Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Voice of the People, the Wrath of God

Okay, so I don't really know exactly how the people go about deposing a wolf in shepherd's clothing. We Orthodox Christians are a patient people, who usually suffer bad bishops. They aren't supposed to have to be deposed, so there's no formal way (that I know of) for doing it. But for anybody who needs to know it, I can share how it's been done before.

In America, the process usually involves people or (better) whole parishes keeping their tithes and offerings in an escrow account, then letting the offender (and his superiors, if applicable) know that the money will not be forthcoming until he steps down, preferably flees to some monastery. (An Agaean island will do nicely.)

In Greece, where the Church is supported by the State, the populace of Athens some years ago stood before the bishop's residence with placards and candles and chanted "Anaxios, anaxios!" ("Unworthy, unworthy!") day and night without letting up until the bishop departed. It was simple as that. Didn't even take all that much organizing; they just had to fill all shifts so the demonstration was ceaseless.

There are also petitions. They need to be carefully and well worded.

And when we here in Richmond needed to be rid of a certain priest, more than one self-appointed committee went secretly from here to Constantinople with documentation of abuses and pleas for relief. The Patriarch did indeed step in, via archepiscopal delegates, and forced said priest to retire. He also promoted our bishop (who was afflicted with Alzheimer's) to a non-working, honorary position.


DebD said...

Lord have mercy!

My heart aches for the *people* in the American Antiochian church. And also shake my head in amazement at how quickly Satan works: less than 6 months after the OCA got rid of its Hierarch and now this!!!

Chris said...

Yes, it's a troubling situation right now in the AOCA. But, it seems that Met PHILIP is here to stay until he voluntarily steps down. When our bishops went to Damascus to meet with His Beatitude IGNATIOS IV, some of our bishops, more or less, outlined what our Metropolitan was doing (this in regard to making the Bishops mere auxiliaries instead of diocesan) which was in breach of the canons. Now some of our bishops have been threatened, openly, by some of the Metropolitan's supporters. All of this is known to the Patriarch and yet there has been no talk about removing him or asking him to retire. I think we will be stuck with Metropolitan PHILIP for the long run, for better or for worse.