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Selection of bishops #318276
04/08/09 11:43 AM
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At the same time, those who think everything in the Church can be submitted to a vote do not understand that Truth is not subject to the popular will.


I don't think that's what they're saying. Lay people are already directly involved in the life of parishes through participation in the council and through occupying the office of church president. I believe they're advocating extending this to the governance of the church in general through the nomination and election of bishops and through participation in synods.

Last edited by Father Anthony; 04/08/09 05:28 PM. Reason: Split from another thread in Church News
Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318286
04/08/09 11:56 AM
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A Russian Orthodox bishop once remarked to a new bishop coming to America, that in the United States, every priest thinks he is a bishop, and every parish council thinks it is a patriarch. A number of Orthodox priests have remarked to me over the years that councils somehow get it into their heads that they, and not the presbyters, are running the parish; and they are not afraid to use the power of the pursestrings to compel priests to bend to their will. A few said their bishops lend relatively little support, if any, in such disputes, being unwilling to take on parish councils and the risk to their cash flow that entails.

I can find very little canonical support for popular nomination of candidates to the episcopacy, though in the patristic era, the crowd could make its preferences known. The actual process of nominating a bishop was always the perquisite of the metropolitan synod. A synod that defied popular will, of course, was asking for trouble, but there was never a time when a bishop was popularly elected by the laity in general.

Beyond that, as the singing of Axios indicates, the Laos tou Theou had the responsibility to ratify the ordination of any major cleric. In antiquity, shouts of "Anaxios" were not unknown. Such an event would be an inauspicious beginning to a new bishop's reign, which is why attention was paid before hand to nominate someone with a popular base.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: StuartK] #318291
04/08/09 12:29 PM
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The actual process of nominating a bishop was always the perquisite of the metropolitan synod.


It's probably time for that to change.

Last edited by AMM; 04/08/09 12:29 PM.
Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318298
04/08/09 01:16 PM
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crowd could make its preferences known


In the case of this thread I see fear mongering, slander and untruth coming from a bishop from the pulpit; and the reaction I've seen from the crowd for the most part so far is all positive to this.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318299
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"It's probably time for that to change."

And why would that be? It is almost as though you either ignored everything else I wrote, or simply did not understand a word of it.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: StuartK] #318300
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"In the case of this thread I see fear mongering, slander and untruth coming from a bishop from the pulpit; and the reaction I've seen from the crowd for the most part so far is all positive to this."

If you read more Church history, you would just shrug and say, "What else is new?"

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: StuartK] #318301
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And why would that be?


- The will of the crowd.
- The inability of the bishops in many places to police themselves.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318304
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"- The will of the crowd.
- The inability of the bishops in many places to police themselves"

Palki, palki! So, what is new about this situation? It has ever been so, and will ever be so, as long as the Church is composed of sinful human beings. In spite of which, the system has worked well enough for some 1900 years, while the "democratic" model adopted by our Protestant brethren has not worked well at all, not from its inception.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318305
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I forgot to add the anti authoritarian nature of Orthodoxy as another factor. One that melds particularly well with the American religious spirit.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318306
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while the "democratic" model adopted by our Protestant brethren has not worked well at all, not from its inception.


Subjective.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318313
04/08/09 02:02 PM
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So, what is new about this situation?


I think two main things:

- I think it has a lot to do with an infusion of Protestant converts in to North American Orthodoxy.
- Failures at the top of the OCA and AOA.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318320
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"I forgot to add the anti authoritarian nature of Orthodoxy as another factor. One that melds particularly well with the American religious spirit."

Highly oversold, mainly by people with only passing familiarity with Orthodox history. Above all, the Orthodox valued taxis, order; and while they did not confuse this with legalism, the notion that Orthodoxy is barely controlled anarchy is a caricature at best.

"Subjective"

Not at all. The fissiparous nature of Protestantism is self-evident. Less obvious, because of the fractious nature of Protestantism and its lack of anything resembling authority, are its multitude of scandals and failures--everything from heresy and apostasy to the more run of the mill embezzlement, adultery, and pedophilia. You name it, Protestantism has it, and because it is so large, they have a lot more of it in absolute terms.

Protestant congregations suffer much higher rates of pastor burnout than either Catholic or Orthodox parishes, and disputes over stewardship and money land them in court a lot more often, too.

It's not subjective, it's just a clear look at the facts.

"- I think it has a lot to do with an infusion of Protestant converts in to North American Orthodoxy."

Precisely. And while in many ways they have been a blessing--with their evangelical zeal and organizational skills (both sadly lacking in many Orthodox communities), in other ways their influence has not been as beneficial. "Congregationalism", which is merely the flip side of "clericalism", is one of the things they brought with them that Orthodoxy could do without.

"- Failures at the top of the OCA and AOA."

After some seventeen centuries, you would think that we would all be used to failures at the top.

Re: Selection of bishops [Re: StuartK] #318323
04/08/09 02:58 PM
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barely controlled anarchy is a caricature at best.


That's not what I'm saying. There is a long standing tradition that values defying authority imposed from above. There is also a tradition of course that is craven to those in authority. It's the former that finds fertile ground in the U.S.

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Not at all. The fissiparous nature of Protestantism is self-evident.


That's a subjective estimation, it's on the basis of your own understanding and someone could easily argue a position completely contrary to yours. The other points are like statistics. They can be spun in any number of directions.

It (Protestantism) is alive and growing, so by most measures of failure and success, it is not a failure, though it may be by yours.

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"Congregationalism", which is merely the flip side of "clericalism", is one of the things they brought with them that Orthodoxy could do without.


Parish congregationalism (meaning lay presidency) goes back well before the converts arrived. Is it good or bad depends on your perspective. It is certainly good in the sense that you can't just have a bishop come along and sell a church out from under you to pay legal bills.

Last edited by AMM; 04/08/09 02:58 PM.
Re: Selection of bishops [Re: AMM] #318326
04/08/09 03:23 PM
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" There is a long standing tradition that values defying authority imposed from above."

Only concerning profound issues of doctrine, not everyday matters of diocesan or parish administration. The bishop can be a bastard, but as long as he is Orthodox in his profession of faith and does not abuse his office, you are stuck with him. it's better that way.

"That's a subjective estimation, it's on the basis of your own understanding and someone could easily argue a position completely contrary to yours. The other points are like statistics. They can be spun in any number of directions."

I sincerely doubt it.

"It (Protestantism) is alive and growing, so by most measures of failure and success, it is not a failure, though it may be by yours."

Actually, only certain types of Protestantism are growing; the mainstream variety is on life support right now. And even evangelicalism is fraught with divisions and is losing as many people as it is gaining. None of which really matters, because we have been given a model of Church governance through the Tradition, and it works. Moreover, how many of us there are is not relevant. If what we believe is true, then we are the true Church. Period.

"Parish congregationalism (meaning lay presidency) goes back well before the converts arrived."

True. It is an accident of the American legal system and its relationship to religious entities. In most Orthodox countries, the state provides legal status to the Church, whereas here it must exist within the confines of American contract law. Lay administration was the easiest and fastest way for small Orthodox communities to organize. And it closely resembled the Protestant congregations the Orthodox immigrants so deeply wanted to emulate. Lay stewardship was "American"; it doesn't mean it was correct.



Re: Selection of bishops [Re: StuartK] #318328
04/08/09 03:33 PM
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Only concerning profound issues of doctrine, not everyday matters of diocesan or parish administration. The bishop can be a bastard, but as long as he is Orthodox in his profession of faith and does not abuse his office, you are stuck with him. it's better that way.


Archbishop Spyridon?

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Actually, only certain types of Protestantism are growing


Well then you've qualified yourself. What I see are numbers estimating around 395 million worldwide. That's up from zero in about 500 years. I wouldn't call that a failure, at least by a criterion of some other type of success that can't be measured like having "truth".


Last edited by AMM; 04/08/09 03:34 PM.
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