More from the AOANA, or why Met. Philip doesn’t want that audit…

Well, lookee here: An old magazine story from The Word (Volume 49, No 3, March 2005), the official magazine of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. Forgive all the preliminary Kim Il-Sung type of hagiography and go straight to page 15, wherein we find monies that were raised in Antiochian parishes going to Islamist “charities” in the West Bank. Specifically the “Islamic Rawda School for the Sons of the Martyrs” (read “suicide bombers”) and the “Ramallah Islamic Club.”

Where did the money come from? On page 13 we read that “…Metropolitan Philiip, through his uncompromising generosity and genuine concern for the Palestinian people, made an additional contribution to the fund on behalf of the Archdiocese…A total of $120,000.00 was donated.”

Now, I’m not want one to begrudge donations to orphans, but the question remains, were converts to this supposed Americanist/evangelically-inclined jurisdiction aware that their Archdiocese was giving donations to overseas venues? Not from what I gather. Regardless, incidents like this put Philip’s aversion to external audits in a new light.

Yeah, that’ll pack American converts into the colonial eparchies. (Hat tip to Ochlophobist.)

Read the magazine here (.pdf file).

About GShep


  1. Gail Sheppard says

    The July 2005 Al-Taybeh publication talks about this trip. It reads, “From the beginning, the mission of the delegation was clear: to provide direct (direct is underlined) monetary aid to the people and institutions in Palestine. It was decided that this would be the most effective way to help the people of Palestine because the delegation could directly control the disbursements. Above all, the delegation wanted to ensure that the funds were actually received by those in need and not given to political or other entities where money might actually get tangled in an endless web of ‘red tape’ and never be properly distributed.” I’m guessing the political entity they’re talking about is the U.S. government. Purportedly the funds were raised through a special collection. Metropolitan Philip made an additional contribution so the amount was more than $120,000.

    In the article below, Metropolitan Philip states “Hezbollah has weapons which are causing some unfortunate killings,” but it is the West that perpetrates the “law of the jungle,” trampling on “moral principles” with “barbarian feet.” Perhaps he is trying to even the odds by dispersing cash to radical Islamic groups. (See Below)

    Metropolitan Philip decries Israel’s methods in Lebanon

    On July 31, Metropolitan Philip, head of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, issued a statement opposing Israel’s offensive in Lebanon. “Indiscriminate killing is against the Geneva Convention, the UN Charter and all laws of civilized nations,” he said. “This savage war is between Israel and Hezbollah. Lebanon has no air force, no navy and no large military force. As a matter of fact, the Lebanese army is not involved in this war at all….

    “Why is Israel bombing Lebanese cities, villages, bridges, roads and killing innocent men, women and children – in the south and north, east and west of Lebanon? According to UN statistics, more than 800 civilians have been killed, many of them children, and more then 800,000 Lebanese have been made refugees in their own country. Israel knows “We deplore the killing and destruction on both sides. We know that Hezbollah has weapons which are causing some unfortunate killing and destruction in Israel. But Hezbollah does not have American weapons such as F-16s, F-15s, Apaches and smart bombs, etc. “When I saw the Lebanese Red Cross retrieving the tender dead bodies of little children from underneath the rubble and I looked at their innocent faces and iconic eyes, I wept. I was indeed ashamed to see the extent of the cruelty and barbarism of our world. This morning, when the Lebanese Broadcasting Company showed pictures of the city of B’intJbeil which was completely leveled by the Israeli air force, I was reminded of the destruction of Stalingrad and Berlin during the Second World War. We and the whole world, with the exception of the United States, Great Britain, and Israel, are calling for an immediate cease fire. If we allow the law of the jungle to prevail, and if we allow our moral principles to be trodden on by barbarian feet, what will be left of our civilization?”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, all which you say is true as far as it goes. But what do you expect the Israelis to do when their cities and villages are being indiscriminately bombed and shelled, their non-combatants killed? That Lebanon has no formal armed force is a shame to them. This means that the state has lost its monopoly on violence and armed gangs will be free to create mayhem. If the Lebanese –a gregarious, lovely, and industrious people–were serious about confronting the issues which are tearing their country apart, they probably wouldn’t have to worry about the Israelis (or Zionists if one prefers) from exacting their revenge.

      To my mind, the problem of Lebanon is precisely what is down the road for us here in the States should the secular anti-humanists/multiculturalists get their way. There is no way that the different confessional and ethnic groups that make up Lebanon can coexist in a peaceful setting. Metropolitan Philips moral posturing is duplicitous. After all, how many Lebanese, Greek, Serbian, and other ethnic Orthodox Christians have abandoned their first immigrant-built parishes when the neighborhood “transitioned” demographically speaking?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I have nothing to say in defense of either side. It is not my fight. It is not the Archdiocese’s fight. It has been widely reported that aid going to families connected to Islamic extremists is confiscated to buy weapons. There are 12 young men in my parish who are in the military. It would be unconscionable for me to sit idly by and say nothing, knowing that MY money could one day wind up in the hands of someone who may one day point a gun at these men.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Whether there is a moral component to the struggle of the Palestinians or not, the fact remains that in this fallen world, people find themselves ordered into nations and nations cannot be complete moral actors. There are no “good guys with white hats” in the history of mankind. People who are oppressed turn out to become oppressors. It was ever thus.

          Regardless, as an American, I have a moral duty to support my government, no matter how much I dislike some of its policies. I cannot as a Christian champion the cause of Islamist governments which historically speaking, are and always will be, opposed to Western societies. This goes back to even before the Crusades.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Yet do we turn our backs on Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Palestinian people who have legitimately suffered at the State Policies of Israel? We do and say nothing? We can bitch all we want, but to aid the poor and the oppressed does not stop at our or anyone’s borders.

            If that stipulation is found in the Gospel I would welcome a reference and I will issue an apology. Otherwise, its just people complaining like they always do.

            I have to also say that I am very tired and concerned about this US versus THEM position that has developed, mainly from Orthodox Converts and American Born Orthodox. This is starting to get to close to Nativism and and unhealthy form of Nationalism. I would strongly caution all of us to tread lightly. There is no US versus THEM its just US and if some of US can help ease the suffering and oppression of some others of US so much the better.

            That’s not congregationalism thats the Gospel of Christ. Met. Philip hasn’t done anything wrong. People may not like him, but lets not make him into a demon at least not in this instance.


            • Michael Bauman says

              Peter, if Met. Philip had not made public statements such as: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian terrorist”, and calling Assad one of the great rulers in the world I’d have more sympathy with you. There is a stong anti-semitism within the AOA that probably won’t go away for another generation or so. Perhaps understandable to a point, but not a good motivating factor for Chritians to follow.

              Granted Israel is not our friend–Hamas is not the friend of civilization and least of all of Christianity. They are terrorists.

              If Met Philip’s donations were above board, he should not care if they are disclosed or not.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                From the Palestinian perspective there are no Palestinian terrorists only freedom fighters. Also, is it Anti-Semetism or Anti-Isreali policy of oppression? Palestinians are fighting for their homes while Israel has continued to build settlements in Palestinian land.

                We have to be very careful that we do not embrace the heresy of Christian Zionism.


                • CodeNameYvette says

                  Dear Peter, there is no “Palestinian land.” On the other hand, there is a country called Jordan. Please do look it up.

                  I guess that you can call a terrorist anything you like; I can call myself a grandfather clock, but that would not make me right even twice a day.

                  The Arab inhabitants of the modern State of Israel enjoy far greater freedom and prosperity than their cousins in the Muslim countries. Which, by the way, refused to take them in when the British Protectorate was divided, so as to prolong their suffering and hence inflame the conflict. Whereas Israel absorbed thousands of Jews, hundreds of thousands, from those countries and elsewhere.

                  But don’t let me stop you from finding excuses for people who rain down rockets, murder and maim, and send their own helpless young to die with bombs strapped to their tiny bodies.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    CodeNameYvette Siad: But don’t let me stop you from finding excuses for people who rain down rockets, murder and maim, and send their own helpless young to die with bombs strapped to their tiny bodies.

                    The IDF has done the same and in many instances far worse to young and old Paltestinians. I think you forget what a radical Orthodox Jewish man In February of 1994, did in the City of Hebron. His name was Baruch Goldstein, a radical Jew from the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba, He burst into the mosque section of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and hot dead 29 Muslims during prayers and injured more than 100 others, before being beaten to death by furious survivors.

                    According to both Israeli and Palestinian sources, several thousand Palestinians have been killed or died as a direct result of Israeli actions since the Palestinian uprigings occured, most as a consequence of Israel’s continued military assaults on Palestinian refugee camps. Most of those killed appear to be children and the elderly. THIS IS WHAT YOU SUPPORT?

                    The very same thing can be said of the Palestinians against the Isrealis, but who oppressed who? Who took and is taking who’s land? Fellow Palestinian Orthodox Christians are suffering and dying and you give me old tired Isreali propaganda? You give me Christina Zionist talking points?

                    No thank you. I do not care if they are Jewish or Muslim, I care that they have schools, water, food, shelter and safety. The Isrealis have these things, do the Palestinians have these things?

                    Are there political and religious extremists that have and do take advantage of the current political situation? Yes, of course. However, we as Christians are commanded to protect and care for the poor, widows and orphans. For the downtrodden. NOT to support the State of Israel and their oppression and occupation of the Palestinian People.

                    Met. Philip in this regards has done nothing wrong and should be commended for his endeavors to ease the suffering of those caught in the middle of this madness.

                    This is all I am saying, and this is all ALL of of us can and should support.

                    Peter A. Papoutsis

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Peter, I certainly don’t want to get into the middle of thisp***ing match. We forget that Emir Feisal (who liberated Damascus from the Turks with T E Lawrence), was a Zionist in his time, looking for any all comers to come help him overthrow the Turks. He literally begged Jews to come to Palestine. This is far more complictated than we give it credit for.

                      If you will allow me to exposit in general to all who read this Blog (and are interested): I find myself becoming more of an isolationist in my old age. If we are to be consistent to being even-handed in this conflict, then we need to back away from all “foreign entaglements” as George Washington said in his Farewell Address. That means no carrying water for the Greek gov’t. I’m particularly distressed that the Greek gov’t keeps dossiers on many GOA priests. Where am I going with this? Essentially that GOA priests are viewed as unpaid agents of the Greek gov’t.

                      I know this sounds febrile but we know this happened back when then-Metropolitan +Bartholomew ushered the Gilquist and his crowd out of Patriarch +Demetrios’ presence back in the early 80s. He was acting on orders of the Greek gov’t which did not want an infusion of converts swelling the ranks of the GOA. What a terrible thing to do.

                      Unfortunately, there are many of us here in America who are still too hyphenated and even have dual citizenship. This is anathema. “A man cannot serve two masters, either he will love the one and hate the other…” Look at the Archon crowd who have almost no connection to this country at all.

                      As for native Americans who are becoming Orthodox and bringing their cultural biases into the Faith, I have no problem with that. One of the characterists of Anglo-America was a philo-Judaism that was preponderant during Puritan times. If American becomes Orthodox (provided we Orthodox don’t demolish the Faith), then the native folkways of the various American peoples will have to be accepted, whether they are of Northern European, Afro-Caribbean, or aboriginal descent.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Peter, immediately you go to the extreme. Not a good sign. I have never in my life come close to supporting Christian Zionism. Yes, there is anti-semitism in the AOA and its not just from the Arabs either.

                  I have no doubt that Met. Philip has sent money to Hamas. While there is no desire on Met. Philip’s part to support terrorism, what is done with that money is any one’s guess.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Michael and CodeNameYvette:

                    If you believe there is no Palestinian Land then we have nothing more to discuss. Just thank God you are not Palestinian and being oppessed by an occupying country.

                    as for anti-semetism -well- is it Anti-Semetisim or Anti-Isreali? We have alot of criticisms against the Nation of Israel, which forced its existence upon the World through War and Bloodshed, but I have nothing against a person being a certain religion or having no religion.

                    I do not care one bit about their Jewish faith. I only care about their official government policy that continues to oppresse the Palestinian People, Confiscate their Land, and Occupy parts of their country. Actions such as these do tend to radicalize people. Met. Philip has done nothing wrong in this regard in helping and supporting Palestinians, especially fellow Palestinian Orthodox People who need the help.

                    Mahmoud Abbas did the right thing by declaring Palestinian Statehood. Either the world will accept it or not. Just like Israel forced its existence so will Palestine. We should help the poor and oppressed and on Issues on nationhood we shoudl stay as impartial as possible, but should speak up when abuses occur.


                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Peter, name me a nation that has not “forced its existence on the world through war and bloodshed” . That rather purple phrase is nothing more than a verbal emoticon, it is certainly not an argument for anything. The Palestinians, whomever they are, may very well do the same thing and be poorer for it. That does not make them right or Israel wrong.

                      You may not care about the Jewishness of Israel, but they do and so do most of their enemies and any aid to anyone in that area is inextricably linked to the geo-politics of the area and the Christian-Jew-Moslem mutually shared hatred and fear. If you think Christians will be well treated in a Hamas controlled Palestinian state, you are probably smoking something you should not be.

                      We loose either way as long as we rely on ethnic politics. The only way to win is to be Christian.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Hamas is a direct reaction to the Hostility of the Isrealis against the Palestinians. Now is Iran controlling Hamas for its own benefit? Sure. I s Hamas benefiting from its relationship to Iran? Sure. But the circumstances create radicals. We may not like it but that is the reality on the ground.

                      Also you mention Hamas, but not The West Bank controlled by Fata that fought a civil war with Hamas and segragated itself into to 2 different Palestinian States. The Palestinians were radicalized exactly because of the direct oppression of the Isreali government. Now we turn our backs on them because the guy who has been slapped and spit upon for years stopped and slapped back? Really?

                      The Palestinians, like the Isrealis, are going to fight and continue to fight until they get a nation of their own. We as the US and as Christians could have been impartial and helpped, but America allied itself with Isreal “The Only Democracy in the Middle East.” Except its an oppressor government that denied basic rights to its Palestinian citizens and continued to build settlements even in direct violation of US backed settlement talks.

                      I also believe Palestinians will be well treated under a safe and secure body politic of their own choice under the rule of law. If they want to be secular, then its secular. If they want to be muslim then they will be muslim. For a very long time the world has told the Palestinians what they can have and what type of government they could create. Its time for the Palestinians to decide for themselves.


                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Peter, I’m afraid that we are in a chicken/egg argument here. There is far more nuance necessary to discuss this matter with any type of irenic attitude that is allowable in this format. It is a sticky wicket that corrupts anyone who becomes involved long term. I am positive that there is no worldly solution that will allow for real peace because, IMO, the parties (all of them) involved don’t really want peace. Too much money, power, prestige, rememberance of wrongs and ideological passions involved for any meaningful change in the status quo to occur.

                      The Jews and Moslems and the various world governments are all acting true to form and in accord with their own narrow self-interst and the historical precedents. Christians however have largely failed to act in acord with our highest calling.

                      We actively and passively encourage the violence. Met. Philips attitude and gifts are part of that encouragement whether the reach the level of what you would consider anti-semitism or not, they are certainly far below the Christian standard because they are clearly partisan in nature. In style, personality and leadership style is is a tribal leader ruling and protecting his tribe. Occasionally, that is done within a fully Orthodox frame, at other times, not so much. When it comes to the geo-political realites of his homeland, he is very much a Syrian/Lebanese village elder with all the bias and tendancy to blood feuds inherent in such a position.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Hi Michael

                      Sorry I have no response key, but this is in regards to your Oc. 7, 2011 post following mine.

                      First, I agree with everything you say, except maybe Met. Philip’s actions. I kind of agree with your sentiments, but would add that although you are absolutely correct that Met. Philip has acted in a partisan fashion, I do not hold it as a negative against him.

                      As to the remainder you are correct.

                      My suspision in regards to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is that the Palestinians will force the issue of statehood in much the same way the Isrealis forced the issue of statehood in 1948 following the UN partition.

                      Hamas is definietly a problem as it is a pure Isalmic state based on Sharia law and not upon the laws or polity of secularism. I have no answer to the Hamas question.

                      On all of these we will wait and see. My main concern has always been for the welfare of the Palestinian people as well as for the Jewish People as extremists on both sides have ruined and continue to ruin their chances for peace.

                      If we as Christians can ease the suffering, that is all I care about. I will leave the politics to the politicians, but the poor, widows, orphas and the downtrodden God has give unto the Church’s care. That’s always been may main forcus.


                    • CodeNameYvette says

                      It evidently does not occur to you that main obstacle to formation of a Palestinian State is their repeated refusal to recognize the State of Israel. Instead, they declare their intention, with other Arab states, to destroy that nation.

                      For those who would welcome the destruction of the State of Israel and all the bloodshed involved, nuclear retaliation by the Israelis, the end of oil production, possibly world war, keep on rooting for that Palestinian State. Even Obama had more sense.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Code Name Yvette Said:

                      It evidently does not occur to you that main obstacle to formation of a Palestinian State is their repeated refusal to recognize the State of Israel. Instead, they declare their intention, with other Arab states, to destroy that nation.

                      RESPONSE: The Palestinians want the recognition of their prior property rights, before the modern State of Isreal came along and which were declared null and void by the coming of our Lord and Savior instituting the New Spriritual Isreal the Church.

                      As for destroying the State of Isreal, yeah I would think I would want my oppressor destroyed as well. Have your children killed and business destroyed and tell me how you would feel?

                      For those who would welcome the destruction of the State of Israel and all the bloodshed involved, nuclear retaliation by the Israelis, the end of oil production, possibly world war, keep on rooting for that Palestinian State. Even Obama had more sense.

                      RESPONSE: The two-State solution has always been on the table, and for all of Isreal’s talk of giving the Palestines what they want they have scuddled any peace deal with continued settlements being built on Palestinian land, the enforcement of the camps and the clearing our of all Palestinians from Jerusalem and Hebron for “Safety Concerns” thus devasating the palestinian economy, and reducing them to a mere subsistance existance.

                      as for rooting I root for the self-determination of any people yearing to breath free and live like decent human beings without getting bombed and killed, which, unfortunately even we the Great United States of America have done and continue to do in Iraq and Afganistan, and NOT against enemy combatans, but regular civilians, and call it “collateral damage.”

                      These are human beings NOT collateral damage. These are fellow Orthodox Christians who go to the same lituagy we do on Sunday just wanting to have the simple say-so to their own lives.

                      You look at the extremists that take advantage of the situation. I just look at the Palestinian mother who wants to walk her children to school without getting harrassed or killed. OR how about just walking them TO A SCHOOL!

                      We know how to bomb and commit acts of suicide bombing, we know how to give financial aid, and intellectual and material help to the Isrealis to develop their nuclear program, which is still and official secret, but we have given NOTHING to build schools, electrical grids, hospitals, etc.

                      You know who has? HAMAS! THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD! That’s who. These guys knew by giving just some simple decency and respect to oppressed and subjegated people they would win their hearts and minds for their own evil purposes.

                      What did we give them? Tanks, bombs and attack jets to the State of Isreal that killed and bombed their people. That’s what America gave, and you are surprised at their reaction? You are surprised why they support rockets being fired by Hamas or Hezbolla on the State of Isreal, and hate America? OK.

                      We as Americans should have been neutral and we were not. We as Christians, especially Orthodox Christians should be much more compassionate and please keep your heresy of Christian Zionism to yourself as its a direct afront to the New Testament and the Gospel of Christ. People may not like me saying it, but too bad.

                      If we claim to be Christian then our allegiance is to the Gospel NOT to the State of Isreal and its oppression of fellow Orthodox Christians. News Alert: NOT ALL PALESTINIANS ARE MUSLIM!! Even if they were so what? Does that make them somehow less human? I dare say not.


                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Peter, if I were an Arab living in what we term “Palestine,” I would resent the term “Palestinian.” That’d be like calling my Greek cousins “Balkans” (or “Anatolians”). Why should the Arabs of that region deny their Arab identity? Palestine is nothing but a regional identifier. Hence during Roman times, the Jews of Judea were also called Palestinians, while those to the west were called “Hellentists.”

  2. On the one hand, I’m all in favor of defending oppressed people. And there is no doubt that Palestinians have suffered oppression. On the other hand, I am dead set against ethnic bishops using American church money for such a purpose. Money given by Americans for the benefit of their church should be used only for their church. This is the kind of thing that discredits hierarchical government and turns people toward congregationalism. In other words, it is a detriment to Orthodox faith.

  3. Where are the FACTS to support metropolitan Phillip sending these funds to Palestine?

  4. CodeNameYvette says

    Thank you John Pappas and Michael Bauman. I encounter people in and out of the Church who seem to think that the death of Jews — soldiers, civilians, men, women, children and infants at the hands of terrorists, is a minor evil on the same level as inconvenience to Muslim and Christian Arabs.

  5. CodeNameYvette says

    Here’s a question for us all: is it better to have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars donated by the Faithful to support their parishes and various worthy charitable causes, directed/diverted/stolen into

    1) Private bank accounts of corrupt church leaders.

    2) Legal fees to hush up sexual abuse and other scandals.

    3) Bribes to Islamic terrorists.

    I’d have to choose items (1) or (2) over item (3), because at least corruption and vice do not usually involve murdering people.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      So let’s stop as the American Government from giving money to the State of Isreal as they murder people as well. In fact, they send out secret hit teams through the Massad to murder in secret. Isreal, not a court of law, and in secret determines who the eneyies of the State are and why they need elimination. Nice, why have the Rule of Law when the good old Star Chamber will do.


  6. George there are peole that have identified themselves as Palestinians just like there are people who have identified themselves as Macedonians. I may not like it, but these people are there and they have every right to self determination.

    My main sypathies and heart goes out to the children, poor and elderly on both the Jewish side and Palestinian side. The young should be given a chance to live and have a good life, and the Old should enjoy their golden years and grandchildren.

    They should not be hating and fighting each other. If whatever money, comfort and support Met. Philip can give and has given to any of these people then its a good thing and not a bad thing and we should support him not tear him down.

    I have my own disagreements with the Ecumenical Patriarch, but when I went to Istanbul in 2006, my wife and I had an audiance with him and I was truly humbled to be in his presence. Did my disagreements disappear? No. But I showed respect to a man and an office that is worthy of it no matter what my disagreements may be.

    The same with Met. Philip. We can sit here and criticize, but if you are the guy in charge you make the decisions, right or wrong, and hopefully more right than wrong. But here, it seems right to me and very Christian to give money to aid the Palestinian people and ease their pain. We can criticize him on other things, but on this, at least for me, Met. Philip has my respect. That’s all. Maybe tomorrow that will change, maybe Hamas will use this money to buy rockets, who knows, but its not tomorrow yet. I’ll keep you posted.

    Good night George, Michael, Yvette and all the rest its time for prayer and bed.


  7. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Surely we all recognize that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is governed by Grecian Bishops, while the Faithful of the Patriarchate are the INDIGENOUS people of the land, who call themselves Palestinians and their land Palestine. i’ve spoken to some of our Palestinian Orthodox brethren who immigrated here from their homeland/ They consider themselves to be the real indigenous Orthodox of the land. And they are. At the same time, the Grecian Patriarchate attempted to prevent these immigrants from filling up the Antiochian Patriarchate’s parishes here in America, because that would mean surrendering control of Palestinian, that is, Semitic Orthodox people and resources to a Semitic Patriarchate, rather than the Grecian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Muslim semites/Arabs of Palestine and Jordan allowed the Christians of the Jerusalem Patriarchate the opportunity to own land, have schools, and control their own affairs. All that stopped when Guilt-filled Europeans and Americans decided to transplant European Jewry there, confiscating by force the lands of the inhabitants of that land, Philistia, which in modern English is Palestine.
    All of us who give our money to I.O.C.C.must realize that some of it is spent in Israel and Jordan on Palestinian Orthodox people. Please don’t insist that we call the Palestinian Christians Israeli Christians!

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Oh, I forgot to mention that for centuries upon centuries. Israel was completely Wiped Off the Map of the world. It was only put back on the map by Americans and Western Europeans in order to name that portion of the territory called Palestine which they wanted to take from the people of the land in order to transplant European Jews any place but back in their former homelands (England, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, and the United States of America). In this Western European Christians, Protestant and Catholic, were THRILLED to act like God in once more bestowing the land of the Philistines Christian to the Old Israel, thus providing a role in a Cecil B. Demille movie to themselves, not to mention, for some, speeding up The Rapture!

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says


        • Amen from me too, Peter! I guess my parish must be anti-Semitic too, as we collected money for Lebanon a few years ago when Israel started a war with Lebanon. I support the Palestinians and proudly so. And please don’t say that Israel is defending itself. You are not “defending” yourself when you start settlements on land that doesn’t belong to you. Thank goodness, I no longer believe all the garbage that I learned as an Evangelical. I recommend this site from an Orthodox church on the West Bank–

      • CodeNameYvette says

        Your Grace, you evidently know very little about the history of modern Zionism, which began in the 19th century, long before the Second World War.

        As to returning to their former homelands, many Jews who survived the total decimation of their homes and families were themselves murdered after the war, trying to return to their former dwellings.

        Did you know that the Pale of Settlement is full of non-places: renamed or empty locales where a shtetl once thrived, wiped out utterly, the people marched off to be stripped and shot and buried in mass graves. Go back to what? Go back to where?

        I doubt that anyone in England or Europe circa 1945-48 who supported founding the State of Israel shared the American Protestant notion of a Rapture. Guilt? Over six million murdered by supposedly civilized Europeans? You find this unreasonable?

        In any case, what does that have to do with the situation today? There is a State of Israel and it permits freedom of religion, which is more than can be said for the Muslim states.

        My questions are purely rhetorical as I have no interest in your answers, if any. Respect for your office constrains further comment to you on my part. About anything.

        • ADL would be proud of you Yvette. Go in peace and thank God you are not Palestinian.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Cheap shot.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Peter, if what you say about the Palestinians is true, then why aren’t we championing the cause of the Kurds? Those people have been treated far more horribly than the Arabs of Trans-Jordan ever were. One reason many of us in the West can’t garner much sympathy for them is the interniminable blood-letting that they engage in against each other. Gaza is presently Judenrein and it’s run like a prison camp in which every penalty is meted out with death. Same with Hizbollah-controlled southern Lebanon. What a craphole the Islamlists turned Lebanon into. Only an English Christian like T E Lawrence was able to unite them, and then only for a brief period.

            (I must agree with you about the ADL however; like the SPLC, MALDAF, La Raza, Rainbow-PUSH, they are a despicable organization. I just despise grievance-mongering.)

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              I actually agree with you George, and prior to the Iraq war I would not have been able to answer your question. However, since the Iraq war the United States has effectively created a de facto Kurdish State in the Northern part of Iraq, which was and continues to be the most stable part of Iraq during our 10 year war in that country. Now, will the Kurds in Turkey be a part of that “State” and end the tensions they have with the Turks? Do not know, so you may still have me on that part of the question.

              As for the blood-letting I also agree with you, but why do we not sympathize with both sides? why do we prop up one with support and not the other? In fact, the U.S. NOW financially supports not only the State of Isreal with forgein Aid, but the Palestinian State located on the West Bank headed by Abbas. So we as a Nation provide aid to both and support to both. This is fair, but in our current financially strapped system is it sustainable?

              As for Gaza the US cannot provide any support to them as they are an Islamic Militant State controlled by Iran, just like Hezbolla is controlled by Iran, and I do agree that both of these organizations in Gaza and southern Lebannon have turned their places into hell-holes.

              Yet, this is why I DO support private money going for the aid and confort of the people, NOT the government of Gaza headed by Hammas. Now I am not naive to think that there can be a clean break between the people and government getting private funds. We see the same thing happening in various African countries were the food drops are taken by government controlled militias and distributed first to the Military and Govt. Personel and whatever scraps are left go to the people. So I do get that, and Michael’s point that AOA money is going to Hamas is conceeded and acknowledged.

              However, having said that and knowing that you can never correct the problem completely the AOA should, at least, minimize the problem by giving their money directly to aid organizations that are on the ground and vetted as much as possible to see money and aid is not funnelled to the Govt of Gaza and its Military, but go to help their people. Noble sentiments I know, as well as not very realistic, but we as Christians have to fulfill our mandate to care for the poor and downtrodden as best as possible.

              Its not perfect, but what Met. Philip has done is not wrong even given the realities of the situation. I still think its good, but points are well taken and understood.


        • Carl Kraeff says

          I agree.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Even though CodenameYvette has refused any challenges to what she has posted, I’ll stick my neck out anyhow and claim that, contrary to her angry outburst, I know quite a lot about Zionism and its history. I’m not sure why she felt she had to say that about me. I also know that the leaders of France, Great Britain, and the United States did not want all those Jews who were displaced from their HOMELANDS to settle down amongst their own populations. Those leaders have shown themselves everlastingly grateful for the opportunity that the Zionists afforded them to be seen to be philanthropic and humbly guilty. So, after Israel had been wiped off the map for the greater part of two millennia, they decided to allow Israel to be put back on the map, by re-naming the land of their neighbors’ wives, manservants, maid servants, cattle and everything else, especially farmland, “Israel.” They restored nothing to nobody. At the time of the razing of Jerusalem by the Romans, the Jews lived almost everyplace in the Empire BUT the lands once known as Israel, having moved abroad to prosper and to make converts. So the first Israel on the map passed away. And the second, New Israel wasn’t even interested in having a land named after them. So, some of the Jewish residents of Palestine, the Christian residents of Palestine, and the Muslim residents woke up one day to find that foreign ;map-makers had drawn a line around a part of their homeland and printed “Israel” there, on that map. “Israel,” of course, may be wiped off any map just as USSR was, without any war, deportation slaughter, etc.
          George mentioned the territory controlled by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Some Iranian women, devotees of the Shah, recently visited those areas, and they went fully prepared to find a place like Iran. They were shocked to find a vibrant night liife, much like that in, say Beirut. They noticed that the Hezbollah had recently gone around notifying people that Ahmadi-Nejad was coming for a visit, so everyone should try to be on their best behavior and get out their chadors and so on and that their bars and nightclubs would probably be closed during that time.
          Gaza? What a sad place. Some of the talk about Gaza reminds me of that that was reported around our own Indian reservations at first. Horrible places of crime, unspeakable rites, drunkenness, homosexuality and incest. Now, Israeli extremists are trying to form another such reservation for non-Jewish indigenous people. After all, Europeans, having been settled there by others, have been left to find their own Lebensraum, a kind of European outpost in the benighted middle East. Best to put those Palestinian Christians and Muslims on another such reservation. Built the walls, build the gatehouses, close the gates! Keep them OUT.
          CodenameYvette! Not all, by far, enlightened, educated Jews in this Israel, who were and are “Zionists”, support the policies of the government of Israel. I am a friend and lover of Jews and always have been. I am neither a friend nor lover of the government of Israel which is a betrayal of Judaism.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I agree. In fact, there are many Post-Zionist Jews, the most famous being Noam Chomsky. While I have many, MANY, disagreements with Mr. Chomsky, I was glad to see that there are Israelis and others who do believein and strive for a truly fair and equitable resolution to the current problems in the Middle East. Both Jewish, Christian and Muslim, Isreali and Palestinian, who now live in that part of the world will decide and must decide their own destiny with as little interference as possible from the reast of the world, including the U.S., U.K., and Iran.


            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Not possible, Peter. At least not until the Lord returns. All attempts for an “equitable” solution will only result in more sadness. As far as I’m concerned, neoconservatism is nothing but warmed-over Wilsonianism. We saw how that worked out after WWI. The best thing would be for the various parties there to just fight it out among themselves and either win decisively or lose. The fantasies that many of them engage in make a rational appraisal of their policies impossible. Best thing for us is to pull up stakes, leave some garrisons in the more quiescent places (Kuwait, northern Iraq, etc.) in order to keep our stranglehold on the Persian Gulf in place and if that’s unacceptable, then “Drill Baby Drill” here in ANWR. Of course we’d have shoot some well-placed rounds in the heads of certain environmentalists. (You can put an oil well in my back yard if that’s what it takes, just pay me the royalties.)

              Historically, the Semitic peoples of the world (Jews, Arabs, Edomites, etc.) could never find a way to self-organize into coherent, relatively quiescet nation-states. Part of the reason is because they are intensely tribal. When you throw polygamy into the mix, then you have all the makings of a permanently combustible situation. I know this is going to sound bigoted, but most of these people are permanently pissed off regardless of what we do or say. That’s why the Indo-European and other non-Semitic peoples (Iran, Macedon, Rome, Byzantine, Franks, Turks) had such an easy time subjugating them over the centuries. The only reason that the Israelis aren’t at each others’ throats is because they are surrounded by enemies and have no margin for error.

              To all: if you want to get a good picture of the differences in the various civilizations of the world, you could do no better than reading Victor Davis Hanson, a renowned Classicist. He pretty much hit the nail on the head when we talks about Western Civilization and its clear superiority to Near-Eastern civilizations.

            • Jane Rachel says

              Here’s an interesting and on-topic article I liked from “Tikkun” magazine, which calls itself “a Jewish Magazine, an Interfaith Movement”:


  8. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    I notice that one of CodenameYvette’s hobbyhorses is complaining against the idea that Christianity is divided. Of course, Christianity is divided. The Eastern Orthodox comprise one big branch of Christianity. There are three main branches of Christianity (although, obviously and “duh”, the only branches of THE CHURCH are the Orthodox Local Churches): Orthodox, RC, and Protestant, and myriad twigs of Christianity.
    i’d like to remind the above-named that no one I know ever subscribed to a Creed that went “And in one holy Christianity.” OK?
    Of course, there is the Anglican idea of the branches of The Church, rather than branches of Christianity. That is wrong idea, and Christianity is not The Church. What an idea! I suppose, though, one might opine that the Roman Church was a branch of the Church, but it fell off, but, still a branch of the church, it lies there on the ground. Or one could describe her as a once healthy sister who fell on bad days and is now sick, diseased, and kept alive in an iron lung.. or the sister we keep hidden in the attic.
    Also most Anglophone Orthodox owe a debt of great gratitude to Bishop Kallistos (Ware) for his book, “The Orthodox Church” without which many present-day Orthodox Christians might never have become such. I remember in my earlier days being asked by a famous Orthodox luminary; “Who converted you, Stephen, Ware?”
    Of course he didn’t convert me, but no other PERSON contibuted as much to that conversion as did Ware. There was a time when reading Orthodox material meant Ware, Hapgood, and Bentz. There’s no need for anyone to go all vituperative about him.

  9. Anything anyone says about audits in AOANA will fall on deaf ears. Blogging and commenting has proven to be ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst.

    We should all be thoroughly against the idea that our hierarchs should be ‘accountable’ to the faithful in the same way our politicians ought to be accountable to their constituents. The accountability of hierarchs to the faithful is – or should be – an accountability of love in a manner similar to the way a husband and father is accountable to his wife and family. Unfortunately, our Metropolitan feels little or no such accountability – neither to the canons nor the faithful.

    Given this circumstance, there is one – and only one – measure of accountability that cannot be circumvented, and that is the law of our land. So it is really simple. If your conscience won’t allow you to give freely and without restriction, do what I do and include something like the following donor restriction letter with every contribution.


    In accordance with applicable law governing charitable organizations in the state of __________ the enclosed gift is made to ___(Parish Name)____Antiochian Orthodox Church with the following donor restrictions:

    No portion may be used to support the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America or any entity under the jurisdiction of the Holy Synod of Antioch until such time as:

    a.) The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America submits to a thorough financial audit conducted by a completely independent, accredited accounting firm and publishes the results for the faithful.
    b.) The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America ceases to provide direct or indirect financial support to Bishop Demitri as long as he serves in any pastoral capacity in violation of the sanction imposed by the Synod of The Self- Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, as well as the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church.
    c.) The bishops of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America exercise all the prerogatives and responsibilities accorded them by the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church.

    Note to Treasurer:

    Please deduct this amount on line 7 of the Worksheet for Calculating Parish Contribution, and retain this donor restriction letter for supporting documentation.

    Check# ______________ Date______________ Amount ______________________



    • Brian,

      The OCA has wonderful audits now, but no money and less people. We have Best Practices but only those in Syosset really get excited about them. We have lots of departments and good people willing to lead them, but no money to fund them.

      We have transparency, lots of meetings, free and open discussion, but no one really cares much anymore.

      We now have a church population that is so turned off by what Syosset has become that we are prepared to start defunding it so that we can think even less about what they do because it means very little to what we do in our parishes.

      The AOCA may not be perfect, but audits won’t solve your problems and transparency won’t bring people to the Gospel. I am not saying I have the answer for what you are looking for, but I can tell you that what the OCA has become is not anything anyone else should aspire to become.

      • We now have a church population that is so turned off by what Syosset has become that we are prepared to start defunding it so that we can think even less about what they do because it means very little to what we do in our parishes.

        Part of the problem is really the effect the economy has had on the faithful. People just can’t afford to give the way they used to. I know accurate demographics aren’t really the OCA’s statistical strong point, but I wonder how many OCA faithful are unemployed, underemployed, or burdened with excess debt.

        What would the $50 assessment do to the OCA central administration? Metropolitan Jonah asked if the administration could at least prepare for the possibility, and was promptly sent to time-out for attempting a prudent suggestion.

        Well, I think Metropolitan Jonah and this proposal both deserve to be taken seriously. Ms. Melanie Ringa and Mark Stokoe have both predicted the doom of the OCA if it is enacted, and I’m sure we can count on the Syosset stooges to fight this tooth-and-nail in Seattle. Ms. Ringa may be the OCA treasurer, but I think her doom-and-gloom attitude is unjustified. Yes, the central administration would need to cut some *major* expenses, but frankly, they need to do that anyway. The Syosset chancery is incredibly expensive to operate and maintain, I believe to the tune of $18,000 every month. Maybe it’s time to cull the staff and sell that white elephant, so we no longer have to spend $30,000 a year on the lawn.

        And for the love of God, stop paying close to half a million dollars in salaries and benefits to 3.5 people! Yes, according to the AAC documents, they have $451,555 budgeted next year for the salaries of the Metropolitan, Chancellor, Secretary, and half-time Treasurer. What the heck?!

        (BTW, from what I have heard, the salary breakdowns are Chancellor ($140k), Secretary ($140k), half-time Treasurer ($70k), and Metropolitan ($100k).)

        Furthermore, a per capita assessment can lead to some underreporting of church membership. I’ve seen it and I know it happens! I am sure we would see some parish ‘growth’ with a lower assessment, so the OCA’s intake wouldn’t just automatically drop to 47% of current levels.

        For the record, the Antiochian Archdiocese used to use a head tax until around 2004. They charged $35 per head, if I remember correctly. Surely the OCA, with roughly the same number of active members, could find a way to manage with $50!

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Helga, I’m in the process of writing an assessment of all this but you took the words right out of my mouth. I agree with you: the best that could happen to the OCA right now would be the continued devolution of power to the Dioceses. I felt that the Syossett/MC axis shot themselves in the foot several months ago with their egregious tactics against our Metropolitan. One way I could tell was when they put out press releases that showed that they grossly overestimated their popularity among the laity.

          Bottom line? The sale of Syosset will not hurt the Church one bit. Instead the creativity that will be unleashed in the various dioceses will be the catalyst for the OCA’s renewal. God bless Bishop +Michael!

          • I’m glad that helped, George. I know this is off topic for the thread, but I was so irritated by what Stokoe published about Metropolitan Jonah that I couldn’t help myself.

            If Melanie Ringa honestly thinks a $50 assessment is going to destroy the OCA, she needs to settle down and deal with it. If they have a year to plan before the lower assessment kicks in, and they actually plan for it and prioritize what they actually need, sell the chancery for cheaper digs, and cap the full time salaries at $100k and the half-time salary at $50k, they will do fine. Hey, here’s a thought… why don’t they move the chancery to DC? *facepalm*

            I stumbled across this old blog from the last AAC. Check out this verrry interesting comment on the posting from none other than Fr. Ted Bobosh, Stokoe’s own priest:

            Perhaps the very point of the assessment reduction to $50 is to demand that the central church articulate exactly what its basic function is or what its absolute basic purpose is. Getting down to that level would enable the OCA to begin the task of rebuilding itself on a firm foundation rather than trying to do what it did for the last 20 years but on a smaller scale.

            We don’t need a scaling down, we need a total new building.

            Fr. Ted Bobosh

            Regarding the Stokovites, now that Met. Jonah has survived the MC and Synod meetings without being bullied into resigning, their last and best chance for throwing him out is at the AAC. Stokoe’s probably planning a last assault on the Metropolitan close to the AAC – probably around October 20th-25th, trying to get people riled about Met. Jonah’s supposed high crimes and misdemeanors, while giving you and Jesse minimal time to respond. My best guess about his objective is that it’s to get people so hysterical that they vote through whatever the Stokovites want, including voting down the $50 assessment, and demoralize Metropolitan Jonah into resigning at the AAC.

            So I think it’s very important for all of us to be as on our game as possible, and be able to respond as soon as Stokoe releases something.

            • Also, here’s a really fascinating podcast with Met. Jonah talking about the finances of the Diocese of the South versus the rest of the OCA. It’s mostly Met. Jonah talking about his memories of Archbishop Dmitri, but he also talks about how the DOS is financially structured and his admiration for that. The DOS contributes only 40% of its income to the central administration, while others have to contribute 80-90% because of the assessments. I presume that’s because the DOS takes in so much more through encouraging tithing, as well as giving back more of its resources to help its parishes grow.

              • I have attended an OCA parish here in the Diocese of the South a few times and it is one of the few places I have ever heard tithing mentioned in any Orthodox parish let alone the OCA..This is part of the legacy of Archbishop Dmitri of Blessed Memory. I never heard tithing mentioned in any OCA parish when I lived in Chicago.

                • I have seen attempts at promoting tithing at my OCA parish in Western PA. And Keven Allen of the Illuminated Heart podcast fame had at least one interview discussing tithing in the Orthodox church. They even got into details like tithing pre or post-tax income and whether to tithe entirely to the parish or to spread your tithe across other Orthodox charities.

      • Jacob,

        I wholeheartedly agree that audits are not the answer. Canonical order and common decency are the real issues.

        It should be noted that audits in the AOANA did not become an issue until it was discovered that the archdiocese of North America was quietly funneling funds to the Archdiocese of Mexico in order to pay the salary of Bishop Demitri (Khoury). This bishop (a man who I must say was very good to me personally) is an alcoholic and was convicted of groping a woman in a casino in a state of severe intoxication. He is now a registered sex offender in the United States and was forbidden by the local synod (when there WAS a real local synod) to serve in any pastoral capacity. He is currently in active pastoral ministry as an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Mexico, and while I am very glad that he wasn’t ‘kicked to the curb’ and left to fend for himself (and have no problem at all with the AOANA paying him to perform non-pastoral work), he has no business whatsoever in pastoral ministry. This is but one of many examples of the lawlessness that exists in the AOANA when one is friends the right people. I can assure you that had a convert bishop been involved, the outcome and the attitude of ‘forgiveness’ (something few deny him) would have been very different.

        Add to this the resolution that forbids convicted felons from serving on the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees. It passed overwhelmingly at the previous convention in California, yet it is ignored to this day, as we continue to have convicted felons on our board. Another example of lawlessness.

        So our chief Heirarch is not accountable to love, not accountable to the canons, not accountable to Holy Scripture, will not respect the voice of his own people…not accountable to anything. Thus we are left only with civil law to enforce the bounds of common decency. It is a sad state of affairs indeed.

        • Jane Rachel says

          Brian, I just read this comment you made a few weeks ago. I would like to know why he has no business in pastoral ministry. Believe me when I say I want to understand and sometimes, it seems, I’m a bit dense. I’m not taking sides, at all. Thanks.

          I see you say he was forbidden by the synod, when there was a synod, to serve in any pastoral capacity. That decision was overruled by Metropolitan Philip and Patriarch Ignatius IV. Is this part of your issue with this case? If so, isn’t it separate from the life of the man, Bishop Demetri? Also, are you saying that he is serving as a bishop not because he is a good bishop now that he is recovering, but because he has friends in the right places? Are you sure? Again, this is not a criticism of what you’re saying. I am asking because I don’t know. Seems like it’s important, but at the same time, in the case of Bishop Demetri, is it possible he’s a bishop because he’s demonstrated that he has changed, is following the program, and is a good pastor, as you testify he was to you?

          You wrote:” Add to this the resolution that forbids convicted felons from serving on the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees. It passed overwhelmingly at the previous convention in California, yet it is ignored to this day, as we continue to have convicted felons on our board. Another example of lawlessness.”

          Do you think Bishop Demetri is incapable of being a good pastor and bishop? Does he have a track record besides this one-time event in the casino?

          • Jane Rachel,

            The resolution that forbids convicted felons from serving on the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees – or rather the refusal to abide by it – is separate from the issue of +DEMETRI. What it demonstrates is the fact that if you have friends in the right places the rules that ALWAYS apply to everyone else don’t apply to you.

            Another example: I personally know a man who was a priest, got divorced, and wanted to remarry. For him the rules applied – period. You cannot be a priest and remarry under any circumstances. He is a good man, but he chose remarriage and was (rightly) removed from the priesthood. However, another man, a friend of the right person (let’s call him MP lest we uncover his nakedness), in a very infamous case was granted economia by that “right person” to remarry. And not only was he granted permission merely to remarry, but it was granted him to remarry a woman that he had counseled while she herself was married to another man.

            My reply concerning +DEMETRI is on the other thread, and I see that you read it. It is, of course, not a matter of his goodness or his repentance of which I have little doubt. It is rather a matter of being disqualified for the good of the Church. The Church applies economia for the sake of the salvation of the person. This is an entirely different matter than placing them in positions of authority over others. I am the furthest thing from a legalist, but I am increasingly disturbed that few seem to recognize the wisdom of the Church expressed in the canons – not to mention the Scriptures. Our fathers understood the deep wounds in the human soul caused by abuse (Did you know that no one who has been sexually abused – even as a child – can be ordained?), divorce, alcoholism, etc. Their intention was to keep these wounds from infecting the Body. We see every day before our very eyes how the failure to properly recognize and treat these wounds causes them to fester and spread throughout the Body, but we are so bogged down by a uniquely modern (and false) understanding of what forgiveness is that we cannot seem to bring ourselves to see and follow the wisdom of the Church. This is what I mean when I speak of lawlessness. I am certainly not referring to legalism.

            • Jane Rachel says

              Brian, I didn’t know the situation but trusted that you (and others?) would reply and discussion would continue. I appreciate your response. I hope others, including clergy, comment.

              I wonder whether many of our priests and bishops realize how deeply the level of their own relationship with God – their own, personal morality and integrity – affects their sheep.

              I’m still not sure whether in every case the priest or bishop should never go back to serving pastorally. I was hoping Bishop Demetri was one of those, and that MP and the Patriarch were acting with wisdom when they let him serve again.

              I don’t know much about him, but I’m sure Metropolitan Philip would not approve of being discussed online. It makes me feel sheepish. 🙂

              Happy Thanksgiving!

              May the Lord return soon, we need Him!

              • “I’m still not sure whether in every case the priest or bishop should never go back to serving pastorally. ”

                Neither am I. Nor am I in position to judge. But I firmly believe it is fair to say that we have been negligent in applying the canonical and Scriptural remedies. Most of the chaos and sickness in the Church (and in me) is due to our failure to heed the advice laid down for us.

                Pedophiles can repent, but we do them and children a grave disservice if we allow them to babysit. Divorced people can repent and be healed, but they ought not be marriage councilors, Children who have been sexually abused can be healed, but their psyches will never be the same. Alcoholics can repent and abstain, but they will always be alcoholics this side of Heaven. Greedy men can repent of their greed and become generous, but we do them and the Church a disservice if we place them over financial matters. Fathers who cannot rule their houses well, keeping their children under control, can repent; but they are not ‘worthy’ (as in “fit, capable, properly prepared”) to rule the house of God. Men of ill repute whether inside or outside the Church can repent and become good men, but their words and deeds will always be suspect. Gossipers can repent, but no one will trust them with secrets. Zealous new believers may seem to be promising leaders, but we are sternly warned not to ordain them hastily…and the list goes on.

                When we cast aside what was obvious to our fathers (who shared a far deeper understanding of the wounds inflicted by sin) in the name of a false notion of what forgiveness means we invite dysfunction. This does not completely rule out the concept of economia, but it does mean we’d better proceed with far greater caution and sober-mindedness than is usually the case today. Unfortunately, decisions on these matters are usually based on emotion and personal relationships rather than the reality of what is best for the Church, for the person in question, and for the salvation of the world.

                One additional thought to which Helga referred. How do you suppose that woman at the casino and her family feel about the Orthodox Church? Had the AOANA and the Church of Antioch followed the advice laid down for us, her injury by the person would remain, but at least the Church that claims to speak and act for God would have maintained some semblance of credibility.

                “For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ as it is written.”

                I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.” – 1 Timothy 5:21

                • Jane Rachel says

                  “Alcoholics can repent and abstain, but they will always be alcoholics this side of Heaven.”

                  You are right. Like I said, I can be dense. Probably stems from a thick-headed need to get to the bottom line before I can stand firm. If a bishop (or priest, but we are talking about bishops) is an alcoholic, he should not be a bishop. If he is an alcoholic and already is a bishop, he should not be serving as pastor, or serving at the altar. (Sorry, I didn’t phrase that very well. )

  10. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Here is a link to a little video of the Palestinian Orthodox at worship at their Church in HAMAS-ruled Gaza, including interview with people and clergy. Sad what they suffer from Israeli rules. It’s also sad that most toe properties and land of Palestinians taken over by the Israelis are those of Palestinian Christians, who are more prosperous than Palestinian Muslims. Please note that the Christian women wear makeup and go hatless in public.

    • Your Grace, if this video was taken after 2005, then wouldn’t it be right to blame Hamas for their persecution rather than the Israelis? Mind you, the Israelis are by no means angels but let’s not give a pass to the Islamists who are not good because the Israelis aren’t perfect.

  11. cynthia curran says

    Well, after Hadrian’s conquest of the Jews in the 2nd century and ridding the Jews of Judea or Palestine by Hadrian, they eventually resettled in the area. Archaeologically has found a lot of synagogues during the 4th century and beyond. Archaeologists have recently found a lot of Jewish synagogues from the 6th century. The Jews still had a heavy present in Palestine in between Hadrian s time and the mid 20th century. I think that the state of Israel should make it easier for peoples and goods to move about. Right now cities like Bethlehem and so forth suffer high unemployment because of the restrictions of movement in Israeli cities. One reason why a lot of Christians in Israel moved to Western Europe or the United States for better opportunities. And I agree that the Israeli government should not just take property away from Palestine Christians but at least should compensate them if they do.

    • Bethlehem is not part of the modern state of Israel. Perhaps you mean that unemployment in Bethlehem would be lower if its residence were free to cross into Israel to work day jobs?

  12. cynthia curran says

    George I agree with you about the west including even the Turks and even the Byzantines being superior in warfare and nation building, at least since 450 B.C compared to the east.. But the Jews are a little different since many of them have through out the centuries have spent a great deal in the west; and when they live in the west they tended to successful. Ben Disraeli whose family became Christian for political reasons why he was made prime minister noted the Jews Cultural Conservatism that made them successful businessmen and so forth.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      And many of them have spent a great deal in Mesopotamia even after the return from exile. The Babylonian Talmud witness to that. Cyrus ALLOWED Jews to return and rebuild a temple, but not all were that interested.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        And, of course, the Septuagint was translated by the Jews of Egypt for the Jews of Egypt who no longer cared about the Hebrew language and/or even living in Israel, a sentiment that cannot be blamed on having been expelled by Romans or anyone else from that place.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Your Grace, the fact that the Jews lost their native language when exposed to the West buttresses my contention (as well as Victor Davis Hanson’s) of the cultural superiority of the West. The modern Israelis for all intents and purposes are Western in orientation even if they are Semitic in descent, hence the military, economic, and cultural superiority of the modern Israeli state in comparison to its neighbors.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Sooooo. what, exactly? Please, what is cultural “superiority”?

          • They have military superiority because of the US. That is where they are getting their arms, plus, unfortunately, we are willing to back them no matter how outrageous their behavior.

            • Yes, unfortunately . . .

              • Carl Kraeff says

                The State of Israel was established by both a vote of the United Nations and by blood. In 1948, the Jews fought a vastly more numerous and better armed force of Arabs and beat them. Since then, both sides have bought armaments from the great powers, while the quality of US fighter aircraft has been consistently better than those supplied by other countries. The numerical advantage of the Arabs actually increased; yet, Israel continued to be successful militarily when in a defensive mode. So, it can rightly be said that the Israelis are just better at fighting. This often happens when folks are fighting for their very survival.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      I’m amazed that anyone would speak of the Ottomans and Byzantines as being of “the West!”

  13. cynthia curran says

    Well, the Jews in the 3rd Century BC, lived out only in Judea but also in Egypt and other parts of the Hellenistic East and by the 2nd Century there were some Jews even in Rome. But the Jews always had a present in Judea except after the second revolt crash by Hadrian in the second century. And as stated before there were Jews again probably by the 4th century in Judea or Palestine as it was called by them. Procopius who came from Palestine reports a lot of Jews in the 6th century in Palestine.

  14. cynthia curran says

    That’s what I mean they should be allow to cross into Israel for day jobs.

  15. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Everyone KNOWS there was a thriving Jewish colony in Jerusalem ever since the Muslim Arabs took over from the Byzantines. It wasn’t until Pope Urban’s First (Christian) Crusade, that Jerusalem fell to “Superior Western Culture”, and the exemplars of Superior Western Culture simply rounded up every Jew in Jerusalem in order in order to burn them, men, women, and children, alive, while the dirty Greek Schismatics got to enjoy being slaughtered the ordinary way. Oh, that Superior European Western Culture! Will we ever be able to count ourselves worthy of it?

    • Your Grace, with due respect, I’ve read some more balanced books on the Crusades and the slaughter of the Jerusalem natives was nowhere near as extensive as the anti-Westerners made it out to be. I’m not trying to justify it but by the rules of medieval warfare citizens were spared if they surrendered, if they resisted then they were usually treated mercilessly but in the case of the First Crusade, the slaughter has been overstated by propagandists.

      I am making no judgment however on whether the Crusade should have been called in the first place, only to try and set the record straight. Nor am I trying to state that Western civilization is perfect or anywhere near approaching perfect. Let us not forget that the pagan Romans much more severely put Jerusalem to the torch, not once, but twice, and that after the second time, actually made sure that there were no more Jews left in Jerusalem. A policy by the way which their Byzantine successors kept in place for a good four hundred years. Indeed, it was Jews living in the countryside of Judea and Samaria who made deals with the Muslim armies to help them wrest control of Jerusalem from the Byzantines, thereby allowing them to come back and live in that city. It’s a little-known fact that many of these Jews converted to a soft type of Islam and that many of the truly indigenous Palestinians are descended from them. But I digress.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        The horrors of the First Crusade, George, were reported by the Crusaders themselves, who BRAGGED about them. Try not to read modern propagandists, as you call them.

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

        There’s no need to choose between imperialistic medieval Islam and the Crusades. Both were undesired afflictions upon the Orthodox Christians of Byzantium. Here’s a book chapter that I wrote, which might shed light on the false dilemma:

        Webster, Alexander F. C. “Between Western Crusades and Islamic ‘Crescades,'” in Jack Figel (ed.), Byzantine Christianity and Islam. Fairfax, VA: Eastern Christian Publications, Inc., 2002, pp. 181-198.

        (I coined the term “crescades” to describe the jihads, or holy wars, conducted by Mohammed himself and his Islamic followers on and off through the entire history of that religion.)

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Christians who behave as you describe are simply bad Christians. Whereas, Muslims who do the same thing are good Muslims. Put another way, the Muslims’ bad behavior is countenanced by their Holy Scriptures while the Christians’ is not.

  16. cynthia curran says

    I admit about being weak on the Crusades but I believe that one of the Byzantines made a deal with the crusaders and invited them in to Constantinople in order to make him emperor. Granted, the Crusaders behave even worst than either Alaric or Gaiseric who both sacked Rome centuries earlier. Actually, George is correct about the Jews and the Byzantines in Palestine. However, the Byzantines had more problems with the Samaritans than the Jews. And during the reigns of both Justinian I and Justin II, the Byzantines came to heavy blows with the Samaritans and their population was greatly reduced. There seemed to be a greater pressure that both Justinian and Justin II put on the Samaritans to adopt Christianity more than the Jews. Granted I’m not certain of the policy difference between the two groups, maybe since the Samaritans had been more aggressive on their religous views than the Jews were. Actually believe it or not there are a few Samaritans left in the world today in Palestine about 700 or 500 of them..

  17. cynthia curran says

    I mean he invited them in during the 4th crusade which I believe originally was suppose to sent the crusaders to Egypt.

  18. cynthia curran says

    Now, western historians will discussed the horrors of Basil II. Basil II blinded about 15,000 men and sent them back to Bulgaria. A very harsh way of dealing with the enemy but effective. Procopius while not being objective on the emperor Justinian because of his Secret History did write about the terrible acts committed by Byzantines as well as Vandals and Goths and Persians in his Wars. For example, one Byzantine general caused a revolt in North Africa according to Procopius because he was unwilling to pay the Soldiers their salaries. So, Byzantines could be as ruthless as Muslims and Westerners in their warfare.

  19. How do we know that the “Islamic Rawda School for the Sons of the Martyrs” and the “Ramallah Islamic Club” are radical Islamic groups?

    I admit that the name of the first one sounds like it might be, but the sound of a name is not proof.

  20. G. Sheppard says

    GrefF: “How do we know that the “Islamic Rawda School for the Sons of the Martyrs” and the “Ramallah Islamic Club” are radical Islamic groups?”

    We don’t. That is the whole point.

  21. StephenD says

    We all know what happened to Bishop Mark in the Antiochian – Self Ruled by Met.Phillip – Archdiocese of North America..He wanted openess and transparency n his Diocese and the ethnic parishes ,especially the one in Troy ,Michigan savaged him…