REFLECTIONS

"He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from tribulation." (Proverbs 21:23)

          On April 8th, I celebrated the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified gifts at the Seminary Chapel in Brookline.  I thanked Almighty God for blessing me as I marked the 25th Anniversary since my Installation as Bishop of Boston.  I brought to mind and prayer Archbishop Iakovos who ordained me to the three ministries of the Holy Priesthood, and who presided at my installation on April 8, 1984.  Among his countless achievements was the establishment of SCOBA, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America to foster better cooperation between all Orthodox.  As a result of those efforts, many ministries offered by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and other Orthodox presences in America, are now administered under the supervision of SCOBA.  These include the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC), the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), and others.

          I am saddened to note that Orthodoxy in America has recently been wounded by statements published in various publications as well as by remarks offered during Church Services by brother Hierarchs.  All of us - clergy and laity alike - would offer Orthodoxy a great service should we reflect upon the admonition recorded in Proverbs 21:23, "He who guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from tribulation."

          I confess that I have grown weary with individuals pontificating about the plight of Orthodoxy "in this country, in this time," wringing their hands about the absence of "administrative unity of our indigenous Church in America."  Who is to blame?  The finger of responsibility is always pointed at the "Greeks" i.e. the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

          The individuals making such preposterous claims are the very ones who ignore and violate basic tenets of Orthodox Ecclesiology and Canon Law by placing Bishops in cities where there is already a canonical Orthodox Bishop.  They dispute the Primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the world of Orthodoxy.  They ignore decisions made in Geneva in the 1990s by representatives of all Orthodox Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches.

          We who are in positions of leadership must be very careful each time we speak publicly.  The content of our remarks must be accurate and responsible.  Our words - written and uttered - must, to the best of our ability, edify our readers and those who congregate to hear us preach the Word of God.

          I recently viewed on the internet a "sermon" delivered by an Orthodox Hierarch.  References were made to an upcoming meeting in Cyprus.  He was referring to the meeting of representatives of all Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches who will gather to discuss issues of vital importance to Orthodoxy in preparation for the convening of the Great and Holy Synod.  Asserting that the meeting was convened to discuss "singular control of the so-called Diaspora by the Ecumenical Patriarchate" is nothing less than an insult to the integrity not only of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but all Mother Churches!  My brother Metropolitan prejudges the outcome of discussions that have not even taken place.  I am appalled how a Hierarch could permit himself to publicly state --- in a sermon, mind you --- "I would submit that if we wanted a Pope, we'd be under the real one."  While accusing others, the preacher sadly proved that it is he --- and not the heads of our Mother Churches --- that has "complete ignorance and misperceptions" about Orthodoxy in America.

          May the benevolent Lord heal these latest wounds which have been inflicted upon the body of His Holy Orthodox Church. May the unwaning Light of His glorious Resurrection illumine our hearts with the pure light of His divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our minds to think and to act in ways that are pleasing to Him.--------Metropolitan Methodios of Boston