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Dart
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« on: August 13, 2010, 04:56:36 PM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?
In a recent survey (Krindatch- Orthodox Reality In America) 47% of GOA laity responded that, It is a good idea for Orthodox Parishes to choose their own priest from among available ordained clergy while only 18% of GOA clergy agreed.

Are Bishops doing a good job in matching priests with parishes? What should happen when a parish rejects the priest assigned to them? What if the priest wishes to relocate?

How do transfers between territories work? Do transfers between jurisdictions in America happen?

Any insight on priest assignments would be helpful. Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 05:07:18 PM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?

Well, the current quasi-congregationalist model sometimes employed in the Greek Archdiocese is not Orthodox--it is not traditional, and is a reflection of historical circumstances peculiar to a certain time in America. Now that America has established bishops and many priests, it should be up to the bishop to match a priest with a parish. Now, not all bishops do this in the same way or with the same care. But, not all parish councils speak for the parish or run things in a good or Christian manner, either. In the Orthodox model, the congregation does not own or run the individual parish or church. The property is the property of the bishop. The clergy are the extension of the bishop. The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve.

What should happen when a parish rejects the priest assigned to them? What if the priest wishes to relocate?
A parish can always appeal to the bishop if a priest is unsuitable. Yet, this is a very grave thing. There are as many cases of parishes lacking the humility to accept the priest given them as there are of priests being overbearing and arrogant.

If a priest wishes to relocate, he applies to the bishop.

How do transfers between territories work? Do transfers between jurisdictions in America happen?

Any transfers, between territories or jurisdictions are between the priest and the bishops. A parish may also apply for a transfer of jurisdiction.
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 05:09:26 PM »

Bishops usually know the personal issues of the Priests under them, many of them should not be know to the public and while taking them into the account they can assign Priests to the places they will serve best or at least no harm both to the Parishioners and the Priests.

For example Priests with pedophilic leanings shouldn't tech religion at schools, but they will be OK as chaplains in Monasteries.

People that would know no more than a name of a Priest and how does he look like, won't be able to choose the most proper one.
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 05:22:09 PM »

I suppose, though, that if a newly ordained priest desires strongly to serve the parish that sent him to seminary (assuming that the timing is right), that would be a very good thing.  But how often does it happen that a parish needs a new priest at just the time one of their own seminarians gets ordained?  (Turned out that fortuitously for my priest.)
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 05:47:34 PM »

Bishops usually know the personal issues of the Priests under them, many of them should not be know to the public and while taking them into the account they can assign Priests to the places they will serve best or at least no harm both to the Parishioners and the Priests.

For example Priests with pedophilic leanings shouldn't tech religion at schools, but they will be OK as chaplains in Monasteries.

People that would know no more than a name of a Priest and how does he look like, won't be able to choose the most proper one.

I agree, this is definitely one of the instances in which the "parish choice" does not work.   
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 05:52:09 PM »

I suppose, though, that if a newly ordained priest desires strongly to serve the parish that sent him to seminary (assuming that the timing is right), that would be a very good thing.  But how often does it happen that a parish needs a new priest at just the time one of their own seminarians gets ordained?  (Turned out that fortuitously for my priest.)

I think so.  If a Bishop finds that a Parish wants a particular priest and that priest in turn wants that parish, this is normally received well and is not a problem.   However, if there are a shortage of priests, some Bishops will assign based on a well-established parish that has been waiting the longest.     
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2010, 11:14:44 PM »

Back home when the faithful didn't want a new priest they would just lock the church and keep the keys. They did just that recently, and many times the bishop would just give in.
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2010, 01:11:16 AM »

Thank you for your posts.

In America, the parish just stops paying the priest. I can see how locking the doors would be needed in places like Greece where the government cuts the paycheck.

Anyhow, I understand how priests ARE assigned as I have read the Archdiocese regulations. My question is how SHOULD they be assigned since 48% of the laity believe the current system should be changed to allow the parish to select their priest from available ordained clergy.

Granted, the laity maybe just as susceptible to make mistakes as the Bishop is if not more so. Therefore, can we think of a constructive improvement.

Maybe the problem is not the assignment procedure. Maybe we just need better priests. Maybe the laity expect too much and we should lower our expectations.

The best suggestion I have heard so far is we all need to do a better job of listening. I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

"Where shall I place, child of Jesus, the spiritual intuitions springing from silence! How the eyes of understanding are opened and see Jesus in sweetness greater than that of honey! What new wonder is worked from legitimate silence and attentive understanding! You know these things, therefore compel yourself. A little has been revealed to you; struggle and you will find yet greater. I have you in prayer just as I promised you; I wonder if you were prepared?" Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2010, 11:05:28 AM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?

Well, the current quasi-congregationalist model sometimes employed in the Greek Archdiocese is not Orthodox--it is not traditional, and is a reflection of historical circumstances peculiar to a certain time in America. Now that America has established bishops and many priests, it should be up to the bishop to match a priest with a parish. Now, not all bishops do this in the same way or with the same care. But, not all parish councils speak for the parish or run things in a good or Christian manner, either. In the Orthodox model, the congregation does not own or run the individual parish or church. The property is the property of the bishop. The clergy are the extension of the bishop. The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve.


I see you are from the Antiochian Orthodox Church: can you please clarify for me that it is in your own Antiochian Orthodox tradition where as you say "The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve."?
Thanks.

The reason I am asking this because hsitorically and tradtionally this has never been the case in the Eastern Slavic Churches.  If we look at Church history, the parish councils which also had a role in local governing of each village did have a role in approving priests.  Not only that there was a time in which the priestly caste became inherited and a village church could be passed on from generation to generation.  Or in the cities from a priest to his son-in-law, for example the life of Fr. John of Kronstadt, the only reason he got such a plum parish in the city was because he married the daughter of the current priest.  In this way you had an elderly priest in the parish waiting to end his life and a younger priest already in place. 

Also in the days of the Holy Synod in the Russian Empire, with an extensive consistory bureaucracy  there was centralization.  Priests or seminary candidates were not free to go jumping around choosing bishops.  Strict records were kept.

When speaking about traditions and the history of the Orthodox Church if we are honest we will admit there have been various traditions in our history.
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2010, 11:15:47 AM »

Thank you for your posts.

In America, the parish just stops paying the priest. I can see how locking the doors would be needed in places like Greece where the government cuts the paycheck.

Anyhow, I understand how priests ARE assigned as I have read the Archdiocese regulations. My question is how SHOULD they be assigned since 48% of the laity believe the current system should be changed to allow the parish to select their priest from available ordained clergy.

Granted, the laity maybe just as susceptible to make mistakes as the Bishop is if not more so. Therefore, can we think of a constructive improvement.

Maybe the problem is not the assignment procedure. Maybe we just need better priests. Maybe the laity expect too much and we should lower our expectations.

The best suggestion I have heard so far is we all need to do a better job of listening. I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

"Where shall I place, child of Jesus, the spiritual intuitions springing from silence! How the eyes of understanding are opened and see Jesus in sweetness greater than that of honey! What new wonder is worked from legitimate silence and attentive understanding! You know these things, therefore compel yourself. A little has been revealed to you; struggle and you will find yet greater. I have you in prayer just as I promised you; I wonder if you were prepared?" Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"



It SHOULD be the discression of the bishop and the bishop only.  the bishop is the one who ordains this fellow.  The priest then is ONLY allowed to serve the Holy Mysteries by the blessing of the Bishop.  They serve at his discression, in the parish of his choosing, because ultimately it is HIS parish and the priests are in a sense his representatives.  Not that they are not priests of the Most High, but that our ecclesiology is a Metropolis based one, not a local parish based ecclesiology.  That's just the way it is my friend. 
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2010, 11:48:16 AM »


It SHOULD be the discression of the bishop and the bishop only.  the bishop is the one who ordains this fellow. 

Yes, but the congregation must cry Axios, and if the congregation cries at Anaxios, the ordination cannot happen. So while things are top down in Orthodoxy, it is not only a top down model.


Quote
The priest then is ONLY allowed to serve the Holy Mysteries by the blessing of the Bishop.  They serve at his discression, in the parish of his choosing, because ultimately it is HIS parish and the priests are in a sense his representatives. 

And what of the parishes who only see their Bishop once every 5 or 6 years? Are those parishes equally "the Bishop's parish" as much as the ones the Bishop visits every six months (or more)? Of course I know the "technical" answer is "yes", but what of the real world, practical, in the trenches answer? We can talk about technical answers to we turn blue in the face, but if those rules don't work in the real world, what good are they?

The hierarchical model only actually works if the Bishop is actually tending the flock. And in the real world, many Bishops do not tend to their sheep. I'm sorry if this is offensive to some people, but this is just the way it is. IMO, a parish who sees their Bishop every 3 years should have a bit more say in whom serves them as a priest, than a parish who is actually tended to by their Bishop on a regular basis. And by parish I don't mean the parish council, since in my experience parish councils often have very different agendas than the rest of the congregation does. I'm not suggesting we need to go to a congregational system, but the ultra high hierarchical system many times just don't work for many parishes. Either because Bishops are simply spread too thin, or because they just don't care about parishes in the "outer reaches" of their Metropolis. Or we could simply go back to the earlier model where we actually did have Bishops in every single city, instead of 500 miles away. But I don't expect that to happen any time soon. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2010, 11:56:11 AM »

Members of the Parish don't usually now much about the newly ordained Priests that graduated a Seminary hundreds of kilometres away. How do you thin such choosing the Priest for the parish would look like? Some kind of beauty contest, American Idol?
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2010, 12:48:46 PM »


It SHOULD be the discression of the bishop and the bishop only.  the bishop is the one who ordains this fellow. 

Yes, but the congregation must cry Axios, and if the congregation cries at Anaxios, the ordination cannot happen. So while things are top down in Orthodoxy, it is not only a top down model.


Common misconception.  If this were to actually happen the ordination would still happen (I would say 9 times out of 10).  You must declare your issues BEFORE the ordination.  the day of is just too late.  As much as you are THEORETICALLY correct, that's just not the reality. 

Quote
Quote
The priest then is ONLY allowed to serve the Holy Mysteries by the blessing of the Bishop.  They serve at his discression, in the parish of his choosing, because ultimately it is HIS parish and the priests are in a sense his representatives. 

And what of the parishes who only see their Bishop once every 5 or 6 years? Are those parishes equally "the Bishop's parish" as much as the ones the Bishop visits every six months (or more)? Of course I know the "technical" answer is "yes", but what of the real world, practical, in the trenches answer? We can talk about technical answers to we turn blue in the face, but if those rules don't work in the real world, what good are they?

The hierarchical model only actually works if the Bishop is actually tending the flock. And in the real world, many Bishops do not tend to their sheep. I'm sorry if this is offensive to some people, but this is just the way it is. IMO, a parish who sees their Bishop every 3 years should have a bit more say in whom serves them as a priest, than a parish who is actually tended to by their Bishop on a regular basis. And by parish I don't mean the parish council, since in my experience parish councils often have very different agendas than the rest of the congregation does. I'm not suggesting we need to go to a congregational system, but the ultra high hierarchical system many times just don't work for many parishes. Either because Bishops are simply spread too thin, or because they just don't care about parishes in the "outer reaches" of their Metropolis. Or we could simply go back to the earlier model where we actually did have Bishops in every single city, instead of 500 miles away. But I don't expect that to happen any time soon. Smiley


You know...I would have usually been the FIRST person to agree with you. But recently I have had the blessing of traveling with my bishop, and the amount of wisdom and pastoral care this man has shown to parishes he hasn't seen in 2 years is just unbelievable.  He has learned how to assess a situation IMMEDIATELY.  He speaks to the parish council, at length.  he speaks to the priest, at length, and he figures out what the situation is and how to address it.  I've seen priests be very frank with the bishop and he has found a way to help them deal with their problems. 

Every church he goes to he asks them "ok...you're here, what is next for you spiritually, financially, architecturally"...He is constantly trying to update them, upgrade them, in every aspect of their lives (including spiritual).  This is what a pastor does, who has other people helping in his pastorship.  He also has visited every parish in our metropolis several times in the last 5 years of his assignment here.  He truly is an example of how this model can work very well.  I'm not saying it's perfect, but it also doesn't have to be so "hands-off" as perhaps you have seen it. 

Also, we discussed this AD NAUSIUM in our Ecclesiology class.  the reality is that we don't have a "parish" ecclesiology, but we DESPERATELY need one.  We have a Metropolis ecclesiology and that's the bottom line.  That's our reality, not some idealistic view of the way things "should" be...
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2010, 01:04:17 PM »

Members of the Parish don't usually now much about the newly ordained Priests that graduated a Seminary hundreds of kilometres away. How do you thin such choosing the Priest for the parish would look like? Some kind of beauty contest, American Idol?

Maybe that is the way it is in your country and in your church, but that is not my experience in my church.

Our seminary has an annual "Month of Vocations" when the students travel around to specific parishes and put on a programme for the whole weekend. 
Also a lot of seminary students work in our church camps for the summer.  Or sometimes a parish can get a government grant to hire a seminary student for the whole summer (4 months) to work in their parish.
Plus seminary students attend Eparchial meetings and various other major church functions.
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2010, 01:13:50 PM »

Our seminary has an annual "Month of Vocations" when the students travel around to specific parishes and put on a programme for the whole weekend. 

2 days - what an amount of time!
Quote
Also a lot of seminary students work in our church camps for the summer. 

Do kids seat in the Parish councils?

Quote
Or sometimes a parish can get a government grant to hire a seminary student for the whole summer (4 months) to work in their parish.

One Parish can get to know one seminarian.
Quote
Plus seminary students attend Eparchial meetings and various other major church functions.

How many normal Parishioners attend them?

So one Seminarian can visit a parish for a couple of days and take care of some children. Do you think it is enough to get to know him?
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2010, 02:18:24 PM »

Our seminary has an annual "Month of Vocations" when the students travel around to specific parishes and put on a programme for the whole weekend. 

2 days - what an amount of time!
Quote


Also a lot of seminary students work in our church camps for the summer. 

Do kids seat in the Parish councils?

Quote
Or sometimes a parish can get a government grant to hire a seminary student for the whole summer (4 months) to work in their parish.

One Parish can get to know one seminarian.
Quote
Plus seminary students attend Eparchial meetings and various other major church functions.

How many normal Parishioners attend them?

So one Seminarian can visit a parish for a couple of days and take care of some children. Do you think it is enough to get to know him?

1.
Quote
2 days - what an amount of time!
It is not perfect but it helps.  Students are in seminary for 4 years.  During visits to various parishes, the local people do get to meet individual students speak and give presentations so they can see the individual talents of a students.  Plus, the students mixing and talking to parishioners during meal times.  It gives practical experience and feedback from a local parish for the students.  Plus, it is good for seminarians to use or improve their social skills mixing with parishioners.   They are billeted in local homes with families.

2.
Quote
Do kids seat in the Parish councils?

No children do not, but their parents and grandparents, kumy and uncles & aunts do.  I have heard from priests who have come to Canada from the Polsh Orthodox Church that church camps and retreats are very popular with young people over there too.  Again it provides practical experience for the seminarians.  Many adults who are volunteers in the camps over the summer are on parish councils or active in their parishes.   Plus, usually the parents come to visit the camp every Sunday and this gives parents an opportunity to meet & talk to seminarians.

3.
Quote
How many normal Parishioners attend them?

So one Seminarian can visit a parish for a couple of days and take care of some children. Do you think it is enough to get to know him?

A lot of parishioners attend Eparchial Meetings.  They are usually 2 days: a Friday & all day Saturday.  There are various reports, discussions and of course liturgical services.  Of course the laity outnumbers the clergy at these meetings.  And again seminarians attend them over their 4 years of study.  A lot of the interaction and conversation during mealtimes is helpful to get to know people.

Just to correct the information in your quote: it is not one seminarian who visits a parish but all the seminarians with a seminary professor or two for the weekend over all the years of their studies during the month of vocations.
Also Church Camps go on all summer usually.

In my church, assignment of priests is usually a joint decision between the spercific parish & consistory once a year.  For example, the consistory suggests a priest and gets feedback from the parish.

 All priests if they are to be moved are moved at the beginning of August.  I have heard of 2 cases in which the assignment of a newly ordained priest was not a good "fit" as someone said.  What happened was that the following August that new priest was moved on to another parish.  Also quite often it happens that a newly ordained priest is assigned at first to a larger city parish to work under the guidance of an older priest.

I think we can see from this discussion that there are different ways/ methods/traditions for a priest to be assigned to a parish.
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2010, 03:40:02 AM »

So if I understand the posts, we have a need for Bishops to visit the parishes more often.  Priests/seminarians and parishes can visit and get to know each other through youth camps, summer "internships", and other seminary programs. Concerns and preferences should be voiced to the Bishop by the priest and laity before assignments are made if possible. Bishops are generally OK with approving assignments when the priest and parish have indicated a mutual match.  Additionally, some transparency in the process would be reassuring to everyone. But the Bishop should be the final approving authority.

Maybe a listing of the current assignment of priests, where there is a need for additional priests, and priests that have been newly ordained or are otherwise available. Priests and parishes can interact accordingly and then make better recomendations to the Bishop for approval.

Bishops probably already have a similar system for their internal use. But a uniform program would create efficiency and allow Bishops more time to spend ministering to their large territories while also creating good will and greater satisfaction among the priests and laity.
It could also identify areas of particular need which could be addressed before it becomes a problem for example maybe a need for a particular language set like a trilingual Spanish/Greek/English speaking priest. Or the flexibility to assign or remove priests from youth director positions as may be needed.

What do you all think about this idea?
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2010, 02:51:36 PM »

Perhaps we need more Bishops.
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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2010, 03:11:38 PM »

We need a lot of things!

Just my opinion, an exchange program.  Lets get priests raised in the Church with its world view to come minister to the 'diaspora' and we'll send our new priests to Orthodox for centuries pious communities to learn some things.  Maybe there would be less "5 Love Languages" and "renegades"
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« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2010, 09:15:50 PM »

My experience of the last 35 years (as an adult, active parishioner) is that the system in the GOAA has essentially reversed the manner in which priestly assignments occur.  It probably was too lay oriented, with bishops, too frequently, ratifying arrangements.  However, the current system in the GOAA, mostly, is not even in compliance with the hierarchally leaning Uniform Parish Regulations (UPR), wherein, the bishop is to "consult" with the Parish Council, in matters of priestly assignments.  They have taken away the interviews, too.  26 years ago, my parish had conducted an interview process among 5 priests whom the bishop had authorized for interviews by our Parish Council.  In addition, the priest would celebrate the Liturgy and give a sermon.  The process was respectfully conducted; each priest was asked the same question, responses were recorded by a secretary.  The bishop ratified the priest the Parish Council had asked to be assigned, who was not the bishop's first choice. The selected priest from that process remained in the parish for 26 years.  Too often today, I see wrong matches being made, which cause problems in parishes that take a long time to over come; way too frequently.  I am adamant that the bishop's proposed selection should be interviewed, respectfully. 

In reply to the original post, transfers between jurisdictions, including the "on-loan" type, are routine.  I'm not sure of the percentage, but I believe the GOAA's Metropolis of Denver is composed of a very substantial percentage of priests who have been canonically received from other "jurisdictions."

In my years of active parish service, I've witnessed the reversal from way too much lay influence in ecclesial affairs, to way too much unilateral episcopal control, and I believe this change has not served the church well; a moderate middle ground must be found.
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2010, 10:17:14 AM »

It is an interesting dynamic how the parish, monastery, and episcopy interact inorder to prevent any one person or institution from having "control" and thus allowing us all to more fully rely on God's revelation through sobornost. This is certainly something unique to Orthodoxy as there is no balance to the Pope and little to no monasticism in the Protestant churches.
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« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2010, 12:16:30 PM »

It is an interesting dynamic how the parish, monastery, and episcopy interact inorder to prevent any one person or institution from having "control" and thus allowing us all to more fully rely on God's revelation through sobornost. This is certainly something unique to Orthodoxy as there is no balance to the Pope and little to no monasticism in the Protestant churches.

Huh?   Huh  What role do monasteries have with how Priests are assigned in the GOA? 
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« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2010, 02:24:02 PM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?

Well, the current quasi-congregationalist model sometimes employed in the Greek Archdiocese is not Orthodox--it is not traditional, and is a reflection of historical circumstances peculiar to a certain time in America. Now that America has established bishops and many priests, it should be up to the bishop to match a priest with a parish. Now, not all bishops do this in the same way or with the same care. But, not all parish councils speak for the parish or run things in a good or Christian manner, either. In the Orthodox model, the congregation does not own or run the individual parish or church. The property is the property of the bishop. The clergy are the extension of the bishop. The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve.

What should happen when a parish rejects the priest assigned to them? What if the priest wishes to relocate?
A parish can always appeal to the bishop if a priest is unsuitable. Yet, this is a very grave thing. There are as many cases of parishes lacking the humility to accept the priest given them as there are of priests being overbearing and arrogant.

If a priest wishes to relocate, he applies to the bishop.

How do transfers between territories work? Do transfers between jurisdictions in America happen?

Any transfers, between territories or jurisdictions are between the priest and the bishops. A parish may also apply for a transfer of jurisdiction.

I agree with much of what you have written. My dilemma is whether the traditional Orthodox model is 100% appropriate to our present circumstances in the United States of America (among other countries). As you know, the rationale for the bishop owning everything, for example, is a matter of canon rule and is not theological. The context for this rule is the imperial state governing not only the temporal but also the spiritual affairs of its population. (Yes, I know all about symphonia and relevant canons--I am talking here about actual application of power in these matters). The same goes with many other traditional Orthodox practices, which also find their root in the ever-fluctuating but always tilting to the state power relationships between the hierarchy and the rulers.

Here is the fundamental problem: there are not any rulers in the USA, except they be you and I--that is the laity. Here is another fundamental challenge: the priests are the most educated of the people of God but they are bound by their ordination oath to uphold all of the canons and to obey their bishops unconditionally (unless I assume and I hope it is a matter of illegality or immorality). So, you end up with a few folks running everything unchecked by any non-clerical powers-that-be. Talk about a situation that is against tradition as received!

I do think that the Russian Sobor of 1917 and the nascent efforts in the OCA to approach things in an atmosphere of sobornost are steps in the right direction. Of course, in the OCA's case, sobornost turned out to be smoke-and-mirrors with each positive step taken back by the bishops (read the current OCE Statutes). In all other jurisdictions, unchecked monarchical rule by the bishops seem to be the rule.

IMHO, we need to use the Ignatian model at each level of church administration, making it fit the not-for-profit requirements of the IRS, as well as the attendant corporate responsibility, and model nonprofit accounting and governance practices. Under this approach, which is one that the OCA is slowly edging toward, we would have a renaissance of both the classic model for Church structure and the power equilibrium that had existed for centuries--with the elected representatives of the laity assuming the power of the rulers of the past at parish, diocese and national church levels. The equilibrium is also enhanced by the additional power that the parish priest exercises naturally at the parish level, but also at the diocesan and national assemblies where he is automatically a voting member. What would be wrong to apply Canon 34, for example, in a way that includes the laity and parish clergy in the governance of the church that the bishops now enjoy. Let the clergy be 100% in charge of spiritual matters at each level, but let them share power and responsibility in all other matters. I have no problem with the priest, bishop or the Holy Synod vetoing a lay initiative if it is not spiritually sound or beneficial. But, what is the point of vetoing mundane things like establishing a ministry to the poor, or investing building funds in a particular instrument, or performing best-practice financial audits?

The bottom line is that we are all to be servant-leaders, clergy and laity alike. I think this is the true Orthodox model for governance.  If the bishops insist on ruling as medieval monarchs, I do not believe that it would salutary for the existence and growth of the Church. Again, the Church is indeed the bishop surrounded by his presbyters, deacons and laity. In matters of governance, too many of us are OK with the Church being only the bishops. And that is indeed sad.
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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2010, 03:30:11 PM »

It is an interesting dynamic how the parish, monastery, and episcopy interact inorder to prevent any one person or institution from having "control" and thus allowing us all to more fully rely on God's revelation through sobornost. This is certainly something unique to Orthodoxy as there is no balance to the Pope and little to no monasticism in the Protestant churches.

Huh?   Huh  What role do monasteries have with how Priests are assigned in the GOA?

Monasteries provide a sanctuary for lay people against the abuse of clergy. Lay people can go to them for confession and spiritual guidance at times when the assigned priest to their parish is less than adequate. I once had a priest demand that the parish go only to him for confession as it was his "right". He would denigrate monasteries as tourist attractions that sell trinkets and said we should not visit them. He equated the monks to peasants. Fortunately, the monasteries have maintained such a high reputation that not even a priest can speak ill of them with any credibility.

I believe monasteries are important to the assignment process of priests because if clergy were to strong arm the laity for their own personal agendas, the monasteries would speak out with an authority and respect much greater than that of the laity. Monasteries are an alternative for spiritual guidance when the parish priest fails. Without monasteries the laity would not have the same tharos to find the true way and speak out against abuses.

A lay person saying brother I love you but you are wrong is a "renegade". A spiritual elder at a monastery saying the same thing cannot be so easily dismissed; even for a Bishop.

I should also add our seminaries to the list. It is almost comical to see the same priest mentioned above come to our parish and make some minor changes to the divine liturgy. When asked as to why the previous way had not been questioned for decades even by visiting Bishops (we get a visit about every 5 years) he stated that Holy Cross seminary was wrong in their teaching and only the Ecumenical Patriarch could be the source for the liturgy. True story in the GOA.

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« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2010, 03:32:34 PM »

I believe monasteries are important to the assignment process of priests because if clergy were to strong arm the laity for their own personal agendas, the monasteries would speak out with an authority and respect much greater than that of the laity.

Don't you have secrecy of confession in GOA?
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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2010, 03:48:40 PM »

mike, your off topic. You should report yourself.  Grin
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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2010, 04:32:48 PM »


The bottom line is that we are all to be servant-leaders, clergy and laity alike. I think this is the true Orthodox model for governance.  If the bishops insist on ruling as medieval monarchs, I do not believe that it would salutary for the existence and growth of the Church. Again, the Church is indeed the bishop surrounded by his presbyters, deacons and laity. In matters of governance, too many of us are OK with the Church being only the bishops. And that is indeed sad.

I don't believe bishops ruling as medieval monarchs is the issue. The issue IMHO is of a practical matter of maximizing the interests of the priest, parish, and Church and in some circumstances what to do with a particularly problematic priest or parish.  Including the laity to solve the problem of finding an apropriate priest for their parish makes sense to me. Including the interests of the priest and their family also makes sense.  Bishops should not consult with the laity out of law but because it is simply the right thing to do. Bishops are the authority of the Church and as such should love and care for it like Christ did. The laity simply don't feel the love when they are ignored.
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« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2010, 04:49:05 PM »


The bottom line is that we are all to be servant-leaders, clergy and laity alike. I think this is the true Orthodox model for governance.  If the bishops insist on ruling as medieval monarchs, I do not believe that it would salutary for the existence and growth of the Church. Again, the Church is indeed the bishop surrounded by his presbyters, deacons and laity. In matters of governance, too many of us are OK with the Church being only the bishops. And that is indeed sad.

I don't believe bishops ruling as medieval monarchs is the issue. The issue IMHO is of a practical matter of maximizing the interests of the priest, parish, and Church and in some circumstances what to do with a particularly problematic priest or parish.  Including the laity to solve the problem of finding an apropriate priest for their parish makes sense to me. Including the interests of the priest and their family also makes sense.  Bishops should not consult with the laity out of law but because it is simply the right thing to do. Bishops are the authority of the Church and as such should love and care for it like Christ did. The laity simply don't feel the love when they are ignored.

I do not know if we are not saying the same thing in differing ways. What is wrong with revising canon law to reflect what you just said? What is wrong to make it more difficult for the bishops to ignore the priests, deacons and laity, for the priest to ignore the deacons and the laity, and the deacons to ignore the laity?

I was in the military for 26 years and have been in nonprofits and state government for 16 more. A bishop today has far more power and fewer checks than a four star commander-in-chief. No corporation would ever conflate the positions of a President/CEO and the CFO for example. No President of the United States would ever dream of combining his office with those of his secretaries. Such concentration of power and responsibilities would be madness in any other field. So, all I am saying is to get real, use our God-given ability to reason, and our responsibilities as lay persons (conferred on us at our baptism and chrismation) to help our Holy Church.
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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2010, 08:29:27 PM »

I don't believe it is up to us to revise law. Law is revealed by God. The law is already clear. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Just trying to make it easier for our Bishops to fulfill their calling. Not change the order of things.

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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2010, 10:08:18 PM »

I don't believe it is up to us to revise law. Law is revealed by God. The law is already clear. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Just trying to make it easier for our Bishops to fulfill their calling. Not change the order of things.



1. The order of things were changed in the past. Were they untruthful to the deposit of faith then?
2. You cannot equate law of God with Canon rules, which were adopted by the Church to address a particular situation at a particular time.
3. I also want to make it easier for our bishops, priests and deacons to fulfill their calling. I do not want to detract from their charisma as bishops at all.
4. We cannot revise the canons; only a local council of bishops can do that. I am merely proposing that we respectfully approach our church leaders and suggest revising the rules, that's all.
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« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2010, 12:33:13 AM »

It is an interesting dynamic how the parish, monastery, and episcopy interact inorder to prevent any one person or institution from having "control" and thus allowing us all to more fully rely on God's revelation through sobornost. This is certainly something unique to Orthodoxy as there is no balance to the Pope and little to no monasticism in the Protestant churches.

Huh?   Huh  What role do monasteries have with how Priests are assigned in the GOA?

Monasteries provide a sanctuary for lay people against the abuse of clergy.

How does the monastery's role of a sanctuary determine how a Priest is assigned in the GOA?  Disciplining and Assigning Clergy is the Bishop's responsibility.

Lay people can go to them for confession and spiritual guidance at times when the assigned priest to their parish is less than adequate. I once had a priest demand that the parish go only to him for confession as it was his "right".

There is no "right" to listen to confessions.  A Bishop can bless a Priest and/or a Monastic to listen to confessions; however, only the Priest can say prayers of absolution and monastics who have received that blessing from a Bishop, not a Spiritual Father, et al.

He would denigrate monasteries as tourist attractions that sell trinkets and said we should not visit them. He equated the monks to peasants.

Why would the Priest use a pejorative term to describe the monastics?   Huh

Fortunately, the monasteries have maintained such a high reputation that not even a priest can speak ill of them with any credibility.

How do you feel about monasteries having that kind of influence to restrict speech?

I believe monasteries are important to the assignment process of priests because if clergy were to strong arm the laity for their own personal agendas, the monasteries would speak out with an authority and respect much greater than that of the laity.

I thought the purpose of a monastery was to set an example of asceticism rather than exaltation.  By speaking out with authority and respect on topics where the monastery has no canonical basis for action, is a monastery exalted?  Didn't Jesus say that those who exalt themselves will be humbled?

Monasteries are an alternative for spiritual guidance when the parish priest fails. Without monasteries the laity would not have the same tharos to find the true way and speak out against abuses.

The purpose of a monastery is not to "police" or provide "oversight to" the Church; Otherwise, the monastics would have chosen a vocation in law enforcement or social work.

A lay person saying brother I love you but you are wrong is a "renegade". A spiritual elder at a monastery saying the same thing cannot be so easily dismissed; even for a Bishop.

You do realize that the 9 Hierarchs on the GOA were not monastics before their elevation to Episcopacy.  You are aware that some Hierarchs in other Orthodox Jurisdictions were monastics before being elevated to the Episcopacy and had their monastic vows revoked by the action of consecration.  I agree with you that the sayings of a Spiritual Elder deserve respect; However, we also live in the fallen "do as I say not as I do" world.


I should also add our seminaries to the list. It is almost comical to see the same priest mentioned above come to our parish and make some minor changes to the divine liturgy. When asked as to why the previous way had not been questioned for decades even by visiting Bishops (we get a visit about every 5 years) he stated that Holy Cross seminary was wrong in their teaching and only the Ecumenical Patriarch could be the source for the liturgy. True story in the GOA.

What about the Ecumenical Patriarchs who served prior to the current one?  Were they the "only" source for the Divine Liturgy before 1991?
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« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2010, 02:18:36 AM »

mike, your off topic. You should report yourself.  Grin

I suppose you have secrecy of confession in GOA so even if Monks hear in confessions how bad some of your Priests are, they can do nothing with it.
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« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2010, 10:33:26 AM »

I know at least one of the GOA Hierarchs was indeed a monastic.

(YMMV, of course, but there's Bishops who would laugh out loud at being told that they had absolute monarchical power.)
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« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2010, 02:54:40 PM »

What is it this Bishop would like to accomplish which he feels he does not have the authority to do?
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« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2010, 03:02:39 PM »

What is it this Bishop would like to accomplish which he feels he does not have the authority to do?

What Bishop??
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« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2010, 03:55:20 PM »

What is it this Bishop would like to accomplish which he feels he does not have the authority to do?

What Bishop??

I know at least one of the GOA Hierarchs was indeed a monastic.

(YMMV, of course, but there's Bishops who would laugh out loud at being told that they had absolute monarchical power.)

the one katherineofdixie says laughs out loud
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« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2010, 04:29:23 PM »

What is it this Bishop would like to accomplish which he feels he does not have the authority to do?

What Bishop??

I know at least one of the GOA Hierarchs was indeed a monastic.

(YMMV, of course, but there's Bishops who would laugh out loud at being told that they had absolute monarchical power.)

the one katherineofdixie says laughs out loud

I'm not sure she meant one hierarch in particular, but I read her statement as more of a general one. Could be wrong though.

In any case, there are plenty of hierarchs and clergy who, rightly or wrongly, don't have as much power as is sometimes claimed.
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« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2010, 06:39:32 PM »


The bottom line is that we are all to be servant-leaders, clergy and laity alike. I think this is the true Orthodox model for governance.  If the bishops insist on ruling as medieval monarchs, I do not believe that it would salutary for the existence and growth of the Church. Again, the Church is indeed the bishop surrounded by his presbyters, deacons and laity. In matters of governance, too many of us are OK with the Church being only the bishops. And that is indeed sad.

I don't believe bishops ruling as medieval monarchs is the issue. The issue IMHO is of a practical matter of maximizing the interests of the priest, parish, and Church and in some circumstances what to do with a particularly problematic priest or parish.  Including the laity to solve the problem of finding an apropriate priest for their parish makes sense to me. Including the interests of the priest and their family also makes sense.  Bishops should not consult with the laity out of law but because it is simply the right thing to do. Bishops are the authority of the Church and as such should love and care for it like Christ did. The laity simply don't feel the love when they are ignored.

I do not know if we are not saying the same thing in differing ways. What is wrong with revising canon law to reflect what you just said? What is wrong to make it more difficult for the bishops to ignore the priests, deacons and laity, for the priest to ignore the deacons and the laity, and the deacons to ignore the laity?

I was in the military for 26 years and have been in nonprofits and state government for 16 more. A bishop today has far more power and fewer checks than a four star commander-in-chief. No corporation would ever conflate the positions of a President/CEO and the CFO for example. No President of the United States would ever dream of combining his office with those of his secretaries. Such concentration of power and responsibilities would be madness in any other field. So, all I am saying is to get real, use our God-given ability to reason, and our responsibilities as lay persons (conferred on us at our baptism and chrismation) to help our Holy Church.

Unfortunately it's not as neatly explainable as you have made it be.  I agree with you in principle that administrative things should be separated from spiritual shepherding, but how this happens is critical because bishops are shepherding and coordinating up to 70 parishes at one time! 

Anyway, my real problem with what you said was that you somehow think that what bishops do happens in a vacuum. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not the case.  If a bishop makes a move or does something, we still live in an age of instant communication and YouTube.  There is also the Synod within the US as well as the patriarchal synod (in the goa at least) which keeps all these things in check. 

Also, your analogy has many other flaws including the fact that a commander of a battalion can send people to their death.  A bishop doesn't really have that kind of power. 
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« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2010, 07:33:17 PM »

Unfortunately it's not as neatly explainable as you have made it be.  I agree with you in principle that administrative things should be separated from spiritual shepherding, but how this happens is critical because bishops are shepherding and coordinating up to 70 parishes at one time! 

Anyway, my real problem with what you said was that you somehow think that what bishops do happens in a vacuum. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not the case.  If a bishop makes a move or does something, we still live in an age of instant communication and YouTube.  There is also the Synod within the US as well as the patriarchal synod (in the goa at least) which keeps all these things in check. 

Also, your analogy has many other flaws including the fact that a commander of a battalion can send people to their death.  A bishop doesn't really have that kind of power. 

Everyone agrees that one Metropolitan used that power in 1821 by raising the "Liberty or Death" flag.

The same power, "Orthodoxy or Death", is exercised by monasteries as they struggle against the "evils" of the "fallen world."
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« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2010, 09:20:27 PM »

I think the issue at hand for this topic is a lack of communication. Bishops not consulting with parishes in assigning priests. Thus the results of the survey.

In regards to their power, all things are possible with God and faith. The problem is when people have a personal agenda. How can the Church step in and make corrections?

I seriously doubt the Synod would step in to question a Bishop's decision for assigning a priest to a particular parish. In these mundane issues which are very important to the people effected, who steps in to help the Bishop accomplish God's will?

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« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2010, 11:55:07 PM »

Who steps in for the Monastery to help accomplish God's will?  Dart's argument is that the Monastery ought to oversee Bishops and have a role in assigning Priests to Parishes.  The only wrinkle in Dart's argument is to ask who oversaw the Apostles when they went forth on their Great Commission before the presence of Monasteries?
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« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2010, 11:58:28 PM »

Who steps in for the Monastery to help accomplish God's will?  Dart's argument is that the Monastery ought to oversee Bishops and have a role in assigning Priests to Parishes.  The only wrinkle in Dart's argument is to ask who oversaw the Apostles when they went forth on their Great Commission before the presence of Monasteries?
Is that really what Dart is saying, or is that merely how you read Dart?
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« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2010, 12:02:44 AM »

Who steps in for the Monastery to help accomplish God's will?  Dart's argument is that the Monastery ought to oversee Bishops and have a role in assigning Priests to Parishes.  The only wrinkle in Dart's argument is to ask who oversaw the Apostles when they went forth on their Great Commission before the presence of Monasteries?
Is that really what Dart is saying, or is that merely how you read Dart?

Both, based on what Dart said in Reply #20 when the term monastery was introduced.  I took the ball and ran with it.   Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2010, 12:23:20 AM »

Who steps in for the Monastery to help accomplish God's will?  Dart's argument is that the Monastery ought to oversee Bishops and have a role in assigning Priests to Parishes.  The only wrinkle in Dart's argument is to ask who oversaw the Apostles when they went forth on their Great Commission before the presence of Monasteries?
Is that really what Dart is saying, or is that merely how you read Dart?

Both, based on what Dart said in Reply #20 when the term monastery was introduced.  I took the ball and ran with it.   Smiley
I don't think it's both.  Then again, maybe Dart will return to this thread and tell you what he REALLY meant to say. Wink
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« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2010, 12:35:25 AM »

Is that really what Dart is saying, or is that merely how you read Dart?

Both, based on what Dart said in Reply #20 when the term monastery was introduced.  I took the ball and ran with it.   Smiley
I don't think it's both.  Then again, maybe Dart will return to this thread and tell you what he REALLY meant to say. Wink

Let's hope that Dart darts in and clarifies his POV (pun intended).   Wink
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« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2010, 05:41:59 AM »

Who steps in for the Monastery to help accomplish God's will?  Dart's argument is that the Monastery ought to oversee Bishops and have a role in assigning Priests to Parishes.  The only wrinkle in Dart's argument is to ask who oversaw the Apostles when they went forth on their Great Commission before the presence of Monasteries?
Is that really what Dart is saying, or is that merely how you read Dart?

My argument is that we are all part of the Church and should work together. Bishops cry Protestant revolution against the laity and the laity call out against the rising of an Orthodox Pope. I just found it interesting that Orthodox monastacism may have played an important role in keeping the true faith. I don't think monks oversee Bishops as you suggest. Rather they serve as an example.
     "Spiritual work on ourselves is actually a silent work on our fellow human beings; it is work that instructs by example and causes others to imitate the good behavior they see in us and correct their faults."

I have heard it said before that "the road of hell is paved with the skulls of priests and bishops are the lamposts." This is a sad image to me. I would rather see our Bishops glorified has Saints. If you share this goal with me, then can you suggest how we can help them when human weakness his prevailing.

Brother I love you but you are wrong... doesn't seem to be working as well as when Paul spoke to Peter. (2 Galations 11)
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« Reply #46 on: August 18, 2010, 05:45:53 AM »

In case you don't recall, Paul was not one of the 12 called apostles. He was laity. Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: August 18, 2010, 06:04:01 AM »

In case you don't recall, Paul was not one of the 12 called apostles. He was laity. Smiley

Paul wasn't an Apostle?
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« Reply #48 on: August 18, 2010, 07:02:15 AM »

My argument is that we are all part of the Church and should work together. Bishops cry Protestant revolution against the laity and the laity call out against the rising of an Orthodox Pope.

Has confidence been lost in the Church's "self-correcting" mechanism through the actions of the Holy Spirit?

I just found it interesting that Orthodox monastacism may have played an important role in keeping the true faith. I don't think monks oversee Bishops as you suggest.

There was never any suggestion that a monk oversee a Bishop.  What I question is your assertion that the monastery should have a role in the assignment of Priests because the laity complains about Priests when visiting the monastery.  If a monastic community yields to Hierarchical oversight and then openly questions the decisions that a Hierarch makes, that is like my child first rebuking me and then openly defying me.  How can I be a father if my child has decided that my authority means nothing?  I still love my child even though I'm saddened that my parental authority is no longer respected except that I wouldn't engage in public dispute against my own child....

Rather they serve as an example.
     "Spiritual work on ourselves is actually a silent work on our fellow human beings; it is work that instructs by example and causes others to imitate the good behavior they see in us and correct their faults."

I have heard it said before that "the road of hell is paved with the skulls of priests and bishops are the lamposts." This is a sad image to me. I would rather see our Bishops glorified has Saints. If you share this goal with me, then can you suggest how we can help them when human weakness his prevailing.

Show love.  The Lord instructed us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us.  Paul also said to obey civil law unless civil law greatly opposes God's authority.

Brother I love you but you are wrong... doesn't seem to be working as well as when Paul spoke to Peter. (2 Galations 11)

Thank you for respectfully disagreeing with the views others have made and clarifying your own views for meaningful discussion.   Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: August 18, 2010, 09:16:16 AM »

I think the issue at hand for this topic is a lack of communication. Bishops not consulting with parishes in assigning priests.

Naturally, I can't speak for all, or even a majority of priests or bishops, but I have personal knowledge that is not true. Bishops consult priests about assignments and priests decline or accept.
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« Reply #50 on: August 18, 2010, 11:09:20 AM »

I think the issue at hand for this topic is a lack of communication. Bishops not consulting with parishes in assigning priests.

Naturally, I can't speak for all, or even a majority of priests or bishops, but I have personal knowledge that is not true. Bishops consult priests about assignments and priests decline or accept.

Katherine, you are making a god point as usual. The problem, however, is not how individual bishops act but what is the governance structure in which they operate. It is perfectly possible (and this happens often) for a bishop not to exercise the powers available to him. Right now, our governance is so tilted toward monarchical episcopacy that you can have a bishop take full advantage of his powers and make life miserable for his people--clergy and laity alike. I'll just give you two examples and I'll restrict them to the OCA: Metropolitan Herman and Bishop Nikolai.
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« Reply #51 on: August 18, 2010, 11:33:28 AM »

I think the issue at hand for this topic is a lack of communication. Bishops not consulting with parishes in assigning priests.

I've been privy to the assignment process in about fifteen cases in the GOA -- mostly in one Metropolis, but still including two examples each in three other Metropolises -- and I can't think of a single one where a priest was assigned without the parish being consulted.

Consultation ranged from cases where the bishop sent three different priests to the parish over a six-month-long period (and the parish worshiped with each at least once, sometimes three times, and the parish council met each priest and his family, and then made a request) to a phone call, in which the bishop shared the news that he had finally found a celibate priest who would accept the low salary the parish was able to supply. No "screening" process necessary (or possible) in that case for obvious reasons.

I imagine some bishops are better at facilitating this process than others. However, in all cases, it's never as simple as "consulting" an individual parish and finding the best match for that parish alone. That's critical to understand. The bishop must also consider what is best for (a) the priest, (b) the priest's family, and (c) the diocese as whole. The needs of the parish are on equal footing with all three of those other factors.

In many cases, the members of the parish are ignorant of these other realities. They may want a certain young priest to be the new assistant since he's great with youth, but what they don't know is that their current senior priest is having marital problems and therefore not in a position right now to be a good mentor. The bishop, however, recognizes this and needs to make an assignment that will benefit the formation of the young clergyman, as well as the youth ministry at the parish.

Or a fairly large parish isn't thrilled with its current priest any more and has its eye on a 40-year-old priest who is currently serving a smaller parish in a nearby town. "There's a young priest coming out of seminary who can take that small parish, so why not give the 40-year-old priest a promotion and assign him here?" they say. But the bishop isn't sure the young priest is ready to be solo -- he probably needs to spend time as an assistant somewhere -- and where will the bishop re-assign the current priest, whose kid is starting her senior year in high school and whose wife just got a promotion at work? If the bishop is going to uproot this priestly family under such circumstances, it better be (a) for the right pastoral and spiritual reasons and (b) to a parish that will at least offer enough for the family to pay for the daughter's upcoming college bills (with mom now unemployed). Fortunately, there is another large parish whose current priest wants to retire as soon as possible, BUT it just so happens that this parish is also requesting the 40-year-old priest, AND this parish is in the hometown of the 40-year-old priest's presvytera. She's a convert who came to the Church after leaving for college, so this isn't her home parish, but her parents still live in town and that would help a lot with the family's four young kids. Finally, there's a third parish in the midst of a crisis and the priest there needs to be reassigned (or maybe even deposed). So, in this situation, the bishop has to orchestrate multiple assignments at once, balancing the needs and attending to the pastoral issues of several different parishes, several different priests, and several clergy families in unique situations. That's the bigger picture, in which the needs of any given parish are just one part.

And that's to say nothing of the parishes that are full of factions, or think they're the greatest thing since canned beer and therefore deserve to choose their own priest, but who, in reality, eat priests up and spit them out. Or, on the other end of spectrum, a parish that has had the same pastor for thirty years. Experience and research show that it takes a particular sort of pastor to lead a congregation in that situation, and, in the majority of cases, the new pastor will not last long. Parishes in this situation (a) rarely know what skills and background they should look for in a transitional pastor and (b) they're more likely than not to think they're a great place to assign someone for the long term (after all, we just had a 30 year pastorate, so that's the kind of place we are!), but the bishop knows otherwise and has to therefore restrict the field to priests who can accept (and have a chance at thriving in) that sort of ministry.

In short, there's a reason the bishop is the archpastor. Perhaps not every bishop is as good of a pastor as he should be and doesn't always take into account all four of the factors discussed above. But that's his personal failing (or maybe just the reality of the compromise needed in a complex situation), not an indictment of the archpastoral office itself, which, after all, is a charisma from the Lord.
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« Reply #52 on: August 18, 2010, 12:09:38 PM »

I should also add our seminaries to the list. It is almost comical to see the same priest mentioned above come to our parish and make some minor changes to the divine liturgy. When asked as to why the previous way had not been questioned for decades even by visiting Bishops (we get a visit about every 5 years) he stated that Holy Cross seminary was wrong in their teaching and only the Ecumenical Patriarch could be the source for the liturgy. True story in the GOA. 

Well, the Holy Cross Press Divine Liturgy book takes a few liberties in its translations, is missing litanies and prayers, etc.  He's not the only person who would like to see that book changed.
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« Reply #53 on: August 18, 2010, 12:26:46 PM »

I should also add our seminaries to the list. It is almost comical to see the same priest mentioned above come to our parish and make some minor changes to the divine liturgy. When asked as to why the previous way had not been questioned for decades even by visiting Bishops (we get a visit about every 5 years) he stated that Holy Cross seminary was wrong in their teaching and only the Ecumenical Patriarch could be the source for the liturgy. True story in the GOA. 

Well, the Holy Cross Press Divine Liturgy book takes a few liberties in its translations, is missing litanies and prayers, etc.  He's not the only person who would like to see that book changed.

I agree with Fr. George. In reality, such changes may actually better reflect the current teaching/practice of the seminary and the bishops. For many years, the liturgical sources themselves were hard to come by and many GOA priests were more likely to have something printed by Apostoliki Diakonia than by the Patriarchate. Books like the HC Divine Liturgy necessarily entailed editorial decisions. At the time, that was a welcome development, since it was largely correct and very convenient. Nowadays, however, it is very easy to access the Emerologion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate -- or even the Typikon itself. So, that's what many bishops, priests, professors, seminarians, and chanters do. That's a change that has happened more because of technology than anything else.
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« Reply #54 on: August 18, 2010, 01:26:47 PM »


I've been privy to the assignment process in about fifteen cases in the GOA -- mostly in one Metropolis, but still including two examples each in three other Metropolises -- and I can't think of a single one where a priest was assigned without the parish being consulted.

Consultation ranged from cases where the bishop sent three different priests to the parish over a six-month-long period (and the parish worshiped with each at least once, sometimes three times, and the parish council met each priest and his family, and then made a request) to a phone call, in which the bishop shared the news that he had finally found a celibate priest who would accept the low salary the parish was able to supply. No "screening" process necessary (or possible) in that case for obvious reasons.

I imagine some bishops are better at facilitating this process than others. However, in all cases, it's never as simple as "consulting" an individual parish and finding the best match for that parish alone. That's critical to understand. The bishop must also consider what is best for (a) the priest, (b) the priest's family, and (c) the diocese as whole. The needs of the parish are on equal footing with all three of those other factors.

In many cases, the members of the parish are ignorant of these other realities. They may want a certain young priest to be the new assistant since he's great with youth, but what they don't know is that their current senior priest is having marital problems and therefore not in a position right now to be a good mentor. The bishop, however, recognizes this and needs to make an assignment that will benefit the formation of the young clergyman, as well as the youth ministry at the parish.

Or a fairly large parish isn't thrilled with its current priest any more and has its eye on a 40-year-old priest who is currently serving a smaller parish in a nearby town. "There's a young priest coming out of seminary who can take that small parish, so why not give the 40-year-old priest a promotion and assign him here?" they say. But the bishop isn't sure the young priest is ready to be solo -- he probably needs to spend time as an assistant somewhere -- and where will the bishop re-assign the current priest, whose kid is starting her senior year in high school and whose wife just got a promotion at work? If the bishop is going to uproot this priestly family under such circumstances, it better be (a) for the right pastoral and spiritual reasons and (b) to a parish that will at least offer enough for the family to pay for the daughter's upcoming college bills (with mom now unemployed). Fortunately, there is another large parish whose current priest wants to retire as soon as possible, BUT it just so happens that this parish is also requesting the 40-year-old priest, AND this parish is in the hometown of the 40-year-old priest's presvytera. She's a convert who came to the Church after leaving for college, so this isn't her home parish, but her parents still live in town and that would help a lot with the family's four young kids. Finally, there's a third parish in the midst of a crisis and the priest there needs to be reassigned (or maybe even deposed). So, in this situation, the bishop has to orchestrate multiple assignments at once, balancing the needs and attending to the pastoral issues of several different parishes, several different priests, and several clergy families in unique situations. That's the bigger picture, in which the needs of any given parish are just one part.

And that's to say nothing of the parishes that are full of factions, or think they're the greatest thing since canned beer and therefore deserve to choose their own priest, but who, in reality, eat priests up and spit them out. Or, on the other end of spectrum, a parish that has had the same pastor for thirty years. Experience and research show that it takes a particular sort of pastor to lead a congregation in that situation, and, in the majority of cases, the new pastor will not last long. Parishes in this situation (a) rarely know what skills and background they should look for in a transitional pastor and (b) they're more likely than not to think they're a great place to assign someone for the long term (after all, we just had a 30 year pastorate, so that's the kind of place we are!), but the bishop knows otherwise and has to therefore restrict the field to priests who can accept (and have a chance at thriving in) that sort of ministry.

In short, there's a reason the bishop is the archpastor. Perhaps not every bishop is as good of a pastor as he should be and doesn't always take into account all four of the factors discussed above. But that's his personal failing (or maybe just the reality of the compromise needed in a complex situation), not an indictment of the archpastoral office itself, which, after all, is a charisma from the Lord.

Excellent. Well said, sir!
The bishop has information or knowledge to assist him in his decision-making which is not appropriate for him to share or discuss with parish members or anyone else. Not necessarily discreditable information - just simply confidential or private information which is none of anyone else's business.
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« Reply #55 on: August 18, 2010, 02:31:53 PM »


The bishop has information or knowledge to assist him in his decision-making which is not appropriate for him to share or discuss with parish members or anyone else. Not necessarily discreditable information - just simply confidential or private information which is none of anyone else's business.

This is when a trusted individual, Archon, parish president, pillar of the community, retired clergy, etc, is taken aside and told, "This is a sensitive matter. Everything possible has been done. Please reassure your community." And then this trusted individual speaks to the community and says, "We have been consulted and the situation is being dealt with appropriately." Everyone is happy.

I believe the reason the survey showed 47% of the parish and 18% of the clergy desiring a different system is that this is not always the course of action of the bishop.

Yes, the situation could be complex. All the more reason to get help from experts within the laity. We deal with much more complex issues involving many more people, resources, time pressures, and classified information. The fact that you claim complexity for a reoccuring management decision is evidence that bishops do not have the managerial training and experience to handle these secular decisions without input from the laity. Bishops routinely call in lawyers to review contracts. Why not call in experts from the laity to design best practices in other areas also. Does the Bishop program the web page too?

I am also sure you know of situations when the bishop beats his chest and says I'll show that parish who the BOSS is and does not make the best decision for the spiritual welfare of his people.

Show love.  The Lord instructed us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us.  Paul also said to obey civil law unless civil law greatly opposes God's authority.


This seems to be the present situation. Anecdotal and survey information is available describing how parishes are NOT being consulted like they were in the past. The laity are not cutting off funds, locking up churches, or planning schism but rather suffering in relative silence. Get off the throne and "come and see" what is happening in your Church. Don't simply rely on a semi-annual report from your clergy.

Edited for tags - mike.
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« Reply #56 on: August 18, 2010, 02:43:33 PM »

I should also add our seminaries to the list. It is almost comical to see the same priest mentioned above come to our parish and make some minor changes to the divine liturgy. When asked as to why the previous way had not been questioned for decades even by visiting Bishops (we get a visit about every 5 years) he stated that Holy Cross seminary was wrong in their teaching and only the Ecumenical Patriarch could be the source for the liturgy. True story in the GOA. 

Well, the Holy Cross Press Divine Liturgy book takes a few liberties in its translations, is missing litanies and prayers, etc.  He's not the only person who would like to see that book changed.

There is more to this story. Maybe the conversation on the Divine Liturgy, local customs, and authority for changing it can be moved to another thread.
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« Reply #57 on: August 18, 2010, 03:14:57 PM »

This is when a trusted individual, Archon, parish president, pillar of the community, retired clergy, etc, is taken aside and told, "This is a sensitive matter. Everything possible has been done. Please reassure your community." And then this trusted individual speaks to the community and says, "We have been consulted and the situation is being dealt with appropriately." Everyone is happy.
I'm sorry, but I laughed out loud when I read this. I have actually seen this happen on more than one occasion. But the result was not universal happiness on the part of the parish community. As a matter of fact, it cut no ice with them at all!

Quote
Yes, the situation could be complex. All the more reason to get help from experts within the laity. We deal with much more complex issues involving many more people, resources, time pressures, and classified information. The fact that you claim complexity for a reoccuring management decision is evidence that bishops do not have the managerial training and experience to handle these secular decisions without input from the laity. Bishops routinely call in lawyers to review contracts. Why not call in experts from the laity to design best practices in other areas also. Does the Bishop program the web page too?
Except this is not a secular decision.


Quote
The laity are not cutting off funds, locking up churches, or planning schism but rather suffering in relative silence.
Sorry, I'm laughing again. The laity are in fact doing at least two of the three above, and are not at all suffering in relative silence but are very vocal in their complaints.

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« Reply #58 on: August 18, 2010, 03:15:29 PM »

in reference to SolEX01,

Yes there is always that awkward moment when the child has surpassed the father and come into their own manhood. With regard to monastics and Heiarchs, the "child" monks have done this many times. Maybe the most obvious occurs every Sunday in church when the Typikon developed by monastics is used. Let's not discuss how important the Bishops authority is anymore but rather appreciate the contributions of the whole Church including monastics and laity.
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« Reply #59 on: August 18, 2010, 03:17:03 PM »

This is when a trusted individual, Archon, parish president, pillar of the community, retired clergy, etc, is taken aside and told, "This is a sensitive matter. Everything possible has been done. Please reassure your community." And then this trusted individual speaks to the community and says, "We have been consulted and the situation is being dealt with appropriately." Everyone is happy.
I'm sorry, but I laughed out loud when I read this. I have actually seen this happen on more than one occasion. But the result was not universal happiness on the part of the parish community. As a matter of fact, it cut no ice with them at all!

Quote
Yes, the situation could be complex. All the more reason to get help from experts within the laity. We deal with much more complex issues involving many more people, resources, time pressures, and classified information. The fact that you claim complexity for a reoccuring management decision is evidence that bishops do not have the managerial training and experience to handle these secular decisions without input from the laity. Bishops routinely call in lawyers to review contracts. Why not call in experts from the laity to design best practices in other areas also. Does the Bishop program the web page too?
Except this is not a secular decision.


Quote
The laity are not cutting off funds, locking up churches, or planning schism but rather suffering in relative silence.
Sorry, I'm laughing again. The laity are in fact doing at least two of the three above, and are not at all suffering in relative silence but are very vocal in their complaints.



Are you speaking in generalities again. Or do you have any specific examples to offer.
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« Reply #60 on: August 18, 2010, 03:26:18 PM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?

 In the Orthodox model, the congregation does not own or run the individual parish or church. The property is the property of the bishop. The clergy are the extension of the bishop. The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve.


Actually I don't know that I agree about this being the case in practice. The church property actually does belong to the people. The land and the building belong to the people, the liturgical items do not (e.g. gospel book, chalice, atimens, etc) but the vast majority of the rest belongs to the people. The parish council in the vast majority of cases do indeed run the every day affairs of the parish as they apply to the secular running of a business. As such I believe the better way to handle a parish is to leave the liturgical parts to the clergy (and by extension bishop) and leave the secular parts to the Parish Council (e.g paying the heating bill and negotiating salary contracts with church employees).

My question is, what do you do if a bishop assigns a priest to a parish and the parish refuses to pay the priest?

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« Reply #61 on: August 18, 2010, 03:29:16 PM »

Quote
Quote
The laity are not cutting off funds, locking up churches, or planning schism but rather suffering in relative silence.
Sorry, I'm laughing again. The laity are in fact doing at least two of the three above, and are not at all suffering in relative silence but are very vocal in their complaints.



Are you speaking in generalities again. Or do you have any specific examples to offer.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21467.0.html
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« Reply #62 on: August 18, 2010, 03:47:12 PM »

Quote
Quote
The laity are not cutting off funds, locking up churches, or planning schism but rather suffering in relative silence.
Sorry, I'm laughing again. The laity are in fact doing at least two of the three above, and are not at all suffering in relative silence but are very vocal in their complaints.



Are you speaking in generalities again. Or do you have any specific examples to offer.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21467.0.html


 Shocked WOW  Shocked situation has degraded to a crisis in some of the other jurisdictions. I am thankful we still try to work out our differences amicably in the GOA. Maybe this has something to do with the GOA's general reluctance to merge with the other jurisdictions.
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« Reply #63 on: August 18, 2010, 03:49:13 PM »

It is not an isolate accident. Such things happen everywhere. I suppose, in GOA too.
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« Reply #64 on: August 18, 2010, 03:59:09 PM »

Quote
Quote
The laity are not cutting off funds, locking up churches, or planning schism but rather suffering in relative silence.
Sorry, I'm laughing again. The laity are in fact doing at least two of the three above, and are not at all suffering in relative silence but are very vocal in their complaints.



Are you speaking in generalities again. Or do you have any specific examples to offer.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21467.0.html


I am thankful we still try to work out our differences amicably in the GOA. Maybe this has something to do with the GOA's general reluctance to merge with the other jurisdictions.
I was actually referring to GOA.
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« Reply #65 on: August 18, 2010, 04:14:00 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.
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« Reply #66 on: August 18, 2010, 04:30:29 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?
Don't assume the worst in any given situation - give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't act like jerks.
Try, as much as humanly possible, to eschew personal agendas (or at least be aware of them!), and make it a priority to try to work with each other towards a common goal.
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« Reply #67 on: August 18, 2010, 06:39:16 PM »

Unfortunately it's not as neatly explainable as you have made it be.  I agree with you in principle that administrative things should be separated from spiritual shepherding, but how this happens is critical because bishops are shepherding and coordinating up to 70 parishes at one time! 

Anyway, my real problem with what you said was that you somehow think that what bishops do happens in a vacuum. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not the case.  If a bishop makes a move or does something, we still live in an age of instant communication and YouTube.  There is also the Synod within the US as well as the patriarchal synod (in the goa at least) which keeps all these things in check. 

Also, your analogy has many other flaws including the fact that a commander of a battalion can send people to their death.  A bishop doesn't really have that kind of power. 

Everyone agrees that one Metropolitan used that power in 1821 by raising the "Liberty or Death" flag.

The same power, "Orthodoxy or Death", is exercised by monasteries as they struggle against the "evils" of the "fallen world."

I'm sorry, i'm just not understanding the point of what you are driving at.  Are you saying that these are examples of how we DO clamor for death?  Or that there is a spiritual element involved in revolution?  I'm sorry...you lost me. 
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« Reply #68 on: August 18, 2010, 06:47:15 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?
Don't assume the worst in any given situation - give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't act like jerks.
Try, as much as humanly possible, to eschew personal agendas (or at least be aware of them!), and make it a priority to try to work with each other towards a common goal.

Katherine--I have been accused of being a "glass is half full" type of person all of my life. I go out of my way to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, when the OCA problems hit the fan, I actually read the OCA statutes and many Canons to figure out if the problem was personal or structural. It turns out that the problems occurred because some bad actors were promoted to positions of authority, well within the bounds of church governance as expressed in the canons and the OCA Statutes. These bad actors may have been in the minority (I actually believe it to be so) but our governance structure seems to have prevented many of the hierarchs from doing something about the irregularities, while the same structure allowed the bad guys to get away with things. Improving the structure has nothing to do with punishing the clergy, elevating the laity or denigrating the goodness of our bishops. Such an structural improvement will simply reestablish some checks on the hierarchy if they go bad. If they remain true to the charisma given to them at their ordination, there would be no problem, no? Some folks may think that such a step would be an insult on our bishops. Well if you read the canons you will find many instances of "if a bishop, priest, deacon or lay person does this, then the consequence will be x, y or z." I do agree with Pensateomnia and your enthusiastic endorsement of his description of what a good bishop does regarding clergy assignments. I am not talking about this sort of situation; I am talking about revising the governance rules (statutes or canons) so that they truly serve our Church in this country in this year of 2010, as the OCA statutes are an insult on one's intelligence, a fraud perpetrated under the pretense of sobornost.
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« Reply #69 on: August 18, 2010, 06:49:24 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?
Don't assume the worst in any given situation - give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't act like jerks.
Try, as much as humanly possible, to eschew personal agendas (or at least be aware of them!), and make it a priority to try to work with each other towards a common goal.

So do you now agree that the Bishop should work together with the parish in assigning priests or are you still of the mindset that the laity should be excluded?
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« Reply #70 on: August 18, 2010, 06:51:41 PM »


The bishop has information or knowledge to assist him in his decision-making which is not appropriate for him to share or discuss with parish members or anyone else. Not necessarily discreditable information - just simply confidential or private information which is none of anyone else's business.

This is when a trusted individual, Archon, parish president, pillar of the community, retired clergy, etc, is taken aside and told, "This is a sensitive matter. Everything possible has been done. Please reassure your community." And then this trusted individual speaks to the community and says, "We have been consulted and the situation is being dealt with appropriately." Everyone is happy.

I believe the reason the survey showed 47% of the parish and 18% of the clergy desiring a different system is that this is not always the course of action of the bishop.

Yes, the situation could be complex. All the more reason to get help from experts within the laity. We deal with much more complex issues involving many more people, resources, time pressures, and classified information. The fact that you claim complexity for a reoccuring management decision is evidence that bishops do not have the managerial training and experience to handle these secular decisions without input from the laity. Bishops routinely call in lawyers to review contracts. Why not call in experts from the laity to design best practices in other areas also. Does the Bishop program the web page too?

I am also sure you know of situations when the bishop beats his chest and says I'll show that parish who the BOSS is and does not make the best decision for the spiritual welfare of his people.

Show love.  The Lord instructed us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us.  Paul also said to obey civil law unless civil law greatly opposes God's authority.


This seems to be the present situation. Anecdotal and survey information is available describing how parishes are NOT being consulted like they were in the past. The laity are not cutting off funds, locking up churches, or planning schism but rather suffering in relative silence. Get off the throne and "come and see" what is happening in your Church. Don't simply rely on a semi-annual report from your clergy.

Edited for tags - mike.

The only response I have to all of this is that I think it is a big problem having non-ordained people deal with such complicated issues.  No person who has never been a priest can ever really understand what it means to have someone's soul in the palm of your hand.  (I got that expression from another priest...just so y'all don't think that one's mine..lol). 

Honestly, i've seen it first hand when lay people try to dip their hand into "pastoral care" and there's always something missing.  In my mind, there's no two ways about it. 
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« Reply #71 on: August 18, 2010, 06:52:13 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp. 
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« Reply #72 on: August 18, 2010, 08:19:42 PM »

Mathew 23
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« Reply #73 on: August 18, 2010, 10:47:33 PM »

Unfortunately it's not as neatly explainable as you have made it be.  I agree with you in principle that administrative things should be separated from spiritual shepherding, but how this happens is critical because bishops are shepherding and coordinating up to 70 parishes at one time!  

Anyway, my real problem with what you said was that you somehow think that what bishops do happens in a vacuum. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not the case.  If a bishop makes a move or does something, we still live in an age of instant communication and YouTube.  There is also the Synod within the US as well as the patriarchal synod (in the goa at least) which keeps all these things in check.  

Also, your analogy has many other flaws including the fact that a commander of a battalion can send people to their death.  A bishop doesn't really have that kind of power.  

Everyone agrees that one Metropolitan used that power in 1821 by raising the "Liberty or Death" flag.

The same power, "Orthodoxy or Death", is exercised by monasteries as they struggle against the "evils" of the "fallen world."

I'm sorry, i'm just not understanding the point of what you are driving at.  Are you saying that these are examples of how we DO clamor for death?  Or that there is a spiritual element involved in revolution?  I'm sorry...you lost me.  

I'm sorry that you don't understand.  Let me clarify.   Smiley

You said that a Bishop doesn't have the same power as a military commander to send people to their death.

When Bishop Germanos raised the "Liberty or Death" flag on March 25, 1821, He implicitly sent people to their death via War for Greek Independence.

So, when monasteries raise the "Orthodoxy or Death" flag, they forcibly declare their beliefs as Bishop Germanos did, without bloodshed or declarations of physical war; However, the monasteries have declared an ideological war and I'm not sure if ascetics are allowed to declare war on entities that have no bearing on their ascetic practices.  Isn't asceticism a war against one's own passions in the first place?  Is it proper for monastics to publicly interfere in areas that run counter to ascetic practices?

Make sense?   Huh

Edited for clarity and content.
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« Reply #74 on: August 19, 2010, 09:58:11 AM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?
Don't assume the worst in any given situation - give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't act like jerks.
Try, as much as humanly possible, to eschew personal agendas (or at least be aware of them!), and make it a priority to try to work with each other towards a common goal.

So do you now agree that the Bishop should work together with the parish in assigning priests or are you still of the mindset that the laity should be excluded?

As I've said before, I don't know if this is true for all bishops, but I do have personal knowledge of bishops consulting with parishes and listening to them before assigning a priest. Perhaps the bishop did not ask them, "On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate Fr. X?" or "Do you like Fr. Y better?" but the parish's needs and complaints were certainly part of the process.
I also have personal knowledge of parishes vilifying bishops, both publically and privately, and imputing all sorts of base motives in the assignment of priests.
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« Reply #75 on: August 19, 2010, 10:38:19 AM »

Mathew 23

John 17
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« Reply #76 on: August 19, 2010, 10:44:01 AM »

Mathew 23

Luke 10:19  Behold, I give you the authority over all the power of the enemy.
John  17:22  I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are. I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one.
2 Corinthians  1:22 He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Dear Father Deacon--Did you really mean to include Luke 10:19 in the context for the authority of a bishop vis-a-vis his people?  Wink
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« Reply #77 on: August 19, 2010, 10:48:48 AM »

Unfortunately it's not as neatly explainable as you have made it be.  I agree with you in principle that administrative things should be separated from spiritual shepherding, but how this happens is critical because bishops are shepherding and coordinating up to 70 parishes at one time!  

Anyway, my real problem with what you said was that you somehow think that what bishops do happens in a vacuum. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not the case.  If a bishop makes a move or does something, we still live in an age of instant communication and YouTube.  There is also the Synod within the US as well as the patriarchal synod (in the goa at least) which keeps all these things in check.  

Also, your analogy has many other flaws including the fact that a commander of a battalion can send people to their death.  A bishop doesn't really have that kind of power.  

Everyone agrees that one Metropolitan used that power in 1821 by raising the "Liberty or Death" flag.

The same power, "Orthodoxy or Death", is exercised by monasteries as they struggle against the "evils" of the "fallen world."

I'm sorry, i'm just not understanding the point of what you are driving at.  Are you saying that these are examples of how we DO clamor for death?  Or that there is a spiritual element involved in revolution?  I'm sorry...you lost me.  

I'm sorry that you don't understand.  Let me clarify.   Smiley

You said that a Bishop doesn't have the same power as a military commander to send people to their death.

When Bishop Germanos raised the "Liberty or Death" flag on March 25, 1821, He implicitly sent people to their death via War for Greek Independence.

So, when monasteries raise the "Orthodoxy or Death" flag, they forcibly declare their beliefs as Bishop Germanos did, without bloodshed or declarations of physical war; However, the monasteries have declared an ideological war and I'm not sure if ascetics are allowed to declare war on entities that have no bearing on their ascetic practices.  Isn't asceticism a war against one's own passions in the first place?  Is it proper for monastics to publicly interfere in areas that run counter to ascetic practices?

Make sense?   Huh

Edited for clarity and content.

That definitely makes MORE sense, but I still think you're comparing apples to oranges.  

What you said above I would compare to making the argument that the generals in the Pentegon talk about the order, but they are not the ones who directly send the men into battle (like their immediate commanders do).  However, you still run into the same problem = they order their men to death. they are directly responsible for putting them into that danger.  

This is completely different than fighting for the liberty of your country and especially in the case of Germanos, your church/your God.

Anyway, I feel like i'm not really making my point, so maybe i'll take it a different avenue.  

When a priest is reprimanded for something he has the option of appealing to the local metropolis' spiritual court, which is comprised of several people (usually all priests).  Then, if the sentence laid out by the bishop is deemed satisfactory by the local spiritual court, you can appeal to the archdiocese spiritual court which is comprised of members of the local Synod.  Then if that decision is once again upheld you can appeal AGAIN all the way to the Patriarchal Synod's spiritual court.  That's a LOT of checks and balances my friend, for ONE simple decision about one priest.  

If that's not a good enough and conciliar enough system to keep these things in check...well then I challenge you to come up with a better one, that fits into our ecclesiology.  
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« Reply #78 on: August 19, 2010, 10:50:02 AM »

Mathew 23

Luke 10:19  Behold, I give you the authority over all the power of the enemy.
John  17:22  I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are. I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one.
2 Corinthians  1:22 He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Dear Father Deacon--Did you really mean to include Luke 10:19 in the context for the authority of a bishop vis-a-vis his people?  Wink

Oh man!  I actually deleted that post!!  Sorry!  I was writing some things down and realized they didn't prove my point.  I thought I hadn't of posted that!  

p.s.  I got ordained as a priest in May...just letting you know for the sake of clarity.   Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #79 on: August 19, 2010, 10:57:17 AM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.
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« Reply #80 on: August 19, 2010, 11:21:52 AM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.

Canon 34 of what?

I am the assistant priest at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland CA!  Come and take a vacation! 

www.groca.org

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« Reply #81 on: August 19, 2010, 11:28:47 AM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.

Canon 34 of what?

I am the assistant priest at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland CA!  Come and take a vacation! 

www.groca.org



also you might be better served with:


 "But since the bishop ought to be engaged wholly in the work of taking care of
souls and has no time left to look after such things, he ought, with the consent of
all the priesthood, according to Canon X of Theophilos, appoint a steward from
among his clergy in order to manage such property of the church, including
movables and immovables, in order to prevent them from being scattered and ill
spent, according to Canon XXVI of the 4th Ecumenical Synod." (pg 294 of the electronic version of the Rudder)

" Likewise the patriarch is to have permission to appoint a steward to have
charge of the property of the metropolis, in case the metropolitan is unwilling to
appoint him, according to Canon XI of the 7th Ecumenical Synod."  (Ibid)



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« Reply #82 on: August 19, 2010, 11:54:27 AM »

That definitely makes MORE sense, but I still think you're comparing apples to oranges.

First, forgive me Father for not referring to you by your proper title in this thread <embarrassed smiley>.

What you said above I would compare to making the argument that the generals in the Pentegon talk about the order, but they are not the ones who directly send the men into battle (like their immediate commanders do).  However, you still run into the same problem = they order their men to death. they are directly responsible for putting them into that danger.  

This is completely different than fighting for the liberty of your country and especially in the case of Germanos, your church/your God.

Was Bishop Germanos really fighting for His Church and His God or was He fighting for secular and spiritual Independence.  What is now Greece was under the EP's Jurisdiction in 1821.  Perhaps this tangent has deviated from the main purpose of the thread....
 
Anyway, I feel like i'm not really making my point, so maybe i'll take it a different avenue.  

When a priest is reprimanded for something he has the option of appealing to the local metropolis' spiritual court, which is comprised of several people (usually all priests).  Then, if the sentence laid out by the bishop is deemed satisfactory by the local spiritual court, you can appeal to the archdiocese spiritual court which is comprised of members of the local Synod.  Then if that decision is once again upheld you can appeal AGAIN all the way to the Patriarchal Synod's spiritual court.  That's a LOT of checks and balances my friend, for ONE simple decision about one priest.  

If that's not a good enough and conciliar enough system to keep these things in check...well then I challenge you to come up with a better one, that fits into our ecclesiology.  

Except I wasn't the one making the point about Conciliarity.   Wink
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« Reply #83 on: August 19, 2010, 12:06:02 PM »

That definitely makes MORE sense, but I still think you're comparing apples to oranges.

First, forgive me Father for not referring to you by your proper title in this thread <embarrassed smiley>.

Oh my gosh!  Don't worry about it!  It can be rather confusing, especially b/c I didn't make any kind of too public announcement on the site.  the date kept changing and all that kind of stuff, so I never really put it up.  I just didn't want you to be confused, more than anything else! 

Quote
What you said above I would compare to making the argument that the generals in the Pentegon talk about the order, but they are not the ones who directly send the men into battle (like their immediate commanders do).  However, you still run into the same problem = they order their men to death. they are directly responsible for putting them into that danger.  

This is completely different than fighting for the liberty of your country and especially in the case of Germanos, your church/your God.

Was Bishop Germanos really fighting for His Church and His God or was He fighting for secular and spiritual Independence.  What is now Greece was under the EP's Jurisdiction in 1821.  Perhaps this tangent has deviated from the main purpose of the thread....

Yah we have definitely deviated, that's why I switched it to another topic, more on the line of the OP.  If you want to have the discussion we could always start another thread, but to be honest this isn't something I really have formulated in my mind.  i'm more spit-balling than anything else. 
 
Quote
Anyway, I feel like i'm not really making my point, so maybe i'll take it a different avenue.  

When a priest is reprimanded for something he has the option of appealing to the local metropolis' spiritual court, which is comprised of several people (usually all priests).  Then, if the sentence laid out by the bishop is deemed satisfactory by the local spiritual court, you can appeal to the archdiocese spiritual court which is comprised of members of the local Synod.  Then if that decision is once again upheld you can appeal AGAIN all the way to the Patriarchal Synod's spiritual court.  That's a LOT of checks and balances my friend, for ONE simple decision about one priest.  

If that's not a good enough and conciliar enough system to keep these things in check...well then I challenge you to come up with a better one, that fits into our ecclesiology.  

Except I wasn't the one making the point about Conciliarity.   Wink

LOL!  Well, let me cut to the chase then. 

I PERSONALLY think that the bishop should be in charge, period. 

However, for the people who think that the bishop has too much power, I wanted to assuage their fears and let them know that the bishop is NOT an island. 

So I was going 2 routes. 
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« Reply #84 on: August 19, 2010, 01:48:23 PM »

Following your logic of complete obedience to the bishop's office, would you have likewised obeyed the Temple leaders or followed Christ??

Today, do you obey the bishop or Christ. Is your father God in heaven or a man here on Earth?

If your bishop was doing something you know to be wrong ie molesting retarded boys, would you still obey him blindly?

It is easy to make everything out to be black and white and to follow the letter of the law unquestioning. But this is not the message of Jesus in the New Testament.

If you loved your Bishop would you not try to help him be a better Christian? Where is your voice, your tharos, your spirit to speak the truth! It is so easy to be everyones friend and to be obedient to your bishop. But what service do you do them if they lose their souls. 

In math to prove something is true you must prove that it can't be false. Try to take the opposite view point and find a circumstance were it would be true. If there would ever be a circumstance in which you would not obey your bishop then it is not true that you should always obey your bishop. I'm sure you feel this in your heart also.

There comes a time when the temple should be cleaned out. You have an excellent Bishop serving in San Fransisco (who I have had the pleasure of meeting) and thus can't imagine a need to improve. Other regions are not so lucky.

When someone comes to you and says they have a problem with their clergy, bishop, etc. Please listen to them and really ponder their concerns and don't be in such a hurry to find fault with them. That sort of thinking cost the Church dearly in the past and continues to plague the Roman Catholic Church today.
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« Reply #85 on: August 19, 2010, 01:55:03 PM »

But is saying that "the bishop should be in charge" the same thing as saying that one should ignore the situation when the bishop is actively doing something immoral or illegal?
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« Reply #86 on: August 19, 2010, 02:07:52 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.

Canon 34 of what?

I am the assistant priest at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland CA!  Come and take a vacation! 

www.groca.org



I have always dreamed of visiting San Francisco and environments. If I ever do, I'll swing by to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Oakland.  laugh

BTW,  I was referring to Apostolic Canon 34: "The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent... but neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity." So, each bishop is restrained by this canon (among others of course).
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« Reply #87 on: August 19, 2010, 02:22:22 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.

Canon 34 of what?

I am the assistant priest at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland CA!  Come and take a vacation! 

www.groca.org



also you might be better served with:


 "But since the bishop ought to be engaged wholly in the work of taking care of
souls and has no time left to look after such things, he ought, with the consent of
all the priesthood, according to Canon X of Theophilos, appoint a steward from
among his clergy in order to manage such property of the church, including
movables and immovables, in order to prevent them from being scattered and ill
spent, according to Canon XXVI of the 4th Ecumenical Synod." (pg 294 of the electronic version of the Rudder)

" Likewise the patriarch is to have permission to appoint a steward to have
charge of the property of the metropolis, in case the metropolitan is unwilling to
appoint him, according to Canon XI of the 7th Ecumenical Synod."  (Ibid)





Actually, this idea of unburdening the hierarchy of worldly concerns started way back in the Book of Acts. You know our faith is not illogical (except when we cling to outdated practices); for example, do you know of any specific requirements related to handling of real estate, finances, investments, nonprofit law, human resources, planning, etc... when one is being trained or considered for the priesthood or the episcopacy? I think the answer would be no, as most people simply do not have the talent, knowledge or experience to be jacks of all trades. When the Church and the State had their VERY close relations, the state functionaries took care of the worldly stuff. Before we became a state religion, it did not really matter as we were expecting not to be around for that long. Anyway, I just visited your website and you live up to your name, which I think may be translated as "fearless." Am I right?
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« Reply #88 on: August 19, 2010, 02:55:42 PM »

But is saying that "the bishop should be in charge" the same thing as saying that one should ignore the situation when the bishop is actively doing something immoral or illegal?

So the question remains, who is the one that ensures the bishop is in compliance. Is another bishop hundreds of miles away with their own parishes to oversee, really going to spend the time to ensure things are being managed properly in another bishop's territory? How would they possibly know?

The laity are the first to witness and have the opportunity to comment on things which can be improved on.
Saying "the bishop should be in charge" is not the same thing as saying the bishop has a right to ignore the laity.
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« Reply #89 on: August 19, 2010, 02:59:27 PM »

But is saying that "the bishop should be in charge" the same thing as saying that one should ignore the situation when the bishop is actively doing something immoral or illegal?

So the question remains, who is the one that ensures the bishop is in compliance. Is another bishop hundreds of miles away with their own parishes to oversee, really going to spend the time to ensure things are being managed properly in another bishop's territory? How would they possibly know?
The laity would tell them, loud and clear, and at length.

Quote
The laity are the first to witness and have the opportunity to comment on things which can be improved on.
And they do, believe me, loud and clear and at length.

Quote
Saying "the bishop should be in charge" is not the same thing as saying the bishop has a right to ignore the laity.
So, just hypothetically, is it your opinion that a bishop should respond personally to every single communication or complaint, including anonymous letters, that comes to him? Or is choosing to not answer some communications, or delegating some matters to others who are his representatives ignoring the laity?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 03:01:35 PM by katherineofdixie » Logged

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« Reply #90 on: August 19, 2010, 04:41:27 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.

Canon 34 of what?

I am the assistant priest at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland CA!  Come and take a vacation! 

www.groca.org



I have always dreamed of visiting San Francisco and environments. If I ever do, I'll swing by to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Oakland.  laugh

BTW,  I was referring to Apostolic Canon 34: "The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent... but neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity." So, each bishop is restrained by this canon (among others of course).

Right right right.  This is a basic canonical principle.  the one exists in the many and the many find their unity in the one.  This is also the bedrock of our ecclesiology.  I'm gonna dig up my notes when I get home b/c our professor really explained it very eloquently. 
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« Reply #91 on: August 19, 2010, 04:49:13 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.

Canon 34 of what?

I am the assistant priest at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland CA!  Come and take a vacation! 

www.groca.org



also you might be better served with:


 "But since the bishop ought to be engaged wholly in the work of taking care of
souls and has no time left to look after such things, he ought, with the consent of
all the priesthood, according to Canon X of Theophilos, appoint a steward from
among his clergy in order to manage such property of the church, including
movables and immovables, in order to prevent them from being scattered and ill
spent, according to Canon XXVI of the 4th Ecumenical Synod." (pg 294 of the electronic version of the Rudder)

" Likewise the patriarch is to have permission to appoint a steward to have
charge of the property of the metropolis, in case the metropolitan is unwilling to
appoint him, according to Canon XI of the 7th Ecumenical Synod."  (Ibid)





Actually, this idea of unburdening the hierarchy of worldly concerns started way back in the Book of Acts. You know our faith is not illogical (except when we cling to outdated practices); for example, do you know of any specific requirements related to handling of real estate, finances, investments, nonprofit law, human resources, planning, etc... when one is being trained or considered for the priesthood or the episcopacy? I think the answer would be no, as most people simply do not have the talent, knowledge or experience to be jacks of all trades. When the Church and the State had their VERY close relations, the state functionaries took care of the worldly stuff. Before we became a state religion, it did not really matter as we were expecting not to be around for that long. Anyway, I just visited your website and you live up to your name, which I think may be translated as "fearless." Am I right?

Actually you'd be surprised what kinds of classes we take at seminary these days.  I don't know like SUPER specifics, but we covered every one of those topics you listed in our "parish administration" class for my MDiv.  Also, on a personal note, i'm dealing with all of these things first hand now, and we have parishioners who are very well versed in these fields who are "on the job training" me about all these things (which actually supports your point...but anyway). 

Yes you are correct, my name means "fearless" or "the one without fear" but more specifically i'm named after a Serbian Fold Hero, who is harder to find on Google than typing in the word "and" ...lol (as I just found out). 

Also, I wanted to mention that I found this interesting tid-bit from St. Ambrose of Milan (who I actually wrote a paper about in the articles section of the site btw):

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf210.iv.i.ii.i.html
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« Reply #92 on: August 19, 2010, 04:55:40 PM »

Following your logic of complete obedience to the bishop's office, would you have likewised obeyed the Temple leaders or followed Christ??

Today, do you obey the bishop or Christ. Is your father God in heaven or a man here on Earth?

If your bishop was doing something you know to be wrong ie molesting retarded boys, would you still obey him blindly?

It is easy to make everything out to be black and white and to follow the letter of the law unquestioning. But this is not the message of Jesus in the New Testament.

If you loved your Bishop would you not try to help him be a better Christian? Where is your voice, your tharos, your spirit to speak the truth! It is so easy to be everyones friend and to be obedient to your bishop. But what service do you do them if they lose their souls. 

In math to prove something is true you must prove that it can't be false. Try to take the opposite view point and find a circumstance were it would be true. If there would ever be a circumstance in which you would not obey your bishop then it is not true that you should always obey your bishop. I'm sure you feel this in your heart also.

There comes a time when the temple should be cleaned out. You have an excellent Bishop serving in San Fransisco (who I have had the pleasure of meeting) and thus can't imagine a need to improve. Other regions are not so lucky.

When someone comes to you and says they have a problem with their clergy, bishop, etc. Please listen to them and really ponder their concerns and don't be in such a hurry to find fault with them. That sort of thinking cost the Church dearly in the past and continues to plague the Roman Catholic Church today.

Dart,

Your response here seems very impassioned to me.  If that is the case then I truly am very sorry to have led you into any kind of reaction such as this.  Please forgive me. 

Perhaps I should clarify.  Most of the things that I say, I mean.  However, those who have been posting with me for the past few years have come to realize that every once in a while (well...maybe more often than not) I say things just to have an interesting conversation.  This happens to be one of the times when I am doing both (I know..it can get rather confusing..lol) 

I agree with you that we should have the "tharos" to stand up for things that are right, and to point out things that are wrong.  Believe me...i'm usually the first person to do these things. 

My issue with your model is that people are usually the FIRST to point out your line of reasoning.  Every point you have made is probably made out of examples of where you know bishops or priests to do the wrong thing. 

I am trying to show that:

a)  maybe we should start with learning obedience first, before we can be the ones to point out anything to a bishop or priest (or anyone else for that matter)

b)  There is spiritual benefit to being obedient to our bishops and priests (or anyone else). 

Of course I do agree with you that there are limits, and we do have to live in the real world, but I feel that this is a "decision" or a type of "discernment" that happens only after we have truly spiritually experienced true obedience and the love that obedience can grant us.  This is just my take on it. 

I hope I have clarified.  Again, please forgive me if I have confused you or upset you in any way. 
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« Reply #93 on: August 19, 2010, 05:46:28 PM »

Serb1389,

So you begin with the preconceived notion that I lack obedience before ever getting to know me. lol

This reminds me of the first time I was in California. I was serving in the infantry and we had been sent to NTC for training. The monitors of the exercise posted flags up to simulate land mines that had been deployed by a rocket launch. I was in the lead vehicle and told are sargeant there are mines ahead.
He said yeah I see them too but LT told us to advance.
But sargeant we are all going to get killed.
Yes, we are all going to die. That's LT's order.
The monitor stops the convoy. Look around you guys. Your in a minefield. Your all dead.
Sargeant says, "Not my fault I was following orders."
I died 5 times in 8 days. I was such an obedient soldier.

It could have been worse. It could have been a spiritual death.
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« Reply #94 on: August 19, 2010, 05:58:01 PM »

For those who are more aware of these crisis situations, what can be done to improve the relationship between the Heirarchs and the laity?

It seems there have been 3 main avenues of thinking in this thread.
1. The Bishop is all powerful and the laity must obey.
2. This is America and the people rule.
3. The Church must work together and include ALL of her members in God's work.

If we are all in agreement on #3 as the preferred method then we can move forward to iron out the details. Unfortunately, we seem to still have people arguing in favor of #1 and #2.

I'm in the #1 camp.  

Naturally! You are an honorable person who takes his oaths seriously. In case you wondered, I am in the #3 camp partly to give more responsibility and commensurate authority to the lower clergy, such as priests and deacons. BTW, according to canon 34, no one bishop is all powerfull. And, even though they are the most powerful of the laos because the their special charisma, they should keep in mind the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 23 among others) as well as the astute observation by St John Chrysostom that the road to hell are paved by the skulls of priests and illumined by lamp posts made of the skulls of bishops.

PS: This is the final sentence I had written before I saw your admission that you were promoted: "As an aside, you seem to be safe for now, as I cannot find any similar warnings about deacons--lucky you! Cheesy." In any case, permit me a belated Axios! Which parish are you assigned to? I do not travel much but who knows, I may have the opportunity to visit and finally talk with you face to face and get your blessing.

Canon 34 of what?

I am the assistant priest at the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland CA!  Come and take a vacation!  

www.groca.org



also you might be better served with:


 "But since the bishop ought to be engaged wholly in the work of taking care of
souls and has no time left to look after such things, he ought, with the consent of
all the priesthood, according to Canon X of Theophilos, appoint a steward from
among his clergy in order to manage such property of the church, including
movables and immovables, in order to prevent them from being scattered and ill
spent, according to Canon XXVI of the 4th Ecumenical Synod." (pg 294 of the electronic version of the Rudder)

" Likewise the patriarch is to have permission to appoint a steward to have
charge of the property of the metropolis, in case the metropolitan is unwilling to
appoint him, according to Canon XI of the 7th Ecumenical Synod."  (Ibid)





Actually, this idea of unburdening the hierarchy of worldly concerns started way back in the Book of Acts. You know our faith is not illogical (except when we cling to outdated practices); for example, do you know of any specific requirements related to handling of real estate, finances, investments, nonprofit law, human resources, planning, etc... when one is being trained or considered for the priesthood or the episcopacy? I think the answer would be no, as most people simply do not have the talent, knowledge or experience to be jacks of all trades. When the Church and the State had their VERY close relations, the state functionaries took care of the worldly stuff. Before we became a state religion, it did not really matter as we were expecting not to be around for that long. Anyway, I just visited your website and you live up to your name, which I think may be translated as "fearless." Am I right?

Actually you'd be surprised what kinds of classes we take at seminary these days.  I don't know like SUPER specifics, but we covered every one of those topics you listed in our "parish administration" class for my MDiv.  Also, on a personal note, i'm dealing with all of these things first hand now, and we have parishioners who are very well versed in these fields who are "on the job training" me about all these things (which actually supports your point...but anyway).  

Yes you are correct, my name means "fearless" or "the one without fear" but more specifically i'm named after a Serbian Fold Hero, who is harder to find on Google than typing in the word "and" ...lol (as I just found out).  

Also, I wanted to mention that I found this interesting tid-bit from St. Ambrose of Milan (who I actually wrote a paper about in the articles section of the site btw):

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf210.iv.i.ii.i.html

May be the problem is in thinking that candidates for the MDiv have the sort of background and experience that would allow them to become trained in parish administration in just one class. Think of it; if this fact was widely known, folks would flock to our seminaries instead of taking 4-6 year degrees in business.  Wink

If as St Ambrose says the main office of a bishop is to teach, why are we having a discussion? Choice #3 is the only way to go. Seriously though, I do not think that anyone here is trying to say that the bishop is not the head of the local church. He is in many ways similar to a CEO/President of a corporation, a military commander, a governor or the President of the United States. Just like the foregoing worthies, he is responsible for his sphere and must have the authority that goes along with the responsibility. However, each of these worthies are bound by law, regulations, and industry standards? Why is that? Because we expect and demand that those who are put in positions of power are not given unrestricted freedom. Perhaps the problem is that those of us who want the Ignatian model to be actually be put into effect strike fear in those who think we represent a reincarnation of the Living Church. It could also be that some (many?) of the laity are perfectly content in sitting back and having the clergy do all of the work. I submit to you that the situation that we find ourselves in will do nothing but engender decay. The laity must be given ministries, must be empowered as partners in the work of the Church, to keep them in the Church. Most assuredly the laity will be the most junior partners one can imagine, but they and the Church will be better off if we all share in the responsibility of discipleship. "Pray, pay and obey" is not indicative of a true Christian disciple.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 06:15:26 PM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #95 on: August 20, 2010, 01:27:11 AM »

Serb1389,

So you begin with the preconceived notion that I lack obedience before ever getting to know me. lol

This reminds me of the first time I was in California. I was serving in the infantry and we had been sent to NTC for training. The monitors of the exercise posted flags up to simulate land mines that had been deployed by a rocket launch. I was in the lead vehicle and told are sargeant there are mines ahead.
He said yeah I see them too but LT told us to advance.
But sargeant we are all going to get killed.
Yes, we are all going to die. That's LT's order.
The monitor stops the convoy. Look around you guys. Your in a minefield. Your all dead.
Sargeant says, "Not my fault I was following orders."
I died 5 times in 8 days. I was such an obedient soldier.

It could have been worse. It could have been a spiritual death.

i'm sorry...maybe I missed something I wrote.  Where did I accuse you of anything?

If you take a look at my language from the post above, you'll see that I left the language specificly open and general, instead of specific, b/c my reflection was meant for everyone, not you in particular. 

Maybe I missed something though...please let me know so that I can address it. 

Also, I was wondering if you would care to elaborate on what other affects that obedience may have had on you.  Were there positive affects of any kind?  kathardic affects?  anything else other than what you described. 
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« Reply #96 on: August 20, 2010, 05:03:21 AM »

I completely agree with you Second Chance. Our Church needs clergy imbued with the Holy Spirit. Prophets, missionaries, evangelists. It seems we are instead getting professionals who are looking for a job. People who want to manage and administrate.

If only our clergy were the vessel of the Holy Spirit that they were meant to be, I would follow them anywhere. Instead, we get beaurocrats.

Where are the children of God to replace these childish heretics?



(If you take a look at my language from the post above, you'll see that I left the language specificly open and general, instead of specific, b/c my reflection was meant for everyone, not you in particular. )
By pointing out a given in an arguement - ie virtue of obedience or clergy being holy, you also imply that in the matter of the discussion it is lacking. And now you are in a double bind.

God's Church is united in brotherhood. Let's work together. We should not divide ourselves into classes. The old testament had the tribe of Levites but in the new covenant we all belong to the royal priesthood.
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« Reply #97 on: August 20, 2010, 09:41:20 AM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?

 In the Orthodox model, the congregation does not own or run the individual parish or church. The property is the property of the bishop. The clergy are the extension of the bishop. The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve.


Actually I don't know that I agree about this being the case in practice. The church property actually does belong to the people. The land and the building belong to the people, the liturgical items do not (e.g. gospel book, chalice, atimens, etc) but the vast majority of the rest belongs to the people.

This is incorrect in practice, in theology, in canon law, and in US law. The parish itself as a corporate entity -- not "the people" -- holds title to the property and acts as a steward (or an administrator) of the property. But its Parish Council, duly elected and approved by the Metropolitan, may only exercise its stewardship when and so long as it keeps, practices, and proclaims the Orthodox Christian Faith pure and undefiled "in accordance with the holy canons, the Archdiocesan Charter and Regulations promulgated thereunder, and, as to canonical and ecclesiastical matters, by the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese," (Article 15 of the UPR).

In all cases that I know of in which the Metropolitan has deemed that the Parish Council has failed to act accordingly, or tried to claim the property and building as its own, the Parish Council (which actually legally ceases to be the Parish Council in such cases) has lost in US courts of law. This is also true of similar cases in many different Christian churches (e.g. Episcopal, Roman Catholic, even Presbyterian).

So, in practice, the Metropolitan can and will dismiss errant Parish Councils and assume stewardship of the parish property under Article 16, as follows:

Quote
Sections 6: Based on the recommendation of the local Metropolitan, that a Parish is in heresy, schism, or defection from the Archdiocese, the Archbishop may declare the Parish in canonical disorder and may assume the administration of the Parish and control of its properties until the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, declares the Parish to be in canonical order. In the event that the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, determines that the Parish cannot be restored to canonical order, the title to properties shall vest in the Archdiocese. If under applicable law, title may not vest automatically in the Archdiocese, title shall vest in an ecclesiastical corporation controlled by the group of parishioners that the Archdiocese determines remains loyal to it. 
 
Section 7: In the event that a Parish is deemed to be in canonical disorder and title to the Parish properties is vested in the Archdiocese, the Archbishop and the respective Hierarch are authorized to sign any deed or other document as may be necessary.

My question is, what do you do if a bishop assigns a priest to a parish and the parish refuses to pay the priest?

In all cases I know of such issues are agreed upon between the bishop and the parish council before the assignment is made official, so it shouldn't be an issue. However, hypothetically, if an agreement can't be reached, the bishop would need to deal with all parties to come to a resolution. If that can't happen, the bishop has the authority to dismiss the parish council if need be, although I doubt that would happen unless there were more to the story.
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« Reply #98 on: August 20, 2010, 11:07:15 AM »

I completely agree with you Second Chance. Our Church needs clergy imbued with the Holy Spirit. Prophets, missionaries, evangelists. It seems we are instead getting professionals who are looking for a job. People who want to manage and administrate.

If only our clergy were the vessel of the Holy Spirit that they were meant to be, I would follow them anywhere. Instead, we get beaurocrats.

Where are the children of God to replace these childish heretics?



(If you take a look at my language from the post above, you'll see that I left the language specificly open and general, instead of specific, b/c my reflection was meant for everyone, not you in particular. )
By pointing out a given in an arguement - ie virtue of obedience or clergy being holy, you also imply that in the matter of the discussion it is lacking. And now you are in a double bind.

God's Church is united in brotherhood. Let's work together. We should not divide ourselves into classes. The old testament had the tribe of Levites but in the new covenant we all belong to the royal priesthood.

Dart--thanks for agreeing with me. I cannot say that I feel the same way about some parts of your post above. In my personal experience, I have been blessed with Spirit-imbued, non-bureaucratic bishops, priests and deacons. Also, in my personal experience, it has been extremely hard to involve most of the congregation in anything beyond "pray, pay and obey," and this not because of clerical expectations (although I know priests who have given up trying after a while). BTW, the "pay" aspect of the role of the laity must be seriously discussed because many Orthodox are simply not tithing funds as they should or giving of their time and talent (beyond church services) as they should. Historical reasons and inertia aside, at least half of the blame for the current state of affairs in Church governance must be placed at the feet of the laity IMHO (ED: added to satisfy Peter's sensibilities  Cheesy). I marvel at (I am awed by) the work of the Holy Spirit in our Holy Church, maintaining us the Body of Christ in spite of our warts and all.
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« Reply #99 on: August 20, 2010, 11:34:44 AM »

I completely agree with you Second Chance. Our Church needs clergy imbued with the Holy Spirit. Prophets, missionaries, evangelists. It seems we are instead getting professionals who are looking for a job. People who want to manage and administrate.

If only our clergy were the vessel of the Holy Spirit that they were meant to be, I would follow them anywhere. Instead, we get beaurocrats.

Where are the children of God to replace these childish heretics?



(If you take a look at my language from the post above, you'll see that I left the language specificly open and general, instead of specific, b/c my reflection was meant for everyone, not you in particular. )
By pointing out a given in an arguement - ie virtue of obedience or clergy being holy, you also imply that in the matter of the discussion it is lacking. And now you are in a double bind.

God's Church is united in brotherhood. Let's work together. We should not divide ourselves into classes. The old testament had the tribe of Levites but in the new covenant we all belong to the royal priesthood.

Correct, but I did not specify with WHOM it is lacking.  Just that it is (in general). 
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« Reply #100 on: August 23, 2010, 10:45:03 AM »

Quote
It could also be that some (many?) of the laity are perfectly content in sitting back and having the clergy do all of the work. I submit to you that the situation that we find ourselves in will do nothing but engender decay. The laity must be given ministries, must be empowered as partners in the work of the Church, to keep them in the Church. Most assuredly the laity will be the most junior partners one can imagine, but they and the Church will be better off if we all share in the responsibility of discipleship. "Pray, pay and obey" is not indicative of a true Christian disciple.

I'm sitting here trying to think of a single priest, much less bishop, who wouldn't be thrilled by having the laity as partners in ministry, instead of participants in rancorous parish council meetings that last until the wee hours.

The experiences you relate is so different from mine that we might be talking about two entirely different churches!

Most priests, in my observation and experience, are expected to do everything in the parish! And the laity sit back and let them.
Perhaps, and I'm just spitballing here, bishops would be more likely to include the laity if the laity were more likely to be partners in ministry in the parish?
(Also stewardship, as mentioned before, is a major factor, simply because most parishes are not used to the concept, but are rather used to paying the bills by means of the ethnic festival/fundraiser model.)
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« Reply #101 on: August 23, 2010, 11:14:47 AM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?

 In the Orthodox model, the congregation does not own or run the individual parish or church. The property is the property of the bishop. The clergy are the extension of the bishop. The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve.


Actually I don't know that I agree about this being the case in practice. The church property actually does belong to the people. The land and the building belong to the people, the liturgical items do not (e.g. gospel book, chalice, atimens, etc) but the vast majority of the rest belongs to the people.

This is incorrect in practice, in theology, in canon law, and in US law. The parish itself as a corporate entity -- not "the people" -- holds title to the property and acts as a steward (or an administrator) of the property. But its Parish Council, duly elected and approved by the Metropolitan, may only exercise its stewardship when and so long as it keeps, practices, and proclaims the Orthodox Christian Faith pure and undefiled "in accordance with the holy canons, the Archdiocesan Charter and Regulations promulgated thereunder, and, as to canonical and ecclesiastical matters, by the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese," (Article 15 of the UPR).

In all cases that I know of in which the Metropolitan has deemed that the Parish Council has failed to act accordingly, or tried to claim the property and building as its own, the Parish Council (which actually legally ceases to be the Parish Council in such cases) has lost in US courts of law. This is also true of similar cases in many different Christian churches (e.g. Episcopal, Roman Catholic, even Presbyterian).

So, in practice, the Metropolitan can and will dismiss errant Parish Councils and assume stewardship of the parish property under Article 16, as follows:

Quote
Sections 6: Based on the recommendation of the local Metropolitan, that a Parish is in heresy, schism, or defection from the Archdiocese, the Archbishop may declare the Parish in canonical disorder and may assume the administration of the Parish and control of its properties until the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, declares the Parish to be in canonical order. In the event that the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, determines that the Parish cannot be restored to canonical order, the title to properties shall vest in the Archdiocese. If under applicable law, title may not vest automatically in the Archdiocese, title shall vest in an ecclesiastical corporation controlled by the group of parishioners that the Archdiocese determines remains loyal to it. 
 
Section 7: In the event that a Parish is deemed to be in canonical disorder and title to the Parish properties is vested in the Archdiocese, the Archbishop and the respective Hierarch are authorized to sign any deed or other document as may be necessary.

My question is, what do you do if a bishop assigns a priest to a parish and the parish refuses to pay the priest?

In all cases I know of such issues are agreed upon between the bishop and the parish council before the assignment is made official, so it shouldn't be an issue. However, hypothetically, if an agreement can't be reached, the bishop would need to deal with all parties to come to a resolution. If that can't happen, the bishop has the authority to dismiss the parish council if need be, although I doubt that would happen unless there were more to the story.

You may very well be correct for Greek Churches, but in my experience with ACROD and OCA churches, this is certainly not the case. Churches in these jurisdictions have dissolution clauses which state that if the church dissolves the assets are to be split among the parishioners still in attendance at the time. This leads me to believe that ultimately the property belongs to the members of the parish.

-Nick
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« Reply #102 on: August 23, 2010, 11:19:53 AM »

What role should the laity play in selecting a priest for their parish?

 In the Orthodox model, the congregation does not own or run the individual parish or church. The property is the property of the bishop. The clergy are the extension of the bishop. The bishop alone decides who he will ordain and where he will serve.


Actually I don't know that I agree about this being the case in practice. The church property actually does belong to the people. The land and the building belong to the people, the liturgical items do not (e.g. gospel book, chalice, atimens, etc) but the vast majority of the rest belongs to the people.

This is incorrect in practice, in theology, in canon law, and in US law. The parish itself as a corporate entity -- not "the people" -- holds title to the property and acts as a steward (or an administrator) of the property. But its Parish Council, duly elected and approved by the Metropolitan, may only exercise its stewardship when and so long as it keeps, practices, and proclaims the Orthodox Christian Faith pure and undefiled "in accordance with the holy canons, the Archdiocesan Charter and Regulations promulgated thereunder, and, as to canonical and ecclesiastical matters, by the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese," (Article 15 of the UPR).

In all cases that I know of in which the Metropolitan has deemed that the Parish Council has failed to act accordingly, or tried to claim the property and building as its own, the Parish Council (which actually legally ceases to be the Parish Council in such cases) has lost in US courts of law. This is also true of similar cases in many different Christian churches (e.g. Episcopal, Roman Catholic, even Presbyterian).

So, in practice, the Metropolitan can and will dismiss errant Parish Councils and assume stewardship of the parish property under Article 16, as follows:

Quote
Sections 6: Based on the recommendation of the local Metropolitan, that a Parish is in heresy, schism, or defection from the Archdiocese, the Archbishop may declare the Parish in canonical disorder and may assume the administration of the Parish and control of its properties until the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, declares the Parish to be in canonical order. In the event that the Archbishop, in consultation with the Metropolitan, determines that the Parish cannot be restored to canonical order, the title to properties shall vest in the Archdiocese. If under applicable law, title may not vest automatically in the Archdiocese, title shall vest in an ecclesiastical corporation controlled by the group of parishioners that the Archdiocese determines remains loyal to it. 
 
Section 7: In the event that a Parish is deemed to be in canonical disorder and title to the Parish properties is vested in the Archdiocese, the Archbishop and the respective Hierarch are authorized to sign any deed or other document as may be necessary.

My question is, what do you do if a bishop assigns a priest to a parish and the parish refuses to pay the priest?

In all cases I know of such issues are agreed upon between the bishop and the parish council before the assignment is made official, so it shouldn't be an issue. However, hypothetically, if an agreement can't be reached, the bishop would need to deal with all parties to come to a resolution. If that can't happen, the bishop has the authority to dismiss the parish council if need be, although I doubt that would happen unless there were more to the story.

You may very well be correct for Greek Churches, but in my experience with ACROD and OCA churches, this is certainly not the case. Churches in these jurisdictions have dissolution clauses which state that if the church dissolves the assets are to be split among the parishioners still in attendance at the time. This leads me to believe that ultimately the property belongs to the members of the parish.

-Nick

Apparently it depends on the individual parish by laws.

"The Parish Property
The parish or parish corporation is the sole owner of all parish property, assets, and funds. In administering them, however, the parishioners and the officers elected by them must always remember the religious nature, purposes, and goals of the parish and act as trustees of God's, not man's, property. The parish, as the whole Church, serves God and cares for God's work in the world, and all decisions concerning parish property must be inspired by that care and by the spiritual needs of the Church.
If the parish is abolished, its property is disposed of following the provisions of the parish bylaws. If no such provisions exist, the property is at the disposition of the Diocesan Authority. In all cases, the sacred and untouchable items: the Holy Antimension, the Tabernacle, and the Sacred Vessels, must be surrendered to the Diocesan Bishop. " OCA parish by laws
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« Reply #103 on: August 23, 2010, 11:29:17 AM »

With regard to Nick's comment regarding dissolution of ACROD or OCA parishes he is correct in that most of those early parishes of both were 'congregational' in terms of charter and property.  However, in most states, in order to dissolve a not-for-profit corporation, laws exist to prevent the residual assets of a dissolved not-for-profit from benefiting any individuals in their individual capacity. In New York for example, if the church is chartered as a not for profit see http://www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/charities2/faqs_dissolutions_new.html. In the NY dissolution of a religious corporation see https://www.weblaws.org/states/new_york/statutes/n.y._religious_corporations_law_sec._5
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« Reply #104 on: August 23, 2010, 12:35:00 PM »

Quote
It could also be that some (many?) of the laity are perfectly content in sitting back and having the clergy do all of the work. I submit to you that the situation that we find ourselves in will do nothing but engender decay. The laity must be given ministries, must be empowered as partners in the work of the Church, to keep them in the Church. Most assuredly the laity will be the most junior partners one can imagine, but they and the Church will be better off if we all share in the responsibility of discipleship. "Pray, pay and obey" is not indicative of a true Christian disciple.

I'm sitting here trying to think of a single priest, much less bishop, who wouldn't be thrilled by having the laity as partners in ministry, instead of participants in rancorous parish council meetings that last until the wee hours.

The experiences you relate is so different from mine that we might be talking about two entirely different churches!

Most priests, in my observation and experience, are expected to do everything in the parish! And the laity sit back and let them.
Perhaps, and I'm just spitballing here, bishops would be more likely to include the laity if the laity were more likely to be partners in ministry in the parish?
(Also stewardship, as mentioned before, is a major factor, simply because most parishes are not used to the concept, but are rather used to paying the bills by means of the ethnic festival/fundraiser model.)

Seems that this all starts with the selection of the parish priest. If the laity are ignored at the start of the relationship, then ordered to give more money without a basis for trust that those funds are being used wisely, it should be no surprise to then find an uninspired laity. The biggest expense of a parish is generally the Priest and the laity are not given input into this most important selection.
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« Reply #105 on: August 23, 2010, 02:12:26 PM »

The biggest expense of a parish is generally the Priest and the laity are not given input into this most important selection.

Maybe in your parish, but not in most that I've seen, visited, or heard of: the building is expense #1, followed by the personnel (which is more than just the 1 priest).
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« Reply #106 on: August 23, 2010, 02:47:29 PM »

Seems that this all starts with the selection of the parish priest. If the laity are ignored at the start of the relationship, then ordered to give more money without a basis for trust that those funds are being used wisely, it should be no surprise to then find an uninspired laity. The biggest expense of a parish is generally the Priest and the laity are not given input into this most important selection.

YMMV, of course, but the laity are not ignored everywhere. On the contrary, they seem quite willing and able to make themselves heard. Secondly, why assume that, just because someone was not consulted personally about the details of the assignment of a priest, that there is financial dirty work at the crossroads?
If the laity truly want to be partners in ministry, then they should go to their parish priest and offer their time, talent, resources, skills and abilities in the service of their parish. No excuses.
Remember the old "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem"?
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« Reply #107 on: August 23, 2010, 03:07:23 PM »

Stand up here if you know how a coal-field Orthodox church is ran?  Yup, she ain't run anything like your manual may state. 
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« Reply #108 on: August 23, 2010, 04:23:34 PM »

With regard to Nick's comment regarding dissolution of ACROD or OCA parishes he is correct in that most of those early parishes of both were 'congregational' in terms of charter and property.  However, in most states, in order to dissolve a not-for-profit corporation, laws exist to prevent the residual assets of a dissolved not-for-profit from benefiting any individuals in their individual capacity. In New York for example, if the church is chartered as a not for profit see http://www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/charities2/faqs_dissolutions_new.html. In the NY dissolution of a religious corporation see https://www.weblaws.org/states/new_york/statutes/n.y._religious_corporations_law_sec._5


I do agree with this. According to the Federal rules on non-profits the assets must be donated to another charity in order for them to remain tax exempt otherwise they are taxed under the rules reserved for Unrelated Business Taxable Income. In Illinois there is no such dissolution clause as such there is a specific ACROD church of which I am quite familiar which has a clause in its parish by-laws stating that if the parish is dissolved the assets will be split among the remaining members of the parish at that time.

-Nick
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« Reply #109 on: August 23, 2010, 10:08:07 PM »

Let me get this straight. The heirarch assigns a priest. The parish council says, "we will be the ones working closely with this priest so can we interview him and show him around so he understands what our needs are and make sure we are a good match." Bishop says this is the priest you are getting or you can do without a priest.
So priest shows up and doesn't really like how things are running. He insults everyone. Drives the volunteers in the church away. And then wonders why he is the only one working on HIS AGENDA.

Alternate solution. Parish council gets to know priest first and vent out any major concerns. Priest comes on board a GOING MINISTRY which worked just fine before his arrival and eases into things. After adressing major concerns of parish and getting to know the parish he starts to build a consensus and slowly change a few people's minds. Then he builds on those first seeds and accomplishes his goals.

A priest should not be barking orders before he has even learned the names of the parishioners. No excuses.

Our buildings are all paid for. Biggest line item is priest salary for us, 6 figures.
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« Reply #110 on: August 23, 2010, 10:18:49 PM »

Admit to nothing, deny everything, issue counter charges. Very mature and productive response to constructive criticism.

Afraid if you give an inch they will take a mile. Understandably, you are afraid.

So how about humbling yourself to the Lord. "This is the correction of the Lord and He has sent it to heal my vain soul. And so we humbly thank you, honoured guest." Then by your ACTIONS you have demonstrated a willingness to listen to the laity and the discussion is over. But no, the Pope is infallible.

Maybe we should start there. Is it possible for a Bishop to make a mistake? Is it possible that in my personal experience the Bishop did not handle the parish council properly? Is it possible you are mistaken and I have a valid point?

Blind obedience to the infallible Pope......
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« Reply #111 on: August 24, 2010, 12:49:55 AM »

Dart, is there some reason you keep bringing up exceptionally extreme scenarios as if they were the rule?  I have trouble seeing how such extremism makes for constructive discussion.
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« Reply #112 on: August 24, 2010, 04:21:10 AM »

One man's extreme is another's reality apparently. It is just one scenario I have been speaking of, that of my real life situation.
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« Reply #113 on: August 24, 2010, 04:41:15 AM »

Dart, is there some reason you keep bringing up exceptionally extreme scenarios as if they were the rule?  I have trouble seeing how such extremism makes for constructive discussion.

Why does the Church preach about Christ and the Word of God? Seems like an extreme situation don't you think? Like what is that a once in a history of time event.
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« Reply #114 on: August 24, 2010, 05:01:33 AM »

Dart, is there some reason you keep bringing up exceptionally extreme scenarios as if they were the rule?  I have trouble seeing how such extremism makes for constructive discussion.

Why does the Church preach about Christ and the Word of God? Seems like an extreme situation don't you think? Like what is that a once in a history of time event.
I don't see the parallel.  Seems like a reductio ad absurdum and a non sequitur to me to associate the exceptional nature of your parish situation with the exceptional nature of the Gospel.

I'm sorry you experienced what happened to you and your parish, but I can tell you that such extreme situations are (hopefully) quite rare and not worth blowing up as if they were normal.  I'm not sure it's necessary to change the very way the Church does things simply because of one exceptionally abusive parish situation.  Have you evidence that such situations are prevalent in a number of parishes other than your own?
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« Reply #115 on: August 24, 2010, 08:59:42 AM »

When the Church failed to protect the laity against these "exceptionally" normal clergy that make mistakes in the past it cost the Church dearly. Multi-million dollar law suits, lost souls, ....

The survey conducted by Krindatch states 47% of laity and 18% of clergy agree"It is a good idea if Orthodox parishes were to choose their own priest from among available ordained clergy."

Why do so many people within the Church believe we should change? Is not 47% enough people for you to care?

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« Reply #116 on: August 24, 2010, 09:22:05 AM »

I'm sorry you experienced what happened to you and your parish, but I can tell you that such extreme situations are (hopefully) quite rare and not worth blowing up as if they were normal.
As I said before, I can't speak for every bishop and every priest, but based on my own personal knowledge of the OCA and GOA, such extreme situations are not the norm.

Quote
I'm not sure it's necessary to change the very way the Church does things simply because of one exceptionally abusive parish situation. 
Exactly.

Quote
Have you evidence that such situations are prevalent in a number of parishes other than your own?
And I'm certainly not saying that such things couldn't happen, but again it is an exception, according to my observation/experience.

Take it for what it's worth.
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« Reply #117 on: August 24, 2010, 10:11:04 AM »

Will anybody address the facts of the survey? Again, 47% of laity and 18% of clergy in GOA.

Denial does not make it go away.
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« Reply #118 on: August 24, 2010, 11:29:26 AM »

Will anybody address the facts of the survey? Again, 47% of laity and 18% of clergy in GOA.

Denial does not make it go away.

That's not too many, actually.  More than 50% of the laity want things to stay the same, and an overwhelming 82% of clergy want them to stay the same.  Will you address why the 82% of clergy don't want the system to change?  Or will you respond with more exceptional stories?

And to whom is your comment directed at, namely:
"Admit to nothing, deny everything, issue counter charges. Very mature and productive response to constructive criticism.

Afraid if you give an inch they will take a mile. Understandably, you are afraid."
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« Reply #119 on: August 24, 2010, 11:44:00 AM »

Let me get this straight. The heirarch assigns a priest. The parish council says, "we will be the ones working closely with this priest so can we interview him and show him around so he understands what our needs are and make sure we are a good match." Bishop says this is the priest you are getting or you can do without a priest.
So priest shows up and doesn't really like how things are running. He insults everyone. Drives the volunteers in the church away. And then wonders why he is the only one working on HIS AGENDA.

The above does not happen in the vast majority of cases.

Alternate solution. Parish council gets to know priest first and vent out any major concerns. Priest comes on board a GOING MINISTRY which worked just fine before his arrival and eases into things. After adressing major concerns of parish and getting to know the parish he starts to build a consensus and slowly change a few people's minds. Then he builds on those first seeds and accomplishes his goals.

You know, under the current selection system (bishop chooses with input from the parish council) the above does indeed happen many, if not most, times.

A priest should not be barking orders before he has even learned the names of the parishioners. No excuses.

How would you like it if we said "newbies should not be barking posts on this forum before they've even learned about the forum personalities, no excuses?"  I for one am glad we don't have that rule here - this is a discussion forum, and thus a place for open discussion.  If a priest is assigned to a parish, whether he is "hired" by the council or instructed by the bishop, he is the steward of the parish, the representative of the Bishop (who is the representative of Christ) - and so he's supposed to be a good steward.  Sometimes, this requires learning about people and programs before giving advice, and sometimes it requires swift action.  What happened to your parish doesn't usually happen to others, btw.

Our buildings are all paid for. Biggest line item is priest salary for us, 6 figures.

Just because you don't have a mortgage doesn't mean your building is "paid for."  Go add up your electrical, heat, maintenance, etc. and then tell me the salaries are bigger than the building.  But, for clarity's sake, I did mention earlier:

Maybe in your parish
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« Reply #120 on: August 24, 2010, 12:04:57 PM »

Will anybody address the facts of the survey? Again, 47% of laity and 18% of clergy in GOA.

47% of laity and 18% of clergy in GOA agree "It is a good idea if Orthodox parishes were to choose their own priest from among available ordained clergy."

Respondents did not agree that they aren't being consulted in the assignment process, that bishops make unilateral decisions, or any other thing. Further, a survey is only as good as its questions/statements, and this statement is broad, phrased in the subjunctive, and open to a variety of interpretations. More detailed information is necessary before reaching any conclusion -- certainly before speaking about "facts of the survey."

Finally, we should recall that an even higher percentage (56%) of the same sample group said a good Orthodox Christian need not observe Lent or "fasting on certain days." So, my provisional conclusion would be that what we need is better catechesis and spiritual formation, not a change in the assignment process per se, which is already animated by sobornost.
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« Reply #121 on: August 24, 2010, 12:14:42 PM »

Bishops usually know the personal issues of the Priests under them, many of them should not be know to the public and while taking them into the account they can assign Priests to the places they will serve best or at least no harm both to the Parishioners and the Priests.

For example Priests with pedophilic leanings shouldn't tech religion at schools, but they will be OK as chaplains in Monasteries.

People that would know no more than a name of a Priest and how does he look like, won't be able to choose the most proper one.

Mike !  this that you wrote kind of confuses me.......[For example Priests with pedophilic leanings shouldn't teach religion at schools, but they will be OK as chaplains in Monasteries].  Huh Huh Huh

They shouldn't be Clergy at all period ,be it Monasteries,schools or churches or anywhere.........I can understand after being defrocked they are in a monastery as penitent sinners, and join the ranks of the lay.... Any Bishop that allows one to remain a priest,should be deposed... This is a very serious matter...
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« Reply #122 on: August 24, 2010, 12:27:27 PM »

One man's extreme is another's reality apparently. It is just one scenario I have been speaking of, that of my real life situation.

This is the crux of the matter. You have had a bad experience, which is unfortunate (and inevitable). However, since you are speaking of "just one scenario," you shouldn't try to generalize it.

People, animated by God's Spirit and a desire to serve, are the answer, not process. In my job, I deal with lots of (mainly Protestant) churches, most of which have a polity that calls for lay leaders within the congregation to make ALL of the hiring decisions. They write the job description, look over CVs, interview candidates, negotiate salaries, etc. Let me tell you: It does not necessarily lead to a better outcome or a smooth pastoral transition. In fact, I've seen the exact scenario you describe.

So, it's not a "solution" even in a practical sense (which is to say nothing of the theological sense).
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« Reply #123 on: August 24, 2010, 12:32:54 PM »

...I deal with lots of (mainly Protestant) churches, most of which have a polity that calls for lay leaders within the congregation to make ALL of the hiring decisions. They write the job description, look over CVs, interview candidates, negotiate salaries, etc. Let me tell you: It does not necessarily lead to a better outcome or a smooth pastoral transition. In fact, I've seen the exact scenario you describe.

So, it's not a "solution" even in a practical sense (which is to say nothing of the theological sense).

Having been involved in this process as well when I was a Protestant, it also seems to foster a kind of "employer-employee" relationship between the congregation/elders/church council and the pastor.
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« Reply #124 on: August 24, 2010, 01:58:18 PM »

Problem solved (for me atleast). Moving to a different parish.
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« Reply #125 on: August 24, 2010, 03:01:00 PM »

Problem solved (for me atleast). Moving to a different parish.

While it pains me to hear that it is the solution, on the other hand you must indeed do what is best for your salvation.  And if it sends the signal to the priest, parish, etc. that things are going poorly enough to drive people away, then you may have made a greater statement with your feet than with any other medium.  Continue to pray for your (soon to be) old parish, though; if the priest is even half as boorish as you've portrayed him to be, then they need your prayers.
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