Quotes From the First Session of the Assembly

Spoken from the Dais By Metropolitan Philip:

 “We work in the sunlight. We don’t work in the darkness.“ 


Text messages from delegates on the floor to OCANews.org: 

“+Philip has certain of his own supporters dressed up like hotel security, wearing blue shirts…


“We don’t stab in the back.” 


“One woman attempted to grab my cell phone out of my hand. Other people, including one man who is now on the dais (I believe he is a trustee ) took our names. “


“We have nothing at all to hide.” 


“One or more people, including at least one clergyman, physically attacked delegate  (xxxx) (Name removed at this person’s request) as he handed out the audit reports, grabbing him from behind and shoving him out of the assembly hall. Later, they were allowed to hand them out outside the main room, but the gentleman in the orange shirt in the attached picture took them from delegates as they entered. Another asked  (xxxx)  and the other people handing out reports to go to the other side of the hallway, where they would be unable to have contact with the entering delegates. When they refused, he stood in front of (xxx) in an attempt to block him from handing the reports out…”


“We want people to report the correct facts.” 


“A resolution on “No Criminal Behavior for Trustees” passed. ‘Resolved, that no person who has been an officer or director of a company which has been convicted of or settled criminal charges or who has personally been convicted of or settled criminal charges may be a member of the Board of Trustees or the Local Synod.’ Strong “aye” and weak nays.  +Philip appeared helpless –  and then he stated: “I know of no one on the Board of Trustees who this would apply to…”  


“We want people to know this Archdiocese as it is.” 


“Careful….MP’s’guys are watching


22 Responses to “Quotes From the First Session of the Assembly”

  1. VSO Says:

    I wish I was there. If they had tried pushing me, they’d be in the hospital or jail.

    • Chris Says:

      Dear VSO,

      Please forgive, but the path forward must be one of humility, love of enemy, forgiveness of all and for everything. We will never solve our problems if we continue with the sentiment captured in your statement, “If they had tried pushing me, they’d be in the hospital or jail.”

      We are to turn the cheek…

      • OWW Says:

        Dear Chris,

        No one has the right to harm others. Esp. people who are supposed to be Christians together.

  2. Scott Walker Says:

    This is beyond amazing. Have any of the delegates considered a bit of civil disobedience? It worked for Martin Luther King. At the very least, one might refuse to stand up and sing “Many Years” when the time comes to heap yet more sycophantic praise on the Metropolitan.
    As out Protestant friends might say, “What would Jesus do?” What would He do when confronting thugs roughing up Christians at the behest of the Metropolitan or his friends? What do you think He would say about laymen boasting about hiring private eyes to dig dirt on other Christians? Or veiled death threats from a trustee of His Church?
    My prayers, unworthy as they are, are with my friends in the Antiochian Archdiocese, who are sickened by the behavior of their so-called shepherd, now revealed as a wolf. ANAXIOS

  3. Texan Orthodox Says:

    I applaud and encourage the delegates (clergy and laity) who are standing up for what they feel is the right thing to do for the church.

    One question though — who cares if they take your names? Are they going to “report” you to your priest or to the HQ in New Jersey and your names will be removed from the rolls of the church for standing firm in what you believe is right? I would not and do not want to be part of a church like that anyway.

    Who cares if they try to confiscate your copy of the much maligned handout? Hold on to it stronger and don’t let them take it! What will they do — start a brawl?

    How can they physically attack you or try to take your cell phone or other property? Is this 5th grade? Are the delegates a bunch of wimps? Report them to the hotel security, or to the police! Take them out back after lunch (well, that’s what we do here in Texas — it may not fly in liberal Palm Desert).

    I realize that I am not there and that it may be “easy” for me to say this, but don’t be enablers! Do not allow yourselves to be bullied! Like it or not, the rest of the Church is counting on you.

  4. monologistos Says:

    Good work, (xxxx). May God protect you. Know that our prayers are with you.

  5. anon Says:

    I am outraged by the hypocrisy of the Metropolitan’s words and the action of his most devoted supporters. It is absolutely time to clean out the stables or the remaining sane folks in the Antiochian Archdiocese need to vote with their feet and leave this corrupt and dangerous scene. If this sounds like an alarmist statement, it may be. I used to try to think the best of the situation, but continuing revelations make it an unbelievable scene. It is clear that converts were tolerated, perhaps for their tithing propensities, but all evidence points to that tolerance has been stretched to its limits, and they are no longer wanted in this Church.

    • A Fellow Orthodox Christian Says:

      “It is clear that converts were tolerated, perhaps for their tithing propensities … they are no longer wanted in this Church.”

      No, this isn’t accurate. Being a convert is fine if you are also a sycophant. And the same goes for Arab-Americans — it’s quite equal-opportunity, that way.

      You hear mostly about converts getting stepped on, but that’s because they constitute the majority of the Archdiocese. Bob Koory isn’t a convert, but you can bet that his firm opposition to the Metropolitan (and comments about forgery in The Blade) have cemented his place on whatever Enemies List exists.

      Ditto with the bishops: +Thomas (convert) doesn’t oppose, so he’s off the hook. Same for +Joseph (cradle). Matters are otherwise for +Mark (convert) and +Basil and +Alexander (cradle).

      There are Arab-American and convert priests on both sides. I would actually say that the main silver-lining to this, so far, has been the revelation that race — or cradle/convert status, which is basically the same thing at this point — is not the dividing factor many of us feared it would be.

  6. David Feliciano Says:

    I would just like to point out that it is normal to have volunteers working as security guards at Archdiocese (and Diocese) conferences. Volunteers from the host parish usually wear security shirts and help out running the conference.

    I’m not in any way defending their actions. Just pointing out that this is standard practice at conferences. I don’t think the intention is to make them look like hotel security.

  7. Concerned Orthodox Says:

    Just another reason to have ONE, Untied, Holy and Apstolic Orthodox Church in America. How many of these problems would be resolved? Can we say American Patriarch? Hopefully, someday soon!

    • Esteban Vázquez Says:

      Seriously? That would solve NO problems whatsoever. After all, we could have one, united, etc. Church in North America with guys like these running the only show in town.

  8. Christopher Orr Says:

    used to try to think the best of the situation, but continuing revelations make it an unbelievable scene.

    Thinking the best of the situation means only that you put the facts in the best possible light. As events unfold and additional facts emerge the best possible light may still be bad.

    ‘Best possible light’ is not the same as ignoring or excusing bad things and acknowledging only the good.

    Balance is important, of course, but so, too, is honesty and legality and a maintaining of the dignity of the Church of God. A registered sex offender and two convicted felons (for money laundering, drug dealing and charities fraud) in positions of influence together with a lack of financial transparency that such associations then require, as well as heavy handed security and implicit threats… The actions themselves tilt the balance away from all the positive things that are also being done, not those that make sure they are known and addressed.

  9. Saint Ignatius Says:

    Three proposed resolutions:

    RESOLVED, that Metropolitan PHILIP and Bishop ANTOUN are removed from their episcopal offices in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), and shall have no further authority, spiritual or temporal, in the AOCANA, and are to vacate AOCANA property immediately. The AOCANA is placed under the temporary care of Bishop BASIL of Wichita.

    RESOLVED, that Bishops BASIL, JOSEPH, MARK, ALEXANDER and THOMAS, along with five priests, five deacons, and sixteen laymen elected by this General Convention shall constitute the “OCA Negotiating Team,” and shall begin immediate negotiations with Metropolitan JONAH and the Local Synod of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the goal being the reception of the AOCANA into the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). AOCANA union with the OCA shall take place not later than December, 2009, final terms subject to the approval of a special convention of the AOCANA which will meet in November, 2009, the place and time to be determined by the OCA Negotiating Team.

    RESOLVED, that the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America shall immediately cut all ties, spiritual and temporal, with Bishop DEMETRI of Mexico, and shall not supply him with any funds whatsoever.

    • curiouser and curiouser Says:

      “Saint Ignatius”‘ 3 proposed resolutions might be the result of frustration, but can go no where.

      I just don’t believe the bishops would move against MP. Period. Why would Bp Joseph do something like that? What possible motivation would half of them have for such a move?

      Second proposal: again, what possible motivation would half of them have to make this move? What’s more, there would be howls of objection from many parishes and priests who would feel betrayed — they want their connection to Antioch to remain. I know that, in the OCA, there are ethnic subdivisions but I don’t think that would matter — they want things the way they are and if such a thing happened, they would appeal to Antioch for help — who would strenuously object to this move as well, possibly expressed with some depositions and excommunications.

      I cannot see an entire diocese leaving AOCANA for the OCA. Parishes will not be allowed to go over — if one went there would be quite a number that would follow.

      But I liked the story — it would actually be something remarkable.

  10. Garbage Says:

    This is garbage. The security are parishoners from the parish. They have the right to stop people from passing out flyiers before entering the main assembly. Also, no one was physically abused. That is all garbage. People stop your trash talking just because you want to cause more problems. I know several people there that said it is nothing like this at all.

    • Scott Walker Says:

      Your post is garbage, Garbage. Hotel security could forbid handing out literature on hotel property, but they did not. Homegrown security goons could certainly stop distribution of literature within the convention hall, but have no right at all to interfere with such distribution outside of the convention hall as long as the hotel is okay with it.
      And why do you even need “security” to prevent people from reading unofficial materials? What are Philip and his cronies so afraid of?

  11. llc Says:


    Are you or someone you know really going to bring these to the floor, or is this just rhetoric?

  12. Saint Ignatius Says:

    Saint Ignatius cannot bring these resolutions to the floor, as he is not a delegate. He is hoping someone at the convention might be motivated to propose these or similar resolutions.

  13. Saint Ignatius Says:

    Regarding curiouser and curiouser’s remarks about Antiochian and Patriarchal resistance to joining with the OCA, this quote is from Father Touma’s July 12, 2009 essay, “Pastoral Care and the Crisis of Power!” Father Touma is an Antiochian monastic and close to Patriarch Ignatius IV. The handwriting is on the wall:

    “The situation of all the Orthodox eparchies dependent on mother churches in North America is uncanonical. There is one Orthodox church in those lands whose situation is sound and canonical: the American Orthodox Church (OCA). This alone is independent and autocephalous and this is de-facto recognized by the other Orthodox eparchies. Its recognition, formal or implicit, by the eparchies depending on mother churches is clear and frank confirmation that the status of these eparchies is uncanonical and unsound. If these eparchies and mother churches on which they depend were to be logical with themselves and consistent with Orthodox ecclesiological and canonical thought, in the true sense of the word, then they would belong to the OCA or would at least enter into an understanding with it and the thorny crisis of the Orthodox presence there, theologically and canonically, would end. The simplest position and the most sound is for us to leave the Orthodox in North America to themselves and to encourage them to arrange their affairs themselves! We and the other mother churches are the ones who are complicating their affairs!”


    I am not going to be anonymous or afraid to SPEAK THE TRUTH! You people, you trouble making people disgust me totally. I just returned from the convention literally within an hour to New York, and I was a witness to the entire General Assembly and other meetings. Mr. Stokoe, I emplore you to reveal your true identity. Interesting sir, your evil tactics, your trouble making skills, and your amazing ability to distort the truth, are truly creative. I dare you sir, to bring to light the sources of your information. Who are these people who DO NOT HAVE CHRIST IN WITHIN, who are constantly spreading all of these lies about our Metropolitan Philip? And our Archdiocese? GROW UP SIR, I am not afraid to speak the truth, you want truth? Your lawyer friend from Wichita, Kansas- a nice, smooth speaking tall lawyer, who refused to give me his name. I called him out. See, Mark, let me share something with you, you have NO interests in speaking the truth, you want to spread lies, you want to cause trouble and you sir want to try and create a schism in our Archdiocese, and it will not happen, NOT AT ALL. With respect to the new Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church In America, WE ARE NOT THE O.C.A., and our Metropolitan will NOT be associated or compared to the former two Metropolitan’s of the O.C.A., who have been accused of God only knows what. Our Metropolitan, (IN CASE YOU Johnny Come Lately’s seem to have forgotten) has done an amazing AMAZING job in his 40 years. Hmm….. Has anyone forgotten all of the projects that he through Christ has accomplished? Lest we forget the Antiochian Village? The Heritage & Learning Center, the Museum, the Library? I have heard of ‘similar’ programs with other jurisdictions, but none like The Order of St. Ignatius. Also, I, myself was the youngest individual to join the Order, at 18 years of age, because I was so motivated by Sayidna Philip. I can’t begin to list the things this man has done for us, perhaps one of the greatest was that in bringing in the Evangelical Orthodox, guiding them and welcoming them ‘home’. I was sitting with Metropolitan Philip’s sister-in-law, at the General Assembly, (Mrs. Elaine Saliba) and their was this ‘lawyer’ sitting at the St. George Cathedral table of Wichita, KS who was continuously text messaging all of this information to your website. Let’s talk my new found friend, Mr. Stokoe. REVEAL YOUR TRUE IDENTITY sir, perhaps it is you, you not our Metropolitan who aught to be investigated. Perhaps you and what ever you do in your private business, and your private life since your so ‘perfect’ perhaps you need to be looked into! Traveling this past Monday to California, I had the pleasure to sit with a wonderful lady on the flight from New York, (Mrs. Kathy Meyer) she is Sayidna Philip’s secretary for many many years, and we spoke of all of this nonsense. In it all, she spoke the truth, never ever uttering one negative word about anyone. But we had a common theme in our conversation sir, and that was truth, understanding and working together. You are NOT even a part of our archdiocese, and we sir again are NOT the O.C.A., don’t you dare try and compare us to them. Because we are NOT like them in the sense of all that they did, the scandals and such. And one more thing, just for the record folks, thats if Mr. Stokoe, has the guts to post this little opinion, I witnessed everything, and all that garbage about security and what have you, was just that, GARBAGE. I am an old friend of Bishop Demetri, and as Christians, first and foremost we are not supposed to JUDGE people at all, and in fact, he had a very bad situation that of which, was brought on by medications. How do I know that? He and I had lunch at least a year or so ago, prayed, spoke, and prayed some more. I saw a man, that had made an innocent mistake that was totally taken out of the actual truth. Mr. Stokoe, interestingly enough sir, I had some very very interesting things about you from some of your OCA spies and some of your ‘Antiochian Lawyers’ you might want to check out just who are your true friends. They didn’t exactly speak to highly of you sir, and you have NO room at all to speak ill about my Metropolitan, and or my Bishop Demetri, because you wouldn’t want anyone to know about your dirty little secrets sir, trust that. The truth’s going to come out one way or another, and unlike these dirty, ill-informed insecure people who claim to be ‘looking out for our Archdiocese’ REVEAL yourself. I DARE YOU- As a young guy who lives in New York City, I’ve learned one thing, to be real, to be truthful and to speak the truth. That’s it and that’s that- In Christ, DOUGLAS HAMATIE, – Member of two Antiochian Orthodox Church’s, member of St. Ignatius and someone who knows the truth and isn’t afraid to speak it. GOD GRANT our Metropolitan Philip many more years, of guidance, wisdom, health, leading us and uniting us, and GOD PLEASE forgive Mark Stokoe, for all that he has ‘attempted’ to do, for he knows no other way.

    • Scott Walker Says:

      Gotta ask, Douglas: do you think you’re dealing with Batman or something? Mark has no secret identity, but your falling back on vague threats tells us all we need to know about you and your identity.
      Lord, have mercy, but why do most of Philip’s sycophants seem to find threat-mongering and thuggery to be their default position?
      What is it that Philip and his cronies fear?
      It will be interesting when all of this comes to court.

  15. Father Patrick Reardon Says:

    I was there all day on Thursday, but I did not see any of the interesting stuff that folks describe as events at the Convention. With some exceptions, those droning—and sometimes sycophantic—reports were vexing beyond endurance. I can’t speak for the other days, but the Thursday meeting set new records for boredom. Even the Metropolitan couldn’t take it; he knocked off after the morning session. Heaven knows I don’t blame him. What an incredible waste of time and resources.

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