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Metropolitan Philip's Version of the Synodal Statement

makarios

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I sure hope so, but after all the trouble with Arabic, I'm not sure I understand the English any more.  :-|
 

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I have been following the developments in this crisis since the beginning but have not until now published any of my thoughts. At least two things in the recent statement posted on the Antiochian Archdiocese website leave me less than fully satisfied: "...we are one Archdiocese which is unified UNDER one Metropolitan...." (emphasis mine) and the repeated insistence that the other six bishops are "Assistant to the Metropolitan".  All of this still sounds leaning toward a papal model rather than a council of equals, wherein one, by virtue of his office, holds precedence. I do realize that the "Assistant" part is quite true - it's the blatant repetition that rubs me the wrong way, as if to say, "Be sure you get this straight!"

I doubt that I stand alone regarding this recent statement to be too little and too late.
 

makarios

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genesisone said:
I have been following the developments in this crisis since the beginning but have not until now published any of my thoughts. At least two things in the recent statement posted on the Antiochian Archdiocese website leave me less than fully satisfied: "...we are one Archdiocese which is unified UNDER one Metropolitan...." (emphasis mine) and the repeated insistence that the other six bishops are "Assistant to the Metropolitan".  All of this still sounds leaning toward a papal model rather than a council of equals, wherein one, by virtue of his office, holds precedence. I do realize that the "Assistant" part is quite true - it's the blatant repetition that rubs me the wrong way, as if to say, "Be sure you get this straight!"

I doubt that I stand alone regarding this recent statement to be too little and too late.
Agreed.
 

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Does this mean our bishops will now "assist" the Metropolitan in seeing that:

• a proper audit is conducted
• our Board of Trustees is cleaned up
• we find out who was responsible for the "forged" document disaster and deal accordingly
• our shabby ecclesiastical house is cleaned out and put in order?

I find it impossible to simply go back to February 23 like nothing ever happened. Pandora's box and all that....
 

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Was that document forged? Is Met.Phillip trying to stop a wave of protests and outcry for an open audit?
I wonder if the people will buy this?
 

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It still seems like the Metropolitan is playing semantics.  First, when did "assistant to the metropolitan" become a hierachal title?  Second, while he states he recognizes each is bishop of a city, he does not state he recognizes they are bishops of their dioceses in their own right.  The OCA makes auxillary bishops, bishop of a city.  For example, the OCA Romanian Diocese auxillary, Bishop Irineu, is Bishop of Dearborn Heights.  While allowing their commemoration liturgically, I see no ideaological retreat from his statement: "It is now clear that in the few instances in which the Metropolitan disagrees with the action of a bishop, that the Metropolitan has the authority to reverse that decision." http://www.antiochian.org/node/18887
 

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Although the July 9th Archpastoral Directive on the the archdiocesan web site doesn’t use the term “auxiliary”, I think it overemphasizes the administrative unity of the archdiocese.  It is ecclesiologically inaccurate to speak of us as “one Archdiocese which is unified under one Metropolitan.”  We are one province – the archdiocese is simply the diocese of which Metropolitan Philip is the ordinary.  The archdiocese and the other dioceses together constitute this province.  The legal name really ought to be changed to the Antiochian Orthodox Province of North America.  I’d leave out “Self-Ruled” – ‘tain’t quite so, as recent events have demonstrated.  Sounds kind of pompous anyway.  Clearly Philip still considers himself the big boss.  The notion that diocesan bishops are assistants to the Metropolitan is also erroneous.  They are his suffragans (in the Catholic and Orthodox sense, not the Anglican sense), not his assistants.  As diocesan bishops they should have full ordinary jurisdiction over their flocks.  The proper office of assistant to the metropolitan would be deacon or archdeacon, not diocesan bishop.

If one of Anglicanism’s foibles is that many rectors act like mini-popes, it seems that Orthodoxy often does the same thing at the archdiocesan or patriarchal levels.  Maybe our differences with Rome really are more of degree than of kind.  Or perhaps the natural human will to power will always find ways to manifest itself, even in the Church.
 

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"Or perhaps the natural human will to power will always find ways to manifest itself, even in the Church."

Unfortunately my brother so true. I read that letter and it was so much hogwash. Doesn't he think we can see throught it?

You gotta love it though what a tactician
 

Anastasios

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While the newest statement may be problematic in some of its details, it seems like a best attempt to strike a compromise. If the bishops are ok with it, then at least for now everyone should take a breather and let this issue begin to work itself out.

While sticking the title, "Assistant to the Metropolitan" in the titles of various bishops is redundant, it seems like it was meant to assuase the fears of many (I doubt it is just Met. Philip) that the Archdiocese was becoming disunited.  If one reads the canons that define the Metropolitanate system, it is pretty clear that the Metropolitan does have priority OVER the bishops in his province (cf. statements to the effect of "a bishop shall do nothing without the consent of his Metropolitan", etc.). Orthodox ecclesiology does not distinguish between "types" of bishops in a sacramental sense, but the canonical tradition most certainly does in an administrative one--however, it has to be understood as a voluntary giving up of certain rights for the sake of good order.  It also entails the Metropolitan of a province doing nothing without the consent of his synod; a reciprocal relationship.  But the idea that all bishops are the same is a theoretical construct that has not been lived in the life of the Church from early times.  They are all equal in grace, but not in administrative duties.

Calls for audits and the like are a separate issue; but if the bishops are willing to work inside this system, then perhaps it would be appropriate to raise the questions of financial imporpriety with them, and only take more drastic measures if, after everyone has had a chance to settle in to this new arrangement, things are not taken seriously then.
 

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I respectfully disagree Father..I think the same arrogance and need for power and control which led to the "Auxiliary Bishop" issue is the same arrogance and need for power which could block an open and honest audit.
The convention could be very interesting.I think this was a ploy to "make nice" to try to calm the waters.
People who belong to the Antiochian parish here are very angry.
 

Irish Hermit

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Fr. Anastasios said:
While sticking the title, "Assistant to the Metropolitan" in the titles of various bishops is redundant, it seems like it was meant to assuase the fears of many (I doubt it is just Met. Philip) that the Archdiocese was becoming disunited.  If one reads the canons that define the Metropolitanate system, it is pretty clear that the Metropolitan does have priority OVER the bishops in his province (cf. statements to the effect of "a bishop shall do nothing without the consent of his Metropolitan", etc.). Orthodox ecclesiology does not distinguish between "types" of bishops in a sacramental sense, but the canonical tradition most certainly does in an administrative one--however, it has to be understood as a voluntary giving up of certain rights for the sake of good order.  It also entails the Metropolitan of a province doing nothing without the consent of his synod; a reciprocal relationship.  But the idea that all bishops are the same is a theoretical construct that has not been lived in the life of the Church from early times.  They are all equal in grace, but not in administrative duties.
There are some ecclesiologial ideas in there with which I am unfamiliar.

When are there mini-synods within a Patriarchate such as that formed by synods of bishops in the  "provinces."  What Churches have these mini-synods?

As someone mentioned earlier, when have dioceses been subsumed into some greater entity callled an archdiocese.  An archdiocese is a significant diocese but it is parallel to the other dioceses and not superior to them.

When and where has it happened that individual Metropolitans or Archbishops have formed their own sub synods?  In Russia, in Greece, in Romania?

When has it happened that the bishops within these mini-synods are excluded from membership and participation in the full synod of the Local Church i.e., of the Church's synod in Moscow or Belgrade or Bucharest or Damascus?  Why has this unheard-of exclusion happened in Antioch?

I am baffled by these ecclesiological constructs.  ???
 

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Irish Hermit said:
When are there mini-synods within a Patriarchate such as that formed by synods of bishops in the  "provinces."   What Churches have these mini-synods?
Eparchial Synods -- often called Metropolitan Councils in the Late Antique and Early Byzantine period -- met under the presidency of that area's Metropolitan. All Bishops of the area attended. These Metropolitan Synods were the court of appeal for even smaller synods of local bishops. And, of course, with few expections, only select Metropolitan Archbishops were members of the actual Patriarchal -- or Endemousa -- Synod.

In other words, there were tiny-synods, over which there were mini-synods, over which there were biggie-synods, over which there were Ecumenical Synods. Very common.

Irish Hermit said:
As someone mentioned earlier, when have dioceses been subsumed into some greater entity callled an archdiocese.   An archdiocese is a significant diocese but it is parallel to the other dioceses and not superior to them.
Not superior in essence, but, in terms of practical administration, the story is different.

Irish Hermit said:
When and where has it happened that individual Metropolitans or Archbishops have formed their own sub synods?  In Russia, in Greece, in Romania?
For at least 1,000 years in the Byzantine Empire. Although the Ottoman period is not my forte, I believe this practice continued in a limited form. And it is currently the case within the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in which the Holy Eparchial Synod of America meets regularly under the presidency of an Archbishop, much like in Byzantine times.

I only know the outlines of Russian Church history, but I imagine there are examples of Metropolitan Synods in Russian history as well.
 

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Well, +Philip is trying to get himself out of the cleft-stick of his own cutting:

http://www.ocanews.org/news/PhilipBlinks7.9.09.html

Either that or the Patriarch got one vote to shift against him in the local Holy Synod,
and forced this on him, allowing the silly "Assistant to the Metropolitan" titles as a fig-leaf.

I suppose we'll never know whether the two dissenters were holding out against that
nonsense, or really, really wanted to be auxiliary bishops instead of diocesans (or maybe
one of each?).

 

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SbdcnDavid said:
Well, +Philip is trying to get himself out of the cleft-stick of his own cutting:

http://www.ocanews.org/news/PhilipBlinks7.9.09.html

Either that or the Patriarch got one vote to shift against him in the local Holy Synod,
and forced this on him, allowing the silly "Assistant to the Metropolitan" titles as a fig-leaf.

I suppose we'll never know whether the two dissenters were holding out against that
nonsense, or really, really wanted to be auxiliary bishops instead of diocesans (or maybe
one of each?).
The new titles are a joke.  They don't even mention the bishops' dioceses, just the cities.  This is another one of Met. PHILIP's silly games.  I hope people going to the convention will not be fooled by Met. PHILIP relinquishing the word "auxiliary".  Met. PHILIP is definitely getting into some mischief by changing the titles.  Also, there is still the matter of the financial management of the archdiocese, as well as the convicted criminals sitting on the Board of Trustees and threatening members of the Synod.  This is not over.
 

Irish Hermit

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pensateomnia said:
Irish Hermit said:
When are there mini-synods within a Patriarchate such as that formed by synods of bishops in the  "provinces."  What Churches have these mini-synods?
Eparchial Synods -- often called Metropolitan Councils in the Late Antique and Early Byzantine period -- met under the presidency of that area's Metropolitan. All Bishops of the area attended. These Metropolitan Synods were the court of appeal for even smaller synods of local bishops. And, of course, with few expections, only select Metropolitan Archbishops were members of the actual Patriarchal -- or Endemousa -- Synod.

In other words, there were tiny-synods, over which there were mini-synods, over which there were biggie-synods, over which there were Ecumenical Synods. Very common.
Would you be able to name the century when the last of such synods was in existence and in which countries?  Why have they been revived after a 1000 (?) year hiatus, in the American situation?


Irish Hermit said:
As someone mentioned earlier, when have dioceses been subsumed into some greater entity callled an archdiocese.  An archdiocese is a significant diocese but it is parallel to the other dioceses and not superior to them.
Not superior in essence, but, in terms of practical administration, the story is different.
Would you be specific as what circumstances make an archdiocese superior in terms of practical administration (leaving to one side the unusual situation in Antiochian America.)

Irish Hermit said:
When and where has it happened that individual Metropolitans or Archbishops have formed their own sub synods?  In Russia, in Greece, in Romania?
For at least 1,000 years in the Byzantine Empire. Although the Ottoman period is not my forte, I believe this practice continued in a limited form. And it is currently the case within the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in which the Holy Eparchial Synod of America meets regularly under the presidency of an Archbishop, much like in Byzantine times.
Could you say more about the status of the archdiocese viz-a-vis the other Greek American dioceses.  Are the diocesan bishops excluded from participation in the work of the synod of the full Church in Constantinople, as with the American Antiochian bishops?

I realise that I do not have a complete picture of the American situation and would be grateful for more knowledge
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Could you say more about the status of the archdiocese viz-a-vis the other Greek American dioceses.   Are the diocesan bishops excluded from participation in the work of the synod of the full Church in Constantinople, as with the American Antiochian bishops?

I realise that I do not have a complete picture of the American situation and would be grateful for more knowledge
The US based GOA Metropolitans rotate in and out of the Holy Patriarchal Synod in Constantinople and they don't have to be Turkish citizens per an agreement with Turkey a few years after the former Diocesan Bishops were elevated to Metropolitans.
 

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SbdcnDavid said:
Well, +Philip is trying to get himself out of the cleft-stick of his own cutting:

http://www.ocanews.org/news/PhilipBlinks7.9.09.html

Either that or the Patriarch got one vote to shift against him in the local Holy Synod,
and forced this on him, allowing the silly "Assistant to the Metropolitan" titles as a fig-leaf.

I suppose we'll never know whether the two dissenters were holding out against that
nonsense, or really, really wanted to be auxiliary bishops instead of diocesans (or maybe
one of each?).
I don't know.  I don't know who the two dissenters were?  I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about this and I'm wondering, were +Mark and +Basil the two who dissented?  Is there a hidden surprise in this?

Without knowing these facts, I'm not sure I can say who really won here.
 

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jnials said:
SbdcnDavid said:
Well, +Philip is trying to get himself out of the cleft-stick of his own cutting:

http://www.ocanews.org/news/PhilipBlinks7.9.09.html

Either that or the Patriarch got one vote to shift against him in the local Holy Synod,
and forced this on him, allowing the silly "Assistant to the Metropolitan" titles as a fig-leaf.

I suppose we'll never know whether the two dissenters were holding out against that
nonsense, or really, really wanted to be auxiliary bishops instead of diocesans (or maybe
one of each?).
I don't know.  I don't know who the two dissenters were?  I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about this and I'm wondering, were +Mark and +Basil the two who dissented?  Is there a hidden surprise in this?

Without knowing these facts, I'm not sure I can say who really won here.
Actually, The Ochlophobist reports that scuttlebutt has it the +Basil and +Mark were among the four affirmative votes. 

My read on it (and this is speculation based on Och's scuttlebutt and my own intuition only) is that the four affirmative votes were +Basil, +Mark, +Alexander and +Joseph, the last of whom realized that it's Patriarch Ignatius and the Holy Synod of Antioch who control the succession to the Metropolitanate, not the current incumbent, and that the silly "Assistant to" titles were a fig-leaf for +Philip. (Though, I  do wonder whether the other bishops knew he would capitalize the "T" in "The" when the resolution was typed up--sheer vainglory that.  Still, as I noted in my post to ocanews.org, vainglory, though unbecoming a chief hierarch, unlike ecclesiological heresy, does not call for active resistance on the part of the faithful, just prayerful commendation of our Metropolitan to the care of his father confessor and guardian angel.)
 

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SolEX01 said:
The US based GOA Metropolitans rotate in and out of the Holy Patriarchal Synod in Constantinople Istanbul and they don't have to be Turkish citizens per an agreement with Turkey a few years after the former Diocesan Bishops were elevated to Metropolitans.
Gee, what was I thinking?  ::)
 

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The Convention next week could be very interesting..I've heard the chant is "No Audit...No Budget". It always comes ddown to money doesn't it? But we all know that Met.Phillip loves the high life.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Would you be able to name the century when the last of such synods was in existence and in which countries?   Why have they been revived after a 1000 (?) year hiatus, in the American situation?
First, let me note that these sort of provincial synods are an ancient practice. They existed in various forms since at least the early 3rd century, and were made a requirement by the First Ecumenical Council (cf. Canon 5). This practice was confirmed by the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and was the official practice of the Orthodox Church throughout the Eastern Roman Empire. Of course, it was not always 100 percent observed because of (a) the growing importance of the Endemousa Synod at the Ecumenical Patriarchate (many Metropolitans would spend so much time in the City, they would not be in their own Metropolitanate for enough time to convene their suffragan/diocesan bishops); (b) Muslim conquest; and (c) Latin/Frankish/Norman conquests.

North Africa had the most robust system of synods, wherein all 6 civil provinces had their own regular synods, over which there was a general North African synod under the presidency of the Bishop of Carthage (over which there was Rome). Of course, this ended within a generation of the fall of Carthage to the Muslims in 698.

Later on, in the 9th through 12th century, there were regular Metropolitanate synods in the Byzantine-controlled regions of South Italy, in which Greek Christianity was firmly ensconced (even in Metropolitanates very near Rome, and, btw, in Greek Christian monasteries in Rome itself).

And, of course, this practice was common throughout Asia Minor, Thrace, Pontus, etc. -- even during the times of the various Kingdoms during the Latin domination, as far as we know.

More generally, this is also how the Orthodox Churches in Serbia and Russia functioned when they were still an eparchy of Constantinople...So, roughly until the fall of the City (with certain periods of exception).

I'm not really sure how this practice fared in the Russian Church after autocephaly. In general, with the Tsarist control of the Church and then the rise of nationalism, Orthodoxy worldwide is much more dependent on central, national synods. For example, after the massive reforms of Peter the Great in 1721, I believe monarchical bishops accountable to a series of synods were totally done away with, in favor of a single imperial Synod, on which only select clergymen served. Of course, this Russian Synod was held under the presidency of a lay military officer, included other lay government officials, and, as far as I understand it, decided most everything, even down to who could be made an archimandrite.
 

Irish Hermit

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Irish Hermit said:
Would you be able to name the century when the last of such synods was in existence and in which countries?  Why have they been revived after a 1000 (?) year hiatus, in the American situation?
Something useful from a priest: 

"It is worth noting that the term "archdiocese" is used differently between the Russian and Byzantine churches.

"In the Russian tradition (or so I am led to believe), an archdiocese is functionally identical to a diocese -- it simply has an honorific attached to it.  However, in Byzantine practice, an archdiocese may function as a larger organizational unit including constituent dioceses/metropolises.  This is the case for both the Antiochians and the Greeks in America.

"The same terms don't always mean the same things throughout the practice of the Church, either geographically or historically.  Different churches organize themselves differently."

 

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http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090713/NEWS10/907130324

Great summary of what has transpired. Article is on OCANEWs.

And that innovative, ridiculous title, "Assistant to the Metropolitan", has got to go.
They are diocesan bishops whether he likes it or not.

No audit = No budget
 

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WOW...Middle America...that is where this will boil over...the days of the "high life" could be over..a true Orthodox Bishop? Soon...the OCA finally got one.
I wonder how many people git invited to Met.Phillip's "invitation only" parties.
A convention at a resort...how many people in the economy can afford to fly out there..?

NO AUDIT= NO BUDGET
 

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aserb said:
Heard my Assistant to the Metropolitan's name commemorated yesterday at Liturgy.
Our priest Saturday made the announcement that the rest of the Archdiocese caught up with All Saints, and the bishops are restored to the diptychs.

No Audit, No Budget.
 

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Excellent article in the Toledo Blade.  I'd recommend everyone reading it who is attending the Convention (and even those who are not).

Bravo to Bishop MARK and to Bob Koory for giving interviews.  Hopefully, this article will make the AP "wires." 

Nice to hear our Bishop commemorated again yesterday during Divine Liturgy.  My priest did it the same way as before - "Assistant" wasn't mentioned - thank God!!
 

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^ Same at my parish. All this fuss might make me go back to the Serbian Orthodox Church or would that be too protestant of me. LOL
 

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No mention of "assistant" when +Antoun was commemorated at my parish. But than, I'm not exactly sure what he is, since he doesn't seem to be exactly sure what he is, either.
 

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orthodox4ever said:
Excellent article in the Toledo Blade.  I'd recommend everyone reading it who is attending the Convention (and even those who are not).

Bravo to Bishop MARK and to Bob Koory for giving interviews.  Hopefully, this article will make the AP "wires." 

Nice to hear our Bishop commemorated again yesterday during Divine Liturgy.  My priest did it the same way as before - "Assistant" wasn't mentioned - thank God!!
Notice that Bishop MARK did not vote for the "Assistant to the Metropolitan"... oh, excuse me, "Assistant to The Metropolitan" titles.  Ochlophobist's scuzzlebutt was wrong.
 

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Is there a possibility that Philip will schism from Antioch and set himself up as the head of an American Orthodox Archdiocese?  Will he follow in the footsteps of Aftimos back in the 20's (what seems to be the obsession with Arab Orthodox bishops and independent jurisdictions here in the USA)?

Thank God for the old world Patriarchates.  I hope they reign in some of the shenanigans of these renegade American prelates.

This, as well as the recent scandals in the OCA, should be a good example to all why American Orthodoxy still needs to be under old world oversight.  We just can't govern ourselves.
 

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Robb said:
Is there a possibility that Philip will schism from Antioch and set himself up as the head of an American Orthodox Archdiocese?  Will he follow in the footsteps of Aftimos back in the 20's (what seems to be the obsession with Arab Orthodox bishops and independent jurisdictions here in the USA)?

Thank God for the old world Patriarchates.  I hope they reign in some of the shenanigans of these renegade American prelates.

This, as well as the recent scandals in the OCA, should be a good example to all why American Orthodoxy still needs to be under old world oversight.  We just can't govern ourselves.
I'm willing to bet a quick draft could be sketched out in less than a day so that America would have it's own Patriarch, be under its own control, and function quite well.

But then again, that's if I locked them all in a room and told them to figure it out. Hah
 

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Robb said:
Is there a possibility that Philip will schism from Antioch and set himself up as the head of an American Orthodox Archdiocese?  Will he follow in the footsteps of Aftimos back in the 20's (what seems to be the obsession with Arab Orthodox bishops and independent jurisdictions here in the USA)?

Thank God for the old world Patriarchates.  I hope they reign in some of the shenanigans of these renegade American prelates.

This, as well as the recent scandals in the OCA, should be a good example to all why American Orthodoxy still needs to be under old world oversight.  We just can't govern ourselves.
Except, isn't Met. Philip himself an "old world Bishop?" He's not an "American" per se as I believe he was born and raised overseas. Just what are you talking about?

 
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Yeah, bishop Mark, an American, was being harassed by a  foreign born felon on the board of trustees. Truly there are good and bad on both sides of the sea.
 

ialmisry

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Robb said:
Is there a possibility that Philip will schism from Antioch and set himself up as the head of an American Orthodox Archdiocese?  Will he follow in the footsteps of Aftimos back in the 20's (what seems to be the obsession with Arab Orthodox bishops and independent jurisdictions here in the USA)?

Thank God for the old world Patriarchates.  I hope they reign in some of the shenanigans of these renegade American prelates.

This, as well as the recent scandals in the OCA, should be a good example to all why American Orthodoxy still needs to be under old world oversight.  We just can't govern ourselves.
read the history of how the Phanar ran Antioch and you will get answers to all of the above.
 

SbdcnDavid

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Robb said:
Is there a possibility that Philip will schism from Antioch and set himself up as the head of an American Orthodox Archdiocese?  Will he follow in the footsteps of Aftimos back in the 20's (what seems to be the obsession with Arab Orthodox bishops and independent jurisdictions here in the USA)?

Thank God for the old world Patriarchates.  I hope they reign in some of the shenanigans of these renegade American prelates.

This, as well as the recent scandals in the OCA, should be a good example to all why American Orthodoxy still needs to be under old world oversight.  We just can't govern ourselves.
I'd say there's zero chance of that:  the faithful (outside of Detroit) wouldn't follow +Philip into a schism from Antioch, unless maybe it was coincident with a merger with the OCA over the objection of Antioch.  But merger with the OCA would entail an audit of the Archdiocesan finances to the new OCA standards, +Philip having to join a Holy Synod as just another bishop among many where he would have no chance of engineering a majority for his pet projects, giving up his propaganda machine (The Word Magazine) and complete loss of his tricks involving controlling the flow of information to and from Antioch (the last is actually gone already, thanks to the internet and the bishops' meetings with Patriarch Ignatius, but +Philip may not fully realize it).
 
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