While I agree with Rosehip's assessment, I think you should also know I wish no ill will toward Bishop Demetri. I thought having him retire was a merciful thing to do and that it would give him the opportunity to find the healing he needs. He suffers from another problem beside the one he was convicted for and placing him in a position of authority again is really not doing what is best for someone who suffers from this other difficulty. How loving is it to place a person in a position of authority, which entails much stress, help a person to heal from a significant type of illness?
It is a very irresponsible and I believe unloving thing to do. I say, let the man spend time in retirement so he can find peace. Don't burden a weakened soul with more than he can handle.
You bring a perspective to the discussion (as a woman) that is different from my own. I appreciate your desire to have Bp Demetri heal and that perhaps it is best to have him do so where the surroundings are less stressful... less tempting as it were. This is a good observation.
Forgive me if I offend; and forgive my poor word skills/rambling and way of expression, but if only a glimmer of my point makes it through.... and writing is difficult for me, (I have neurological problems affecting speech and memory) the labor, was not in vain.
But I am afraid we all offend, and I greater for not resisting speaking in a place I am not sure will serve the Gospel.
We all offend each other, and in turn give offense to Christ; and we do harm to the Gospel with every word we speak or write in
publicly publishing the faults of a brother in Christ...
But aside from our own sin, evil and dark is the day when we feel obliged, even required to to do for the sake of the Gospel.
And make no mistake...THE GOSPEL IS ALL THAT MATTERS HERE,
not Bishop Demetri's future, not even his repentance and salvation, not Canons and tradition, not legacies of Bishops who have spent their last drop for the "good of the Church" and for all we know have led a spotless and blameless life, certainly not the course of "American Orthodoxy", or conforming to the laws and mores of whatever corner of land or culture that just happens to surround the field where the seeds of the Gospel are bringing God's Kingdom to this earth;
...The only lasting value of these transitory things that fade like the grass is are they making the Light of Christ shine brighter...or, Lord have Mercy, allowing the shadow of that defeated darkness reclaim what the Light had illumined, through the work of generations of Saints who watch what we do with the harvest they have left to us....we will all answer for that.
Rosehip, many women (and some men) IMHO, have taken up the mantle of the prophets; Shame on those that make them do it in apologetic tones...It is not a" woman thing" to speak out and call the Church back to the example of Christ...His Humility, Meekness, Vulnerability...those paradoxical qualities that caused the incarnation to defeat the power of Death and and gave us the Way to Salvation-not only our own, but the Salvation of the world.
(Men, too have expressed this too...one motivated by a Love of Justice/Mercy which is a different facet of the same humility-the one that is willing to risk loss of place, position, livelihood (that includes those in the Orthodox/Antiochian priesthood, and hierarchy willing speak Truth to Power,...qualities required of any who seek to "Walk with God").
I know Bishop Demetri's actions seem mild in today's culture/ and the consequences out of proportion....
especially European, where they are not so PC and don't get as riled up about the this embarrassing, but seemingly harmless incident.
but only if you view his actions through the world and not God's eyes.
The seriousness of his sin cannot be measured by world or culture...and it matters little if his misconduct was not violent, due to his drinking, or was an isolated incident.
It is what lies at the core of his actions couldn't have been more anti-Gospel... he treated not just a woman, or another human being with disrespect....but he sinned against his own body, a member of his body (it doesn't matter if she was Orthodox, or even Christian (we are all created in God's Image), which like him is the Image of the One True God...
while I know we don't rank sins....the core of every act of sin is the self centered pride that would thoughtlessly trample and crush the humanity of one another.... Christ didn't rank sin either...a thought, or a thoughtless, maybe even harmless act were as serious as the most bloodiest violation.
And even Paul speaks about the sin against the body...your own or another, affects us in ways that we cannot fathom...
Bishop Demetri didn't commit a harmless faux paux...what he did goes right to the heart of the most powerful iconic relationship that reveals the deepest mystery of the Church...the male/female relationship/ the icon of man and woman as one/ the icon of the bride and bridegroom, that is the icon of our telos with Christ and his action was a desecration of that Icon and a desecration of a temple of the body of Christ.
That is for you to decide, but when a Bishop in any way causes even one or the weaker, maybe more fearful of his flock (obedience is like learning to die...I am afraid the Bishop's action's may make some who have been wounded, trampled and still learning their value to God to doubt or become unable to surrender all to Christ) and still learning to trust to stumble in what is the way of Salvation...when our biggest struggle is to lay down our lives, to struggle to follow Christ's path of humility, weakness, the vulnerability...and this goes not only for women, but ANY, even those who appear strong and self sufficient, to do harm to the struggle to learn humility, obedience, and opening and risking yourself body heart and soul, all the things that make for peace, reconciliation and Love, in the body of Christ..to our Salvation and through our Salvation, the Salvation of others.This Bishop's actions could do nothing but harden the heart, instill fear, shrink the heart, and stifle the obedience on which our very Salvation depends.
Again forgive my rambling, and I single out no one in expressing my thoughts....I WOULD SEE CHRIST;THAT IS ALL I DESIRE...PLEASE....I AM WEAK AND I AM AFRAID AND STRUGGLE...WITH TRUST, OBEDIENCE, AND BELIEVING THAT I AM WORTH ANYTHING TO GOD...I STRUGGLE NOT TO JUDGE, BUT I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS AND IT WAS LIKE HAVING CHRIST RIPPED RIGHT OUT OF MY HEART....AND I HAVE NO REASON TO ASK FOR MORE MERCY THAN THE BISHOP ASKS, BUT I AM ASKING.