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Author Topic: Purges in the Antiochian Archdiocese  (Read 17340 times) Average Rating: 0
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BasilCan
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« on: December 24, 2006, 12:03:55 AM »

It appears that there are purges again against conservative and traditional clergy in the Antiochian archdiocese. Can anyone give me a reason why, Fr. Issac Henke was ex-communicated and Fr. Basil Hartung laicized? I knew of both priests and found them to be very good - traditional without being fanactical.

I had thought the Antiochians were "lightening up a bit" but I guess this is confirmation of why I now attend an OCA parish.

The upset

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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2006, 12:05:46 AM »

The deposition and excommunication of Fr. Isaac appeared in the latest edition of the Word.
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2006, 12:22:29 AM »

Yes, I saw that on-line, but the question is why. What did these priests do that was so terrible to be ex-communicated (a very serious offence) and laicized?

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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2006, 01:13:25 AM »

According to various sites both official and other, an Isaac Henke has joined ROAC and is a priest in that group.  Is leaving a jurisdiction without permission/a blessing an excomminicatable offense?

If a cleric decides to leave one might think that his pervious Church is not having a "purge" but dealing with someone who is, ummm A.W.O.L? 

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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2006, 01:27:17 AM »

Fr Basil was laicized?!
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2006, 02:01:22 AM »

Fr Basil was laicized?!

Final decision pending in about a week.
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2006, 02:03:35 AM »

Yes, I saw that on-line, but the question is why. What did these priests do that was so terrible to be ex-communicated (a very serious offence) and laicized?

Basil

Btw, I have no idea.  I actually just heard exactly what you stated...from someone very close to him.  We're all waiting for the decision and curious as to 'why'.  Prayers please.
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2006, 07:42:11 AM »

What is ROAC?

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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2006, 11:40:54 AM »

What is ROAC?

Thomas

"Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church".  It has a small presence in the US and a somewhat, umm, contentious history with some break-off groups. One former part of it was the group under "Gregory of Colorado", Dormition Skete. (This group is now calling itself the "Genuine Orthodox Church in America). \

The leader of ROAC is "Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir" in Russia.

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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2006, 01:13:16 PM »

What is ROAC?

Thomas

that's the Church Deacon Nikolai, a former admin of this site, is a member of.
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2006, 01:35:45 PM »

According to various sites both official and other, an Isaac Henke has joined ROAC and is a priest in that group.  Is leaving a jurisdiction without permission/a blessing an excomminicatable offense?

If a cleric decides to leave one might think that his pervious Church is not having a "purge" but dealing with someone who is, ummm A.W.O.L? 

Theoretically he could be anathematized for doing so, but technically should not be excommunicated. Canonically you can only be disciplined once for an action, deposition and excommunication are two actions. If, indeed, he was deposed AND excommunicated him, as was suggested, there is a problem and the excommunication is contrary to canon law (the customary procedure throughout most the history of the Church was to depose before excommunicating, otherwise you have the problem of excommunicated, but valid and legitimate, priests...not an issue one usually wants to deal with, though it has happens at times).

Technically, if they don't anathematize him, which I seriously doubt would happen, I don't think one has been issued since the mid 19th Century, they can only depose him. He can then, as a layman, be told to return to the Church, if he fails, and hence commits a second offence, this time as a layman, he can be excommunicated. (Or, alternatively, he could be excommunicated and forbidden from serving as a priest, and if he does so, he could be deposed for that offence)

These procedural issues are Extremely important in canon and ecclesiastical law, I would be quite surprise if the Antiochian synod made such a mistake.
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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2006, 01:48:49 PM »

Thank you for the information.

These procedural issues are Extremely important in canon and ecclesiastical law, I would be quite surprise if the Antiochian synod made such a mistake.

As would I be. The original post gives the impression that any actions taken by the Antiochians are, umm, suspect or tainted or evil.  Whereas, I would wonder whether the persons in question did things that were against their Synod. It's not *always*the case that the higher ups are the wrong-doers.

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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2006, 01:56:35 PM »

Thank you for the information.

As would I be. The original post gives the impression that any actions taken by the Antiochians are, umm, suspect or tainted or evil.  Whereas, I would wonder whether the persons in question did things that were against their Synod. It's not *always*the case that the higher ups are the wrong-doers.

Ebor

Oh, I'm just more concerned with procedure than the technicalities of 'right' and 'wrong' Grin

But seriously, I'm sure details will become available in time and I'm sure the synod has good reason...I just hope they get the procedural issues right.
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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2006, 02:07:38 PM »



These procedural issues are Extremely important in canon and ecclesiastical law, I would be quite surprise if the Antiochian synod made such a mistake.

You should be surprised then--Metropolitan Phillip has had some quite strange disciplinary practices over the years--such as "deposing someone until he repents" in the case of Ben Lomond, etc. This is far from the first example of such. However, it would probably be good if we don't start naming names and analyzing individual cases.
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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2006, 02:18:24 PM »

However, it would probably be good if we don't start naming names and analyzing individual cases.

Canon/Ecclesiastical law without case studies? Yeah, it's technically possible since it's a civil law system...but not nearly as much fun.
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« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2006, 02:32:44 PM »

Canon/Ecclesiastical law without case studies? Yeah, it's technically possible since it's a civil law system...but not nearly as much fun.

Oh I would love to sit around and do it, but on an internet forum it probably is not a good idea Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2006, 12:57:06 AM »

If a clergyman asks for a release to another jurisdiction and he is not immoral, corrupt, a mason or country western fan, then he can leave.  If releasing bishop refuses , then by default the receiving bishop can sign him up for duties.
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« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2006, 02:04:44 AM »

If a clergyman asks for a release to another jurisdiction and he is not immoral, corrupt, a mason or country western fan, then he can leave.  If releasing bishop refuses , then by default the receiving bishop can sign him up for duties.

Ummm...I don't think that's how it works, which canon are you referencing if you don't mind me asking?
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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2006, 03:00:34 AM »

Quote
If releasing bishop refuses , then by default the receiving bishop can sign him up for duties.

If only Gregory of Colorado had known this sooner! Grin
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« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2006, 03:39:34 PM »

Isaac Henke's situation was one that has devloped over a period of time.  I note he was suspended as a priest July 12, 2005 over a year before he was deposed.

It is interesting to note that Issac Henke and his wife Jo were both excommunicated in December. 

He is now listed as a priest of The Church of Christ the Savior (ROAC on their website)in the same city he was serving at the time of his suspension. Without further evidence presented either by  Mr. Henke or the Antiochian  Synod,I would have to assume that there was a presumed or real threat posed by him to those he formerly pastored  perhaps that he might lead them to follow him into schism. If so , this would have been deemed enough for the Synod to take the action.  In view that the Antiochian Orthodox Church views ROAC as a schismatic church, the synod may have felt the excommunication was necessary to remedy the situation and protect the laity he formerly served.

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« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2006, 05:52:43 PM »

FYI: of the the ten priests that left during the Ben Lomond debacle...one left Orthodoxy and became an RC and one past away. And recently two returned to the Antiochian Archdiocese. One of those who returned ran the school of St. Lawrence Church (Jerusalem Pat.) and the other handled the finances for the parish. They returned to Bishop JOSEPH and repented. They are no longer priests but they felt their salvation would be found by returning to the Antiochian Archdiocese. A deacon also returned at the same time. I do not know why they left St. Lawrence parish but perhaps the grass isn't always greener on the other side. My sense is something is not going well for this parish if two of the main priests were willing to give up community and career to humbly return back as laymen in our archdiocese.

Another former Antiochian priest, who was a so called "traditionalist," has now made the rounds in all of the jurisdictions (GOA, OCA, and now the ROCOR). While in  our archdiocese this charismatic clergyman embezzeled money from the parishioners he brought to Orthodoxy. He also caused alot of spiritual pain to many of these parishioners with his harsh spiritual penances. He was thrown out for his refusal to obey the authority of the bishop. I think some former Protestants have a hard time with submitting to the authority of the bishop. Bishop JOSEPH is a tonsured monk so I trust he knows what he is doing with some of these so-called "traditionalists" who refuse to obey his authority. He will not allow these men to harm the sheep he loves dearly.
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« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2006, 12:22:08 AM »

All bishops are supposed to be monks, but in the Antiochian Archdiocese, only Bishop BASIL is a little schema monk (or for that matter tries to live as a monk). Having said that, regardless of whether one is a focused monk or not, it doesn't necessarily mean they know about traditionalists or not.

As one person privately emailed me, the problem with the Antiochians has been that while Met PHILIP has been very generous in ordaining convert clergy (and non-convert as well) he often is very "passive aggressive" with them. That is, they are often left on their own to fend for themselves. If anything, proper Orthodox liturgics and praxis has never been seen as important for Met. PHILIP (it is interesting to note, that until Bishop BASIL printed the Liturgikon the extent of Antiochian liturgical services where found in the abridged Service Book and the Evening Divine Liturgy books, proper weekday vespers, for instance, where never done. Until a few years ago, students at the St. Stephen's course, most of them convert, were often scandalized that meat was served as a primary dish everday, including Wednesdays and Fridays and even on the beheading of John the Baptist )

So called "traditionalist" Antiochian clergy often find they live a schizophrenic liturgical life. They follow "traditionalist practices" and wear a cassock when the Bishop or Metropolitan isn't around and then revert to the abridged services and clerical collar when they are. Several have said, that if they were allowed to serve and live as clergy do in Syrian and Lebanon (which as one ex-Antiochian priest, now with the Greeks says, is basically the services one finds in the Liturgikon or the Arabic Service books) and dresses like they do there (cassock) with the option to serve as a more "modern" Antiochian (like Met. Philip), they would be happy. Instead, some of them become Athonite monastics and go off the deep end. (They don't even have an Antiochian monastery to go to to learn Antiochian monasticism, because Met. PHILIP won't allow one to be built!)

Back to my "passive aggressive statement"... so, if a priest keeps a low profile, sends kids to camp, gets a few people to sign up for the Order of St. Ignatios. and "wears his collar" he is left on his own. If on the other hand, he is caught being "traditionalist" in public or encouraging his people to live a proper Orthodox life, he can be in big trouble.  There is no sense of discussion with Met. PHILP - it is his way or the highway.

The Antiochians may be the group most open to converts, but it is still run by a country club of Arab Americans who are religiously "Byzantine Anglicans" (note Met. PHILIP'S suits and red buttons are the same that Anglican Bishops wear). They are lost in the 1950's and 1960's when America was considered "Christian" and to make it was to become Episcopalian.  One just has to look at the list of senior bishops (Antoun) and priests, as well as the board of directors to see what I mean. So, when this club is threatened, by what they see as out of date religiousocity, they just get rid of people, with no thought or discussion.

Anyways, back to my question, Fr. Basil has been laiczed as noted on the LA diocese website. Any publically known reason why this occured?

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« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2006, 04:06:22 AM »

I never said our archdiocese or our bishops were perfect...are any of them perfect? I believe one bishop died of AIDS in one of the big three archdioceses in the last few years (the practicing homosexual network that can become a real threat to the entire ethical structure at the hierarchial level). So every archdiocese has its own problems they have to deal with...I don't understand why so much animosity is being directed at the Antiochians. I do know our archdiocese is growing so I take that growth as a sign God is blessing us.

As far as the liturgical services, things are improving...and if Bishop JOSEPH or Bishop BASIL end up one day becoming metropolitan I am very sure we will have Antiochian monasteries. My personal belief is one of these two men will be the next metropolitan. My godfather (one of those so-called country-club Arab-Americans you seem to have contempt for) was at one time a member of the board of trustees for the AOC. He confirmed my opinion about our next metropolitan. From what he has heard he felt those two were the favored choices among the leaders of the archdiocese. Just remember...if wasn't for men like my godfather there would be no Antiochian Archdiocese. They may not have understood what the correct typicon is or the difference between western and Byzantine icons but they do have a deep love for the Church. They supported Metropolitan PHILIP when he was the ONLY bishop willing to take in the EOC. And even in their old age men like my godfather are still supporting the archdiocese with their money, time and love.

I don't know about the traditionalist priests you speak of who live a schizophrenic liturgical life but I do know we have had some convert priests who have had some severe control issues over their flock because I have heard it from the people. As one convert said,"We didn't know. We thought we were following correct Orthodox teaching when we submitted our will to the priest." I have heard a lot of painful stories from converts.

In regard to Fr. Basil...I do not know him and I do not know why he was laicized.
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« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2006, 02:20:14 PM »

<.....which canon are you referencing if you don't mind me asking?>
I don't know which canons since I am not a bishop and don't have the cheek, I mean authority to quote them.  The release or not release issue was stated by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna and Fort Jones.
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« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2006, 03:29:55 PM »

Quote
I don't know which canons since I am not a bishop and don't have the cheek, I mean authority to quote them.  The release or not release issue was stated by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna and Fort Jones.

Think about this logically.  Why would an Antiochian bishop have to release a priest to a jurisdiction that thinks the Antiochians are graceless heretics?  Releasing a priest to ROAC by an Orthodox jurisdiction would be no more logical than giving a priest a canonical release to join the Roman Catholics or Anglicans.
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« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2006, 05:11:53 PM »

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I don't know which canons since I am not a bishop and don't have the cheek, I mean authority to quote them.

Then perhaps you do not have the cheek, I mean authority to give summaries of non-existent canons?  Wink
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« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2006, 05:33:18 PM »

I find some of what  I read disturbing. I no longer attend an AOC parish, but it explains to some extent why the priest acted the way he did. I always got the impression that he viewed the parish (his church) like a business enterprise. Pressure from above maybe?
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« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2006, 07:49:58 PM »

Many churches in America use "sound business principles" in assuring that the parish budget is balanced, the priest is paid, the electricity is on, and the church building is built/well maintained.  Sadly when a church is in the midst of growth as the Antiochian Church is, often the business of assuring the bills are paid seems to take the lead point in much of the activity and even the sermons of the church.  Many parish councils are led by good and successful business people who try to parry their knowledge or "talent" into growth an stability for the Church. Isn't that what many of us want?

That being said, we are hearing of some embezzellments, misuse of funds by parishes and leaders.  Do we want Check and balances or does that make the Church too much like a business? it is interesting to note that the system for checks and balances that the OCA is only now trying to initiate have been in place for years under Metropolitan Philip's administration in his own efforts to assure credible management of church funds. Isn't that what we want?

 I know as my own parish is striving to build a Temple from the house church we are currently in, I have noticed pressure being placed on the priest to assure the business end of the church is met. Luckily our pastor has turned it into a lesson in stewardship and evangelism and not a call for constant handouts. He has made it a call for growth in the church and its expansion of its evangelical witness of the Holy Orthodox Faith. I guess how it is handled depends a lot on the priest and his ability to pastor rather than just be a CEO. I know that is what I want.

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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2006, 04:44:52 AM »

Thomas

Well balanced and fair reply. I just wish that the Priest could be freed to be more of a Pastor, but then that brings in a whole host of other necessary abilities which a priest may or may not have.
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« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2006, 01:12:08 PM »

Dan,

You bring up a very good point. It is very important for the priest to have time to pastor (catechize catechumens properly, prepare for the services, have time to visit the ill and elderly, etc.). If he is bogged down with budgets and administration duties he will not have time to minister to the people. This is why I have come to realize how important lay leaders are in a parish. And by lay leaders I mean those who are committed to Christ and to serving the church. It also helps if the lay leaders are well versed in Orthodox theology and are practicing the faith.

It also is important to remember every priest has his gifts...some are excellent administrators, others are very good at ministering to the parish, some are visionaries, etc. We have to be willing to work with the priest as lay leaders and fill in the gaps. Also, we should never forget the importance of our deacons. The deacons in our parish can help minister to the bedridden or those who are in hospitals too. Every parish community is different but we are all a part of the royal priesthood. We should be willing to serve our community using the talents we have been given. If we do this we will experience the synergy between the priesthood and the laity. Then of course, the bishop is a part of this synergy. When he visits he comes to make sure his flock is being well cared for and that his priests are treated properly. And as the head priest he can also exhort us to do things differently or to give us specific tasks. If we ignore his fatherly advice or fail to do what he has asked then we are in rebellion to his authority and behaving as protestants.
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« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2006, 08:24:08 PM »

Tamara,

You have brought up some very good points.
Thank you. If the "arabs" weren't so welcoming, I probably wouldn't have eventually ended up Orthodox. Which begs the questions, is it generally felt the the acceptance of the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) in 1987 basically opened up the movement of converts to the Orthodox Church? While there had been an increasing trickle of converts before then, do people fell it would have taken off as it has, if the EOC had never been received?

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« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2006, 09:08:26 PM »

When the AOC opened up the gates to the EOC in 1987 it was front page news on Christianity Today magazine. I remember feeling a twinge of jealousy for at the time I was not a practicing Orthodox and also felt that this was not right. Conversely, I can point to that time as an awakening for me because I then began my long trek back to Orthodoxy which culminated in 2002.  (I know, I'm slow)

But now that I'm inside the ark of Orthodoxy I have mixed feelings again. My main concern is proper catechesis of Orthodox so as to avoid any mis-applications of Orthodoxy, if you will.
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« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2006, 09:23:28 PM »

Hi Basil,

You are correct when you stated that we had a trickle of converts before the EOC was received but I honestly do not think we would have had the number of converts we have now without the EOC entry into our archdiocese. We cradles have forgotten how to evangelize and were never taught how to bring others in. My own personal feeling is the EOC was a blessing given to us by the Holy Spirit. And yes, we may not have been prepared for them and we may not have understood our faith to the fullest either when they entered. But if you could see all the changes that have occurred from my vantage point you would be very happy...even with the problems that have cropped up here and there. In fact, I would even say the piety of those who entered our archdiocese has spurred a renewal of interest  and a hunger to want to learn more about our faith among us Arab cradles. You all are a blessing to us...and I mean that from the bottom of my heart  :'(.
The problems you mentioned are real and hopefully in time we can solve them. I guess we just were not prepared but the Holy Spirit brought you all in anyway...having more bishops should help but there will be problems because with the bishops comes a certain amount of discipline and maybe many isolated communities had too much freedom in the beginning.

in Christ, Tamara
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« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2006, 10:49:42 AM »

Well look on the bright side. Better converts to Orthodoxy than cradle converts to Protestantism or any other 'ism for that matter
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« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2007, 06:36:15 PM »

***bump***

Anyone know anything more as to the "why"?  My friends haven't gotten back to me and they may end up being hush hush. 
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« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2007, 07:11:40 PM »

Yes, it would be good to know. Someone has told me that it may involve Fr. Basil's failure to move. When a priest becomes "troublesome" for the Antiochians (which can be a variety of issues) one form of discipline is to relocate the priest to another parish, often not as "good" as the one he was in (this happened to Fr. Isaac Henke). If the priest says quite clearly he "will not go" he is often given the option to "move or be laicized."   Basically, it is like being fired by your company for failure to move to the head office. The difference is, you can still get a job with a competitor. Being laicized means you cannot be a priest in another jurisdiction which seems awfully vengeful.

Basil
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« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2007, 10:04:00 PM »

Basil,
On one hand I agree, being "laicized" sounds harsh.  What about a temporary suspension and then final decision?  Of course we don't know all the info.  On the otherhand, priests must be obedient to their bishop, even if said bishop is in the wrong (how to prove or show this though).  He should have seen the handwriting on the wall and tried to get transferred or whatever. 
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« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2007, 10:41:41 PM »

The idea that a priest has to be obedient no matter what to a bishop is a bit of a stretch, and laicizing someone for refusing to move is probably not canonical (there are very clear ways to deal with disobedient priests).  I am not for or against Fr Isaac as I do not know him or anything about him.

Anastasios
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« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2007, 10:43:40 PM »

The Antiochian solution has been, in the past, to move priests when they get complaints. Unlike a business, it is not like the Bishop can come down and spend a few weeks and sort things out. For lots of reasons, this is inpractical.

Maybe it is an arab thing, but you can't say "NO" to an Antiochian bishop. You have to have a good reason. Since the Orthodox don't seem to like to allow priests "sitting around" (like many protestant groups do - how many of us have met Episcopal or Baptist clergy who are teachers or businessmen, who are still ordained but not attached to any parish!) they laicize them. A better solution would be to suspend them. But, hey I'm just a layman.

Basil
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« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2007, 11:53:07 PM »

A trusted Antiochian priest source informs me that there is more to the story with Fr Basil.  I will not be repeating it so don't bother asking.  If true, his deposition would be deserved.

Anastasios
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« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2007, 12:36:34 AM »

The Antiochian solution has been, in the past, to move priests when they get complaints. Unlike a business, it is not like the Bishop can come down and spend a few weeks and sort things out. For lots of reasons, this is inpractical.

Maybe it is an arab thing, but you can't say "NO" to an Antiochian bishop. You have to have a good reason. Since the Orthodox don't seem to like to allow priests "sitting around" (like many protestant groups do - how many of us have met Episcopal or Baptist clergy who are teachers or businessmen, who are still ordained but not attached to any parish!) they laicize them. A better solution would be to suspend them. But, hey I'm just a layman.

Basil

Basil,

You are correct...many Arab bishops are tough. Part of it is cultural...even Arab laymen and women are not shrinking violets. Maybe some of the convert priests do not know how to read the bishops. Bishop J. is very direct. When I offered up some ideas to him about the diocese retreat he had no problem telling me "no" if he didn't like my idea. He is very concerned about who I select as a speaker. I must get his blessing for any choices I offer up and he if wants someone in particular to be our speaker I have to ask his choice first. He even told me,"Tumrah, next year you will select a priest as a speaker and then the following year you will select a monastic. You will alternate each year between the two."
But he is not fooled by laymen who may slander a priest just to be rid of the clergyman. We had two parishes in the bay area in which the laymen wanted to have their priests removed. Most of their complaints were either lies or pettiness. The bishop realized what was going on and told the people they must be obedient to their priest.
If he removes a priest then it must mean something serious happened or the spiritual welfare of his flock was somehow endangered by the priest.
For all of his strictness our bishop loves us very much. But then I know this because I understand the Arab mentality.
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« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2007, 12:55:37 AM »

Aserb
were you an evangelical in the 80's?
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« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2007, 01:03:10 AM »

BrotherAidan

To answer your question. Yes. I moved though from a charasmatic fellwoship to a non-charismatic fellowship. In essence, it was probably my first move toward Orthodoxy. I took it in small steps. I was seeking at the time a more reformed Protestant tradition. I note on your profile that you are from Pennsylvania. Where is PA?
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« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2007, 01:14:37 AM »

BroAidan

Where in PA?

Sorry.

But while we're on the topic of the church acting like the mafia.Think a minute. The mafia originated in a Mediterranean culture. Sicily. Sicily was influenced heavily by other Mediterranean cultures (i.e Greece, Arab culture, etc.)  In the mob you have a Godfather who rules at will. So to some extent is a Patriarch any different.  When I was young the priest in the SOC parishes that I attended caome from the former Yugoslavia. The boon of contention that they often encountered was that they were use to being the absolute ruler back in the old country. In America, most American born Serbs had become accustomed to democracy and autocratic rulers were not what they bargained for. (I can go on about how you cannot impose democracy in cultures that have a history of autocrates but this would fall into politics.)

Thoughts
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« Reply #44 on: January 09, 2007, 01:19:14 AM »

I think the dynamic you describe is exactly what is going on in the OCA and AO.
old world, old school hierarchs not quite in touch with the culture they are ministering in.

How in the heck did a Serbian Orthodox kid become a charasmatic?

I was a VERY Reformed, Calvinist, Presbyterian at one time

BTW, I live in Pittsburgh
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« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2007, 01:27:12 AM »

Thoughts

Reminds me of shakedown Sunday.
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« Reply #46 on: January 09, 2007, 01:28:01 AM »

BroAidan

But while we're on the topic of the church acting like the mafia.Think a minute. The mafia originated in a Mediterranean culture. Sicily. Sicily was influenced heavily by other Mediterranean cultures (i.e Greece, Arab culture, etc.)  In the mob you have a Godfather who rules at will. So to some extent is a Patriarch any different.  When I was young the priest in the SOC parishes that I attended caome from the former Yugoslavia. The boon of contention that they often encountered was that they were use to being the absolute ruler back in the old country. In America, most American born Serbs had become accustomed to democracy and autocratic rulers were not what they bargained for. (I can go on about how you cannot impose democracy in cultures that have a history of autocrates but this would fall into politics.)

Thoughts

Dan,

I think you and I probably understand the mentality. I wouldn't describe our old world bishops as mafiosos but they can be autocratic. Here is a quote from my favorite Italian-American Antiochian priest who understands the dilemma we have here in the U.S.

Now that the Orthodox Church is here, things that have been accepted for hundreds of years are being questioned. That's just what we Yankees do. However, we ought to remember that the world doesn't work that way, and our fellow believers are always going to have a hard time with us. We Americans ought to reign in our need to fix everything right now and have a little bit of compassion for those 'less efficient.'

What I find hilarious (yes, I admit a have a strange sense of humor) is how Orthodoxy, which teaches free will, has thrived in societies where free will is almost completely absent on a cultural level. This means that the Orthodox talk a lot about free will but, on a practical level, don't practice it. Now, they come to America, where free will is king, and suddenly there is a major paradigm shift. Whereas Orthodoxy has been successful at giving people with no freedom a sense of freedom, now it must help Americans ground their freedom in reality, something the Orthodox have no experience in. At the same time, there is a temptation amongst leaders to fall back on their cultural norms and preach freedom while practicing 'oppression.' They interpret our natural tendency to question as rebellion.
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« Reply #47 on: January 09, 2007, 01:32:02 AM »

good insights in that post Tamara
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« Reply #48 on: January 09, 2007, 01:32:22 AM »

Dan,

I think you and I probably understand the mentality. I wouldn't describe our old world bishops as mafiosos but they can be autocratic. Here is a quote from my favorite Italian-American Antiochian priest who understands the dilemma we have here in the U.S.

Now that the Orthodox Church is here, things that have been accepted for hundreds of years are being questioned. That's just what we Yankees do. However, we ought to remember that the world doesn't work that way, and our fellow believers are always going to have a hard time with us. We Americans ought to reign in our need to fix everything right now and have a little bit of compassion for those 'less efficient.'

What I find hilarious (yes, I admit a have a strange sense of humor) is how Orthodoxy, which teaches free will, has thrived in societies where free will is almost completely absent on a cultural level. This means that the Orthodox talk a lot about free will but, on a practical level, don't practice it. Now, they come to America, where free will is king, and suddenly there is a major paradigm shift. Whereas Orthodoxy has been successful at giving people with no freedom a sense of freedom, now it must help Americans ground their freedom in reality, something the Orthodox have no experience in. At the same time, there is a temptation amongst leaders to fall back on their cultural norms and preach freedom while practicing 'oppression.' They interpret our natural tendency to question as rebellion.


Wat I think this priest fails to understand is that our natural tendency is not merely to question but to rebel...keep in mind that the Scots-Irish are the heart and soul of America.
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« Reply #49 on: January 09, 2007, 09:33:16 AM »

BroAidan

From the high liturgy of SOC to Charismania. Well my parents were Chreasters (Pxmas & Easter & Slava) Orthodox and had abandoned many of the Serbian traditions in their quest to be "American." I did the usual teen rebellion right into the arms of the evangelicals. (they love teen rebels)  BUt as a I grew older and wiser  Grin, I began to see through the hollow teachings of evangelical Christianity. Fast forward, 2000 and I am through with evangelicalism and I came home. Also, I lived in Pittsburgh frmo 1980 - 1985. I have since lived in suburban Philadelphia.

Tamara
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For all you uninitiated "Shakedown Sunday" that welkodox referred to is when the Bishop arrives at your parish and the topic of his homily is Giving - Cash that is! Using whatever method works, shame, guilt but never a positive message or reason to give.

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« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2007, 12:07:40 PM »


For all you uninitiated "Shakedown Sunday" that welkodox referred to is when the Bishop arrives at your parish and the topic of his homily is Giving - Cash that is! Using whatever method works, shame, guilt but never a positive message or reason to give.



I have never experienced a 'shakedown Sunday' with my bishop and I have heard him speak at various churches, retreats, and conferences. The only shaking down he gives is he exhorts us to take our salvation seriously by fasting, praying and attending the services.
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« Reply #51 on: January 09, 2007, 12:23:44 PM »

Tamara

Oh that more Bishops would be like yours  Embarrassed
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« Reply #52 on: January 09, 2007, 12:45:10 PM »

Wat I think this priest fails to understand is that our natural tendency is not merely to question but to rebel...keep in mind that the Scots-Irish are the heart and soul of America.

I'm not quite sure about that.  Demographics have changed.  Unless you mean maybe that it is ingrained in us from the media, which happens to be disproportionately Scots-Irish (just saying, don't actually know).
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« Reply #53 on: January 09, 2007, 10:54:51 PM »

Aserb
although I could never hang with the charasmaniacs (I was more into the doctrine-heavy, Calvinists) by about the same time as you I had reached total fatigue with evangelicalism. By 2001 I was playing guitar in a contemporary worship band only because the band was good and my sister attended that church. I was almost completely detached otherwise, almost begging  the heavens for some faith. This continued through the end of 2002, when I literally stumbled upon Orthodoxy. (I guess the "heavens" and the God who inhabits it, heard my prayer!)

P.S.
I once was such a severe Calvinist that I could have been labled "totally Reformed," so I think I have been wary of becoming 'Hyperdox" as a convert, as some have described overly scrupulous converts who are more Orthodox than the cradle Orthodox. I personally, however, don't have alot of experience with other converts. There aren't many at my parish (other than spouses, most of whom were Roman Catholics and have no commonality with my protestant experience)
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« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2007, 12:26:37 AM »

Tamara

Oh that more Bishops would be like yours  Embarrassed

Once when he was giving a sermon at the more ethnic Arab church he described the Divine Liturgy as a heavenly feast. He was trying to encourage the immigrant middle-easterners to attend Vespers and Orthros. He went on to explain to them that Vespers and Orthros were the appetizers of the feast. And if one was invited to someone's home for dinner one would never think to show up when the host was serving the main course. I was giggling inside with his analogy because he knows his audience well  Cheesy.

If you go to this link you will see a picture of him concelebrating with the Serbian Orthodox Bishop Maxim in Los Angeles. http://www.antiochianladiocese.org/news/2007/bish_maxim.htm
Once the OCA enthrones a new Bishop of the west, Met. GERASIMOS, Bishop JOSEPH, Bishop MAXIM and the new OCA bishop are going to plan on meeting regularly. This cooperation has never occurred before on the west coast so it is very exciting.

The hierarchs with Vladimir Radmanovic of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bishop J. is on the left and Bishop Maxim is on the right.
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« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2007, 11:40:23 PM »

Awesome photo, Tamara!

Actually, speculating sometime later in the summer after the "official" enthronement, my priest was thinking my parish could host the Diocesan assembly ushering the new Bishop of the West...and get Abp. Kirill (ROCOR) to come too.  Wink  One can dream....
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« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2007, 03:21:05 AM »

What I think is great about that photo is Bishop Joseph is the tallest of the Antiochian Bishops and in the picture he looks small.
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« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2007, 03:31:37 AM »

Elisha,

I sincerely hope your parish is able to plan such an event. I think those of us on the west coast having been sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the right line up of bishops to come together. We may finally have it...thank God!

Arimethea,

I thought this photo was so cute. Vladimir looks like a really sweet guy. 
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« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2007, 01:08:24 AM »

Elisha,

I sincerely hope your parish is able to plan such an event. I think those of us on the west coast having been sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the right line up of bishops to come together. We may finally have it...thank God!

Arimethea,

I thought this photo was so cute. Vladimir looks like a really sweet guy. 

Stay tuned...by the end of the year we should be releasing >1 more choir albums (you can buy our first, "Attend O Heaven" - Lent through Pascha, through Conciliar Press among other places).
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« Reply #59 on: January 24, 2007, 09:54:25 AM »

Has there been a final word on Fr. Basil Hartung? Does anyone know where he has gone to?

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« Reply #60 on: February 20, 2007, 11:06:54 AM »

Dear Basil,

It is official. Basil Hartung is no longer a priest. This message appeared in the February issue of the WORD magazine. He was deposed as of December 15, 2006. If you read the speech Sayidna gave at the recent diocesan clergy symposium, he briefly touches on the subject of losing priests. It may give you a clue as to why the former Fr. Basil was deposed. Just as an FYI: the priest who has taken Basil Hartung's place has been at this parish for years as the junior priest. He was elevated to archpriest and is now the assigned pastor.

Diocese of Los Angeles Clergy Seminar
His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH’s
Opening Remarks
San Fernando, CA
February 5-9, 2007
 
My beloved in the Lord, Jesus Christ,
 
I welcome all of you to our ninth annual seminar and retreat, which we look forward to each year.  Many of you have told me how important this gathering is to you, and I must tell that I, too, see this as one of the high-points of the year.  It is a time when we strengthen our bonds of brotherly love and encourage one another in the difficult road of ministry.
 
We are greatly blessed with the presence of the Very Reverend Father Michael Dahulich, Ph.D., the Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. Father Michael is an accomplished priest and educator, but more importantly, he is a man of deep faith and sincerity. He is a scholar and a distinguished lecturer. Although he does not have a Church, he does have parishioners. Those parishioners are the students and their families at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, who embrace him as their Spiritual Father. I ask you to listen to his presentations in this seminar not only in terms of facts, but also to the spirit in which he speaks. Yesterday, Father Michael celebrated the 34th Anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood.
 
Because it is this spirit, the spirit of love and humility, that is the true dignity and holiness of the Holy Priesthood.  As priests, we are not keepers of the Law as Pharisees, nor will our ministry found necessarily in what we do.  Rather, the truth of the Holy Priesthood is found in who we are as men, reflecting the image and likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is found in our being, which then bears fruit in good works.
 
A man may do good works, but we must remember our Lord’s admonishment in the Gospel of Matthew:
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Thy Name, and cast out demons in Thy Name, and do many mighty works in Thy Name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers.’” (Mt 7:22-23)
 
Do you work great deeds in your parish?  Do you keep the fasts in all their fullness?  Do you conduct technically-perfect services?  All of these things are commendable, and yet they are not enough in themselves.
 
Rather than focusing on good works in and of themselves, we must see that true good works are those works that God carried out through us.  A priest is a man yielded to the infinite grace, compassion and power of God.  He ministers not out of self-will, but out of selfless devotion to the All-Merciful Savior.  A priest does not do the things he wants to do, but he instead does those things God guides him to do out of obedience.
 
To accept the Holy Priesthood is to renounce the selfish aspect of the self and its vainglorious desires, ambitions and goals.  Thus, the priest becomes ‘poor in spirit,’ humbling himself before God as one without such things.  A self-confident priest is a dead priest, one convinced of his own opinions and correctness, who cannot receive life-saving correction and guidance.  The priest who is confident in himself is self oriented, and will eventually fall.
 
We have seen just this year, throughout the Archdiocese, brother clergy who have fallen into the trap of self-deception and self-indulgence.  Their broken minds have led to broken ministries.  Each of us must realize that we are not pure enough to rely on our own consciences to guide us, nor can we even rely on ourselves to pick a good father confessor and to be honest enough with him to receive any help.
 
If I sound harsh, it is because I do not wish to lose any more of my priests to the spiritual delusion that has infected so many.  Those men we have lost knew all of the teachings of the Church and the admonishments of the Holy Fathers, and yet all these gifts did them no good.  They used their intellectual knowledge to shield their consciences from the truth of their hearts, and thus their hearts led them astray while their minds convinced them of their righteousness.
 
You would prefer a quote from a Holy Father at this moment, but I will not give you one.  I will only give you my quote, and it is that I love you and desire all of us to be together in the Heavenly Kingdom.

 
I am not self-confident, but I have confidence that God will protect us from our own sins and mistakes if we empty ourselves of pride and self-opinion.  Brothers, let us join together and repent of our sins and the sins of our brothers.  Let us weep and mourn, and through our tears, wash away the stains of our sins which have soiled our ministries.
 
Let us wash our hands of human pride and the turmoil it brings as we say before each Divine Liturgy:
I wash my hands in innocence, and go about Thy altar, O Lord, singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all Thy wondrous deeds.  O Lord, I love the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwells.  Sweep me not away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, men in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.  But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.  My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord. (Ps 25:6-12)
 
The holiness and dignity of the Holy Priesthood is not in the size of our congregations or budgets, not in the beauty of our vestments or temples, not in the correctness of our priestly actions or outward piety, but in the constant remembrance and awareness of God.  Until we live every moment in constant mindfulness of the presence of God, we have nothing.
 
The true priest is the one who abides in constant awareness of God’s love and mercy.  Do not merely quote the Holy Fathers, but imitate them in humility and repentance.  Do not simply read the Holy Scriptures, but strive to live them out in every moment.
 
If your conscience bothers you, beloved brothers, then you are doing well, for the Holy Fathers of the Church went to their eternal reward weeping over their sins.  They did not seek honors and glory, nor did they cling to such things when taken from them.  Do not seek to calm your conscience with excuses and reasons, but rather lose the fear of weeping.  None of us are worthy, so how should we demand justification and forgiveness for our transgressions?
 
In the Philokalia, Sts. Kallistos and Ignatios describe the difference between dogmatic faith and practical faith.  We need both, and cannot rely upon one without the other.
 
In this seminar, Father Michael will show us how to integrate these two modes of Faith into the singleness of our lives, that we might be saved as men and minister as priests.

http://www.antiochianladiocese.org/Chancery/bishop_speeches/2007_seminar.htm
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« Reply #61 on: February 20, 2007, 11:37:50 AM »

Sounds like yet another victim of intellectual convert syndrome (ICS).

Also

Quote
Just as an FYI: the priest who has taken Basil Hartung's place has been at this parish for years as the junior priest. He was elevated to archpriest and is now the assigned pastor.

How long do you need to be a priest in the AOA before you become a protopresbyter?
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« Reply #62 on: February 20, 2007, 11:45:43 AM »

How long do you need to be a priest in the AOA before you become a protopresbyter?

Ten years
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« Reply #63 on: February 20, 2007, 11:52:53 AM »

Is there some other criteria aside from years of service?    It seems like the AOA has a lot of archpriests, though maybe it just seems that way to me.

Also, Fr. Michael, who is mentioned in the letter, was a parish priest and was one of two candidates for the office of Metropolitan in the ACROD after the repose of Bishop John.
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« Reply #64 on: February 20, 2007, 12:08:34 PM »

You bring up a very good point. It is very important for the priest to have time to pastor (catechize catechumens properly, prepare for the services, have time to visit the ill and elderly, etc.). If he is bogged down with budgets and administration duties he will not have time to minister to the people. This is why I have come to realize how important lay leaders are in a parish. And by lay leaders I mean those who are committed to Christ and to serving the church. It also helps if the lay leaders are well versed in Orthodox theology and are practicing the faith.

I agree with this 110%.  For this to work, however, it needs to be made clear where authority lies within the parish (and if applicable, within the diocese) - the Pastor.  Period.  If they have genuine issues with his leadership, they can take it to the Bishop.  If they think he's corrupt, they can plead the case before the Holy Synod, etc.

These essentially delegated roles cannot be confused with ecclessiastical authority.  That's the temptation I've often seen, though it comes in other forms as well (wealthy parishoners whose wallets outstrip their humility, etc.)

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« Reply #65 on: February 20, 2007, 12:21:31 PM »

Wat I think this priest fails to understand is that our natural tendency is not merely to question but to rebel...keep in mind that the Scots-Irish are the heart and soul of America.

Good point.  I'd never thought of it in that light.  My maternal family is Irish to the bone (O'Reilly).  Punchy bunch, they are.

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« Reply #66 on: February 20, 2007, 01:20:12 PM »

I agree with this 110%.  For this to work, however, it needs to be made clear where authority lies within the parish (and if applicable, within the diocese) - the Pastor.  Period.  If they have genuine issues with his leadership, they can take it to the Bishop.  If they think he's corrupt, they can plead the case before the Holy Synod, etc.

These essentially delegated roles cannot be confused with ecclessiastical authority.  That's the temptation I've often seen, though it comes in other forms as well (wealthy parishoners whose wallets outstrip their humility, etc.)



Well, ultimately the authority in all of our parishes resides with the bishop. I think problems arise when the priest will not submit to the authority of his bishop. But I think many do not understand what authority in Orthodoxy means. If we all are submitting ourselves to one another in humility then many of these power struggles will disappear. We do not believe in some medieval version of obedience taught by some. We need to strive for the synergy of the Holy Trinity. We all must be willing to wash the feet of one another.
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« Reply #67 on: February 20, 2007, 01:24:42 PM »

Is there some other criteria aside from years of service?    It seems like the AOA has a lot of archpriests, though maybe it just seems that way to me.



The bishop is the one to decide if a priest deserves to be elevated. I don't know if there is any criteria other than the bishop's discernment for the decision.

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« Reply #68 on: February 20, 2007, 02:33:25 PM »

I have noticed that some priests are elevated and in the comments the Bishop cites some of their excelling in their calling as a priest.  On priest that I knew was elevated was cited as having founded and supported 4 missions in his career. Knowing that priest, I believe he was  elevated in recognition of his missionizing abilities.  He could found missions, inspire the mission to survive, and  would then go to another mission area, leaving the now viable mission with a capable pastor and administrator. Another priest elevated was great at working with kids and was cited for his work with the diocese's childrens camps. Yet another for taking  financially troubled parishes and getting them on sound fiscal grounds, yet another one for taking aging  patrishes and  imbuing it with a mission that brought in many crdale orthodox with the childrne back into activity in the church.  I really think it has to do more to do with their honoring their calling and being recognized for their services to the Church than for a specific time like 10 years.

I think ROCOR and the slavic Churches do the same with the awarding of specific crosses and  scoufias to their priests.

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« Reply #69 on: February 20, 2007, 11:33:33 PM »

At UOC, Fr. Victor Cooley of blessed memory was ordained in the age of late 60's. He was a very dedicated layman before with outstanding record of efforts for the Church. He was elevated to the rank of the Protopriest after 1 year. And by all means he deserved that! Then Fr. Victor perfectly served in a capacity of a priest until he passed away at the age of 80.
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« Reply #70 on: February 21, 2007, 12:17:00 AM »

The rule of thumb with the Antiochians is that you can not be elevated to a Protopresbyter until you have been in the priesthood for 10 years. It is not an automatic thing after 10 years. The terms Archpriest and Protopresbyter are used interchangeably.

There are two points in time when the elevation to Protopresbyter has been used liberally by the Archdioceses. The first being when the Toledo Diocese merged with the New York Diocese. Archbishop Michael elevated all of his priest prior to the merger so that they would not be treated like second class priest when the merger was complete. The second instance occurred when the EOC was brought-in in 1987. Since the EOC had married Bishops and that would not jive with the current practices of Orthodoxy all of the EOC Bishops were made Protopresbyters at their ordinations.
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« Reply #71 on: February 21, 2007, 01:05:53 AM »

I think the Antiochians get bashed a little too often on OC.net
I think for some, they made it a little too easy for the Evangelical Orthodox to join - no circumcision, no period of ritual purification. Oops! That was the ORIGINAL Antiochian Church making it too easy for the Gentiles for those good Jews down in Jerusalem. Sorry, got my converts confused for a moment!
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« Reply #72 on: February 21, 2007, 02:44:45 AM »

The second instance occurred when the EOC was brought-in in 1987. Since the EOC had married Bishops and that would not jive with the current practices of Orthodoxy all of the EOC Bishops were made Protopresbyters at their ordinations.

Yeah....their "married Bishops"...as if that should mean anything more than zilch.  A sad excuse to make instant Archpriests.

If I remember correctly, the new rector of the SLC parish was an original EOC priest...just not one of the former "married Bishops". 
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« Reply #73 on: February 21, 2007, 08:34:44 AM »

Elisha:

Think Politics.

Think Money.
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« Reply #74 on: February 21, 2007, 10:34:18 AM »

Aside from the honorific title, what is the purpose of a "protopresbyter" in the 21st century church?
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« Reply #75 on: February 21, 2007, 11:23:15 AM »

I really am getting tired of those who like to criticize every little thing the Antiochians do. I have been to forums that bash the Greek Archdiocese and other forums that have bashed the OCA. If you have had bad experiences with the Antiochians, I have met just as many others who have had terrible experiences in other archdioceses. There is no such thing as the perfect jurisdiction. They all have their failings but they also all have their strengths. If you are now in a parish that is meeting your needs be thankful and leave your bitterness behind. It is counter-productive to your spiritual life to constantly belittle what happens in other jurisdictions.
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« Reply #76 on: February 21, 2007, 11:29:58 AM »

Tamara.  I knew these comments would get you out of your shell. Look from a business standpoint (and the church is a business to some extent) I admire Metropolitan Philip. He's shrewd and knows when and how to move the church. If he were in private industry he would be a captain of industry.  So to some extent I am OK with the Antiochians expansion - - in the spiritual sense it is evangelistic.  And who am I to talk, I run but a small business and am a poor excuse at times for an Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #77 on: February 21, 2007, 12:03:39 PM »

I really am getting tired of those who like to criticize every little thing the Antiochians do. I have been to forums that bash the Greek Archdiocese and other forums that have bashed the OCA. If you have had bad experiences with the Antiochians, I have met just as many others who have had terrible experiences in other archdioceses. There is no such thing as the perfect jurisdiction. They all have their failings but they also all have their strengths. If you are now in a parish that is meeting your needs be thankful and leave your bitterness behind. It is counter-productive to your spiritual life to constantly belittle what happens in other jurisdictions.


Amen.

It is good to be honest about our reservations with the way the Church is administered, but bashing or harping is a bit too much.  I, too, have my concerns about each jurisdiction - the only reason why they don't come out here is because only one is the subject of this thread.

Not that there is any good time to go jurisdiction-bashing, but Lent is supposed to be a time of humility and patience - things that I and others lack when having these discussions.

Maybe we should (voluntarily) hold on this conversation until later, no?
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« Reply #78 on: February 21, 2007, 01:14:50 PM »

I really am getting tired of those who like to criticize every little thing the Antiochians do. I have been to forums that bash the Greek Archdiocese and other forums that have bashed the OCA. If you have had bad experiences with the Antiochians, I have met just as many others who have had terrible experiences in other archdioceses. There is no such thing as the perfect jurisdiction. They all have their failings but they also all have their strengths. If you are now in a parish that is meeting your needs be thankful and leave your bitterness behind. It is counter-productive to your spiritual life to constantly belittle what happens in other jurisdictions.


Amen! I have great respect for the Antiochians.
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« Reply #79 on: February 21, 2007, 01:50:04 PM »

My parish priest is one of the EOC "married Bishops."  I cannot say enough wonderful things about him and his family.  He gave up a lot (position, authority, and probably $$) when he converted.  I think people are either forgetting or never knew how much research, prayer, and study the EOCs went through on their journey to Orthodoxy (which took years).  They were and are scholars and God-fearing people.  It's not like they dropped from the sky expecting to rule the roost.  If Met. PHILIP deemed it proper to elevate them when he did and if what he did wasn't heretical/schismatic, then I will not question his motives.
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« Reply #80 on: February 21, 2007, 01:54:04 PM »

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« Reply #81 on: February 21, 2007, 11:08:11 PM »

Just to even things out a bit - the first time I set foot in an Orthodox church was at an Antiochian parish in Montreal.  The beauty of the Liturgy that day was a huge contributing factor in my journey toward conversion.  So for that, I am eternally thankful.
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« Reply #82 on: February 22, 2007, 12:21:50 AM »

Tamara, I may be a little slow here, but I still don't see what Fr. Basil (or the former priest Basil) could have done. Normally, if a priest does something that upsets his Bishop and is disobedient, he is first suspended. If he does not recant, his is laicized. Fr. Basil was never suspended. It was simply stated he was laicized. What the dickens could he have done to be laiczied so quickly? Even during the whole Ben Lomand fiasco, there were discussions, meetings, and then suspensions and ultimately, ex-communication.  Recently, the only other priest that I know of that went straight to laicization was one that was living an immoral lifestyle.

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« Reply #83 on: February 22, 2007, 03:42:07 AM »

Basil,

I have not heard any details as to the reason he was laicized. The parish community seems to be in agreement with the bishop because I have not heard of a church split over this issue. And the priest who replaced him has been serving with him for many years. I guess at this point there are not any reasons that can be ruled out including the possiblity of an immoral lifestyle.
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« Reply #84 on: February 22, 2007, 11:02:52 PM »

Dear Friends:

When we consider clerical discipline, we should keep a few priciples in mind:

First is that the priesthood is not the personal property of the ordinand. The priesthood is rather, a charismatic gift entrusted to the priest * by the church *. The priest exercises his ministry in, and for the church. He cannot take it with him if he leaves the church.

Secondly, parish priests do not act on their * own * authority; but on behalf of the bishop. Our parish priests are assigned to their parish; just as military officers are  assigned to their post. If a parish priest leaves his parish without the blesssing of his bishop, he ceases to be a priest. The formal act of laicization is just a recognition of that fact.

I really think that the term "traditionalist" is incredibly misleading. Usually, it refers to a priest, or layman, who wants to grow a long beard and pony tail and wear the Rasso all over town. You know there is nothing "traditional" about a man with a pony tail. In fact, the Apostle Paul stated: "Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him...". If you look at the icons of St Nicholas and St John Chrystostom, you don't see long beards. The fact is many traditionalists are  * very * selective about the traditions they want to uphold. We could spend months discussing traditionalist groups that have played havoc with the canons regarding the territorial integrity of dioceses , and priests who have ' jumped ship ' from one jurisdiction to the next. None of this is traditional in the true sense of the word.

I very much doubt that * any * priest has been * purged * from the AOA because he was a truly traditional, observant Orthodox Chrisitian. I grew up in an ethnic parish in the OCA. I was trained as a cantor by traditional monastics. I now sing in a small Antiochian mission in Oklahoma. From my experience, for what it is worth, the Antiochian clergy, and laity, at least in this part of the world, are at least as observant and traditional as any Orthodox in any jurisdiciton; and a lot more so than some others.

In the end, we Orthodox are a tiny minority in this country. We need to be helping and supporting each other; not picking each other's pimples !  Let's all resolve to pray and support each other during this holy season.

Best wishes to all for a blessed Fast and a joyous Holy Pascha

Francis Frost
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« Reply #85 on: February 23, 2007, 12:05:10 AM »

What is the Ben Lomand fiasco?
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« Reply #86 on: February 23, 2007, 01:43:13 AM »

When it comes to priestly suspensions in the Antiochian Archdiocese you may never hear about them. Very rarely are they published until a decision has been made about the case. So a priest may be under suspension while his case is being investigated and it may not be made public in case he is innocent of the charges. Sometimes the actions of the priest warrant only a suspension for a time period and other times they are serious enough for the priest to be laicized. What ends up happening is that only the final action is published and made public.

What has also happened in several cases is that while the priest was under suspension while the charges are being investigated the priest violates his suspension forcing the harsher punishment. When you know the stories many of the cases of priest who have been on suspension for 30 and 40 years and never laicized you realize that you really have to screw up in order to be laicized in the Antiochian Archdiocese.
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« Reply #87 on: February 23, 2007, 02:55:35 AM »

What is the Ben Lomand fiasco?

Ben Lomond is a small town near Santa Cruz, CA.  Don't worry about it.  You'll probably found out eventually anyways.
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« Reply #88 on: February 23, 2007, 02:57:02 AM »

I'm wondering why they always report "laicized" and not "deposed"?
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« Reply #89 on: February 23, 2007, 07:42:12 AM »

As reported in The Word magazine, they are deposed.  Officially, they are deposed; colloquially, they are laicized.  Smiley
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« Reply #90 on: February 23, 2007, 09:07:00 AM »

As reported in The Word magazine, they are deposed.  Officially, they are deposed; colloquially, they are laicized.  Smiley


Um, different (unless the writers at Word are feeling confused). 

Deposed = you lost your parish, but you're still a priest.  With the permission of the Bishop you can still perform all the functions of the priesthood, including all the sacraments.

Laicized (I hate this word) = Defrocked (the usual term) = Returned to being a layman = "No longer a priest."  Really, you're still a priest because the Spirit was called to rest upon you and complete what was lacking, etc.  However, it is the Church's decision, through the actions of its unifying agents (the Bishops), that you should no longer be permitted to function as a priest.

*N.B. Only one of these measures can be applied at any one time - the Church uses the same principle that our law does, where a person can only be punished once for a crime.  Of course, the point is a bit moot, since the latter punishment above carries inherently the former.

Also, while I think of it - each of the above "punishments" is as much self-preservation and protection of the body as it is "punishment."  I, and others nowadays, have a terrible habit of focusing on the personal when speaking of the priesthood, and in the meantime we forget about the communal which is actually MORE important.  Punishments like excommunication, defrocking, and deposing all affect the person - hoping to act as catalysts to drive them towards salvation and away from the wayward path the person is currently on - but they also are tools used to protect the community from people who are leading it astray.
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« Reply #91 on: February 23, 2007, 12:52:09 PM »

Cleveland,

Thank you for the definitions. What does it mean when they say a priest is suspended?  I have never seen the Antiochians use the word, 'defrocked,' in publications but I have heard people use it when discussing the issue.
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« Reply #92 on: February 24, 2007, 12:16:19 AM »

Tamara,

Check your "Word" issues recently closely. You'll see several priests "suspended." It means they cannot perform sacraments, such as serve the Liturgy or marry a couple.

A priest is a priest as long as the Church allows it. A priest is not a priest forever, unless one is a Catholic.

I was told recently that one is "laicized" if a priest voluntarily asks to become a layman. One is "deposed" or "defrocked" is he has been laicized as a punishment.


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« Reply #93 on: March 18, 2007, 12:14:05 AM »

Quote
I really am getting tired of those who like to criticize every little thing the Antiochians do. I have been to forums that bash the Greek Archdiocese and other forums that have bashed the OCA. If you have had bad experiences with the Antiochians, I have met just as many others who have had terrible experiences in other archdioceses. There is no such thing as the perfect jurisdiction. They all have their failings but they also all have their strengths. If you are now in a parish that is meeting your needs be thankful and leave your bitterness behind. It is counter-productive to your spiritual life to constantly belittle what happens in other jurisdictions.

I agree with you. We should unite as Orthodox. The stupid quibbling that goes on is just petty. I have heard many people who converted to Rome over Orthodoxy say that it was the disunity in Orthodoxy that was the determining factor in their decision. They have a valid point. If we would kill our egos and love one another, the world would see the light of Christ in us.
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« Reply #94 on: March 18, 2007, 02:00:49 AM »

I agree with you. We should unite as Orthodox. The stupid quibbling that goes on is just petty. I have heard many people who converted to Rome over Orthodoxy say that it was the disunity in Orthodoxy that was the determining factor in their decision. They have a valid point. If we would kill our egos and love one another, the world would see the light of Christ in us.

Amen! Maybe soon the OCA and Antiochians will be one! In some ways we are already united. I am planning a retreat in the fall for our diocese. Fr. Hopko is the speaker with our Antiochian bishop presiding. St. John's Monastery (OCA) will bring their bookstore for the weekend. About 1/3 of the women who are attending are from the OCA. A few are in the GOA and the rest are Antiochian. But we will also have a handful of non-Orthodox attendees! How's that for a step toward organic unity?  Wink

The Anglican Orthodox Colliquium held in Detroit was hosted by St. Andrew's House of Christian Studies (OCA).
Archbishop NATHANIEL (OCA) was the host but he invited Bishop MARK (Antiochian) to be one of the speakers. The rest of the speakers were former Anglicans who were Orthodox priests in the OCA and Antiochian archdioceses. They then asked Ancient Faith Radio (Antiochian) to record the event. For the Anglican attendees the event was seamless in regard to jurisdictions because the OCA and Antiochians worked together to present a united Orthodoxy without the confusion of jurisdictions.

So I believe we are on our way toward unity. There is no reason we can't start working together now. We don't have to wait for all of the bishops to put aside their petty differences. The more we work together the harder it will be for the evil forces to separate us.
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« Reply #95 on: March 18, 2007, 04:43:40 AM »

The WCC will have events presided over by non-Orthodox, at which an Orthodox Christian speaks, all the time. And I'm sure they'd allow us to sell literature if we so desired. You'll also have people representing various denominations...so by you're logic, we're practically united with the Presbyterians.
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« Reply #96 on: March 18, 2007, 01:02:37 PM »

The WCC will have events presided over by non-Orthodox, at which an Orthodox Christian speaks, all the time. And I'm sure they'd allow us to sell literature if we so desired. You'll also have people representing various denominations...so by you're logic, we're practically united with the Presbyterians.

Not quite GIC. At the WCC event there is no Eucharistic communion between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox. On Saturday night of the retreat we have Vespers followed by Holy Confession. All the women (except for the inquirers) are able to participate in that mystery regardless of the false divisions of jurisdictionalism. Then Sunday morning, our Antiochian hierarch service the Divine Liturgy with all present. All of the Orthodox women are again able to partake of Holy Communion. The only divisions are administrative. These divisions are easily overcome when we put our egos aside and work together. Unity will come through our love for each other as we are propelled by the Holy Spirit to witness to America.
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« Reply #97 on: March 18, 2007, 01:06:46 PM »

Cleveland,

Thank you for the definitions. What does it mean when they say a priest is suspended?  I have never seen the Antiochians use the word, 'defrocked,' in publications but I have heard people use it when discussing the issue.

Suspension is when the person remains a priest but is prohibited from performing priestly functions, such as serving divine liturgy, performing baptisms, and the like.  He is still "Father," and in time may be returned to an active state.

I was told recently that one is "laicized" if a priest voluntarily asks to become a layman. One is "deposed" or "defrocked" is he has been laicized as a punishment.

Um, let me get into why I don't like the term "Laicized."  First, it's TERRIBLE english.  Second, it crudly suggests that being a "layman" is "lower" than being a clergy; I dislike the term in this way just as much as I dislike the phrase "in layman's terms."

If one asks to be returned to the status of a layman, then he's still "defrocked."  And, at least with the jurisdictions under the EP, voluntary or canonical/punitive defrocking can only be done by a synod, not by the Bishop.  In the case of the GOA, it can only be done by the Patriarchal Synod, following the recommendation of the Eparchial Synod.  A Priest cannot chose to return to the status of a layman on his own and let it be done; by being ordained in the first place he's submitted his will to the will of the Church, acting through the agent of the Synod of Bishops, which is a visible sign of the unity of the Church.

We don't have to wait for all of the bishops to put aside their petty differences.

Um, yeah - some bishops have petty differences.  Some laymen have petty differences.  There are enough "petty" differences in our outlook, our direction for Orthodoxy in this country, our management styles, and the like that it seems to me we have a lot of our own "petty" differences to make up before we can reasonably expect anyone else (be they bishop, presbyter, deacon, catecumen, illuminatos, or non-Orthodox) to work on their "petty" differences.

My only pet peeve with your comment above is that it seems like everybody who thinks they want to work towards administrative unity always feels the need to insert their editorial comments which are neither germane nor helpful.  Your comment would have been better if it was left like this (bolded comment my addition):

So I believe we are on our way toward unity. There is no reason we can't start working together now. (sic) The more we work together the harder it will be for the EVIL ONE to separate us.

Since the Evil one is always trying to divide us - whether we're talking about administration, inner-parish workings, family reunions, OCF prayer services, etc - it would be better to focus our attention on the source of strife and seek to thward his efforts through prayer, fasting, and cooperation, rather than focus our attention on our fellow human beings who may have their own hangups, but we've got our own eye-logs too.
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« Reply #98 on: March 18, 2007, 01:18:53 PM »

Not quite GIC. At the WCC event there is no Eucharistic communion between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox. On Saturday night of the retreat we have Vespers followed by Holy Confession. All the women (except for the inquirers) are able to participate in that mystery regardless of the false divisions of jurisdictionalism. Then Sunday morning, our Antiochian hierarch service the Divine Liturgy with all present. All of the Orthodox women are again able to partake of Holy Communion.

Ummm...this has always been the case between the various Orthodox Churches in America, but that doesn't mean we're any closer to any unity than we were 50 years ago.

Quote
The only divisions are administrative. These divisions are easily overcome when we put our egos aside and work together. Unity will come through our love for each other as we are propelled by the Holy Spirit to witness to America.

The divisions have always been primarily administrative, but that hardly means they are easily overcome. In fact history shows that Theological divisions are MUCH easier to overcome than administrative ones...schisms last far longer than heresies and heresies can only survive if they actually make an administrative division.
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« Reply #99 on: March 18, 2007, 01:39:31 PM »

Quote
I have heard many people who converted to Rome over Orthodoxy say that it was the disunity in Orthodoxy that was the determining factor in their decision. They have a valid point.

I think they're more or less ignorant of how things work over there then.  All of the Eastern Catholic Churches in this country remain divided along lines of national origin.  The Ruthenians and Ukrainians actually used to be one church here, but are now two.  There are cities with multiple Catholic bishops present.  Within Roman Catholicism there are profound divides over theology, sexual ethics, etc.

That's not an excuse for our divisions or problems, but that is used as an excuse to convert from Orthodoxy, it's nothing more than a rationalization.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 01:40:18 PM by welkodox » Logged
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« Reply #100 on: March 18, 2007, 01:53:25 PM »

Cleveland,

Thank you for the reply on definitions.

You are right the evil one does keep us divided. But he can't do it without our help. He works through us so what I was trying to express was we shouldn't allow those who want us to keep us divided from working together. It has been easy for me to integrate the OCA into our diocesan retreat because my bishop supports me 100%! He knows that having events together is one way to strengthen our bonds. In time, having retreats and conferences together will be the beginning of eliminating the false divisions of jurisdictions. Fr. Thomas Hopko suggested the Antiochians and OCA start having joint conferences together in one of his articles. We already share many things in common. We could start planning our yearly events together not only to save money but as way to fill in the gaps where the other jurisdiction is weak. The example I gave of the Anglican/Orthodox Conference illustrates this point. The OCA had the retreat facility and the Antiochians had the recording ability. The OCA invited speakers from both jurisdictions to have a full range of Orthodox voices.
When I first began coordinating the diocesan retreat, a fellow Antiochian gentleman from southern California gave me a call and asked me to invite St. John's OCA monastery to our retreat so they could bring their bookstore. In that way, we Antiochians could help support the OCA monastery. The Antiochians have a hole (no monasteries) and the OCA monastery has need (financial support). The hand fits into the glove. Then the Antiochian retreat attendees start to develop a relationship with the OCA monastery through having contact with the monk who comes each year to run the bookstore. In time, St. John's monastery will have a full range of sponsors and visitors because of the initial contact.
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