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Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

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« Reply #45 on: February 16, 2009, 09:41:19 PM »

Since the Prodigal Son was mentioned above, it seemed good to add some of the texts of this feast and a commentary.


Services of the Triodion for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son       
Written by Monachos.net Webmaster     
Monday, 09 February 2009 13:21

VESPERS
‘Lord, I have cried unto Thee…’
(7 stichera of the Resurrection, then:)

Tone 1

Rich and fertile was the earth allotted to us,
But all we planted were the seeds of sin.
We reaped the sheaves of evil with the sickle of laziness;
We failed to place them on the threshing-floor of sorrow.
Now we beg Thee, Lord, eternal Master of the harvest:
May Thy love become the breeze to winnow the straw of our worthless deeds.
Make us like precious wheat to be stored in heaven, and save us all!
(twice)

Brethren, our purpose is to know the power of God's goodness,
For when the Prodigal Son abandoned his sin,
He hastened to the refuge of his Father.
That good man embraced him and welcomed him:
He killed the fatted calf and celebrated with heavenly joy!
Let us learn from this example to offer thanks to the Father who loves all people,
And to the Victim, the glorious Saviour of our souls!

Glory…  Tone 2

What great blessings have I forsaken, wretch that I am?
From what Kingdom have I miserably fallen?
I have squandered the riches that were given me;
I have transgressed the commandments!
Woe to me when I shall be condemned to eternal fire!
Cry out to Christ, O my soul, before the end draws near:
Receive me as the Prodigal, O God, and have mercy on me!

Now and ever… (of the Resurrection)

Aposticha
(Of the Resurrection; then:)

Glory… Tone 6

I hid my face in shame, a wretched man!
I have squandered the riches my Father gave to me;
I went to live with senseless beasts:
I sought their food and hungered, for I had not enough to eat.
I will arise, I will return to my compassionate Father:
He will accept my tears as I kneel before Him, crying:
In Thy tender love for all men receive me as one of Thy servants and save me!

Now and ever…

My Maker and Redeemer, Christ the Lord,
Was born of thee, most pure Virgin!
By accepting my nature He freed Adam from his ancient curse!
Unceasingly we magnify thee as the Mother of God!
Rejoice, celestial joy!
Rejoice, O Lady,
The protection, intercession, and salvation of our souls!



MATINS
After the psalms of the Polyeleon we sing Psalm 137: ‘By the waters of Babylon…’, to a slow and solemn melody.  At the end of each verse we sing Alleluia and make a deep bow.  After the reading of the Resurrection Gospel we sing ‘Having beheld the Resurrection…’, Psalm 50, and the Lenten verses: ‘Open to me the gates of repentance…’.

The Canon, in Tone 2 (by Joseph)

Canticle One:

Irmos: Take up the song of Moses and cry aloud, my soul:
The Lord is my helper and protector,
He has become my salvation:
This is my God, and I will glorify Him!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

Jesus my God, accept me also now in repentance
As Thou didst the Prodigal Son:
I have lived all my life in carelessness
And provoked Thee to anger.

I have sinfully wasted the divine wealth that once Thou gavest me;
I have departed far from Thee and lived as the Prodigal.
Compassionate Father, accept me now also as I return.

Open Thine arms to embrace me as a Father now,
Accepting me also as the Prodigal Son,
That I may glorify Thee with thanksgiving
Most merciful Lord!

Theotokion:

Bestow the fullness of Thy grace upon me, O God;
Be a benefactor to me,
And at the holy prayers of Thy Mother
Overlook the great number of my offenses.

Katavasia: Take up the song of Moses…

Canticle Three:

Irmos: O God, the Husbandman of all good trees and fruit,
In Thy compassion, make fruitful my barren mind.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

Completely beside myself in madness,
I have clung to the sins suggested to me by the passions.
But accept me, O Christ, as the Prodigal.
With the words of the Prodigal, I cry aloud:
I have sinned, O Father!
Receive me now like him in Thine embrace
And do not reject me.

Open Thine arms, O Christ, and receive me in loving kindness
As I return from a far country of sin and passions.

Theotokion:

My sins have brought me to poverty,
O fairest among women:
Enrich me, pure Virgin, with the vision of beauty,
That I may glorify thee.

Katavasia: O God the husbandman…

Sessional Hymn, Tone 1

Hasten to open Thy Fatherly embrace to me,
For I have wasted my life as the Prodigal.
In the unfailing wealth of Thy mercy O Saviour,
Do not reject my heart in its poverty.
For I cry to Thee with compunction, O Lord:
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee!

Glory…

(Repeat: Hasten to open…)

Now and ever… Theotokion in the same tone:

Thou art the only guardian and protection of the faithful,
Pure and unwedded Virgin Theotokos:
Deliver from danger, distress and affliction
All who have put their hope in thee
And by thy divine intercession
Save our souls, O Maiden.

Canticle Four:

Irmos: Foreseeing Thy birth from a Virgin,
The prophet cried aloud:
I have heard the report of Thee and was afraid;
For Thou hast come from Teman, O Christ,
The Holy One from the overshadowed mountain.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

The wealth of blessings which Thou gavest me, Heavenly Father
I have wrongfully wasted, becoming the slave of strangers.
Therefore I cry aloud to Thee:
Father, I have sinned against Thee!
Receive me like the Prodigal of old,
And open Thine arms to me.

I have become enslaved to every evil in my wretchedness,
Bowing down before the demons that provoke the passions;
Through heedlessness I have lost possession of myself, O Saviour;
Take pity on me as I flee to Thy many mercies for refuge, heavenly Father.

Filled with shame, I dare not look up to the height of heaven,
For I have foolishly bowed down to sin.
But now I return and cry out in compunction:
I have sinned against Thee; receive me, O King of all.

Theotokion:

Thou art the help of men, and the refuge of the saved,
The sure hope of all Christians, undefiled Virgin.
Save me as a mother by thine intercessions,
Counting me worthy of the life to come.

Katavasia: Foreseeing Thy birth…

Canticle Five:

Irmos: The night is far spent; the day is at hand:
The Light has shone forth on the world!
Therefore the ranks of angels sing Thy praises and glorify Thee, OChrist our God!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

I was enslaved to strangers;
Filled with shame, and an exile in the land of corruption.
But now I return, O merciful Lord,
And I cry to Thee:  I have sinned!

Accept me now in Thy compassion, Heavenly Father,
As I return from evil;
And in Thine exceeding mercy, do not reject me.

I have angered Thee beyond measure, O Christ,
And I dare not look up at the height of heaven.
But knowing Thy compassion, merciful Lord, I cry:
I have sinned!  Be merciful to me and save me!

Theotokion:

All-holy Virgin, full of grace,
Thou hast borne the redemption of all!
By thy prayers, lighten the great burden of my sins.

Katavasia: The night is far spent…

Canticle Six:

Irmos: Saviour, I am held fast in the depth of sin,
Overwhelmed by the sea of life.
But as Thou didst bring forth Jonah from the belly of the whale,
So bring me out from the passions and save me!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

The depths of sin ever hold me fast,
And the tempest of transgressions overwhelms me!
Pilot me, O Christ my God, to the haven of life
And save me, King of Glory!

I have wasted in evil living the wealth which the Father gavest me,
And now I am brought to poverty.
I am filled with shame and enslaved to fruitless thoughts.
Therefore I cry to Thee, Lover of Mankind:
Take pity on me and save me!

I am wasted with hunger, deprived of every blessing,
And an exile from Thy presence.
O Christ, supreme in loving kindness,
Take pity on me now as I return and save me
As I sing Thy praises, Lover of Mankind!

Theotokion:

Maiden who conceived Christ the Saviour and Master,
Count me worthy of salvation.
I lack all good in my poverty, pure Virgin:
Grant that I may sing the praises of thy majesty!

Katavasia: Saviour, I am held fast…

Kontakion, Tone 3

I have recklessly forgotten Thy glory, O Father;
And among sinners I have scattered the riches which Thou gavest me.
And now I cry to Thee as the Prodigal:
I have sinned before Thee, merciful Father;
Receive me a penitent and make me as one of Thy hired servants.

Ikos

Every day our Saviour teaches us with His own voice: so let us listen to the Scriptures on the Prodigal Son who regained wisdom, and let us follow the good example of his repentance with faith, and with humility of heart cry out to Him who knows all secrets:  we have sinned against Thee, merciful Father, and are not worthy ever again to be called Thy children as before.  But since by nature Thou art the Lover of Mankind, // Receive me a penitent and make me as one of Thy hired servants.

Canticle Seven:

Irmos: The children sang together in the furnace
As cherubim in heaven:
Blessed art Thou, O God,
For in truth and judgement Thou hast brought all this upon us because of our sins,
And Thou art praised and glorified above all forever!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

I have miserably bowed down to the pleasures of the body
Becoming wholly enslaved to the demons that provoke the passions.
I have become a stranger to Thee, Lover of Mankind.
But now I cry with the voice of the Prodigal:
I have sinned, O Christ, despise me not,
For Thou alone art merciful.

I do not dare look up at the height of heaven, O King of all:
I cry out:  I have sinned;
For in my foolishness, I alone have angered Thee,
Rejecting Thy commandments.
Therefore, only Good One,
Do not cast me away from Thy presence.

At the prayers of the apostles, martyrs and prophets,
The holy saints and the righteous, O Christ my Lord,
Forgive me all the offenses which have provoked Thee to anger in Thy goodness,
And I shall sing Thy praises for evermore.

Theotokion:

Theotokos, more glorious than the cherubim and seraphim,
And all the heavenly hosts!
Together with them, undefiled Virgin,
Entreat Him who took flesh from thee:
God the Word from the Father without beginning,
That we may all be counted worthy of eternal blessings!

Katavasia: The children sang together…

Canticle Eight:

Irmos: Let us praise Him, who of old in the burning bush
Prefigured the miracle of the Virgin to Moses on Sinai:
Let us bless and exalt Him above all forever!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

In great mercy Thou camest down upon earth
To save the world through Thy voluntary poverty:
Save me in Thy compassion,
For I am poor in all good works.

I have departed far from Thy commandments,
And am enslaved to the deceiver in utter wretchedness.
But now I turn back as the Prodigal of old:
Accept me as I fall before Thee, heavenly Father.

I am full of darkness and cut off from Thee,
Ruled by corrupting thoughts,
I have lost all possession of myself, merciful Lord.
Therefore save me as I fall before Thee in repentance.

Theotokion:

Pure Mother of God, the only restoration of the fallen,
Raise me up, for I am wholly crushed,
Humbled by every kind of sin.

Katavasia: Let us praise Him, who of old…

The Song of the Mother of God (Magnificat) is then sung.

Canticle Nine:

Irmos: Who of those born on earth
Has seen or heard of such a thing!
A Virgin conceives and bears a child without the pain of travail!
Beholding thy wonder, O Mary, pure Mother of God, we magnify thee!

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee! (and so before each Troparion)

Behold the affliction of my heart, O Christ:
Look upon my turning back;
Behold my tears, O Saviour, and do not despise me,
But in Thy compassion, embrace me once again,
And count me with the number of the saved,
That with thanksgiving I may sing the praises of Thy mercy.

As the thief I cry to Thee:  remember me!
As the Publican, with downcast eyes, I beat my breast and say:  be merciful!
As the Prodigal, deliver me from every evil, O King who pities all,
That I may sing the praises of Thy boundless compassion.

Groan now, my all-wretched soul, and cry aloud to Christ:
Lord who for my sake voluntarily became poor,
In my poverty I lack every good work.
Make me rich with the abundance of Thy blessings,
For Thou alone art full of love and mercy.

Once Thou rejoiced at the voluntary return of the Prodigal, loving Lord:
Rejoice now because of me, wretch though I am.
Open Thy holy embrace to me,
That being saved I may sing the praises of Thy boundless compassion.

Theotokion:

I pray thee, Virgin, through thy light-giving intercessions,
Enlighten the eyes of my mind, darkened by evil.
Lead me into the paths of repentance,
So shall I rightly sing thy praises,
For thou gavest flesh to the ineffable Word!

Katavasia: Who of those born on earth…

Exapostilaria

First the exapostilarion of the Resurrection, then:

Glory… Now and ever…

Saviour, I set off on a foolish journey;
I wasted all Thy precious gifts of grace.
I lived in luxury, and the devils were my friends;
I return to Thee empty-handed, loving Father.
Receive me in repentance, as Thou didst accept the Prodigal;
Restore to me my baptismal robe of purity, and save me!

The Praises
(5 stikhera of the Resurrection, then:)

Tone 2

Lord, I offer Thee the voice of the Prodigal Son:
I have sinned before heaven and before Thee, Good Master!
I have squandered the fortune Thou gavest me!
Receive me in repentance, Saviour, and save me!

Tone 4

Compassionate One, I come before Thee like the Prodigal Son:
For many years I have abandoned Thee, and now Thou art a stranger to me.
Restore to me the first love which I wasted, Lord;
Receive me in repentance and save me!

Tone 8

I have wasted my Father's fortune for a life of luxury!
Now I wander aimlessly in the barren lands of the wicked.
No longer can I bear their loathsome company!
I will arise and return to my Father, crying:
I have sinned against heaven and before Thee, my Lord.
I am no longer worthy to be called Thy son://
Accept me as one of Thy hired servants and have mercy on me!

Glory…  Tone 6

Even though I have abandoned Thee, good Father,
Do not forsake me!  Do not cast me out of the Kingdom!
The most evil enemy has stolen my fortune and left me naked;
I have loved riotous living more than spiritual gifts,
But now I return to Thee with tears and sighs:
Take me back as one of Thy hired servants, Lord.
For my sake Thou hast stretched Thy pure hands upon the Cross;
Thou hast delivered me from the wicked enemy’s grasp,
Restoring to me the wedding garment of purity,
Since Thou alone art the merciful Lover of Mankind!

Now and ever…  Tone 2

(The usual Theotokion: ‘Thou art most blessed…’)



DIVINE LITURGY
(The Troparion of the Resurrection in the tone of the week, then:)

Kontakion of the Prodigal Son, Tone 3

I have recklessly forgotten Thy glory, O Father;
And among sinners I have scattered the riches which Thou gavest me.
And now I cry to Thee as the Prodigal:
I have sinned before Thee, merciful Father;
Receive me a penitent, and make me as one of Thy hired servants.



All to no purpose have I left my true home...'       
Written by M.C. Steenberg     
Thursday, 08 February 2001 18:02
Reflections on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son


The second Sunday of the Triodion, the second Sunday before the Vespers of Forgiveness and the beginning of Great and Holy Lent, is dedicated to the recollection of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15.11-32). 'A certain man had two sons', both highly favoured, one of a more rebellious spirit than the other. The story, perhaps among the most well-loved of the Gospel parables, though it appears only in the Gospel of Luke, is familiar to most. The wealth of the young son is squandered by his raucous living, and from the mire of his agony (literally, from the mud of a pig-stall) he has a change of heart and returns home, humbled. His father, certainly justified in any anger he might choose to show, instead embraces his 'prodigal' with tears and sets a mighty feast. 'For my son was lost, and now is found'.

Each year, as the cycle of the Great Fast begins, the preparatory season of weeks leading up to Lent as marked out in its centre by the reading of this great story. It is, as Bishop +KALLISTOS of Diokleia has stated, 'an exact ikon of repentance in its different stages',1 and so the authors and compilers of the Triodion have placed it at the start of the great season of repentance: an icon and image of the reality of the coming weeks.

Brethren, let us learn the meaning of this mystery. For when the Prodigal Son ran back from sin to his Father's house, his loving Father came out to meet him and kissed him. He restored to the Prodigal tokens of his proper glory, and mystically He made glad on high, sacrificing the fatted calf. Let our lives, then, be worthy of the loving Father who has offered sacrifice, and of the glorious Victim who is the Saviour of our souls. (Sticheron at Vespers)
Firstly, the story of the Prodigal teaches us of the character of the Father, the God whom we worship at all times. The holy Apostle John proclaims 'God is love' (1 Jn 4.Cool, and in this parable we have the ultimate image of that love. The Father gifts His son with uncalled-for blessings; He stands watch for the return of His lost child; His forgiveness is so swift and so great that the wayward son cannot even finish his pleas for mercy before the Father has embraced his return; He rejoices above due measure when the lost is once again found. The Father's love is active, attentive.

Yet the parable teaches us also of ourselves. We know from the moment that the story begins, that the Prodigal Son is none other than our own selves, that the divine Jesus tells the story of our own sinfulness and error. So does the Triodion here, as elsewhere, move the narrative into the first-person.

I have wasted the wealth which the Father gave to me, and in my wretchedness I have fed with the dumb beasts. Yearning after their food, I remained hungry and could not eat my fill. But now I return to the compassionate Father and cry with tears: I fall down before Thy loving-kindness, receive me as a hired servant and save me! (Sticheron at the Lity)
We acknowledge the goodness of the Father and admit of the bare, evident reality of the 'wealth' He has given us: our lives, the beauty of the world, His truth, His salvation. None of these blessings can be denied, if only one opens his eyes to the reality of the world in which he lives. But even as we acknowledge our divine gifts, so too do we acknowledge the waste we have made of these treasures.

The divine wealth that once Thou gavest me I have sinfully wasted. I have departed far from Thee and lived as the Prodigal, O compassionate Father. Accept me now also as I return. (Troparion from Canticle One, Canon)
None has taken the good things of God from us: their absence is the result only of our turning away from the supply of divine blessings. We waste what we have received and we turn and 'depart far from Thee', running from the source of good as if we had somewhere more important to be. We can put the blame upon no one's shoulders but our own. I have sinfully wasted the divine wealth that I was given. I have departed far from God. I have fed with dumb beasts and never eaten my fill. I, even as the prodigal, must come to realise my own hand at work in my spiritual ill-fortune and take responsibility for the state into which my own evil deeds have thrust me.

And what of this state? What is the reality of life when humanity turns from its Father? Exile. Exile, enslavement, and suffering.

I have become enslaved to every evil and in my wretchedness I have bowed down before the demons that provoke the passions; through heedlessness I have lost possession of myself. O Saviour, heavenly Father, take pity on me as I flee for refuge to Thy many mercies. (Troparion from Canticle Four, Canon)
The son becomes a slave, not because of any anger or vengefulness on the part of the Father, but because he has 'lost possession of himself' -- he has turned from the support of divine love and 'bowed down before the demons'. The passions of evil are taken on, voluntarily, as new masters, and with frightening agility they take control of our wills and minds and lead us far, far indeed, from our true home. This theme of 'exile', so often repeated during Great Lent, begins here.

I was enslaved to strangers, an exile in the land of corruption, and I was filled with shame. But now I return, merciful Lord, and cry to Thee: I have sinned! (Troparion from Canticle Five, Canon)

I am wasted with hunger, deprived of every blessing and an exile from Thy presence, O Christ supreme in loving-kindness. Take pity on me as I now return, and save me as I sing the praises of Thy love for mankind. (Troparion from Canticle Six, Canon)

Ruled by corrupting thoughts, I am full of darkness and separated far from Thee, and I have lost all possession of myself, O merciful Lord. Therefore save me as I fall before Thee in repentance. (Troparion from Canticle Eight, Canon)
It is not merely a coincidence that the haunting words of Psalm 136 ('By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept...'2) are sung for the first time during the Matins of the Sunday of the Prodigal Son: they are the words of a nation in exile, a nation dominated in a foreign land, weeping bitterly for the life which now stands afar off--a memory. So did the Prodigal weep from the stall of the swine, pondering the goodness of his Father's love from the mud and filth into which had had cast himself. At that moment, as he lay among the pigs, he longed for nothing more than a return home.

This is the spirit of Lent. The whole journey into Pascha can become our own if we are able to stand in examination of our lives, see how far we have brought ourselves from the life God intends for us, and then long, truly long to return to our true home. Whatever our Babylon, wherever our pen filled with swine, we must turn with tears toward the home from which we have sinfully departed and resolutely start our journey back, begging God's forgiveness in our return.

Our Saviour teaches us every day with His own voice: let us therefore hearken to the Scriptures concerning the Prodigal who became wise once more, and with faith let us follow the good example of his repentance. With humbleness of heart let us cry out to Him who knows all secrets: We have sinned against Thee, merciful Father, and are not worthy ever again to be called Thy children as before. But since Thou art by nature full of love for man, accept me and make me as one of Thy hired servants. (Ikos of the Canon)
True repentance begins with the acknowledgement of self-imposed exile. Such knowledge pains us, but it is a pain that leads to action, and action that leads to reform. And as Christ re-forms us into His heavenly life, we begin truly to live.

Behold, O Christ, the affliction of my heart; behold my turning back; behold my tears, O Saviour, and despise me not. But embrace me once again in Thy compassion and count me with the multitude of the saved, that with thanksgiving I may sing the praises of Thy mercy. (Troparion from Canticle Nine, Canon)
The story of the Prodigal Son is, indeed, an 'exact icon of repentance', inasmuch as through it we see the reality of repentance as it must be lived in our own lives. Bestowed with immeasurable blessings from the God of Love, we have in our wretchedness wasted what we have been given and wandered spitefully from the love of the Father. Eventually we must come to that place, that harsh moment, when in the stark reality of our sinful lives we realise, with the Prodigal, that 'all to no purpose have I left my true home'. Apart from God, there is nothing. We have each experienced this 'nothing', for we have each turned from God. But now, as we prepare to enter into Great Lent, we long for the great 'something' that is God's love and sanctification. Begging His mercy we strive for true repentance, that we may receive His salvation in all joy.

The wealth of grace that Thou hast given me, in my wretchedness I have wasted sinfully; all to no purpose have I left my true home, and as the Prodigal I have scattered my riches deceitfully among the demons. But now on my return accept me as the Prodigal, merciful Father, and save me. (First Exapostilarion of the Triodion)
Text by M.C. Steenberg, 2001
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« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2009, 06:40:16 PM »

A Statement from the Administrators of OrthodoxChristianity.net

The recent situation with the poster Irish Hermit, also known as Fr Ambrose, has again flared up, and a few words need to be said about this.

Beyond what the public sees in posts, there is a private moderators’ forum where all reported posts are sent for consideration by the moderatorial staff.  There have been a considerable number of posts reported by various people pertaining to this issue.

In addition, various posters have made use of the private messaging system to go outside of the normal chain of events, appealing directly to Fr Anastasios in many cases; but Fr Chris has also received various messages as have other moderators.  Some of the messages that we have received have actually been threatening in nature.

In the past week, both Fr Chris and Fr Anastasios have been contacted via telephone by various people who are demanding that we do various things as well. Therefore, please be aware that the following points are being stated with all of the above in mind, and not just the public posts.

1) Chain of responsibility
There is an established chain of responsibility on this forum. It is:
-Moderators over their forum
-2 Global Moderators, each over half of the moderators.
-The Administrative team: Fr Chris, over the forum, and Fr Anastasios, in charge of technical issues and content development.
Note: Fr Anastasios is also the owner of OrthodoxChristianity.net, but all decisions made pertaining to the site are done in concert with Fr Chris as a team.

All moderation must follow this chain. A post must be reported. If someone wishes to appeal a moderator’s action, or the dispute is with a moderator, then a global moderator should be contacted. Likewise, appeals against a global moderator should go to Fr Chris.  Appeals of Fr Chris will be made to Fr Anastasios who would theoretically consult with Fr Chris as a team, but it should be stated that in the normal case of events, Fr Anastasios does not engage in moderation.  Due to Fr Chris having recent commitments, Fr Anastasios has been intervening, but this will stop now.  Any future times when Fr Anastasios needs to step in for Fr Chris will be advertised in the Board News section.

Barring the absence of Fr Chris, no further appeals should be sent to Fr Anastasios outside the normal order of things.  Any future out-of-chain messages will be referred down to the appropriate person.

Today’s reemergence of the situation could have been avoided had the original offending post been reported in the appropriate manner.

2) Moderators as posters
Moderators on this site are volunteers selected from among active posters of demonstrated goodwill and balance.  They are selected from a diverse range of viewpoints as well for balance.

Moderators participate as posters the vast majority of the time, and normally only moderate in their own forum. This is done by posting in green.  When no global moderator is available and there is a pressing need, a moderator from another forum may step in, but such action is always referred to the moderator of the forum inside our private moderators’ forum. A global moderator has can moderate over the entire forum but is only acting in his official capacity when he or she likewise writes in the other color.

Recently, a curious phenomenon has arisen whereby a poster interacts with another poster who happens to be a moderator, and when the debate gets impassioned, we receive appeals that “moderators should not be allowed to pick on posters.”  Again, if they are not writing in color, they are not moderating. Please do not confuse this.

3) Calling out moderators in public
The most pressing reason for this post, however, is the rise in accusations that the moderator staff is biased, is picking on posters, especially Irish Hermit, and that it is acting unfairly.  Three cases have been highlighted:

a) ozgeorge was rude to Fr Ambrose. A warning resulted to ozgeorge.
b) Pravoslavbob made a post with an alleged seven ad hominems.  This was discussed in private and determined that Pravoslavbob was very clearly responding to the thrust of the argument of Fr Ambrose, and was not attacking his person.  The accusation of being disingenuous referred to using appeals to pastoral practice as evidence that the Church teaches that communion can be infrequent.
c) PeterTheAleut paraphrased the post of Fr Ambrose and Fr Ambrose accused PeterTheAleut of misrepresenting his argument.  PeterTheAleut responded that yes he was paraphrasing but he believed he accurately represented Fr Ambrose's argument and was not trying to deliberately ascribe false beliefs to Fr Ambrose.

In none of these instances was the above individual acting as a moderator.  Fr Ambrose’s complaints were aired in public, various people moved to defend him in public and private, and our moderators were disparaged in the process.

Our moderators are all volunteers, and they deserve respect.  They are not always perfect, which is why there is an appeals system. Use it.

Posters will also not say things like, “Maybe Fr Anastasios or Fr Chris can adjudicate this.” This type of posting drives a perceived wedge between moderators and administrators, and is unacceptable.

Fr Chris and Fr Anastasios would like to reiterate the following points:

1) Our moderators are doing a good job, and will be shown respect. They will not be called out in public

2) We discuss all moderation requests as a team in private.

3) No one is ganging up or picking on Fr Ambrose.  Fr Ambrose has expressed himself in direct ways and has participated in controversial threads (which is fine; that is what this forum is for).  Some posters have taken issue with what he states (which is fine; that is what a discussion forum is for).  However, at no time has anyone ganged up on Fr Ambrose or used his or her moderatorial powers to silence Fr Ambrose.  Any warnings or moderations of Fr Ambrose are solely due to breach of procedure (source issues and bringing moderation into the public) and not in any way an attempt to keep him from expressing his views.

4) Any appeal or complaint about a moderator must follow the proper chain of responsibility and no further out-of-chain requests for intervention will be entertained, nor will public references to moderation be tolerated. Proper procedure will be followed.

The forum is being distracted by this issue and it is time to put it to rest again with the above points in mind.

Fr Anastasios & Fr Chris
Co-Administrators 
« Last Edit: February 20, 2009, 06:53:22 PM by Fr. Anastasios » Logged

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Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.
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