September 14, 2012

The Elevation of the Cross

Late yesterday afternoon, in Saint Sergius chapel on the eve of the Elevation of the Cross, Father Eric G Tosi was serving and at the end said a few words. He recalled walking through an airport wearing his cassock and cross, a woman rushed up to him, pointed at the cross and said, “Why are you wearing that horrible instrument of torture?” And Father Eric replied, “For us it is a sign of victory.”

The Cross turns the world upside down. Many of our Orthodox crosses have the inscription, “The King of Glory.” God takes what is ugly and painful and turns it into a source of glory. Let’s not underestimate how hard it is to put this into practice as followers of Christ and His Cross. It will take us a lifetime to reshape our worldly thinking and turn it into Cross-thinking. I don’t mean that we reject other forms of learning and wisdom and ways of thinking we and others have acquired with difficulty over many years. We need experts in every area of our life—accountants, lawyers, teachers, doctors, managers, dentists, plumbers, IT people etc. All are trained to think in a certain way. We depend on their training and experience and narrow focus. We don’t want a GP operating on a delicate eye tumor. But the overall vision that shapes our life and thinking as Christians can’t be this narrow. If we want Cross-thinking, then we have to set aside every other form of wisdom and “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). This is foolishness in the eyes of many, but it is wisdom and power for those who believe.

Chancery News

Bishop Mark

Bishop Michael was at the Chancery yesterday and met with Father Eric G Tosi, Bishop Mark of Baltimore and me to discuss the results of this week’s meeting of the Assembly of Bishops in Chicago and go over a number of administrative issues. Bishop Mark recently moved to Syosset, NY, from Florida after the Holy Synod gave him a new assignment as Synodal liaison to the departments. He will be working with all the ministries to support them and promote their efforts for the building up of the church in education, youth, Christian service, chaplaincies, music, evangelization and so on. Bishop Mark has a special interest in prison ministry and works in this area for the Assembly of Bishops.

I am very pleased to announce that Mr Robert Koory has agreed to take on a new voluntary position as Director of Special Projects for the OCA’s Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations. He will be working directly with me and I look forward to his counsel and assistance as the OCA continues to address issues around sexual misconduct policy, procedures, prevention, training, investigations and compliance.  Mr Koory is an attorney with forty years experience and was the Chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese for some twenty years before joining an OCA parish several years ago (Saint Mark’s, Rochester Hills, MI.) He has a long and distinguished record of service to the Orthodox Church and now serves on the Legal Affairs Committee of the Assembly of Bishops, where he serves with the OCA’s Judge Ray Lanier and Thaddeus Wojcik. I am grateful that Bob is willing to take this on and welcome him warmly.

May you all have a blessed feast of the Elevation of the Cross.