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Author Topic: Antiochian Self-rule approved in Pittsburgh  (Read 11461 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 17, 2004, 11:06:33 AM »

From: http://www.postgazette.com/pg/04199/347768.stm

Orthodox church approves self-rule
Saturday, July 17, 2004

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By an enthusiastic vote of acclamation, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America adopted self-rule yesterday, still bound to its patriarch in Syria but empowered to nominate its own bishops and engage American culture on its own terms.

The archdiocese, now all of North America, will be divided into nine dioceses, one for Pennsylvania and West Virginia, with the bishop residing in Ligonier.

"The Orthodox Church of 21st century America is destined to chart its own course and shape its own future, despite the obstacles," said Metropolitan Philip, the Lebanese-born primate who has championed the idea of a united, American expression of Eastern Orthodoxy since he became head of the archdiocese in 1966.

"This special convention is a bright moment in our history," he said to priests and lay representatives of all parishes at the Pittsburgh Hilton. "Let us seize this moment and appeal to our brothers and sisters of other [ethnic Orthodox] jurisdictions to emulate our example and seize the moment."

Those are loaded words in Orthodox America, where immigration led to overlapping ethnic archdioceses governed from overseas. Many third- and fourth-generation Greek-Americans and others have called for one, united, self-governing American Orthodox Church. But such proposals have been forcefully rejected overseas, where the mother churches depend on support from their American outposts.

The Antiochians, headquartered in Damascus, Syria, are highly Americanized, and have grown by 50 percent over the past 20 years to 350,000. The self-governing status was approved by their patriarchate in Damascus, which will continue to have a voice in the final selection of bishops nominated by the American church.

The Antiochians hope their action sets an example.

"I hope that after our prayers and accomplishments at this convention, the foundations of this fragmented Orthodoxy in North America will be shaken and all Orthodox will speak the Word of God with boldness and with one heart and one soul," Metropolitan Philip said.

The Antiochians view this as a first step. Their new constitution says that the only exception to a ban on amending the structure of the church "would be such amendments, alterations or changes that would be necessary to implement Orthodox unity in America."

And the greatest applause yesterday came not at the adoption of that constitution, but when Philip introduced Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, another champion of pan-ethnic Orthodox union.

"We are under his jurisdiction today," Metropolitan Philip said to sustained applause that swelled into a lengthy standing ovation. "I hope the day will come when we will have one jurisdiction."

"I am elated. I would like to see all of the churches thrive in the way that the Antiochian Archdiocese does," Metropolitan Maximos said.

The new self-rule "sets the tone for the entire Orthodox world," said the Rev. Jason Del Vitto, pastor of St. George in Bridgeville. "The Orthodox church is one communion, but in this country we are not. This step today will help the church speak with one unified voice."

The Rev. John Nosal of Greensburg said every parish will benefit from having an accessible bishop. "It means a local parish priest will finally have the kind of supervision that all parishes should have," he said. "Not all priests are called to be self-employed. It will make all of us in the clergy more accountable."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Ann Rodgers can be reached at arodgers@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1416.)
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2004, 11:56:21 AM »

Is the non-canonical over-lapping of jurisdictions considered a sin?

JoeS   Huh
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2004, 12:59:21 AM »

Well, it's surely "falling short" -- or, hamartia ("sin") -- of how we are supposed to be.
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2004, 08:23:36 AM »

The Antiochians view this as a first step. Their new constitution says that the only exception to a ban on amending the structure of the church "would be such amendments, alterations or changes that would be necessary to implement Orthodox unity in America."

What exactly does this mean?  I'm kinda wondering what they mean by 'changes to church structure', especially.  Are they talking about redrawing diocesean lines or something else?
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2004, 10:25:45 AM »

What exactly does this mean?  I'm kinda wondering what they mean by 'changes to church structure', especially.  Are they talking about redrawing diocesean lines or something else?
Yes, it appears that they are leaving open the ability to change the structure of dioceses, as needed to integrate with the other Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2004, 10:31:48 AM »

My understanding is that is if Orthodox jurisdictional unity were to be reached. The Antiochian Dioceses in America would defer to the new, single national church structure. This entails a giving up of power by The Antiochian bishops, in order to merge with the new united strucure. This cannot be done without ammending Archdiocese's constitution. It would also possibly sever the current relationship with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch (which I personally have mixed feelings about).Would a unified American Orthodox Church be under the Moscow Patriarchate? The Ecumenical Partiarchate?

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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2004, 11:27:47 AM »

[Would a unified American Orthodox Church be under the Moscow Patriarchate? The Ecumenical Partiarchate? ]

That question is only valid if one is looking at a united 'automonous' church rather than a united 'autocephalous' church which is already present in the U.S.

Any unity should be seen for what it is and should be - a merging of jurisdictions rather than an incorporation of one jurisdiction into another.  When this merger is accomplished a new primate would be chosen.

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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2004, 11:32:02 AM »

But the metropolia's autocephaly is not seen as such universally.  Hopefully the outcome of the ROCOR's talks with the MP will be the ROCOR returning to its rightful place as head of the Russian diaspora, including the metropolia.
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2004, 12:05:08 PM »

[Hopefully the outcome of the ROCOR's talks with the MP will be the ROCOR returning to its rightful place as head of the Russian diaspora, including the metropolia. ]

That seems to be more wishful thinking than reality.  In spite of rumors that come out of a certain jurisdiction every so often, the MP is not about to rescind the OCA's 'autocephally'.

What happens to the ROCOR  parishes depends upon their location.  My guess would be that in western Europe they will become a european diocese within the MP.

But here in the U.S. and Canada they will become an etnic diocese within the OCA and as such continue to have their own Bishops governing them.  Only these Bishops will become members of the Synod of Bishops within the OCA and as such have equal governing rights within a merged church structure.

Before the reunion talks between the MP and ROCOR, the MP was trying to get the OCA to form a Russian diocese within its structure like the Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, etc.  This was to provide spiritual guidance to the newly arrived immigrants.   ROCOR would be given that responsibility in any reunion between the MP and ROCOR.

As for the term 'diasporia' there are too many of us who are second and third generation American born to believe we are living in a 'diasporia'

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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2004, 12:08:28 PM »

From: http://www.postgazette.com/pg/04200/348086.stm

Orthodox self-rule just start of vision
Syrian leader hopes for American unity
Sunday, July 18, 2004

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For years, when Metropolitan Philip, the Antiochian Orthodox archbishop of North America, arrived at an Orthodox choir festival, everyone knew what song he would request.

"It was "The Impossible Dream,'" said Kweilin Nassar, a Pittsburgher who does public relations for the church.

The Broadway song spoke to his dream of one, united American Orthodox Church. This week in Pittsburgh, a piece of that dream came true, as the Antiochians achieved self-rule, while retaining strong ties to the patriarchate in Syria. Other pieces of the dream were broken 10 years ago when the ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople rejected the vision of a single, American church, but Philip believes they will be rebuilt.

In 1994, when all Orthodox bishops in the Western Hemisphere gathered at the Antiochian Village retreat center in Ligonier, "We had a clear vision at that time for the future of Orthodoxy. However, the ecumenical patriarch, and other patriarchs, felt insecure to see all these bishops from North America coming together to discuss the future of Orthodoxy in this hemisphere," Philip said.

"They thought we had some kind of conspiracy to separate from the mother churches. We had no such thing. We wanted to know each other."

The ecumenical patriarch clamped down on the union movement, forcing the Greek Orthodox archbishop to resign and fomenting turmoil in the Greek archdiocese. But Philip, 73, a native of Lebanon, has forged ahead. He hopes the other ethnic Orthodox jurisdictions will also insist on self-rule as a "gigantic step" toward one American church, he said..

"If you have a dream, you will follow your dream," he said.

"And I have a dream that Orthodoxy some day is going to be united. This is inevitable. It is an historical process which no one can stop."

Among the many programs held each year at the Ligonier retreat center is a gathering of young Orthodox laity from every ethnic jurisdiction.

"They don't ask each other, are you Greek? Are you Serbian? Are you Albanian? Are you Russian? They get together as American Orthodox," he said.

"The people are going to effect the change because Orthodox people are sick and tired of this situation. Many hierarchs were born in the Old Country, like myself. I was fortunate to come to the United States and go to school here, so I discovered America early in my life. But some of our hierarchs are still across the ocean, psychologically. They are not here," he said.

Both the ecumenical patriarch and others pressured Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch not to grant self-government to the American archdiocese. But Ignatius did what was right for the faithful, Philip said.


Any attempt to seize control back from Orthodox Americans "is doomed to failure," he said.

"You cannot write a constitution in Russia, or in any Orthodox country overseas, and impose it on Orthodoxy in America. This will not stand."

When Philip became metropolitan in 1966, North America had 65 parishes and a budget of $60,000. Philip was the only bishop for a territory spanning Florida through Canada to Alaska.

Constant travel "was killing me. That's why I had a heart attack in 1968 and open heart surgery in 1972," he said.

The archdiocese has grown to 240 parishes with a budget of nearly $5 million. A turning point came in the 1970s, when Philip received a group of former evangelical Protestants. They began teaching the Antiochians to tithe and evangelize.

Eventually Philip got auxiliary bishops to help him. But the archdiocese is about to be divided into nine dioceses. A bishop for Pennsylvania and West Virginia will be based at the retreat center in Ligonier, although Philip said his cathedral would be in Pittsburgh.

They haven't made a final decision about which city to put in that bishop's title. Philip rather likes the idea of calling him "the bishop of Ligonier" as a perpetual reminder of the now infamous meeting where the bishops called for unity.

The final choice of bishops will not be made until late this year, when representatives of the Patriarchate of Antioch join the American bishops to review the candidates nominated at this week's convention.

Of seven candidates, the top three vote-getters were American-born. Two were converts: a former Episcopalian and a former Old Testament professor from Oral Roberts University. While married men may be ordained as Orthodox priests, they may not become bishops. So the church was able to identify only seven qualified candidates, and some of the new dioceses will have to share a bishop.

"We are going to face a very serious problem in the future," Philip said. "Ninety-nine and-a-half percent of our seminarians, when they graduate from the seminary, they get married. I don't know where I'm going to get bishops in the future."

He may recruit from the Middle East, where more young seminarians are open to celibate commitment, he said.

"I have never pressured any of my seminarians to remain celibate," he said.

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America ia already the fastest-growing Orthodox archdiocese in the world, Philip said. And he expects the attention that these new bishops will give to their parishes to help that growth.

"I am looking forward to an era of spiritual rejuvenation, a spiritual renaissance," he said.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Ann Rodgers can be reached at arodgers@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1416)
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2004, 12:14:05 PM »

From: http://www.antiochian.org/959 (pictures for the article can be found here)

General Assembly Unanimously Approves Amended Constitution
The 2004 Special Convention General Assembly for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese met this Friday July 16, 2004 to review and approve an Amended Archdiocese Convention and to nominate candidates for the Office of Diocesan Bishop.

The proposed amendments to the Archdiocese Constitution were developed to help enact the self rule status granted last year to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The amended constitution was presented Friday morning to participants in the Special Convention (including clergy and laity). After an open question and answer session discussion and clarifying the amendments, participants voted unanimously to approve the constitution and submit it to the Holy Synod of Antiochian.

This General Assembly showed how in a Hierarchal church priests and laity alike are allowed to participate in the process and approve of the recent great deeds by the visionary leadership within this Archdiocese.


His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba Says, “This is a New Era!”
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba addressed the assembly saying, “This is a new era, this is a new day!” “The future of this Archdiocese is not fifty years ago. The future is nowGǪ.We have much to be doneGǪWe must think and act not only for us but for generations to come.”

2004 Financial Statement Unanimously Accepted - 2006 Budget Unanimously Approved
The Department of Finance presented the 2004 Financial Statement and the 2006 Budget Fiscal Year Budget to the general assembly. Both were unanimously accepted by the assembly.

AOCWNA Announces Million Dollar Orphanages Fund Goal Reached
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America announced this Friday that they have met their goal of raising one million dollars for an endowment fund for orphanages. Laila R. Ferris (president AOCWNA), says, “The Endowment Fund for Orphanages will help perpetually care for our orphans for many years to come.”

AOCWNA Announces New Goal to Raise Half a Million Dollars for the Housing Fund for Retired Clergy
AOCWNA rolled out their banner announcement to the general assembly pledging to raise a half million dollars to show they care for those who care for us.

Divine Liturgy Crowns the Closing of the Assembly
Friday’s general assembly was closed by moving comments from Metropolitan Phillip encourages all (priest and laity) to go and make disciples of all nations. His Eminence also continued to call upon all Orthodox Christians in North America to work toward the day of Orthodox Unity in America.

The general assembly events and accomplishments were crowned with Divine Liturgy on Sunday, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. Ending with Divine Liturgy put a holy seal on the spiritual deeds accomplished during this blessed General Assembly.

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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2004, 06:46:11 PM »

[Hopefully the outcome of the ROCOR's talks with the MP will be the ROCOR returning to its rightful place as head of the Russian diaspora, including the metropolia. ]

That seems to be more wishful thinking than reality.  In spite of rumors that come out of a certain jurisdiction every so often, the MP is not about to rescind the OCA's 'autocephally'.

What happens to the ROCOR  parishes depends upon their location.  My guess would be that in western Europe they will become a european diocese within the MP.

But here in the U.S. and Canada they will become an etnic diocese within the OCA and as such continue to have their own Bishops governing them.  Only these Bishops will become members of the Synod of Bishops within the OCA and as such have equal governing rights within a merged church structure.

Before the reunion talks between the MP and ROCOR, the MP was trying to get the OCA to form a Russian diocese within its structure like the Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, etc.  This was to provide spiritual guidance to the newly arrived immigrants.   ROCOR would be given that responsibility in any reunion between the MP and ROCOR.

As for the term 'diasporia' there are too many of us who are second and third generation American born to believe we are living in a 'diasporia'

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As an American convert whose ancestors arrived here in the 1840s andthen again after WWI -- and being married to a 2nd generation American...I find all this jurisdictional stuff quite interesting and funny. Eventually all Orthodox in North America will one day be united in the Orthodox Church in America or which at that time will probably come to be called the "American Orthodox Church". There is no future in holding onto to ethnic roots. They are wonderful and precious -- but there is no future with this clinging to the old-country political, jurisdictional baggage stuff...We are Americans. We need to focus on where we are and where we are headed while remember ing and honoring our ethnic roots -- not living for them.

The "American Orthodox Church" will come about. It is inevitable.
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2004, 07:26:51 PM »


While they've done a lot of good things, this just shows that they still have serious holes in their plan - whether they want to admit it or not.

"We are going to face a very serious problem in the future," Philip said. "Ninety-nine and-a-half percent of our seminarians, when they graduate from the seminary, they get married. I don't know where I'm going to get bishops in the future."

He may recruit from the Middle East, where more young seminarians are open to celibate commitment, he said.

"I have never pressured any of my seminarians to remain celibate," he said.

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America ia already the fastest-growing Orthodox archdiocese in the world, Philip said. And he expects the attention that these new bishops will give to their parishes to help that growth.

"I am looking forward to an era of spiritual rejuvenation, a spiritual renaissance," he said.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Ann Rodgers can be reached at arodgers@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1416)

Ummm....hello?  What about monasteries?  It's like he's just turning a blind eye to one of his biggest problems that is both staring him right in his face AND refusing to answer his own question when he knows the answer.   Roll Eyes

Moving on...

Another thing that get's me, which I don't think the Antiochian Bishops get since they are non-American is tact in an American sense.  The statement he makes comes of very arrogant, pretty much ignoring anything the OCA has done and it's status.  Yes, their culture is much more direct in expression, but they need to realize that they're in a diffirent culture, hurting things w/o realizing it by their words.  This get's back to that (ironically, Antiochian priest's article I think) about things in The South.  Tact (and politeness) people.  Think before you speak.
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2004, 10:24:02 PM »

Quote
Moving on...

Another thing that get's me, which I don't think the Antiochian Bishops get since they are non-American is tact in an American sense.  The statement he makes comes of very arrogant, pretty much ignoring anything the OCA has done and it's status.  Yes, their culture is much more direct in expression, but they need to realize that they're in a diffirent culture, hurting things w/o realizing it by their words.  This get's back to that (ironically, Antiochian priest's article I think) about things in The South.  Tact (and politeness) people.  Think before you speak.



Uhhh, what statement are you referring to??? I didn't see anything that put a bad light on the OCA.  Where was Met. Phillip being curt in the article also??? I couldn't find one statement I would disagree with.
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2004, 11:16:30 PM »


>Ummm....hello?  What about monasteries?

Us Antiochians ain't got no monasteries in the United States.

We do have a convent, but...nuns aren't eligible.

But now, I'm worried...since I'm single, Antiochian, and studying toward the priesthood...am I going to have to get married to avoid being Bishoped?  Shocked



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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2004, 11:17:38 PM »


[The "American Orthodox Church" will come about. It is inevitable.]


Yes it will!  But hopefully it will not be known as 'The American Orthodox Church'.   That it will remain to be known as either 'The Orthodox Church IN America' or 'The Orthodox  church OF America'.

One of the biggest mistakes we Orthodox Catholics have done in the past is to put an ethnic identity in front of our Orthodox identity.  thus making it more important. It's one of the reasons many of our churches give more importance to their ethnic identity than their religious identity.

It's one of the reasons it is taking so long to unite.

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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2004, 09:06:15 AM »

Ummm....hello?  What about monasteries?

Here, here, Elisha!  BTW -- happy namesday yesterday!

Quote
Nacho: Uhhh, what statement are you referring to??? I didn't see anything that put a bad light on the OCA.  Where was Met. Phillip being curt in the article also??? I couldn't find one statement I would disagree with.

Well, I think Elisha's gripe about the article was rather a failure to mention all the OCA has done...which your comment shows...there wasn't anything there about the OCA.  But...

Quote
Any attempt to seize control back from Orthodox Americans "is doomed to failure," he said.

"You cannot write a constitution in Russia, or in any Orthodox country overseas, and impose it on Orthodoxy in America. This will not stand."

While I don't disagree with the content of these statements, the tone is too blunt if we're going for "diplomatic relations," or whatever.  Would it be so difficult to say, "It's almost certain that Americans will not cooperate with any efforts to place control back in the hands of overseas bishops" rather than, "seizing control is doomed to failure"?  The latter almost sounds like a gloating, "bwa-ha-ha!" kind of thing.

And the second quote is more like a defiant ultimatum, or rather, it could be read as such -- darn that missing inflection in the written word! -- "This will not stand, we will not allow it to stand!" etc.
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2004, 11:45:27 AM »

A couple of points to add to this discussion.

Monasteries will not solve the problem of canidates for Bishops, because unlike the OCA the constitution of the Antiochians requires that the canidate has an Orthodox Theological degree. People who are in monasteries often do not have this. Don't get me wrong, I am all for more monasteries and think there need to be more of them. I should also point out that there are several monastics who would qualify to be bishops in a few years but they have not yet reached the age requirement.

Most of what of the Antiochians are doing is in reaction to what has happened to the Greek Archdiocese over the past decade. The reality existed that when Metropolitians Philip dies that the synod could have (and most likely would have) broken up the archdiocese and appointed new Metropolitians. There has been a lot of opposition to what has happened here not by Russia or the other slavic churches but by others who speak Greek. In many ways it is a gift of the OCA which has over come all of this (and in private this has been mentioned), there are many hierarches in the Antiochian Patriarchate who have been educated at St. Vladimir's seminary and understand not only the problems here in America but also what the future must be.

Met. Philip's comments aren't ment for the choir (the people of the Antiochians and OCA) but rather is ment for those who are struggling in their own battle to help bring unity to America.

Just thought I would add these to the discussion.
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2004, 02:24:15 PM »

Met. Philip's comments aren't ment for the choir (the people of the Antiochians and OCA) but rather is ment for those who are struggling in their own battle to help bring unity to America.

Interesting, but I think only the "choir" is listening.

Nacho,
My comments go back to that article in AGAIN where Met. Phillip said, "I don't know if the OCA has a vision for the future." or whateve.  Gives the reader the impression that the OCA is disorganized and doesn't knows what it is doing, a cheap shot or whatever.  Again, I think many of these comments (as it is not the only one, I see it (the tone) in other official statements) come from the different cultural background of the hierarchs.  Different way of expressing thoughts/opinions, BUT they need to realize they could offend people and thus probably should change their style.

Back to Monasteries...I'm not saying that having some monasteries will solve everything regarding the Bishop shortage, but it is part of the answer.  Another part is the professed anti-monastic statements/attitudes/policies of Met. Phillip.  Say for arguement's sake that there are enough OCA/GOA/etc. monasteries to produce viable bishop candidates.  More Antiochian parishoners need to be encouraged to become monastics.  Of course, if one becomes a monastic, I guess you are subject to the abbot/abbess there and thus are "changing jurisdictions" so to speak, so I don't know how this would work.  Again, it is the anti-monastic attitude of Met. Phillip.
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2004, 02:27:23 PM »

Here, here, Elisha!  BTW -- happy namesday yesterday!

Thanks, but I think my namesday was June 15 or 16.
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2004, 07:33:44 PM »

Just to add my $0.02,

When I first read this, I too was wondering if the Antiochians have ever heard of the OCA?!  Elisha, that one quote from Metr PHILIP in the issue of "Again" bothered me quite a bit.  It made me think that the Antiochians, while aware of the 200+ year history the OCA has had in bringing Orthodoxy to North America, want to "try to do it better."  It makes no sense, and is discouraging to think that at the highest levels the hierarchs do not communicate.  

I was born into an Orthodox household and, while some of my counterparts disagree, I definitely don't see myself as part of a "diaspora."  Father Alexander Schmemann noted in his journals back in the early 1970's that "American" Orthodox Christians indeed existed then, but so many failed to see it.  Sad to say, the condition continues now almost 35 years later.  In my opinion, it's because people don't want to acknowledge that Orthodoxy doesn't have to be tied to an "ethnic" jurisdiction overseas.  So many love their Orthodox bishops to be "ethnarchs" as well.

On the subject of the ROCOR/MP communion, it's extremely presumptuous to say that the ROCOR metropolitan (Laurus at this time) is the "rightful" head of a unified Russian Church.  I think that it's also an excellent concept to subsume the ROCOR in America and Canada as an distinct diocese within the OCA, since there continue to be big cultural issues separating the two.  A couple of weeks ago I worshipped at Vespers at the ROCOR cathedral here in Seattle.  It's an entirely Russian-speaking community, despite the fact that it's in America.  ROCOR supports this by making their seminary at Jordanville a Russian-speaking community as well.  It's a huge contrast to the English-speaking environments at the OCA seminaries.

I know they're not worth much, but these are my thoughts.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2004, 07:02:39 PM »


Again, it is the anti-monastic attitude of Met. Phillip.

Is there something on record to substantiate this claim?
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2004, 07:10:41 PM »

Is there something on record to substantiate this claim?

I'm pretty sure there is.  I'm just passing on info I've heard from many others.  

Nektarios?  He seemed to know.  Maybe he can chime in and give some specifics.
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2004, 08:05:11 PM »

I do remember Metr. Philip did make some statement about monasticism not being in the vision of the American Church but I don't know the reference.  Perhaps Anastasios?

Regardless the actions of the high level antiochain administration seems to demonstrate a very anti-monastic mentality, which is very troubling.
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2004, 09:30:41 PM »

There is an Archdiocesan trustee who publicly rails against monasticism. And there is the treatment of the one Antiochian nun by the "administration" that should give indication of how they view monasticism (and this nun is Met. Philip's cousin at that).

anastasios
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« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2004, 12:18:13 AM »

Quote
There is an Archdiocesan trustee who publicly rails against monasticism. And there is the treatment of the one Antiochian nun by the "administration" that should give indication of how they view monasticism (and this nun is Met. Philip's cousin at that).

That sucks.

What the hell is this person doing as a trustee. This makes no sense. I would like to hear the scoop behind this, there must be more to the story....
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« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2004, 03:07:35 AM »

There is an Archdiocesan trustee who publicly rails against monasticism. And there is the treatment of the one Antiochian nun by the "administration" that should give indication of how they view monasticism (and this nun is Met. Philip's cousin at that).

anastasios

Also, what do mean "the one Antiochian nun"?  Do you mean that is formerly tied to a bishop in the AOA?  I know of at least two people growing up (that were Antiochian) that became monastics - so I guess they had to switch jurisdicitons?
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« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2004, 08:59:23 AM »


I was under the illusion that All America would have it's own Patriarchate.  Isnt this one of the main reasons for unity in America?

JoeS  Huh

My understanding is that is if Orthodox jurisdictional unity were to be reached. The Antiochian Dioceses in America would defer to the new, single national church structure. This entails a giving up of power by The Antiochian bishops, in order to merge with the new united strucure. This cannot be done without ammending Archdiocese's constitution. It would also possibly sever the current relationship with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch (which I personally have mixed feelings about).Would a unified American Orthodox Church be under the Moscow Patriarchate? The Ecumenical Partiarchate?

Spiros
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« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2004, 01:24:55 PM »


I was under the illusion that All America would have it's own Patriarchate.  Isnt this one of the main reasons for unity in America?

JoeS  Huh

I like how you pharse that.  Unfortunately, I think we all are. Cheesy
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« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2004, 08:19:06 PM »

My priest's son literally laughed when I brought this up.  His impression, after having spent his whole (albeit short) life living in a family directly affected by OCA business, is that this won't happen.  I pray he's wrong.

The "one Antiochian nun" is just that -- the lone monastic in the entire archdiocese.  I would assume that, yes, the other two mentioned had to go into the GOA or the OCA.

And Elisha -- sorry; I heard the prophet Elijah commemorated at liturgy on Tuesday and got confused when I saw your name.  Tongue
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« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2004, 08:31:22 AM »

Ah, OK.  I stand (sit, really) corrected.  Grin

So, OK..."the only monastics in...."  Wink
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« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2004, 09:45:03 AM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Actually there are several monastics in the Archdiocese---- His Grace Bishop Basil is actually a monastic, at our last pastoral visit to my parish in Texas Bishop Basil spoke of his own recent tonsuring as a monastic that occurred when he realized that although a Bishop, he was not a monk and could not tonsure another person as monastic until he had himself been tonsured as a monk. I am personally aware that he has directed several people That I know to various existing monasteries in the United States, with his blessing, to enter the novitiate.  His vision of Orthodoxy in America is that we are all Orthodox and that is all that matters when it comes to one choosing to become monastic.  

While I can not speak for him or other Antiochian Bishops, my interactions with them have lead me to believe that he, and other Antiochian Bishops would like  seasoned monastics when the first formal male monastery in the Archdiocese is established rather than the fly-by-night charismatic (read that centered around a single charismatic leader) institutions that often have been started and failed by wannabes [no offense intended]. There is a female monastic skete in the Archdiocese with a nun and novice that is Antiochian but under the spiritual direction of another jurisdiction due to the lack of seasoned leadership in the Antiochian Church here.  Once again, the reality seems to be that everything is in formulation while training of the monastic leaders are being formed. Then I believe there will be antiochian monasteries in America.

To set the record straight with actual documentation, I suggest that one get the biography of  Metropolitan Philip, by Archpriest Peter Gilquist. I too though Metropolitan philip to be totally antimonastic, however after reading the book I found Metropolitan Philip to be totally committed to the evangelization of Orthodoxy to America. I learned that the Metropolitan is not necessarily anti-monastic but rather wants the first monstic foundation to be based upon  the Balamond Monastery model from Lebanon which is primarily a retreat and education model. He wants this monastery to be established at the Antiochian Village in Ligoner, Pa.  As I understand it He has made it clear that until this is done he will not authorize further monasteries in the US. His vision appears to note that this is the model that meets the evangelistic model for making America Orthodox that he has embraced.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2004, 02:48:21 PM »

Right , monasteries are supposed to be tourists centers for lay people....
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« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2004, 12:49:08 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

No Not a tourist center  but rather a point for spiritual direction and restoration, a spiritual heart perhaps for the Archdiocese. Coming from Lebabnon, Metropolitan Phillip is well aware of what it is to live in a hostile environment where scattered Christians surrounded by an antichristian majority (Islam) need a refuge and place of spiritual renewal. His published talks and writings are indicative of this, also that he seems to see the secular world of the US as similarly a hostile environment and that  monastic guided retreat in a monastic center will provide the refreshing and strengthen of our youth and laity.  This seems to be the Balamond model of education, spiritual guidance, and restoration/renewal.

We must remember that in Byzantium and Russia it was often the monastic institutions and endowments that provided education, hospitals, orphanages, etc.  Perhaps Metropolitan philip wishes to see a restoration of these institutions as the Antiochian mission---after all the Greeks, Russians, and OCA seem to pretty well have established the other models of monastacism in the US.

I think that the other Antiochian Bishops are desirous of all models being available within the Antiochian Church, but they of course are obedient to their Presiding Hierarch.  What will happen when they become Bishops of their own diocese and not Metropolitan Philip's auxillaries has yet to become apparrent.

In Christ,
Thomas Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2004, 02:58:31 PM »

Still the point of monasticism is not to built a place where peope can come for renewal, that is only a byproduct of true monasticism - making that the end of antiochian "monasticisim" could be.....well a tourist center.
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« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2004, 04:02:49 PM »

I can see we will have to agree to disagree.

I believe that the role of monastacism is to first seek the kingdom of God initially for oneself through discipline and obedience, the worship of the Living Tri-une God through the discipline of the hours of the dervices of the church, AND the evangelical outreach as a witness to the world of the message of the Holy Orthodox Faith. Nothing that Metropolitan Philip has in his vision seems to invalidate this approach.The Balamond model he pursues is not the Athonite model is true, and most American Monasteries tend to seek that model (some Russian models use other models---this can be seen in last year's courteous disagreements between Elder Ephriam and the  New Valaam Elders in Russia---see the article in the the monastic magazine put out by St.John Maximovich Monastery in California), yet it is still a valid model.

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« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2004, 11:05:34 PM »

Thomas,
With all due respect, you seem rather naive to the realiities of the AOA vs their so called declared vision.

Also, which seems to apply to you as well, here's a little anecdote.  My sister and I were talking during our 6+ hour drive up the west coast recently and were agreement that it seems like most Antiochians idolize and unquestioningly believe their bishops, while in the OCA (maybe GOA and elsewhere too) we wholeheartedly respect our bishops and submit to them but definitely willing to disagree with them if something doesn't seem right.  This doesn't mean we disobey them and jurisdiction hop - we're just not wiling to be snowed by anything they say, especially if it doesn't sound right.

This monasticism crap you just espoused doesn't hold an ounce of water.  "Waiting" for how many decades to get some sort of Balamand model is a bunch of crap.  A copout plain and simple.  You need to call a spade a spade.  Criticism where it is due and likewise with praise.  I'm VERY reluctant to believe everything that Met. Phillip says in his book.  In fact, the very existence of a book like that seems very prideful of him to me.

The AOA has done some great work, but have made many mistakes (or at least many individuals) and are far from perfect.  Likewise every other jurisdiction.

 Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2004, 12:00:52 PM »

Elisha,

I beg your forgiveness for what ever I said that brought about the use of the vulgar language in your last response. Please forgive me, I did not mean to do anything that would lead one to use profanity on this Orthodox Christian website.

Also an FYI, the book is not written by Metropolitan Phillip but by Archpriest Peter Gillquist and as I recall was written in honor of the anniversary of Metropolitan Phillip several years ago.  The book was presented  in this discussion as a documented presentation of what Metropolitan Phillip has actually said or written on the subject. In my opinion.there are far too many urban legends about what Metroploitan Phillip has said or done with very little documentation presented.  Documentation was requested by a member of the board and a source , The Biography by Archpriest Peter was provided. Until I had read the book, I had a very different understanding of Metropolitan Phillip, his vision, and why things are the way they are in the AOA. While one may or may not agree, it will provide a documented and intelligent way to view Metropolitan Philip without the hearsay and innuendo frequently seen on the websites when the AOA  or Metropolitan Philip are discussed.

Once again, please forgive me if I have offended you.

In Christ,
the sinner Thomas
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« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2004, 12:38:25 PM »

I don't think "crap" is profanity or I'd ban it but perhaps we could use better words?

Anastasios
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« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2004, 01:21:25 PM »

Since I joined this board, I have honestly tried to avoid the polemics. However, I am angry at the extent of Antiochian bashing.

I love monasteries and monastics, and my Antiochian parish has very strong ties to the local OCA monastery.  I have been visiting monasteries for worship and pilgimage longer than some of you have been alive.

That said, there has been a strain of monasticism in the US that has been characterized by scandals, jurisdiction hopping and other problems, that I will not relate here. The stable monasteries have been those established by either Old Country leaders (Mother Alexandra of blessed memory or Archimandrite Roman Braga) or exceptional converts like Mother Raphaela. Some convert led monasteries have been the ones which have spun off in strange directions. Spiritually Mature elders are a pre-requistite to monasteries.  

This leads to  practical problems in establishing Antiochian Monasteries here right now. One is that Arab monastics sometimes have trouble getting here for political reasons (US relations with Syria and Palestine). I was told one of the candidates for bishop could not get a Visa for the convention in Pittsburgh. Second, there is an attitude among leaders in  the Middle East that as many Christians as possible stay to continue a Christian witness in the lands of our Saviour's birth and ministry. The monastics are an essential part of this witness.

As regards to we Antiochians believing our Bishops, I am glad there is such strong trust between us. Maybe I should be embarrassed that we are just not as sophisticated as other jurisdictions, whose people think their Bishops are going to "snow" them.

May God Bless Saidna PHILIP and grant him many years.
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« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2004, 02:07:33 PM »

Spiros,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Thank you for your comments.  I have personally found the bishops I have had personal contact with  to be very favorable to monasteries and even at our Parish Life Conference in June, His Grace Bishop Basil led a pilgrimage to the Greek Orthodox Monastery near Austin to introduce members of the region to monastacism and he has published several very pro-monastic articles ( One recently in the Word Magazine).  I know that Bishop Basil and otehr bishops continue to send young men and women to stable, spiritally directed  monasteries for training and it is hopes that they will return to the diocese as spiritual elders able to establish spiritually productive Antiochian monasteries.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2004, 02:36:56 PM »

Thomas,
No offense taken/intended.  Sorry if my choice of wording was inappropriate.

Again, what I'm talking about is idolizing vs respecting your bishop.  I see way too much idolizing going on - as if they are willing to jump off a cliff for their bishop.  Much of this "bashing" comes from the self-promoting statements made by the Antiochian Hierarchy - as if they are God's gift to Orthodoxy in this country, are the only ones getting converts, doing any worthwhile work, etc.

I've known Fr. Peter all my life, was good friends with his son Peter growing up and still am in contact, although much less these days with the geographical separation.  Keep in mind as well, that much of this evangelistic work done by prominent Antiochians is being done by former Evangelical Orthodox Church members (Frs. Peter G, Jon Braun, Gordon Walker, Jack Sparks, Ballew, etc.).  Most of them never went to an Orthodox seminary,  they were just insta-ordained.  When the EOC formally came into Orthodoxy in '87, they came in under their own terms - MUCH different than how parishes in the OCA or even the AOA do today.  They even had their own diocese for 5 years or so after "becoming Orthodox"!  There is still a fair amount of bad baggage so to speak leftover from the EOC days in many of the parishes, although this has improved dramatically.  I'm not trying to say that anything you read by them is "bad", "unorthodox" or whatever.  Just consider the historical perspective/circumstances.  Often, things are whitewashed to some extent and didn't historically happen as groovy as they were made to sound.

As to Met. Phillips vision and why things have happened (at the pace) that they have?  Again, a copout.  Considering how long the AOA has been in this country and the size of the group, they are WAY behind and lacking in the beforementioned areas.
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« Reply #42 on: July 26, 2004, 04:15:47 PM »

Thomas,
Glory Forever!

Elisha,
I was at one of the Chrismations of an EOC parish. It was very moving. They did not come in "under their own terms". Among other things, they had married Bishops, which they relinquished. They did retain elements of their own structure for a while.  There are problems in the Antiochian Church, but the Church has always had problems. Whether some mission priests went to seminary is pretty minor. Many priests in Greece never did either.

Maybe we trust our bishops because they deserve it. For example, the recent tragedy with BP DMITRI was handled by MEt. PHILIP with a combination of compassion and absolute honesty. Nothing was swept under the rug.
 
As to how long the AOCA has been in this country, and how far they have come.  

1. Until fairly recently, there was a jurisdictional schism among Orthodox Syrians (The Toledo Archibishopric/NY Metropolitaitat). This has been healed, unlike some in other ethnic churches.

2. last stat I saw, was around 300,000 members-most of whom have been coming in through conversions during the past 2 decades. OCA and GOA are three times bigger.

I love the charity and hospitality of my church. I think converts are received with less expectations of becoming "Russian" or "Greek"  or "Syrian" than any other Jurisdicition.

The fact that as Thomas says, that we are sending young people to monasteries in the OCA  or GOA is indicative of acting as if Orthodox unity in America is a reality. I have heard the local monastery near my parish referred to as "our" monastery, though it happens to be OCA.

Why say "Copout" rather than respond to my indication of problems with monastic leadership relative to Syria/Palestine??  
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« Reply #43 on: July 26, 2004, 04:24:55 PM »

Quote
Since I joined this board, I have honestly tried to avoid the polemics. However, I am angry at the extent of Antiochian bashing.

Very typical isn't it. As I have said before, I haven't even heard such hardcore rhetoric coming from rocor people at Holy Virgin in SF who have no problem with me being antiochian. Not sure what the agenda of some people on this board are. They remind me of a dying generation of people that are so stubborn in thier beleifs that they can't relate whatsoever with younger generations and changing times. It's like walking into a reformed baptist church and seeing a sea of gray hair. They are stuck in thier ways & everything has to be thier way & everyone else is wrong. In the future, they will be closing churches, we will be taking thiers & starting new ones....must I go on?Huh

I'm glad to be part of the Antiochian Church because I beleive our vision is balanced and it's something that attracts all types of peoples & different generations. We aren't worried about being divisive and putting down other people because we think they are  wrong and we are right. This is why we WILL be the premier church in america because we are focusing on the gospel and living it out.
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« Reply #44 on: July 26, 2004, 04:43:00 PM »

Spiros,
I was Chrismated by Met Phillip back in '87.  You don't know the half of it.  Yes, the event was very moving and a great thing, but I'm talking about the process.

Oh, I understand now (because of political circumstances) why it would be hard to transplant a few monastics from the motherland here to start a monastery here.  But what about 20, 10 years or even 5 years ago when the immigration environment was more friendly?  I stand by my copout statement.

I agree that seminary isn't necessarily necessary (yeah, awkward wording), but the case you cited involves priests who grew up in the faith - those that I'm talking about didn't.

I really don't want to "bash" per se, but when I read this self-righteous promoting where I read statements saying how the Antiochians are the greatest thing since sliced bread, then I beg to differ.  I see the humility of many of the hierarchs rather lacking.  (As a sidenote, I've heard nothing but great things about Bishop Basil Essey though.)
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