“Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ‘tis time to part.” Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
There is a character and spirit which defines America and Americans, that imbues their souls, whether they are 6th generation or newly arrived. It is a sense of self-determination, fairness and individuality. Not content to blindly follow, they value the freedom to criticize and analyze without fear of censure or violence. In our Orthodox ecclesiastical structures we do give up a certain amount of our independence, but it is a willing and sacrificial obedience to the teachings of Christ and his Holy Church. In return we expect our hierarchs, chosen in concert with the Holy Spirit, to lead us without self-interest, malice or pride.
Sadly, it now appears that Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese of America has stooped to extortion and heavy-handed vindictiveness to silence his critics and keep the sheep in line.
It is absolutely shameful to see a spiritual leader act this way. Is the Metropolitan willing to harm the Church and its inter-jurisdictional relations by playing tit-for-tat with the lives of poor seminarians who aren’t even involved in this affair? Is the Metropolitan so afraid that the accusations of Mark Stokoe hit too close to home? Is Metropolitan Philip willing to continue tarnishing 40 years of leadership with these Old School/Old World tactics? What he continues to do is act like a petty tyrant lashing out at mosquitoes with a full military assault. It displays paranoia and overblown pride. The sheep won’t be quiet much longer. As I’ve written before, the mood surrounding the whole mess in the Antiochian leadership has the feeling of revolutionary discontent to it. Things will reach a tipping point from which there is no going back.
Metropolitan Philip, learn from the British. They didn’t fare too much better when faced with American resolve. (Read Metropolitan Philip’s explanation of the seminarians’ move here and make up your own mind whether this “explanation” sounds reasonable.)