Tuesday, March 03, 2009

All Antiochian Bishops Demoted To Auxiliary Status

The confusion over the recent unexpected and unexplained cryptic decision by the Holy Synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Church continues. According to the letter released by the Archbishop's office March 3, 2009, priests are inquiring as to what the decision means. I was curious that in the Sunday Liturgy at our own church, our former Bishiop Antoun was commemorated as has been the practice even though he was no longer our Bishop. According to the following letter, only Metropolitan Philip's name will be mentioned from this point on unless an Auxiliary Bishop is physically present.
Metropolitan PHILIP writes:
To all clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:
We greet you in the spirit of this Great Lent.
Some of our clergy have inquired about hierarchical commemorations in the divine services. In order to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, we would like to direct your attention to the following:
On February 24th, 2009 the Holy Synod of Antioch amended Chapter VI of the by-laws of the Patriarchate, which now reads:
Article 76
The Metropolitan is the point of reference of all bishops in his Archdiocese and they are under his authority.
Article 77
All bishops within the Antiochian See are auxiliary bishops and are directly under their spiritual authority.
Article 78
The Metropolitan defines the responsibilities of the bishops and the place where they should serve. The bishop does not do anything contrary to the will of the Metropolitan.
Therefore, in accordance with the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch, the following is the proper order for the commemoration of hierarchs in the divine services:
  • The clergy should commemorate the Metropolitan in all divine services.
  • The clergy should commemorate the auxiliary bishop when he is present at the divine service.
It is expected that all clergy will strictly adhere to this directive. May the journey to the Empty Tomb bring you all the joy of the Glorious Resurrection.
Your father in Christ,
It seems it would be prudent for the Metropolitan to inform those under his care as to the reason and purpose of the change and what the people of North America may expect from his point on. Anything other seems cryptic.


  1. My priest told me that the old-guard arab priests don't like Bishop Mark because he makes them do things and he's more of a traditionalist than the liberal Met. Phillip who I've never seen in a cassock and always dressed like an Anglican. I know the bishops have been at odds with him because they want to build monasteries and such and Met. Phillip refuses.

    This affects Abp. Paul in Australia too. I don't want to speculate but it could be a power grab. I personally think it's a huge step back, a slap in the face to the Bishops, and a Papist move. If I were one of the bishops I wouldn't stand for it and probably leave.

    We'll just see.

  2. Anonymous5:11 AM

    A lot of us are waiting to see how this settles out. My personal thought is that there is something strange about this and to date no explanation has been provided for this action. Unless one is coming I see a rough time ahead for the AOA.

  3. "A Lot of Us" is what causes the lack of explanation to this action to be a cause for concern. "Settle out" is what this will have to do and only if the Patriarch and the Metropolitan are forthcoming as to the purpose and motivation of it. This is God's church and no man owns it. They are all stewards, shepherds of HIS flock.

  4. Anonymous5:39 PM

    St. Theodore the Studite said that,
    "Monks are the sinews and foundation of the Church."

    The leadership of formerly Self-Ruled have tried to prove this axiom to be untrue in the past and their present action is just a continuation of this policy. The Bishops believe that they alone can hold the formerly Self-Ruled together and anchor it.

  5. I'm going to keep the "glass half-full" approach. It just surprises me because Patriarch Ignatius said he wants more bishops in the USA.


    A Papist move may be right Vir. Here are a few things you might want to look at. Educate yourself, look into what is going on with the Orthodox church here and abroad.

    Fr John


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