worthy Master.
I guess we will just have let Christ's holy angels sort all this out later on. Now why was it the rich man didn't have a name in the Lazarus parable?
#143 Kevin Kirwan on 2010-11-12 08:48
In your paragraph #4, you need to be more specific about who "he" is. Who "obsesses," and who "performs..." I think one may be Fr. Elias and the other the "prophet," but which is which is vague here.
Yes, I was an English teacher once, and I myself may be accsed of obsessing, but it seems to me it makes a difference here.
#144 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2010-11-12 08:50
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith: and that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained to them priests in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, in whom they believed.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful.
2 Cor 12:9-10
If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.
And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12
+Mark, Fr David, Fr Elias, and all others who have been (and will be) persecuted by +Philip will be blessed. My prayers are with you all.
#145 Michael on 2010-11-12 09:00
I am very saddened by the actions of +Thomas. The dictatorship must end--and it must end soon before there is irreparable damage. I pray that other God fearing priests and bishops will stand up for the truth as did +Mark, Fr David and Fr Elias. St Mark of Ephesus pray for us!!!
#146 Michael on 2010-11-12 09:03
Some GOA parishes are more welcoming than others. When I became interested in Orthodoxy, I wrote to Syosset. They wrote back very quickly, apologetic that there was no OCA parish or mission near me. However, they suggested that I contact either the GOA or the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Greeks were extremely helpful. They gave me, gratis, Metropolitan Kallistos' (Ware) introductory book on Eastern Orthodoxy and put me in touch with the local priest, who happily was very interested in dealing with those interested in Orthodoxy. The Antiochian Archdiocese never, ever responded.
#147 RB on 2010-11-12 09:09
Mark Stokoe comments:
"I am not your problem, Father."
No, Mark, my criticisms were directed at some of the drivers on this road---not the road nor the man who constructed it.
#148 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-12 09:47
Anonymous writes: "CLEAN THE HOUSE OF ALL THE DISSIDENTS AND TRASH THAT HAS DESTROYED OUR ARCHDIOCESE. IT'S SPRING CLEANING IN WINTER, BABY!!!"
I have a congregation full of adult converts to the Orthodox Church. Although saddened by the loss of Bishop Mark, they are still loyal to the Archdiocese. What are you trying to do with a comment like this? Discourage their faith, or destroy the faith of their children?
Honestly, friend, have you ever heard Metropolitan Philip use this sort of language?
#149 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-12 10:21
"If your bishop be heretical, flee, flee, flee as from fire and a serpent”
(Saint John Chrysostom).
#150 Michael on 2010-11-12 11:18
“If thy bishop should teach any thing outside of the appointed order, even if he lives in chastity, or if he work signs, or if he prophecy, let him be unto thee as a wolf in sheep's clothing, for he works the destruction of souls”
#151 Michael on 2010-11-12 11:20
Athanasia (with others) asks, "I would ask Fr. Patrick, why he is not signing his name in such a manner as to identify himself as Orthodox clergy?"
For the same reason, I suppose, that St. Paul called himself "Paul," and John called himself "John," and so on.
In my writings, I never call myself "Father." It is second or third person form of reference.
No one, in over seventy years, has complained about it---except on ocanews.org
Why this hassle? Everybody knows who I am.
Heavens, I liked it better when we were talking about Jesse Jackson.
#152 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-12 11:31
Happy, I don't think anyone here is claiming that +PHILIP doesn't have the right to do what he has done. I believe he does have the right and responsibiity to remove priests/bishops, and exercise discipline when needed, and I thank God he does!
However, I think what is at issue here is if +PHILIP is exercising this right in a proper, loving, fatherly, and honerable fashion, and if he is being honest about the reasons he has for acting as severely as it seems.
I know as a parent of 4, that it is so utterly important to practice my rights as a parental authority in a prudent manner -- after all, I'm not seeking to ultimately control my children - I'm seeking to raise them to maturity, to govern themselves, and to seek the Kingdom of God first! When I am too harsh, am impatient, or fail in my discipline, I am careful humbly to ask my children's forgiveness (and ought to do so more). I do this imperfectly to be sure, and we ought to extend the same attitude to and be patient with His Eminence. It is what it means to be human and under God's authority ultimately. That said, the position that God has given +PHILIP also implies great responsibility, and thus the articles on this blog!
Fr. Elias is my priest; He served us and the poor in our community humbly and we will miss him greatly. We at St. James covet your prayers for wisdom, humility and Divine Guidance!
#153 Alyssa on 2010-11-12 11:40
Happy, I don't see or hear grief when Metropolitan Philip acts and speaks. Can you point out even one occasion where this was the case?
A metropolitan has the right to clean house but not for the reasons given. He does not have the right to dismiss people because they dress as priests or express opinions contrary to his own. He holds the office of metropolitan, not dictator.
Where are the "personal vendettas" against MP? We just want to rid the Archdiocese of this madness. If Metropolitan Philip were no longer metropolitan, he would be forgotten.
You refer to Father Elias Yelovich as one of those who is "lost and poisoned by anger and delusion." I heard no poisonous anger or delusion in his posts. For a third time, point this out to me.
Ever heard the expression "put up or shut up?" It may apply here.
I would agree that "Metropolitan PHILIP is the best there is and ever was," but best at what? Best at manipulation, vindictiveness, dishonesty, hiding money, dispersing cash in questionable ways, coveting the companionship of known felons . . . If this is what you mean, I am in complete agreement. (Note: I would have no trouble pointing out examples, if it would be helpful.)
You say that you pray Metropolitan Philip "CONTINUES to clean house . . . and corrects the errors of the last 7 years." If he is successful at "cleaning house," the Archdiocese could very well crumble. He has dismantled our synod, compromised our self-rule status, dismissed or suspended one bishop and several priests, forced our two chancellors to quit, posted fraudulent documents on our website, defied our Patriarch, allowed his friends to terrorize and threaten the laity and at least one bishop, thumbed his nose at the EP and the EA, pulled our seminary students (and their families) out of St. Vlads to satisfy his own vendetta, reneged on promises like producing the results of the internal audit, and these are only the things I personally observed in my short tenure with the Church. ....
You call this man "holy." Holy means "exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness." There is nothing "good" or "righteous" about a man who cares so little for his flock.
You're right about one thing, though: he certainly looks bad. But more importantly, he looks WEAK. Again, he is to be PITIED. Continue to pray for Metropolitan Philip. Your prayers are well placed.
#154 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-12 12:42
Good one, Kenneth! Henry VIII is a good analogy, but I was rather thinking of Donald Trump. "You're FIRED!"
#155 anonymous in the west on 2010-11-12 12:58
He doesn't have the right to do what he's doing. He lost the right when he breached trust with the people and the clergy.
#156 MWP on 2010-11-12 13:21
AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!
Gail, your summary of the travesty and tragedy spreading in the Antiochian Church solely due to +Philip's unchecked and unaccountable power and lack of Christ-like leadership is true and accurate. It shows forth the disturbing "fruits" of his ministry in the last few years and how rapidly the power he yields has corrupted and blinded his heart and mind. Lord Have Mercy!
It bears repeating what you have written so those who still live in reality and have eyes to see, ears to hear, and spiritual discernment to understand will be warned of the darkness that has clouded this hierarch's soul, the pain and suffering he's inflicting on the clergy and flock he is responsible for, and the enormous danger he's in personally.
(1) dismantled our synod,
(2) compromised our self-rule status,
(3) dismissed or suspended one bishop and several priests,
(4) forced our two chancellors to quit,
(5) posted fraudulent documents on our website,
(6) defied our Patriarch,
(7) allowed his friends to terrorize and threaten the laity and at least one bishop,
(8) thumbed his nose at the EP and the EA,
(9) pulled our seminary students (and their families) out of St. Vlads to satisfy his own vendetta,
(10) reneged on promises like producing the results of the internal audit.
And I would add:
(11) Improperly demoted properly elected and consecrated Orthodox Bishops to the status of "auxiliaries" without proper authority to do so,
(12) Treated God's money as his own money to do with has he pleases without any oversight or audits until he decides what he wants to do with it.
These signs should indicate to all clear-thinking and rational Antiochian Orthodox Christians of Met. Philip's progressive descent into delusion. These are the predictable and caustic effects of his unlimited spiritual and financial power. The longer he continues down this road the worse things will be for him, for the Antiochian Church, the bishops, the priests, and the innocent sheep under his care.
Hopefully those Antiochian lay men and women with sufficient moral authority, financial security, and influence will show some courage and compassion and step forth, bear witness to the truth publicly, and attempt to do something to confront Met. Philip and stop him from continuing down this road of destruction and perdition. Unlike the Antiochian priests, bishops, and deacons who fear for their families and daily bread, these lay leaders cannot be terrorized into submission. What are they so afraid of? If not them, then who? If not now, then when?
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
Well you gave me the old "..." once again! Apparently any reference or allusion to the dark side of the Force, if the target is a member of the Hierarchy, is now verboten. I seem to recall that our Lord famously told one of the Apostles to "get behind me Satan." But of course that was before he was formally a member of the Hierarchy.
More to the point, I see the use of the old "..." increasingly in use on this website by you. As the owner and editor of this website that is your absolute right. But the rest of us don't have to like it. Of course, it is necessary and justified if libelous, profane or totally over the top comments are made, but we really don't need a PC OCA News that conforms to the editorial tastes of well--the editor. After all, you can always have the last word. And we can always post elsewhere (i.e. the Orthodox Forum) the full, unexpurgated version of our remarks if sufficiently annoyed.
Have a nice day.
(Editor's note: Yes, I am not interested in libel, profanity, slander, or just over the top comments. Over the top includes references to people's sexual habits with any other mammals, excessive drinking habits, dubious mental states, including sociopathy, dementia, alzheimers, etc., current or former employers
(including Satan, other dark powers, including the OCA, the AOCNA, & the GOA; the CiA, Securitate, the NKVSD-KGB-FSB, or yes, even the Gestapo.) And this goes for hierarchs, priests, monks, lay men, lay women, former members of the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholics, Protestants and yes, even Wiccans. (Mormons, of course, are excluded from this list because they are fair game, anytime. Besides, nothing we print here could top what anti-Mormons write, so why bother? )
I try to let as much as I can pass, but sometimes, really, people says things they shouldn't . I can't tell you how often, in the heat of the moment, someone pushes that send button, and then frantically writes me not to publish it. I don't, or I remove it when they request I do so. I am not perfect. Nor even Mary Poppinesque ( "pratically perfect") . I make mistakes in editing, and for those I apologize to all I have offended, especially you Ken. Because 99% of the time, you are enlightening, and thought-provoking. But 1% of the time you, too, are over the top and will be ...... here. Sorry, that is just the way it is. )
#158 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-11-12 15:37
Glory to Jesus Christ!
I find validity in some comments you are ignorantly blasted for regarding the Metropolitan. You seem to have insight, I (we) may need. I am a member of St. James. If able, please contact me at email@example.com.
(Editor's note: Please do not put your telephone number in an email. This is unwise on many levels.)
#159 Chris Woodhead on 2010-11-12 16:05
My comments made on November 10 with respect to recommending parishes to people interested in the Orthodox Church were made in haste. I apologize as I did not intend to offend any members of the Antiochian or Greek Archdioceses, although I now realize my comments may have been taken not as I intended.
#160 Michele Haqerman on 2010-11-12 16:10
For the record, the original "take it outside" comment wasn't from me ... I don't post anonymously.
But just to expand on the conversation, if Michele had said here or in another public forum, "I'm president of such-and-such, and in that capacity will from now on stop interacting with parishes of the Antiochian Archdiocese," that would be a conflict with the stated goals of the inter-Orthodox organization in question. But when she, as an individual unidentified with the organization, says that if asked by an inquirer she would refer someone elsewhere, that doesn't seem to be connected to her responsibilities or role as president of the organization.
Fr. Patrick made the connection, and the only intent I can infer is to manufacture some kind of consequence for Michele for speaking out on this issue -- in other words, to punish her for a personal opinion.
(Editor's note: Michelle has recently posted an apology, and assuming Fr. Patrick will graciously accept, lets all assume the matter is closed. )
#161 Rebecca Matovic on 2010-11-12 17:11
"When the current President of "Orthodox Synergy of Chicago"---an organization founded to advance Orthodox unity---publicly insults the Archdiocese, one hopes somebody will undermine her efforts. Somebody needs to hold her accountable."
So...you nominate yourself? Shame, shame, shame. You know perfectly well that "outing" the critics of Met. Philip can quite easily result in harassment (apart from clerical censure and complaints on ocanews.org) and even security issues. Followers of the Metropolitan have gone so far as to threaten the life of your former bishop. Yet you carelessly and thoughtlessly go so far as to identify Ms. Hagerman in such a way as to make her easily identifiable...and findable...by such people.
You have a conflict of interest in this a mile wide, given that she is a "former parishoner" of yours. Whether she does or does not deserve criticism for her remarks, YOU are the last person who should deliver them.
#162 Mary Brigid on 2010-11-12 17:49
How many of you like Byzantine drama,,,,it is here
#163 Anonymous on 2010-11-12 23:08
Fr. Reardon, allow me to respond to your comments with a wee bit of parody.
Quote: “What is being undermined, on this web site, is the Antiochian Archdiocese.”
Parody: ‘What is being undermined by commentators on this and other websites is the authority of the Tyrant Philip to destroy the Antiochian Archdiocese at his pleasure.’
Quote: “Loving this Archdiocese as my family's home, I have steadfastly done and said nothing that would bring harm to it, during this time of severe trial.”
Parody: ‘Loving my position within this Archdiocese more than accountability for wrongdoing, I have steadfastly done and said nothing that would call attention to the harm being inflicted upon the faithful by my Overlord Philip during this time of his severe trial.’
Quote: “Now, I find myself actually obliged to defend my beloved Archdiocese from public obloquy by a former parishioner.”
Parody: ‘Now, suddenly I have found my voice and am obliged to cast aspersions upon a former parishioner for having the audacity to speak publicly against the evil marching forth from Englewood by order of my beloved Dictator Philip.’
Quote: “When the current President of "Orthodox Synergy of Chicago"---an organization founded to advance Orthodox unity---publicly insults the Archdiocese, one hopes somebody will undermine her efforts. Somebody needs to hold her accountable.
Parody: When the current President of "Orthodox Synergy of Chicago" - an organization unfortunately outside the control of Englewood - publicly chastises Philip, Despot of his Archdiocese, one hopes a loyal foot soldier will undermine her efforts. After all, somebody needs to slap her down for her effrontery.’
(Editor's note: Once again, Michelle has apologized, and should Fr. Reardon accept, which I hope he will, the issue is ended. Enough of this, please.)
#164 Heracleides on 2010-11-13 07:47
To the Hierarchs, Bishops (not auxiliary) and Fathers of the Church in North America:
Almost 100 years ago, a hero of the Mexican Revolutions said, "I would rather die of my feet than live on my knees." Where are the heroes of Orthodox Christianity. The Metropolitan is using the informal and formal organizations to send out the word to the Arab faithful that he had to step in because there were some dangerous practices going on under the leadership of the bishops. At the parish level most people do not even know what is happening outside of the Midwest Diocese. Some are saying that "from a management standpoint, there has to be a CEO." This from a man whose roots in the Church go back to the First Century. The Church in North America is in crisis and we are often told that the Chinese words for crisis are a combination of danger and opportunity. If leadership fails to step forward to challenge the Metropolitan in this crisis, the Antiochian Orthodox church will proceed to rust out. There is a great need to evangelize the Orthodox Church in North America from within. Leaders, please be leaders.
#165 Diogenes on 2010-11-13 08:54
Fair enough--thanks for the friendly and entertaining response!
#166 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2010-11-13 09:33
Mark Stokoe writes:
"Michele [Hagerman] has apologized, and should Fr. Reardon accept, which I hope he will, the issue is ended.
Thank you, Mark, The difficulty involved only Miss Hagerman and the membership of Orthodox Synergy of Chicago. In spite of some posted comments to the contrary, there was no personal animosity between her and me. So we should, as you suggest, let the matter rest.
#167 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-13 10:12
”This is the Church of God, friends. Rebellion is always spiritually dangerous, but in the case of the Church it is a guaranteed one-way ticket to hell.”
To continue quoting you Fr. Reardon: “Good grief!” Try peddling that load of tripe to St. Mark of Ephesus, to St. Maximos, and to our much beloved St. John Crysostom who explicitly counseled the faithful to flee evil bishops! If that isn’t “rebellion” I don’t know what is.
In point of fact, however, I did not urge you and other presbyters to “rebellion” against the Despot. I urged you to publicly stand by your brother priests currently persecuted by the vindictive actions of Philip.
I continue to challenge you and your brothers to publicly speak without fear of worldly retribution against this episcopal injustice; to withstand the tyranny of Englewood; and to openly lead your various flocks as courageous shepherds in beating back these vicious attacks of a rabid-wolf* in Overseers clothing.
Obviously the urging of bold public leadership against the corrupt worldly power that has infiltrated our church has fallen on deaf ears as too challenging a plea; it seems Blessed Fr. Elias and Fr. David are bereft of true brothers within the presbyteriate of the Archdiocese at this time. Thankfully they are not forsaken but stand in the holy company of St. Mark of Ephesus, St. Maximos, and St. John Crysostom (to name but a few).
*My apologies to all canis lupis everywhere.
#168 Jerry "Isaac" Sanders on 2010-11-13 11:33
Perhaps I erred by introducing the comedy of Donald's bad hair day (every day as we know). This has serious consequences. We cannot re-write the parables of our Lord. If someone suggests a parable of the Prodigal Father we really can get no further than the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen.
"Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
While the canons provide examples of independent authority being annulled, they do not provide for the linguistic alchemy of MP. (I'm referring to Canon 28 of the Seventh Ecumenical Council which could easily be seen as more novelty than norm.) When we can follow the letter without violating the spirit, what are we to do? I suggest τὰ αρχεῖα ἔθη κρατείτο. Be Nice.
#169 Monologistos on 2010-11-13 12:26
I don't think you have anything to apologize for, Michele. You weren't attacking the Archdiocese. You were just stating the obvious: under our present leadership, we are not the healthiest place to be. To ignore that is to ignore the problem. I wouldn't send anyone to us either. I wouldn't want to taint the Orthodox experience for them or perhaps repel them altogether. You have to have a few years under your belt to be able to separate the "Church" from what's happening in the Church. This would be hard for any catechumen.
Michele's comment should be a warning to members of the clergy who are too frightened to speak out or are speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They will have to answer for what they DIDN'T do, as well as for what they did when it comes to growing Christ's Church. I imagine there are a lot of disillusioned people out there who want nothing to do with Orthodoxy because of this unholy mess. For a long time, we were able to keep it under wraps, but if you GOOGLE "Antiochian," you're bound to see it. That's why this issue affects every jurisdiction.
Let's not make this about Michele. Many people have made similar comments.
#170 Gail Sheppard on 2010-11-13 13:25
Lord have mercy!
From the frying pan of the ECUSA train wreck to the fire of this mess in the Antiochian Archdiocese.
With "happy clappy" stops in-between.
Maybe we should have stayed in the LCMS??
I'm a member of Saint Mark's in Denver. I'm also a tonsured Lay Reader. This situation is making me EXTREMELY nervous.
While we fiddle in Antioch, continuing Anglican organizations like the Anglican Mission in the Americas and Forward in Faith move forward and plant healthy parishes.
One local AMIA fellow has a goal to see 20 churches planted by 2020. Our current goal is just to survive this mess. I'm less than inspired right now, I can tell you.
Many of these Anglicans and their leaders are living more Orthodox lives then we Orthodox. I say this to our shame.
It's no wonder the Anglican Province of North America hasn't given Orthodoxy a serious look.
This really sucks.
I recently wrote a letter to Bishop Basil with the idea that our best bet is to plant as many healthy parishes as we can and wait for all of this to blow over. I mentioned The Way, an Orthodox Evangelism program which has been started in England with input from Bishop Kallistos Ware.
In talking with one of our Deacons, I asked what our choices really are in this situation.
If whole parishes leave for another jurisdiction, they forfeit their buildings, just like in ECUSA. Our own version of "The Dennis Canon."
If we stay, we have no choice but to ride this out.
If individuals leave for another jurisdiction and they're Western Rite, the only choice is the jurisdiction formally known as ROCOR.
If individuals go OCA or GOA, they can kiss their western church heritage goodbye.
Metropolitan Philip is an elderly man. It is quite possible that his advancing age is contributing to all of these problems. Is our Orthodox Church so fragile that we can't survive such a situation (this is a rhetorical question, of course).
This kind of reminds me of the situation with the Denver Broncos where owner Pat Bowlen is rumored to have Alzheimers. His recent decisions haven't been the best, either.
The organization may have won Super Bowls in the past, but we're 2-6 now and sinking fast.
But I'm betting the Denver Broncos will survive.
So will Antioch.
The Orthodox Church in the past has had to contend with entire dioceses falling into heresy. Remember Arius? The Orthodox Church survived.
Hopefully we have enough strength to hang in there.
MP will eventually go to meet his Maker, as we all will. When that happens, a new Metropolitan will be chosen.
Probably a small comfort to many, but it's really true. "This too, shall pass."
What we all decide to do in the meantime is the thorny question.
Shakespeare would chuckle if he were alive to witness this mess.
Blessings in the Holy Trinity, One God.
Father, please explain more! Rebellion? Really? Does the Scripture not enjoin us to obey God rather than men? I know you don't believe the Bishop is an exception to this rule. Was Jesus then in rebellion against God because He drove out the moneychangers from the Temple courts who were apparently sanctioned by the duly ordained Temple authorities of the time? I asked a sincere question about this issue under another of your comments. I haven't looked yet today to see if you replied. If public protest or rallying public protest is out, by what actions may a priest or layperson back up their life of prayer and what God speaks to their conscience if not by diverting their money to be properly stewarded, for example? Forgive me, but comments of yours like this one makes me wonder if your understanding of obedience vs. rebellion has been more informed by Bill Gothard than a fully in-context biblical understanding. But then, I'm not a scholar or a theologian.
I think it is spiritually dangerous for all when leaders in the Church refuse to acknowledge what constitutes abuse of authority when their hierarchs persist in engaging in it in a public way, scandalizing the members of the Church and bringing disrepute to their own office. We don't need to be vituperative, but God help me as a parent if when my child sees someone in authority engaged in wrongdoing, I don't tell him in no uncertain terms that, yes, what that authority is doing is indeed wrong!
#172 Karen on 2010-11-13 17:35
Ahh, yes...Bill Gothard. He made me uncomfortable 35 years ago. And what some of our priests are counseling makes me just as uncomfortable today. As I quoted on another website, "Fathers, don't exasperate your children." Eph. 6:4
#173 Makarios on 2010-11-13 18:58
As someone who knows Fr Connely well, this was most certainly facetious (though, yes, almost certainly inappropriate words for the pulpit). Bishop Mark was invited to give a retreat at St Mark's in Denver a couple of years ago, and was received very well there, including by Fr Connely. Oh, yes, and Fr Connely is no longer the dean of anything.
#174 Anonymous on 2010-11-13 19:59
"Oh, yes, and Fr Connely is no longer the dean of anything."
I took a look and you might want to remind Rev. Connley to update the parish website because he is still listed as the "Western Rite Dean of the Central & Mountain States" ( http://www.westernorthodox.com/stmark/about )
#175 Anonymous on 2010-11-14 08:25
Thank you, Jerry, for pointing that out. You make this case much more clearly than I can. All I can say is that my blood runs cold with fear for the truly vulnerable lambs of Christ's flock .... If this is what our priests (and bishops) believe and have been taught is the meaning of obedience to God within the Church, God help us all!
#176 Karen on 2010-11-14 13:12
"I urged you to publicly stand by your brother priests currently persecuted by the vindictive actions of Philip."
Dear Jerry and Karen
In the sustained animosity represented on this blog site, please, try to understand the reluctance of the bee to mix his little buzz into the general droning of the wasps.
Both of you express a sincerity of concern, however, which I would be happy to discuss with you, if you care to contact me privately: firstname.lastname@example.org
#177 Patrick Henry Reardon on 2010-11-15 09:09
From the Notes on Arab Orthodoxy Blog comments:
What's the significance of linking this w/ Bp Joseph's current visit.
November 15, 2010 8:22 AM
Blogger Samn! said...
Bishop Joseph has been meeting with almost every bishop on the Holy Synod. If these things are coming out now in Lebanon, then they're coming out in a context where Bishop Joseph is in conversation with the Syrian and Lebanese bishops. I have no idea if there is a causal relationship to the two events, but certainly now Bishop Joseph is able to explain what is going on in the US in person.... Usually, the lack of having regular in-person contacts between the Patriarchate and the North American Archdiocese has been fuel for misunderstandings. This time there's at least a chance that such won't be the case.
November 15, 2010 8:40 AM
#178 Fr Yousuf Rassam on 2010-11-15 11:07
Does anyone here really think that my beloved father confessor has not potentially put his priestly ministry and pastorship in jeaopardy merely by posting comments on this website?
What are any of us laity, who can freely and easily move to another jurisdiction (just like all those Protestants who end up not liking their pastor jump over to some other denomination), liable to lose by commenting and criticizing Metropolitan PHILIP? And yet, what are any of us doing about it? Have any of us contacted the Antiochian Synod or the Patriarch? Have any of us contacted those lawyers and accountants who 18 months ago hinted that they had the informational wherewhithal to bring down the house? What have we done? Put some comments up on a website?
That some priests do not voice their comments on a public forum may not be so much a matter of cowardice as a matter of mastering the passions. And yes I indict myself here. Why do we assume that silence is vice? What do we know of what the clergy are or are not doing?
And yes, I have added my chorus of Anaxios to those raised here and elsehwere (and yes, that falls afoul of what my priest has posted here).
Really, people. Back off Father Pat.
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