07 January 2007

Your Prayers Requested

On Thursday I received from His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and the Southeast and Chairman of the Ordination Review Board for the Antiochian Archdiocese, a letter which contained the following:

The ordination review board met earlier today and, after a positive recommendation, his Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP has given his blessing for your ordination to the diaconate and to the holy priesthood.

Yesterday at Great Vespers and today at Divine Liturgy, my priest, Fr. Joseph Antypas, announced that the ordinations would take place at St George Orthodox Church in Troy. The ordination to the diaconate will be on Saturday, 10 February at 10:00 a.m. The ordination to the holy priesthood will be on Sunday, 11 February, at 10:00 a.m. His Grace, Bishop MARK, will be the ordaining hierarch.

Your prayers for this unworthy servant of God are appreciated as I prepare my body, soul and spirit to serve the Lord and His faithful in the holy Orthodox Church.

12 comments:

oratiomom said...

Praying for you...and God's Blessings!

DebD said...

Glory to God for all things! How very humbling, scary and exciting it must be for you and your family.

Prayers ascending.

Daniel M. Head said...

Congratulations Father! You are indeed in my prayers!

Father Hollywood said...

Dear once-and-future Father John:

This is very good news, that the Lord will continue to use your hands and mouth to give Jesus to Christians who hunger for the Gospel. Your future flock will be blessed, as I pray you and your family will be, through your priestly service of the Gospel of God (Rom 15:16) in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

William Weedon said...

Axios!

Schütz said...

Dear John,

I have just returned from a retreat for prospective candidates for the (prospective) diaconate program in the Melbourne Archdiocese. I was a little surprised when I heard that there would be a four year formation program for this largely non-stipendary part-time office. I don't know how much of that I will be expected to do, but looking at the draft requirements, there must be at least one or two years in that for me. Being a Catholic Deacon is not (afterall) quite the same thing as being a Lutheran Pastor. And I know that those Anglican converts who have become priests here in Australia have had to go through a number of years waiting and additional formation. So I hope you won't take it as rude of me that I express some surprise at the haste involved in this matter. Surely it will take at least until your ordination to learn how to sing the Greek Liturgy, let alone everything else you need to learn about the culture and life of your new community. I have been a Catholic for six years, and I am still only a "babe" in these matters.

fr john w fenton said...

David,

It is not rude at all of you to ask. Certainly the speed at which things are progressing in my case is unusual and unique. My understanding is that at least three years of parish life plus time at an Orthodox seminary is the usual route. I did not request or expect such haste but followed the direction of my Bishop, and am grateful for his blessing and the blessing of the Metropolitan.

One assumption in your question does require something of a response. I desire to know the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St Basil (the two so-called "Greek" liturgies) more fully than I already do. Yet, I will be ordained to serve a Western Rite Mission. The differences between the liturgical practices at Zion in Detroit and those in the Western Rite Vicariate are much closer and similar than between the typical Lutheran liturgy and the Byzantine rites. Therefore, the learning curve is not nearly as steep as one would expect.

Perhaps this fact, plus the desire of my Bishop to re-establish a Western Rite parish in Detroit, are factors in the decision of the Antiochian Archdiocese to approve my application for ordination. I am humbled and in awe both at the trust and confidence they are placing in me, and in the blessing to serve (albeit very part-time) as an Orthodox priest.

Schütz said...

Aha. Now I get the picture a little better. Western rite. (I won't be naughty and call you an "Western Uniate"). I was under the impression you had joined the Greeks, rather than the Antiochians. Part-time. What are you doing for a crust the rest of the time? I know that employment is one of the hardest realities to face after leaving ministry.

fr john w fenton said...

David, I appreciate your concern about unser tägliches Brot. Currently, I am without primary income. Psalm 37.5 gives me hope, but job hunting has not gone well.

In brief, do you have any contacts in Detroit? :)

Chris Jones said...

Schütz,

"Western Uniate" might be naughty, but it would also be inaccurate. A "Uniate" Church (properly, a Catholic Church of an Eastern liturgical rite), is a sui juris particular Church in communion with Rome, where "sui juris" more or less corresponds to the Orthodox term "autocephalous".

But there is no autocephalous (or sui juris) western-rite Orthodox Church. A western-rite Orthodox priest or parish belongs to an Orthodox Church (a patriarchate or autocephalous national Church) which is itself Byzantine rite. The individual parish may serve the western rite, but the particular Church to which it belongs is Byzantine rite.

The situation in the Catholic Church which most closely resembles western-rite Orthodoxy is the small "Anglican Use" in the United States. An "Anglican Use" parish, like a western-rite Orthodox parish, is not a separate sui juris Church, but a congregation which has been given permission to serve a different rite from that of the Church to which it belongs.

Schütz said...

And that makes it alright, does it? Whereas to have a sui juris church of this nature is a dreadful sin against church unity? Personally, I don't think the Moscuvites would be any happier if we folded up the Greek and Russian Catholic Churches and instead had our Catholic Diocesan parishes the Russias using the Orthodox liturgy.

Chris Jones said...

Dear Mr Schütz,

I did not say (nor did I mean to imply) that "that makes it alright". If, by your back-handed reference to "Western Uniates," you meant to question whether western-rite Orthodoxy is legitimate, you are entitled to do so. But my post was not a response to that implicit questioning, nor was it intended as a defense of the legitimacy of western-rite Orthodoxy. I will admit that it was a defense of the Orthodox on a specific charge: the charge that the existence of the western rite is inconsistent with the Orthodox objections to Eastern Catholicism, and thus makes the Orthodox hypocritical.

I don't think that charge holds water, for the reasons I laid out in my previous comment. That does not mean there is anything wrong with Eastern Catholicism; on its own terms (that is, on the basis of Catholic principles and Catholic canon law), Eastern Catholicism makes perfect sense. But equally, western-rite Orthodoxy makes perfect sense on Orthodox terms.

I myself, though neither Orthodox nor Catholic, am a strong supporter of western-rite Orthodoxy, to which I once belonged. But that does not mean that I have any animus against Eastern Catholicism (beyond the theological differences which I, as a non-Catholic, have with Catholicism in general). To see my earlier comment as an allegation that the Eastern Catholic Churches are "a dreadful sin against church unity" is to read something into it which is not there.