Author Topic: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.  (Read 4412 times)

Weedon

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Re: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.
« Reply #60 on: December 04, 2012, 12:24:54 PM »
Actually, David, I do think the recent oddity in the Antiochian Archdiocese is rather significant.  One moment the bishops were real bishops, the next the metropolitan was the only real bishop left and the others made his functionaries of sorts. Does it perhaps suggest that the polity is actually a bit more in flux than one ordinarily hears from the Orthodox?  I've probably oversimplified the matter, but it strikes me as very much treating the exact structure of the office as a humanly created thing which the Patriarch and Metropolitan reordered at will?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 12:29:23 PM by Weedon »

David Garner

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Re: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.
« Reply #61 on: December 04, 2012, 04:59:07 PM »
Actually, David, I do think the recent oddity in the Antiochian Archdiocese is rather significant.  One moment the bishops were real bishops, the next the metropolitan was the only real bishop left and the others made his functionaries of sorts. Does it perhaps suggest that the polity is actually a bit more in flux than one ordinarily hears from the Orthodox?  I've probably oversimplified the matter, but it strikes me as very much treating the exact structure of the office as a humanly created thing which the Patriarch and Metropolitan reordered at will?

I agree it's significant -- I was merely trying to avoid the nuts and bolts of it, because it gets very complicated, as you suggest. 

The canonical issue is whether a bishop can be enthroned as a diocesan bishop and then have that "status" taken away.  That's essentially what people over here think happened. Fortunately, our bishop (Antoun) was enthroned as an auxiliary bishop and given a dicoese after that, but never formally enthroned as a diocesan bishop.  So it's not an issue for those of us in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast.  Literally nothing has changed for us.

I don't think the problem is that it treats the office as a humanly created thing, but rather that it ignores that it is not (meaning, it is a canonical violation, not a matter of treatment).  Once enthroned, a diocesan bishop is a bishop, and the Metropolitan can no more move him to another diocese at will than I can divorce you from your wife and have you marry another at my whim.  Even if I were to try, you'd still be married to your wife.  That's an issue of authority, not practicality or treatment. 

There are a few minor issues though that are largely unresolved at present.  First, there is some sense among some in our Patriarchate that the Antiochian See hasn't really had anything other than "auxiliary bishops" in its Archdioceses.  Meaning, there is a sense in which the bishops under an archbishop/metropolitan bishop are answerable to the archbishop/metropolitan bishop rather than independent and part of a general synod of bishops in that place.  That's not concrete, and it has molded over time.  Second, the Antiochian See used to have titular bishops, but purportedly discontinued that practice years ago.  Unfortunately, this seems to largely resurrect it.  Third, the text of the legislation that created this brouhaha is muddled, confusing and in some places self-contradictory.  So it is bound to be clarified, and when it is, we'll have to see if that actually clarifies or further confuses.  Fourth, perhaps most important, the Holy Synod sort of imposed the diocesan structure on Metropolitan Phillip a while back.  The Metropolitan wanted self rule.  He got a diocesan structure.  This may be the Holy Synod pulling back on the latter, or it may be that there was confusion on what was being imposed to begin with.  Put another way, it may well be an assumption on all our part that the bishops were ever what you term "real bishops" (and what I would term enthroned diocesan bishops) to begin with.  Finally, if the bishops wished, they could appeal their case to Constantinople.  To my knowledge, that hasn't been done, and perhaps that's an indication that everyone is on the same page, or perhaps it's an indication that the bishops don't want to create discord.  My guess is it's more an indication that the situation is being sorted out at the Patriarchal level, and the bishops are being patient to see how it works out.  But again, as with most of this, this is something we just don't know as yet.  The Ecumenical Patriarch could not force the Patriarch of Antioch to restore the bishops to diocesan status, but his opinion carries a lot of weight.  A lot.  If the bishops truly felt wronged, they had the ability to deal with it.  That hasn't happened yet.  I have my thoughts, but they're just speculation right now.  This blog post and comments are helpful in sorting some of it out, if one reads judiciously:

http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2010/09/fr-touma-bitar-on-auxiliary-bishops.html

Since we got this deep, I would like to add that Patriarch Ignatius IV has suffered a stroke and is in critical condition in Beirut.  Your prayers for His Beatitude are appreciated.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 05:05:46 PM by David Garner »
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Weedon

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Re: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.
« Reply #62 on: December 04, 2012, 07:04:18 PM »
I had not heard about the Patriarch's stroke. Will remember him in prayer.

David Garner

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Re: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.
« Reply #63 on: December 04, 2012, 09:11:04 PM »
I had not heard about the Patriarch's stroke. Will remember him in prayer.

Thank you.  I just heard about it today, but it happened yesterday.  I'm afraid his witness is needed in Syria now more than ever, so this is not only heartbreaking for those of us under his wing, this is bad news for all Christians in the region.
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vicarbob

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Re: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.
« Reply #64 on: December 04, 2012, 09:34:23 PM »
I pray that very recent blogs reporting that the Patriarch has entered Life Eternal are in error.

David Garner

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Re: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.
« Reply #65 on: December 04, 2012, 10:24:36 PM »
I'm not seeing that yet, so I remain hopeful.  I'll update if I hear anything new.
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David Garner

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Re: A "Generic" Lutheran church body governance thread.
« Reply #66 on: December 05, 2012, 07:26:04 AM »
The Patriarch has reposed.  Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Dec-05/197289-lebanons-patriarch-hazim-dies-at-91.ashx#axzz2E9DFag4V

Thank you for your prayers.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).