Monday, March 30, 2015

OCA's Holy Synod responds to "Common Starting Point"

Important take-away statement:

For these reasons, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America strongly urges that all efforts continue to be made by the Assembly to fulfill the expectation of the Most Holy Primates for the proposal of a concrete plan for canonical unity. We submit that the most clear and direct path to this goal is the establishment of a local autocephalous Orthodox Church here in our region and recommend this to the Assembly for their consideration as the most effective way to fulfill the exhortation of His All Holiness in his video address in Dallas: “To move beyond what is mine and yours, to what is ours.”

(OCA) - In a document dated March 15, 2015, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America offered a response to the Chairman and Secretary of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America with regard to the “Common Starting Point” for Canonical and Regional Planning.

The text of the six-page document is available here (PDF).

As noted in the document’s introduction, the response is “an expansion of the Preliminary Response which was offered by our Synod on September 17, 2014, during Assembly V in Dallas,” adding that the current document “contains more specific reference to the ‘Common Starting Point’ for which all jurisdictions were asked to submit a red-line draft as a means to enhance the proposal, as requested by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, the Chairman of our Assembly in his letter of October 15, 2014.”

By way of background, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA met September 15-17, 2014, to consider some proposals for canonical and regional planning within its region. It has been the mandate of the Chambésy process for each of the 13 Assemblies throughout the world to develop a plan for the canonical normalization of the Orthodox Churches in their respective regions so that these various plans could be discussed at the Great and Holy Council which is being planned for 2016.

Prior to the September 2014 Assembly, several jurisdictions had offered written responses to the two proposals that had been submitted by the Committee for Canonical and Regional Planning for consideration by the Assembly. During the Dallas meeting, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America presented a Preliminary Response to the two proposals that were being discussed. This Preliminary Response was posted on the OCA website on September 18, 2014 and may be accessed here.

While no conclusive decision was made by the Assembly about either of the two proposals under consideration, it was generally agreed that the second proposal (which called for a 10-year period of continued cooperation among the various jurisdictions) was more acceptable to many than the first (which called for a 10-year period of autonomy leading to autocephaly for our region).

Subsequently, a request was made by the Chairman of the Assembly, Archbishop Demetrios, for jurisdictional responses to the second proposal, which was re-labeled as a “Common Starting Point” for all the bishops’ consideration. The present formal response was then submitted on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America on March 15, 2015 after review by every member of the Holy Synod, as well as several canonical experts. It was also shared as a draft with the members of the OCA’s Metropolitan Council at their Spring Session and their feedback was incorporated into the final text.

The Holy Synod has blessed this document to be shared with the Church at this time so that all the clergy and faithful may be aware of its position and contribute to the wider distribution of the statements contained therein, which reflect upon the mission of the Orthodox Church in America and present a vision for the ultimate goal of a true local Orthodox Church in North America.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Understanding the Armenian Divine Liturgy

( - I confess that sometimes I feel a type of sadness when I’m celebrating the Divine Liturgy and I sense that there are people in the congregation that aren’t fully appreciating the ancient and potent sacrament of Soorp Badarak, Holy Communion. I know the language is Classical Armenian, and for many the theology and historic origins that underpin the Divine Liturgy are unfamiliar. Nonetheless, for me its like the pearl too which Christ compared the Kingdom of Heaven. A discovery of priceless value. With just a few hours of attention and study, the faithful can transform their perception of the Divine Liturgy, and it would be well worth it.

Thats why this Great Lent I have been offering a special five part seminar to help the faithful better understand the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church, and participate more fully. Its been a great experience for me, encouraging and educational.

I decided to live stream the videos via YouTube to give people with difficult schedules the opportunity to watch from home or work (I won’t tell). As an added bonus the streamed video remains online forever, for anyone that wants to watch at their leisure. This was the first time I’d streamed video in this way, and there were a few funny technical challenges to overcome, particularly audio in nature, but the end product was acceptable.

As I went back and watched the cumulative six and half hours of footage from the seminar series, I became aware of a few other challenges.
  1. Six and half hours of me lecturing is kind of boring, so I tip my hat to you if you find it engaging.
  2. I’ve never heard or seen myself this much. A fantastic opportunity for self-criticism. For example: I say the word “context” too often.
  3. I was upfront at the beginning of the seminar that I am not by any means a recognized expert of Liturgical Theology. I know as much as a parish priest should, which is a good degree more than the layperson, but I did not have answers for everything. These videos are totally unedited and I noticed a few honest mistakes on my part, usually a misspoken word here and there, but if anyone finds error in any of my instruction, please let me know I’ll be happy to place a comment on the video correcting myself.
Understanding that many people won’t be able to commit the time to watching the entirety of the seminar, I’m hoping to produce a few short videos in the near future to succinctly introduce important concepts from the Divine Liturgy.

Catholicos of the Assyrian Church of the East has reposed

(Assyrian Church) - It is great sorrow and a heavy heart that His Beatitude Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of India and Patriarchal Vicar, in unison with all the members of the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East (absent were Mar Aprim Nathniel and Mar Narsai Benyamin due to visa difficulties), announce the falling asleep in the Lord of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. The late Patriarch passed at 10:04 am, this morning (Thursday, March 26, 2015) at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. His Holiness was surrounded by the prelates, clergy and family members. The prelates and clergy were in constant prayer at His Holiness’ bedside. The Patriarch’s viewing will take place on 7th April at St Andrews Church, Illinois and funeral will take place 8th April at St George Cathedral.

By Grace,

+Mar Awa Royel

Secretary of the Holy Synod

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Prince Charles' complicated ties to Orthodoxy

(Catholic Herald) - Who is the most formidable defender of persecuted Christians in the world today? Many would nominate Pope Francis, who has offered thunderous denunciations of attacks on the faithful ever since his election. But another candidate is emerging: the surprising figure of the future king of England.

The media have barely noticed that the Prince of Wales has a new obsession, as powerful as his passions for architecture and the environment: the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians. And as that region deteriorates, this may well be the subject that dominates his reign.

Soon after ISIS slaughtered 21 Christians on a beach in Libya, the Coptic Church in Britain launched an appeal for the martyrs’ children. It found an immediate high-profile backer in Prince Charles, who contacted the Copts without any prompting (he also wrote a letter of condolence to the Coptic Pope Tawadros II).

Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Church in Britain, says: “Prince Charles wanted to donate the money out of a sense of solidarity and he was happy for this to be publicised to raise awareness. It was a way of showing other people that it was all right to support this.”

The Prince first reached out to the Copts in 2013, shortly after the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt in centuries. The events were barely reported in the English-speaking press and were downplayed by the US State Department. Copts felt deserted by their friends and vulnerable before their enemies.

That was when the Prince’s private secretary approached Egyptian Christians in England. The Prince then visited the Coptic Centre in the UK, along with a Jordanian prince. There, Bishop Angaelos presented two Coptic icons as gifts, one of St George as a present for Charles’s first grandchild, George. “It was very sincere,” Bishop Angaelos recalls. “He made an impromptu speech and was well informed, and he seemed to have read up. He seemed empathetic.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OCCM: Oriental Orthodox form campus ministry

New York, NY (SCOOCH) – The Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches is proud to present its official campus fellowship: Orthodox Christian Campus Ministries (OCCM). Recognizing the need for a spiritual support system for young Orthodox Christians during their crucial college years, the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches imparts its blessing to its official campus fellowship – OCCM – to begin the work of uniting our youth under one banner where they can come together to meet, pray, learn from one another and to enjoy Christian fellowship.

With God’s help and in keeping with the vision of SCOOCH, OCCM will strive to:
  • Unite all existing Oriental Orthodox campus fellowships under a single banner based primarily upon the sacred Orthodox Faith which our ancient churches hold in common rather than ethnic culture or custom.
  • Provide freshman and/or transfer students with a network of Orthodox Christian peers in order help them to maintain their faith while acclimating to their new environment by assisting them spiritually, scholastically, socially, economically and even emotionally.
  • Provide existing Orthodox campus organizations with a forum to share ideas, programs, and events so as to better serve our brothers and sisters under a single united banner.
  • Assist students who desire to start a chapter of OCCM on their campus with the proper steps and support to achieve that interest successfully.
Visit their website here.

On "Islamic reformation"
(Acton Institute) - One of the hot new trends in religious opinion today is to advocate for an “Islamic reformation”. This past weekend the Wall Street Journal ran two articles on the subject: “Islam’s Improbable Reformer” and “Why Islam Needs a Reformation.” Presumably, the assumption is that an Islamic Reformation would bring about the same beneficial changes as the Protestant Reformation.

As a committed Protestant (Reformed, Evangelical, Southern Baptist) I believe the Reformation was indeed one of the most significant, and largely beneficial, events in world history. But I imagine it must irk my Catholic friends to hear the implied claim that modern radical Jihadism is similar to the Catholic Church of the early Renaissance era. (In an ironic twist, some people claim that, in many ways, ISIS is the Islamic equivalent of Protestant Reformers.)

The reality, though, is that no one calling for an Islamic reformation wants Muslims to become like Calvinists of 16th century Geneva; what they want is for Muslims to be like the Episcopalians of Boston circa 1965. Those calling for reform of Islam want Islam to be like liberal mainline Christianity: all the trappings of the faith without all that pesky doctrine that might stir up trouble.

The problem with this idea—apart from it being tone-deaf and offensive to two world religions—is that it relies on the completely untenable foundation of assuming Islam is similar in relevant ways to Christianity.

The dominance of Christianity in the West has caused it be viewed as the default template for generic “religion.” All genuine religions are assumed to be, at their core, much like Christianity: respectful of the intrinsic dignity of all humans, desirous of individual liberty and global peace, compatible with liberal democracy and pluralism, etc.

This is why people like Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York can say that the Islamic State extremists “do not represent genuine Islamic thought” but are “a particularly perverted form of Islam.” Dolan added...
Complete article here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

60 Minutes: Iraq's Christians persecuted by ISIS

Apologies if the embed is broken for you. You can view it directly here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Soul Saturday

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Synod takes slow boat to China for Diocese of the South

I think we can be of two minds about this elongated process towards securing a bishop for the OCA's Diocese of the South. One side says that the diocese has been waiting all too long for a hierarch. The OCA's most dynamic and burgeoning diocese cannot hope to continue its trend towards healthy growth without a full-time head. As one of my seminary professors once said, "When there isn't a bishop things just get weird." The other side says that the synod cannot be too careful in selecting a new bishop. The OCA has retired so many bishops in recent years that they could build quite a sprawling retirement home to house them all. Every bishop retired is another occasion for slandering the idea that the OCA is mature enough to enjoy autonomy much less autocephaly. A year to test the mettle of Fr. Gerasim is a rather solid next step that provides a provisional period for those with doubts and immediate powers for those who have supported him throughout the interregnum.

(OCA-DOS) - Dear Faithful Clergy of the Diocese of the South,

All the blessings of the fast!

Please carefully read the attached letter (PDF) from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon. I also encourage you to send this out to your parish mailing list if you so desire.

Following this past week's Holy Synod meeting, Fr Gerasim has been appointed Administrator of the Diocese of the South, and Metropolitan Tikhon is now the locum tenens. As Administrator, Fr Gerasim has been given full responsibility for the life of the diocese, save for those things which are specifically reserved for a bishop. Practically speaking, this means that your dean continues to be the point of first contact when pastoral need arises, but that Fr Gerasim will be integrally involved in all the decisions which affect the life of our diocese.

From today forward in liturgical services you should no longer commemorate Archbishop Nikon, but only the Metropolitan as "His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South".

Be assured, too, that Fr Gerasim is in complete agreement with this decision, and as soon as he is back in Dallas he will send out a letter explaining things from his perspective. This decision in no way nullifies our Special Assembly, and Fr Gerasim has not be rejected by the Holy Synod, nor has any other candidate been put forth for our Diocese. I, therefore, ask everyone to temper his disappointment that there was not an election and recognize that this is the next step in a process that will lead to the election of a new bishop for the Diocese of the South. I counsel patience, and I also beg for restraint, especially as regards to any clergy who might be tempted to 'vent' on social media or in the 'blogosphere'. As one wise member of our diocese has stated, "this is a process not an event".

Please let me know if I can serve you in any way. In the meantime, I pray that you all have a profitable remainder of these Great and Holy Days.

I remain faithfully yours in Christ Jesus,

Archpriest Marcus
Chancellor of the Diocese of the South

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hungarian Greek Catholics now a metropolitan sui iuris body

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has reorganized the Hungarian GreekCatholic Church, and has elevated it to a Metropolitan Church “sui iuris.” In doing so, the Holy Father adopted the following provisions:

He has elevated the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog for the Catholics of Byzantine Rite to a Metropolitan See, with a seat at Debrecen, and has nominated Bishop Fülöp Kocsis, until now Eparchal Bishop of Hajdúdorog, as first Metropolitan;

The Pope also elevated the Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc for Catholics of Byzantine Rite to an Eparchy, establishing it as a suffragen of the Metropolitan See of Hajdúdorog, and has nominated Bishop Atanáz Orosz, who has been serving as Apostolic Exarch of Miskolc, as first Eparchal Bishop; and,

Erected the Eparchy of Nyíregyháza for Catholics of Byzantine Rite, with territory taken from the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog, establishing it as a suffragen of the Metropolitan See of Hajdúdorog. Pope Francis has named Bishop Atanáz Orosz Apostolic Administrator sede vacante, of the new Eparchy.

Greeting of Fr. Hopko and 9th Hour Veneration of the Cross

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The innovation that is the modern seminary

(GGWB) - In the early days of the Church it was not unusual for people to be simply chosen out of the community for whatever ministry it was felt they should exercise. St. Ambrose of Milan (Fourth Century) was not even baptized when chosen by acclamation to be Bishop of the city. The lives of the saints are full of stories of how men tried to avoid ordination, St. John Chrysostom being a very good example, fleeing to the hilly wilderness around Antioch in order to avoid being made a priest. We still have a relic of those days in our service of ordination, a deacon who is to be ordained priest is brought to the altar by a deacon and handed over to two priests who conduct him around the altar. Originally this was to stop him running away!

In such a world there was no need for anything like a seminary. However, that does not mean that there was no education. St. John Chrysostom had the very best education of his day. Above all he was extremely well trained in Rhetoric, the highest of the ancient educational disciplines. This training was seen as fitting some for the law courts, but others for preaching. St. John also studied theology with Diodore of Tarsus. Ordained deacon in 381 and priest in 386, St. John became an important preacher in Antioch in the days when it was usually bishops who were expected to preach. St. John was not made a bishop until he became Patriarch of Constantinople in 398. His abilities as a preacher earned him the nickname of Chrysostom, the “Golden-Mouthed”.

If a man or woman had a sense of personal vocation in the first centuries of the church, then it was to the monastic life, which did not necessarily entail ordination for any but the very few priests needed in the great monasteries of the ancient world. The monasteries were primarily places of prayer, but from an early stage they often included men of learning who taught others. It became normal to choose bishops from among the monks, not only because of their spiritual lives, but also because they were classically educated men who had continued into a deep and prayerful study of the scriptures and the writings of the Fathers before them. However, even as late as the middle of the ninth century, it was possible for an Imperial Secretary, a scholar and statesman to be elected Patriarch of Constantinople while still a layman, that was St. Photius the Great (c. 810- c.895).

While the civil service of imperial Byzantium could still call on highly educated laymen to serve the church and the state, in much of Western Europe of the so-called dark ages, learning and scholarship were largely only found in monasteries. An ordinary parish priest needed at least sufficient literacy to read the services. Such a priest would be assisted by other clerics and might invite a boy who showed promise to become one and start picking up how to do the services. Such a boy was very often the priest’s son, but in the west this became increasingly difficult as celibacy was made compulsory by the end of the 12th Century. Even in the east however, there was no guarantee that there would be a job for a boy who had learned the art of priesthood from his father. The bishop might appoint somebody else to succeed the father, or the father might die before the son was old enough for ordination.

So what was our promising young man who felt that being a priest was preferable to being a peasant going to do in order to find a job? Here I will be speaking mostly of the medieval west, because we have more knowledge of specific cases. The most important thing that our young clerk had to do was to find a patron. Landowners, who might be lay noblemen or monasteries, often had the right to present a candidate for a benefice (i.e., a position for an ordained person that carried an income), to the bishop for ordination (if not already ordained), or appointment. The bishop, or his deputy, would examine the candidate, and if they were of the right age and had sufficient education, ordain him. Eventually it was necessary to be able to prove to a bishop that one had an appointment to go to, a ‘title’ as it was called. Nobody could be ordained ‘absolutely’ (that is, on the off-chance that they might find a job). This was a reminder that ordination is to the service of a particular community and not just the fulfillment of a personal ambition.
Complete article here.

55 Maxims for Christian Living by the late Fr. Thomas Hopko

1. Be always with Christ.
2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
3. Have a keepable rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times a day.
5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.
6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
7. Eat good foods in moderation.
8. Keep the Church’s fasting rules.
9. Spend some time in silence every day.
10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
11. Go to liturgical services regularly
12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
15. Read the scriptures regularly.
16. Read good books a little at a time.
17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
18. Be an ordinary person.
19. Be polite with everyone.
20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
22. Exercise regularly.
23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
25. Be faithful in little things.
26. Do your work, and then forget it.
27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
28. Face reality.
29. Be grateful in all things.
30. Be cheefull.
31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
32. Never bring attention to yourself.
33. Listen when people talk to you.
34. Be awake and be attentive.
35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
36. When we speak, speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
39. Don’t complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
40. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
41. Don’t seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
42. We don’t judge anyone for anything.
43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully, serenely, because you know that God’s mercy is greater than your wretchedness.
54. When we fall, get up immediately and start over.
55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.

An invaluable voice in Orthodoxy has reposed

(OCA) - Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY, and noted Orthodox Christian priest, theologian, preacher, and speaker, fell asleep in the Lord on the afternoon of March 18, 2015.

Father Thomas was the beloved husband of Matushka Anne [Schmemann] Hopko. They were married on June 9, 1963. Together, Father Thomas and Anne are the parents of five children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Thomas John Hopko was born in Endicott, NY, on March 28, 1939, the third child and only son of John J. Hopko and Anna [Zapotocky] Hopko. He was baptized and raised in Saint Mary’s Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church and educated in Endicott public schools, graduating from Union-Endicott High School in 1956.

Father Thomas graduated from Fordham University in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in Russian studies. He graduated with a theological degree from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1963, from Duquesne University with a master’s degree in philosophy in 1969, and earned his doctorate degree in theology from Fordham University in 1982.

Ordained to the Holy Priesthood in August 1963, Father Thomas served the following parishes as pastor: Saint John the Baptist Church, Warren, OH (1963–1968); Saint Gregory the Theologian Church, Wappingers Falls, NY (1968–1978); and Saint Nicholas Church, Jamaica Estates, NY (1978–1983). Father Thomas was honored with the clerical rank of Archpriest in 1970 and the rank of Protopresbyter in 1995.

Beginning in 1968, Father Thomas began his long service to Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Over the years, Father Thomas held the following positions: Lecturer in Doctrine and Pastoral Theology, 1968–1972; Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1972–1983; Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1983–1991; Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1991–1992; Dean, Rector of Three Hierarchs Chapel, and Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1992–2002.

During his years of priestly ministry, Father Thomas authored numerous books and articles. Most well known of these publications is The Orthodox Faith: An Elementary Handbook on the Orthodox Church. A prolific speaker and preacher, he spoke at conferences, retreats, public lectures, and Church gatherings of all kinds, many of which were recorded. Father Thomas performed countless duties on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, including representing the Church at intra-Orthodox gatherings and ecumenical meetings.

Upon retirement, Father Thomas and Anne moved to Ellwood City, PA, where they lived near the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, and Father Thomas began a new ministry: internet-based Orthodox Christian radio talks. Since 2008, Father Thomas had produced well over 400 podcasts for Ancient Faith Radio.

Father Thomas exercised untiring and loving pastoral care on behalf many who sought him out for spiritual guidance. His greatest desire was that every person would respond to these words of Jesus Christ: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Father Thomas is survived by his wife, Matushka Anne, and their five children: Archpriest John Hopko and his wife Macrina, of Terryville, CT; Juliana and husband Gregory Thetford, of Ellwood City, PA; Catherine and husband Raymond Mandell, of Clearfield, PA; Mary and husband Archpriest Nicholas Solak, of East Stroudsburg, PA; and Alexandra and husband Joseph Sedor, of Ellicott City, MD. He is also survived by two sisters, Mary Ann Macko of Endwell, NY, and Barbara McPherson of Sayre, PA and Frostproof, FL. Additionally, Father Thomas is survived by 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, as well as many, many other dear relatives, colleagues, and friends.

Funeral arrangements will be posted as they are received.

Father Thomas’s family wishes to thank all those who ministered to him so lovingly during his long final illness. Special thanks are extended to Mother Christophora, Abbess, and the entire sisterhood of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration for their constant support and help, Archpriest Michael and Matushka Susanne Senyo; Protodeacon Michael Wusylko, M.D.; and Good Samaritan Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY; the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA; Ancient Faith Radio and Good Samaritan Hospice of Concordia, Wexford, PA.

May Father Thomas’ memory be eternal!

Greek metropolis trotting out hegemony in Philippines again

Are there already Antiochian missions in the Philippines? Yes. How about from Russia? Yes. The Philippines are not the explicit canonical territory of anyone. This is some rather scary wording for what to me seems a commonplace event.

(OMHKSEA) - Dear Brethren in Christ

I have been informed that a certain person whose name is Silouan Thompson came to Philippines and claims that he is an Orthodox cleric.

As your Bishop and spiritual Father I wish to make known to all faithful members of the Church that the above-mentioned Silouan Thompson is not recognised by the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia as a canonical Orthodox clergyman. Any priestly action that he performs is not recognised as valid.

He was ordained as presbyter by a ROCOR Bishop in USA and was sent in Philippines without the Hierarchical permission of the local canonical Orthodox Bishop. This action violates the Sacred Canons.

My beloved Brethren,

Beware of all those who come to Philippines or to other places which are under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia and try to do missionary work without the Hierarchical blessing of the Canonical Orthodox Metropolitan. Beware of those who come to you and preach and celebrate the Divine Liturgy without to have my written permission and blessing. Beware of those “who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but within are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15) Their purpose is to divide the Church and the Orthodox faithful as their motives are the destructive passion of the controlling spirit and the “virus” of ethnophyletism.

May the Lord Jesus Christ save you from the injuries of the adversary and keep you as a good seed for all kinds of virtues and keep you all in true faith with good works and obedience to your Canonical Bishop and to your Spiritual Mother, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Metropolitan

+Metropolitan Nektarios

of Hong Kong and South East Asia