Ramblings, thoughts, prayers, and observations from a conservative, pistol-packin' Orthodox Christian iconographer in training. And if that's not enough to fry your mind, read on...

Friday, August 27, 2010


I took down the first edition of nousfromspring some time back.  I felt like I needed to reassess, and that the stuff that was there had served its purpose.  Lots of changes have occurred since that last post, and the foremost of those is the repose of my spiritual father, pastor, and great friend Fr. Matthew Mackay.  Fr. Matthew reposed one month ago yesterday while on a Monday morning run.  That week, and the weeks that have followed, have been crushingly painful for all of us who counted him as friend, father, and pastor...and that's a LOT of people.  May his memory be eternal.  I lack the heart to write more on it, even now.

The second change occurred just last week, and it likely has Fr. Matthew spinning in his grave.  It seems that our archdiocese's years of work to become "self-ruled" has been thrown away...or taken away, take your pick...in the Patriarchal Synod's decisions last week.  Our bishops are now only auxiliary bishops.  EVERYTHING, dioceses and bishops, is completely under the thumb authority of the Metropolitan again, and...wait for it...bishops can now be moved from diocese to diocese at the discretion of the Metropolitan "in consultation with his Synod".  That would be the now-auxiliaries who, if they defy him in Synod, can lose THEIR sees as well?  For my non-Orthodox friends, let me elaborate a bit.  The bishop of a diocese is, spiritually speaking, married to the diocese.    That means that the people of the diocese are his spiritual children.  We refer to him as our father in God.  Our priests are the ones who carry the title "father", but they stand in locum tenens for the bishop in the parish.  (That is not to say that bishops are EVERYBODY'S spiritual father and confessor...the man would never have time for anything else!  Rather that he bears responsibility for us before God, for what we are taught and how we are cared for.)

So if the Metropolitan moves a bishop who has been enthroned in a diocese (think of your wedding day, you've already said "I do" and cut the cake and had the honeymoon and bought the house....) he is essentially divorcing a bishop by force and then forcing him into ANOTHER marriage with someone else.  It.  Doesn't.  Work.  That.  Way.  No more than he could tell Rich to leave me and go marry some other woman!  I know, I know...Rome has done that for years.  That's their model, and I'm not going to comment on it.  It is NOT, however, how the Orthodox church does things for an enthroned bishop.

There are such things as "titular" bishops, bishops who are "in charge" of a place that has basically no churches in it.  Every bishop has to be bishop of someWHERE, and the titular thing enables a bishop to serve...oh wait...as an auxiliary bishop!  But an enthroned bishop, which includes all of the bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, just can't be jerked around from place to place.

Even Patriarchal Synods get it wrong.  We don't believe in episcopal infallibility, unless you're talking about the ecumenical councils.  This needs to be set right, and it needs to be done yesterday.

Fr. Matthew was a good and faithful servant of God and His Church, and he worked hard to fix the mess that the Metropolitan made the last time he tried to do this.  It is a sad thing that he can no longer be here to do it again; but we pray for his intercession before the throne of God to set this right.

To read more about this Charlie Foxtrot, go to http://www.ocanews.org/news/DiocesesSuppressed8.25.10.html