So, here's the dilemma. Keep a "despot" in power since he is the devil we know, or replace him with a more democratic govt. and leaders who are the devils we don't know. Gee, a real hard decision here! Keep +Jonah the devil we now know, or replace him with a conciliar Met. who really believes in an American Church, the devil we don't know. Boy, a tough one!
This speaks volumes about the ruthless behavior of Metropolitan Philip as well. His brutality and insecurity, not to mention his supporters ( who by the way also are supporters of Assad). Like seeks like.
If history teaches us anything, it is that all dictators fall and all repressive regimes eventually come to an end, usually violently and with retaliation from those whom they have oppressed. All who would support such regimes out of their own self-interest would do well to remember this.
Particularly relevant are the examples of the Roman Catholic Church in the French Revolution and the Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian Revolution. Both had chosen stability over justice, supporting an unsustainable status quo in which they held high position; both suffered terribly when the oppressed majority finally revolted both against the oligarchic regimes and against their supporters and fellow travelers.
Christ does not call us to self-preservation, but to martyrdom. He does not ask us to make bargains with the devil; he asks us to love one another as he loved us, even to be willing to die for him and for each other.
The church in Syria has been played. The more it continues to align itself with injustice and oppression and to forget Christ's declaration that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church, the less it speaks up against ALL oppression and injustice, the less indeed that it truly bears witness to Christ and all he taught us, the greater the chance that it will share in the eventual fate of the Assads and Alawites in their inevitable downfall.
That said, I do not envy the position of the Church in Antioch, and I thank God that I have not found myself in such a difficult position as it finds itself in now. Let us all pray for their safety and salvation.
How often, how extensively, and how recently have you actually traveled in Syria? I am guessing not at all. I only went once for a half week or so back in 1998, under the administration of Assad pere, but it left a real impression.
Your analogy to the French and Russian revolutions clearly fails, I believe, because in those situations the religion in question was the only state religion and had been for many centuries. And boy were church and state enmeshed in the formulation and execution of oppressive state policy in ways that filled church coffers.
In Syria professional estimates suggest that all Christians amount to perhaps 10% of the population, spread among several churches, each with a fraction of the 10%. The various Churches have minor roles in the everyday administration of such institutions as education and marriage. But they are allowed nowhere near the engines of political policy formulation or enforcement, let alone getting rich off the spoils thereof.
You seem to assume, mistakenly, I believe, that when Syrian Christian leaders cooperate with the state, or argue against an inchoate revolution liable to be heavily influenced, if not hijacked altogether, by radical Islam if it should succeed, they are doing so as collaborators in oppression. That's far too simplistic. I prefer to see them as favoring the political stability that enables their communities to exist and bear basic witness to Christ in places where they are vastly outnumbered by several different varieties of Islam, including the militant, gun-shooting and bomb-throwing fundamentalist kind.
And the oracular call to Syrian Christian martyrdom is duly noted, issued, one presumes, from a computer desk in a nice safe corner of America where there are few if any gun-toters tasked to pay careful attention to your views.
Personally I prefer to trust that God has spoken to that Church through His local representatives, the Patriarch and Synod, and that they have a better idea than you or I do just which of the many forms of martyrdom the Church has been called to in that country at this time.
Look, Assad is a despotic ruler who suppresses all who oppose him by crushing them - even mass murder. This is not ANYONE any church should support. I know Met. Philip supports him, but he also supported Saddam. What does this tell you? Conciliarity does not really exist in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Met. Philip only cares about those who wield power, money & influence. He is also a despotic ruler and wants this to continue after his reign. This idea of "Eis Polla Ieti DESPOTA" is not how Orthodox bishops are to behave. This aberration was adopted by bishops after the demise of the Byzantine Emperor. Therefore the crown, the saccos (emperor's garb), etc. It REALLY is time for bishop and church reform. CONCILIARITY is how the Church should operate - in the OCA, Antiochians, Greeks, etc.
One brief Thought, under the Shaw in Iran there were many Christians, after the Islamic Revolution most of the Christians are gone and Strict Islamic law is enforced in Civil Laws, if the Assad Goverment fall I feal the Same in syria were we have many Sacrad Orthodox Shrines, Or Lady of Saidyana Convent, that have an Icon painted by the Apostle Luke; St. Thelka Convent in Maloula (sp?) - actual place where the marty was Martyred; St. george Monastery in homs; St. Simeon the New Studite in Alepo; The Head of Johnt he Baptist (in a Mosque in damacus) to name a few. christians are free to workship and convert anyone (even Moslem) the governemnt is non religious.
I am not saying Assad is not a dictator, but the country is stable. The cuyrrent Revolution has the influence of Iraq Sunnie and the Moslem Brotherhood, who want conttrol to amke is a Islamic State. Iif this happens all Christians and its holy sites will disappear like Iran!
wE SHOULD PRAY FOR A PEACEFUL OUTCOME, AND MORE IMPORTANTILY THAT THE sUNNIES DO NTO TAKE POWER THERE.
You see, your logic does not work. You say, "We need to keep Assad in power to protect the Christians." You are assuming the Christians will be in danger without him. Assuming radical Moslems will come to power and get rid of all Christians. I say, BALONEY! Assad is a murderer. He is no better than Saddam, Khadafi or Ahmajinedad. To prefer a murderer over any reform of justice isn't logical.
Call the Antiochian Archdiocese and ask them for a copy of their detailed, independent audit report. I'm sure you'll find the answer you seek in that report. And by the way, ask them for a complete list of their banks and bank accounts.
After reading the article on this website on sisuation of Christians in Egypt between Christians and Moslem (Sunni), in contrast to Syria where the government is trying not have religion and the state be too conncted, with Moslem extrimist from outside its boarders trying over throw the goverment. This do nto justify Assad crackdown, but he is trying to prevent his country from being drown ion to a secretarian and civil war.
How much of the money from the Antiochian Archdiocese of America is filtered to Assad by Met.Phillip?
#8 Stephen on 2011-09-29 16:34 (Reply)
This question is best directed to His Grace Antoun. Who, even as we speak is dilgently preparing his report as Chairman of the "Special Financial Whatchamacallit Was Hoping You Had All Forgot About It By Now" Committee.
Just wondering maybe, those covert operatives of the Detroit AOC who doctored documents during the unwedding (Or was it mass annulment?) of the former Diocesan Bishops could get their whiteout and magic markers going again?
Ya know there are lots of pictures and articles showing Met. Philip with his bff Assad Jr. still in the archives. I think a little historical revisionism might be in order. Just in case the old brutal crackdown, mass executions and lawless incarcerations don't pan out..
Granted it may involve a lot more time and effort than it took to alter a fax or two from the Patriarchate but the obvious expierence and demonstrated willingness to tamper, conceal and coverup might just come in handy, when the damascan chickens come home to roost?
Shred all the flowery articles extolling the virtues of the soon to be in the company of Col. Qadaffi and every picture of Met. Philip with,.. what's his name? Replace all such images with Jamie Farr or his stunt double and everything should just be fine.
If you folks here are tempted to despair as you contemplate the sorry state of your leadership take heart and dwell upon the sorrier state of your brethern in the AOC and be comforted. You at least have the opportunity to fix your messes even if you may not always have the will. We have no opportunity and only the will of His Eminence.