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Author Topic: Metropolitan MAXIMOS of Pittsburgh announces his retirement  (Read 2703 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 02, 2011, 08:00:43 PM »

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that His Emincence is retiring for health reasons from active Archpastoral duty.

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NEW YORK – The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at their meeting of August 29th and 30th, accepted the resignation of His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos from his position as Metropolitan of Pittsburgh and hence the See of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh became Vacant.  On August 3rd, Metropolitan Maximos submitted his resignation for reasons of health to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios as President of the Holy Eparchial Synod and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and asked that it be forwarded to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew.  The Archbishop communicated the decision of the Metropolitan to the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese of America, and with a heavy heart forwarded the letter of resignation to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

More here: http://www.goarch.org/news/maximosresignation-09022011

His Eminence's health has been in steady decline over the past few years, and only in the last year has it prevented him from exercising both aspects of his Archepiscopal ministry (liturgical and pastoral/administrative).  On the one hand, many of us have been glad that this has been in the works (I've wanted to post here about this over a month ago to ask for prayers, but have not been permitted to discuss it openly) - the Metropolis needs an active and engaged hierarch.

On the other hand, I, along with many others, are saddened to be losing our Diocese/Metropolis' first ruling hierarch (his predecessors were Auxiliaries) and long-time shepherd.

My thoughts, from a Facebook comment I left under a photo of His Eminence facing me at my ordination:
Quote
One of the most humbling experiences of my life: facing the man who guided my parents in college, served at their wedding, ordained my father, assigned him first to Weirton, then to Cleveland, allowed him to remain even in difficult times, who brought my father-in-law into the diocese (first to Wheeling, then to Canonsburg), allowed him to remain there even in difficult times, who baptized me, shepherded me, gave me his blessing and encouragement and guidance to go to Holy Cross and to work in the youth office, who married us, baptized my first-born, and, finally, ordained me to the Holy Deaconate and Holy Priesthood. No human, save my parents and wife, has been as instrumental and influential in my life as His Eminence Metropolitan MAXIMOS.

May we always remember him as a prayerful man, a man of hope and vision, a man of deep understanding of God's relationship to man (through both his prayer life and his studies), a man of wisdom and strength. While his health now causes him to step down from his active Archpriesthood, his spirit remains one closely linked to God.

I will always be that 8 year-old kid, leaving whatever activity he was doing, running to meet him when he arrived at (insert location here: camp, church, home, etc.).

Many more years to our Father and Archpastor!

(Aside: I was very disappointed that the official Archdiocesan photographer decided to "scoop" the story on FB - very briefly - which even included false information.  He's a great guy, so it seems like a temporary lapse in judgment; unfortunately, it spawned rumors, questions, and other uncertainty about His Eminence around the American Greek Orthodox (e-)world yesterday.)
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2011, 08:24:26 PM »

Many years! I hope for his own rest in retirement, but it is a terrible loss for the Church at large.
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2011, 08:44:31 PM »

Many years! I hope for his own rest in retirement, but it is a terrible loss for the Church at large.
I liked him alot and wish him the best in his retirement.
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2011, 09:50:36 PM »

Many years! Hope they can find a new metropolitan.
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2011, 10:13:46 PM »

He will be hard to replace. May his retirement be as uneventful as possible.
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2011, 03:29:45 AM »

His Eminence was wholly devoted to the well being and progress of his faithful flock, fully committing his life and energy to his archepiscopal ministry, in the "God kept Holy Metropolis of Pittsburgh," composed of 51 parishes in Pennsylvania, except Greater Philadelphia; Ohio, except Toledo, Springfield, Dayton, Middletown, and Cincinnati; and West Virginia.  He was approachable to ALL, and still, among the most noted and respected theologians of world-wide Orthodox Christianity.  Diocesan ministries that are considered common place today, were premiered in the Diocese of Pittsburgh due to His Eminence's foresight.  "The Illuminator" was the first diocesan newspaper in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; the Metropolis of Pittsburgh is noted for the quality of its Summer Camp programs; it was the first diocese to engage a full time youth coordinator; the Holy Metropolis is still the only GOAA metropolis to have a full time Religious Education coordinator. 

He was a very early advocate within the Holy Eparchial (Provincial) Synod of Bishops for a Constitutional Charter under the Ecumenical Patriarchate that would enable the ruling authority of diocesan bishops as stated in the canons. Fully devoted to the progress of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he was equally devoted to the progress of all the Holy Orthodox Churches, many of which he visited in official capacities, especially as the Churches were rebuilding after the scourage of Communism was lifted.  Fr. George Papaioanou, later Bishop George of New Jersey, of Blessed Memory, wrote that +Maximos was the only student to graduate from the Halki Theological School "in perfection," straight "A's.  While attending graduate school in Rome, he pastored the Greek Orthodox Church there, his deacon at the time, Rev. Bartholomew Archondonis, currently the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople,  Orthodoxy's First Among Equals. He had more than one pastoral staff that were gifts of Alexii II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, of Thrice Blessed Memory. 

While always proclaiming the truth and perfection of  Holy Orthodox Christianity, he was a leader in the dialogues with Roman Catholicism, and was loved by his Roman Catholic counter parts in the dialogues. 

He had initiated the "Mini-SCOBA" which worked to coordinate the work of his fellow Orthodox hierarchs and pan-Orthodox activities in the region of the Pittsburgh Diocese.  A local OCA priest recently asked me, "How's my friend?" referring to His Eminence.  His absence from the North American Episcopal Assembly, is a most significant loss to the purpose, work and progress of the Assembly.

I hope in his retirement he can devote himself to writing, he has so much to share with us.

"Eis Pola Eti Despota."
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2011, 09:40:02 AM »

Truly a great loss for the Greek Archdiocese.  Is he going back to Greece, will he retire to a monastery?

I know that this is way too early to speculate on, but does anyone think that the EP will appoint someone from the "old country" to be the new Metropolitan or will elevate someone who was born or lived here for a great deal of time?
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2011, 10:24:31 AM »

I am sure he will be missed by people who love him and respect him, but I think he is doing the right thing.
In the old days in Russia, bishops used to retire to a monastery and write books or become elders and spiritual fathers.
It is good that bishops retire to allow new blood into the churches.
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2011, 10:26:38 AM »

I hope in his retirement he can devote himself to writing, he has so much to share with us.  

He has a number of unfinished manuscripts, including his Dogmatics notes, that others have been pressing him to publish, especially his former students from HC/HC.  I've spoken with a few who contend that his class notes were better than any text they read then (or since).  I think he also has a translation or two of existing manuscripts/published works to do; he officially claims 4 languages (English, Greek, Italian, and French), but also speaks Turkish, Latin, a bit of Hebrew, and a few others (dialect changes, Ancient Greek, etc.).
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2011, 10:30:57 AM »

I know that this is way too early to speculate on, but does anyone think that the EP will appoint someone from the "old country" to be the new Metropolitan or will elevate someone who was born or lived here for a great deal of time?

Our Archdiocesan Charter and regulations have clear directions for how this will go:

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/documents/charterpage/index_html
Quote
Article 12
Locum Tenentes
a.- In the event of a vacancy in the office of the Archbishop, the member of the Eparchial Synod first in order of seniority of episcopal ordination, or--if he is impaired--the next in rank, becomes the locum tenens by designation of the Ecumenical Patriarch, until the election of the new Archbishop.
b.- In the event a Metropolitan See becomes vacant, the Archbishop, in consultation with the Eparchial Synod, designates the Metropolitan of an adjacent See as the locum tenens who serves until a successor is elected.

Article 12.b has already taken place, with Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Detroit (former chancellor of our Metropolis) appointed by His Eminence as the Locum Tenens.

Quote
Article 14
Election of a Metropolitan

a.- In every regular meeting and in consultation with the Archdiocesan Council, the Eparchial Synod reviews and modifies, through additions and deletions, the list of those eligible for the office of Metropolitan. The Auxiliary Bishops are automatically included in this list by virtue of their office. The Eparchial Synod submits the list so completed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for its approval. The list becomes definitive after its ratification by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is then officially published by the Archdiocese.

b.- Immediately following a vacancy in the See of a Metropolis, but no later than forty (40) days thereafter, the Archbishop convenes the Eparchial Synod in a timely fashion, for the purpose of nominating, after soliciting the opinion of the members of the Archdiocesan Council, three persons, out of whom one shall be elected to fill the vacancy of the Metropolis. The nominees are taken from the above mentioned list of those eligible, pursuant to the procedure provided for by the Regulations of the Eparchial Synod.

c.- The list of three nominees thus established is submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. According to the existing practice, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elects one of the three as the new Metropolitan.

d. A nominee for the office of Metropolitan shall be a person of deep faith and ethos, a Greek Orthodox Christian, a graduate of an academically recognized and accredited Orthodox school of theology of the highest level, have a fluent knowledge of spoken and written English and Greek, and have a proven ability in administration and pastoral work. In addition, the nominee must have all the pertinent qualifications defined by the Holy Canons, shall not be less than thirty-five (35) years of age, and shall have had a period of sufficient service in the Archdiocese.

e. Those fulfilling the above conditions are candidates and are included in the list of eligible candidates regardless of the place of residence during the time of the election.

The next regular meeting of the Eparchial Synod is in October, so I presume the nomination will take place at that time.
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2011, 10:36:23 AM »

I hope in his retirement he can devote himself to writing, he has so much to share with us.  

He has a number of unfinished manuscripts, including his Dogmatics notes, that others have been pressing him to publish, especially his former students from HC/HC.  I've spoken with a few who contend that his class notes were better than any text they read then (or since).  I think he also has a translation or two of existing manuscripts/published works to do; he officially claims 4 languages (English, Greek, Italian, and French), but also speaks Turkish, Latin, a bit of Hebrew, and a few others (dialect changes, Ancient Greek, etc.).

The "secret" was kept pretty well I think.  I heard about it for the first only about a week and a half ago.  So people have been careful to respect the Metropolitan's wishes and needs.  I hope that continues.

I too would love to see him have the time and energy left to do some publishing.  He is well cared for and respected in the Vatican and by the Holy Father, and the slowing down or cessation of his ecumenical work in the bilateral Orthodox-Catholic dialogue is going to be deeply felt.

I pray for us as much as for him:  Many Years!!

M.
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2011, 11:06:38 AM »

A truly wonderful person, I suspect that of all of the titles that he received in life, that of Priest/Presbyter is the one closest to his heart. He touched many lives in American Orthodoxy. A life long friend of ACROD and its bishops, he taught many of our priests while on the faculty of Christ the Savior Seminary. Best of health and may God grant him many years! Eis polla eti Despota!
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2011, 12:16:24 PM »

A truly wonderful person, I suspect that of all of the titles that he received in life, that of Priest/Presbyter is the one closest to his heart.

He'd likely agree with you.  He is the son of a Priest, and thoroughly enjoyed his life of teaching, direct contact with people (as a parish priest, professor, and mentor), and writing.  He declined consideration to be a hierarch twice before finally acquiescing, and has always said that while he loves his diocese and its people and ministries, his time as a priest was truly special.
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2011, 10:17:06 PM »

Aristokles is still mourning the loss of Met. Nicholas.

Now, with the retirement of Met. Maximos, I am a little depressed and a little confused. For our ACROD, we have, locum tenens, the archbishop in NY. For our Pittsburgh Metropolis we have, locum tenens, the metropolitan of Detroit.
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« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2011, 11:17:52 PM »

Re. Reply No. 8, Thanks for this information, Fr. George, it's very good to know, his health permitting, that he could possibly publish the works you noted.

His Eminence also has knowledge of Orthodox liturgical languages, he typically would include a little Church Slavonic in celebrating the Divine Services.  (I'm recalling as I write this,  the last Blessing of the Five Loaves Service (Artoclasia) he conducted at my parish, he intoned the petitions successively in Greek, English, Church Slavonic, and Romanian--I recall chanting the response, "Lord have mercy," (3) in a celebrative tone in Slavonic and my priest raised his eye brows at me because His Eminence was chanting in Romanian).

Re. Reply No. 6, Scarmandius, I don't feel it's appropriate to speculate about his successor at this time, within this "oc.net" topic, though we could do so sometime in the future, before the Eparchial Synod meets.  But in a general reply to your inquiries, the GOAA nomination process for the ruling metropolitans, per the Constitutional Charter, is generated from among a list of  eligible clergy, which is updated at each meeting of the Eparchial Synod, and forwarded to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for approval.  The Archdiocesan Council will submit its nominations from the eligible list, to the Synod, but their opinion is consultative.  In the past 40 years since I've been an observer, none of the diocesan (or metropolis)  hierarchs have come directly from abroad, except for primates, Archbishop Spyridon, and that was an exceptional case, in that he was American born and spent some of his formative years growing up in the U.S.,  and Archbishop Demetrios who had priestly experience in America and for over a decade had taught at Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, MA., (along with a few stints at Harvard).  I can't recall seeing the eligible list published lately, but my recollection is that there were no clergy on the list who didn't have tenure in the American Archdiocese and the Charter specifies that eligible candidates for metropolitan must have at least 5 consecutive years experience in the Holy Archdiocese of America.  The last two metropolitans elected had been deacons to Archbishop Iakovos, of Blessed Memory, one who was American born, the other had been born in Greece; the ecclesial experience of both was American.
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2011, 12:34:03 AM »

Additional Reply to Reply No. 6, Scamandrius,

I do not know where His Eminence is planning to spend his retirement.  However, from what I've heard, he's being cared for by a relative and probably will need to stay in the Pittsburgh area for now, while his health is weak; (he suffers from diabetes).  I doubt that he'd plan on retiring to Greece or a Greek monastery.

Years ago, he had bought property adjoining the Metropolis' St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in Perrysville, Ohio, where he had planned to build a house and live out his retirement.  That is probably not viable given his poor health now.  By the way, St. Gregory Monastery was the first monastery in the GOAA, founded by His Eminence.
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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2011, 12:47:22 AM »

Additional Reply to Reply No. 6, Scamandrius,

I do not know where His Eminence is planning to spend his retirement.  However, from what I've heard, he's being cared for by a relative and probably will need to stay in the Pittsburgh area for now, while his health is weak; (he suffers from diabetes).  I doubt that he'd plan on retiring to Greece or a Greek monastery.

Years ago, he had bought property adjoining the Metropolis' St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in Perrysville, Ohio, where he had planned to build a house and live out his retirement.  That is probably not viable given his poor health now.  By the way, St. Gregory Monastery was the first monastery in the GOAA, founded by His Eminence.

Yes, I visit st. Gregory Palamas regularly (or at least used to before certain events happened) and one of the fathers there told me that he was brought to ST. Gregory Palamas after having met Metropolitan MAXIMOS on a boat trip in the Greek islands and that MAXIMOS was planning to retire there.  Though I understand his health is declining and needs to be in the vicinity of where great care is easily accessible, I can think (personally) of no better hospital than a monastery
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« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2011, 01:30:56 AM »

I honestly can say I knew nothing whatsoever of this Metropolitan until reading this thread.  I can also honestly say that, given how much everyone seems to have loved him (universal acclaim not always being an easy task for any important person - let alone a bishop - to accomplish), I am very sorry he will no longer be a ruling bishop.  May God let his retirement be long, fruitful, and lacking in unfortunate situations.
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« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2011, 01:33:32 AM »

I hope His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas will be able to perform those duties,  Lord have mercy..

He has plenty on his "plate", but I never really think about all of the roles and responsibilities of a Bishop.. it's quite a lot.
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« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2011, 07:48:15 PM »

God help him!
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« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2011, 12:14:00 AM »

Sunday on "facebook," Archdeacon Ryan Gzikowski, the Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of Pittsburgh, posted pictures of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios presenting gifts to Metropolitan Maximos.  The background appears to be the Holy Metropolis' St. Photios Chapel.  Fr. Ryan did not explain the context, whether a liturgy had been celebrated or on which day the presentation occurred, except that he did refer to His Eminence as the "former Metropolitan of Pittsburgh."  One of the gifts was a pen, for his writing and translating, such as Fr. George described above.  Metropolitan Maximos was standing unassisted and looked well, similar to how he looked the last I'd see him on the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul in 2009.

On another note, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, Locum Tenens of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh, called all the priests of the metropolis to a meeting at the metropolis on Tuesday.

I hope the Metropolis sponsors a retirement banquette for His Eminence; that's the least we can do for him, who gave himself wholly to the Church (and its clergy and faithful), throughout his ecclesiastical career.
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« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2011, 02:47:30 AM »

Thankfully, a Retirement Reception for our Most Reverend Metropolitan Maximos, honoring his over 33 year episcopal ministry on the Throne of the Pittsburgh Metropolis, is being held at the St. Nicholas Cathedral Center, in Downtown Pittsburgh, this Saturday, November 5th, from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Their Eminences Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, Locum Tenens of the Holy Metropolis of Pittsburgh its former Chancellor, will be in attendance, along with Metropolitan Maximos; "Eis pola eti, Despota."
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