Sunday, October 14, 2012

Synopsis of 2012 HOCNA Clergy Synaxis from Father Mark Beesley of Stanwood, WA

My Dear Faithful in Christ,
"I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Thy Name forever" (Ps 86:12).
I want to offer you (as the weakness of my memory will allow) a brief account of the clergy synaxis held at the Diocese house in Dedham, MA on October 5 and 6, 2012.

Following the Liturgy on Friday morning, we gathered in the Diocese library and our faithful Hierarchs sat at the head of the table. Metropolitan Ephraim introduced our session by saying that our opinions are of no value, the only thing that matters is what the holy and God-bearing Fathers of the Church have to teach us. He returned us again and again to this simple truth throughout our discussions. Reading several passages from the Fathers, Metropolitan Ephraim and Bishop Gregory showed how the Fathers understood the Name of God as being identified with the Divine Energies and not His Essence.
Met Ephraim and Bp Gregory answered clergy questions about the so-called "Name Worshiper" heresy as it was defined by the Russian synod of 1913. They pointed out the problems with signing "unconditionally" a statement accepting these decisions in their entirety as the opponents demand. As was clearly demonstrated by our faithful Hierarchs, the following points may be noted:

  1. The Russian synod falsely attributed "Name worshiping" to the Athonite monks.
  2. The decisions of the synod conflict with ancient Councils of the Church
  3. The synod was not a Synod as we usually understand it, but a government ministry.
  4. The decisions of the synod were overturned and re-accepted several times in the following years.
  5. Czar Nicholas II, said that the Name of God is a Mystery and asked that the monks be reinstated.
  6. Patriarch Tikhon, after a five month investigation, found the monks to be Orthodox.
There was considerable time spent at the synaxis trying to explain the issues to clergy having difficulty with this issue.
On the second day, the synaxis turned its attention to finding the most loving way of helping the laity to understand the issues involved and how to deal with families who have been hurt and divided by those who left. Bishop Gregory discussed the history and lineage of various groups and how the Kallinikos Synod came about. The Synaxis concluded with a beautiful talk by Metropolitan Makarios (who had to leave early) which left us with a feeling of unity and mutual support. On Sunday, all gathered at St Anna's parish for a Hierarchical Liturgy and meal a prepared by the women of the parish.
Glory to God for all things!
Your very unworthy servant,
Fr. Mark