Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Convicted felon Bp. Demetri returning to ministry in the US

In 2004 Bishop Demetri of the Antiochian Archdiocese entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of attempted fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct. To be specific he "grabbed the breast of a North Carolina woman seated next to him at a slot machine in the Turtle Creek Casino outside Traverse City" and was "highly intoxicated" (see here for more) as was evident from the closed circuit video that captured the event. He was drunk, he was gambling, and he sexually assaulted a woman.

Bp. Demetri was relieved of his duties and then suspended (it should be noted that the Antiochian Archdiocese recently deleted their pronouncement on this issue from their website, but a cached version is available here). In 2008 he was "restored as vicar of the Iglesia Católica Apostólica Ortodoxa De Antioquia México-Venezuela-Centroamérica-El Caribe in the Exarcado De El Caribe"(see more here). This was all covered on this blog some years ago (see here).

In a surprising new chapter to this saga, it seems Met. Joseph is making Bp. Demetri a locum tenens of sorts (a pseudo-locum tenens) for the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.

56 comments:

  1. There are some rumors that his conviction was overturned, expunged, or otherwise reduced. If someone can point me to an official resource, I'll make the necessary adjustment(s).

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    1. Interesting. I hadn't heard that rumor, but I can't find any record of him in any court records. I checked Michigan, Florida, California (where he lives now, according to his FB). I checked the Grand Traverse Circuit Court records which is the court he appeared in front of. No records at all.

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    2. Hopefully, you'll see this, but in answer to your question, it appears the court set aside his conviction. Pokrov isn't my favorite site (too much witch hunting to be truly effective), this is the only thing I've found: http://www.pokrov.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Email-from-Michigan-DA.pdf

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  2. smoke==fire.. throw too street..

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  3. This is simply scandalous. Gambling and drinking to excess are one thing. I don't condone that kind of behavior, but by itself, it could be seen as an unfortunate moral lapse that harmed only the bishop. Sexual assault however, is a show stopper. Anyone guilty of that (and I am not limiting the definition of guilty to courts of law) should not be in Holy Orders. Unless there was some affirmative determination that he was wrongly accused/convicted (unlikely given the film footage) he should have been deposed and retired to a monastery.

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  4. Shame on all of you. Have you never heard of forgiveness. His Grace had a drinking problem and dealt with it. He sought and received treatment and has been sober for many years. He is a pious man who has many gifts that would greatly benefit the Church. It is a great tragedy that some narrow minded people refuse to forgive him and allow him to use his great talent to benefit the Church.

    Archpriest John W. Morris.

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    1. Sure ... but bishops -- clergy in general -- are called to a higher standard. Forgiveness, of course; but reinstatement to active ministry? To paraphrase a once-popular song, "Whatever sayedna wants, sayedna gets."

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    3. Fr. John, we can and should forgive him, but we should not ignore the clear scriptural guidelines which make a convicted sex offender unfit to serve as a member of the clergy. I'm frankly shocked that any Orthodox priest would promote a sex offender as someone fit to lead the faithful.

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    4. Fr. John,

      Are you Roman Catholic? Your answer is horrific!!! Please, put down the communion wine. What on earth could possibly possess you to defend a convicted sex offender? And then to support his being brought back as a bishop? You sir are an idiot!

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    5. I an neither a Roman Catholic, nor am I dunk on communion wine or anything else. I simply feel that the Church should consider the circumstances of what actually happened. I still believe that the real problem is alcoholism, not sexual offenses. After all Bishop Demetri was only convicted of one offense, committed while he was under the influence of alcohol. If he deals with the underlying cause, which is his alcoholism, I do not see why he should not be forgiven. I know him personally and know that he has received treatment for alcoholism and has been sober for over 10 years. Please note that if Bishop Demetri were guilty of repeated offenses of this nature, I too would oppose his reinstatement. However, he is not guilty of more than one offense. He is guilty of one offense committed when he was not in full possession of his faculties. In any case, just because some people disagree with me, that does not justify resorting to personal insults against me like the message above.

      Archpriest John W. Morris

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  5. Fr. John, drinking too much doesn't cause someone to sexually assault women. And your defense of Bishop Demetri is identical to that of the Roman Catholic hierarchy when they defended thousands of clergy sexually assaulting children around the globe.... The situation with Bishop Demetri isn't binary; it isn't "let him be a bishop" or drive him out of the Church. Repentance and forgiveness, of course, has its place with Bishop Demetri and all of us. But in my opinion, he shouldn't have any authority in the Church.

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  6. The difference between the actions of the Catholic hierarchy and their priests who committed sexual crimes is that Bishop Demetri is repentant for what he did. Alcoholism is a disease. That disease caused him to do something that he would not have done had he been sober. He has dealt with that disease and has it under control. Therefore, he should be forgiven because he has dealt with the cause of his sexual assault.

    Archpriest John W. Morris.

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    2. Let's try this again:

      Fr., with all respect: being forgiven doesn't mean that he should allowed to be hold that position. The Canons are specific about that and many Synods in the US have been specific about that.

      Just like a murderer may be forgiven, but they still can't be in the priesthood. I have no doubt that he has repented, but that doesn't mean the consequences of his actions are no longer valid. Just as my numerous sins may be forgiven, it doesn't mean I don't still deal with the consequences.

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    3. Fr. John, the Roman Catholic hierarchy argued precisely as you have, that the accused priests were repentant and have much to offer the church, and have received appropriate therapy. They were wrong. Also, there is a movement to brand pedophilia as a mental disorder - a "disease" - making your argument identical to that of the scandalized Roman Church. This decision by Metropolitan Joseph will do nothing but bring ridicule, scandal and controversy to the Antiochian Archdiocese. Let him quietly serve the Church in other ways, outside of the public eye and not in a position of authority.

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  7. Repentance is good. No one has suggested that he should not be forgiven. This is a red herring. His actions warranted his deposition. He has violated enough canons to have been removed and he was removed. He is not only an alcoholic, he is also a registered sex offender. There is no legitimate way for him to be reinstated as a diocesan bishop. I'm sure that Fr. John knows that quite well.

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  8. The self-righteous is amazing. We are all sinners. Bishop Demetri has an health problem and dealt with it. Alcoholism is a disease. It is not a moral failure. He has received treatment and has had it under control for many years. Since it is not his fault that he is an alcoholic, that should be the end of it.


    Archpriest John W. Morris.

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    1. gambling also/maybe.. BUT SEXUAL ASSAULT..PULLEASE..!!

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  9. If one falls into alcoholism or into any other addictive passion then whose fault is it??

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    1. I'm afraid Fr. John is choosing to view drunkeness from a completely secularist and pseudo-medical point of view, and not an Orthodox one. Drunkeness was viewed by the Fathers and saints as a spiritual disease, a passion, that needed treatment by the ascetical discipline of the Church. To excuse this passion (or any passion) as simply an uncontrollable physical ailment displays an unfortunate non-Orthodox worldview.

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  10. Name calling is just an attempt to obfuscate the issue when one realizes his position is wrong, and no doubt we will be subject to more of it. I agree with Fr. John however that "that should be the end of it." But sadly, there are those now trying to impose a convicted sex-offender on a diocese and re-establish him as a diocesan bishop. How cruel to expose him to the public outrage that will ensue. How cruel to push him into an arena in which his crimes and shame will be rehearsed and exposed. How unwise to inflict him on parishes that have already stated they want nothing to do to him. It could all be avoided if the canons and tradition of the Church were followed. He will never succeed as a diocesan bishop in this country and will only bring further disrepute to the Church if for no other reason than his crimes will be rehearsed in public again and again. People will be left wondering about the spiritual poverty of a church that can only offer up a convicted sex offender to serve as their bishop.

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  11. I strongly disagree with those who would condemn Bishop Demetri. Once again his problem is alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease not a moral failure. He has faced it and has dealt with it. Therefore, the Church should forgive him and allow him to use his talents for the Glory of God.

    Fr. John W. Morris.

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  12. Red herring again Fr. John. No one is condemning Bp. Demetri. No one is arguing for withholding forgiveness. All right thinking people are saying that based on his violation of the canons through alcoholism and sexual abuse, he has rightly been deposed from his position and now should be left to quietly work out his salvation. There are many ways in which this could be done, but reinserting him as a diocesan bishop is not one of them.
    Now will you again ignore what is actually being said and go on about condemnation and unforgiveness? You will not convince anyone to enter into agreement with you about violating the canons or about pushing poor Bp. Demetri into another arena of public shame and scandal, let alone about forcing a convicted sex offender on parishes. If you care for the bishop as you pretend to do, then help Met. Joseph to understand how damaging this would be for Bp. Demetri, let alone the parishes and the Church at large.

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  14. You still fail to understand that the sex offense was committed under the influence of his alcoholism. Had he not been under the influence of alcohol, he would not have done it. Therefore, by dealing with the root cause, he has dealt with his problem and should be forgiven.
    What bothers me about this is that I know for fact that there are active Orthodox Bishops in this country who are guilty of far greater offenses than poor Bishop Demetri. Yet they continue to serve. That is why I find this whole matter one of intense hypocrisy.


    Fr. John W. Morris.

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    1. And, Fr, if I was drinking and killed someone, I would still be left with...I killed someone. I would still be responsible or my actions. The "alcohol" defense is nonsense and merely points to the mentality in our culture of not taking responsibility. Let's just blame x.

      Nobody here is condemning the bishop. But, the fact is, there are consequences for our actions. And certain actions demand the withdrawal from being a bishop just as some demand other things. It doesn't mean he's eternally bad, but...there's a reason why certain people can't be priests. There's a very good reason. The Archdiocese administration has screwed this up.

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  15. Your reasoning really does surprise me. Why not just argue that I wouldn't have sinned ever if I hadn't been born in this fallen human nature. It's not my fault... You still fail to understand that he has violated the canons which require that he be deposed. And for that he was indeed deposed. Do you really think a valid defense is "there are others worse than him, therefore we should have him too?"
    Again the name calling Fr. John. That seems to be your strongest suit. There is no hypocrisy in any of the comments posted by those who oppose the reinstatement of the deposed sex offender. None at all. All of us recognize that he violated the Church's canons and that there is no justification at all for having him as a bishop. I can't for the life of me imagine why you ignore the Church's canons, why you ignore common sense and keep insisting that a diocese should be led by the convicted criminal. Your judgement is seriously impaired in this matter. Clergy and parishioners in the Diocese of the West have already been vocal about their opposistion. Would you really want to see conflict and division brought into the diocese, just because there are worse bishops elsewhere?
    I see that you insist on remaining blind to the real issues, blind to the damage that would be done to the Church, to the bishop and to the parishes. Nothing can be said to dissuade you from such an unOrthodox mindset, so I'll leave this discussion and leave you to have the last word and the opportunity for some more name calling.

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  16. To Fr. Seraphim Bell:

    The canons do not require us to suspend common sense. In order to make a valid judgment of any situation, one must first understand the issues. In this case, Bishop Demetri's problem was his alcoholism, not a tendency towards sexual sins. That being the case, in order to be reinstated he must deal with the underlying causes, which is his alcoholism. He has dealt with it and therefore should be forgiven by the Church. If the Archdiocese has a place for him, he should be given it. Those who would judge him should remind themselves of the words of Our Lord, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
    In any case this should be an internal Antiochian matter, not something that should be decided by posts on the internet.

    Archpriest John W. Morris.

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    1. Father John, with respect, the flu or a time-limited illness may be "dealt with" once and for all. In contrast, Alcoholism and any addiction by nature is a perpetual struggle, a chronic condition being dealt with moment to moment, daily. If a person has a vulnerability, out of humility/reality the person would factor that in to the demands of a job. And if when one yielded to the addiction, one impacted others negatively in a certain way, that might also reasonably be expected to occur should the person yield to the addiction even briefly again. I cannot imagine a good bishop wishing to put his flock at even potential risk, relying on a perfect record of sobriety to keep others vulnerable to his position safe. I would think he would happily restrict his activities in his second chance at life to those in which he is not stressed heavily and does not stress others by his presence in an exalted position. If priests are to serve as Christ did, why would a person want to be a bishop originally (most of the good ones seem to avoid it) but especially after having fallen from grace previously? I am not a priest but cannot imagine an alcoholic believing this is a wise or seemly path for him...of course I am not a priest...

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    2. Nicole,

      Well stated. I would quibble with the modern(ist) definition of "addiction" that informs your thinking - I wonder if the classical temptation/passion model is not better. In that vein, then we ALL are "addicts" and no one is really qualified to be ordained/serve because we all could yield to evil "briefly" despite a perfect track record in the past.

      It is a bit ironic that most of the posters here are men who are rather indignant towards Bishop Demetri's "crimes". Yet, as statistics reveal (and confessors will confirm) at least half of them are addicted to pornography and ALL of them have succumbed to the "crime" of "looking on a women with lust in the heart".

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    3. Why are you "air" quoting crimes? They were actual crimes for which he was incarcerated, fined, and publicly registered for the protection of the populace.

      Even if you think it's hypocritical to judge this man for a single incident when men are statistically accounted to have lusted after a woman, I hope you can concede that in the litigious society we live in that it would only take a single accusation made under criminal and/or civil circumstances to cost the archdiocese millions and put the Antiochian church in a very unfavorable light on every TV in America.

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    4. Josephus asks:

      "Why are you "air" quoting crimes"

      Because, I don't assent to the definition based on exactly as you say:

      "that in the litigious society we live in that it would only take a single accusation made under criminal and/or civil circumstances"

      Yes, by the letter of the (civil and moral) law it is a "crime", but as you know we as Christians are too forgive all crimes - even our most dangerous and mortal enemies who would kill us, rape our wives, and "dash our little ones upon the rocks".

      Forgiveness (and thus the whole of our Christian lives) is in no way a "moral" act (i.e on the level of good vs. evil, good citizen vs. "criminal", etc.). To forgive our enemies is not a moral act because to forgive enemies is impossible - it can't be done on the moral level. That is why forgiveness (and thus our whole Christian life) is a "spiritual" act.

      The whole "convicted felon/convicted sex offender" language is moralistic and designed to prick the emotions and steer us away from our calling - in other words this language is the work of the Evil One. If you are going to be consistent then you need you should not utter the name of St. Mary (of Egypt) without appending "whore" each and every time. Of course, you don't do that but then you are a hypocrite (like everyone else! ;) ).

      As far as the world (i.e. "every TV in America") and it's image of us you better get used to it - a real persecution is coming and this worldly scolding and shame is going to be the norm. So what? They shamed our Lord by hanging him on a Cross which is the same as "a very unfavorable light on every TV in America"...oh well, that's how we are saved.

      As I have stated, I am not supportive of Bishop Demetri's return to a diocean position - but let's be honest and "shamed" by the real reasons for this, namely the weakness of us all and our inability to actually live the Law of Christ. Let's not pretend that our moralizing is somehow "necessary" (let alone good) and of the Spirit...

      I wrote an essay on this recently:

      http://stanthonylc.org/blog/

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  17. "He has dealt with it and therefore should be forgiven by the Church"

    Fr. John,

    I think perhaps you are treading into a view of the ordained ministry (in the particular Bishop Demetri's ordained ministry) as a kind of given, or maybe a club - and not as a "sacrifice-ment". I can't tell the difference between your view and that dreaded "clericalism", where this question about Bishop Demetri becomes about...Bishop Demetri and not the Church (of which Bishop Demetri is ostensibly a servant).

    As others have stated, forgiveness is not the issue. Indeed to keep insisting that it is to put aside "common sense". Now, do we bow down before the mocking of the Devil and cave to the "common sense" view of how it looks, mostly judged by the outside world? No. However, do we not consider how offense might be unavoidable to the innocent and the weak, and thus not eat the meat sacrificed to idols as Paul would have us? Perhaps the law of Love would have us (i.e, "the Church") look past the past of Bishop Demetri, but perhaps not all can and thus his being fully restored to his ministry does not actually build up the Church.

    The truth is I personally would rather have Bishop Demetri as my pastor than many other NA bishops whose secret sins are in fact much worse than his crimes (really, this "convicted felon" language is all about pricking the emotions and is simply the words of the Evil One), but then I also know too many persons weak in faith and wonder if perhaps Met. Joseph is not trying to force forgiveness out of the flock (as if the God of Love would compel such a thing)...

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  18. Drunkenness, sexual immorality, and gambling... that's three (three!) separate canons requiring defrocking. At what point is a man seen as unfit for the episcopacy (much less the priesthood)? Is the Antiochian bench so shallow that this was their best option? We can forgive him and welcome him in the church, yes, but the priesthood and episcopacy require a certain purity (as attested to by scripture, canons, and every church father ever). As for the claim that is an "internal Antiochian matter", it ceased to be internal the moment he was returned to a position of public authority. And as pointed out by another commenter, that kind of thinking was exactly what the Catholics engaged in during the early days of the abuse scandal - and look where that led them. Do we really want them as a model?

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  19. " . . . this should be an internal Antiochian matter."

    Just as with conciliar controversies, the "Amen" of the laity is required. We're not required, as priests and deacons are, to just heave to. When Metr. Philip tried to give special treatment to "Bp." Demetri, all kinds of nascent creative movements sprung up, deducing ways of supporting parishes while denying contributions that could be "taxed" by the Archdiocese. I guarantee you such would again spring up very quickly. I don't know if the "Balamand Glee Club" is again behind this attempt to shove Demetri down our throats but Metr. Joseph doesn't possess the accumulated good will that Metr. Philip built up over decades. Metr. Joseph strikes me as a man with a shepherd's heart as well as being a man of prayer. He does not strike me as a bad or stupid man but this act displayed extremely poor judgment. It has the appearance of corruption. The former Fr. Silas Ruark was rightfully deposed because he betrayed his office with an out of control sexuality. Demetri, if the video is viewed, unzipped his pants and make lewd gestures. Alcohol removes inhibitions. The underlying predilections were there to be revealed. It is delusional to blame alcohol for what happened. Parishioners should not be expected to financially support this man, even indirectly. If they are, there will be a rebellion. You can count on it. If Demetri is treated differently than Ruark, you can bet that it will be seen as favoritism toward ethnic Lebanese. That is Phyletism which is heretical.

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  20. If the parishes would forgive him, if the laity and clergy and monastics (are there any?) could forgive him, then I would not oppose him being reinstated if he was truly repentant.

    But they are not forgiving him, and they will not forgive him, and this is causing a scandal. Therefore he should not be pushed into the position. Why not have him, as a monastic, serve the church in another way? Perhaps more behind the scene, but his prayers are just as virtuous, if not more. A sinner who repents and prays is a greater triumph than one who is able to avoid sin with ease.

    To no longer be a bishop would be very humbling life, and that is not bad. That is good, it is virtuous. So many of our saints were exiled, or deposed in political intrigue and lived in terrible conditions. I think he has a great opportunity to serve the Lord that while most people will not know about it, He will know.

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    1. 1. Restoration to any position in the Church does not equal forgiveness. There is no reasonable expectation of restoration to one's former position. I have to wonder if your misunderstanding of forgiveness is deliberate.

      2. Consignment to a monastery: a monastery is not a compulsory jobs program for fallen hierarchs. If he can't find work as a layman, how does his lack of transferable skills then become the financial responsibility of lay parishioners whose trust he has betrayed?

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  21. The Church has only one goal: the salvation of souls. The Sacred Canons are guidelines used in trying to achieve that goal - please read Trullo 102 as concerns the metaphor of spiritual health and healing. As a result, the canons that list impediments to ordination or, conversely, reasons for deposition from the ranks of the clergy flow from the realization that some, by virtue of their own sickly souls, are in a position where they need ministered to, and ought not be ministers. In other words, their state is such that they need to be concentrating on their own salvation, not on the salvation of others. Indeed, restoring Demetri to active ministry would be harmful not only to his own salvation, but to the salvation of all who are scandalized by the decision and might therefore leave the safety of the Church as a result. This is not punishment; this is responsible shepherding of Christ's Holy Church.

    Only two questions need to be asked here: what is best for the salvation of Demetri's soul, and what is best for the good order and discipline of the Church? Anything else completely misunderstands the Sacred Canons.

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  22. Is there some supporting documentation on the Antiochian.org website or elsewhere that validates that Bp. Demetri is actively serving here in the U.S.? Not that I doubt this article but I may write some articles on this, and would like all the evidence we have regarding this news.

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  23. Never mind -- I found some supporting documentation here:

    http://www.pokrov.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Letter-to-the-Clergy-of-the-Diocese-of-LA-and-the-West.pdf
    http://www.pokrov.org/persons/bishop-demetri-matta-khoury/

    This is simply unbelievable.

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  24. This is a very good article and I advise all to read it carefully.
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/cancer-of-clericalism-antiochian-orthodox/
    I love the last paragraph: "We desperately need leadership. The church is a fighting army, not a parading society that exists for the pleasure of an old boys’ club of generals. Clericalism is a cancer robbing the church militant of the ability to defend itself and advance on the Enemy’s positions. Orthodox clerics who don’t understand that in the Year of Our Lord 2016 should stick their heads out of the incense-filled sacristies and see the world as it truly is."

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  25. I've just been informed that "Bishop" Demetri was formerly a priest of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. He was deposed by the JP because of behavior unbecoming of a priest. Met. Philip brought him to America and placed him as a priest in the AOA without a canonical release and later made him a bishop. If this is true, it only adds to the many reasons not to allow him to serve any further as a clergyman in the Orthodox Church

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  26. To Fr. Seraphim Bell.

    You have been misinformed. Bishop Demetri was never a Priest under Jerusalem. He came to America as a layman, graduated from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, was ordained by one of our North American Antiochian Bishops and served as Pastor of St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Cambridge, Mass. I know because I served as his deacon while he was at St. Mary's. You should check your facts before you spread malicious gossip.

    Archpriest John W. Morris.

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    1. With all due respect, Fr. John, given the comments you have made here, I have no reason to trust what you say, in addition to which nothing in your statement establishes your assertion.

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    2. Fr. Seraphim,

      Now your just being silly. You might disagree with Fr. John's application of Christ's Law of Love and Mercy in the particular case of Bishop Demetri(I do for reasons stated upstream) but to impugn his basic integrity and honesty as you have done here is uncalled for - you owe him an apology. Your coming across as a simple legalist (your Lord obviously was not)...

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  27. There must be no more grotesque thing going than the apologists like John Morris. Has he really zero shame? Zero? The Antiochians have created the most craven tribe of convert clergy anywhere. Utterly terrified of speaking the truth, I guess not understanding it in the first place. Apologists for This clown Demetre, Assad, you name it. How embarrassing. The laity will have to protect themselves. First, where Demetre shows up, let him find an empty church. Then to let his metropolitan understand reality, cut off funds. Clergy like Morris are of no value so action on this must come from the bottom up. This travesty will last just as long as the laity accept it. Thankfully there's only one Morris but lots of people. Guess who'll prevail.

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  28. To Bob:

    I suppose that those who cannot their agruments rationally resort to immature insults. Bishop Demetri is not a clown. He is an Orthodox Bishop and deserves to be treated with the respect that all Orthodox should treat their Bishops. He was never removed from his holy office in the Church.
    If Orthodoxy is as judgmental as the critics of Bishop Demetri, I would never have become Orthodox much less have served as an Orthodox Priest for 36 years. Orthodoxy is first and foremost a loving and forgiving Church. Some of you have perverted Orthodoxy and made it into a cult of self-righteous judgemntalism. You forget that the canons and other traditions of the Church exist to help us towards deification. They do not exist as unbending legalistic standards. You also forget that the ultimate purpose of our Faith is to turn sinners into saints. That means that God always gives us another chance. This principle also applies to clergy. Every Orthodox clergyman is a sinner and needs forgiveness.

    Archpriest John Morris.

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    1. You write "I suppose that those who cannot their agruments rationally resort to immature insults." That's rich coming from a person whose major arguments have so far been that anyone disagreeing with him is "self-righteous" "judgemental" "malicious" etc. You have a history of name-calling and judgmentalism in comments on one thread after another whenever people disagree with you.

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    2. Fr. John,

      Fr. Seraphim has a point here - while I believe you are correct in that you keep your eye on the "one thing needful" in this case (and every other case) in that the Christ's Law of Love and Mercy trumps simply legalism (whether canonically justified or not), you language is just as harsh (i.e a bit legalistic) towards those here who do not believe Bishop Demetri should serve in a normal diocesen capacity...

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  29. "Some of you have perverted Orthodoxy..." -- an ironic statement to be made in defense of allowing a convicted sex offender to remain an active bishop.

    Forgiveness and not judging does not mean that the Orthodox church then has no bar to which it holds its leadership. 1 Corinthians 5 clearly shows us that we are actually called to judge immorality inside the church (judge in the sense of church discipline).

    I can't think of a worse translated word that leads to all sorts of misunderstandings than 'judge'. In the greek it's three words -- krino, anakrino, and diakrino, each of which has a slighly different meaning. We're called to maintain our moral standards by keeping those of bad repute out of leadership roles. We are to forgive and not look down our nose at sinners (for we all sin), but that doesn't mean criminals can remain bishops.

    We can and do hope Bishop Demetri repents of his crimes. We also can and do hope our synods remain Orthodox by taking heed of canons, scripture, and common sense to remove criminals from positions of trust inside the church.

    Also, if Bishop Demetri is a saintly person, would he not value the integrity and reputation of the church higher than himself? Why is he willing to scandalize the church, wound victims of sexual abuse by refusing to leave office, and ardently hold on to his title?

    -- Stan

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  30. Well stated Stan. It is important to remember that the Christ's Law of Love and Mercy is not "amoral", but rather rightly 'carries through' the calculus of good and evil (i.e. morality).

    Still, the majority of the posts here have had a distinctively moralistic/legalistic tone, as if perfect morality is even possible or is somehow a precondition for our salvation. Only Fr. John has consistently pointed us to the "Orthodox" mind on this issue.

    While I don't agree that Bishop Demetri should serve in a diocesen capacity, let us remember that this is due mostly to the weakness of Faith of the majority of those in the Church and not because he is somehow forever stained...

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  31. I relate an anecdote shared by Met. George Khodr in a 2009 article.

    Saint Basil the Great once defrocked a priest because he committed adultery. After many years, this priest was at a funeral. He approached the casket and touched the dead man and the dead man rose. He went to Basil and said to him, “Do you need a greater sign than this of the holiness that I have acquired in order to send me back to my flock?” Basil replied, “Your holiness is between you and God, but I cannot return you to your flock because you scandalized them. It is not right for you to go to them again.”

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    1. Was the Holy Basil also suffering from hard hearted unforgiveness?

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  32. It's very useful to have the details of this convict's designation as a sex offender so readily available. If there are plans for him to make any episcopal visitations I certainly want him to have a suitable welcome and every appropriate accommodation. So since I live near an Antiochian parish and have normal concern for my community I know the archpriest of 36 years service will be happy to know I intend to notify the local police and county sheriff if Demetre is going to be in my community. I know they would be interested in somebody like this being around kids. Or adults. I happen to be an adult too, and I try to avoid creeps like this. How nice to know bishops of the church think it's right to inflict him on the faithful and clergy of *36 years* service approve. Was Morris like this before he converted or are there special seminars at the House Of Studies to make them into Company Men?

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  33. Please everyone read this article:
    https://publicorthodoxy.org/2016/10/28/taking-women-seriously-antiochian/

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