Metropolitan Philip Should Order A Thorough Investigation
This week the ongoing turmoil in our Antiochian Archdiocese took more dramatic and unbelievable turns. Fraudulent documents containing Patriarchal letterhead and the Patriarch’s signature were posted on the official website of the Archdiocese, www.antiochian.org. These documents attempted to deceive us into believing that His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV and the Holy Synod had affirmed the demotion of our diocesan bishops to auxiliaries.
There are only two possible explanations for this occurrence:
1) His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, was involved in the production of these fraudulent documents. As a clergyman under His Eminence’s omophorion, I cannot believe that he would participate in such an action. I personally need to be able to have good faith in him and believe that he would do no such thing. Furthermore, there is no evidence available that would suggest his involvement. It would therefore be un-Christian and un-canonical to level such accusations against him at this time.
Which leaves us with the second possible explanation:
2) Someone who wishes to have the diocesan bishops demoted to auxiliaries that was involved in the production of these documents successfully deceived our Metropolitan Philip into believing these were legitimate documents.
What occurred is an appalling embarrassment to our Archdiocese. Producing fraudulent resolutions of the Holy Synod of Antioch is more than sufficient grounds for deposition of any clergy involved. Deceiving our Metropolitan into believing in these documents and promulgating them is likewise a despicable offense. Anyone involved in these actions should be deposed and/or excommunicated. In addition, criminal charges should be pursued, if warranted.
In order to restore credibility and trust, Metropolitan Philip must undertake a vigorous investigation into the origins of this fraud. He should report the fraud to the FBI and ask them to assist in tracking down where these documents were faxed from. INTERPOL and Syrian police authorities should also be contacted.
The first place he should look for information is the website TheAntiochian.com, which claims to be “the voice of truth and unity.” In truth TheAntiochian.com is doing a great disservice to His Eminence and is badly damaging his reputation. This website “predicted” that a statement clarifying that the bishops were auxiliaries would be produced. A few days later, such a statement did appear--and it was a fraud. Did those operating theantiochian.com not only have prior knowledge of these documents, but know of their questionable origins? Who told them such documents were coming? Were they themselves in some way involved in their production?
It is my hope that His Eminence will now undertake a thorough investigation in order to begin to restore our trust.
An Antiochian Clergyman