Thursday, September 8, 2022

Met. Joseph called to Lebanon to meet with Patriarch

This level of transparency here is laudable and rather unprecedented. Most jurisdictions would send out a short, calming notice if anything and then the rest would be quietly handled in the background. 

(Antiochian) - His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East met today, September 6, 2022, with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph at Balamand, Lebanon.

In sum, the announcement from the Patriarchate's official Facebook page reports that the leaders discussed the accusations against His Eminence and the turmoil that has followed in the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. It also reports that His Beatitude listened to His Eminence, inquiring about his side of the accusations.

The leaders agreed to meet again in the future to examine and clarify facts so that appropriate actions may be taken.  


  1. "Most jurisdictions would send out a short, calming notice if anything and then the rest would be quietly handled in the background..."

    Good for them. Institutional authority and the the "average man's" *trust* in them in our culture is without at doubt on the wane in and the Church would have been caught up in this even if it had never given reason(s) for distrust, which it has.

    I recall Archbishop Dmitri Royster's letter to our parish board (which was a response to our letter to him) in 2007 concerning the well known financial irregularities of the time. Paraphrasing, it read "mind your own business we clerics will handle this". He put the "ism" in clericalism, and they are going to make him a Saint! My wife and I left that parish (for a Greek parish of all things) with three other families (all with young children), as we were able to connect the dots between such institutional rot and the sexual abuse that was being revealed among the RC's.

    Lest anyone think its a purely top down phenom they should meditate on how the breakdown of the Protestant consensus (i.e. what was left of Christendom in our culture) and the atomization/isolation of ourselves from the past forms of 'civil society' has weekend the soil of institutional life. Our "leaders" (including bishops) come from us, and are not better/worse then we are ourselves. Even exceptional leaders in rotting instructions can do so much - the ship is still sinking (to mix metaphors).

    1. A certain Cleric was fond of dismissing criticism with "Orthodoxy is not congregationalism." This led me to the book "American Orthodoxy and Parish Congregationalism" which was quite good

    2. James, in your opinion how does the author's thesis apply in the case I cited and/or the situation with the antiochians? I'm aware of this book but it's out of print and difficult to get on the used market.

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    5. Thanks James, your sense of it is perfectly congruent to reviews I have read so I don't think I need to read the book. I sincerely appreciate the offer!

      I personally do have some experience with an anti-clerical "congregationalism" within Orthodoxly. The first Greek parish my wife and I were chrismated into in the mid 1990's had this instinct/attitude, though I only recognized it in hindsight through all the other ethnic tendencies. Today I wear many hats in our smallish mission parish, one of them is board "president" (though that term is problematic - it is the bishop/priest who "preside" in Orthodox ecclesiology - I'm really a "chair"). We have two parish members, both of them of Greek background, who believe in a "congregational" model at least on an instinctual level. One of them simply assumes that I am always in a state of conflict with our priest (not true in the least), and will regularly put their arm around me and say something like "now you know your president and you can tell him its your decision..." We recently had a general parish meeting and this person was upset with me that I "allowed" the priest to "run" the meeting according to their perception.

      In our situation this attitude/behavior is merely quaint, but if it was more prevalent it would be a more substantial problem. Like you, the more typical problem/tendency I have experienced is the opposite of this, a reflexive clericalism or authoritarianism - and sometimes support of this authoritarianism by a portion of the laity. Each and every time what lay behind it (at least in my judgement) was a lack of competency/knowledge of the source of the problem combined with an embarrassment/defensiveness. However in my case these experiences have been relatively few and have not wounded me (as it were) out of Orthodoxy.

      As a general statement, I would say that Orthodoxy is still grouping in the dark in how to be a properly hierarchical *authoritative* (as opposed to authoritarian) institution in a culture that is (often very rightly) suspicious of any authority at all...

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  2. ...and is Metropolitan Joseph still outside the country where he was accused?