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Author Topic: Why no Antiochian monasteries?  (Read 7348 times) Average Rating: 0
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Landon77
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« on: April 11, 2005, 12:35:00 AM »

  I was wondering why my jurisdiction (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America) doesn't have many monastaries.  Does any one know?
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2005, 01:06:10 AM »

It actually does have some monastics in the Antiochian Church in the US currently the official number I believe is three:
 Bishop Basil (Essey) the Bishop of the Diocese of Witchita and Midwest America
 His Kellion (Cell attendant) Schema-monk Paul
 and a Nun, Mother Nektaria is in a Skete in Tennessee under the omiphorion of His Grace Bishop Basil.

All other monastics who have been baptised into the Antiochian Patriarchate in the US ( and therefore members of the Archdiocese) are serving in existing monasteries of other Jurisdictions. His Grace Metropolitan Philip has not authorized any monasteries that I am aware of at present. I have read that his wish is that the first monastery in the Archdiocese be located at the conference center at the Antiochian Village near ligoner Pa. This is also the current site for the resident of one of the newer bishops/diocese in the Archdiocese. I am aware that most Antiochian Priests refer their members who have the monastic calling to their diocese bishop whe after intervieiwng the candidate recommend which monasteries they feel appropriate for Antiochian men and women to go to. I personally know several Antiochian men and two women who are in monasteries of other Orthodox jurisdictions with their Bishops blessing and direction.

It is possible now that the Antiochian Archdiocese is now served by Diocese with Bishops rather than Regions with Auxillary Bishops that some diocese Bishops may start monastic insitutions for their own dioceses.


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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2005, 01:58:11 AM »

I was wondering why my jurisdiction (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America) doesn't have many monastaries. Does any one know?

Ask Met. Phillip, and don't take the poor excuse he currently gives for an answer.

As good as His Beatitude was in evangelizing, this is a great weakness - one in which he isn't willing to give a good answer for.  Met. Phillip and his childhood buddy Bp Antoun actually aren't too fond of monasticism.  I know it is hearsay, but I was told that he was overhear saying (paraphrasing), "Monks?  They're just a bunch of gays running around in the woods."

Thomas,
That example does more of a disservice than no answer.
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2005, 02:17:24 AM »

Dear Elisha,

I am sorry that my answer offended you. I was simply stating the facts as I know them. 

I am constantly hearing 'hearsay' and "paraphasing" atributed to Metropolitan Philip, as I have never met His Grace, I will stick to official sermons and writings versus private conversations. While they may not be the full mind of th man, it at least is the public and documented side of the issue. It also is less divisive and seemed to be the information that the initial writer requested.

In Christ,
Thomas 
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2005, 02:53:39 AM »

Dear Elisha,

I am sorry that my answer offended you. I was simply stating the facts as I know them.

I am constantly hearing 'hearsay' and "paraphasing" atributed to Metropolitan Philip, as I have never met His Grace, I will stick to official sermons and writings versus private conversations. While they may not be the full mind of th man, it at least is the public and documented side of the issue. It also is less divisive and seemed to be the information that the initial writer requested.

In Christ,
Thomas

No need to apologize - I'm not offended.  I'm just giving you the reasoning on why they really are anti-monasticism.  They haven't really given any (good) reason to believe otherwise.  For all the blasting we may do of the GOA, the Elder Ephraim monasteries really are a great thing going for the GOA.  The Antiochians?  It's one of their Achilles' heals so to speak.  You must be obedient to your hierarchs.  It doesn't mean you have to agree with everything they say (nor should you settle for what they if you actually believe right).  Tell them what's on your mind!
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2005, 04:28:22 AM »

Elisha. have you posted one FACT in this thread about the Antiochians? Your opinion and rumor hardly qualifies as "reasoning".
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2005, 11:18:31 PM »

Does anyone have any proof that Met. Philip has stated that the only monasteries he would allow to open in America would be those that were for housing homeless people, drug addicts, and serving as hospitals? I have heard that it is this opinion of his that has prevented any monasteries being formed in the AA. The only monastery I have heard of being set up is in Guatemala City and it is strictly for humanitarian aid.
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2005, 11:25:19 PM »

Does anyone have any proof that Met. Philip has stated that the only monasteries he would allow to open in America would be those that were for housing homeless people, drug addicts, and serving as hospitals? I have heard that it is this opinion of his that has prevented any monasteries being formed in the AA. The only monastery I have heard of being set up is in Guatemala City and it is strictly for humanitarian aid.

Proof is hard to come by when people often deal in words and not paper.  A friend of mine is/was (I am being deliberately vague for him) a seminarian and heard a member of the Antiochian diocesan council give a tirade at a seminarian meeting against monasticism in the presence of Antiochian bishops (not sure of Met Philip).  But this information is little better than hearsay. Why not write the Met and ask him his opinion yourself?

Anastasios
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2005, 11:43:15 PM »

I think Bishop Basil is a likely candidate to be the next Metropolitan, and I think he would bring a much different perspective to the position.
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2005, 11:46:52 PM »

From your mouth to God's ear!

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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2005, 12:32:11 AM »

Elisha. have you posted one FACT in this thread about the Antiochians? Your opinion and rumor hardly qualifies as "reasoning".

I didn't say it did.  I'm not the first to comment on the subject - many others did before me in prior threads.  Met. Philip has gone on the record saying that he is waiting for maturity in the AOA and wants to pattern the monasteries after "traditional" Lebanese/Antiochian monasteries.  So how long is he going to wait?  I'm sure Nektarios (see previous threads) could post a good tirade, but I think he's taking the board off for Lent.
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2005, 12:41:14 AM »

  I would love it if +Bishop Basil was the next Metropolitan.  There is just nothing bad to say about him (unless you don't like the WR, but that is another thread).  I can still remember his sermon that he gave my parish last Lent- and I think it's pretty good when you can remember a sermon for that long.
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2005, 12:44:46 AM »

  I may be just a little biased though- he is my first bishop.
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2005, 01:35:48 AM »

Bp Basil = awesome.
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2005, 02:55:25 AM »

I would love it if +Bishop Basil was the next Metropolitan. There is just nothing bad to say about him (unless you don't like the WR, but that is another thread). I can still remember his sermon that he gave my parish last Lent- and I think it's pretty good when you can remember a sermon for that long.

Never met him, but yes, I have only heard good things about him.  He really could make some great changes.
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2005, 04:26:23 AM »


I'm sure Nektarios (see previous threads) could post a good tirade, but I think he's taking the board off for Lent.

No doubt our affable ROCOR-leaning GOA +¥+¦+¦-ä+¦-ü+¦++-é would vent based on fact, hopefully not on rumor.
He is on Mt Athos now.
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2005, 09:08:04 AM »

From your mouth to God's ear!

In Christ,
Thomas

I hope my post was not read as a criticism of Metropolitan Philip.  I may not always agree with him, but if he is doing work that is displeasing to the Lord, he will be the judge and not me.

I personally don't understand what the purpose of a "rant" would be on this subject.  When your brother stumbles does a rant help him?  I would suggest if people are concerned about this they should find a way to help solve the problem they perceive as existing in the AOA.
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2005, 10:20:10 AM »

People tend to rant after years of trying to make things better with no response, in my experience.
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2005, 10:29:56 AM »

How many years have the people in question been trying?
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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2005, 11:04:03 AM »

I attend an Antiochian Church, and we did have a young man in our parish who went into an Antiochian monastery. In Lebanon, I believe. So that might be a possible reason why we don't have any here in the USA. Our bishops might be sending them overseas.
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« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2007, 11:07:56 AM »

This may be the wrong place for this topic.  I placed it here because of the talk about the prerequisites for entering a monastery.

I've tried to go to a monastery for the past several years, but there are two problems.  1) I lack a lot of free time (though that's mainly my fault for being a workaholic) and 2) there are none really close.  All of the Orthodox jurisdictions in this country (OCA, GOA, ROCOR, Serbian, ACROD, etc) all have monasteries here.  I would not mind at all going to a monastery under one of these jurisdictions, btw. Why are the Antiochians not represented?  I know there are many Antiochians who desire to take retreats at monasteries.  My bishop, His Grace, +BASIL regularly goes to Mt. Athos and often speaks and defends the spiritual worth of monasteries.  So why do we have none, especially here in the mid-west (I live in Nebraska)?  A skete or small monastery would not only benefit the Orthodox here (we have a lot of Antiochian Orthodox in this part of the country, mainly around Wichita, Kearney, NE and Sioux City, IA) but would be a good beacon to let others know we are here.  Could this be done?
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« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2007, 11:17:01 AM »

When I asked this question, I was told that there is opposition from some of the older clergy and members of the archdiocesan council. Met Philip seems to be open to the idea--as long as it is at Antiochian Village. Perhaps no aspiring monastics are interested in that. Maybe you should write your bishop and get the official answer though.
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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2007, 11:21:37 AM »

When I asked this question, I was told that there is opposition from some of the older clergy and members of the archdiocesan council. Met Philip seems to be open to the idea--as long as it is at Antiochian Village. Perhaps no aspiring monastics are interested in that. Maybe you should write your bishop and get the official answer though.
The older clergy are opposed to monasteries?  What's up with that?  And what is the Antiochian Village?
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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2007, 11:52:59 AM »

And what is the Antiochian Village?

 Shocked http://www.antiochianvillage.org/
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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2007, 01:22:49 PM »

I don't know if this is indicative of the Antiochian hierarchy's views, but Again magazine (basically Antiochian) published an article 4 of 5 years ago cautioning people about visiting monasteries and guru cultism (i.e. Father Ephraim).  I always took it from this article and their apparent disinterest in establishing monasteries that they thought it was too Old World and not a focus of their evangelism efforts in America. 
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2007, 01:27:49 PM »


Hmmm... I can see why some monastics might not want to set up in the middle of a conference/retreat center & kids camp. Seems like it might be a bit distracting.
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2007, 02:43:26 PM »

I don't know if this is indicative of the Antiochian hierarchy's views, but Again magazine (basically Antiochian) published an article 4 of 5 years ago cautioning people about visiting monasteries and guru cultism (i.e. Father Ephraim).  I always took it from this article and their apparent disinterest in establishing monasteries that they thought it was too Old World and not a focus of their evangelism efforts in America. 
I can see the concern for lack of discernment, yet I thought pilgrimages to monasteries were pan-Orthodox and considered important aspect of nourishment.  If stifling builing/visiting monasteries is indeed the Antiochian hierarchy's outlook then I feel sorry for them.
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« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2007, 02:54:35 PM »

I have heard  several apocalyptic stories about the Antiochians and monasteries.  The one that I have actually seen in writing in official and semi-official biographies is that Metropolitan Philip wants an American Antiochian Monastery modeled after the Monastery in Balamond Lebanon which is an active and successful monastery  that has as one of its missions the serving as a spiritual center for Leabanese Antiochian Orthodox  children to be stregnthened in their faith by running  youth camps.  He appears to believe  that it would be the most successful model to follow in the US  and once he has it functioning at  the Antiochian Village, he will be willing to have other monasteries in the Archdiocese established. The Antiochian Village serves many functions for the Antiochian Church  in the US---a summer camp for children, an adult education and retreat center, a heritage museum, and currently the home of the Antiochian House of Studies, Masters Program and Doctoral Program Center for Theology of the Archdiocese. He, Bishop Basil, and others have advocated for and sponsored Monastic Spiritual fathers from outside the US for many years to come to the Village to run spiritual retreats, Clergy Conferences and retreats. This model appears to be the most successful Antiochian model in the middle east and Metropolitan Philip appears to see it as the best starting place in the US.

Bishop Basil was actually tonsured a monk of the Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist in Essex,  England in his desire to establish an Antiochian Orthodox monastic presence in the US with  Episcopal guidance as in normal in other Orthodox jurisdictions.

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« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2007, 03:27:57 PM »

Hmmm... I can see why some monastics might not want to set up in the middle of a conference/retreat center & kids camp. Seems like it might be a bit distracting.

Right. It's not an actual feasible option. Don't know if it's actually a plan either. If so, it would serve one clear purpose: Allow plenty of oversight and episcopal control. That may be the real issue. Met. Philip saw the trouble Archbishop Iakovos had with monastics and decided it wasn't worth the hassle.
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« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2007, 07:47:05 PM »

That may be the real issue. Met. Philip saw the trouble Archbishop Iakovos had with monastics and decided it wasn't worth the hassle.

could you please elaborate on what happened?  Just curious.
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« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2007, 08:01:39 PM »

I don't know if this is indicative of the Antiochian hierarchy's views, but Again magazine (basically Antiochian) published an article 4 of 5 years ago cautioning people about visiting monasteries and guru cultism (i.e. Father Ephraim).  I always took it from this article and their apparent disinterest in establishing monasteries that they thought it was too Old World and not a focus of their evangelism efforts in America. 

Which to me, if true, seems rather unfortunate as monasteries are the primary way that evangelizing was done in the East during the Great Expansion under the Church of the East, which reached China in the 8th century.
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« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2007, 09:38:14 PM »

I don't know if this is indicative of the Antiochian hierarchy's views, but Again magazine (basically Antiochian) published an article 4 of 5 years ago cautioning people about visiting monasteries and guru cultism (i.e. Father Ephraim).  I always took it from this article and their apparent disinterest in establishing monasteries that they thought it was too Old World and not a focus of their evangelism efforts in America. 

1.  This is a repeat topic from over a year ago (maybe not an entire thread denoted to it).

2.  I think you are referring to an article actually written by an abbott....Fr. Jonah Paffhausen, the abbot of St. John of Shanghai located in Manton, CA (opposite side of the valley as Platina - OCA monastery).  This was not a slight of monasticism, but fanaticism.  His point:  visit a monastery for the right reasons.
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« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2007, 10:15:01 PM »

The Greek Archdiocese has set-up one of Elder Ephraim's convents at St. Nicholas Greek Ranch in Dunlap, CA.
One year I sent my sons to the Greek Orthodox Camp and part of their week was spent at the convent listening to Mother Markella. They enjoyed their visit to the monastery.

This past summer the boys went to the Antiochian Camp, St. Nicholas, in Frazier Park. While there is no monastery on site at this camp, they did have an Antiochian nun present during that week (her sister runs the camp). The guys told me she spent time mingling with all of the children. They both really enjoyed getting to know her.
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« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2007, 10:52:26 PM »

From what I have read or heard, Thomas is right on. A couple of points to add, however. Met PHILIP has stated that the first monastery will be at the Antiochian village. Bishop BASIL had a monk living with him from the Holy Mountain and wanted to establish a "traditional" or "athonite" monastery in his diocese. Land was actually given by a Syrian-American parishioner for this purpose, but the Metropolitan said no. (Supposedly, because he wants the more interactive monastery at the Antiochian village established first) Secondly, any monastery would have to be "established" by monks and elders who are already spiritual veterans (like Fr.Ephraim of the Greeks). The Antiochians have few monks in the Middle East (though their numbers are increasing), they all are almost exclusively arabic speaking (which doesn't help evangelize Americans) and, most importantly, they don't have permission to come from the Patriarch (because of the disputes over the "self-ruled" status of the Antiochians in NA and the limited number of monks in Syria and Lebanon)

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« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2007, 05:37:24 PM »

They have no monastaries, - why not?  They have a very fine monastery in Lebanon - Deir Al Haaf.
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« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2007, 06:22:27 PM »

This is split off from the original thread, "Antiochians Breaking UP?"

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13255.0.html
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« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2007, 09:20:06 PM »

There are two main reasons: First of all Met. PHILIP, who had very bad experiences with monastics - read his autobiography - is not interested in "contemplative" style monasteries (I know this is a bad word and will start a debate, but I mean a monastery where the monks simply pray). He is much more interested in a monstery that would be a teaching monastery (like St. Tikhon's?) - for the laity and would be set up at the Antiochian village. Now, to set up a monastery properly, you need monks who are willing to come over and set one up. These would come from Lebanon and Syria where, while monasticism is having a rebirth there, there a not a lot of monks and, besides, they all speak arabic. Finally, someone has said that the Patriarch may not be too warm to sending monks because relations between Damascus and Englewood are still a little cool over this whole self-rule thing. Finally, finally, there are other monasteries (Greek, OCA) where Antiochian can and do go.

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« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2007, 09:29:30 PM »

I know there is another recent thread on this topic somewhere. If I find it, I'll meld the two threads.
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« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2007, 09:35:03 PM »

I know there is another recent thread on this topic somewhere. If I find it, I'll meld the two threads.
Found it! In fact, I found two of them!
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« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2007, 12:18:44 AM »

Finally, someone has said that the Patriarch may not be too warm to sending monks because relations between Damascus and Englewood are still a little cool over this whole self-rule thing. Finally, finally, there are other monasteries (Greek, OCA) where Antiochian can and do go.

Hmm in Ontario we have like 2 serbian monasteries, a Greek, and an OCA one. I think the OCA one is the only one that actually uses english and its more of a bishops chapel then a real monastery. But what am I complaining about...I live in Canada where theres like no english in orthodox churches...o wait our church (Prophet Elias) is the radical church because we have like 47% english- God forbid the old ppl have to hear 50%! You American Orthodox are soo lucky but then again those Greek choirs just do not sit well with me. I always did wonder why greek american churches were obsessed with organs and choirs and why greek monasteries dont use english!
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« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2007, 07:47:16 PM »

I just wanted to say thanks for this thread.  I'm a newbie to the Orthodox faith and entered through the
Antiochian Orthodox Church.  Being a former Catholic I was accustomed to making at least an annual retreat.  So I was pleased to see that the Orthodox Church has the tradition of making pilgrimages to monasteries.  I always wondered why the Antiochians have no monastic presence here in the US.  I did make a pilgrimage to a Greek Orthodox and a Serbian Orthodox monastery and it was great.  I  just was very hesitant to speak much about it about this at my parish since no one else seems to be doing it.  Just wondering if anyone else feels kind of uncomfortable because monasticism is not really promoted in their parish?//
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« Reply #41 on: November 25, 2007, 09:39:15 PM »

Actually at the parishes ive been to in my area, going to the monastery anually or regualrly is encouraged and not looked down upon at all. Some people go to the monastery because they think its more original/ traditional, some like the quiet or the presence of monastics, wutever the attraction is monasteries definitely have a different setting than urban churches. I personally like the fact that people dress more simple and its not so much a fashion show...I've noticed that in one jurisdiction (which will remain unemntionable) the people all dress in jeans and casual clothing...on the other hand in Greek churches (in canada at least), people dress up a looot for church, sometimes overdoing it I think. At the monastery the focus isnt on the friends or the politics, just sraight church...another advantage.
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« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2007, 10:24:27 PM »

Ask Met. Phillip, and don't take the poor excuse he currently gives for an answer.

As good as His Beatitude was in evangelizing, this is a great weakness - one in which he isn't willing to give a good answer for.  Met. Phillip and his childhood buddy Bp Antoun actually aren't too fond of monasticism.  I know it is hearsay, but I was told that he was overhear saying (paraphrasing), "Monks?  They're just a bunch of gays running around in the woods."

Thomas,
That example does more of a disservice than no answer.

The Met sounds somewhat western wouldnt one say?
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« Reply #43 on: November 27, 2007, 06:08:46 PM »

The Met sounds somewhat western wouldnt one say?

He's gotten this particular type of criticism a lot.  I have to say that I think it is at times justified.   However, I feel that he probably has to tread into Western territory a bit just to make Orthodoxy intelligible to the mission field here in America.  I've never met His Beatitude and I don't know his heart, but from what I have read of his and heard from recorded conversations and sermons, I think he is thoroughly eastern in spirit.
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« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2007, 06:16:47 PM »

I've never met His Beatitude and I don't know his heart, but from what I have read of his and heard from recorded conversations and sermons, I think he is thoroughly eastern in spirit. 

He is a graduate of the Theological School of Halki, which probably indicates a thorough "eastern" education with lots of "western" exposure.  Oh, and a pedigree to become a Patriarch somewhere.
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Tags: Monastery Antiochian Anti-monasticism modernists 
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