|The Offending Garment|
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!