Who’s covering Antioch?

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Saliba.jpgOf 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!

  • I am NO fan of the GetReligionistas, Touchtonistas, and Crunchy Cons of the world (in fact, quite the opposite), but I must point out that Mr Mattingly wrote about the Antiochian debacle last year, when the previous chapter of the soap opera unfolded. As I studiously ignore the three sources mentioned above, I was utterly unaware of the article to which I have just linked and found it only by inputting the word “Antiochian” into the search bar at GetReligion, a functionality that you will find is available on most websites.
    Since his previous piece on the subject had as its catalyst an article by David Yonke’s on The Toledo Blade, it may be that the more recent articles by the same reported will inspire new pieces by Mr Mattingly. Or, perhaps, since Mr Mattingly is something of a “high-profile” convert to Orthodoxy (if there can be such a thing in our diminutively small Orthodox Church in US, what with all 800,000 of us here) who attends a parish served by a priest and priest’s wife who likewise are “high-profile” converts, and since Metropolitan Philip (whose biggest problem in over four decades of Episcopacy is the invention of the Internet) is not known precisely for holding back his swift hand of retribution against clergy and laypeople alike, again, just maybe he doesn’t feel like writing something that could be detrimental to either himself or his friends. Either way, the world does not await with bated breath.
    (With apologies for the excessive hypotaxis of the second paragraph.)

  • Mark Silk

    Fair enough, Esteban. But that tmatt GetReligion piece is, shall we say, not exactly forthcoming–and it’s almost a year and a half old. Bated breath or otherwise, I’d say it’s time for some more attention.