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American Orthodoxy and blind obedience to Bishops

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Justin-H.S., Sep 23, 2021.

  1. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. New Wineskins

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    Is there a possibility that since most American Orthodox converts were former Protestants of which rejection of Church hierarchy featured high, that when those converts become Orthodox they over correct in the opposite direction by following bishops no matter what?

    I can’t look down on Protestants for their complete rejection hierarchy because it started when the hierarchy of their day was actually corrupt and deserved rejection, although I don’t agree with their rejection of even the good hierarchs.

    It seems like just another dialectical tension. Is there more nuance in American Orthodoxy when approaching faulty hierarchs, or do most Americans default to “obey your bishop” even if the bishop is teaching something outside of our Tradition?

    Any examples of such rejection in recent years?

    Have Americans ever deposed a bad bishop?
     
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  2. Not David

    Not David Finally an Orthodox

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    Ooof, this is going to be an interesting one
     
  3. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. New Wineskins

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    Has this question never been asked? I don’t believe that I’m the only one to ever ask these questions.

    Personally, I have never had the Protestant baggage with regards to hierarchs because I was never brought up that way. I do have an innate tendency to distrust unproven authorities, though so I don’t outright reject hierarchy. I just reject the ones who’ve shown themselves to be meritless. #sigmamalegrindset
     
  4. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    It's hard for me to understand what you mean with blind obedience, proven authorities , tradition etc. So it will be interesting to see the responses here to get an idea the context.
     
  5. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    I think it needs to have strong Biblical or Holy Tradition contradicting it for many of us to reject it. It especially is important to consider what the Orthodox Church as a whole is teaching. For example, if one bishop taught Arianism, we should see the other bishops and elders disagreeing with that. When the Church is evenly divided - it makes it more difficult.

    Its like scripture says - obey them as unto the Lord. If it contradicts Biblical / Orthodox teaching, obeying as unto the Lord dictates that we obey His commandments over the bishops.
     
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  6. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    yes, we have deposed bad bishops in the past in America. the former Archbishop of Ottawa for the OCA comes to mind. normally though, they are retired.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
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  7. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. New Wineskins

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    Is it only when other bishops and elders disagree that faulty bishops are deposed? The laity have no part in the process?
     
  8. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    I am sure that laity have a part in it, at least with expressing the concern, etc, though I’m not an expert on that side of the house…

    @ArmyMatt ?
     
  9. Lukaris

    Lukaris Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    I know of an example of a bishop who went awry beginning in our parish ( in the wiki linked article) back in the 1930s. My grandparents witnessed this ( my late father technically but he was only about 3 yrs old).

    Aftimios Ofiesh - Wikipedia

    I can only imagine that this contributed to my grandfather having our family become Protestant during World War II. There was a priest (Fr Anthony Sakey) in our parish & I know my grandfather must have been close friends with. I found actual framed icons Fr Anthony had given my grandfather. Well not everyone liked Fr Anthony ( I have no idea what the issues were & he later served his life as a steady parish priest elsewhere). The parish split & Fr Anthony was voted out ( that is what was done). The Syrian ( Antiochian) Orthodox Church only had a Metropolitan at this time ( Metr Anthony Bashir). Metr Anthony, from all I know, was a good hierarch but there was probably little he could do for Fr Anthony. My grandfather rejected all of the Protestant groups requests that his family be “baptized” into their congregations. My grandmother went back to being Orthodox ( unfortunately, I never knew her).

    I realize I digressed but these events I believe were related at least as far as how hierarchy & parish life frictions can unfold.
     
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  10. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    ultimately it's the decision of the Synod. but often the priests, deacons, and laity are consulted.
     
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  11. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. New Wineskins

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    Is this Bp Lazar Puhalo?
     
  12. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. New Wineskins

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    So, what does the laity do? Do we bring our concerns up to the priest and he sends it up the chain to the Bishop?
     
  13. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    no, he was never actually the canonical bishop of Ottawa
     
  14. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    yes, and the Synod can consult them directly.
     
  15. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. New Wineskins

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    Basically, those of us in the GOA need to stop 'peacing out' and heading to Antiochian or ROCOR parishes, and staying and fight. It'd probably be more effective if the laity sent the priest a formal complaint via letterhead or do we express our concerns during coffee hour?
     
  16. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    that depends on how much the Synod is willing to listen to the faithful. but you always want to address problems at the lowest level, so it's best to start just one-on-one with your priest.
     
  17. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Americans have deposed bad bishops. The Antiochians "retired" Bishop Demetri after he assaulted a woman at a casino while drunk. The OCA "retired" Bishop Nikolai of Alaska, Tikhon of the West (different guy, not Metropolitan Tikhon), and I think even Valerian was deported after it came out that he was a member of the Romanian Iron Guard; a Nazi organization before WWII. The EP "retired" Archbishop Iakovos for trying to solve the jurisdictional mess as well as Archbishop Spiridon back in 1999 though I'm not sure what he did. Remember Archbishop Demetrios of GOARCH? He was retired after embezzling $40 million in donations from St Nicholas at Ground Zero and sending it to Turkey. Even ROCOR has deposed a bishop or two in their history as well.


    That said, I think this "blind obedience" likely stems from those who were likely of Evangelical background more than anything and maybe not so much those of more liturgical Protestant backgrounds like the Anglicans and Lutherans. Yes, it is possible to get a synod to meet and handle a bad bishop. Getting to that point takes a bit of time.
    Personally, I've seen more of this "blind obedience" in the Antiochians than anyone else. Perhaps as part of their lackluster catechism they're never taught that bishops can even be removed.

    But, then again Metropolitan Philip was nice enough to chase Bishop Mark away to the OCA where he really belonged ;)

    Part of the "retired" route, for the OCA at least, is because I believe it requires 12 bishops to defrock a bishop and for some of its history the OCA hasn't had 12 bishops. The one you're talking about definitely earned it.

    Given how the GOA is organized you'd have better luck dealing with the Parish Council President ;)

    The parish priest in the GOA is just there to celebrate the services and organize the Greek Festival. All of the administrative work is handled by the Parish Council President. And even then, the only way the GOA will actually act on anything is if it either A) becomes a problem in the media or B) parishes start withholding tithe to the central administration.
     
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  18. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    interesting point
     
  19. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. New Wineskins

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    Unfortunately, it sounds like the GOA has bureaucracy’d themselves out of getting bishops deposed. Plus, I’ve heard that the Abp is very intelligent and is very aware of his calculated actions scandalizing the laity. It’s like an exercise of demoralization occurring.

     
  20. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    I'm not surprised. That idiot thought it was a good idea to be there with Erdogan opening up a Turkish center in New York!

    I think the GOA Archbishop is intentionally making people mad. To what end, is anyone's guess.
     
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