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To a particular anonymous “clergyman in this region”

From the comments section on OCANews:

I am so sick and tired of hearing all this non-sense and garbage. The bottom line is that many of these Bishops, namely Bishop Mark, have over-stepped their bounds and began doing practices that threatened the unity of this Archdiocese. I know this for fact as I have personally witnessed this behavior as a clergyman in this region. I happen to agree with the detroit clergy and applaud them for saying what many of us are were already thinking. May God grant Met Philip Many Years!!!

These are strong words indeed. In the interest of taking such accusations seriously, since clearly Bp. MARK’s practices, according to the perspective of this clergyman, threatened the unity of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, to say nothing of the entire Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, I invite the cleric to explain to me, a convert of Danish and English extraction with not a drop of Syrian, Lebanese, or Palestinian blood anywhere in his veins, just what those practices were and why they were divisive or overstepping his bounds.

I will acknowledge my own sin of judgment and pride in saying that my first thought upon reading this is, “Which practices were these? Not allowing bingo? Asking that his churches be the instruments of charity and not the recipients? Insisting that parishes pay their priest according to guideline? Telling parish councils that they were to treat the priest as the person placed in charge by the bishop and not as an employee? Not allowing non-Orthodox — to say nothing of non-Christians — to be communed? Standing firm on priest assignments when the priest hadn’t done anything wrong? Insisting that services be scheduled according to Archdiocesan norms?” I freely admit that as my judgmental, uncompassionate bias, and I ask the forgiveness of all who read this.

So, please, Father, whoever you may be, explain it to me. I have had many wonderful firsthand experiences of Bp. MARK, and when I read words like yours, I just don’t get it. Help me get it, please. Help me understand just what it was that threatened your well-being and our unity that required this treatment of Bp. MARK and his brother bishops.

Seriously — this is an open invitation. E-mail me something I can post, leave a comment, whatever you want to do. Tell your side of the story. It is Lent; let us promote what goodwill and understanding we can during this season.

The door is open.

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