There was a Town Hall meeting with Archbishop Job at St. John the Forerunner Church in Indianapolis on Wednesday evening. I estimate about 60 people present and 7 priests. I don’t think there was anything earth shattering, what follows are a few notes (not minutes). Basically the format was the Archbishop answering questions from the crowd –
Regarding the upcoming ANAC, +Job does not feel any candidate will get the 2/3 vote vote on the first ballot at the ANAC. So he believes the choice will fall upon the Synod of bishops. He says canonically speaking it is the bishops who elect the metropolitan not the ANAC in any case. He does not believe he will be chosen by the Synod as he feels the other bishops are not pleased with him. +Job is totally opposed to +Hilarion of Vienna being elected as he does not think a Russian bishop can help our bishops to work together. It will introduce a new problem into the Synod not a solution.
+Job says the proposed statute change to elect a metropolitan by drawing names from a chalice rather than by voting even if adopted at this ANAC would not take effect this year. +Job opposes this statute change.
+Job said that Metropolitan Herman did not resign for health reasons even though that has been suggested as the reason. He said the scenario was the other bishops agreed he had to resign – +Dmitri as the senior bishop was given the task of conveying this message to Metropolitan Herman and +Dmitri asked Herman to accept the decision of the other bishops. Metropolitan Herman acquiesced.
Job was asked if he thought stealing millions of dollars was grounds for deposing a bishop. He said yes. He was asked why then has Metropolitan Theodosius not been deposed. +Job said he is already retired and no longer doing damage to the OCA, and he felt it was wrong to totally disgrace him over the money issue after 25 years of primacy in service to the church.
+Job was adamant that he will retire in 2 years. He does not want our Diocese to become obsessed with a vetting process for picking a new bishop. He believes ultimately God will decide who the new bishop will be.
Though several dioceses have adopted resolutions calling for assessment and budget reductions for the OCA, the synod as a body has not discussed these looming issues.
Regarding the reported loan to Metropolitan Herman at St. Tikhon’s, His Eminence said it is being investigated. Though St. Tikhon’s Monastery is supposed to have a 5 member board of trustees made up of monks, apparently Metropolitan Herman some years ago reformed it as a Limited Liability Company with himself as president and his deacon as treasurer. The Metropolitan then seemingly appointed himself the executor of the monastery and engaged in financial dealings in this capacity. The investigation into these actions continues.
One comment the Archbishop made that seemed incredibly ironic to me. When one lady asked him about the U.S. presidential election and if he had any words of wisdom about how to think about the election, he replied that he himself had not voted for many years – that years ago he became totally disillusioned with American politics and politicians and so he simply stopped voting or paying attention to the elections. That comment raised my eyebrows because we have become totally disillusioned with our bishops, should we follow his example and quit giving them money, and not even pay any attention to them? I wondered whether he realized what his comments sounded like to people who are totally disillusioned with and discouraged as a result of the failure of our church leaders.
Interestingly +Job feels that the bishops have changed so much and are now much more cognizant of the concerns of the membership. And yet their most recent Pastoral Letter which has received a very disdainful reception among many with I am familiar and which was rightfully picked apart on OCAnews.org was approved by all the bishops who were very pleased with their efforts, but who remain out of touch with the rank and file clergy and membership.
From my eyes, part of the failure of our bishops has been their own passivity in the face of sin and evil. They responded with timidity at the thought of having to disagree with their fellow bishops even when it came to speaking the truth or defending righteousness. Their commitment seems to have been to preserve and protect their bishoprics and nothing more. Christ said the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church (Matthew 16:18), and our bishops seem to have taken this to mean that as long as they can’t see those gates, or talk about them, then the gates don’t exist and the bishops don’t have to worry about their presence. Jesus of course didn’t say that the gates of hell won’t assault us, just that they will not prevail. Our bishops chose to ignore the assault and even to cooperate with it. Now they say they have learned their lesson, but then so have we learned ours.