Going to be rather odd, haiving a mere auxiliary bishop as secretary of the Episcopal Assembly here.
Even as an auxiliary, he is still an automatic member of the EA, which duly elected him to the office of secretary, so not a problem on that front.
THE FOURTH PRE-CONCILIAR PAN-ORTHODOX CONFERENCE
The Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Chambésy, 6-13 June 2009
THE ORTHODOX DIASPORA
2. a) This Conference proposes that, for the transitional period where the canonical solution of the issue will be prepared, “Episcopal Assemblies” of all canonically recognized bishops in each region should be created (or founded) in each of the regions defined below. The bishops will continue to be subject to the same canonical jurisdictions to which they are subject today.
5. The Episcopal Assemblies do not deprive the Member Bishops of their administrative competencies and canonical character, nor do they restrict their rights in the Diaspora. The Episcopal Assemblies aim to form a common position of the Orthodox Church on various issues. In no way does this prevent Members Bishops from remaining responsible to their own Churches, and to express the views of their own Churches to the outside world.
THE FOURTH PRE-CONCILIAR PAN-ORTHODOX CONFERENCE
The Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Chambésy, 6-13 June 2009
RULES OF OPERATION OF EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLIES
IN THE ORTHODOX DIASPORA
1. The Episcopal Assembly and its Executive Committee will have a Chairman, one or two Vice-Chairmen, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and any other positions of responsibility that the Assembly may designate.
3. The Vice-Chairmen are appointed ex officio from the Member Bishops of the Assemblies, from the next ranking Churches, in accordance with the order of the Diptychs of the Orthodox Churches. The Secretary, Treasurer and other positions of responsibility are chosen by the Assembly, and have the possibility not to originate from the ranks of the bishops.
1. The competencies of the Episcopal Assembly are:
e. The preparation of a plan to organize the Orthodox of the Region on a canonical basis.
2. The definition of the scope of these competencies should in no way interfere with the responsibility of each Bishop for his eparchial jurisdiction, or restrict the rights of his Church, including its relations with international agencies, governments, civil society, mass media, other legal undertakings, national and treaty organizations, as well as other religions.
The Metropolitan is the point of reference of all bishops
[Met. Philip's emphasis] in his Archdiocese and they are under his authority.
All bishops within the Antiochian See are auxiliary bishops arid are directly under their spiritual authority.
The Metropolitan defines the responsibilities of the bishops and the place where they should serve. The bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan.
The aforementioned articles 75, 76, 77 and 78 are applicable in all Antiochian Archdioceses and whatever contradicts these articles Is null and void.
Since Bishop Basil, according to this annoumcement has Met. Philip as his point of reference
[reflecting Met. Philip's emphasis] and under Met. Philip's authority, Bp. Basil's responsibilities and where he should serve defined by Met. Philip, Bp. Basil not doing anything contrary to the will of Met. Philip as being only his auxiliary and under Met. Philip's authority directly, anything done contrary to Met. Philip's will being null and void, Bp. Basil continues to be subject to the same canonical jurisdiction of Met. Philip, nothing preventing Bp. Basil from remaining responsible to Met. Philip nor interefing in any way with the responsibility of Bp. Basil for Met. Philip's jurisdiction nor restricting Met. Philip's rights, even in the scope of Bp. Basil's compentency as Secretary of the EA's plan to organize North America on a canonical basis, and so to express the views of Met. Philip to the outside world.
I wonder what are those views that Bp. Basil is bound to express in his position as EA secretary.
Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Historic Episcopal Assembly on First Day
EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY - MAY 26, 2010
"Your Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Brother Bishops:
My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, “Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.” How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible.
The literature which we received from Chambesy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.
ONE, Despite the vitality and the dynamic nature of Orthodoxy in North America, no member of SCOBA, not even the chairman of SCOBA, was consulted about what was discussed in Geneva. We received rules from our brothers in Switzerland which we have nothing to do with. We have been on this continent for more than two hundred (200) years. We are no longer little children to have rules imposed on us from 5,000 miles away. Orthodoxy in America has its own ethos. We have our own theological institutions, and we have our own theologians, authors, publications and magazines. We do not intend to be disobedient to the Mother Churches; we just want to dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to know us and understand us. We have been here for a long, long time and we are very grateful to the Almighty God that in our theology and worship, we do express the fullness of the Holy Orthodox faith.
Fifty years ago our hierarchs, may their souls rest in peace, founded SCOBA which has done a splendid job despite our external limitations. We have established the Orthodox Christian Education Commission which is chaired by a Greek Orthodox gentleman. We have established the International Orthodox Christian Charities which is directed by Constantine Triantafilou, a very good Greek Orthodox. We have established the Orthodox Christian Mission Center which is doing an excellent job and we have done many other things which time does not permit me to enumerate.
My dear brothers,
We are faced now with a very serious procedural nightmare. We are, supposedly, here to discuss a new organization to replace SCOBA. The question is: Was SCOBA dissolved and if so, by whom? And when?? SCOBA has a constitution which is fifty years old. If this constitution has to be amended, let us then amend it according to correct procedures. No one can dissolve SCOBA except SCOBA itself. SCOBA has organized Bishops’ Assemblies before Chambesy told us to do so. The first Assembly was held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania in 1994, under the chairmanship of our brother, Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory. The second Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Washington, D.C. and the third Bishops’ Assembly was convened in Chicago, Illinois, both under the auspices of SCOBA and the Chairmanship of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios.
TWO - The second point which I would like to note is concerning the term “Diaspora” which was used several times in the literature which we received from Geneva. I remember, there are many of you who were at the Antiochian Village in 1994 and should remember that the term “Diaspora” was unanimously rejected by our assembly. We are not in Babylon; we are in North America, the new world. We are dealing here with second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth generations of American Orthodox and they refuse to be called “Diaspora.”
I believe that some of our churches in the Old World are in “Diaspora.” In Jerusalem, for example, we have 2,000 Orthodox Christians left. In Constantinople, the glorious capital of the Byzantine Empire, I was told that there are only 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. And the Turkish Government, until now, refuses to let us open that famous Theological School of Khalki, despite the intervention of the presidents of the United States. In Iraq, hundreds of Christians were slaughtered and thousands had to flee Iraq to the Syrian Arab Republic. We are free here in North America -- free to teach, free to preach, free to worship, free to write books and sometimes criticize even the presidents of the United States. We have the full freedom of expression in accordance with the United States Constitution. It is important to note here that the Holy Synod of Antioch, to my knowledge, never discussed the Chambesy decision and the rules of operation in order to formally bless this effort.
THREE - Some of the communiqués which were issued by the fathers in Geneva were good. I don’t understand, however, why Central America was joined to North America. The Antiochian Metropolitan of Mexico and Central America informed me that he wanted to be with the Orthodox Bishops of South America. The reason is: he has nothing in common with North America because he represents a different culture all together. As a matter of fact, he traveled to Brazil to attend the Bishops’ Assembly which met at the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Sao Paulo.
I hope that, in the future, this matter could possibly be addressed. In the communiqué which was issued from Geneva dated June 6-12, 2009, I read something very interesting and very hopeful. It says and I quote: “The conference expresses the common desires of all Orthodox Churches for a solution to the problem of the canonical organization of the Orthodox “Diaspora,” in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The same communiqué includes these bright words: “The mission of the Bishops’ Assemblies is the proclamation and promotion of the unity of the Orthodox Church, the common pastoral ministry of the Orthodox faithful in the region, as well as the common witness to the world.” Here we see a clear emphasis on the unity of the Orthodox Church. What is needed is the translation of these inspiring words into concrete action.
Other pleasing words appeared in Article III of the rules which state: “The Episcopal Assembly will have an executive committee composed of the Primatial Bishops of each of the canonical churches in the region.” From this text, I understand that no canonical bishop should be excluded from the assembly. If we share the same Eucharistic table which is the highest expression of Orthodox unity, can’t we work together on the Executive Committee?
Article XII of the rules is very promising. It states, “The Episcopal Assembly may establish its own internal regulations in order to supplement and adjust the above provisions, in accordance with the needs of the region and in respect to the Canon Law of the Orthodox Church.”
My dear brothers,
You can see that Article XII of the rules is very flexible and it gives us the freedom to “establish our own internal regulations.” Thus, no Primate of any jurisdiction should be excluded from the Executive Committee. Furthermore, the Executive Committee should be strong enough to prepare an adequate agenda for these Episcopal Assemblies. The Mother Churches must realize that Orthodoxy in America is the best gift to the world. And instead of being crushed by the burdens of the past, let us formulate a clear vision for the future. Thomas Jefferson, one of the fathers of our American revolution, once said: “I love the visions of the future rather than the dreams of the past.”
If I have a vision for the future, it is this: Jerusalem has less than 2,000 Orthodox left. Istanbul has 2,000 Greek Orthodox left. The future of Orthodoxy in the Middle East is uncertain. Thus, for the sake of international Orthodox unity and Orthodox unity in North America, we should with one voice, beg His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch to leave Istanbul and move to Washington, D.C. or New York City and head a united Orthodox Church in this hemisphere. All of us, I am sure, will be blessed to be under his omophorion and Orthodox unity in North America will cease to be a dream, but a reality.
My dear brothers,
If we do not bury the burdens of the past between certain autocephalous churches, such burdens will bury us, and Orthodoxy in this country and throughout the world will become an insignificant dot on the margin of history."
could just hear the air being sucked out of that room.
After capping a lifelong career of service to Orthodoxy in America with a year that called it all into question, Met. Philip seems, on the eve of the Episcopal Assembly, to be back on track:
There is No Diaspora, Metropolitan Phillip Says, Questions the Purpose of the Bishops Assembly http://members5.boardhost.com/STANDREWHOUSE/msg/1274574314.html
BOSTON - Metropolitan Phillip, Primate of the Autonomous Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America with 265 parishes, six Bishops and 350 priests, is the Vice-Chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Bishops of America, known as SCOBA, and also Vice-Chairman of the upcoming Panorthodox Bishops Assembly. In an exclusive interview with The National Herald, the prominent Prelate said that, “I really do not know what the purpose of this Assembly is all about.” He proposed an idea as a solution to the issue of what would happen to the Diaspora in the United States. He said, “At one time I proposed that the Ecumenical Patriarch leave Constantinople and come to Washington D.C. or to New York and keep his title as ecumenical Patriarch.”
In the interview, he touched on other critical areas for the church, including division and dissent.
TNH: What are you thoughts about the upcoming Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in New York?
PHILLIP: I do not see much difference between the coming Assembly and SCOBA. SCOBA is not dissolved, it is 50 years old, it has a constitution, it has not been dissolved. We had Bishop’s Assemblies with SCOBA in 1994 at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, under Archbishop Iakovos, then we had another one in Washington D.C., and we hade another one in Chicago, so this Bishops Assemblies are not new to us at all, we had them before.
TNH: What is going to be the purpose of this Assembly?
PHILLIP: I really do not know and what puzzles me is that we put Central America with North America. Our Bishop Andonios in Central America in Mexico went to Brazil and met with Tarasios and the other Bishops in South America, he refused to come and meet with us because he represents a different culture all together.
TNH: Are you going to this Assembly without knowing why you are there?
TNH: But you are the Vice-Chairman.
PHILLIP: Yes I am. (laughter). There is no preparation. The Archbishop should have called the executive committee of SCOBA first and tell us what he wants to tell us. What is happening? How did these people in Geneva issue all these communiques and rules without our knowledge and input as if we do not exist in North America?
TNH: Representatives of all the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches were present in Geneva.
PHILLIP: They do not know anything about America, all those representatives, nothing.
TNH: I understand the issue of Diaspora will be discussed.
PHILLIP: There is no Diaspora here. We decided in 1994 with the late Archbishop Iakovos. We rejected the term Diaspora for North America; Diaspora is in Jerusalem today, we have two thousand Orthodox left in Jerusalem and we have in Constantinople two thousand left. In Iraq thousands of Christians have been slaughtered and many fled to Syria and other countries.
TNH: So the term Diaspora doesn’t exist for you?
PHILIP: No, we are in a country where we can express ourselves, we can read, we can teach, we can write books, we have institutions, we live in a free country.
TNH: What are going to propose in this Assembly?
PHILLIP: I am going to propose the rejection of this term Diaspora
TNH: Are you going to propose the establishment of an indigenous autocephalous American Orthodox Church?
PHILLIP: If the Archbishop puts it on the agenda we will be very happy to discuss it.
TNH: If he doesn’t would you raise the issue?
PHILLIP: I do not think without any preparations we should jump to that. I think we should have the executive committee discuss it first and reach some conclusions and then bring these conclusions to the General Assembly of Bishops.
TN: Do you think, Your Eminence, it is practically feasible for the creation of an American Autocephalous Orthodox Church with all the Orthodox Jurisdictions United?
PHILLIP: No, but we could have a Synod of Bishops. We have a new situation here in North America and we need some creative thinking. We need some innovation to have a Synod of canonical Bishops.
TNH: Is that what SCOBA was?
PHILLIP: SCOBA was not too much. I do not want to diminish SCOBA, we established the Orthodox Christian Commission, the IOCC, and the OCMC.
TNH: Why did you say it is not feasible the creation of an Autocephalous American Orthodox Church?
PHILLIP: Who is going to recognize us? The so-called Mother Churches opposes that. Patriarch Bartholomew opposes that. He cannot stand the word Orthodox Unity, for example.
TNH: What about your Patriarch Ignatius?
PHILLIP: Patriarch Ignatius dances to the music of Patriarch Bartholomew. In the future it is inevitable to happen because we will be dealing with second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth generations of Orthodox born in this country. I hope it will be brought up in this Assembly, but I do not control the agenda. I do not know what is going to come out of this. We have given some rules. I told them even at SCOBA at least consult with us. We are here in America and we have rules imposed on us from oversees. We have been in this country for two hundred years. The future of Orthodoxy is here in America. At one time I proposed that the Ecumenical Patriarch leave Constantinople and come to Washington D.C. or to New York and keep his title as ecumenical Patriarch.
TN: Would you submit to him?
PHILLIP: Of course I will submit to him, we are going to have a United Orthodox Church in America with a Patriarch here and especially with an Ecumenical Patriarch.
TNH: What is the story with OCA?
PHILLIP: Since 1970 they have autocephaly and they are not recognized any anyone except Moscow. The OCA situation is unfortunate; they have been trying very hard to get recognition but Constantinople is against recognizing them and Antioch is likewise nobody recognizes them but they do exist de facto.
TNH: Is your Archdiocese in Eucharistic Communion with OCA?
PHILLIP: Of course we are.
TNH: You mean that you co-celebrate the Liturgy
TNH: Then how come the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Antioch do not recognize them? Is this some type of hypocrisy?
PHILLIP: It is.
TNH: Do you miss Archbishop Iakovos?
PHILLILP: I miss him a lot, we worked together for so many years, he was a great leader.
TNH: How is your relationship with Archbishop Demetrios?
PHILLIP: It is good.
TNH: When did you talk to him last time?
PHILLIP: He called the headquarters, I was in the hospital for a small procedure, and when I go home the first phone call that I am going to make will be to Archbishop Demetrios, to see what he wants. Probably he wants to have a meeting to discuss SCOBA first before we go to this Assembly with all kinds of confusion.
TNH: What is the administrative status of your Archdiocese? Are you autonomous? Was your autonomy recalled?
PHILLIP: We are a self rule Archdiocese.
TNH: You mean autonomous
PHILLIP: Yes, but our Patriarch is allergic to the word autonomous. I asked him would you accept self-ruled?’
TNH: It is the same thing, is it not?
PHILLIP: It is, but when I said self-ruled he said, no that is the word.
TNH: Where do you stand on the issue of married Bishops? Should we go back to the old tradition?
PHILLIP: If this is the wish of the Church I am for it.
TNH: How do you feel about pederasty and homosexuality in the Church?
PHILLIP: It is the most disgusting, it is a horrible thing, and there is no reason in the Orthodox Church for it and I absolutely have zero tolerance for it.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
and both come out of your mouth