Sunday, September 10, 2023

ROCOR Diocese of Chicago on... a lot.

Let's take a look at these one-by-one.

  1. The best way to protect the priesthood is to have a very high standard for even going to seminary. History in this country has shown us that when a bishop approves every Tom, Dick, and Harry to go to seminary that SOMEONE is going to pick that man up for ordination. And, my goodness, have we had some doozies get ordained and call all manner of chaos in parishes and online.
  2. A very fair rule of thumb here. If your name is Christian, just stick with it. I'll also add, parents, if you name your children something like Wesley and Calvin but then baptize the boys as Arseny and Gleb, please stop. Either be bold and use a rarified Christian name or be comfortable with an Andrew or Thomas.
  3. He's right. If you accepted Chrismation and now want a Baptism, it's too late (short of driving a DeLorean 88 mph) to adjust now. And those men trawling parishes offering secret baptisms need to stop and the hierarchs need to help them do so. 
  4. I would never have guessed any bishop would have put out such a blanket decree forbidding a book from parish bookstores, but here it is: The Heers book has a big OBSTAT on it and I don't see it in any of the standard Orthodox supplier websites. This will either make the book less present in Orthodox homes or more popular as a bit of dangerous samizdat.
  5. Some bishops require their priests obtain explicit permission for everything that is not a standard parish activity. There are priests who have to ask if they can do things like attend a service at another parish, participate in a local clergy brotherhood, write an article, accept an interview, and a whole host of other things that might surprise you. Other bishops give something nearing carte blanche as long as no one is writing them angry letters about what the priest is doing. Anyone who has worked in any capacity anywhere knows that every boss is different. Same situation where hierarchs are concerned. 
  6. The best way to ask a liturgical question is to do so internally. Speak to your fellow priests, your dean, and even your bishop if it so merits. There is so much variety in liturgical practice in this country that going outside that system is strange-fire flammable and likely to cause some smoke.



  1. I agree with 95% of this. As for the 5% I might have some reservations over, well; he's the boss. End of story. Always good to see a bishop on the job and looking after his flock.


  2. "...{Peter Heers} by essentially insisting the canons are self actualizing magic spells Fr Heers misunderstands that the canons must always be applied first with love and care for the salvation..."

    Among several good candidates I think this is my favorite line/point by the good Bishop. For Peter Heers and men like him (too often the young, inexperienced, and zealous) canons, morality, and religious "law" are a calculus - an equation of causality in a metaphysical "religious" system, and St. Paul's letter to the Romans was written to be mined for proof texts and not *understood*.

    In the Church of God canons have an *economical* raison d'etre and are downstream from theology and the ontology/praxis of salvation - not the substance of it. The good bishop rightly points out that as such, canons are to be *interpreted* and applied by a "fatherly judge" - that is a bishop who being steeped in the virtues can reflect what his and our "Heavenly Father and Judge" would make of the circumstances. Salvation is *personal*, not a flipping chemistry equation/experiment.

    Heers really is a menace, and this is the reason the Church of Greece kicked him out. Unfortunately the Church in America is "jurisdictional" and is allowing a heresiarch to travel the country (in addition the internet) building momentum...

    1. I want to add, that Schmemann spoke in detail to this phenomena of *idealizing* the sacraments - western Christians most clearly but also too often the Orthodox in our day. Perhaps it is obvious (at least to most), that the "progressives" idealize and then nominalize the sacraments. What is less obvious is that the "traditionalist/ultra-dox" does as well, though they go the other way by *absolutizing* the sacraments in form and metaphysical "validity" and "efficaciousness". Schmemann observes (in 'For the Life of the World' if memory serves) that both errors are grounded in an unconscious acceptance of the metaphysics of the RC high middle ages.

      For Orthodoxy the sacraments, their Mystery and their Realism, are grounded the first millennium synthesis of the Fathers. 'Corrective Baptism', at least as thought of by Heers and his followers are born out the anxiety and spirt of the age.

  3. Like John I agree that he is the boss but I cannot but wonder if the Archbishop read the book to engage it's central premise or if his dismissal is strictly based on hearsay?

    1. If Heers is, in fact, meeting with parishioners in +Peter's diocese without the knowledge and blessing of the parish clergy, much less +Peter's own, then that alone is justification to prohibit the book. After all, promoting the book's perspective is why the meetings are happening.

      Of course, you have one priest in +Peter's diocese doing online reviews of the book along with extended podcast segments with the book's author. Plus, another priest in that diocese has *endorsed* the book and subsequently applied a "corrective baptism" to parishioners received from another Orthodox parish in the area. (Doing so threatens relations with other Orthodox after so many years of diligent work to build bridges, to say nothing of the awful theology at work.) I'd say the book is very much at issue here, even if the archbishop has not read it cover to cover.

  4. What an embarrassing letter. The Archbishop is clueless about what Fr. Peter actually says and what the book is about.

    Abp. Peter: The norm is Baptism. You need to make a good case to receive by economia.

    OE: You're right, and here's a book defending that position historically and canonically.


    1. St. Paul writes that some "desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh". This seems analogous to what is happening now with corrective baptisms. There are spiritual predators who seek to glory in the flesh of their prey.

    2. the book isn't about corrective Baptism

    3. It's laying the groundwork for corrective baptism even if it doesn't use that term specifically. The entirety of chapter 18 ("The Misuse of Economy Leads to a Heretical Ecclesiology") is intended to generate doubt in the minds of those received without benefit of baptism in an Orthodox church. Regardless of the carefully considered thought of bishops and priests as to how to receive those coming into the Church, those received in any way but baptism (in spite of the canonical allowance for Chrismating heretics like Arians) are being taught to doubt the word of those clergy.

      This is patently clear to those watching fellow parishioners walking away from their current parishes to join others, having been convinced economy was misused in their case and then receiving a "corrective baptism." It's happening, and it's very real. Works like this book are the fuel for it.

  5. This is a good letter. Axios

    It seems like the acts of his clergy during Heers campaign for (mostly OCA/EP) converts to be re-received by baptism caused quite a headache for him. I would note to those defending the book, he is attacking Heers words during that incident which contextualizes the book. (Read BB 's comment)

  6. The book is still available on the Jordanville church supplies site, which is good to see.