Of all the stories in American religion today, none may be more fascinating than the meltdown of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Levantine branch of Eastern Orthodoxy in America that has been led since 1966 by Metropolitan Philip Saliba. The denomination has done well under Philip’s leadership, multiplying parishes and expanding its membership not least by attracting non-Arab-Americans journeying out of Roman Catholicism, Episcopalianism, Lutheranism, and various strains of evangelicalism.
Back in 2004, His Eminence took the step of making his church autonomous, which in Orthodoxy means establishing dioceses under full-fledged bishops. But then last year, apparently afflicted by the remorseful realization that he had signed away some of his power, he contrived to have the Synod of Antioch demote the bishops to auxiliary status. This year, after beating back a move to reinstate them, he began cleaning house big time.
The voices of resistance can be found on Orthodox Christians for Accountability–a website created to foster reform in the Orthodox Church in America (Eastern Orthodoxy’s Russian branch, which has its own scandalous tale to tell). But about the only mainstream reporter covering the story is David Yonke of the Toledo Blade. (Toledo is the Midwest capital of Antiochian Orthodoxy.)
Here, I’d say, is an opportunity for GetReligion’s Terry Mattingly to needle his journalistic readers to get on the stick. It’s not as if TMatt doesn’t know what’s going on. As he links today, he himself belongs to an Antiochian Orthodox parish in Linthicum, Maryland. C’mon GetReligionistas! GetOrthodox!