Monday, January 20, 2014

Possible resignation by Antiochians from Assembly of Bishops

This is the only source I have on this so far. I know that the current Antioch-Jerusalem tension sparked a break from Assembly business by the Antiochian Church until their canonical complaint against the Jerusalem Patriarchate could be resolved, but I have yet to see anything of the nature of a permanent resignation. If this is true, this leaves only the Greek Archdiocese, the OCA, and the Serbian jurisdictions at the table - an untenable configuration.

(Monomakhos) - Sources in the Antiochian jurisdiction have confirmed to Monomakhos that Metropolitan Philip Saliba has instructed all of the Antiochian bishops in North America to resign from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops forthwith. When we receive the actual letter we will publish it.
As for myself, I didn’t think it would happen this fast. Maybe the “break in the dam” I was talking about last week was ROCOR deciding that the EA was nothing but a sham. Whether ROCOR emboldened Philip to take the final step or not I can’t say. Personally, I think he knew it was a put-up job from the get-go. Philip, long a canny warrior, has excellent instincts and can size up a man or a situation quickly and clearly.

Four years ago, Yours Truly was one of three members on the Orthodox Christian Laity distrolist who warned that fine organization that the then-aborning Episcopal Assembly process was nothing but a ruse to cement GOA hegemony over North America and finally put paid the claims of the OCA. A Trojan Horse if you will dressed up in pious Orthospeak. Philip himself pulled a last-minute maneuver back in 2010 which indicated his displeasure but in the end decided to go along with it anyway.* Doubtless, he felt that he had nothing to lose and that in time, the GOA “metropolitans” would rip off their fraternal masks and reveal their true hegemonist identity. Maybe he felt it would collapse of its own internal contradictions.

Looks like he was right on both counts. More will be said in time.


  1. Don't be surprised if the Serbs also distance themselves from th Episcopal Assembly. Strange, only the OCA, who are not recognised as autocephalous by the Greeks, and the Greeks stand together. Only in America!

  2. Sounds like this came from the Patriarch and was not ititiated by Met Philip...suspect he is following orders as it were.

  3. That is the way that it works in the Eastern Orthodox Church, every Bishop must obey the decisions of the Holy Synod under which he serves. This can be blamed on Jerusalem, which uncanonically placed a Bishop in the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Antioch. The Council of Chalcedon clearly defined the boundaries between Antioch and Jerusalem and Qatar belongs to Antioch, not Jerusalem. In reality the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is a scandal with Greek Bishops treating their Arabic speaking flock as inferiors.

  4. I believe the same may be said for Alexandria. Its website's language options are Greek, English or French. That strikes me as a terrible affront. His flock is Egyptian--Byzantium is long gone and not coming back.

    Also, I had forgotten about +Phillip's remarks in 2010:

    LOL. +Phillip will dish it out to ANYONE.

    1. Alexandria is actually Alexandria and All Africa, and English and French are the two main international languages used in Africa. The patriarch's flock is not only Egyptian and, whatever challenges the Church faces here, the situation is hardly comparable to Jerusalem.

    2. I'm willing to wager that most Alexandrian Orthodox Christians (under the Chalcedonian pope anyways) live in sub-Saharan Africa at this point. There is an Arabic-speaking flock in Egypt - although most I think are Greek - so it would make sense for the Patriarchate's website to have an Arabic version as well.

      The almost solidly Cypriot/Greek hierarchy does make one wonder how different Alexandria is from Jerusalem though :-/. Out of thirty-three actively serving hierarchs at the moment, only three are from sub-Saharan Africa, while two others - a Greek and an Arab - were born in Egypt.

  5. We should remember that that Antiochian bishops have not participated in the South American episcopal assembly in over a year-- this is the region where both the majority of Orthodox are Antiochian and where the majority of people of Antiochian Orthodox descent reside.

  6. Just saw a statement from Met Demetrios about the "temporary" withdrawl of the Antiochian Bishops from the Assembly of Bishops. This appeared on the Assembly Facebook Page and reads as follows:

    Assembly Faces Temporary Withdrawal of Participation by Hierarchs of Patriarchate of Antioch

    Archbishop Demetrios of America, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, has issued the following statement in response to the temporary withdrawal of the Hierarchs of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America from their participation in the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. The Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch, in October 2013, decided to temporarily withdraw from all Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops around the world because of a jurisdictional issue in the Middle East.

    The statement of Archbishop Demetrios is as follows:

    “We are deeply grieved that this temporary withdrawal has occurred, and we pray for a swift resolution. We hope that the Antiochian faithful who are participating in the many good works under the aegis of the Assembly—the philanthropic activities of IOCC, the prison ministries of OCPM, the college work of OCF, the missionary efforts of OCMC and the work of other Assembly Agencies—will be encouraged to stay involved. While it is true that from time to time throughout the Church’s history jurisdictional issues have caused unintended consequences, we pray that the particulars of this matter, which have nothing to do with the situation here in North and Central America or in other global regions with Assemblies of Bishops, will quickly be resolved. Until such time, the Assembly, as established by a unanimous consent of all the Autocephalous Churches, will continue to serve the faithful and its mission to foster the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3), and we continue to pray that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will guide the work of the Assembly and inspire unfeigned brotherly love among all Orthodox Christians.”

    As this action has precipitated the temporary absence of the Secretary, the Chairman of the Assembly has named an interim Secretary, the Very Rev. Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides, to ensure that the work of the Assembly continues uninterrupted.

    - See more at: