In the latest Messenger, which one cannot find, at this date, online, we are asked to consider the following "...lesson for all of us."
We sin if we reckon that we owe it to our kinsfolk to hate those whom they hate. Such a hate infects us like a a hereditary disease. Adopting the loves of our kinsmen, we also adopt their hatreds. Even great spiritual giants were sometimes given to this weakness. Patriarch Theophilus could not bear Saint John Chrysostom, and remained his bitterest opponent to the end of his days. Saint Cyril, his kinsman and heir on the Alexandrian throne, inherited his hatred for Saint John and carried it himself for a long time. Saint Isidore of Pelusium exhorted Cyril in vain to change his mind about St. John Chrysostom and inscribe him in the Diptych of Saints, but Cyril was unable to overcome his ill-will. Then the Most Holy Mother of God, for whose honor and glory Saint Cyril had fought so fiercely against Nestorius, appeared to him in a vision, surrounded by angels and accompanied by Saint John Chrysostom in great glory, and the Most Pure Mother of God begged Saint John Chrysostom to forgive Cyril and embrace him. This vision completely reversed Cyril's attitude to Chrysostom, and he repented with shame that he had so hated him, doing his utmost for the rest of his life to glorify Saint John as a great saint of God.
--- Saint Nikolai Velimirovic
We submit that before our clergy in the latest Messenger ask us to consider this lesson, they themselves ought to consider it. Both Fr. Michael and Fr. Matthew have expressed a desire to live/retire here as our spiritual leaders, presumably, but also as members of our community. One would hardly know it.
Fr. Michael, in particular, has expressed an absolute disdain regarding Holy Trinity and the many parishioners in our greater community who mainly attend our original church, Holy Trinity - the CATHEDRAL in this city. Further, considering his attitude toward those who, a) have taken exception to his years-long UNWILLINGNESS to RARELY even set foot in the Cathedral, except when asked to perform services there (for which he undoubtedly receives "tychera" in addition to a handsome salary), and, b) his general disdain for those who still consider Holy Trinity, ALONG WITH PROPHET ELIAS (since it was the "spousal" extension when the community grew of Holy Trinity) their spiritual home we say the following:
First, this lesson needs to be espoused FIRST, by YOU, Fr. Michael, and please, while you are at it, ask Fr. Matthew to take it to heart as well, BEFORE you deem it necessary to remind your flock of its larger lessons. The Biblical exhortation of "physician, heal thyself!" comes directly to mind.
Second, while we, for generations now, may at times have some mild-to-intemperate differences of opinion among ourselves, we GENERALLY, do NOT adopt the notion that we have HATED those who our kinsfolk hate, or conversely, have indiscriminately LOVED, those who our kinsfolk might love.
Most of us have become educated enough, ENLIGHTENED enough, SECURE enough, to make decisions based on our faith, our experience, and our education and our God-given intelligence. And, despite any differences among us, we still LOVE and RESPECT each other.
These differences we have may or may not always be aligned with those of our current kinsfolk, and probably not always, as seems to be the case, with the mindset of today's clergy who perversely enough seem to wish to control all our thoughts and actions in order to "deem us worthy" for Christ's Kingdom. We know Christ is above such pettiness. As St. Nikolai's passage indicates, even our most revered and renowned clergy were sometimes guilty of the all-too-human frailty of finding fault, even with those considered among the most revered saints of our faith.
We would submit that those who sought to put forth this "lesson", which was undoubtedly aimed at those of us who might find fault with the all-too-evident failings our current leadership, take this lesson to heart THEMSELVES FIRST, before PRESUMING to ask others to consider it.
- The Moderators