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Author Topic: Decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch  (Read 118816 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: March 03, 2009, 08:17:10 PM »

On the surface, this does look like, for lack of a better word, a "power grab" by Met. PHILIP.  I know that some of the bishops in the Antiochian dioceses have actively disagreed with him particularly on some praxis issues.  Could this just be  a way to silence the bishops?  I would hate if it would come to that and I hope I am wrong.

To paraphrase Metropolitan Herman, "if the whole truth were to be known it would destroy the church."
We all have since seen how destructive the truth has been to the OCA.
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« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2009, 08:45:28 PM »

Does anyone have a copy of the original constitution that the Antiochians approved in 2004? If so, would they post it here or a link?

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« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2009, 08:51:51 PM »

I do not think this directive affects the diocesan structure; one can have a diocese with an auxiliary bishop in it, a diocese with a ruling bishop in it, a diocese with a metropolitan in it, or a diocese with an archbishop in it; the "rank" of the hierarch has not always coincided with the "rank" of the diocese he serves in (example: hierarchs of the GOA were made Metropolitans while presiding over Diocese, before they were made Metropolises).

Can you have a diocese led by an auxiliary though?  It seems to me what this is doing is actually just creating one big diocese.
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« Reply #48 on: March 03, 2009, 09:03:24 PM »

It looks to me like Metropolitan Philip has taken complete control of the AOA. I'm really sad to see this.
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« Reply #49 on: March 03, 2009, 09:31:08 PM »

The irony to me in all of this is the Pope could not get away with doing something like this.
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« Reply #50 on: March 03, 2009, 10:09:55 PM »

The irony to me in all of this is the Pope could not get away with doing something like this.

I thought the Pope already did get away with doing something like this, or am I mistaken?
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« Reply #51 on: March 03, 2009, 10:17:41 PM »

I do not think this directive affects the diocesan structure; one can have a diocese with an auxiliary bishop in it, a diocese with a ruling bishop in it, a diocese with a metropolitan in it, or a diocese with an archbishop in it; the "rank" of the hierarch has not always coincided with the "rank" of the diocese he serves in (example: hierarchs of the GOA were made Metropolitans while presiding over Diocese, before they were made Metropolises).

Can you have a diocese led by an auxiliary though?  It seems to me what this is doing is actually just creating one big diocese.

It's weird, but possible.  All the seems to do is redefine the relationship amongst the bishops - it has nothing to do with redistricting, or with the existing diocesan structure; so in essence that's what they've done - set up diocese, and then make their bishops de facto auxiliaries.
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« Reply #52 on: March 03, 2009, 10:19:30 PM »

The irony to me in all of this is the Pope could not get away with doing something like this.

I thought the Pope already did get away with doing something like this, or am I mistaken?

I'm not going to speculate on what this means for the AOA; however, the relationship between the Pope and his bishops is different than what seems to be spelled out in the document above.  In the RC model, the bishops cannot do anything against the Pope's wishes, but don't have to go to him seeking permission for everything they do; in the document, it appears that the bishops must indeed seek approval for what they do from their Metropolitan.
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« Reply #53 on: March 03, 2009, 10:37:48 PM »

The irony to me in all of this is the Pope could not get away with doing something like this.

I thought the Pope already did get away with doing something like this, or am I mistaken?

I'm not going to speculate on what this means for the AOA; however, the relationship between the Pope and his bishops is different than what seems to be spelled out in the document above.  In the RC model, the bishops cannot do anything against the Pope's wishes, but don't have to go to him seeking permission for everything they do; in the document, it appears that the bishops must indeed seek approval for what they do from their Metropolitan.

It seems Metropolitan Philip has not taken more power than the Pope. I hope this is not the case but it does look to be exactly that.
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« Reply #54 on: March 03, 2009, 11:15:59 PM »

The irony to me in all of this is the Pope could not get away with doing something like this.

I thought the Pope already did get away with doing something like this, or am I mistaken?

The Pope recently had to back down on the appointment of a bishop in the diocese of Linz, Austria because of the opposition of the bishops there.

I would imagine that if the RC bishops (or archbishops) of say Cleveland, St. Louis and Los Angeles were suddenly told they were auxiliary bishops and their dioceses were no longer extant, there would be an unimaginable uproar.  There might be canonical violations as well.

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« Reply #55 on: March 04, 2009, 01:19:01 AM »

This is sad.
So we go from one jurisdiction's crisis to then next one's? (OCA to Antiochian; and didn't the Greeks have their own in the 90's in relation to SCOBA? I only converted early in this decade and have only seen references to it here and don't know a whole lot about it)
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« Reply #56 on: March 04, 2009, 02:10:42 AM »

The irony to me in all of this is the Pope could not get away with doing something like this.

I thought the Pope already did get away with doing something like this, or am I mistaken?

The Pope recently had to back down on the appointment of a bishop in the diocese of Linz, Austria because of the opposition of the bishops there.

I would imagine that if the RC bishops (or archbishops) of say Cleveland, St. Louis and Los Angeles were suddenly told they were auxiliary bishops and their dioceses were no longer extant, there would be an unimaginable uproar. 
Then they are in denial.
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There might be canonical violations as well.
Hardly:
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Art. 1.

THE ROMAN PONTIFF

Can. 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.

§2. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

Can. 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power offer the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power offer all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

§2. In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office.

§3. No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 334 Bishops assist the Roman Pontiff in exercising his office. They are able to render him cooperative assistance in various ways, among which is the synod of bishops. The cardinals also assist him, as do other persons and various institutes according to the needs of the times. In his name and by his authority, all these persons and institutes fulfill the function entrusted to them for the good of all the churches, according to the norms defined by law.

Can. 375 §1. Bishops, who by divine institution succeed to the place of the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, are constituted pastors in the Church, so that they are teachers of doctrine, priests of sacred worship, and ministers of governance.

§2. Through episcopal consecration itself, bishops receive with the function of sanctifying also the functions of teaching and governing; by their nature, however, these can only be exercised in hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college.

Can. 377 §1. The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints bishops or confirms those legitimately elected.

§2. At least every three years, bishops of an ecclesiastical province or, where circumstances suggest it, of a conference of bishops, are in common counsel and in secret to compose a list of presbyters, even including members of institutes of consecrated life, who are more suitable for the episcopate. They are to send it to the Apostolic See, without prejudice to the right of each bishop individually to make known to the Apostolic See the names of presbyters whom he considers worthy of and suited to the episcopal function.

§3. Unless it is legitimately established otherwise, whenever a diocesan or coadjutor bishop must be appointed, as regards what is called the ternus to be proposed to the Apostolic See, the pontifical legate is to seek individually and to communicate to the Apostolic See together with his own opinion the suggestions of the metropolitan and suffragans of the province to which the diocese to be provided for belongs or with which it is joined in some grouping, and the suggestions of the president of the conference of bishops. The pontifical legate, moreover, is to hear some members of the college of consultors and cathedral chapter and, if he judges it expedient, is also to seek individually and in secret the opinion of others from both the secular and non-secular clergy and from laity outstanding in wisdom.

§4. Unless other provision has been legitimately made, a diocesan bishop who judges that an auxiliary should be given to his diocese is to propose to the Apostolic See a list of at least three presbyters more suitable for this office.

§2. The definitive judgment concerning the suitability of the one to be promoted pertains to the Apostolic See.

Can. 379 Unless he is prevented by a legitimate impediment, whoever has been promoted to the episcopacy must receive episcopal consecration within three months from the receipt of the apostolic letter and before he takes possession of his office.

Can. 380 Before he takes canonical possession of his office, the one promoted is to make the profession of faith and take the oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P1D.HTM
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« Reply #57 on: March 04, 2009, 07:36:33 AM »

Well for some reason as per what's happening in Linz, they seem to be exercising a form of collegiality.  I know people would rather have a paper argument, but look at what's happening on the ground.  A popular refrain in Orthodoxy is "all bishops are equal", but that's a lie.

Quote
Article 78: The Metropolitan defines the responsibilities of the bishops and the place where they should serve. The bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan.

It will be most bizarre if they only recourse of avenue of appeal is Constantinople.  That would just kill the people in the OCL.  We'll also see if the only recourse becomes schism.
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« Reply #58 on: March 04, 2009, 08:26:07 AM »


Quote
Article 78: The Metropolitan defines the responsibilities of the bishops and the place where they should serve. The bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan.

It will be most bizarre if they only recourse of avenue of appeal is Constantinople.  That would just kill the people in the OCL.  We'll also see if the only recourse becomes schism.

This new situation with the Antiochian bishops could certainly lead to some intriguing situations.

The new regulations give to Metropolitan Philip the right to move the 6 US bishops to new dioceses if he chooses.

Let's imagine the bishop in question does not want to move.  He appeals to the Holy Synod in Damascus.  They uphold the decision of Metropolitan
Philip.

Whereupon the bishop makes an appeal to Constantinople (in a similar way as Bishop Basil Osborne did in the UK.)   Constantinople makes a decision to
exercise its right of what it calls "eccliton" and overrules the Antiochian Synod in Damascus.

I imagine that even right now the 6 Antiochian bishops could appeal to Constantinople for a ruling as to whether it is canonical to reduce every diocesan bishop in the entire Patriarchate of Antioch to merely auxiliary bishops?

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« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2009, 09:11:47 AM »


Quote
Article 78: The Metropolitan defines the responsibilities of the bishops and the place where they should serve. The bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan.

It will be most bizarre if they only recourse of avenue of appeal is Constantinople.  That would just kill the people in the OCL.  We'll also see if the only recourse becomes schism.

This new situation with the Antiochian bishops could certainly lead to some intriguing situations.

The new regulations give to Metropolitan Philip the right to move the 6 US bishops to new dioceses if he chooses.

Let's imagine the bishop in question does not want to move.  He appeals to the Holy Synod in Damascus.  They uphold the decision of Metropolitan
Philip.

Whereupon the bishop makes an appeal to Constantinople (in a similar way as Bishop Basil Osborne did in the UK.)   Constantinople makes a decision to
exercise its right of what it calls "eccliton" and overrules the Antiochian Synod in Damascus.

I imagine that even right now the 6 Antiochian bishops could appeal to Constantinople for a ruling as to whether it is canonical to reduce every diocesan bishop in the entire Patriarchate of Antioch to merely auxiliary bishops?



Maybe someone should bring this to Mardukhm attention.  He's always unhappy that our primates "don't have real power."
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« Reply #60 on: March 04, 2009, 09:42:28 AM »

Is the issue just re the commemoration of hierarchs in the Liturgy? http://www.antiochian.org/node/18883
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« Reply #61 on: March 04, 2009, 12:02:32 PM »

Snips from Metropolitan Jonah on the responsibilities of the Metropolitan and Bishops:

http://www.oca.org/jonah-2009-0218.html

" . . . The Metropolitan bears the responsibility to maintain unanimity and consensus among the bishops in all matters affecting the life of the Church as a whole, and is the point of accountability for the bishops; while he in turn is accountable to them. . . The Metropolitan's ministry is to hold the bishops to accountability in a structure of obedience that is by its very nature love and respect, unanimity and synergy. The Metropolitan's leadership arises through building consensus, rather than authority over the other bishops. Decisions are communal, by consensus; and the Metropolitan cannot act alone. As a bishop sacramentally recapitulates his diocese, so also does the Metropolitan recapitulates the Synod, personifying it and speaking for it. The Metropolitan cannot intervene in the affairs of another diocese, unless there is a canonical issue; then that intervention is his responsibility on behalf of the Synod. A diocesan bishop is accountable to the Synod for his stewardship of the diocese, because he is given that responsibility by them in election and ordination in a relationship of obedience. That structure of accountability is personified in the relationship of obedience to the Metropolitan.

A bishop's authority comes from his responsibility for his own diocese; the metropolitan's authority is within the Synod. The parishes relate to their own bishop, as their point of accountability in obedience. The bishops relate to one another in the Synod as the structure of accountability in obedience to the Metropolitan. But, the Metropolitan, as metropolitan, has no relationship to either the parishes or the clergy directly, other than those in his own diocese. This is very important, especially in regards to the flow of resources.

The Metropolitan's responsibilities, as primate, are in maintaining unity among the bishops of his Synod, and resolving whatever decisions need to be made on a Synodal level, and whatever issues directly affect the whole Church. The primacy also demands that the Metropolitan relate his Synod to the other Local Churches, maintaining recognition, contact, and communion. This would include, in our contemporary situation, relations with other jurisdictions in America, as well as with the other Autocephalous Churches. Thus, all matters related to the transfer of clergy between Churches, jurisdictional disputes, and so forth, are the purview of the Metropolitan. It is also within his purview to convene the Synod, councils and church-wide conferences; oversee church-wide ministries such as theological education; and oversee economic matters such as tax status, legal matters and insurance which affect the whole Church. The Metropolitan oversees matters dealing with bishops, including election, placement, accusations, investigations, transfers, and canonical actions. . ."

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« Reply #62 on: March 04, 2009, 12:10:58 PM »

Of course, it should be noted that the language "the bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan" isn't all that strange.  I don't remember whose writings clarified the relationship between the local bishops and their Metropolitan, but it's an old Patristic concept that the bishops on a Synod shouldn't contradict the president of the Synod (Metropolitan or Archbishop).  But, of course, the same writing says that the president of the Synod should not contradict the will of the Synod, either.
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« Reply #63 on: March 04, 2009, 02:15:27 PM »

Of course, it should be noted that the language "the bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan" isn't all that strange.  I don't remember whose writings clarified the relationship between the local bishops and their Metropolitan, but it's an old Patristic concept that the bishops on a Synod shouldn't contradict the president of the Synod (Metropolitan or Archbishop).  But, of course, the same writing says that the president of the Synod should not contradict the will of the Synod, either.
But in this case, with all auxiliaries, is there really a synod (in America) anymore?
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« Reply #64 on: March 04, 2009, 02:24:29 PM »

Is the issue just re the commemoration of hierarchs in the Liturgy? http://www.antiochian.org/node/18883

No, I think the issue is the sudden demotion of territorial bishops to auxiliary bishops.  The commemoration is a side effect.
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« Reply #65 on: March 04, 2009, 02:26:25 PM »

Of course, it should be noted that the language "the bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan" isn't all that strange.  I don't remember whose writings clarified the relationship between the local bishops and their Metropolitan, but it's an old Patristic concept that the bishops on a Synod shouldn't contradict the president of the Synod (Metropolitan or Archbishop).  But, of course, the same writing says that the president of the Synod should not contradict the will of the Synod, either.
But in this case, with all auxiliaries, is there really a synod (in America) anymore?

It's a very good question, because I know at least in the Greek practice (EP, Greece, etc.) Auxiliaries don't sit on Synods.
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« Reply #66 on: March 04, 2009, 02:56:38 PM »

From the Antiochian.org website.  A message from Met. PHILIP on the recent decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch.  I'm not really thrilled with his rationale.  I wasn't aware that our archdiocese was in such a state of disarray that we need to ensure a centralized authority.  I think more than a few bishops will be moved or forced out.  We'll see.  Also, I'd like to ask our Serbian brothers in this country what their jurisdictional administration is like?  Is Met. CHRISTOPHER the only bishop or does he have auxiliaries or diocesan bishops?

Met. PHILIP's response:

March 4, 2009

Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese, Parish Councils and Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese:

Greetings and blessings during this Holy Lenten Season!

There have been some questions raised regarding the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which addressed the status of bishops across the entire See of Antioch. The purpose of this letter is to try to answer these questions so that confusion may be avoided.

The first question deals with whether or not I am supportive of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was taken on February 24, 2009. I am supportive of this decision, for a simple reason. I am convinced that the institutional structure of our Archdiocese here requires it at this time. One of the greatest assets that we have been blessed with in this Archdiocese is our strong unity. We cannot take any chance that disunity would occur in the Antiochian Archdiocese. I believe that this decision supports maximum unity and guards against any fracture in the future. I approved the decision of the Holy Synod based on my background and personal experience. I came to this country in 1956 from a divided nation. I found in North America a divided Antiochian family: first between "Russy" and "Antaki", and second between New York and Toledo. I worked very hard to unite this family at the cost of blood and tears. I will guard this unity with my life and I will leave to our future generations a strong and unified Antiochian family in North America. If we do not learn from the mistakes of history, we will be condemned to repeat the same mistakes. In my judgement, the models of other Orthodox jurisdictions simply do not work, and the examples are numerous. Most importantly, I do not see the action of the Holy Synod of Antioch as making that much practical change in the way we operate. Most of the auxiliary bishops will remain where they are. The auxiliary bishops will administer the dioceses on behalf of the Metropolitan. It is now clear that in the few instances in which the Metropolitan disagrees with the action of a bishop, that the Metropolitan has the authority to reverse that decision. While we have vacancies in some of the dioceses, it is important that the Metropolitan have the flexibility of moving a bishop to a place where the best interests of the Archdiocese can be served.

The second question deals with the exact status of our bishops. The decision makes it very clear that our bishops within this Archdiocese will now be considered Auxiliary Bishops. But we need to focus on the practical application of that change, and not just a title. in due time we will begin the work of editing the "Manual of Hierarchical Duties and Responsibilities" so that these changes will be clear. The Archpastoral Directive of March 3, 2009 made it clear that the Metropolitan is to be commemorated in all divine services. The auxiliary bishop will be commemorated only in the case that he is present at the divine service.

The third question deals with the impact of this decision on the provisions of our Self-Rule as well as certain articles of our Pittsburgh Constitution.

Our Self-Rule status remains in effect with regard to the relationship of this Archdiocese to the Holy Synod of Antioch. The decision of the Holy Synod is a narrow administrative decision, addressing only the standing of bishops across the See of Antioch. As we know from church history, administrative structures come and go as the needs of the church change over time. As you are all aware, there are still some differences that exist between the Archdiocese Constitution that was approved in Pittsburgh, and the constitution that was proposed by the Holy Synod of Antioch as an alternative. These differences will be addressed with the Patriarch, myself, and the Holy Synod in due time.

I pray that you will all have a blessed Journey to the Empty Tomb.

Yours in Christ,
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« Reply #67 on: March 04, 2009, 03:03:24 PM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.
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« Reply #68 on: March 04, 2009, 03:20:45 PM »

It would seem that way.

I really wonder what was threatening unity that made this if not uncanonical, at least highly irregular action occur.
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« Reply #69 on: March 04, 2009, 03:45:34 PM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.

Exactly what my priest said.  This is almost a dethronement so to speak and there is no reason to remove a bishop unless he is clearly responsible for behavior unbecoming and none of the bishops in the archdiocese have done anything remote to that. 

I'd be anxious to see what the council of presbyters says after their meeting wth Bishop BASIL of DOWAMA in two weeks.
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« Reply #70 on: March 04, 2009, 04:00:34 PM »

The Archpastoral Directive of March 3, 2009 made it clear that the Metropolitan is to be commemorated in all divine services. The auxiliary bishop will be commemorated only in the case that he is present at the divine service.

Strange. In my Church Metropolitan and Diocesan Primate are commemorated together with Auxiliary Bishops, when the Diocese has them. All of them are commemorated, even if there are two Auxiliary Bishops.
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« Reply #71 on: March 04, 2009, 04:31:29 PM »

The Archpastoral Directive of March 3, 2009 made it clear that the Metropolitan is to be commemorated in all divine services. The auxiliary bishop will be commemorated only in the case that he is present at the divine service.

Strange. In my Church Metropolitan and Diocesan Primate are commemorated together with Auxiliary Bishops, when the Diocese has them. All of them are commemorated, even if there are two Auxiliary Bishops.

mike, 
As a couple here have asserted in a past discussion (which I think I started a couple of months ago), canonically, ONLY your own diocesan bishop needs to be commemorated at a Liturgy (where no bishop or only the diocesan is present).  It is the diocesan bishop's responsibility to commemorate the president of his Synod.  As I mentioned earlier, when Bp. BENJAMIN, in the OCA Diocese of the West was still the auxiliary to +TIKHON (before he retired), +BENJAMIN was only commemorated if present.  This is consistent with +PHILLIP's new decree.  My original question back then was prompted by a discussion I read on the "Indiana list" where some ROCOR clergy were deliberately NOT commemorating Pat. Aleksy (of Blessed Memory), supposedly since they "disagreed" with the reunification, but not enough to actually schism.  But, as I suspect, those Churches of the Slavic variety (or maybe more specifically, "Russian") like to uber-Commemorate and other such things, such that you have many Vladykii being commemorated at services.  For example, in the ROCOR Western American Diocese, when the new Bp. FEODOSI is present, he, Abp. KIRILL, Met. HILARION and Pat. KIRILL are all commemorated.  In a regular liturgy in that Diocese, from a canonical viewpoint, only Abp. KIRILL would need to be commemorated even though three bishops are usually commemorated. (Someone correct me if I'm mistaken.)
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« Reply #72 on: March 04, 2009, 04:37:26 PM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.

I had a great post picking at the minutiae of your response above; but I've deleted it because I don't like what was done (by the Synod) and I don't feel like arguing any position that may seem to be in favor of it.
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« Reply #73 on: March 04, 2009, 04:50:54 PM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.

I had a great post picking at the minutiae of your response above; but I've deleted it because I don't like what was done (by the Synod) and I don't feel like arguing any position that may seem to be in favor of it.

Well can you at least PM me the basic points? If my thinking is unclear or my facts wrong I'd like to be able to improve things Smiley
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« Reply #74 on: March 04, 2009, 04:58:04 PM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.

I had a great post picking at the minutiae of your response above; but I've deleted it because I don't like what was done (by the Synod) and I don't feel like arguing any position that may seem to be in favor of it.

Well can you at least PM me the basic points? If my thinking is unclear or my facts wrong I'd like to be able to improve things Smiley

Oh, it wasn't anything useful, just being argumentative.  Points like "well, bishops don't exactly have rights outside of what the synod defines and upholds."  Dumb stuff.
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« Reply #75 on: March 04, 2009, 05:09:33 PM »

This is so much stupidity.  Are we becoming a Papacy here?  I'm going to get on the horn with my priest and find out what is really going on.

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« Reply #76 on: March 04, 2009, 05:15:06 PM »

^I'm sure you'll get an earfull, Ian Lazarus.  The clergy in the AOA are not particularly happy about this (the majority of them anyway) and they are not sure what this means for them.
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« Reply #77 on: March 04, 2009, 05:27:59 PM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.

I had a great post picking at the minutiae of your response above; but I've deleted it because I don't like what was done (by the Synod) and I don't feel like arguing any position that may seem to be in favor of it.

Well can you at least PM me the basic points? If my thinking is unclear or my facts wrong I'd like to be able to improve things Smiley

Oh, it wasn't anything useful, just being argumentative.  Points like "well, bishops don't exactly have rights outside of what the synod defines and upholds."  Dumb stuff.

Well, you could just post it for the sake of being argumentative (with that caveat clearly labelled).  Wink
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« Reply #78 on: March 04, 2009, 06:45:03 PM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.

I've participated on several sites over the last few days on this topic but this last Announcement fills me with profound sadness and great perplexity.  I can only imagine what it must be doing to the bishops and the priests of the Antiochian Church. Let's pray for them.

The bottom line seems to be that Metropolitan Philip welcomes the Antiochian Synod's decision to bring all diocesan bishops down to the lower rank of auxiliaries because he has some anxiety that they will contribute to the disarray and even to the disunity which he fears is threatening the Antiochian Archdiocese of America.  Is there such a threat?  Is there some awful thing about to be made public?  Financial scandal?  Moral scandal?   There's not a hint of anything at all.

Just who are these bishops?   Are they not men who were handpicked by Metropolitan Philip?  Did he not choose them for their maturity, their trustworthiness? their ability to rule over a diocese well and wisely?    But now he fears that they will bring harm to the diocese if not divested of episcopal authority.  And it would seem that in order to remove the 6 American bishops from power it was necessary to impose the new system on the entire Patriarchate! 

Scamandrius, would this be pretty much as you see it?   Or am I completely misreading the Metropolitan's explanatory announcement?   I would be glad to hear that I am wrong.

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« Reply #79 on: March 04, 2009, 08:13:58 PM »

Met. PHILIP's response:

I pray that you will all have a blessed Journey to the Empty Tomb.

Yours in Christ,[/i]

In the whole slightly confused letter this last sentence is just so odd and yet so appropriate...

I am sure that those bishops who yesterday were ruling bishops of dioceses and today are simply auxiliary bishops who don't even get commemorated will be feeling quite gutted and feeling as if they are staring at an empty tomb!!
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« Reply #80 on: March 04, 2009, 08:45:02 PM »

Is Met. CHRISTOPHER the only bishop or does he have auxiliaries or diocesan bishops?

...

No, I have personally met (and I think gotten blessings) from +MAKSIM (western) and +LONGIN (New Gracanica Metropolinate).  I don't quite get the explanation, but Met. CHRISTOPHER is just the Midwestern Diocesan bishop while +LONGIN appears to be the Primate - weird since +CHRISTOPHER and not +LONGIN are on SCOBA.  I met +LONGIN at Holy Trinity in Moraga, CA a few years ago.

http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Serbian_Orthodox_Church_in_the_USA_and_Canada
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« Reply #81 on: March 04, 2009, 09:50:45 PM »

Quote
In my judgement, the models of other Orthodox jurisdictions simply do not work

A very curious model that is replacing these others that "do not work"
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« Reply #82 on: March 04, 2009, 09:57:43 PM »

From the Antiochian.org website.  A message from Met. PHILIP on the recent decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch.  I'm not really thrilled with his rationale.  I wasn't aware that our archdiocese was in such a state of disarray that we need to ensure a centralized authority.  I think more than a few bishops will be moved or forced out.  We'll see.  Also, I'd like to ask our Serbian brothers in this country what their jurisdictional administration is like?  Is Met. CHRISTOPHER the only bishop or does he have auxiliaries or diocesan bishops?

Just wanted to answer this question for you.  We have a fairly unique situation in that we have NO "archdiocese" or "metropolitanate" per say in America.  Each bishop/diocese is directly underneath the Patriarch/synod.  Metropolitan Christopher acts as the "exarch" of the patriarch and as a unifying force for the other bishops, but he has no ecclesiastical authority over their diocese per say.  Every bishop, in a sense, is on their own.  they can run their diocese, as bishops, with complete authority, only answering to the patriarchate itself.  In a lot of way's it's like most of the EP diocese in the world. 

Does this make sense?

[forgot to answer part of the question]

There are 4 diocese in America for the serbian church.  Western Diocese (Bishop Maxim), Eastern Diocese (includes South America - Bishop Mitrofan), Canada Diocese (Bishop Grigorije), and Mid-West Metropolitanate (Metropolitan Christopher). 

Then you get the extra bone of the "New Gracanica Metropolitanate) which is a whole can of worms in and of itself, which is underneath Bishop Longin (based out of chicago-land with parishes throughout America and Canada).  This is a complicated story though...
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« Reply #83 on: March 05, 2009, 12:14:58 AM »


I am sure that those bishops who yesterday were ruling bishops of dioceses and today are simply auxiliary bishops who don't even get commemorated will be feeling quite gutted and feeling as if they are staring at an empty tomb!!


Interestingly enough at Pre-Sanctified Liturgy tonight my priest only commemorated Met. PHILIP at the Great Ektenia but commemorated both Met. PHILIP and Bishop BASIL at the Litany of Fervent Supplication.  I guess old habits die hard.
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« Reply #84 on: March 05, 2009, 12:17:31 AM »

On another note, it is interesting that at the same time the bishops of the Antiochian archdiocese are losing their authority, Metropolitan JONAH of the OCA has restored the rights of their bishops which were taken away under Met. HERMAN.  I heard this from my priest's wife who just had returned from Montreal where she is working with the late Fr. Schmemann's widow on a book.  Apparently, the OCA hierarchs don't know what to make of this whole situation either.
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« Reply #85 on: March 05, 2009, 12:27:09 AM »

Met. PHILIP's response:

I pray that you will all have a blessed Journey to the Empty Tomb.

Yours in Christ,[/i]

In the whole slightly confused letter this last sentence is just so odd and yet so appropriate...

I am sure that those bishops who yesterday were ruling bishops of dioceses and today are simply auxiliary bishops who don't even get commemorated will be feeling quite gutted and feeling as if they are staring at an empty tomb!!


I also felt that that was a strange emphasis.  I understand he intends to point his flock towards the Resurrection, but I wonder why he didn't just say Resurrection or Pascha, or at least emphasize what makes this Tomb different from all others (the fact that it is a life-bearing Tomb). 

Well, I guess Met. PHILIP's choice of words is one of the less significant troubling aspects of this.  I really hope I'll wake up tomorrow and find that the synod has had a change of heart.
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« Reply #86 on: March 05, 2009, 12:30:23 AM »

I don't think emphasis on the empty tomb is really all that strange, since it was the second way the Apostles found out about the Resurrection (first being by the word of the Myrrh-bearers).  Many of the hymns mention the empty tomb.  I suppose it's just emphasizing a different point to "spice up" the dialogue a bit.
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« Reply #87 on: March 05, 2009, 01:00:40 AM »

Is he going to go to each diocese and uninstall the bishops he himself installed? How do you make a ruling bishop an auxiliary overnight? Unless I am missing something, this is a gross violation of the bishops' rights.

I don't know if rights is the right word, Father.

The majority of the bishops were ordained as auxiliary bishops.  No changed when they became diocene bishops.  Nothing will change now.  No charism was lacking, then bestowed, now lost.  Their episcopacy, whether auxiliary or diocesan, was exercised as the Church needed, and their charism remains the same.

Metropolitan Philips charism did not change when his auxiliaries became diocesan bishops.  It is not augmented now.

No one ever said that the auxiliary bishop of Wichita, was the equal in all respects to Metropolitan Philip, Patriarch Ignatios, and for good measure the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew or the Patriarch of Moscow Alexei/Cyril. Only that they all equally share in the same charism.  The exercise of that charism for the good of the Church has always differed, from the time of the Apostles.  What that does not mean is that the charism flows from EP Bartholomew, to Patriarch Ignatius, to Met. Philip to his grace of Wichita.

I'd like to know what it is that prompted it, rather than speculate on it: what exactly is the need of the Church alluded to?
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« Reply #88 on: March 05, 2009, 01:12:48 AM »

Ialmisry,

Why?  that's the $64,000 question that no one can put their finger on.  Met. PHILIP's explanation which I posted earlier was actually a response to a letter from Bishop BASIL.  BASIL essentially asked what, if anything, the bishops of the archdiocese had done to warrant their demotion to mere auxiliaries?  That was never explained by Met. PHILIP except in very vague terms about preserving the integrity and strenght of the archdiocese.  So, who knows? 
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« Reply #89 on: March 05, 2009, 01:50:41 AM »

BASIL essentially asked what, if anything, the bishops of the archdiocese had done to warrant their demotion to mere auxiliaries?  That was never explained by Met. PHILIP except in very vague terms about preserving the integrity and strenght of the archdiocese.  So, who knows? 

Perhaps we ought to balance this out by looking at it through Metropolitan PHILIP'S eyes.

From his letter:

Metropolitan PHILIP Regarding Decision of the Holy Synod:


"I am supportive of this decision, for a simple reason. I am
convinced that the institutional structure of our Archdiocese here
requires it at this time. One of the greatest assets that we have
been blessed with in this Archdiocese is our strong unity. We cannot
take any chance that disunity would occur in the Antiochian
Archdiocese. I believe that this decision supports maximum unity..."




Do we see the truly ghastly implications of what the Metropolitan is saying, namely that he no longer finds the 6 American bishops trustworthy?   He suspects that they are or will be the cause of disunity in the Archdiocese and so they must be dealt with by removing their episcopal authority.  He is worried that the bishops will contribute to the disarray and disunity which he fears is threatening the Antiochian Archdiocese of America.  Is there such a threat?  But as he rightly says, "We cannot take any chance that disunity would occur...."

I suppose we must trust his judgement on the bishops.  After all, he knows them and their strengths and weaknesses better than we do.  Are they not men who were personally handpicked by Metropolitan PHILIP?  Did he not choose them for their maturity, their trustworthiness? their ability to rule over a diocese well and wisely?    So now, if he fears that they will bring harm to the diocese if not divested of episcopal authority, should we not trust that he must have good cause not to trust them any longer? 

Metropolitan PHILIP must be gutted himself though, because the men he carefully selected as bishops have proven to be unworthy of his trust and are now a possible danger to the unity of the Archdiocese.  He must be feeling very betrayed.  All his work of the last few decades now at risk.  Let us pray that God will give him strength to bear this cross in his advanced years.  At 78 years of age it must be a blow for him.  He has shouldered a heavy burden as the Fast commences.
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