So color me shocked when a Protodeacon of the OCA took it upon himself to publicly flush all manner of heretical and amoral waste onto the Internet for all to see. I was less shocked to find that Pdn. Theodore serves under Fr. Arida (who some will remember had entire clergy brotherhoods writing in alarm about his compositions of a similar bent).
The article, entitled "LGBTQ+ IN OUR CHURCHES by Protodeacon Theodore Feldman" is available here.
Let's sample some of what his letter contains:
Even adulterers, though, Christ accepted when they turned to Him. He foreknew the Samaritan woman for a serial adulterer, yet He broke every law in the book to bring her into communion with Himself—speaking to a Samaritan, speaking alone with a woman, sharing her drinking cup—because He foresaw that she would open her heart to Him. Indeed, she turned her entire community to Him (Jn 4). The sinful woman who washed His feet with her hair He likewise forgave because she approached Him with love in her heart (Lk 7). It was the Pharisees who muttered complaints against her and other sinners who turned to Him. How can we miss the parallel with those who are complaining today about LGBTQ+ persons who wish to draw near to Christ?The point, then, is not that Christ said "keep at that adultery thing," but that they stopped their sinful behavior and strove to "Sin no more." Hardly what the deacon is recommending.
Both sides of the debate appeal to Tradition. But from Holy Tradition itself we hear only…silence. For Holy Tradition is rooted in the word and work of Christ. And here, as we have seen, we find nothing concerning LGBTQ+. So the opinions of the Church Fathers on sexual behavior (aside, always, from adultery) are just that: opinions, growing out of their own cultural context, but not out of Christ’s word.Here is how you read the Fathers. A council is better than a single Father who can err, but when you have both multiple conciliar pronouncement and the univocal voice of the Fathers on a topic, you don't just call it antiquated "opinions" and think that somehow living in 2019 your opinions are more enlightened. This is the age of the slanket and trap music, not St. Basil or St. Anthony. I wouldn't absorb today's mores and try to work them backwards into the fabric of the Church any more than I would smear motor oil on my favorite book. The church brings salvation to a fallen world, the fallen world doesn't experience any salvific effects wading into the murky waters of contemporary culture.
What is our experience, as clergy, when a communicant approaches the Chalice? Whom do we see? If, as Paul taught us, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, but we are all one in Christ (Gal 3:28), do we yet distinguish between gay and straight? Or do we see, standing in front of us, only a person desiring to meet the Lord?Why, yes we clergy are supposed to use our discretion. That's why people don't commune themselves as if it were a Eucharistic buffet at the Golden Corral.
Are we to stand in judgment between Christ and this person who seeks His face?
The article goes on and on with poorly thought out ideas and an appeal to kindness that does no kindness to the people it presumes to help.
The clergy of the OCA have asked in the past (in motions at All American Councils, in letters, and online), and I join them today in asking, when will the Holy Synod act on these public proclamations so opposed to the Faith? When will it respond so that there is no question that a clergyman cannot use his great influence on the people and lead them astray in this way? If millstones around the neck are the lot of such authors, what of episcopal inaction when hierarchs know full well what their clergy are getting up to?
I see that Protodeacon Theodore Feldman is at the same cathedral as the priest Robert Arida, who brings the same sentimental (and modern) moralism and anthropological confusion to the faithful in his ministry.ReplyDelete
Is there any real doubt that Archbishop Nikon is not of the same mind?
What do we do with the secularists (ordained or lay) in our midst? How does this Imperial Church of the East and its "Orthodox culture" cure this disease within its own body? As near as I can tell, it doesn't...or if it does, it does so very slowly and willingly sustains the damage this disease does on the rest of the body.
I see Orthodoxy in Dialogue wasted no time in blasting our host. I was actually under the impression that Fr. Joseph was a priest, in the Antiochian church, and actually in Texas. In any event, I know at least one priest of his jurisdiction who feels the same way he does. I'm sure there are more. Fr. Joseph, I believe, was at the recent Ancient Faith Conference at Antiochian village. I'm sorry I didn't make his acquaintance then.ReplyDelete
The "dialogue" folks are easily upset, the last thing they expect is dialogue! They are quick to be offended by a pseudonym, but only by "the editors" for authorship? I don't really want to know who they are, their site speaks loudly enough, it's outside what I take to be the Church. Dialogue with someone who thinks there's something in common, guys. Hint: The Episcopal Church Welcomes You. Look for the sign, they mean it and so do I.Delete
Fr. Joseph, being attacked and defamed by the defrocked priest and delusional homosexualist and LGBT activist Peter J. (Giacomo) SanFilippo is a great honor. It confirms the truth of your words and rights discernment of your public witness.Delete
SanFilippo et al have most of the Western world on their side;especially here in North America. That is why they can be so brazen.Delete
My bad, I see that you are a priest and not a deacon, Father Joseph.ReplyDelete
Doxing people is their response. It's an odd response that doesn't address the issue and not very dialogue-y, but there you go.Delete
I am regularly reminded of Fr. Lawrence Farley's words that "dialogue" is so rarely about actual dialogue.Delete
From the response post on Orthodoxy in Dialogue, it sounds like they didn't understand you were making a biblical reference and not actually implying harm be done by millstones. I understood your point! I have had the same thought in my mind about all of the inaction in the church.Delete
I think you have it indeed.Delete
It is like Stalin's Soviet Union. You are free to agree with the Party Line. God help you if you dont.ReplyDelete
"what of episcopal inaction when hierarchs know full well what their clergy are getting up to?..."ReplyDelete
Do you Fr. Joseph or anyone else remember the response of Met. Tikhon when the rather strong clerical and lay response of Fr. Arida's homosexualist essay (which is still on his cathedral's website by the way) being posted on the OCA's youth "Wonder" blog/ministry?
He did not get it. He went on about his relative's (nephew if memory serves) life threatening surgery (which was occurring at the same time as the blowback) and then *defended* Fr. Arida, saying that Fr. Arida did not say what he said, that all the clergy/laypersons who responded were reading too much into it, and that we should listen to Fr. Arida's point. Over the next few days this response was revised at least once (I think I noticed two revisions), and then eventually it and the whole essay/response was pulled from the Wonder site altogether.
There is your response Fr. Joseph. This is not "inaction", it is rather action IN SUPPORT OF Arida's and Feldman's secularized anthropology and morality. Met. Tikhon, Archbishop Nikhon, and in all probability others in the OCA synod SUPPORT this view that the normative moral Tradition is too harsh, "science" (as if they understand what that actually is) has discovered a homosexualism of human *nature* and thus something "new" that the theology of the Tradition and Fathers simply did not know even existed and thus men like Arida are to be listened to. You see Fr. Joseph, you are a simple man and men like Met. Tikhon and Feldman are actually in tune with the Spirit...
You good clerics and lay folks in the OCA can ask for moral and anthropological clarity/truth until the cows come home but your not going to get it because your synod is not in *communion* with the truth.
My own Metropolitan came home form the Crete synaxis approving of the ordination of women (which the Pat. of Alexandria subsequently did...sort of...), so don't think the OCA is special or anything...
Absolutely right! Thankfully Fr. Ioannes Apiarius said this in his latest essay exposing the unopposed rebellion inside the OCA.Delete
"One wonders if the bishops’ continued silence and refusal to publicly denounce, discipline, and/or depose these false prophets have emboldened these LGBTQ activists, enabled their revolt to grow inside the Orthodox Church, and encouraged them to spread their poison and deception to other Orthodox Christian countries and Churches via the Internet, academic conferences, and various LGBTQ venues, organizations, and events." - Fr. Ioannes Apiarius
Jake, do you mean Metropolitan Anthony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA? If so, I'm sorry to hear it.Delete
Keeping score: the only two Orthodox synods/"jurisdictions" in North America who have not been fools (or more accurately, theological and moral idiots) for the sexual/anthropological revolution are the Antiochians and ROCOR, at least as far as I am aware...ReplyDelete
"This is outright rebellion against God and nature, a betrayal of Christ, and open defiance of the authority and teaching of Scriptures and the Orthodox Church." ~ Fr. Ioannes ApiariusReplyDelete
Fr. Ioannes Apiarius has penned a few articles/rebuttals easily found, but I can't find anything about him or where he serves. Is "Fr. Ioannes Apiarius" a pen name?Delete
And the Bulgarian Patriarchate.ReplyDelete
Did you forget the Moscow Patriarchate, or are there issues there too? As a potential convert, this is all rather distressing. I don't understand the hierarchy. One enters monastic life, a bishop is chosen, or should be chosen, based on his character and holiness of life, but when confronted with situations like this, they either do nothing, or pour gasoline on the fire. I fully expected such things (sadly) within American Catholicism. I am less prepared to expect such things in Orthodoxy. Where are the Chrysostoms of today? Are they even being given the opportunity to govern the Orthodox Church, or is it simply a case of episcopal appointments being made by those who will go along with the modernist secular or ecclesiastical agenda of the day?ReplyDelete
We have no current Chrysostoms or any other courageous bishops.Delete
However, we do have many faithful, courageous, and outspoken priests who are challenging and fighting against these heretical impostors and LGBTQ corrupt militants.
Fr. Josiah Trenham
Fr. Johannes Jacobse
Fr. Alexander Webster
Fr. Joseph Birthisel
Fr. Ioannes Apiarius
Fr. John Whiteford
Fr. Lawrence Farley
I would also add Fr. Zechariah Lynch to the list, who regularly has articles published on Russian Faith. He also has his own blog. As well as Fr. Joseph Gleason who runs Russian Faith. Though he no longer resides in America.Delete
Don't forget, St John Chrysostom died on his journey into exile.Delete
Oftentimes the humblest and greatest priests and bishops of the church were exiled or martyred, because their steadfast faith did not conform to the prevailing opinions of the time. Yet, Holy Orthodoxy lived on, and bright is the stories of these saints. The Church is sustained by the prayers and witness of the faithful clergy and laity.
For your information: This is the statement endorsed by the Bulgarian Patriarchate to help in witnessing to Gospel and serving the needs of a very fractured modern world.ReplyDelete
The practice of homosexuality is unacceptable according to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, those who express hatred, ridicule or animosity towards people with a homosexual orientation act contrary to the central Christian ethos of love and compassion for all people.
A person with homosexual inclinations can live a God-pleasing life if he or she wars against this passion. The Church offers support, prayer and assistance for those who repent and seek healing.
The Diocese in accordance with the view of the Orthodox Church does not recognize same-sex marriage and declares that marriage is possible only between a man and a woman.
Is it permissible to answer the question "How can we make our church more welcoming to [favored outgroup]" with the more difficult question "How can we welcome [unfavored outgroup]"? We should be building bridges to the outcasts the "inclusive" believers won't touch.ReplyDelete
Archbishop Nikon is incapacitated with illness and is perhaps drawing near to the end of his life. He has spent little time at his New England Diocese Cathedral in Boston where Fr. Arida and Deacon Theodore serve. Rather, he prefers to be present at his Albanian Boston Cathedral when he is not travelling. That does not absolve him from responsibility for tolerating this corruption of the Faith,however. The Protodeacon appears to publish as an opportunist in the face of his bishop's incapacity. His public betrayal of the Faith and his ordination vows requires a public, official reprimand at the very least.ReplyDelete