A brief response

“Doug” commented on my earlier post about leaving the Antiochian church with some valid concerns. I can’t and won’t go into any kind of detail in all this but I will try to in a specifically vague way, address some of those concerns.

Were the actions of the bishop justified? No. There were no allegations of misbehavior. There were no concerns about his priestly function or abilities. And the issue is not that the bishop moved the priest. That is certainly within his rights and even responsibility as a bishop. The issue is that he moved the priest above the strenuous and unanimous objections of the parish council without any explanation OR comment. Had he said something like “Father’s talents would be better put to use somewhere else” we would have been fine with that. He ignored and disrepected those who are charged with the governance of that parish body, for no reason, for no cause. The assignment given was, to say the very least, absurd. There was no physical way for our priest to financially support himself or his family, and while there were other parishes available to transfer him to, he was effectively banished.

The canons say that if a bishop fails to meet the physical needs of the priests within his care he is to be excommunicated, and if it continues he is to be removed. We could not get those higher than the bishop to hear us, so…

The reasons behind the decisions to move this priest are good, ol’ fashioned Simony. Acts 8:18-23.

Would a single Orthodox jurisdiction have made what we did/are doing impossible? Yes, but it would have also made it unnecessary. Had there been more parishes, more bishops, more archbishops, and one patriarch all available to weigh in, I do not hesitate to think this would not have happened. If all the links to the “old country” are meaningless, if the influences of “old country” money and loyalties are balanced out and voided, then there are greater chances of other voices being heard. And before this comes up, we are not solely a group of converts. We are an equal mix of converts and “cradles”, of all ethnic varieties.

Please don’t refer to us as Protestants, though I know that is tempting. We are not reinventing the faith. We are not nailing our thesis to the doors and demanding the church change to our interpretations of Scripture and Tradition. We are defending someone who is defenseless. We are trying to protect the faith, and our churches, from the threat of the highest bidder.


Author: Rebecca

Orthodox Christian. Journalist. SAR K9 handler. All three of those are deeply related.

5 thoughts on “A brief response”

  1. Thanks Bec. There’s obviously a lot involved here that I don’t understand. But I appreciate your response. I’m so sorry for you, your parish and your former priest. This has obviously been very painful for everyone. Perhaps my comments and questions to your last post were ill-chosen or unjustified. I apologize. It’s just so heart-breaking to hear about things like this.


  2. There is indeed a lot of detail that for many reasons, Bec has not listed. She obviously does not want this blog to turn into a gossip sheet.

    The example about the students and the professors is interesting, but not really applicable.

    The elected parish council of this parish knows the whole, complete story from testimony by multiple, first-hand sources. The parish council was comprised of many God-fearing Orthodox Christians, many of them cradle Orthodox, who knew all too well what was going on. Indeed, this parish has been a victim of clergy-killers many times during the past 25 years; there have been 9 priests in all, each with their own tale of woe as to why they left.

    This was not rebellion against the church or some hierarch. It was merely time for the honest Christians of the parish council to point out the injustice and immorality of the actions those who would make a mockery of our faith. Indeed, the actions taken (and that continue to be taken) against this innocent priest are an affront to Orthodoxy, and the laity is responsible for defending the faith and pointing out these errors to their hierarchs.

  3. Bec –

    What exactly do you mean by Simony?

    Was the Bishop attempting to buy or sell ordinations or ecclesiastical preferments?

    And what exactly does it have to do with the tranferral of your priest?

    Or perhaps we have different understandings of the word “simony”?

    Just curious…

  4. Anonymous #2:
    I am not accusing the Bishop of Simony. There were those in the parish who, through “gifts” of large amounts of cash (though they did not give to the parish) were able to buy the transfer of every priest they have not liked. The Bishop was made aware of this, and chose to participate in it, rather than confront it.

    So, how it relates to the transfer of our pious and godly priest is this: they didn’t like him and they bribed those above to put a new priest in his place (like they have done a total of 9 times). They are using money to gain spiritual and ecclesiastical favor.

  5. Bec – I understand. Yes, I can see how that could be likened to simony. I’m sorry that this happened to your priest! May God grant him many years.

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