RESOLUTION AFFIRMING OBEDIENCE TO THE DECISION OF THE HOLY SYNOD OF ANTIOCH OF FEBRUARY 24, 2009,WHICH NORMALIZES THE STATUS OF BISHOPS ACROSS THE ENTIRE SEE OF ANTIOCH
The decision, made without consulting the Bishops, raised questions including the canonicity, the legality and the underlying motives of such a sweeping decision. Another Bishop, Alexander of the Diocese of Ottowa Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, also did not sign the document but instead, wrote a note on the signature line saying "this decision is not in effect and does not need my signature." Only three of the six Bishops signed the document, virtually dividing the consensus in half.
Antiochian churches across North America and especially those in the diocese of the resisting bishops now wait to see what the ramifications of such a refusal to sign will have. A few churches have already met on the parish level to discuss the issues involving the possible departure of the Bishops from he Antiochian jurisdiction under Metropolitan Philip or the possibility that Metropolitan Philip and the Antiochian See will recognize the strong opposition to their recent action, not only from the bishops but from clergy and laymen alike.
Many of we who are converts are struck by the blatant papist elements of such an edict that seems to usurp the consensus/synod elements of the faith giving the power of decision to one man in a region. It is not uncommon for one man to have authority over a region, however, what is uncommon is for a region which already has Bishops in place to remove or demote those bishops who have committed no infraction and are in total compliance with the Self Ruling documents already in place. It seems to JTO that the reasons for the demotion of these good men lies in who refused to sign and why. Why would two of the most respected and revered bishops in the entire diocese so openly resist? We can only hope that this information would come from their mouths and very soon.
The official statement from Metropolitan Philip as to why this action was taken is still cryptic and couched in platitudes. The fact of the matter is, he attempted to enforce an independent decision. Half of his bishops refused to sign on to it and the parishioners have rejected it. While it is true that,"Where the bishop is there is the church", it is also true that if you lose the people there is no need for a bishop. Unless you are a papist.