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Author Topic: Who owns the church building?  (Read 8999 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dart
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« Reply #135 on: January 03, 2011, 09:25:46 PM »

Checks and balances--veto power
Those countries are a different level of free but anyhow is it really cooperative if the Priest is "overriding"?

You beat me to it, Father.  One need only look at our own system of government to find other examples where one person has veto power.  And, just as the Congress still has the option of over-riding the veto, so too does the parish have the option of appealing the priest's decision to the local hierarch.  Check and Balance.

Dart, you seem to be a one-trick pony when it comes to pointing out parish problems in the US (Salt Lake!).  Most parishes have some sort of issue going on, but these parishes seem to work it out, priest, council, and laity together.  You've brought up less than a handful of examples where this didn't happen exactly - out of over 1,600 parishes in the US.  99+% of the time, the system works, and the few times it doesn't we try to make things better.  There is no such animal as a fool-proof system; the devil makes sure of it.  But he still fails to prevail over Christ's Church, time and again.

What I find to be more interesting than this, though, is your fixation.  This was a thread about property ownership, which is a simple enough question with a simple enough answer.  You've managed to bring up pedophiles and other non-sequitur issues and mixed them into a pot about conciliarity, which is a separate issue from building ownership (just as rectangles get different treatment than squares in Euclidian geometry, even though all squares are rectangles).  Mr. Teacher, your "paper" (posts in this thread) would get poor marks for staying on topic.

Sometimes discussions lead to unexpected places. Makes things interesting.

I very much have appreciated FatherHLL's comments and learned much from him on this thread. He is only one person within the UOC; but, as he is the only one I know, to me he represents the character of the whole UOC and I am very impressed by him. If someone finds themselves in one of the dozen parishes of the GOA which are broken and neglected, the laity in that parish only know that the GOA is broken and do not experience anything else. So let's fix those dozen parishes. In fact, I am willing to help even one person that is trying to find God much less the joy of bringing a dozen parishes to God. I believe the Greek Orthodox Church failed in this exact regard and the Antiochian Church took in a dozen parish converts in the past. Unless Bishop Gerasimos and Archbishop Demetrios are able to get more laity involvement like they are trying to do, the UOC will have succeeded where the GOA has failed again.
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« Reply #136 on: January 03, 2011, 09:35:35 PM »

Checks and balances--veto power
Those countries are a different level of free but anyhow is it really cooperative if the Priest is "overriding"?

You beat me to it, Father.  One need only look at our own system of government to find other examples where one person has veto power.  And, just as the Congress still has the option of over-riding the veto, so too does the parish have the option of appealing the priest's decision to the local hierarch.  Check and Balance.

Dart, you seem to be a one-trick pony when it comes to pointing out parish problems in the US (Salt Lake!).  Most parishes have some sort of issue going on, but these parishes seem to work it out, priest, council, and laity together.  You've brought up less than a handful of examples where this didn't happen exactly - out of over 1,600 parishes in the US.  99+% of the time, the system works, and the few times it doesn't we try to make things better.  There is no such animal as a fool-proof system; the devil makes sure of it.  But he still fails to prevail over Christ's Church, time and again.

What I find to be more interesting than this, though, is your fixation.  This was a thread about property ownership, which is a simple enough question with a simple enough answer.  You've managed to bring up pedophiles and other non-sequitur issues and mixed them into a pot about conciliarity, which is a separate issue from building ownership (just as rectangles get different treatment than squares in Euclidian geometry, even though all squares are rectangles).  Mr. Teacher, your "paper" (posts in this thread) would get poor marks for staying on topic.

Sometimes discussions lead to unexpected places. Makes things interesting.

I very much have appreciated FatherHLL's comments and learned much from him on this thread. He is only one person within the UOC; but, as he is the only one I know, to me he represents the character of the whole UOC and I am very impressed by him. If someone finds themselves in one of the dozen parishes of the GOA which are broken and neglected, the laity in that parish only know that the GOA is broken and do not experience anything else.

You are in a position to quantify that there are exactly 12 Parishes among the 8 Metropolises and the Archdiocesan District in the GOA that you've deemed "broken."  Do I have to search through the archives of The National Herald to identify them?  Even if I could search through the archives, why should I ultimately care?

So let's fix those dozen parishes.

If Theodore Kalmoukos (religious journalist for The National Herald) writes about them in his paper, how does that fix anything other than antagonizing a situation (or as others have put it, using Satan to keep communities divided, separated, et al.)?

In fact, I am willing to help even one person that is trying to find God much less the joy of bringing a dozen parishes to God. I believe the Greek Orthodox Church failed in this exact regard and the Antiochian Church took in a dozen parish converts in the past.

You're confusing the issue.  Which 12 parishes converted from what to Antiochian?  Would you be referring to those 12 Palestinian Churches, formerly under the Jerusalem Patriarchate, which are under a Vicariate, headed by Archbishop Demetrios, that they refuse to acknowledge?

Unless Bishop Gerasimos and Archbishop Demetrios are able to get more laity involvement like they are trying to do, the UOC will have succeeded where the GOA has failed again.

First you praise Met. Gerasimos and now you criticize His Eminence?  Make up your mind.
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« Reply #137 on: January 03, 2011, 09:38:31 PM »

No other country gives the Church more freedom of action than in America. In countries of comparable freedom, do parish councils exist? If not, could you please give an example and describe the structure found there?

Kindly see reply #70 of this thread:

I imagine the Church under communist regimes or muslim theocracies is a little different and not applicable to America as are those countries where the clergy gets a government paycheck.

Are you a reporter?   Huh

Thanks, I thought parish councils existed elsewhere too.
No, not a reporter. I'm a teacher.

Journalism teacher?


No, I am certified to teach Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Social Studies. I am not very good at the language arts.

Greek and/or Sunday School teacher?   Huh
Sunday School

Let's see: pre-nursery through 3rd grade, 4th through 8th grade or high school level?

Would you teach any of the stuff (in an age appropriate manner) you've mentioned in any of your posts on this board to your students?

I remember most of my Sunday School teachers and none of them ever taught the stuff that you've mentioned on this board.

Father George likes you so it is ok for you to be off topic but he gets upset if I'm off topic.  Wink

I teach high school. Only dogma is taught in Sunday School. "Secular" issues are discussed within a spiritual framework. Students come down on both sides of the issue on the above topic but what is important to me is that they come to Sunday School and discuss it. Some other teachers are of the Catholic school nun slapping hands with rulers mindset and their class is 5-10% attendance. My class attendance is the best they have seen for teenagers in 20 years.

In my opinion and there is also research to support this, participation is very important to keeping young adults in church. This is only seconded to having friends/contacts within the church.
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« Reply #138 on: January 03, 2011, 09:49:31 PM »

Sometimes discussions lead to unexpected places. Makes things interesting.

The discussion didn't lead anywhere; on multiple occasions, you've inserted non-sequitur points (like your pedophile comment).

I very much have appreciated FatherHLL's comments and learned much from him on this thread. He is only one person within the UOC; but, as he is the only one I know, to me he represents the character of the whole UOC and I am very impressed by him.

As am I!

If someone finds themselves in one of the dozen parishes of the GOA which are broken and neglected, the laity in that parish only know that the GOA is broken and do not experience anything else.

Broken and neglected?  A dozen?  First, any number of "broken" parishes greater than 0 is a travesty; however, statistically, 12/500+ isn't as bad as it is in other places (non-Orthodox).  Second, some of the parishes that make the news for problems do so because of bad pastoral leadership; however, others do so because of bad lay leadership.  So the "broken" parishes aren't always symptomatic of a bad clergy-laity relationship in the GOA (or any other American jurisdiction, for that matter).  "Neglected" parishes again sometimes are neglected by their hierarchs, and sometimes distance themselves voluntarily, so the neglect isn't always symptomatic of any larger problem.

So let's fix those dozen parishes. In fact, I am willing to help even one person that is trying to find God much less the joy of bringing a dozen parishes to God.

There are people working to fix the dozen parishes.  Be patient - there is no magic pill that will fix this, only prayer and fasting.

I believe the Greek Orthodox Church failed in this exact regard and the Antiochian Church took in a dozen parish converts in the past.

It's a bit hard to discern what you're referring to here; your communication isn't very clear.  A dozen converts, or a dozen parishes full of converts, or a dozen converting parishes?  Are you referring to the EOC?  Hindsight, being what it is, calls the GOA/EP's turning down of the EOC a "mixed failure" - some visionaries have come from that group, and some nightmares; they saw the nightmares and said, "no, thank you - not on your terms, at least."  Are you referring to a handful of parishes that have split in various parts of the country?  I can think of at least 3 in the South that split because of priest issues, and the receiving (non-GOA) hierarch involved frequently threw fuel on the fire.  

Unless Bishop Gerasimos and Archbishop Demetrios are able to get more laity involvement like they are trying to do, the UOC will have succeeded where the GOA has failed again.

You must be living under a rock - there is a lot of lay involvement in the parishes, metropolises, and the archdiocese of the GOA.  We have our issues, but the laity are squarely and completely involved in creating solutions.
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« Reply #139 on: January 03, 2011, 09:49:41 PM »

Checks and balances--veto power
Those countries are a different level of free but anyhow is it really cooperative if the Priest is "overriding"?

You beat me to it, Father.  One need only look at our own system of government to find other examples where one person has veto power.  And, just as the Congress still has the option of over-riding the veto, so too does the parish have the option of appealing the priest's decision to the local hierarch.  Check and Balance.

Dart, you seem to be a one-trick pony when it comes to pointing out parish problems in the US (Salt Lake!).  Most parishes have some sort of issue going on, but these parishes seem to work it out, priest, council, and laity together.  You've brought up less than a handful of examples where this didn't happen exactly - out of over 1,600 parishes in the US.  99+% of the time, the system works, and the few times it doesn't we try to make things better.  There is no such animal as a fool-proof system; the devil makes sure of it.  But he still fails to prevail over Christ's Church, time and again.

What I find to be more interesting than this, though, is your fixation.  This was a thread about property ownership, which is a simple enough question with a simple enough answer.  You've managed to bring up pedophiles and other non-sequitur issues and mixed them into a pot about conciliarity, which is a separate issue from building ownership (just as rectangles get different treatment than squares in Euclidian geometry, even though all squares are rectangles).  Mr. Teacher, your "paper" (posts in this thread) would get poor marks for staying on topic.

Sometimes discussions lead to unexpected places. Makes things interesting.

I very much have appreciated FatherHLL's comments and learned much from him on this thread. He is only one person within the UOC; but, as he is the only one I know, to me he represents the character of the whole UOC and I am very impressed by him. If someone finds themselves in one of the dozen parishes of the GOA which are broken and neglected, the laity in that parish only know that the GOA is broken and do not experience anything else.

You are in a position to quantify that there are exactly 12 Parishes among the 8 Metropolises and the Archdiocesan District in the GOA that you've deemed "broken."  Do I have to search through the archives of The National Herald to identify them?  Even if I could search through the archives, why should I ultimately care?

So let's fix those dozen parishes.

If Theodore Kalmoukos (religious journalist for The National Herald) writes about them in his paper, how does that fix anything other than antagonizing a situation (or as others have put it, using Satan to keep communities divided, separated, et al.)?

In fact, I am willing to help even one person that is trying to find God much less the joy of bringing a dozen parishes to God. I believe the Greek Orthodox Church failed in this exact regard and the Antiochian Church took in a dozen parish converts in the past.

You're confusing the issue.  Which 12 parishes converted from what to Antiochian?  Would you be referring to those 12 Palestinian Churches, formerly under the Jerusalem Patriarchate, which are under a Vicariate, headed by Archbishop Demetrios, that they refuse to acknowledge?

Unless Bishop Gerasimos and Archbishop Demetrios are able to get more laity involvement like they are trying to do, the UOC will have succeeded where the GOA has failed again.

First you praise Met. Gerasimos and now you criticize His Eminence?  Make up your mind.

12 parishes was just a figurative number. Don't know how many but 2% seemed like something people wouldn't argue over. Apparently I was wrong so you can fill in whatever number you want above 1 for arguements sack.

I was referring to Father Peter Gilquest and his group of parishes.

Still a huge fan of His Eminence Gerasimos and Archbishop Demetrios. Did not mean for it to sound critical but rather praiseworthy for them moving in the right direction.

Any thoughts on FatherHill's post about their regulations? On Bishop Gerasimos' plan on Building Up the House of God, the stewardship guidelines found on the Archdiocese website? Or anything else that encourages more laity involvement?
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« Reply #140 on: January 03, 2011, 09:53:30 PM »

Father George likes you so it is ok for you to be off topic but he gets upset if I'm off topic.  Wink

More like, "Since I haven't formally warned you yet, I haven't warned him, either."

I teach high school. Only dogma is taught in Sunday School.

I hope it's more than dogma being taught in Sunday School - praxis, etc.

In my opinion and there is also research to support this, participation is very important to keeping young adults in church. This is only seconded to having friends/contacts within the church.

You should replace "young adults" with "everyone," and the statistics will continue to back you up.  The people who are involved in their parishes are more likely to remain active and in regular attendance, and give significantly more (time, talent, and treasure) than those who are not regularly involved.
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« Reply #141 on: January 03, 2011, 09:58:08 PM »

 We have our issues, but the laity are squarely and completely involved in creating solutions.

Does a Priest overriding the decisions of parish councils on practical secular matters help or hinder this?
Doesn't the language presented by FatherHill for the UOC provide a better framework for laity involvement? Doesn't it also give the Bishop greater flexibility by allowing him to designate someone other than the Priest to represent him on the Parish council.

If the UOC was heretical for their parish regulations other Bishops would be obligated to correct them. So clearly the UOC regulations are a canonical option for parish administration. What do you see as a problem with how the UOC operates?
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« Reply #142 on: January 03, 2011, 09:58:57 PM »

12 parishes was just a figurative number. Don't know how many but 2% seemed like something people wouldn't argue over. Apparently I was wrong so you can fill in whatever number you want above 1 for arguements sack.

It's not actually a bad number; there are usually, at any point in time, around 6-12 parishes having an issue that would be described as something more than "minor."

I was referring to Father Peter Gilquest and his group of parishes.

As I mention above, this is a "mixed bag" sort of example - some good, some bad.  I was a bigger fan of what the AOA did until, (1) I heard about the other side of the EOC coin, (2) we all learned more about Fearless Leader, and (3) a certain prominent member of that group continued to toe the Fearless Leader line, even through the recent governance problems, info about criminals being involved in AOA governance, etc.

Still a huge fan of His Eminence Gerasimos and Archbishop Demetrios. Did not mean for it to sound critical but rather praiseworthy for them moving in the right direction.

Agreed.

Any thoughts on FatherHill's post about their regulations? On Bishop Gerasimos' plan on Building Up the House of God, the stewardship guidelines found on the Archdiocese website? Or anything else that encourages more laity involvement?

You do remember that you've been formally warned by the moderator of this section to move your discussion on Metropolitan Gerasimos' plan to the appropriate thread, right?
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« Reply #143 on: January 03, 2011, 10:02:56 PM »

We have our issues, but the laity are squarely and completely involved in creating solutions.
Does a Priest overriding the decisions of parish councils on practical secular matters help or hinder this?

There's no blanket answer for this, just as I would not be able to answer any other simplistic question, like, "should I fire this gun?"  Well, are you aiming it at a target, or human being?  Are you practicing, defending yourself, committing a felony, or some mix of the 3?  There need to be more details in order to answer the question.

What do you see as a problem with how the UOC operates?

This is what I'd call a "directed question" - you're presupposing an answer (i.e. that I have a problem) with the way you've worded the question.
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« Reply #144 on: January 03, 2011, 10:08:57 PM »

We have our issues, but the laity are squarely and completely involved in creating solutions.
Does a Priest overriding the decisions of parish councils on practical secular matters help or hinder this?

There's no blanket answer for this, just as I would not be able to answer any other simplistic question, like, "should I fire this gun?"  Well, are you aiming it at a target, or human being?  Are you practicing, defending yourself, committing a felony, or some mix of the 3?  There need to be more details in order to answer the question.

What do you see as a problem with how the UOC operates?

This is what I'd call a "directed question" - you're presupposing an answer (i.e. that I have a problem) with the way you've worded the question.

Question avoidance?Huh?

Would you support the adoption of the UOC guidelines that FatherHill posted? Do you like them or not? Discuss?

I support them because they give the laity the feeling of greater "ownership" and encourages their involvement in the Church. It also gives the Bishop greater flexibility in appointing the right person to represent him on Council.

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« Reply #145 on: January 03, 2011, 10:09:57 PM »

Doesn't the language presented by FatherHill

I just caught this - not to speak for him, but his username is FatherHLL - that's H L L, not Hill.  They look like initials.
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« Reply #146 on: January 03, 2011, 10:12:04 PM »

Question avoidance?Huh?

You'd probably know a thing or two about it.  Let me know about those details, and maybe I'll give you my perspective on your questions.
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« Reply #147 on: January 03, 2011, 10:13:24 PM »

We have our issues, but the laity are squarely and completely involved in creating solutions.
Does a Priest overriding the decisions of parish councils on practical secular matters help or hinder this?
There's no blanket answer for this, just as I would not be able to answer any other simplistic question, like, "should I fire this gun?"  Well, are you aiming it at a target, or human being?  Are you practicing, defending yourself, committing a felony, or some mix of the 3?  There need to be more details in order to answer the question.
What do you see as a problem with how the UOC operates?
This is what I'd call a "directed question" - you're presupposing an answer (i.e. that I have a problem) with the way you've worded the question.
Question avoidance?Huh?Would you support the adoption of the UOC guidelines that FatherHill posted? Do you like them or not? Discuss? I support them because they give the laity the feeling of greater "ownership" and encourages their involvement in the Church. It also gives the Bishop greater flexibility in appointing the right person to represent him on Council.
 Actually these are not the UOC guidelines, but rather the Moscow Patriarchal guidelines, although UOC guidelines are similar on many points.  I just posted them for reference.
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« Reply #148 on: January 03, 2011, 10:17:37 PM »

Thank you FatherHLL,
I'll sign off for now and maybe continue this when some of the other posters are feeling less hostile.
Cheers
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« Reply #149 on: January 03, 2011, 10:38:10 PM »

I'll sign off for now and maybe continue this when some of the other posters are feeling less hostile.

Speaking at least for myself, there doesn't seem to be anyone in this discussion who is "hostile."  You're projecting onto those who disagree with you this "hostility" which, in fact, is likely not there, at least not on my part.
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« Reply #150 on: January 04, 2011, 12:46:41 AM »

I'd like to reference the parish regulations previously posted by FatherHLL for the Moscow Patriarchate http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/ustav/xi/ (FatherHLL also mentions that the UOC has similar regulations.)

As these regulations are promoted by an Orthodox Patriarchate, I offer them as being Canonical.
Secondly, I offer them as being superior to the current GOA regulations in that they:
1. Allow for the Bishop to designate a Rector to lead the parish who is not necessarily the Priest.
2. Specifically outlines the authority of the Rector and Parish Council and gives the Parish Council substantially more authority over non spiritual matters than the GOA regulations.
3. Clearly gives "ownership" of the parish to the parish members while maintaining Episcopal control by allowing the Episcopate to remove parish members (all of them even) for cause.

I believe adoption of parts of these regulations help solve two problems within the GOA. How to handle clergy with poor administrative skills and how to increase laity involvement.

As there should be no arguments over the canonical and Church dogma which allows these regulations since an Orthodox Patriarch is practicing them currently and they are also clearly not Protestant but Orthodox, are there any reasons not to accept these regulations within the GOA?

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« Reply #151 on: January 04, 2011, 02:22:06 AM »

I'd like to reference the parish regulations previously posted by FatherHLL for the Moscow Patriarchate http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/ustav/xi/ (FatherHLL also mentions that the UOC has similar regulations.)

As these regulations are promoted by an Orthodox Patriarchate, I offer them as being Canonical.
Secondly, I offer them as being superior to the current GOA regulations in that they:
1. Allow for the Bishop to designate a Rector to lead the parish who is not necessarily the Priest.
2. Specifically outlines the authority of the Rector and Parish Council and gives the Parish Council substantially more authority over non spiritual matters than the GOA regulations.
3. Clearly gives "ownership" of the parish to the parish members while maintaining Episcopal control by allowing the Episcopate to remove parish members (all of them even) for cause.

I believe adoption of parts of these regulations help solve two problems within the GOA. How to handle clergy with poor administrative skills and how to increase laity involvement.

As there should be no arguments over the canonical and Church dogma which allows these regulations
 since an Orthodox Patriarch is practicing them currently and they are also clearly not Protestant but Orthodox, are there any reasons not to accept these regulations within the GOA?

I don't think you notice that the Bishop still reserves the right to take the Proprty because the only reason it is in the possession of the parish is due to it's presence in the Russian Orthodox Church, as we read on that site.

It also points out that parish members if they leave, have no right to take anything with them because the property they donate to the parish then belongs to that parish and to the church.

Also, i think the rector is a Priest. I did a quick search using Russian and the only references I got to Rectors were referring to Priests. This is often a "senior" Priest that is assigned to a Paridh in addition to the Priest that serves actively.

Dart, I'm afraid you are reading too much of your own viewpoint into the context of that model.
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« Reply #152 on: January 04, 2011, 08:59:34 AM »

I'd like to reference the parish regulations previously posted by FatherHLL for the Moscow Patriarchate http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/ustav/xi/ (FatherHLL also mentions that the UOC has similar regulations.)

As these regulations are promoted by an Orthodox Patriarchate, I offer them as being Canonical.
Secondly, I offer them as being superior to the current GOA regulations in that they:
1. Allow for the Bishop to designate a Rector to lead the parish who is not necessarily the Priest.
2. Specifically outlines the authority of the Rector and Parish Council and gives the Parish Council substantially more authority over non spiritual matters than the GOA regulations.
3. Clearly gives "ownership" of the parish to the parish members while maintaining Episcopal control by allowing the Episcopate to remove parish members (all of them even) for cause.

I believe adoption of parts of these regulations help solve two problems within the GOA. How to handle clergy with poor administrative skills and how to increase laity involvement.

As there should be no arguments over the canonical and Church dogma which allows these regulations
 since an Orthodox Patriarch is practicing them currently and they are also clearly not Protestant but Orthodox, are there any reasons not to accept these regulations within the GOA?

I don't think you notice that the Bishop still reserves the right to take the Proprty because the only reason it is in the possession of the parish is due to it's presence in the Russian Orthodox Church, as we read on that site.

It also points out that parish members if they leave, have no right to take anything with them because the property they donate to the parish then belongs to that parish and to the church.

Also, i think the rector is a Priest. I did a quick search using Russian and the only references I got to Rectors were referring to Priests. This is often a "senior" Priest that is assigned to a Paridh in addition to the Priest that serves actively.

Dart, I'm afraid you are reading too much of your own viewpoint into the context of that model.

Maybe you are reading to much into my position. I am perfectly happy with a member leaving the parish not receiving any property. It does not belong to them but to the members of the Church. Someone who leaves the Church or is expelled from the Church is no longer a part of it.

In most cases the Rector is and should be the Priest but it does not have to be. Maybe in 1-2% of the cases it would turn out to be someone else. It is a good option for the Bishop to have.

The question is not why I don't like the regulations because I have already said that I do. The question is why others would not like them since the issues of Orthodoxy versus Protestant has been removed with these regulations already being practised by an Orthodox Patriarchate.
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« Reply #153 on: January 04, 2011, 10:54:49 AM »

I'd like to reference the parish regulations previously posted by FatherHLL for the Moscow Patriarchate http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/ustav/xi/ (FatherHLL also mentions that the UOC has similar regulations.)

As these regulations are promoted by an Orthodox Patriarchate, I offer them as being Canonical.
Secondly, I offer them as being superior to the current GOA regulations in that they:
1. Allow for the Bishop to designate a Rector to lead the parish who is not necessarily the Priest.
2. Specifically outlines the authority of the Rector and Parish Council and gives the Parish Council substantially more authority over non spiritual matters than the GOA regulations.
3. Clearly gives "ownership" of the parish to the parish members while maintaining Episcopal control by allowing the Episcopate to remove parish members (all of them even) for cause.

I believe adoption of parts of these regulations help solve two problems within the GOA. How to handle clergy with poor administrative skills and how to increase laity involvement.

As there should be no arguments over the canonical and Church dogma which allows these regulations
 since an Orthodox Patriarch is practicing them currently and they are also clearly not Protestant but Orthodox, are there any reasons not to accept these regulations within the GOA?

I don't think you notice that the Bishop still reserves the right to take the Proprty because the only reason it is in the possession of the parish is due to it's presence in the Russian Orthodox Church, as we read on that site.

It also points out that parish members if they leave, have no right to take anything with them because the property they donate to the parish then belongs to that parish and to the church.

Also, i think the rector is a Priest. I did a quick search using Russian and the only references I got to Rectors were referring to Priests. This is often a "senior" Priest that is assigned to a Paridh in addition to the Priest that serves actively.

Dart, I'm afraid you are reading too much of your own viewpoint into the context of that model.

Maybe you are reading to much into my position. I am perfectly happy with a member leaving the parish not receiving any property. It does not belong to them but to the members of the Church. Someone who leaves the Church or is expelled from the Church is no longer a part of it.

In most cases the Rector is and should be the Priest but it does not have to be. Maybe in 1-2% of the cases it would turn out to be someone else. It is a good option for the Bishop to have.

The question is not why I don't like the regulations because I have already said that I do. The question is why others would not like them since the issues of Orthodoxy versus Protestant has been removed with these regulations already being practised by an Orthodox Patriarchate.

I hate to throw a little bit of real world into your analysis of the Moscow Patriarchate's by-laws but they have to be read and considered in the context of Russian Civil Law which is a whole different animal in relation to the Anglo-American legal system. The whole concepts of property law and corporate governance differ and I would not vouch for the accuracy of the translation from the Russian to idiomatic English. Sorry.
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« Reply #154 on: January 04, 2011, 11:54:36 AM »

Rector=Nastoyatel'=Proistamenos
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« Reply #155 on: January 04, 2011, 12:24:32 PM »

I'd like to reference the parish regulations previously posted by FatherHLL for the Moscow Patriarchate http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/ustav/xi/ (FatherHLL also mentions that the UOC has similar regulations.)

The only portions of the above document relevant to the OP are:

Quote
7. In the event that some members split off or all members of the Parish meeting withdraw from the Parish, they shall not be entitled to claim any rights to the property and assets of the Parish.

8. In the event that the Parish meeting takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Parish shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. That will entail the cessation of the activities of the Parish as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and will deprive it of the right to property, which belonged to the Parish by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.

I should add that these state the same principle, although using different words, as the GOA's position on the same: if some people leave the parish, the parish property belongs to the group in communion with the diocese, and if the entire parish decides they don't want to be in the diocese, then the diocese deprives them of their "right" to the property, which will then belong to the diocese.
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« Reply #156 on: January 04, 2011, 12:34:04 PM »

1. Allow for the Bishop to designate a Rector to lead the parish who is not necessarily the Priest.
2. Specifically outlines the authority of the Rector and Parish Council and gives the Parish Council substantially more authority over non spiritual matters than the GOA regulations.
3. Clearly gives "ownership" of the parish to the parish members while maintaining Episcopal control by allowing the Episcopate to remove parish members (all of them even) for cause.

I believe adoption of parts of these regulations help solve two problems within the GOA. How to handle clergy with poor administrative skills and how to increase laity involvement.

As there should be no arguments over the canonical and Church dogma which allows these regulations since an Orthodox Patriarch is practicing them currently and they are also clearly not Protestant but Orthodox, are there any reasons not to accept these regulations within the GOA?

Define your use of "Rector."  It's a word foreign to Greek use (rector, rectory, etc.); "Proistamenos" means "the one who stands in front" (i.e. the senior).  Do you mean Rector to be "head of the parish?"  In that case, there is no historical or canonical precedent for a non-clergyman to be Proistamenos of a parish.  And, according to the functions outlined in the regulations, a non-clergyman cannot fulfill the responsibilities outlined of the Rector; only a priest or hierarch can.
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« Reply #157 on: January 04, 2011, 01:39:24 PM »

No other country gives the Church more freedom of action than in America. In countries of comparable freedom, do parish councils exist?


IDK whether you consider Poland 'a country of freedom comparable to the US' but we have Parish councils. I don't want to translate the whole section of the Church of Poland's Statute but their prerogatives are quite great. On the other hand there are little Parishes where people want to actively engage in a Parish management. My uncle who is a Parish Priest in one village does not have a Parish council in his Paris (or it exists only in theory) because no one there want to be a council member.

And, according to the functions outlined in the regulations, a non-clergyman cannot fulfill the responsibilities outlined of the Rector; only a priest or hierarch can.

I Poland a Deacon can become one too.

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« Reply #158 on: January 04, 2011, 02:13:34 PM »

To Podkarpatska: So if there is no conflict with US law you would accept it?

To Father George: The property never belongs to the diocese but always the members of the Church. The Bishop maintains the right (which nobody I believe has disputed) to dismiss parishioners for cause. If the principles are the same to you and only the language is different from the GOA, would you accept them into the GOA?

The Rector is an office of the parish appointed by the Bishop whose authority and responsibilities are listed in the regulations. The regulations specify specific requirements for the clergy which are not the same as the Rector. There is nothing in the regulations that state the Rector has to be a Priest.

Historically, laymen have had positions of administrative authority. I believe the Archons of the Order of St Andrew are exactly this continuation of lay administration and leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As Isa as noted before, "Btw, the diaconate, in origin, is basically a glorified layman. Priests, in origin, are limited bishops.  The episcopate is the real exercise of the priethood of Christ." So there is no reason why the Bishop cannot have a baptized member of the royal priesthood represent his authority in the administration of a parish.
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« Reply #159 on: January 04, 2011, 02:34:19 PM »

To Podkarpatska: So if there is no conflict with US law you would accept it?

To Father George: The property never belongs to the diocese but always the members of the Church. The Bishop maintains the right (which nobody I believe has disputed) to dismiss parishioners for cause. If the principles are the same to you and only the language is different from the GOA, would you accept them into the GOA?

The Rector is an office of the parish appointed by the Bishop whose authority and responsibilities are listed in the regulations. The regulations specify specific requirements for the clergy which are not the same as the Rector. There is nothing in the regulations that state the Rector has to be a Priest.

Historically, laymen have had positions of administrative authority. I believe the Archons of the Order of St Andrew are exactly this continuation of lay administration and leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As Isa as noted before, "Btw, the diaconate, in origin, is basically a glorified layman. Priests, in origin, are limited bishops.  The episcopate is the real exercise of the priethood of Christ." So there is no reason why the Bishop cannot have a baptized member of the royal priesthood represent his authority in the administration of a parish.

Dart, I think you missed Fr. George's point, in the points you provided from the Russian Orthodox Church, it specifically says that if an entire Parish seeks to leave the Archdiocese (or the Russian Orthodox Church), then the Bishop has the right to take the property from them.

The rector is a Priest, but isn't necessarily the only Priest in the Parish, as Parishes often have "senior" Priests...
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« Reply #160 on: January 04, 2011, 02:47:19 PM »

To Podkarpatska: So if there is no conflict with US law you would accept it?

To Father George: The property never belongs to the diocese but always the members of the Church. The Bishop maintains the right (which nobody I believe has disputed) to dismiss parishioners for cause. If the principles are the same to you and only the language is different from the GOA, would you accept them into the GOA?

The Rector is an office of the parish appointed by the Bishop whose authority and responsibilities are listed in the regulations. The regulations specify specific requirements for the clergy which are not the same as the Rector. There is nothing in the regulations that state the Rector has to be a Priest.

Historically, laymen have had positions of administrative authority. I believe the Archons of the Order of St Andrew are exactly this continuation of lay administration and leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As Isa as noted before, "Btw, the diaconate, in origin, is basically a glorified layman. Priests, in origin, are limited bishops.  The episcopate is the real exercise of the priethood of Christ." So there is no reason why the Bishop cannot have a baptized member of the royal priesthood represent his authority in the administration of a parish.

Dart, I think you missed Fr. George's point, in the points you provided from the Russian Orthodox Church, it specifically says that if an entire Parish seeks to leave the Archdiocese (or the Russian Orthodox Church), then the Bishop has the right to take the property from them.

The rector is a Priest, but isn't necessarily the only Priest in the Parish, as Parishes often have "senior" Priests...

Please post the citation for the Bishop taking property. I do not see it after reading through it twice.

Please cite where it says the Rector is a Priest. It is also not there.

Are you now insinuating that laypeople cannot be representatives of the Bishop in parish administration because of a cannon? Please cite the cannon.

Personally, I would have thought there would be objection to the Parish meeting (assembly) determining the pay of the clergy and Parish council but maybe not many people have actually read through the regulations yet.
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« Reply #161 on: January 04, 2011, 03:24:26 PM »

No other country gives the Church more freedom of action than in America. In countries of comparable freedom, do parish councils exist?


IDK whether you consider Poland 'a country of freedom comparable to the US' but we have Parish councils. I don't want to translate the whole section of the Church of Poland's Statute but their prerogatives are quite great. On the other hand there are little Parishes where people want to actively engage in a Parish management. My uncle who is a Parish Priest in one village does not have a Parish council in his Paris (or it exists only in theory) because no one there want to be a council member.

And, according to the functions outlined in the regulations, a non-clergyman cannot fulfill the responsibilities outlined of the Rector; only a priest or hierarch can.

I Poland a Deacon can become one too.



Thank you for your post. Is the Deacon the Rector only when there is no Priest or can the Deacon be Rector in a parish that also has a Priest?
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« Reply #162 on: January 04, 2011, 03:28:45 PM »

To Podkarpatska: So if there is no conflict with US law you would accept it?

To Father George: The property never belongs to the diocese but always the members of the Church. The Bishop maintains the right (which nobody I believe has disputed) to dismiss parishioners for cause. If the principles are the same to you and only the language is different from the GOA, would you accept them into the GOA?

The Rector is an office of the parish appointed by the Bishop whose authority and responsibilities are listed in the regulations. The regulations specify specific requirements for the clergy which are not the same as the Rector. There is nothing in the regulations that state the Rector has to be a Priest.

Historically, laymen have had positions of administrative authority. I believe the Archons of the Order of St Andrew are exactly this continuation of lay administration and leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As Isa as noted before, "Btw, the diaconate, in origin, is basically a glorified layman. Priests, in origin, are limited bishops.  The episcopate is the real exercise of the priethood of Christ." So there is no reason why the Bishop cannot have a baptized member of the royal priesthood represent his authority in the administration of a parish.

Dart, I think you missed Fr. George's point, in the points you provided from the Russian Orthodox Church, it specifically says that if an entire Parish seeks to leave the Archdiocese (or the Russian Orthodox Church), then the Bishop has the right to take the property from them.

The rector is a Priest, but isn't necessarily the only Priest in the Parish, as Parishes often have "senior" Priests...

Please post the citation for the Bishop taking property. I do not see it after reading through it twice.

Please cite where it says the Rector is a Priest. It is also not there.

Are you now insinuating that laypeople cannot be representatives of the Bishop in parish administration because of a cannon? Please cite the cannon.

Personally, I would have thought there would be objection to the Parish meeting (assembly) determining the pay of the clergy and Parish council but maybe not many people have actually read through the regulations yet.

Quote
7. In the event that some members split off or all members of the Parish meeting withdraw from the Parish, they shall not be entitled to claim any rights to the property and assets of the Parish.

8. In the event that the Parish meeting takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Parish shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. That will entail the cessation of the activities of the Parish as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and will deprive it of the right to property, which belonged to the Parish by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.

The terms in Russian for "Rector" are:
ректор (rector)
пастор (pastor)
приходский священник (vicar)

Which are, in my opinion, clear references to the Rector as being a Priest.

Quote
1. The Rector
18. Every parish shall be headed by the Rector of the church appointed by the Diocesan Bishop for spiritual guidance of the believers and the administration of the clergy and the parish. The Rector shall be accountable to the Diocesan Bishop for his activity.
19. The Rector shall be responsible for the correct celebration of the divine services in accordance with the Statute of the Church, for church sermon, for the religious and moral state and proper education of the members of the parish. He must conscientiously discharge all liturgical, pastoral and administrative duties determined by his office in accordance with the established canons and the present Statute.
20. The responsibilities of the Rector shall include:
a) guiding the clergy in fulfilling their liturgical and pastoral duties;
b) supervising the state of the church building, its decoration and the availability of all objects necessary for the divine services in accordance with the requirements of the liturgical rubrics and instructions of the Church authorities;
c) caring for correct and reverential reading and singing in the church;
d) caring for the exact abiding by the instructions of the Diocesan Bishop;
e) organizing activities in the public domain, catechetical, charitable and educational activities of the parish;
f) convening and chairing the sessions of the Parish meeting;
g) suspending with sufficient grounds the execution of the decisions of the Parish meeting and the Parish Council on the matters of doctrinal, canonical, liturgical or administrative and economic nature with subsequent referral of the matter to the Diocesan Bishop for consideration;
h) supervising the execution of the decisions of the Parish meeting and the work of the Parish Council;
i) representing the interests of the parish in the bodies of state power and local self-administration;
j) submitting to the Diocesan Bishop directly or through the Dean the annual reports on the state of the parish and its work and on the activities carried out in it;
k) maintaining the official church correspondence;
l) keeping a liturgical journal and parish archive;
m) issuing certificates of baptism and marriage.
21. The Rector can have a vacation and leave his parish for a while exclusively with the permission of the Diocesan authority received in the prescribed manner.

For #18, a layperson cannot be the spiritual guide for a Parish, this is clearly a member of the Clergy. It also cites him as being the "administrator" of the clergy and laity, which cannot be a layperson. (that is, a layperson cannot hold administration over clergy)

It also notes that he should keep a liturgical journal and a parish archive. The Parish archive in the Russian Church has traditionally been kept by the (Or a) Priest in the Parish.

One could argue that a layperson could do most (but not all) of those assigned duties, but I doubt this is talking about a layperson. This is (in my opinion) talking about a member of the Clergy, which would be anyone from Deacon up to Bishop...
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« Reply #163 on: January 04, 2011, 03:34:00 PM »

Thank you for your post. Is the Deacon the Rector only when there is no Priest or can the Deacon be Rector in a parish that also has a Priest?

A Deacon can become a rector because he is a member of the clergy.
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« Reply #164 on: January 04, 2011, 03:40:54 PM »

To Podkarpatska: So if there is no conflict with US law you would accept it?

To Father George: The property never belongs to the diocese but always the members of the Church. The Bishop maintains the right (which nobody I believe has disputed) to dismiss parishioners for cause. If the principles are the same to you and only the language is different from the GOA, would you accept them into the GOA?

The Rector is an office of the parish appointed by the Bishop whose authority and responsibilities are listed in the regulations. The regulations specify specific requirements for the clergy which are not the same as the Rector. There is nothing in the regulations that state the Rector has to be a Priest.

Historically, laymen have had positions of administrative authority. I believe the Archons of the Order of St Andrew are exactly this continuation of lay administration and leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As Isa as noted before, "Btw, the diaconate, in origin, is basically a glorified layman. Priests, in origin, are limited bishops.  The episcopate is the real exercise of the priethood of Christ." So there is no reason why the Bishop cannot have a baptized member of the royal priesthood represent his authority in the administration of a parish.

Dart, I think you missed Fr. George's point, in the points you provided from the Russian Orthodox Church, it specifically says that if an entire Parish seeks to leave the Archdiocese (or the Russian Orthodox Church), then the Bishop has the right to take the property from them.

The rector is a Priest, but isn't necessarily the only Priest in the Parish, as Parishes often have "senior" Priests...

Please post the citation for the Bishop taking property. I do not see it after reading through it twice.

Please cite where it says the Rector is a Priest. It is also not there.

Are you now insinuating that laypeople cannot be representatives of the Bishop in parish administration because of a cannon? Please cite the cannon.

Personally, I would have thought there would be objection to the Parish meeting (assembly) determining the pay of the clergy and Parish council but maybe not many people have actually read through the regulations yet.

Quote
7. In the event that some members split off or all members of the Parish meeting withdraw from the Parish, they shall not be entitled to claim any rights to the property and assets of the Parish.

8. In the event that the Parish meeting takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Parish shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. That will entail the cessation of the activities of the Parish as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and will deprive it of the right to property, which belonged to the Parish by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.

The terms in Russian for "Rector" are:
ректор (rector)
пастор (pastor)
приходский священник (vicar)

Which are, in my opinion, clear references to the Rector as being a Priest.

Quote
1. The Rector
18. Every parish shall be headed by the Rector of the church appointed by the Diocesan Bishop for spiritual guidance of the believers and the administration of the clergy and the parish. The Rector shall be accountable to the Diocesan Bishop for his activity.
19. The Rector shall be responsible for the correct celebration of the divine services in accordance with the Statute of the Church, for church sermon, for the religious and moral state and proper education of the members of the parish. He must conscientiously discharge all liturgical, pastoral and administrative duties determined by his office in accordance with the established canons and the present Statute.
20. The responsibilities of the Rector shall include:
a) guiding the clergy in fulfilling their liturgical and pastoral duties;
b) supervising the state of the church building, its decoration and the availability of all objects necessary for the divine services in accordance with the requirements of the liturgical rubrics and instructions of the Church authorities;
c) caring for correct and reverential reading and singing in the church;
d) caring for the exact abiding by the instructions of the Diocesan Bishop;
e) organizing activities in the public domain, catechetical, charitable and educational activities of the parish;
f) convening and chairing the sessions of the Parish meeting;
g) suspending with sufficient grounds the execution of the decisions of the Parish meeting and the Parish Council on the matters of doctrinal, canonical, liturgical or administrative and economic nature with subsequent referral of the matter to the Diocesan Bishop for consideration;
h) supervising the execution of the decisions of the Parish meeting and the work of the Parish Council;
i) representing the interests of the parish in the bodies of state power and local self-administration;
j) submitting to the Diocesan Bishop directly or through the Dean the annual reports on the state of the parish and its work and on the activities carried out in it;
k) maintaining the official church correspondence;
l) keeping a liturgical journal and parish archive;
m) issuing certificates of baptism and marriage.
21. The Rector can have a vacation and leave his parish for a while exclusively with the permission of the Diocesan authority received in the prescribed manner.

For #18, a layperson cannot be the spiritual guide for a Parish, this is clearly a member of the Clergy. It also cites him as being the "administrator" of the clergy and laity, which cannot be a layperson. (that is, a layperson cannot hold administration over clergy)

It also notes that he should keep a liturgical journal and a parish archive. The Parish archive in the Russian Church has traditionally been kept by the (Or a) Priest in the Parish.

One could argue that a layperson could do most (but not all) of those assigned duties, but I doubt this is talking about a layperson. This is (in my opinion) talking about a member of the Clergy, which would be anyone from Deacon up to Bishop...

I believe you are seriously under estimating the strong tradition of lay spirituality in Russia. Monasteries have been particular strong in Russia as only the laity could be wholly trusted as the clergy were at times agents of the government. What cannon or other authority prevents a layperson from having administrative authority over a Priest. Have you ever been to court or encountered a police officer or tax man? Seems like the Clergy are very much subject to lay authority.

Just because the parishioner loses right to the property does not mean the Bishop gets it. Whatever parishioner still loyal to the Church would have posession of the property.
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« Reply #165 on: January 04, 2011, 03:41:56 PM »

Thank you for your post. Is the Deacon the Rector only when there is no Priest or can the Deacon be Rector in a parish that also has a Priest?

A Deacon can become a rector because he is a member of the clergy.

So he can be Rector even when there is a Priest within the parish.
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« Reply #166 on: January 04, 2011, 03:44:21 PM »

Just because the parishioner loses right to the property does not mean the Bishop gets it. Whatever parishioner still loyal to the Church would have posession of the property.

Where is your proof for this? It isn't in the document cited...
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« Reply #167 on: January 04, 2011, 04:58:55 PM »

To Podkarpatska: So if there is no conflict with US law you would accept it?

To Father George: The property never belongs to the diocese but always the members of the Church. The Bishop maintains the right (which nobody I believe has disputed) to dismiss parishioners for cause. If the principles are the same to you and only the language is different from the GOA, would you accept them into the GOA?

The Rector is an office of the parish appointed by the Bishop whose authority and responsibilities are listed in the regulations. The regulations specify specific requirements for the clergy which are not the same as the Rector. There is nothing in the regulations that state the Rector has to be a Priest.

Historically, laymen have had positions of administrative authority. I believe the Archons of the Order of St Andrew are exactly this continuation of lay administration and leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As Isa as noted before, "Btw, the diaconate, in origin, is basically a glorified layman. Priests, in origin, are limited bishops.  The episcopate is the real exercise of the priethood of Christ." So there is no reason why the Bishop cannot have a baptized member of the royal priesthood represent his authority in the administration of a parish.

I am not a canonist so I will defer to a lawyer trained or professionally knowledgeable about Orthodox Canon Law as to the legality or practicality of applying the same in the United States. As to the Archons, they are a good example of enlightened lay leadership in the Church, but as far as I know, being an Archon does not entitle one to any particular administrative leadership position or office either at the parish, diocesan or archdiocesan level. They are a philanthropic, educational and political group (in the sense of forming a lobbying group within the United States) in service to the goals and purposes, as well as the protection of, the Patriarchate.
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« Reply #168 on: January 04, 2011, 05:00:48 PM »

Just because the parishioner loses right to the property does not mean the Bishop gets it. Whatever parishioner still loyal to the Church would have posession of the property.

Where is your proof for this? It isn't in the document cited...

A member leaving or being expelled causes that person to lose the rights of membership including the right to ownership of property which was had before. This we seem to agree upon. That the members own the parish property.

What happens to that right on expulsion or leaving? I believe it goes to the other members. Likewise when a new member joins he receives a portion of the Parish property from all the other members and they hold it collectively and equally.


You seem to be saying that when a member leaves, the Bishop takes their property rights for himself. No where does it say there is a transfer of property to the Bishop. It does not even say the Bishop is a member of the parish.
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« Reply #169 on: January 04, 2011, 05:32:00 PM »

Just because the parishioner loses right to the property does not mean the Bishop gets it. Whatever parishioner still loyal to the Church would have posession of the property.

Where is your proof for this? It isn't in the document cited...

A member leaving or being expelled causes that person to lose the rights of membership including the right to ownership of property which was had before. This we seem to agree upon. That the members own the parish property.

What happens to that right on expulsion or leaving? I believe it goes to the other members. Likewise when a new member joins he receives a portion of the Parish property from all the other members and they hold it collectively and equally.


You seem to be saying that when a member leaves, the Bishop takes their property rights for himself. No where does it say there is a transfer of property to the Bishop. It does not even say the Bishop is a member of the parish.

You are applying a concept of 'ownership' of assets that simply does not apply to a church.

I have never understood the concept of a parishioner 'owning' church property. Dart, you seem to equate this with ownership of your own private property. Is that the case or are we misunderstanding you? As has been stated above, it is the people of God who 'own' the earthly embodiment of the Church buildings. The question is thus - who represents the people of God in the Orthodox framework?

In most hierarchical churches, including the Orthodox, the Roman and the Anglican traditions, at the Diocesan level the Bishop legally embodies the earthly presence and worldly glory of God's Church, which is found in the corporate person of his Diocese, of which a parish is a component part. In American legal terms, the Bishop  is the sole and ultimate trustee of the property. He gains NOTHING personally from this type of trusteeship or 'ownership' (except for a lot of restless nights and headaches.)

Parishes are subordinate to the Diocese, priests and people are bound to be loyal and obedient to their Bishop. When the Bishop may fail them, they must seek relief within the rules and statues of the Church. The Church is not a democracy. Orthodox parishes do not exist in a vacuum, cut off from the living roots of the Church. Without a Bishop and a Diocese, they are a flock without a shepherd and surely will wither and die in the absence of that connection.

It seems to me that to be Orthodox, in the final analysis, you have to accept hierarchical authority or you will effectively cut yourself off from the living body of the Church and become a schismatic. Obviously, who defines the other as a 'schismatic' depends on which side of the issue you perceive yourself to be on.

That is the choice that my grandparents and tens of thousands of others were forced to make when the actions of their Greek Catholic Bishops in America precluded them from honoring the faith of their fathers as they had been taught for generations. (That erroneous teaching was that they were so-called Orthodox in union with Rome. They learned the hard way that there was only one way to truly be Orthodox.) With few exceptions almost all of those who made the choice to fight the Church lost the parish property that they had built with their own sweat and equity and had to start all over again. The OCA, ACROD and the UOCUSA are, to a large part, living testaments to those choices.

You seem to be a pious, knowledgeable and well-versed Orthodox Christian by your writings. I can not imagine that the situation you have faced in Orthodoxy today is such that your conscience would dictate you to make such a drastic choice, but the choice is yours to make.
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« Reply #170 on: January 04, 2011, 05:51:42 PM »

Just because the parishioner loses right to the property does not mean the Bishop gets it. Whatever parishioner still loyal to the Church would have posession of the property.

Where is your proof for this? It isn't in the document cited...

A member leaving or being expelled causes that person to lose the rights of membership including the right to ownership of property which was had before. This we seem to agree upon. That the members own the parish property.

What happens to that right on expulsion or leaving? I believe it goes to the other members. Likewise when a new member joins he receives a portion of the Parish property from all the other members and they hold it collectively and equally.


You seem to be saying that when a member leaves, the Bishop takes their property rights for himself. No where does it say there is a transfer of property to the Bishop. It does not even say the Bishop is a member of the parish.

You are applying a concept of 'ownership' of assets that simply does not apply to a church.

I have never understood the concept of a parishioner 'owning' church property. Dart, you seem to equate this with ownership of your own private property. Is that the case or are we misunderstanding you? As has been stated above, it is the people of God who 'own' the earthly embodiment of the Church buildings. The question is thus - who represents the people of God in the Orthodox framework?

In most hierarchical churches, including the Orthodox, the Roman and the Anglican traditions, at the Diocesan level the Bishop legally embodies the earthly presence and worldly glory of God's Church, which is found in the corporate person of his Diocese, of which a parish is a component part. In American legal terms, the Bishop  is the sole and ultimate trustee of the property. He gains NOTHING personally from this type of trusteeship or 'ownership' (except for a lot of restless nights and headaches.)

Parishes are subordinate to the Diocese, priests and people are bound to be loyal and obedient to their Bishop. When the Bishop may fail them, they must seek relief within the rules and statues of the Church. The Church is not a democracy. Orthodox parishes do not exist in a vacuum, cut off from the living roots of the Church. Without a Bishop and a Diocese, they are a flock without a shepherd and surely will wither and die in the absence of that connection.

It seems to me that to be Orthodox, in the final analysis, you have to accept hierarchical authority or you will effectively cut yourself off from the living body of the Church and become a schismatic. Obviously, who defines the other as a 'schismatic' depends on which side of the issue you perceive yourself to be on.

That is the choice that my grandparents and tens of thousands of others were forced to make when the actions of their Greek Catholic Bishops in America precluded them from honoring the faith of their fathers as they had been taught for generations. (That erroneous teaching was that they were so-called Orthodox in union with Rome. They learned the hard way that there was only one way to truly be Orthodox.) With few exceptions almost all of those who made the choice to fight the Church lost the parish property that they had built with their own sweat and equity and had to start all over again. The OCA, ACROD and the UOCUSA are, to a large part, living testaments to those choices.

You seem to be a pious, knowledgeable and well-versed Orthodox Christian by your writings. I can not imagine that the situation you have faced in Orthodoxy today is such that your conscience would dictate you to make such a drastic choice, but the choice is yours to make.

I do not understand how anyone could read the Bible honestly and think they serve God by commanding others to call them Master and obey them. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and died on the cross for us. I serve God because he is love. I spit on the Devil because he believes himself to be greater than God. It is how many you serve that matters not how many serve you.
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« Reply #171 on: January 04, 2011, 05:55:35 PM »

Just because the parishioner loses right to the property does not mean the Bishop gets it. Whatever parishioner still loyal to the Church would have posession of the property.

Where is your proof for this? It isn't in the document cited...

A member leaving or being expelled causes that person to lose the rights of membership including the right to ownership of property which was had before. This we seem to agree upon. That the members own the parish property.

What happens to that right on expulsion or leaving? I believe it goes to the other members. Likewise when a new member joins he receives a portion of the Parish property from all the other members and they hold it collectively and equally.


You seem to be saying that when a member leaves, the Bishop takes their property rights for himself. No where does it say there is a transfer of property to the Bishop. It does not even say the Bishop is a member of the parish.

You are applying a concept of 'ownership' of assets that simply does not apply to a church.

I have never understood the concept of a parishioner 'owning' church property. Dart, you seem to equate this with ownership of your own private property. Is that the case or are we misunderstanding you? As has been stated above, it is the people of God who 'own' the earthly embodiment of the Church buildings. The question is thus - who represents the people of God in the Orthodox framework?

In most hierarchical churches, including the Orthodox, the Roman and the Anglican traditions, at the Diocesan level the Bishop legally embodies the earthly presence and worldly glory of God's Church, which is found in the corporate person of his Diocese, of which a parish is a component part. In American legal terms, the Bishop  is the sole and ultimate trustee of the property. He gains NOTHING personally from this type of trusteeship or 'ownership' (except for a lot of restless nights and headaches.)

Parishes are subordinate to the Diocese, priests and people are bound to be loyal and obedient to their Bishop. When the Bishop may fail them, they must seek relief within the rules and statues of the Church. The Church is not a democracy. Orthodox parishes do not exist in a vacuum, cut off from the living roots of the Church. Without a Bishop and a Diocese, they are a flock without a shepherd and surely will wither and die in the absence of that connection.

It seems to me that to be Orthodox, in the final analysis, you have to accept hierarchical authority or you will effectively cut yourself off from the living body of the Church and become a schismatic. Obviously, who defines the other as a 'schismatic' depends on which side of the issue you perceive yourself to be on.

That is the choice that my grandparents and tens of thousands of others were forced to make when the actions of their Greek Catholic Bishops in America precluded them from honoring the faith of their fathers as they had been taught for generations. (That erroneous teaching was that they were so-called Orthodox in union with Rome. They learned the hard way that there was only one way to truly be Orthodox.) With few exceptions almost all of those who made the choice to fight the Church lost the parish property that they had built with their own sweat and equity and had to start all over again. The OCA, ACROD and the UOCUSA are, to a large part, living testaments to those choices.

You seem to be a pious, knowledgeable and well-versed Orthodox Christian by your writings. I can not imagine that the situation you have faced in Orthodoxy today is such that your conscience would dictate you to make such a drastic choice, but the choice is yours to make.

I do not understand how anyone could read the Bible honestly and think they serve God by commanding others to call them Master and obey them. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and died on the cross for us. I serve God because he is love. I spit on the Devil because he believes himself to be greater than God. It is how many you serve that matters not how many serve you.

When they command us to do so, then there is something wrong. We should honor the Bishops and other Clergy because of who they are, we call Priests Father, we call Bishops "Your Eminence" or "Your Grace". We kiss their hands...
They shouldn't have to remind us of this. We should be servant to them and show them reverence, respect and submission just as they should be as servants to us. Neither should be "commanding" or telling the other group what to do, we should know what to do.
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« Reply #172 on: January 04, 2011, 05:56:08 PM »

To Father George: The property never belongs to the diocese but always the members of the Church. The Bishop maintains the right (which nobody I believe has disputed) to dismiss parishioners for cause. If the principles are the same to you and only the language is different from the GOA, would you accept them into the GOA?

If the members of the parish cease being Orthodox, or cease communion with the diocese, then the diocese has the right to sell the property and give the proceeds to another parish, take the relics and give them to another parish, take the liturgical items and give them to another parish, etc.  That is a right maintained in both the GOA's and ROC's parish regulations - if all the people leave the parish, then the parish's property, which is the Church's property, are then left under control of the competent regional agent of the Church - the diocese and hierarch.

The Rector is an office of the parish appointed by the Bishop whose authority and responsibilities are listed in the regulations. The regulations specify specific requirements for the clergy which are not the same as the Rector. There is nothing in the regulations that state the Rector has to be a Priest.

If you had to teach your kids debate, you'd tell them that an argument from silence is fairly weak.  The regulations don't explicitly state, "the rector must be a clergyman," but the list of duties narrows things down.

Historically, laymen have had positions of administrative authority. I believe the Archons of the Order of St Andrew are exactly this continuation of lay administration and leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Yes, lay administration and leadership, which is wonderful.  No layman in the parishes has administrative authority over the priest; you keep trying to dodge the point, but cannot.

As Isa as noted before, "Btw, the diaconate, in origin, is basically a glorified layman. Priests, in origin, are limited bishops.  The episcopate is the real exercise of the priethood of Christ." So there is no reason why the Bishop cannot have a baptized member of the royal priesthood represent his authority in the administration of a parish.

It is outside historical and traditional precedent; a bishop may choose to do so, but he will likely find himself under sanction from his local synod.  The priest is the primary liturgical and administrative representative of the bishop, period, and if there is a priest that is a poor representative of Christ and the bishop, then the bishop should remove him and replace him with someone better.
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« Reply #173 on: January 04, 2011, 06:08:02 PM »

Please post the citation for the Bishop taking property. I do not see it after reading through it twice.

Well, the bishop is the primary decision-maker for the diocese, with his presbyters, chancellor, and clergy-laity assembly, diocesan council, etc.  My point wasn't that the Bishop could take the property, but that the diocese could.  The relevant text, again (emphasis mine), since reading comprehension seems to be falling by the wayside:

Quote
7. In the event that some members split off or all members of the Parish meeting withdraw from the Parish, they shall not be entitled to claim any rights to the property and assets of the Parish.

8. In the event that the Parish meeting takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Parish shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. That will entail the cessation of the activities of the Parish as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and will deprive it of the right to property, which belonged to the Parish by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.

Please cite where it says the Rector is a Priest. It is also not there.

Items not traditionally in the scope of lay leadership that are included in the Rector's job description:

- "guiding the clergy in fulfilling their liturgical and pastoral duties"
- "availability of all objects necessary for the divine services in accordance with the requirements of the liturgical rubrics and instructions of the Church authorities;"
- "keeping a liturgical journal and parish archive;"
- "issuing certificates of baptism and marriage."
- (emphasis mine) "suspending with sufficient grounds the execution of the decisions of the Parish meeting and the Parish Council on the matters of doctrinal, canonical, liturgical or administrative and economic nature with subsequent referral of the matter to the Diocesan Bishop for consideration;"

The list above generally restricts the position to a member of the clergy.
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« Reply #174 on: January 04, 2011, 06:15:10 PM »

That the members own the parish property.

What happens to that right on expulsion or leaving? I believe it goes to the other members. Likewise when a new member joins he receives a portion of the Parish property from all the other members and they hold it collectively and equally.

No, no, no!  The members don't have Parish property rights, Ananias.  The Church holds all rights to the property.  The Body of Christ.  There are no portions of Parish property given to new members, no "rights" to the property - the property belongs to the Church, and the parish is the steward of that property, and the people are stewards of the parish, as is the priest, the bishop, and the synod.  When you give to the Church, you give up "rights" to what you've given, just as when the clergy or monks are ordained/tonsured, they give up "rights" to themselves, giving themselves to the parishes/diocese/monasteries.  There are no "stock options," no "voting shares," nothing like that in the Church.  Serve and be served, sacrifice and be sacrificed for.
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« Reply #175 on: January 04, 2011, 06:17:08 PM »

I do not understand how anyone could read the Bible honestly and think they serve God by commanding others to call them Master and obey them. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and died on the cross for us. I serve God because he is love. I spit on the Devil because he believes himself to be greater than God. It is how many you serve that matters not how many serve you.

I have never in my life encountered a priest or bishop who demanded me to call him master.  If you have, then you've found an anomaly, no more.  Your axe has been ground to near nothingness.
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« Reply #176 on: January 04, 2011, 07:18:28 PM »

I do not understand how anyone could read the Bible honestly and think they serve God by commanding others to call them Master and obey them. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and died on the cross for us. I serve God because he is love. I spit on the Devil because he believes himself to be greater than God. It is how many you serve that matters not how many serve you.

When they command us to do so, then there is something wrong. We should honor the Bishops and other Clergy because of who they are, we call Priests Father, we call Bishops "Your Eminence" or "Your Grace". We kiss their hands...
They shouldn't have to remind us of this. We should be servant to them and show them reverence, respect and submission just as they should be as servants to us. Neither should be "commanding" or telling the other group what to do, we should know what to do.


Then why is the entitlement to authority demanded by the clergy. It is certainly more honorable to be respected for "who you are" rather than for what office someone has. I wonder how things operated in times and places when the Church was illegal and underground.

From the persecution by Rome to the persecution of the Inquisition at the hands of their own clergy, things don't change. The faithful are called to suffer for Christ.
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« Reply #177 on: January 04, 2011, 07:19:33 PM »

I do not understand how anyone could read the Bible honestly and think they serve God by commanding others to call them Master and obey them. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and died on the cross for us. I serve God because he is love. I spit on the Devil because he believes himself to be greater than God. It is how many you serve that matters not how many serve you.

When they command us to do so, then there is something wrong. We should honor the Bishops and other Clergy because of who they are, we call Priests Father, we call Bishops "Your Eminence" or "Your Grace". We kiss their hands...
They shouldn't have to remind us of this. We should be servant to them and show them reverence, respect and submission just as they should be as servants to us. Neither should be "commanding" or telling the other group what to do, we should know what to do.
to the persecution of the Inquisition at the hands of their own clergy, things don't change. The faithful are called to suffer for Christ.

umm... the Inquisition was in Roman Catholicism, not Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #178 on: January 04, 2011, 07:29:16 PM »

I do not understand how anyone could read the Bible honestly and think they serve God by commanding others to call them Master and obey them. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and died on the cross for us. I serve God because he is love. I spit on the Devil because he believes himself to be greater than God. It is how many you serve that matters not how many serve you.

When they command us to do so, then there is something wrong. We should honor the Bishops and other Clergy because of who they are, we call Priests Father, we call Bishops "Your Eminence" or "Your Grace". We kiss their hands...
They shouldn't have to remind us of this. We should be servant to them and show them reverence, respect and submission just as they should be as servants to us. Neither should be "commanding" or telling the other group what to do, we should know what to do.
to the persecution of the Inquisition at the hands of their own clergy, things don't change. The faithful are called to suffer for Christ.

umm... the Inquisition was in Roman Catholicism, not Orthodoxy.

Your right it was. And if the clergy are given the same authority in the Orthodox Church, we will suffer the same fate again.

The Christian way shown to us by Jesus was not to demand authority but to serve others.
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« Reply #179 on: January 04, 2011, 07:32:44 PM »

From the persecution by Rome to the persecution of the Inquisition at the hands of their own clergy, things don't change. The faithful are called to suffer for Christ.

You've got a nasty habit of conflating unrelated events in order to stir up an emotional response from people.  It's not working in your favor.  You brought up Agia Sophia as a museum; an event that took place at the tip of the sword, not because of clerical or lay neglect or malfeasance.  You bring up persecution by Rome; which persecution?  The Inquisition wasn't an Orthodox phenomenon, so you're going a bit "apples to oranges."

Are the faithful called to apostasize for Christ, too? Because the laity accepted Arianism en masse, while a few (sometimes very few) bold (and correct) clergymen fought against it.  Clergy and laity work together for the betterment of the Church, with neither group having a spotless track record.  You seem to want to emphasize the one over the other (laity) because of some straw-man you've erected, maybe because of a bad experience you've had.
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