Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bp. Benjamin writes a letter to calm the Alaskan faithful

I have refrained from posting much of what I had read on the recent events leading up to and following the resignation of Met. Jonah as primate of the OCA. There is so much acrimony and rumormongering that, even if I wished to, I couldn't keep up with the reposting of it all. The OCA has moved forward with temporary appointments (see here), has met following the resignation to discuss future plans (see here), and have asked for calm (see here and below).

Metropolitan Jonah is a polarizing figure. He has always been nice to my family when we have met with him. He always spoke with sincerity and a pastoral heart. More than what I have witnessed first-hand I cannot speak to without basing it on hearsay and unofficial commentaries. My prayers to the faithful of the OCA as they, yet again, weather a storm that seeks to capsize them.

(OCA-Alaska) - To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of the Alaska:

Efforts to divide and scatter the flock of Christ are unceasing. In human terms, the conflict and challenges we face in 2012 are really no different from those faced in other places and at other times since the day of the Crucifixion when Christ was abandoned by everyone save a small group of women and the youngest of his followers. This is not to down play the seriousness of what lies before us today, but I hope it will help us all put our present storm into perspective.

Let me begin by assuring you all that the cup that unites us has not changed in the least. The Church, in spite of its fallen and broken membership, remains united to its head and is the Bride of Christ. It is the exact nature of our human brokenness, however, that lies at the heart of all we face today.

The Church, and especially the monasteries, is not the collection of the well or the perfect. The Church is a hospital for those who are injured and bruised by the fallenness of the world and our own sinful passions. Each of us, clergy, monk, nun, or faithful parishioner is on a journey to uncover more and more the likeness of Christ within us and to become perfected by the work of the Holy Spirit. It is, however, a journey, a day by day process and not an instant fix done by some act of magic.

We are not simple beings. We are spirit, mind and body. Each of our members is compromised in some way and reflects in one way or another our fallen human state. When the mind is ill, the body too suffers. When the body is sick, the spirit often reflects the diseased state of its partner, the body. Whether we are in a parish or a monastery, we use all the tools God has given us to bring health and wellness to each human person. This warfare and battle for wholeness and integrity is constantly waged in the Church of Christ and it takes on many different forms.

The High Priest and Physician of the Church is not any one bishop or human priest, but Christ Himself. And we who are tasked with the care of Christ's flock remind you of the letter to the Hebrews: "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably (Hebrews 13:17&18). Our struggle takes on many forms. And, not every battleground or skirmish can be openly reported and disclosed at this time because to do so would be to re-injure the innocent and do greater harm.

Metropolitan Jonah resigned as Primate of our Church and rumors abound as to the reason why. While I cannot share the details with you, I can tell you the members of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Council and officers of our Church are fully aware of the reasons and are informed. You will no doubt hear all sorts of opinions and speculation from persons who have no first hand knowledge of events and simply disseminate their personal suspicions and agendas recklessly and with abandon. I can tell you it is wholly inaccurate to characterize this matter as simply a clash of personalities or philosophies.

I want to assure you all the decisions made have been made unanimously by the Holy Synod and not lightly. I ask for your prayers and encourage you all to stand in faith and love as one body, the Body of Christ. Be confident and have faith the bishops are of one mind. Be confident we will move forward together as one body in Christ. Be confident God has not and will not abandon us.

+Archbishop Benjamin


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I "like" how they use scripture to exhort obedience to those who rule over you. Maybe they could have tried that with the Metropolitan instead of consistently undermining him and trying to get him put away in mental hospitals. It's not the first time that's been tried. It just sickens me. I have no respect for them at all. Period. I'd leave the OCA now if I had another parish to go to.

  3. UNANIMOUS people. Unanimous. Pray more, speculate less...

  4. Ditto what Jon Marc said.

  5. I have a feeling a lot of people who have been frothing at the mouth online are going to look very silly when the facts are known. Better to wait and watch instead of making wild, speculative accusations. And adding my ditto to the one above.

  6. Saponaria, you already have left. Now, you are commemorating hierarchs in your prayers that you spurn. Just remember that.