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Balancing accountability and obedience

obediance accountability

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#1 Sbdn. Peter Simko

Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 02:00 PM

Hello everyone,

Over the past few years, I have wondered a bit about the way the Orthodox Church treats accountability and obediance in the modern day.  We have all seen the media often littered with scandals in clerical ranks throughout various Christian traditions, and the Orthodox have certainly not been immune to having our heirarchs hung out to dry (fairly or not).  Especially recently, this seems to have created the mindset that the clergy, by their very offices and titles, are not to be trusted by the people.  In America, this can be seen in "accountability-speak", a sort of movement in the laity, across jurisdictions and across the country which feels the need to dig up the sins of every priest, deacon, and bishop we can.

This, however, is not limited to the clergy of churches, but is also evident among political leaders, &c.  I wonder if anyone can comment on whether or not this sort of accountability is redeemable, and how this balances in particular with the call for us to be obedient--under our bishops, pastors, confessors, and ultimately Christ.  How does the Church speak of accountability regarding the clergy and the laity, and how do we implement this in a way that does not create witch hunts and gossip, a very potent disease which seems to be infecting the Orthodox in America (at least) in the modern day?

Any quotations or other relavant commentary, including helpful experiences would be most beneficial.  A blessed fast to you all.

Edited by Peter Simko, 01 April 2014 - 02:01 PM.

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 04:50 AM

I heard from a very wise person once that when I eat, to keep my eyes on my own plate. Do I not have enough sin in my own life to keep me busy and not go looking for the speck in another's eye? God's grace extends through his clergy who are no less sinners than we all are. We do not lose the grace bestowed from them to us as in the Eucharist just because they are also sinners.


If you see your brother sinning, pull him aside and tell him if he continues, take two or three and confront him, if he still continues then remove yourself from him as he is self condemned.


We don't need to go on witch hunts, the witches are all around us. We need to lift each other up and support our sinners and allow the church's hospital to treat their/our sin.



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