Sunday, December 28, 2008

Request To His Eminence Metropolitan Philip

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Philip,
The last time the nation of Israel attacked
terrorists to stop the indiscriminate firing of thousands of missiles into Israeli territory, you sent out a letter to be read in all of the churches in America. The letter was a strong condemnation of the Israeli government which you referred to as "occupiers." There was not one word of condemnation for the violence and deaths caused by the terrorist group Hezbolla as they fired missiles from Lebanon, your native land, into Israel killing scores of innocent Jews and Arabs, Jewish, Muslim and Christian alike. Your politically and ethnically biased letter was what I called airing of Orthodox Dirty Laundry. I, along with many of your American spiritual children, realize that you are an Arab and have disdain for the nation of Israel. We hope, however, that you will not use the recent actions of the nation of Israel to stop the Hamas missiles which are being fired from the Gaza Strip, as another opportunity to step outside of your calling as our Bishop and lower yourself again to the role of a biased political pundit. We would expect that you would find all parties culpable and hold all actions to account for the cause of peace in the region. I for one would not welcome another such letter to be force fed to your parishioners in the sanctity of God's holy temples across America and would deem it an affront to the cause of Christ and the sanctity of His Holy Liturgy. We honor and respect you for your pastorate and for all that you do for the cause of Christ. Please honor and respect the voices of dissent that rise up from the parishes when Bishops overstep their pastoral bounds.
Please forgive me a sinner.


  1. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Dear Brother in Christ,

    I am pleased to see that indeed I am not alone in opposing the unreasonable bias and political gerrymandering of many within our Church in attacking the Jews and Israel at every opportunity, by both our leaders and parishioners. Just as you see this occuring a lot in your circle of Antiochenes so it occurs amongst the Russians and others. Not only is it unreasonable but in addition to this, it is suicidial for many Christians in Orthodoxy to harbour such unreasonable thoughts.

    Have many Orthodox Christians forgotten what the actual teachings and beliefs of Islam are as well as the actual beliefs and teachings of Hamas and Hezbollah? Or are they too engrossed in trying to attack the Jews and Judaism that they will compromise their integrity? Perhaps many Orthodox have forgotten the words of Arafat in Arabic over PLO broadcasts of: "First, eliminate the Saturday people. (Jews) Then eliminate the Sunday people. (Christians)." Have Orthodox in the Middle East forgotten about the sufferings of their own brethren in the PLO/Fatah controlled areas in both Bethlehem and Gaza, when the Christians are threatened not to ring the bells for church at Christmas and Easter on pain of being attacked by their Muslim neighbours?

    As much as the Jews may be wrong in not accepting our Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah let alone His Deity, yet by contrast they have not persecuted the Christian faith let alone the Orthodox faith to the levels of Islamic persecution. It is true that Jews who convert to the faith of Christ often face persecution from their families, but not necessarily from the government of Israel. However, when someone in Islam converts to Christianity, not only do you have your family against you, you also have the state against you as well. History both ancient and modern, have consistently shown that Islam has nothing but contempt for both Jews and Christians. In fact, it is ingrained in both Qu'ran and Hadith to have contempt for both the Jews and Christians. In fact, once Islam succeeded in gaining political power, both were subject to persecution in the form of either jizya tax along with the humilitating conditions that went with it or forced conversion. Judaism has not even gone as far as this, notwithstanding her flaws. Most of our disagreements with the Jews were purely theological matters. Jews have not subjected us to forced conversion or even humiliating second-class status positions.

    Our Church is filled with the history of many saints who have been actually been martyred under Islamic hands, a number of whom were actually apostates from Islam themselves. Hardly any saint we have had was ever martyred under Judaism or ever subjected to any form of conversion to Judaism. (Not including the Blessed Apostles in the early days of the Church). When will the Arab Orthodox get some serious sense to both their heads and souls, and stop trying to play the "good dhimmi", thinking that it will save them from persecution?

    It is shameful to see that, as a well-known Chinese saying states, we have "drunk the water from the well but have forgotten its source". Have many Orthodox Christians forgotten their Jewish/Old Testament roots? If the Apostles had taken the attitude that many Orthodox take towards the Jews, then they may as well forget about having any Christian faith! You may as well be a bunch of pagans worshipping trees and various abominations!

    Let us not forget that even St. John of Damascus, whilst criticizing Judaism, did not see the Jews as without any hope. In fact, unlike Islam, he held a ray of hope out based on the teachings of the Scripture that there will be a remnant who will repent and will constitute the all Israel that shall be saved. He mentions that Elias and Enoch will be the ones who will lead the synagogue into the teaching of the Apostles. (Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith IV). In fact, let us learn from this Blessed Saint's life, that despite living under Islamic rule, and even being granted a position of serving in the court of the Caliph, he did not become corrupted with power, nor did he compromise his stance against Islam. In short, he was no fool of political correctness, as unfortunately, many of our Orthodox people are today.

    Let us bear in mind, that even Christ forgave His own people, believing in their salvation. Let us also bear in mind that Christ also wept for His own people too. Even the Apostle Paul, whilst criticizing his own countrymen also never forgot his roots and even expressed his desire for his countrymen to be saved, even if it meant his own salvation.

    I wish to also remind many of our Orthodox brethren that in Israel, the Orthodox Christians, let alone all other Christians and even Muslims have 100% freedom of religion without fear of reprisals. Many Jews in Israel have even converted to Christianity, some even to Orthodoxy, without fear of government opposition, only fear of family opposition. Contrast this with Palestine and most Islamic nations even the moderate nation of Malaysia, whereby no synagogues are allowed to be built at all, and even when Christian churches exist, they are forbidden to contact any Muslim, as well as other humiliating rules placed on them. A good proportion don't even allow churches at all, let alone synagogues such as Saudi Arabia.

    Even a wonderful Coptic Orthodox doctor I personally know, admitted to me that unlike his nation, Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church has much more freedom in Israel and Jerusalem to hold processions, ring bells, etc. He even stated: "The Jews may be wrong in not accepting the Messiah, but at least they respect our human dignity and religious freedom. We also believe that Israel will repent towards the end of time under the teaching of Elias and Enoch."

    May God bring a genuine sobrierty to our Orthodox brethren and cause them to think twice before succumbing to political correctness and folly. May we avoid Islamicization of our nations and churches. In fact, history should have taught us that we are often responsible for bringing in the Islamic yoke upon ourselves due to foolish compromise and ecumenism. Have we forgotten how Constantinople, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and other once Christian nations fell to Islamic rule? How many martyrs will it take for us to learn the lesson?

    Let us pray for our respective leaders to repent of their follies of both ecumenism and compromise with Islamic terrorists.

    Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me a sinner. Amen.

    Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us, who are sinners. Amen.

    Yours in Christ,

    Timothy Kwoh

  2. Debbie Espen10:13 AM

    I cannot agree. I agree with his eminence. You forget that many Palestinian people are Christian. And that Israel is practicing a form of apartheid, creating ghettos and committing genocide against the Palestinian people. No wonder they fight back! The government of Israel is not the Jewish people. Please remember that distinction.

  3. So does America practice Apartheid by keeping the Mexicans out? We consider this our nation. Those within our borders rightfully have full rights and liberties as long as they do not commit crimes. Those from without have no rights and if they shoot missiles into our sovereign territory we will stop them. Why is Israel any different? Your comments imply that you do not recognize the Nation of Israel's right to exist. Herein lies a political question and not a theological one. The Metropolitan shares your views. My point is that to subjugate his parishioners to his political view under the cloak of his Bishopry is not acceptable. Ghettos" Genocide? Where? The Gaza Strip was given to the predominantly Arab (they are not Palestinians-It is a new word being used since Israel became a nation) populace a couple of years ago by the Israeli government. They have created their own ghettos by continuing to wage terror using the newly acquired land to kill innocents in Israel. Where is your compassion for the Israelis on the Gaza border who have had to live in bomb shelters since their government forcibly removed them from Gaza to allow the Arabs to live there? You are apparently listening to one propaganda mill. All I am suggesting is that all be held accountable for the lack of peace. By the way, why do the people you defend purposely put rocket launchers in their own neighborhoods knowing that Israelis will fire on them? Could it be that the loss of a few women and children is an acceptable propaganda tool to help promote their political agenda. They did this in Lebanon as well. Who is more worthy of Arab child or an Israel child? Neither.
    All should pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

    Orthodoxy sees the Church as the "Israel" of the new Covenant not the nation. We understand the difference between Jews, Judaism and the Nation of Israel. I am not a dispensationalist defending Israel's right to exist because of some evangelical interpretation of prophecy. I see the human equation and I am asking our Metropolitan to expand his narrow and biased view. I would ask you to do the same.

  4. Debbie Espen2:39 AM

    Nathan, I greatly respect you for your willingness to do research and your openness to discover information, as evidenced by your studies in religion and religious history. In light of this, Instead of getting into a back and forth discussion on each point,I humbly suggest that you do some further research on this topic - you may discover that there is more to the story than you are presently aware of, much like what you experienced regarding the subject of 9/11, which you wrote about in a recent blog entry.
    You can view these documentaries free online at Occupation 101; Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land. You can go to these websites:; B';; Tikkun. You can go to YouTube and watch any Anna Baltzer videos or If Americans Knew What Israel is Doing. You could check out some books, such as I am a Palestinian Christian by Mitri Raheb; They Dare to Speak Out by Paul Findley; Ethnic Cleansing by Ilan Pappe. You can research Rabbis for Human Rights. (Several of these resources are Jewish.) Unfortunately, be prepared to have what you thought you knew be blown away, and be disappointed and shocked.

  5. Debbie, If you will look closely you will see that the theme of my discourse is not the blind and compete support of the nation of Israel, rather it is how our Bishops step into the political fray with an obvious blind slant toward their Arab brothers who are as viscous and vile and culpable as some claim the Israelis are. As one comment put it, "the unreasonable bias and political gerrymandering of many within our Church in attacking the Jews and Israel at every opportunity." I have written another article called "Are Antiochians Anti-Semite?", where I state that the modern day Israel is Zionism and not all Jews support the state. I also disclaim Dispensationalism that gives a pass on everything Israel does based on a false system of eschatology. Islam is a violent religion founded by a false prophet who was verifiability a pedophile. The devaluation of women and children, the indoctrination of hate and murder for the cause of Allah (not God), the pronounced agenda to annihilate the Jew then move on to "the people of the book" (Christians)in order to dominated the world, is enough for our Bishops to know that they should not stand shoulder to shoulder with these evil, Christ denying humans just because they are ARABS!

    Have Israeli soldiers committed atrocities? Of course, incidents can be found just as seen by some American soldier's aberrant behavior. But does the government as a whole condone, support and train their soldiers toward such actions as Islamic groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah? Have you ever seen an Israeli soldier pick up a child and use him as a shield during combat? To my knowledge, no. There is a marked difference in the value of life. Please see the Addendum I added to my last post. Listen to the son of one of Hamas' founders. He is now a Christian living in California. He is an eye witness, was int he thick of the evil on the ground, and gives the truth without propaganda or ethnic bias.

    I have been studying in the arena that you have suggested, including Talmudic Judaism, the Illuminati and their alleged plan to dominated the world. I still question as to why there allegedly were no Jews killed in the World Trade Towers on 9/11, except one who was visiting and one in the plane. There were over a thousand Jewish employees who worked there and it was not a holiday. Your admonition is well taken. When I discover truths relevant to the Orthodox Church and its conduct in relation to the Middle East, I will point them out.

  6. Debbie Espen2:35 PM

    Some reasonable and valuable points, Nathan. Well taken. However a few comments: Allah is not a name. Allah is the Arabic word for God. They believe in the same God of the Bible, and the Bible is one of they do consider the Bible top be a Holy Book. Yes, Islam was founded in violence, but it is not unlike the Bible's Old Testament. The religion itself is intended to be a religion of peace, and most Moslems do want to be good and peaceful people who value life dearly. Also, many Arabs are Christian, and they should not be forgotten. They are in the middle of this, too. Lastly, yes, Israeli soldiers do use Palestinian people, often children, as human shields, and have been filmed doing so, at high risk to the journalists, for they Israeli government does not want that info getting out. I have seen such film as well as other such atrocities done by Israeli soldiers and by Israeli (illegal) settlers on Palestinian land. Anyway, what is going on at this time in Gaza is plainly overkill. Lastly,
    I very much enjoy discussion with you, Nathan, since you are reasonable, calm, and do your homework. Keep up the good work!

  7. Debbie, It is refreshing that you understand the nature of this discourse. Can one stand with either side in 100 support over the other? Well yes, but shoudl Bishops of a Christian Church?T his is my exhortation to the Bishops and the mistake I think they show...their "bias". The argument that the Palestinians can do what they want to and it is justified because of the tyranny of the oppressor is old testament "Eye for an eye" theology which Jesus came to change. Critics of my posts without exception condemn Israelis but justify the same atrocities by the Palestinians. This is my point: Sin is sin. A missile is a missile and dead children dead are dead children no matter what the intended target. I am asking the Bishops to speak to and condemn BOTH. (So far they haven't.) For this I am called a Christian Zionist, a hater, a heretic, Cain, spiteful, self-proclaimed (false) Christian. This is an example of how deep this bias goes. I got your book and am reading it. I will consider recommending it to my readers. I also went to the site you mentioned, unfortunately I cannot recommend it. It is unintelligent and apologetically biased using media manipulation and video editing tactics that are dishonest propaganda. There are better sites out there to present the pro-Palestinian view, however proving one side worse than the other has never been the focus of this discussion.

  8. Debbie Espen12:20 AM

    Of course you are, indeed, correct Nathan. While I understand the frustration and despair the Palestinian people are feeling, two wrongs do not make a right. Both parties should target military targets only, never civilians.


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