+Philip wields the hammer:

1. Tells bishops shut up, send money

2. Releases +Mark to the OCA

3. Fires a parish priest

Brief history, +Philip, Metropolitan and head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in America, enthusiastically welcomes converts into his jurisdiction and promotes his local Church's autonomy by obtaining the enthronement of diocesan bishops. Turns out converts want the Orthodox Church to be, well, Orthodox and Bishops just might act like Bishops, equals in a conciliar Synod rather than locums who just do the Metropolitan's bidding. Some frantic machinations in Englewood and Damascus and, hey presto, the Bishops are no longer Bishops.

The Antiochians in America are in for a long, painful shake-out but this is not really an Arab vs. convert issue. Many Arab sons and daughters of the Church are appalled by the Metropolitan and his uncouth and heavy-handed manner. Archimandrites in the Patriarchate are beginning to weigh in.

Some choice comments from Mark Stokoe's site:

The truth is that Met. Philip's days are numbered because of his age, and the Toledo Diocese will get a thorough scrubbing once the new metropolitan is in place. Frankly, Met's supporters do not have a candidate who will keep things as they are. Whether you pick Joseph or Basil or Alexander or someone from the old country (don't rule that out), none of them will permit the shenanigans of the Philip era to continue.

So, I recommend that the gloating over Mark continue, because all it does is reenforce to the rest of the Archdiocese how much the Midwest needs a flush out.

A friend told me he thinks Philip will last just long enough to watch the Toledo diocese go back into schism rather than grow with the rest of the Archdiocese. They have been the longest hold-outs to the liturgical renewal in the rest of the Archdiocese. Mark tried to move them forward, but they have resisted with all their might. In the end, Philip will see his greatest accomplishment go up in flames, because he didn't feed them. The rest of the Archdiocese has grown, and they are stuck in the past.
#10 anonymous on 2010-11-01 21:40 (Reply)

In terms of succession planning, we really need to move away from the notion that the current and some future Metropolitan is rightly some kind autocrat ruling a pusillanimous, fearful and subservient synod, clergy, and laity. Rather, in orthodox tradition, the office of Metropolitan is conferred upon the bishop of the first see and he is the honorary chief of a synod of peers. The fact that the AA had evolved from having a single bishop-Metropolitan may create the illusion that autocracy is the norm in our ecclesiology, it is not. The same model applies to the patriarchies and their synods. Neither ought they rightly be autocratic pontiffs.

We need to keep the notion of "first among equals" in our sights. We need to reshape the notion of obedience to include the notion of responsibility. People ought not disconnect their brains and defer all responsibility to some autocrat ruler. The people have the responsibility to live out their faith in their lives and also to discern right from wrong. People do this anyway but usually it's too little, too late. Without consistent practice of such principals, we end up in crisis mode.

If we don't move toward a strong unified continental synod of real bishops whose loyalty is rightly to the people and clergy in North America, then we'll continue to struggle with interference from abroad for too far into the future. We'll continue to struggle with personality-based power plays at home.
#10.1 MWP on 2010-11-02 05:21 (Reply) You are absolutely correct.

The diocese was making progress, but the old guard who wants gambling and belly dancing instead of Vespers, Orthros and Liturgy seem to have gotten their way for the moment.

They need their exalted egos constantly stroked for running the Bingos and Texas Hold'ems

The door is now open to return to the ghetto clubs (I refuse to use the word church in this instance).

Well for those who want to be ORTHODOX there are CHURCH OPTIONS.

For those who want the GHETTO, you can now try to pay the bills on your $3.00 a week.

#10.2 anonymous clergyman on 2010-11-02 05:52 (Reply)

When I wrote my comment, I did not know about Fr. Moretti. I think that his treaatment is indicative that this is not an Arab-Convert battle as certain people claim, since the visiting clergy from Syria I've met all wear riassa and hats in public, even here.

When the "Toledo People" say "Arab," they mean a certain kind of not quite American yet not quite Arab. It is an in-between culture which is not part of the Archdiocese's real growth and so is becoming a shrinking minority. The bishops, even Met. Philip for the most part, know this is the case and have shifted their dioceses towards a more Traditional liturgical approach that appeals to converts and new immigrants alike.

I think met. Philip will likely do some symbolic moves to appease the Toledo crowd, then he will go back into his shell and continue to ignore all but his closest friends as before.

Let's not forget that the next metropolitan will get all of Philip's official powers to do with as he pleases, plus the full support of the Synod of Antioch. He will also have a lot of under-employed seminary grads to put in parishes where the old priest forgets who the new boss is.

The Toledo Ghetto will not last. The Holy Synod is aware of what is going on, and they will back the new metropolitan in changing everything. All we need to do is remain faithful and keep breathing.
#10.2.1 anonymous on 2010-11-02 09:03 (Reply)

Let the winnowing begin ...


Pope Adope said…
I believe it is your lack of commitment to personal hygiene that makes you so crabby.
The leather jerkin does get a little itchy.
Anonymous said…
Off topic, but I wonder what would happen if Owen White and Vox Day got into an argument. Ochlophobist vs. the Award Winning Cruelty Artist. I suppose it's "wrong" to want to see a fellow Orthodox brother brought down a notch, but it would be so worth it to see Vox run circles around Och's paeans for ludditism/socialism/agrarianism. I predict Och would try quoting Sartre, only for Vox to reply he is familiar with his corpus and unimpressed.
american fez said…
This is what happens when your church is named after a place that doesn't exist anymore.
That's actually spot on.