“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,

and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)

The word the Athenians used for their Assembly was Ekklesia, the same word used in the New Testament for Church
(and it is the greatest philological irony in all of Western history that this word,
which connoted equal participation in all deliberation by all members,
came to designate a kind of self-perpetuating, self-protective Spartan gerousia -
which would have seemed patent nonsense to Greek-speaking Christians of New Testament times,
who believed themselves to be equal members of their Assembly.)

- Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mendacity Continues Unabated

I couldn't make it the other night to the General Assembly.

No, I haven't given up. I just was not able, at what should be a time of somber reflection and anticipation of the joyous holiday to come, to endure yet another general assembly of platitudes, excuses, blatant dissembling and parliamentary maneuverings further designed to ensure such vapid governance. That this situation continues is baffling and sad.

It is clear that today's clergy, lower and higher, continues to hold the Greek Orthodox laity hostage. Complain too much and you cannot serve on the Parish Council. Have kids in church activities? They are held hostage too. Any failure, real or perceived, to strictly conform, and even our kids face criticism, humiliation and ostracism.

Then, there is the question of money - which we are continuously assured (with incomplete data at every assembly) is coming in fabulously. Yet the congregation is vilified by its clergy for spending on frivolous secular pursuits, instead of handing it over with no questions asked or allowed.

We continue to be expected to check our minds at the door, close our mouths and open our wallets. We have all lived in this valley long enough to have no trouble in guessing who we're being asked to resemble on all counts.

The height of insult, once again, to what little discernment we're allowed to maintain, is that our Proistamenos-of-Prophet Elias-only declared that this blog is: a) responsible for any and all rifts in our community; b) the reason we have two proistamenoi (this is a new one!); and, c) the work of the devil.

In the first place, the rifts in this community began in earnest several years before this blog was established. The major rift began with our Metropolitan's disbanding of an elected Parish Council in 2002, whereby he literally pitted family members and friends against each other within the community.

The rifts continued with our Proistamenos' (then leader of both church communities) desire to control absolutely, so much so that he caused members to be either barred from serving on the Parish Council, or to be sanctioned and expelled from it. The blog began because of these circumstances; it certainly did not precede them.

Further rifts occurred due to the clergy's clear intent to follow Metropolitan Isaiah's specifically expressed desire (several times and in writing prior to October 2007 when he made it official insofar as having two proistamenoi) to split this community into two parishes. There is no ambiguity here. There is PLENTY of prior evidence to this fact, including His Eminence's labeling this community as having committed spiritual polygamy in a letter to the community in December 2007. Contending that the blog caused the appointment of two Proistamenoi is utter nonsense.

As for declaring this blog to be the work of the devil, this ruse is an historical condemnation issued by every despot from time immemorial, in the ecclesiastical realm or otherwise, who lacks the ability or the desire to lead with reason, compassion and love.

- Barbara Billinis Colessides

No comments: