Priest Dismissed for Wearing a Cassock!

The Offending Garment
According to a story on Metropolitan Philip has dismissed a priest as pastor of one of his churches because he was wearing a cassock in a non liturgical way.  There is also an allegation of disrespect by the priest toward the Metropolitan.  I have often been of the opinon that the cassock is a liturgical garment and not street clothes but this strikes me as a bit extreme!

Now only those involved have the entire story and I certainly do not advocate making disparaging remarks against ones bishop but this does seem a little extreme to me.  Throwing a parish into disarray is never a good thing and this priest has not only been dismissed as pastor of the church but has been dismissed from the Archdiocese as well.  I would ask where is the pastoral concern for the priest, his family, the congregation, and the congregation of the priest that was removed from another parish and sent to this one.  The priest sent to replace the one removed was priest at his church for more than 20 years!  what has this done to that community?  BTW the accused priest denies making any remarks against +Philip.

Again I would say that as a priest we should not make disparaging remarks against our bishops in public but if they have gone off the reservation then I think we have an obligation to speak up.  Bishops in the Orthodox Church are in infallible and do make mistakes and need to be held accountable they are not autocrats.

+Philip has made it clear in an October 22nd directive that he will not tolerate any dissent in the Archdiocese and it seems that he is making good.  When a bishop removes the voice of his clergy he is entering a very dangerous area.  The priests and bishops are supposed to work together in a collegial way, yes the bishop is in charge, but he is not an absolute ruler our Orthodox polity would not support that.

I fear this is only the start of situations like this.  Priests and most importantly bishops have an obligation to care for the needs of those placed under him.  The priests serve in the parish as the bishops representative, it is not the priests parish, nor the people’s for that matter, but the bishops.  There was very little pastoral concern shown here in this situation, again we do not know the entire story but based on the letter from +Philip and the priest wrote in his own bulletin, I think I have the facts pretty clear.

We have shortage of clergy in America and we need all the good ones we have.  Let us pray that this priest finds another home to minister in the ministry that God has called him too.

God save His church from tyrannical bishops!


  1. A point of fact is in order, the cassock is not a liturgical vestment, nor is this a matter of opinion. A cassock is orthodox clerical attire. The idea that the clerical collar is the norm for orthodox attire has no basis in tradition. It is quite simply an innovation. It may be acceptable, but that's a different point. What do you think Orthodox clergy wore before the appearance of the clerical among heterodox clergy? A cassock, and the majority of Orthodox clergy in the world still were orthodox clerical attire, that is a cassock.

  2. In Romania for example a priest would not wear a cassock to the market he would wear street clothes. However, the large question is that of obedience and if the bishop says not to do something and you do it you are disobedient plain and simple.

    I would argue that the cassock is a liturgical garment but things like meals after funerals and like are extensions of the Liturgy so it would be proper for the cassock to be worn, but not to the market or to get your car serviced.

    I participated in an ordination of a priest in the Anticohian Archdiocese, and in my Archdiocese we wear hats, I was told I could not wear my hat, I was not a monk at the time, by the bishop doing the ordination. I have to obey his wishes as he is the bishop I was to be serving under. That is priestly obedience and we all know it when we take the job, so to speak.

  3. As one in a steady journey towards Orthodoxy (a former Anglican bishop), it really suprises me to see an Orthodox shepherd acting in such a dictatorial way. Metropolitan Philip seems to be trying to please (and resemble) the heterodox world rather than supporting those in his own jurisdiction who seek to maintain a distinctly Orthodox mind set. It is sad.

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