News From Orthodox America
• Washington, DC
Sources confirm two meetings in DC this week. On Thursday the PreConciliar Commission holds a planned session. But on Wednesday evening Metropolitan Jonah has "insisted" that Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco (the two members of the "Synodal Commission" appointed by him to "study" a move of the central administration) - join him in DC to discuss this matter and staffing issues immediately. Archbishop Nathaniel has, this afternoon, declined to attend.
• Worcester, MA
The Worcester Gazette is reporting today that the former pastor of St. George Antiochan Orthodox Cathedral, Fr. Michael Abdelahad, will be arraigned Friday in Central District Court on a single charge of rape, four counts of assault and battery, and five counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.(Read more about this particular story here.)
• Syosset, NY
The Synod of Bishops of the OCA will meet for their winter retreat in Santa Fe, NM at the end of February. Among the proposals to be discussed is one by Metropolitan Jonah suggesting a reconfiguration of the diocesan boundaries, which would include dividing the Diocese of South, and attaching the parishes in the Atlantic South (Virgina, North & South Carolina,Georgia) to an enlarged Diocese of Washington under +Jonah. A previous attempt to simply reduce the number of dioceses was brought forward by the former regime at the 1999 AAC in Pittsburgh.
• New York, NY
The National Herald Newspaper reported on January 27th that " After a tumultuous beginning in which Bishop Vikentios of Apameia refused to attend a meeting of the Corporation of the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery because his attorney was barred, the board officially removed him and the scandal-scarred Metropolitan Paisios as officers and replace them with five new trustees.
The episodic meeting took place on Jan. 21 at the monastery’s offices in Astoria and resulted in Vikentios’ attorney, George Razis, calling police when he was not admitted because the monastery’s legal counselors would not allow it. Police took reports from both sides and Vikentios, who had served there as Secretary, then declined to appear at the meeting while Paisios, who has been allegedly accused with a series of sexual abuse involving men and women of various ages said to have taken place at the monastery, was represented by the acting Abbot, Bishop Elias of Philomelion."
The newspaper reported that five attorneys for the monastery were present, while there was great disappointment in the community by many members and supporters of the St. Irene Monastery who said they have been completely ignored during this entire process.
The paper also reported that "Bishop Vikentios seems to be determined to carry on a legal battle. He had told TNH in an interview in December of 2010 that Metropolitan Paisios sexually molested the Bishop’s brother at the age of 17." The story concluded with a report that the monastery's bank accounts were not transferred to the new authority, as the bank was referring the whole issue to its legal department.
• New Haven, CT
The latest issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (Vl. 35 Nr. 1) includes the annual update from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity to the statistics first published in 1982 in the World Christian Encyclopedia, and its 2001 companion volume, World Christian Trends.
The total number of Christians (of all kinds) in mid-2011 was 2,306,609,000, or just over 1/3 of the world's population. By 2025 that number is expected to rise to 2.7
Of those, 271,316,000 are Orthodox Christians (of all kinds). That number is expected to rise modestly by 15.7 million to 287,052,00 by 2025.
By comparison, the number of Catholics is expected to grow from 1.16 billion to 1.323 billion in 2025 - an increase of 161 million (or 10x times the increase in the number Orthodox Christians); while the number of "Independent" Christians (other than Protestants and Anglicans) will rise from 378,281,000 to 502,810,000 in 2025 - an increase of 124 million.
- Mark Stokoe