As the OCA continues to work through its current situation with the Metropolitan on Leave of Absence, the Synod of Bishops has decided reluctantly to postpone the March meeting of the Metropolitan Council. No date was set for rescheduling the meeting. The Synod of Bishops apparently feels the canonically correct path is to postpone the meeting as the Metropolitan decided.
What are we to make of these recent events? Bishop Benjamin wrote in a pastoral letter to his Diocese of the West: “Our polity that rests upon the critical relationship between the primate and his synod is, I believe, what is being challenged but remains unchanged.”
Conciliarity, is part of the spiritual warfare and is a contact sport; passive spectators get in the way of the goal – the upward call of Jesus Christ.
My reading of his words is that the real struggle which is taking place is between the metropolitan and the Synod of Bishops of which he is one member. It is on the level of the hierarchs that the battle is to be engaged. Since Bishop Benjamin especially, but the Synod in general, likes to keep their discussions and disagreements and debates among themselves and away from the ears of the faithful, we may never know exactly what gargantuan struggle, or passive agreement, takes place. We may eventually see some results announced to us, but the Synod is often silent not only about their discussions but also about their decisions. While the Synod did release the Public Minutes of their recent Winter Retreat – and for good reason – I don’t think they ever released any minutes or decisions from their Fall meeting back in September.
Bishop Benjamin did offer a Lenten mea culpa for the goings on in the Synod: “I ask your prayers for both the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod and I ask your forgiveness for the disturbance that has occurred in the peace of the Church.”
So we are left to consider whether our exclusion as members of the Body of Christ from the deliberations of the Synod is for our benefit or theirs, for our salvation and so they can do the work entrusted to them and which only they as bishops can do or because we are not worthy of engaging in serious discussion about the life and vitality of the Church. It is of course sometimes difficult to pray for the bishops when we don’t know exactly what we are praying for or how we can be of help to them. We also have our work to do as members of the Body of Christ, upon whom God has distributed His many gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can tend to those tasks which only we can do in our parishes and localities. We do incarnate the Body of Christ wherever we assemble for the Eucharist, and whenever we do the work of Christ in the world. We must not neglect our responsibilities and ministries because the bishops are wrestling with theirs.
One unintended side effect of postponing the Metropolitan Council Meeting is that Bishop-elect Matthias has announced he will be visiting our parish of St. Paul the Apostle in Dayton, OH, for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Wednesday evening, March 16, 6:30pm.
4 thoughts on “Metropolitan Council Meeting Postponed”
With the weight of all the evidence available indicating that there are no prophecies remaining to be fulfilled before our Lord’s Second Coming, perhaps He will come by Pascha thus resolving these matters. Given the ever increasing probability of His return with the passage of time, the preparation therapies of Great Lent should be taken full advantage of by the Faithful.
That was my mea culpa
My way of praying for bishops is simple: “O Lord, send down your Holy Spirit on our bishops enligthening and strengthening them in the truth and upon us so that we might receive the truth.”