Source: Orthodox Christian Laity
Where is ANTIOCHIAN participation in the Assembly of Bishops in the USA and in Europe?
Where is the participation of the Laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese on the matter of Unity?
Why have the many years of leadership – promoting Unity, the legacy Metropolitan Philip, been reversed by Metropolitan Joseph?
Why do the problems of the Patriarchates in Europe and other regions have ripple effects on the work of the Assembly of Bishops in charge of the spiritual lives of the faithful in the United States?
Controversy between Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem caused a directive to come from the Patriarch of Antioch in October 2013 calling for all Antiochian bishops to withdraw from the Assemblies around the world. Metropolitan Philip directed clergy, laity and bishops to withdraw from the US Assembly in January 2014. Their participation was reinstated in May 2014.
Will the latest severing of relations between the two Patriarchate on June 26-27, 2015, result in the withdrawal of participation in the Assembly of Bishops around the world and the withdrawal of participation of Antioch from the Great and Holy Council of 2016?
Why has Metropolitan Joseph made a choice not to participate in the work of the Assembly of Bishops? Why has he been absent from the work of the Executive Committee in which he is a member and leader? What was the hold up in issuing the report completed by his committee in November 2014? It was not issued until June, 2015. Why did he not attend the Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops’ Executive Committee at the Phanar on June 16, 2015?
Why was Bishop Basil, the Secretary of the Assembly, not present at this meeting?
Will the laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese bring up the issue of Unity and the participation of their hierarchy at the National Assembly of their Church which will take place in Boston, July 20-26, 2015? Where is the laity on these matters? Are they reasoned sheep or are they asleep?
The dilemma within the Antiochian Patriarchate and the Antiochian Archdiocese is a case study for why the Assembly needs to be a Synod, and the Church in the U.S. needs to be self-governing and autocephalous with its own Patriarch elected by its own Synod. The present state of affairs is uncanonical. Our mission and outreach is compromised. We are in a no-growth situation and cannot retain the faithful.
George Matsoukas, Executive Director
Orthodox Christian Laity
As someone who has been under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Joseph for ten years, I do not appreciate the tone of this article or the implications of misconduct. Metropolitan Joseph has always proved to have the best interest of his flock at heart, and I trust his judgement in this matter. I have been following OCL for many years now, but articles like this are a sure way to make me reconsider that decision.
My main concern to Our Orthodox Faith is the Leaders elected to lead our churches and push our courses in this world,who always do nothing but only end up breaking and separating the church for their self gains.As a victim of church separation (In Kenya),i would call on our Leaders to let please our church to be united for Christ is One. Lets have a common goal of worshiping Christ and uplifting the living standards of our faithfuls.
My appeal to those who have differences is for them to confess their misdeeds and let the church move on.
Emmanuel; God with Us.
The Antiochians have a big issue with how the Greeks think they can dominate and steam roll over church issues in the Mideast and the US. This is Greek hubris. The Pat. of Istanbul does not have authority over all Orthodox in the Mideast, US or the world. We don’t believe in an “Eastern Pope” with total authority. Regarding unity, in 1961, SCOBA set up it’s vision for Orthodox unity in the US that culminated in the granting of the ONLY autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, the OCA. SCOBA’s vision was for ALL the Orthodox to unite under this church and self-determine the destiny of Orthodox churches in the US. Romanians joined, Bulgarians joined, Albanians joined, but both + Iakavos & + Philip RENEGED! If they would have joined, Orthodox unity would have been down the road 45 years. So, Bart wants to have all the unity of US churches ONLY UNDER HIM. Sorry, this will not happen. No “Eastern Pope” in our theology. Either Bart can follow Orthodox Canon Law and recognize the OCA’s autocephaly and encourage all Orthodox churches in America to join it, or go pound sand!
Your not so hidden agenda of pushing the Antiochian Archdiocese to become autocephalous is exactly why I would encourage Metroploitan Joseph to have nothing to do with the Assembly of Bishops. We Antiochians are happy and content to be part of THE church. Stop trying to interfere with what we love.
As a member of the Antiochian Archdiocese and strong supporter of both Metropolitan Philip and Metropolitan Joseph, this letter captures my concerns exactly. My suspicion is that these choices are made on the basis of the overall conflicts between Greeks and Arabs (e.g., the outlawing of ethnically Arab bishops in the Jerusalem patriarchate). Arab solidarity then extends this division around the world.
I don’t agree that these problems can be ignored by Americans. One way or another, we are all one Church and we ought to resolve these crises globally, not because of some dusty canon that says so, but because we love and care about our brothers and sisters on the other side of the Atlantic. However, I agree with this article in the sense that the solution is not just for the Antiochians in America to give Greeks and others over here “the silent treatment.” It just appears spiteful and is a bad witness to all us Americans.
What needs to happen on the part of Antioch is to throw themselves wholeheartedly into the American Orthodox unity movement RIGHT NOW while it is gaining such momentum. And on the part of Jerusalem, they need to let go. They have been simply intractable and would not even respond to our Patriarch’s requests.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew and other Patriarchs with moral authority and collegiality to the Jerusalem Patriarch should take a firmer hand with them.
I’m pretty sure this is about The Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the fact that the Greeks like to push their weight around everywhere they go. Maybe they should clean up their own backyards before pointing the finger at the already suffering Arab church. It’s bad enough we have to defend ourselves to non-Orthodox Christians most of which have no idea there’s such a thing as an Arab Christian! I personally find your tone insulting and degrading! Go have a hissy fit someplace else!
As a Youth Director of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and a long time supporter of both their Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH and PHILLIP, you should be ashamed of your self for writing this article. This may be one of the most uninformed, unreasearched, and ignorant articles I have ever read. The archdiocese is thriving at a time while others are not. Shame on you for writing such a terrible composition. May God bless you on your way to find the truth, becuase we all know that this trash is far from the truth.
Respondents have taken Mr. Matsoukas to task by labeling the tone of his article “insulting and degrading” with “implications of misconduct.” I disagree. As executive director of Orthodox Christian Laity, an organization committed to the long held aspiration of a united Orthodox Church in America, his questions, in my view, seem reasonable and deserving of authoritative answers rather than suppositions based upon bias, misinformation, and perhaps even fantasy. Mr. Matsoukas may have an identifiably ethnic surname, but his views concerning the Church in America are anything but parochial or ethnocentric.