February 28, 2006

Father Robert M. Arida

Now is the time for our Church to recover its creative energy and youthful vitality.  As the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America gather in conclave in Syosset, New York they have the opportunity to take advantage of a crisis that has been developing for years.  As the alleged malfeasance of high profile ecclesiastical administrators is making print for newspapers across the country, the bishops of the Church can finally meet the challenge to change the course of an ecclesial infrastructure that has compromised the gift of our autocephaly and hence the mission and witness of the Church in North America.  For too long the administrative infrastructure of the Church has been undermined by cronyism and careerism.  If a change for the better is to eventually result then it is up to our hierarchs to steer a course for the Church that leads towards restoring trust in those holding positions of authority and responsibility. 

If this is to be accomplished our bishops will have to show the faithful how authority and responsibility are bound to service and not self-promotion. Cronyism disregards qualifications. Careerism tempts the one seeking advancement into disregarding personal integrity.  

Our bishops need to convince the faithful that the Church holds those in positions of authority and responsibility to the highest spiritual, moral and intellectual standards. Should these standards be compromised, our bishops will have to show the faithful that the consequences warrant correction if not dismissal.  Restoring trust in the administrative infrastructure of the Church will take time.  But with purified hearts and minds the Holy Spirit will continue to work wonders through the Church.