“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


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fallacies as Facts, Yet Again!

How surprising is it, that having requested letters about "miracles", the rabid minority that still demands our community be split, is complying by sending letters attesting to "miracles"? And, they are "following the Lord's example" by keeping them "secret"! (Surely, there is an admonition in the commandments about bearing false witness?) Further, complaints regarding the "allowing" of Mr. Tsagaris' letter to be distributed to the community are rather ineffectual and silly since His Eminence did not "allow" the letter to be distributed via e-mail; rather, he demanded it. Interestingly, he did so with no explanation other than it be sent. Fr. Michael took it upon himself to "clarify" that the Metropolitan's demand was "not an endorsement" - for which, apparently, he was chided by the Metropolitan.

For a hierarch who is now convinced that the "miracle" is a  true "phenomenon", doesn't it strike anybody as strange that the community has a "miraculous" icon, but that no hierarch - including Metropolitan Isaiah - ever came around to witness it and conduct services, didn't send a representative, didn't inform the Archdiocese or the Patriarchate? None of the monks from the monastery in the next state over came to witness it, or to pray. None of the other Orthodox prelates in the city, nor any other clergy from other faiths came to check it out, either. We have had visiting Archons who have never mentioned venerating that particular icon. 

It was simply yet another ruse to confuse. It was mentioned only as a further justification for splitting the community, especially when the minority knew that the community was planning to resist at all costs, to appeal to the Archdiocese and to the Holy Synod. And, the issue had been dormant for a while until it was discovered that the maintenance person who had accidentally spilled oil on the glass of the icon, while filling an oil lamp nearby, was coerced into signing a document attesting to a miracle, and did so, for fear of losing his employment. That the Metropolitan and Father Michael, our Lord's Apostolic successors, continue to justify this sham is truly sad!

As for the community's relationships with several priests, the Metropolitan's assertions continue to be flawed and problematic. First and foremost, Father Katsaris did not, as he himself attests, leave this community under any pressure from the community. He was, and is still, highly respected. He is, to this day, in contact with many prominent parishioners here. He has firmly denied such an allegation, though the Metropolitan seems highly content to perpetuate the myth. Subsequent priests left due to retirement, promotions, a desire for better remuneration, and what we will charitably call problematic behaviors. No one in this community denies that some parishioners have sometimes been hostile toward certain clergy; the converse, unfortunately, is also true.

Fr. Michael's appointment here has been described as an appointment to "resolve existing problems which obviously came from the former priest". This is a rather simplistic generalization for a highly specific problem that involved that former priest's personal life and not the community as a whole. To suggest differently is highly disingenuous.

Father Michael has had every opportunity to minister to this community with love. He is a highly gifted and talented man, who conducts beautiful services. He can be both articulate and charming. He sadly also has an unfortunate, almost pathological need to exert complete control, to only work with and minister almost exclusively to those he likes and can control, and to squelch any point of view he deems inimical to his personal interest. He refuses to accept that the majority in this valley do not wish to split their community, and assists in every effort to thwart that will, which has been expressed over and over again. If he cannot accept it, he should leave. This community does not need an Ephialtes in its midst. We have enough to do to try to repair the damage he, and the unelected, appointed minions he kept installing as "leaders", have created.

And, of course, we are always returned to the specious argument that TAKE OUR CHURCH BACK is literal and not metaphorical. For the umpteenth time this blog's contributors and writers know the Church was built, belongs to, and exists for the greater glory of the Lord and for our salvation. As with the clergy, we, too, have a responsibility to our Church and our Faith. It is both disappointing and disheartening to see our Church's clergy succumb to arrogance, hubris and condescension. It is further disheartening when the hierarchy promotes a rigid, unresponsive view of the relationship between the apostolic priesthood, and what St. Mark called "the royal priesthood" - the laity. Finally, we know what our forefathers were seeking, and we will not foreswear that legacy. Along with you and the clergy, Your Eminence, WE are also the ChurchBlind obedience is not an absolute requirement in the face of high-handed leadership and poor judgment by the clergy. If it were so, our Lord would not have confronted the moneylenders in the temple, nor would he have challenged the Pharisees.

The fact is, as has been pointed out to our Metropolitan, most certainly by more than one person, Father Michael is no longer effective; he is a divisive force in this community who will not work with all the community. He is this community's servant, but behaves like its feudal lord and master. More time will not change that fact, and this community should not have to continue to suffer for it, or to pay for it, no matter what the highly flawed UPRs say.

1 comment:

Joe Kalodimos said...

Dear Moderator(s):

Don't you think it is too late to wish that there was no Ephialtes amongst us? And by the way, I believe you give too much credit to the attributes he possesses don't you think?


Joe Kalodimos