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LIFEOFAFTIMIOSOfieshOFAMERICAPart1 AManofVirtue ABiographyofArchbishopAftimiosOfieshbyMrs.Aftimios(Mariam)Ofiesh Aftimios,thesixthoftenchildrenborntothevillagepriest,GabrielOfiesh,andhiswife Badrah,wasbornOctober22,1880,inBickfaya,Lebanon.Henaturallyassimilatedfromhis piousparentsanacuteawarenessofsocialresponsibility,spiritualvalues,andethical standardshavingbegunatanyearlyagetoassisthisfatherinchurchservices,andoftento accompanyhimonhispastoralvisitations.In1890,whenanepidemicofsmallpoxoccurredin Bickfaya,thevillagersnotexposedto,orstrickenwith,theplagueevacuatedtoBeirut. Relievedthathisfamilywasamongthosewhohadescaped,FatherGabrielwentoninthe performanceofhisministerialdutiesamonghisstrickenparishioners.Tohishorror,hefound hissonAftimiosinahomeinwhichallthememberswereill,servingtothebestofhisability. Askedwhathewasdoing,andwhyhehadn'taccompaniedthefamilytoBeirut,Aftimios repliedthathe'dbeenconcernedaboutthemanyneedingservice,andhaddecidedtostay behindtohelp.

lp.Afterbeingthusexposed,therewasnoalternativebuttoallowhimto continuetoassist. ThewellknownbenevolenceandhospitalityofFatherGabrielandhisgraciouswife,daily broughtmanyimpoverishedcallers.NotingthatAftimiosinvariablygavehisallowancetothe morewretchedbeggars,hismotherwouldtrytocompensatebygivinghimextraportionsof herchoicestgoodiesbuthealwaysfoundaneedierrecipient. SCHOOLING AlltheOfieshchildrenattendedthelocalvillageschool.NearbywastheSt.EliasShuwaya monastery,wherespecialclassesinByzantinemusicwereconducted.Thishadastrong appealtothevocallytalentedAftimioswhoaskedandreceivedhisfather'spermissiontobe enrolledasasecularstudent.Favorablyimpressedwiththelad'sgooddeportment,musical aptitude,andstronginterestinchurchservice,FatherMattias,abbotatthemonastery, influencedAftimiostojointheranksofreligiouspostulants. Learningoftheimpendinginvestitureceremonyfromatraderwhohadcalledatthe monasterybeforecallingattherectory,FatherGabrielhastenedtoseeifitwastrue.Sure enough,hefoundtheladlinedupwiththegarbedpostulants,fromwhence,takingholdof hisear,hewithdrewhisson,takinghimtositinthepewbesidehim.Whentheperplexed AbbotMattiasapproachedFatherGabrielaftertheserviceswereover,toinquireintothe

reasonsforhisaction,hewasvehementlycensuredforhisreprehensibleattempttoinitiate Aftimiosintoreligiousorderswithoutfirstclearingwith,andgainingtheconsentof,his parents.TheAbbotexpressedsurpriseatFatherGabriel'soppositiontohisson'svocational choice,sayingtheyouthhadshownextraordinaryaptitudeandreadiness,andthathe'sfelt thatthiswouldhavepleasedhisparents.Challengedastohisrighttopreventhissonfrom choosingavocationtowhich,intheAbbot'sopinion,theladwasborn,FatherGabrielreplied thattheboywastooyoungtomakeavalidvocationalchoice.Hedeclaredthatinterestin Byzantinemusicandinclinationtowardtheaestheticwayoflifewereimmaturegroundson whichtobasealifetimedecision."Ifear,"saidFatherGabriel,"thatifheweretoliveaGod fearinglifewithapureconscience,hewouldbecomeyourprey.Ontheotherhand,shouldhe deviatetothepracticesofyouandyourcolleagues,I'dratherseehimdeadthisinstant!" Aftimios'eldestbrother,Dimitri,alawyer,andhiseldestsister'shusband,atobacco merchant,spenthourstellingAftimiosofthehardships,pitfalls,anddeprivationsofthe monasticlife,incomparisonwiththeadvantagesofothervocationsinprofessions,trades, commercialorindustrialfields.Findingtheireffortsatdissuasiontobeofnoavail,thefamily decidedtoenrollAftimiosinthebestclericalseminarythenextantinSyria.TheMiddle EasternOrthodoxEcclesiasticalSeminarywasfoundedandadministeredbytheDamascene, GavrielShatilla,BishopofLebanonandBeirut.Itsfacultyconsistedofthemostrenowned educatorsandeminentscholarsintheregion,anditofferedabroadliberalcurriculum. *AstoldbyAftimios. **AstoldbyNicholasLawiese,aformerclassmate. **Astrongrivalrystemmingfromprovincialpartisanshiphadlongexistedamongthe students.Theslender,handsomeyouthbeingenrolledbyhisfathermadeafavorable impressiononall,eachfactionhopinghewouldbeoneoftheirs.Theminoritygroup,from Mt.Lebanon,rejoicedtolearnthatAftimioscamefromthere. Hishumblebearing,delicatesensibility,andinherentgentilityendearedAftimiostoallthe students,whilewithimpartialcooperationheaccordedeachrespect,individual considerationandsincerefriendliness.Soonthedivisiveprovincialismwasreplacedwitha morepleasantfraternalatmosphere,andthecontentionsamongthestudentswithmore mature,responsiblebehavior.ThedegreeofloveandesteeminwhichAftimioswasheldby hispeerswasdemonstratedinanincidentwhichoccurredinGeographyclass.Aftimios,who hadbeenaskedtopointonthemaptothelocationofhishometown,stoodstudyingthe mapinbewilderedfascinationwhenanimpatientteachertoldhimtofindthetownofmules

andjackasses.Herespectfullyapproachedtheteacherandpolitelyexplainedthiswasthe firstmaphe'dseen,andhadn'tyetlearnedtoreadmaps.Thisbroughtavolleyofinvectives onthebowedheadofthehumiliatedandembarrassed,tearfullad.Atthispointahandwas raisedandthevolunteer,receivingthenodfromtheteacher,boldlysteppedupandpointed to"ElWadi,"thehometownoftheteacherknowingthatpunitiveactionwouldcertainly follow. Aftimiosachievedhighacademichonorsinthenextfiveyears,duringwhichhewrote prolificallyfortheclasstabloidhe'dbeeninstrumentalinestablishing.Hewaselectedbyhis classmatestoactasarbitratorwithfacultyandadministrationinnegotiatingforstudent activities.Withthepassingofhisadolescence,Aftimiosappliedhimselfmoreseriouslyand assiduouslytoeveryworthwhileendeavor,discardingillusoryworldlypursuits,directinghis energiesandtalentstowardhisvocationalgoal. ASCLASSLEADER CampuslifeandactivitieswereperceivedbyAftimiosasaminiatureworldcomparabletothe largeroutsideworld.Accordingly,toprovideresponsiblecontrolsandstability,Aftimios thoughtoforganizinganindependentstudentassociation,composedofthemoreadvanced clericalstudents.Bythismeans,hehopedtokindlethespiritofrenaissancewhichwould stimulatethemtosustainedprogressiveandproductiveendeavors. Thenamefortheproposedorganizationwastobe"TheSyrianYouth"(orTheYoungSyrians), whoseauxiliaryventurewastobethepublicationandcirculationofatabloidtobecalled "TheBalanceofJustice."Thiswastoprovidetheinstrumentforthefreeexpressionofthe thinkingofthosehavingliteraryproficiencyandskilledinrhetoric.Aftimios'conceptofthe jointventurewasthatthestudentgenerated,directedandcontrolledactivitieswould provideasalutaryclimateinwhichthestudents'mentalcapacitiesandculturalhorizons coulddevelopandsoarwithhopesthatintheprocess,thestatusoftheirbackwardschool wouldbeupgradedtothatofhigherratedcontemporaryschools. Thistypeofinnovativethinking,accompaniedbypersistentanddevotedlabortoward actualization,wasunprecedentedinthehistoryoftheschool.Aftimiosspurredthestudents outoflethargytoworkforliberationfromblindsubservienceandmentalbondage. Stimulatinginthemasparkofenthusiasm,heaskedthemtoindividuallyendorseand unitedlyimportunetheschooladministratorforofficialsanctionofthetwinproject. Meanwhile,theoutdatedprinciples,objectivesandbylawsweresubmittedtoMusaKattini, theheadmasterandgeographyteacher,tobepresentedtotheadministratorforapproval. Notonlywasapprovaldenied,buttheorganizationwasorderedtobedissolvedandall

relatedactivitieswereexpresslyforbiddenbyMusaKattini.Thestudentsconsideredthe decreeunjust,suppressive,anddecidedtoresistthetyrannicalrestriction,bravingthedire consequencesoftheirdefiance.However,intheinterestofpeaceandorder,Aftimios prevaileduponhiscompanionstodesistfromcontentiousconflict,promisingtoresortto tactful,diplomaticnegotiationstowardgainingtheirobjectives.Whenthenegotiations reachedanimpasse,andthestudents'restlessnessandimpatiencemountedtothepointof mutiny,thealarmedHeadmastersoughttowardoffthisundesireddevelopmentby promisingtodiscussthematterwithhissuperior.Notwillingtoseetheirprojectscuttledby thestratagemofdelayingaction,thestudentscontinuedtoimportuneuntilacompromise settlementwasreached.ThecompromiseconsistedoftwoconditionsimposedbyMusa Kattinitotheeffectthathebecreditedwiththedistinctionofhavingorganizedthestudent associationandhavingfoundedtheauxiliarypublication,andthatheberecognizedasthe supremeauthority. Aftimioshadovercomethebitterresentmentofhiswouldbedefiantclassmatesby emphasizingthemoreimportantfactortobeconsidered,whichwastheactualizationofthe project.Thus,theorganizationwascalled"TheScholasticFlower,"andthetabloidnamed "Diligence."Throughthesemediawasofferedanoutletfortheloftyideals,nobleprinciples, constructiveandbeneficialobjectivesenablingthestudentstosurmounttheoppressive tyrannyandignoranceoftheirnarrowlycircumscribedatmosphere. THELITERARYCRITIC Aftimios'prolificwritingsonvarioustopicsweresaidto"...revealhistrueidentity...show thecompositeofhisnoblesoul...andtheprocessofhisdevelopmentthroughthestages fromboyhoodtoyoungmanhood." *NicholasLawiese'sbooklet,"ThePriest,AftimiosOfiesh."AselectednumberofAftimios' essaystakenfromNicholasLawiese'sbookletfollow: #1TheDeathoftheShepherd "Earlyoneeveningmyfathergavemepermissiontogooutintoourvineyardwhichwas behindourvillage.Ilongedtobreathethepureairfromthenearbymountainsandtofeast myeyesonthebeautyofthehills,valley,andplainswhichhavebeencarriedonthebackof ourMt.Lebanonforthousandsofyears.Iwasveryfondofthesescenesofnaturewhichgave megreatpleasureandmovedmeprofoundly. "Afterspendingsometimethere,andbeingfearfulofthehowlingfoxesandjackalswhich emergefromtheirlairsaftersundowninthedarkshadowsofthenight,Iturnedhomeward.

OnthewayhomeIsawasmallflockofsheep,somegoatsandaherdofcowsgrazingina nearbymeadow.Takingthesightofthesegentle,humanlybeneficialcreaturesasasignofa goodeventide,Iapproachedtopetthelambs.Butforthelittleshepherdwhowastending theflockforthelasttime,itdidnotturnouttobeagoodeventide,forthisiswhat happened. "Thispoorshepherd,lyingatopahighrockinthemeadow,wassodeeplyengrossedinhis visionsthathenolongerheardthecowbells.ThecloudsoverhangingtheloftypeaksofMt. Lebanonwereaglowwiththegoldenraysofthesettingsun.Inutterfascinationwiththe splendorofthismagnificentscene,withwhichhewassocompletedentranced,thepoorlad rememberedallhehadheardabouttheheavensanditsinhabitants.Heenvisionedthe goldenwingsofangelsflutteringabove,andimaginedhesawthroughheaven'sopengates thepedestalofthemajesticthrone,seatoftheeternalGod!Entrancedwiththisholyscene, hebecameoverwhelmedwithjoyandwonderment,andaferventdesiretohearthe heavenlysymphony.Suddenly,heimaginedhimselfwinged,abletosoarheavenward, impetuouslyleapedupward,andalas,hefellintothecanyonbelow.Soonthelightwas eclipsedandthecloudsturnedblueblack,asthoughingriefoverthepoorshepherd.My heartwaswrungbythisterrifyingincident,andasmyanguishedtearsfell,thestillnesswas piercedbymysobs.ThenIkneltinthethickdarknessabovehiseverlastinggraveand earnestlyprayedforhissoul." #2WhatDoILove? "OnedayIheardmyfriendNicholas,thepoetandmusician,telloneofhisfriends,'O,howI lovethetonesofourschoolorgan...itsexquisitelylovelyanddelightfulmelodies.Whenit chimesatthehoursofprayer,morningandevening,itsdulcettonesliftourheartsupto communewiththegreatCreator.Also,Ilovemysmallviolin.Wheneveritisonmyleft forearm,Icanseetheinsidelabelwhichsays"IwasmadebyGeorgeRawaliinVenicein 1840."AsIdrawthebowoverthestrings,IgetthefeelingthattheviolinsingsofthisGeorge, transposingjoyfulsongsintoadirgeasthoughtheviolinmournedthedeathofhermaker. I'vealwaysrespectedthatoldlabelandbelievethat,shouldIdestroyit,myviolinwould ceasetoplyitsart,loseitsmemory,ceasetosendforthpleasantmelodiesandloseitslovely voice.IlovethepianowhenmymotherplaysitmorningsandeveningsbecauseIawaketoits angelicmelodiesandgotosleeptoitssoftlyenchantingtunes,likethecompassionin Mama'sheart.'AllthismyfriendNicholasloved. "WhatdoIlove?Iloveearth'sspringherbs,flowersandfieldliliesthebirds,thesunriseand themorningdew.Theshadowsoftheforestattherisingofthefullmoontheshoresof beautifulLebanon,itshills,vales,rivers.Iloveourhome,itscourtyardandsurroundings,the

hutsofthepeasantsandthesheltersofthepoor.Ilovethegatheringsofthelearnedandthe pensofthepoetsandwriters.Ofmankind,Ilovethesick,thewretched,thereformers,the intellectuals,friendsandfoes.Ilovethepatronsofvirtueandexcellence,theleadersof philanthropyandthefoesofevil.Iloveeverypersononearthandhatenoone.Ilove;Ilove theLordJesusChrist,GodofLove,MercyandWisdom. "Ilovetheblueoftheskieswiththesnowwhitecloudsandthegoldenraysofthesun,and thegreatkingofthenight.Ilovethemorningstarwhichlooksinonmethroughtheskylight inourhome,imaginingittobethesamestarwhichledthewisementoBethlehem." #3APainfulFarewellOnaSummerNight"OnenightIwenttovisitmy14yearoldfriend Richard,whenIheardavoiceasIenteredthefencedgardenandpaused,listeningintently.It seemedtobecomingfromthewindowofaroominwhichwe'dspenthoursoffellowship, andIsoonrecognizedittobeRichard,whowasconfidingintothenightsaying'Goneisthe semblanceofchildishness,andwithitmygoldendreamsasthoughescapingfromacage, soaringfarintothewidehorizonwherethere'snotroubles,awayfromtheturbulenceand bitterstormsoflifeonearth.There,farfromthevaleoftearswheregentlyslopetheverdant plotsintherealmofreason,allayingmisery,isencompassedyouth.Defiledfeetmaynot treadonthissacredsoillesttheyextractthelifegivingmoistureandkillthegrowthofour lilies.There,nearthegatesofheaven,theabodeofangels,I'dliketodwell.Ogentle phantom,whyhaveyou,myoldcompanion,abandonedme,leavingmealoneinthisplight withoutafriend?I'vespentmyentirechildhoodincompletetranquility,undefiledbymy vigor,thoughtsoractions,notonceincurringthewrathofheaven.Willyoureturnto exchangegreetings,orlookdownfromyoureternalhabitationorappeartomeinsleep?The templeyouhadoccupiedisunacquaintedwithdarknesshowcanyouconsenttoleavingit desolateandfriendlessinthedesertofalonelylife?Ogentlephantom,departingforever, notoncedidyoufrightenmewhileIwasshelteredbeneathyourwingswhichprotectedme fromheatofsunandspirit.' "SuddenlyRichardwassilentuntildeepandardentsobsandgroansemanatedfromhischest whichmovedmeprofoundly.Havinglentanattentiveear,theapparentlyaffectedMother Natureactedasthoughtograntanindulgencebyputtingforthahandtopartthethick clouds,liftingthecurtainsonaresplendentmoon.Thusencouraged,Richardcontinuedto unburdenhimself,confidinginthemoonthus'Okingofthenight,Ihavebeenleftaloneto wrestlewiththeturmoilandcaresofthislifetowhosenoxiousvaporsIamunaccustomed. Areyoumercy'senvoysenttoconsolemygrievingheart,orhaveyoucometoannouncea greatsecret?Yourraysseemdyedwithbloodtonightincontrastwithpreviouslyweighty coolappearances.Haveyoucometorevealthemarveloussecretsofthevalley,ortoteach

methelanguageoftheflowers,birdsandstars?Yourwords,Ovoicelessone,aresweetto myheartandasdelightfulasthedaysofmyyouth.Allaboutmeisdarkness,myroomeven appearingtohavebeeninvadedbyanarmyofgloom.Asthisdepressingdarknessspreads withinmethetearsstreamingovermyanguishedheartwereevaporatedbymyhotbreath. Asdarknessdeepens,mygardenseemstosinkintoaseaofendlessgloomandallexistence loomsdismalasmyfate.Knowingthatonthemorrow,theraysoftherisingsunwilldispel thisdarknessandbrightenallcreation,mygriefandpainiscompounded,fortheraysofthe risingsunwillnotpenetratemyheartwhichwillbedeniedthisexperience.' "Touchedtothequick,IhastenedtocomfortRichard.ButbeforeIreachedhisdoor,Isawa strangephenomenonwhichbecameimprintedonthelensofmyeye.WhatwasitI witnessed?Awhitedove,emergingoutofthesnowwhitepeakbehindthedenseclouds, carryinginitsbeakafragrantwhitelilywhichshetooktotheyouthwhohadobserveditall fromhiswindow.Amomentoustranscendentvisit,markedbytheemanationofsoftgleams liketelegraphicwavesfromhisroomintothegarden,communicatingwiththeflowersa fleetingshadowwhichhadcarriedtoRichardthemessageofgrandyoungmanhood." #4Youth "Letrestlessyouthplanttheirliliesintheirbroadpath,drainingtheircupofhappinesswith innocenceofheartandinpurityofmind,andletthembaretheirchesttothearrowsofthe burningsun.Letthemlivefreeofallshacklesintheworldoftheirdestiny,immersedinthe watersofintellectualpleasures,examiningeverythingintheuniverse.Letyouthroam throughthethicketsoflife,inbeautifulforestsandverdantfertilemeadowsbeforethe twilightofoldagecomesalong,buryinghills,meadowsandshoresinitscoldshadows, terminatingyouth'sstreamofhappinessandsilencingtheirsongs.Letyouthrecitetheir poetrybeneaththeshadytreesinthespringtime,beforechillyautumncomeswithharsh handstoscatteryouth'sblossomsandleavesdownthemountainside. "Ah,preciousyouth,thespringtimeandfloweroflife!Myawakeningheartisgreetedbyyour refreshingbalmybreezeswhichcarrytheattarofaheadyfragrance,andisblissfullyoblivious toennui,rejectingnothing,foritknowsnotfatigue,feelsnobitterness,hearsnosoundof approachingoldagefortheclamoroussongsofambitionmakeitdeaftoallsoundand motion.Thussitsmyheart,squarelyinthedepthofits..." [Onepageofthemanuscriptismissinghere.] ScienceandReligionPart1 "Somesaythatreligionisnoughtbutaphenomenaleventinaseriesofordinaryevents whichplayedagreatroleinspiritualityanddevelopedrapidlyintheearlydaysofmankind.

Thatafterithasfufilleditspurposeinaccordancewithitslaws,itwillgraduallydie,leaving noresidualsexceptancientmomentosofapastevent;orrather,thatonlyitsessential substancewillremaintobeassimilatedwiththenewprincipleswhichwillgraduallyreplace thosereligionsuntilmanreachesastateofperfection,attainableonlybywayofphilosophy, andthat,inasmuchasreligionsarebutafantasyandofshortduration,sciencewillgradually changetheirpower,swallowingtheminaneraofresearchandlight.Theholdersofthis conceptwhichdisregardstheobjectivesofreligion,considerreligionassecondaryto philosophyandameanswherebyacceptanceofphilosophyisfacilitatedwithoutknowing whetherphilosophyistheinvestigationoftheAbsolute,ortheknowledgeoftheAbsolute. Howver,philosophycannotbesuperiortoreligionforreligionisthevitalinteractionwith theAbsolute,Himself. "Byvirtueoftheunfoldmentofthetreasuresoftheages,andofthehistoryofallpeople throughthesublimeinternallawsofreligionandnotinghowitenlargesthesoul,Science itselfwillleadpeopletoclingtoreligion.Becausemanfromhisbeginningstothepresent time,hasnotlivedwithoutreligionwhichrepresentshisspiritualfood,religionshallforever maintainitspositionamongallpeoples." [Part2waslost.]ScienceandReligionPart3 "Thesearetheloftyprincipleswhichchangedthedirectionoftheancients,elevatingthemto ahighdegreeandopeningtothemthegatesofperfection.Christianityisthegreat movementwhichrevealednewlaws,man'srealidentityandhisrelationshipwithhisCreator, broughthimoutofdarknessintothelight,liberatedhimfrombondageandreconciledhimto God. "Christianityiswhatcalledmankindtobrotherhood,equalityandtrueliberty,boundthem withLove,anddirectedthemtotheeternalTruth.ThedivineprinciplesofChristianity survivedthepowerfulattacksofJewsandHeathensandemergedwhollysound,triumphant withclemency,meekness,forgivenessandloveoftheenemy.Theyspreadwithextraordinary swiftnessthroughouttheworld,throughtheinstrumentalityofsimplepeoplewhowere chosenbyGodtotheconfoundingofthemighty. "Itisevident,therefore,thatphilosophyandintellectual,rationalstudyandtestingwill confirmsthetruthsofChristianity.Intellectualexaminationconvincesusthattheabsolute sacrificewhichwassanctifiedbythe'Word...madeflesh'destroystheinconsistency betweenknowingethics,andlivingvirtuously.Christianityreconcilesthejudgementofjustice withmercyandmakeswayforinternalbondsforallcivilizedpeoplesoftheworld. "Experiencerevealsthatthisfaith,proclaimedbyChristianity,istheregeneratorofspiritual

moralliving.Inourday,therefore,asinthepast,itispossiblefortherationalculturedman tohavefaithinChristhisSaviourwhilehavingtheconvictionthathisfaithsatisfiesthevoice ofhisheartaswellasthatofhisconscience.Fromtheviewpointofaperfectrelationship withethics,Christianteachingsarecomparablewiththelatestwordinscienceinthatthey representthelatestwordinreligion.Thisremainsamysterytothosewithacircumscribed outlooktowhomreligionandphilosophyareassealedbooks,whoscoffatfaith,seeingit merelyasavainillusion,andwhoarenotwillingtobelievethatChristianitymustremain immutable,foralltimestheparamountstandard. "Whileitistruethathewhoisilluminedbythelightofphilosophymaybesupportedbyhis consciencetoliveamorallifeitissublime,vitalChristianitywhichcallsoninviolableethics andsacredvirtuestoparticipateinthedissolutionofallthatiscontrarythereto.Howheavy therough,rudehandstretchingoutundercoveroffablesandvanitiestodestroythedivine fundamentals,andtoerasefromman'smindthebeliefthatgoodnessistrulyrewarded." *** ThislimitednumberofessayswrittenbyAftimioswerepublishedintheclasstabloid,and werereproducedbyNicholasLawiese'sbooklettitled"ThePriest,AftimiosOfiesh."Nicholas, whohadbeenaclassmate,wrotethatAftimioshadbeentoldbyBishopGavrielthateithera greatbenefactionoragreatmalefactionwouldcomeofhim,andthatineitherevent,he shouldseektobenefitandedifyothers.HetellshowAftimios'valedictionsoprofoundly movedtheaudiencethattherewasn'tadryeyepresentandinofferinghiscongratulations, BishopGavrielcounseledthevaledictoriantoalwaysendeavortodirecthisabilitiesand sublimefacultiestowardsbenefittoothers,thuspleasingGod. LATAKIABOUND WithgraduationcameadilemmawhichrequiredthatAftimiosmakeanimportantdecision, choosingoneofthreeoffers:(1)TheUniversityofKiev,Russiahadawardedatheology scholarshiptoAftimios,oneofthreeawardedannuallytotheologystudentsinthe Antiochiandiocese.Thisprizehegaveup,infavorofaclassmatetowhomtheawardwas crucial,forhehadnootheravenueopentohim.(2)Thepostofadministrativeassistantto FatherMusaKattini,whoseoppressionandtyrannicalabuseofyoungerstudentsandcruelly punitiveactionsagainstolderboysAftimioshadopposedthroughouthisstudentdays,was declinedforobviousreasons.(3)BishopGavrielaskedAftimiostobehisassistant,offering immediateordinationtothediaconate;personaltutelageintheologywithprogressive

advancementinthereligiousorders;andassignmenttoincreasinglyresponsiblepositions whichofferedawidesphereofaction.Consideringthevalueofthepracticalexperience,as wellasthecontinuationofacademictrainingaffordedbythelatterplan,Aftimioshappily becameBishopGavriel'saide,andhisdynamicperformancefulfilledhismaster'shighest expectations.TheuntimelydeathofBishopGavrieltwoyearslater,releasedAftimiosfrom hiscommitment.SeveraloftheBishopswhohadbeenfavorablyimpressedwithhisservices toBishopGavrielandhisdioceselostnotimeinofferingAftimiosaposition.Hechosetogo withArsaniusHaddad,BishopofLatakia,wholaterwaselectedPatriarchofAntioch,and afterexchangingfarewellswithfriendsandrelativesinBeirutandLebanon,heaccompanied hisnewmastertoLatakiain1900. ASARCHDEACON FormerlydeanoftheBeirutdiocese,ArsaniushadbeenconsecratedBishopbyPatriarch MiletiousDumani.Hewaswellacquaintedwiththeacademic,culturalandsocialactivitiesat theSeminary,havingbeenclosetothelateBishopGavriel,sonowhewasparticularly pleasedathavingAftimios'consenttoserveashissecretary.Incontrasttothegeneral practiceofBishopsatthattime,Arsaniusdidnotsubjecthisnewsecretarytomenial subservience,butaccordedhimfullrespectandallowedhimawidelatitudeintheexerciseof independentjudgement.Theappreciationandjudicioususeofthisprivilegeearnedfor AftimiosapromotiontothepositionofDeanandVicarofhisBishop.Hisexemplary deportmentinthisoffice,theskillandproficiencywithwhichheassiduouslyperformedhis duties,histoleranceofpressuresandmature,tactfulprudencecausedArsaniustoelevate himtotherankofArchdeacon,makinghimtheonlyoneintheAntiochianSeetoholdthis status. Chargedwithmorediocesanadministrativeresponsibility,aprogressivelydeeperandwider rangeofexperience,equivalenttoformaltrainingatagraduatelevel,wasaffordedAftimios. Forhisexpeditioushandlingandproficientperformanceofthemanifoldtasksandservices assignedtohim,BishopArsaniusallottedhisaideamonthlystipendfromhisprivatepurse. PAROCHIALPARTISANSHIPREAPPEARS Withinthisopportuneframework,Aftimiosfoundoccasiontoreactivateanddevelopthe progressiveprogramwhichhadbeenfrustratedinearlieryearsbytheoppressivedictatesof thenarrowsightedMusaKattini,whosedespotismhadstifledthebrighthopesandhigh aspirationsofstudentyears.Drawingstrengthfromhisprolificinnerresources,keenintellect andspiritualpower,Aftimioswasabletocopewithdifficultiesandsurmountobstaclesinthe pathofhismanyundertakingsandresponsibilities.

ExtantamongtheLatakianswerethesameconditionsofmutualaversionandhereditary provincialbigotryashadbeenamongtheBeirutSeminarians,largelyattributabletothe "divideandconquer"policieswhichhadbeenpracticedforcenturiesbythecolonizing foreignpowers.Theresultingdeeplyrooteddivisivenessonlycompoundedthenaturaldaily encounteredproblemsconfrontingtheBishop'soffice.WithhisBishop'sapprovaland support,Aftimiosinitiatedprogramsaimedatthedissolutionofstrife,divisionandhatred. THEYOUNGSYRIANS ThethemeofthereformmovementwasJesus'injunction,"Loveoneanother."Thegoals aimedatwere:alleviationofsocioeconomicillsandelevationofmoralandeducational standards.Thethemeandgoalswereacceptedandendorsedbytheyoungmenofthe diocesewhenpresentedatthegeneralorganizationalmeeting.Theychosetobecalled"The YoungSyrians,"anddecidedtoextendmembershipinvitationstoprogressivesinBeirut, Damascus,andtoadvancedstudentsattheBelamondSeminaryofElKura.(Belamond SeminarywasestablishedbyPatriarchMiletiousDumaniaftertheEasternOrthodox SeminaryofBeirutcloseditsdoors,followingthedeathofitsfounder,BishopGavriel.)The societyhopedtobringaboutamoresalutaryatmosphereofpersonalfreedomandindividual dignityforthesecularandreligiousstudentssothattheymightbeuninhibitedinactualizing theirpotentialbyexercisingtheirfacultieswithimpunity. Theobjectivewasthedevelopmentofenlightened,dedicatedleaderswhowouldpromote unificationofpurposeandefforttowardthecommoninterestsandwelfare.Membershipin thesociety,drawnfromawidespreadarea,increasednotablyinasurprisinglyshorttime. Themanywhowerestimulatedbythedeclaredobjectivesferventlywishedtoseeanalliance andadvancementamongtheArabnations.However,whiletakingrootandspreadingforth itsbranches,aninvidiouspowerbeganarelentlessattackwhichendedintotaldestruction. LearningoftheAssociationanditsactivitiesfromoneoftheBelamondstudents,Patriarch Dumaniordereditsdissolution,andofallitsactivities.BishopArsaniuschosetocontinue supportandapprovalofhisVicar'sactivities,andfirmlystoodhisground.PatriarchDumani thenthreatenedtoexpeltheBelamondstudents,toexcommunicatethemandothernon studentmembersiftheycontinuedtheirparticipationintheactivitiesormembershipofthe Association.Thuswasdealtthedeathblowofthehighidealsandbrightpromiseofthe Association. Aftimioswroteconcerningthisabortiveactiontooneofhisfriends,saying:"Itgrievesme thatournobleplanthasbeenuprootedbyunduepressurefromthatiquitouscorner,leaving butafewgreenleavesscatteredhereandthere.Hadakinderfateallowedthisplanttolive, we'dhaveseenitbecomeamightytowershelteringalargenumberofthesonsofancient

Phoenecia,andarousingthemfromtheirdeepslumber.Thisdeplorablefailuredeeply disturbsmeandthememoryofthehallowedpitembracingtheremainsoftheplantfillsme withanguish.Werenothopeasexpansiveasthought,I'dwaterthatgravedailywiththedew ofmyeyes,enshrouditwithdespair,burywithitallhopeandmakeitmypilgrimageeach holiday,theretoreciteanelegy." AseriousillnesssoonafterwardsconfinedAftimiostobedforaprolongedtime.Inaletterto anotherfriend,hewrote:"Aneternalflameburninginmyweakenedchestisevaporatingthe watersofmylifewhichfeelscoldandburdensometomeasitdrawsnearthefinalstage. Futureexistenceloomswearisomeandmonotonousbeforeme,fortherayofhopenolonger radiateswithinmyheart.Istanduponthethresholdofacrueldepartureandampainedat seeinghumanityoutragedwhilethesonsofdarknessconcealcorruptionwithhypocrisy, deadeningtheconscienceofmankindwithchicaneryandequivocation.Alas!whereisjustice, virtueandabsolutetruth?Whereisdutyandabsolutelove?Theyhaveallbeenconcealedby ablackcloudveilingthemfromheaven." THELADIESAIDSOCIETY Recoveredsufficientlytotakeuphisdutiesagain,Aftimiosplungedintoactivitiesconnected withthediocesanschool.Bp.Arsaniushadgivenhimfulladministrativeresponsibilityforthis school,whichhadbeensponsoredbytheLadiesAidSocietyorganization,bothofwhichhad beeninitiatedbyhim.Bythismeans,hehopedtoassurethesurvivaloftheschoolwherein thegroundworkcouldbelaidfortheultimaterealizationofthegoalsaimedatoriginallyby "TheSyrianYouth"association.Hedevotedparticulartimeandefforttotheenrichmentand cultivationofthissoilwhichresultedinthedevelopmentofahighdegreeofsocial awareness,academicandindividualachievement.Thiswasevidencedintheresponsible studentparticipationinschool,church,communityandpublicaffairs,whichwonforthem andtheirmentortherespectandpraiseofthegeneralpublic. UndertheoppressiveruleoftheTurks,Moslems,MaroniteandOrthodoxChristianswere dailysubjectedtomistreatment.Problemswithinandbetweenthedifferentgroupswere numerous.Troublesderivingfromconditionsofdireneedamongthechronicpoorwere widespread.ScoresfromallgroupssoughttheassistanceofAftimiosandfoundhimtobe everavailableandaneverreadyadvocateandcompassionatebenefactor.Doorsofaffluence andinfluencewereopenedtotheproficientandimpartialdeanandvicarofBp.Arsanius, whichenabledhimtosuccessfullychampionthecauseofthedowntrodden,thewronged; andtosuccortheneedyanddistressedofallagegroupsandsects.PatriarchMiletious Dumani,formerBishopofLatakia,hadshownacallousindifferencetohumanwantandwoe, andhadexactedservilityofthosesubjecttohisautocraticrule.ThismadetheLatakiansand

theirneighborsparticularlyappreciativeofthehumanetreatment,justarbitration,and restorationofindividualfreedomandhumandignitygiventhembyBp.Arsaniusthroughhis diocesanexecutiveadministratorandvicar,Aftimios. Oneofhisformerclassmates,whiletravelinginLatakia,wrotetoNicholasLawiese,"my esteemforAftimioswasenhancedwhenIhadoccasiontowitnessthemagnitudeofhis influenceandthedegreeofrespectshownhiminLatakia,andthroughoutthesurrounding villagesaswell...whenIaccompaniedhimandBp.ArsaniustotheCountyofElMarqueband sawthehomage,thepraiseandaffectiondirectedtowardourfriend,fromjudges,civil authorities,headsofgovernment,andwhichtraversedsectarianboundaries,Ifeltproudto behisfriend.Rarelyhasonesoyoungbeenshownsuchextraordinarydeference,asfor instance:Iaccompaniedhimonedayonanerrandintotownwherewemetanelderlywhite beardedSheikwithhisentourage.AlightingfromhisasstheSheikcamenearandgreetedour friend,saying:'GooddaytoFatherAftimios;mayGodprosperthedayofthedynamicdiligent one!'Iwasamazedatthetoneofaffectioninhisvoice,andlaterlearnedthatthiswasthe GrandMuftiofLatakia,whichmadehisactioninthislandofreligiousbigotryoneofgreat significance." ThewriteroftheabovequotedletterattributedmuchofthecreditforAftimios'noteworthy accomplishmentstoBp.Arsanius'generousencouragementandallowanceofawidelatitude inallhisactivitiesandundertakings.HewrotethatAftimioswasreceivedwithstatelyhonors usuallyaccordedhigherrankingofficialswheneverhewenttoBeirut,Damascus,orLebanon onDiocesanaffairs.Hisdescriptionoftheirerstwhileclassmatefollows: "Thatgreatsoulwhichbreatheswithinthecostalwallsofthatstillslimphysiquehasso exaltedhimthatithasleftitsdistinctimprintonhisnoblebrow,delineatingintegrity, manliness,diligence,responsibility,benignity,andreserve.Thatsmilewhichformerly engagedhisgraciouslipshasbeendisplacedbyathoughtfulvisage.Muchofhisschool boyishnesshasbeenshed,anduttersimplicityisshowninhisspeech,actions,andwriting. Hisformertraitsoffreedom,independence,sincerityandprobityarenowsoingrainedasto havebecomeaneffectiveexample.Whilehisformertraceofhauteurisgone,heretainshis selfesteemattestingtoNietzche'sphilosophytotheeffectthatthegreateraman'smindand themorecomprehensivehisunderstanding,themorehisselfesteem. "Becauseoftheliberalgratuitieshereceived,hewasabletoindulgehisinnatebenevolence consideredtobeanextravagancebysome.Althoughhebegrudgeshimselfnothing,he neglectshisownselfinterest,forweknowhepossessesnothingforheretainsonlywhatis requiredforhisessentialneeds.""Inschool,weknewhimasaprolificwriter,nowheuseshis

timeandenergiesinservicetotheoppressedanddowntroddenandinrespondingtocallsfor aid.'Letotherswriteforthepeople,'hesays,'whileItreatandbindtheirwounds.'"Quoting excerptsofaconversationwithadevoteeofVoltaire,RousseauandRenan,N.Lawiesesays thatwhenAftimios'namecameup,thefreethinkersaid"Ifhalftheclergyunderstoodthe truepurposeoftheirministryandwereasfaithfulasFr.Aftimiosinsteadofpromotingself interest,advancingtheirworldlyobjectivesandacquiringpersonalwealth,theenemiesand attackersoftheChurchwouldbedisarmed.""Theirbestkeptscripturalpassageis'Icamenot tosendpeaceonearth,'andwhiletheytightlyclaspthekeystoheaventheystretchout longarmstogetholdofthekeystoearthanditsriches." ThefocusofAftimios'religiouspersuasionwasontolerance,equality,moderation,and brotherhood,madenecessitousbythetimesandrequirementsofthecurrentgeneration.He heldtheecclesiasticalestablishmentaccountablefortheprevalentreligiousdiscordance becauseofitsfailuretoearnestlytakepositiveandvigorousaction.Shoulditfailtotake cooperative,coordinatedstepstoremedythedefects,tomakeservicesmoresuitable, makingtheChurchacompassionatemotherandthesourceofsublime,divineteachingsand religiouseducationitwouldfallintoanintensebattlewiththeflock,whichwillfightwith theweaponsofatheismandapostasy. Hebelievedthataclergymanshouldpossessnothingbuthissoulofwhichhemustgivean account;thatheshouldofferhimselfonthealtarofhisflockratherthantosubjugateitand suckitsbloodlikealeech.HissermonsonChristiandoctrineandethicsentrancedattendants wholookedonhimastheembodimentofareformerferventlyseekingafterhuman perfection,whichtheyfounditdifficulttopractice.Oneofhissermonsfollows: "Prayer""ThencameJesustoaplacecalledGethsemanewithHisdisciplesandHesaidunto them"sityeherewhileIgoandpray."(Mark14:32)"Inanisolatedgardenonedenselydark night,theLambofGod,HisonlybegottenSon,wasseenkneelingonthegroundin GethsemanesayingHislastgreatprayer.Thetremendoussolitaryburdenofsorrow,pain, terror,confusion,andagitationwhichassailedHishumannaturewasindescribablyfearsome. TheunknowablefearpervadingHistroublednoblespiritandafflictingHisexaltedsensitive affectionswasbeingresistedandovercomethroughaprayeroverheardintheolivegrove. "Itwouldbedifficultforourweakhumanunderstandingtoreachtheknowledgeofwhatwas accomplishedinthisdreadfulhourwheredeathawaitedtheLord,thoughwedoubtnotthat theLord'sprayerwasheardbyGod,theFather,andthatitrelievedtheSaviour'sburdenof fearandagony.ItliftedtheSuffererfromastateofdespairandhesitancy,generatedinHis soulserenity,assurance,solace,composure,courage,andresoluteness.

"Suchisthepowerofprayer,myChristianbrethren.Thisistheresultofliftingmindandheart toGod,whichwasbestexemplifiedintheprayeroftheLordWhosaid,'Watchandpraylest yeenterintotemptation.' "Hereletmeinterruptmyselftodefineprayer,tellofitsnecessityandtheconditionsunder whichitwillyieldfruit,thattrueprayerwhichemanatesfromsincereintentionsandfaithful adherencetothevoiceofconscience.Thus,inthevisiblenaturewhichsurroundsuswesee thatwhateverisimpelledbythepowerofabsolutelifeisalwayswhollyfacingthesourceof itslife,theoriginofitsbeing.Haveyounotnoticedmybrethren,howthoseflowerswhose lifeisstronglyboundtothesunopentheirbrightpetalstoreceivethesun'sraysatdawn,as iftogreettheirsourceoflifeandblisswithjoy?Andhowtheyfolduptheirpetalsatsunset asiftosignifytheirsorrowandregretatthedisappearanceoftheirlifegiver?Thisexampleis oneofthemostobvious,simple,clearillustrations. "Thosewhohaveobservedlifeinthesummerorspring,haveheardthemanydifferent beautifulvoicesarousingnatureearlyafterthedormantnight,clearlypointingtothestrong bondbetweenlifeandthesun.ThealmightyGodhasgrantedtothesunfirstplaceinthe lowerphysicalkingdom.Thereforethesuniscravedbyallcreatureswhoseexistencederives fromthesun,towhichtheirlifeisimmutablybound.Whateverweseeinthisrespectcannot bemerechanceorcoincidence;ratheritisauniversallawlaiddownbythegreatandwise Creatorinthelifeofnature.Wherefore,allthatexistsisinevitablyledbyaninner compulsiontounitewithitssourceoflife. "However,atthehighestlevelofnature'sanimalkingdomstandsarationalbeingwhoisthe crownandadornmentofcreation,namelyman.Manisdistinguishedfromtherestof creation,beingsuperiorbytheloftyendowmentofthefacultyofmind,thequalityofspirit, whicharenotfoundintherestofcreation.Butistherenotforhimasunthatis,asource containinglight,heat,andallthatisnecessarytothehumanbeing?Hasnotthisintelligent beingthatsamedesire,inclination,andlongingforitssourceoflifeandfountofstrength?I supposenoonehasthepowertodenythisforthatwouldbeavainoppositiontotheevident truthseenwithin,andamidstourphenomena,totheilliteratesofAfrica,andthewilderness ofIndia. "Whenevermanthinksabouthimselfponderinginthetruthofhisbeing,heseesinhissoul aninherentpresenceofadeepprimaryneed,aspiritualneedappearingnotonlyinthe volitionalspherebutbroadlyextendingintoallareas,beyondmerethoughtorfeeling.Thisis aninnatelonginginman,agravitationofthebestpartoftheintelligenthumanbeingtoa

supremeinvisibletotallyincomprehensibleBeingWhotranscendsandexcelsall.Thisisthe gravitationofthetotalpowerofthehumansoultowardthesourceofitsbeingWhocreated itoutofnothingness,makingitinHisimageandlikeness."Justastheflowershaveastrong tietothesun,theirsourceoflife,muchmoreshouldrationalmanwithhisunderstanding havethatbondwithhisMaker,theSourceofhisbeing,andFountofalllife,visibleand invisible.Betterthatmanshoulddiscloseallhisthoughts,desires,secretstohisCreator; layingbeforeHimthefruitofhismindandheart,importuningHisaid,comfort,andwhatever Hedeemsnecessarytohiswelfare.Moreover,manshouldextolGodforHisgiftsandthank HimineveryactforHisgraceandprovidence.AllsuchdeedsdirectedbymantohisCreator maybetermed'prayer.' "Thisfervent,complete,consciousexaltationisnotmerelyanelevationofthemindand heart,butistheextensionoftheentirehumansoulandintellectualpowertothethroneof thealmightyCreator,theabsolutesourceofalllife.Inthisstate,thefaithfullovingman offershisFatherandCreatorallthatoccupieshisbeing,obviatingtheneedtoask'whythe necessityofprayer?'"Wesee,brethren,thatprayerandfaithareequallynecessaryforthey areintrinsicallyrelated,essentiallyandimmutablyboundtogether.Prayertypifiesan inherentneed,beingindigenoustoourlife,sothatwherefaithis,theretoo,isprayer; becauseitisimpossibletohavefaithandnotpray,forprayeristhelifeandsouloffaith. WhoeverbelievesthatAlmightyGodisthesourceofalllifeandthecreatoroftheuniverse mustloveHim,andtrembleatHisjudgement.Thus,wecannotlivespirituallyifwehavefaith withoutthecomponentsoffaith,elseourfaithwouldbeadeadimage,lifelessand motionless. "Thusprayer,accompaniedbyfaith,isasessentialtoourspirituallifeasfoodandairareto thebody;andlighttotheeyes,asthe'goldenmouthedDemosthenesofChristendom,'St. JohnChrysostomsaid,'Evenassunislighttothebody,likewiseprayerislighttothesoul.... ifthemisfortuneoftheblindisconfinedtohisinabilitytoseethesun,howgreatly unfortunateistheunprayingChristianintowhoseheartthelightofChristdoesn'tshine... andasthesoullessbodyisdead,sotheprayerlesssoulisdead.' "Canthehumansoulbetrulyalivewhenitisseveredfromthetieswhichbindittotheorigin ofitsbeing?Whereshallmanmakesupplicationforstrengthforhislifeishissoulbefarfrom thesourceofthatstrength?Hence,itiscertainthatprayerisrequiredandshouldbe practicedatalltimesandwithoutceasingastheApostlesaysinEphesians6:18;I Thessalonians5:1718;andHebrews13:15. "ManisthemostnobleandbeautifulofallGod'screatures.Butafterhisdownfallbythe

ancestralsin,hebecameaweakbeing,bereftofallgracewithwhichGodhadadornedhim, closertovicethattovirtue,incapableofunserstandingtherealityofhisbeingonlife's tumultuoussea. "'DailywillIpraiseThee,OLord.'Actually,notonlydaily,buthourlyandineverymomentwe shouldfilloursoul'sprayerswiththanksgivingtoGodWhoisabletofulfillthem.Whenthe adversitiesoftheworldpileuponman,whenheisbuffetedbythetempestsoflife,whenhe isbesetwithmiseryandpain,unlimitedreassurancebymeansofprayertoGod,hisFather andCreator,isavailable.HewillthenhearclearlythesweetvoiceofhisRedeemersaying, 'ComeuntoMeallyethatlaborandareheavyladen,andIwillgiveyourest.'(Matthew 11:28)Blessedisthatmanforhethenreceivesallthathisanguishedheartdesires,andmore, fortheeffectivenessofprayerisunlimited. "Werewegivenpowertopenetratethesoulofthesupplicantatthismomentandfollowhis actions,weshouldnotbeabletodescribewhatthentranspires.Prayerthatgreatmystery ofthehumansoulasitdrawsneartoGodisnotasimpleordinaryconversation,butagreat deedwhichunitesafrailbeingwiththegreat,perfect,almightyomnipotentBeing. "Prayerproduceswithinthesoulwhatalltheworldlypowerisnotabletoperform,forthe greatestdisturbancesarequelled,emotionsaflamewithgriefaretranquillized,dreadand terrorgivewaytopeace,andman'ssoulispermeatedwithanewpower,combinedwith vigorandnewexpectation.Thesoulispurifiedbythetorchofprayerwhichilluminesthe mindandmakesoneknowhisearthlyandheavenlycalling.Prayerignitesintheheartthe torchofdivineloveforeverylivingcreatureandthenbylove,forgivenessandself abnegation,volitionisdirectedtowardthegeneralwelfare.Thepetitionerascendsduring prayertothoseloftyheightswheredwellsthelightofGod,inwhichhefindsanewspiritual life,wherebyheisusheredintothekingdomoflight. "However,manseldomgivesprayeritsjustdues;seldomdoesheputbaseworldlythoughts awayfromhimself.EachofusstandsinthehouseofGodbodilywhilehisspiritremains engulfedinhisoutsideconcerns.MandrawsneartoGodwithhislipsbuthisheartremains farfromHim. "Suchprayersarenotreal,becauseapreoccupiedsoulishinderedfromsoaringtothethrone ofmajestyandinhalingthatheavenlyairforwhichtheChristianlongs.Thusheforgetshow tocommunewiththegreatCreator,heforgetshowtopray.Letusthereforecryoutwiththe Evangelist,St.Luke,andsay,'Teachus,OLord,howtopray.'"(Luke11:1)

*** When,asanArchdeacon,whileservingashisBishop'sGeneralDeputy,secret communicationswithAlexAttalla,GeorgeandDimitriDumani,andothertheologystudents hadresultedinanagreementtoformanorganizationtoworkwithyoungnewclergymen. TheirpurposewastobringaboutreformintheAntiochianPatriarchate,particularlyinthe convents,monasteries,andmonks.Regulationofpropertyendowmentsandorderly utilizationofproceedstherefromwasalsopartoftheirobjective.Alongrangegoalwasthe foundingofgraduateschoolstherebyeliminatingdependenceonGreekandRussianColleges, butmakingallowanceforexchangeprograms.Theirplanswereacceptedandsupportedbya numberoftheBishops,appearedtobemakingheadwayuntilMeletiusDumanigotwindof it.Ratherthanyieldhisdominantcontrolovertheconvents,monasteries,propertyand endowments,hethreatenedexcommunicationoftheparticipantsandtherebysucceededin crushingtheorganization,scuttlingtheplans. Aftimioswasdeeplydistressedatthefailureofeveryprogressivemovementtowardlong range,farreachingimprovementintheeducationalandreligioussystemsand consequently,thesocialandeconomicorder.Hehadcherishedsanguinehopesthathis altruisticidealismwouldbesharedandsupportedbyhisenlightenedandintellectual compatriots,andthattheywouldstandtheirgroundandstriveperseveringlyforthe awakeningandbettermentofthelethargicbenightedmasseswhohadbeensubjugated, domineeredandexploitedforcenturies.Butthestrengthandcourageoftheinhibited compatriotswasoverpoweredbytheunquestionedandfirmlyentrenchedautocraticruleof theecclesiasticalestablishmentwhichhadsolongkeptthepeopleinastateofabject submission.Thewidespreadabjectpovertyandthemerchandisingofdispensations,which hewitnessedasachild,hauntedAftimios,aswellastheiniquitouspracticesofmonasticism. Themorerecentexperiencewithnarrownessandbigotryintheecclesiasticalandeducational administrativesystems,withtheinjusticeofthetreatmentofanddealingswiththetenant farmersontheChurch'svastlandholdings,criedaloudinhisheartandconsciencetobe righted. Helongedtoseethepriesthoodbroughtintoamorerealisticpracticeofserviceand responsibilityforthewelfareoftheflock.Hehopedforimprovementintheeducational system,givingstudentsfreedomtoparticipateinstudentgovernmentandaffairs,inextra curricularcultural,academic,andsocialdevelopmentalactivities.Heearnestlydesiredthe flocktobebetterinformedregardingthetruenatureoftheirrealbeingasGod'schildrenfor

theirenlightenmentandunderstandingofthecorrelatedresponsibilitesandprivilege. DuringhisfiveyearsofserviceinLatakia,Aftimioshadpracticedextensivecooperationand liberalfellowshipamongOrthodox,CatholicandMoslemindividualsintheespousalofthe causeoffreedom,equalityandbrotherhood.Hopefully,theseselectindividualswouldactas aleaventowardtheultimatedestructionofthetenuouspartitionswhichmilitatedagainst mutualityofthoughtandactiontowardcommongoalsforthecollectivegood.However, therewaslittlehopeofachievingtheseobjectivesduetotheautocracyofthehierarchy,and theslavishconformitytotraditionanddeadritualismwhich'haveaformofgodliness,but denythepowerthereto.'(IITimothy3:5)ThetotalitarianpolicyofPatriarchDumanihad dismemberedthepainstakinglyformedorganizationofwhich[Aftimios]hadhadhigh expectationsandthisdistressedanddepressedthezealousAftimios.Stifledwithinthe narrowlimitationsofroutineactivities,histhoughtsturnedtothebeaconofliberty'beside thegoldendoor'ofAmericaandheconfidedtoBishopArsaniusthis'yearningtobreathe free'withinitsshores.TheunderstandingandsympatheticBishopArsanius'unqualified supportandencouragementofhisprogressiveactivistVicarnowledhimtoofferelevationto theofficeofArchimandrite.TouchedashisBishop'sunselfishwillingnesstofacilitatehis entryintothenewworld,butconsideringtheofficeunmerited,heaskedinsteadtobe ordainedaPriest,afterwhichhebadefriendsapoignantfarewellandembarkedforthenew world. Rememberinghisfather'sstrenuousoppositiontohisvocationalchoice,andwishingtoavoid strongobjectionstohisemigrationandthewitnessingoftheheartbreakinggriefofhisaging parents,Aftimioshadnotgonetosayfarewelltothem.WhenhearrivedinNewYork,he foundaletterfromhisfatheraddressinghim'DearFriend,'thememoryofwhichevoked tearsrightintothe8thdecadeofhislife. InAmericaAftimiosarrivedinNewYorkonDecember13,1905,andwasgreetedtherebya fewrelativesandfriends.Theyobservedhimasheslowlyliftedhisfaceupward,turnedhis glancetotheright,andtotheleft,beforeamuffledgroanescapedhim.Asheturnedtoface Eastward,hewithdrewfromhispocketahandkerchiefwithwhichhewipedhiseyesashe softlyspokethesewords,"poor,wretchedSyria." Duringthedrivetothehotel,wherehechosetostaypendingproperpresentationof credentialstothediocesanbishop,hisfriendswereamazedathistotalindifferencetothe skyscrapersandotherimpressivestructures.Thedepthofhispensivethoughtsandemotions wasunfathomableforhehad"abaptismtobebaptizedwith"andhowhewas "straighteneduntilitbeaccomplished."(Mark10:38,Luke12:20)Aftimioswasgraciously

receivedbyBishopRaphaelHawaweniwhenheformallypresentedhiscredentialsonthe followingday,andwasimmediatelyappointedassistanttotheBishop,andpastorofSt. NicholasCathedral. FundswereneededforthecostlylitigationtheninprocessbetweentheMaronitesandthe Orthodox,resultingfromparochialstrifeinwhichabrotheroftheMaroniteFatherStephen hadbeenkilled,andBishopRaphaelwasarrestedandbrieflydetained.Oneofthefirsttasks assignedbyBishopRaphaeltohisnewassistantwasonadiocesanfundraisingmission. Althoughthecauseofthedistastefulmissionwasabhorrenttotheardentadvocateof cooperation,equality,andbrotherhood,Aftimiosobedientlysetforth.Aninterestingside light,typicalofhimmaybegatheredfromthefollowingincidentwhichwastoldbyaneye witness. ItwasinasmallsuburbofPittsburgh.Theroundofvisitshadseeminglybeencompleted,but forsomeunknownreason,Aftimiosaskedhisguideifanyonehadbeenmissed.Rather abashed,theguidetoldofhavingskippedthehomeofapoorwidowwhowashavinga struggletokeepherchildrenandhome.Withagreatdealofantipathy,hecompliedwiththe request[ofAftimios]tobetakenthere.Thewidowgraciouslyreceivedthepriest,who,after politeinquiryaboutheraffairs,offeredcondolenceatthelossofherhusband,blessedher, herchildren,andtheirhomeanddeparted.Themotherandherchildrenwerecomfortedand madehappythattheyhadnotbeenexcludedfromthepastoralvisitbecauseoftheirpoverty. Atthestation,Aftimiosaskedhisguidetoloanhimthefaretohisnextstopover,promisingto mailitbackassoonashereachedhisdestination.Withtheutmostreluctance,theguide boughthimhisticket,feelingcertainhewouldneverberepaid.Whenthetrainleft,the outragedguidehurriedtothewidow'shometomakehisapologies.Heexplainedthathe hadn'twantedtobringthepriesttoherhomebecauseofherinabilitytomakea contribution,butthattheavariciouspriesthadinsisteduponcallinguponher. Howembarrassedhebecamewhenhelearnedfromthewidowthatshehaddiscovered, aftertheyhadleftherhome,arollofcurrencyleftinherpantrycupboardbyAftimios,who hadgonethereonthepretextofgettingadrink.NowhecouldunderstandwhyAftimioshad neededtoborrowhisfarefromhim.Thenextday'smailbroughthimhismoney,and thereafterhebecameoneofAftimios'mostdevotedfollowers,repeatedlywitnessingand marvelingattheextentofAftimios'benevolentacts. Notlongafterwards,AftimioswassenttoMontrealonapeacemakingmissionbyBishop Raphael,whohadreceivedanappealforhelpfromFatherGeorgeMahfouz,pastorofthe

striferivenparish.TheBishopwasawarethatthedivisivecontentionhadbeenincitedby FatherBasiliousKerbawywhohadcastacovetouseyeonthisflockwhileonaprevious diocesanmissiontoCanada;andhesentAftimiostoexplorethepossibilityofmakingpeace andrestoringunity.AfterholdingseparatemeetingswithFatherMahfouz,and representativesofeachfaction,atthehomeofhishost,AbuSamraElkhouri,Aftimios learnedthat:a.FatherMahfouzwasplanningtoreturntoSyriawithinashortperiodoftime regardlessoftheoutcomeofthenegotiationsand,b.thatthedissentershadnovalid groundsforcomplaint,butwerearbitrarilydemandingtheremovalofFatherMahfouzunder threatofestablishingaseparatechurch,mainlytocreateavacancyforFatherB.Kerbawy.In ordertocooldowntemperaturesandcleartheatmosphere,Aftimiosheldsubsequent meetingsatwhichheexhortedallpartiestoexerciserestraintofpassionsandtousereason andsoundjudgement.Citingtheiruseofarentedhallforworshipservicesassufficient evidencethatthecommunitywasunabletomaintaintwochurchesandsupporttwopastors, Aftimiosurgedpatience,revealingthatFatherMahfouzplannedtodepartsoon,thus resultinginapeacableattainmentoftheirobjectives.Reconciliationandtherestorationof oneunitedflockunderonepastorwasstronglyadvocated.Areportofhisfindingsand recommendationswasmadetoBishopRaphaeluponhisreturntoBrooklyn.Intheseveral monthsfollowingFatherMahfouz'sdepartureforSyria,membersofbothfactionssenta steadystreamofletterstoBishopRaphael,requestingtheappointmentofAftimiosastheir pastor.Loathtopartwithhisable,reliantassistant,BishopRaphaelmadeseveralalternative offerswhichwereadamantlyrejected.WhentheynotifiedtheBishopoftheirintentionto affiliatewiththeGreekcommunityforthebenefitsofOrthodoxsacraments,Aftimioswas appointedpastoroftheflockatMontreal,towhichwasaddedtheresponsibilityofproviding itinerantservicetoalltheSyrianOrthodoxinCanada.Namedtofillhispostasassistantto BishopRaphaelwasBasiliousKerbawy.Aftimios'tentativeacceptanceoftheappointment wasbasedontheconditionthatbothfactionsreachamutualaccordandendthestrife,that theyuniteinagreementtoreplacetherentedhallwithaproperchurchedifice,towhichboth factionagreed. BeforegoingtoMontreal,AftimioscalledonBishopRaphael,andwasgivenapostalcard whichhadbeensenthimincareofthediocesanoffice.ItwasfromAlexAyoub,oneofhis formerclassmates,informinghimofthedeathofPatriarchMiletiousDumani.Surprisewas expressedbyAmeenKhairallah,editorofthediocesanperiodical,ElKalimet,whowas presentatthetime,thatAftimioshadfailedtocongratulateBishopRaphaelonhis forthcomingelevationtotheAntiochianPatriarchate.Aftimiosrepliedthathehopeditwere so;butthathecouldnotseehowthiscouldbe.(AlthoughtheBrooklynDiocesewas canonicallyunderthejurisdictionoftheRussianSynod,Raphael'scloserelationshipwith DumaniandambitiontobehissuccessorhadledtoBishopRaphael'sincludingthenameof

theAntiochianPatriarchandSynod,alongwiththatoftheRussianSee,inallliturgical services.) Khairallahasked,*"Don'tyouknowthatBishopRaphaelhasthesupportoftheRussian Synod?"Aftimiosreplied,"ButtheelectionislimitedtotheBishopsoftheAntiochianSee." Somewhatnettled,Raphaelspokeup,saying,"Inaccordancewiththeunderstanding betweenthepatriarchandme,Iamconsideredtobeoneofthemandammomentarily expectingatelegraphicformalannouncementofthedeathofthepatriarchwithacallforme togothere."Aftimiosreplied,"Ithinknot,forofficialannouncementsaresentonlytothe bishopsofthePatriarchate!Inorderfortheunderstandingbetweenyouandthelate PatriarchtohavevalidityinaccordancewiththecanonsoftheAntiochianPatriarchate,it shouldhavebeendulyactedonandconfirmedbytheSynod.ThisIamcertainof,forthe activitiesoftheSynodarewellknowntomeduetothepositionandstandingIhadwiththe BishopofLatakiaandIknowthatnothingatallofthiskindhadbeenmentioned." *AstoldbyAftimios. Inthediscussionwhichfollowed,AftimiosventuredanopinionthatDumani'ssuccessor wouldbeGregorious,BishopofTripoli.Hisjudgementwasbasedonhisintimateandmore recentknowledgeofclericalpoliticswithintheAntiochianSee,andsubsequentevents provedhimcorrect.RaphaelblamedGregoriousforhisexclusionfromtheranksofthe AntiochianBishopsandtried,unsuccessfully,topreventhiselectiontothepatriarchate. Moreover,hepubliclydisavowedanyloyaltytotheAntiochianSee,declaringtotalsubjection tothejurisdictionoftheRussianSynod. InMontrealAftimiosarrivedinMontrealinJuly,1906.Ahappy,festiveairpervadedthe welcomingthrongawaitinghimatthedepotwithoutatraceoftheformerhostilitiesin evidence.Eventswentsmoothlybetweentheflockandtheirnewpastor,andsoonaparcelof landforachurchsitewaspurchased.Manyofthechurchmembersbelongedtoone,orboth, ofthe'OrthodoxBenevolentSociety'andthe'ArabNationalAssociation,'eachofwhich contributedtowardthewelfareoftheneedy.However,membershipandbenefitsofonewas exclusivelyforOrthodoxadherents,whereastheotherwasopentoallArabs,regardlessof religiousbackgroundoraffiliation.Takingthelongrangeview,andwithcharacteristic altruism,Aftimiosrecommendedformationofanallianceofthetwogroups,tobeknownas 'TheCommunityAssociation.'Membershipwastobeopentoall,withmutualparticipation towardachievementofthecommongoal.ButFatherBasiliousKerbawy,whohadnotceased communicatingwithhispartisans,nowcounseledthemtorejecttheproposedalliance,thus rekindlingtheembersofdissention,bigotryandrivalryfordominanceandinfluence.Ata generalmeetingcalledbyAftimios,heemphasizedthemanifoldmutualbenefitstothe

communityatlargeoftheopendoorpolicy,stressingthefactthateachmemberofthe Associationwouldcontinuetofreelyenjoyaffiliationwiththechurchofhischoice.Whereas adoptionofthedivisivecourseadvocatedbythosewhowouldexcludethenonOrthodox fromparticipationinthenonchurchconnectedbenevolentactivitiesoftheCommunity Association,Aftimioswarned,woulddetersocialprogramsandbringaboutirreparableharm. Promptedbytheirmentor,thedissentinggrouptelephonedBishopRaphael,askingthat anotherpriestbesenttoservethem,andallegingthatAftimioswasorganizingtheCanadian communityforthepurposeofseparatingfromtheBrooklynDioceseandaffiliatingwiththe AntiochianSee,hopingtherebytobecomeabishop. BishopRaphael,knowingPatriarchGregorious'personalfriendshipwithAftimios,readily believedthetaleandsentB.Kerbawytoservethegroupandtoinvestigatethecharges made.UnawareoftheaccusationsmadetotheBishopagainsthim,thesurprisedAftimios believedKerbawy'sstorythatRaphaelhadsenthimtoeffectapeacefulsettlementofthe dissention,andgavehimfullcooperationandafreerein.However,asuspiciousmemberof theAssociationprivatelydecidedtoconductasecretexperiment.HeinvitedKerbawyto dinnerandintheconversationwhichrevolvedaroundthecurrentsituation,heasked KerbawytostayoninMontreal,tellinghimthathewaspreferredoverAftimios,which delightedKerbawy. Thenextday,KerbawytoldAftimiostherewasnohopeofrestoringpeace,thesituation beinghopeless,andthathewouldsoonreturntoBrooklyntomakehisreporttothebishop. Agraveincidentoccurred,however,ontheSundaypriortohisdeparture.Whileservingthe DivineLiturgy,AftimiosreceivedwordinthesanctuarytotheeffectthatifBishopRaphael's namewasmentionedduringtheservice,violentactionwithbodilyharmtoKerbawywould result.Knowingthatsomeofhishotheadswerecapableofcarryingoutthisthreat,Aftimios omittedRaphael'sname. BackinBrooklyn,KerbawyreportedtotheBishoptheomissionofhisnameduringthe service,andsaidthatthefailureofhismissionwasduetoAftimios'lackofcooperationand stubborness.Heaskedpermission,andreceivedit,toreturnimmediatelytoMontrealto administertheSacramentstothemanyparishionersheallegedwererejectingAftimios' services.Atageneralmeeting,Aftimiostoldthepeoplehowdeeplydisappointedhewasat theirreactionaryconductwithitsirrevocableconsequences.Heexpressedhisextreme distastefordeliberatestrife,inwhichherefusedtoparticipate,andremindedthemofhis originaltermsofacceptanceoftheircall.Yet,hewasunabletorefutetheirargumentthatit wasKerbawy'ssuccessfulplayonthenarrowbigotryofthehardcoremembersofthe OrthodoxBenevolentSocietywhichhadincitedtheriots.Theywoundupthemeetingwitha

subscriptionof$14,000.00towardthechurchbuildingfund. AskepticalKerbawydoubtedtheveracityofthisreport,foritbeliedtheinformationgiven himtotheeffectthathewaspreferredoverAftimios.Thederisivearticlehewrote impugningthesubscription,whenpublishedintheArabicpaper,"ElSha'aab"soenragedthe congregation,thattheywaylaidandbeatKerbawyandZarbattani,editorofthenewspaper. Outragedatthisindignity,KerbawyhastenedtoreporttheincidenttoBishopRaphael,who summarilysummonedAftimiostoBrooklyn.AlthoughhearrivedintimetoattendtheSunday morningservices,AftimiosfailedtoparticipateinperformingtheDivineLiturgy,becausehe hadnotofficiallybeengivenareasonforhavingbeenthussummoned.Aftertheservices, whenhewenttotheBishop'smanse,Aftimioswassurprisedtoseearepresentativenumber ofdissenterswithwhomheexchangedfriendlygreetings,forwhichtheBishopfervently thankedGod.Joininginthegivingofthanks,Aftimiosaskedtheparticularcauseandwastold itwasbecauseoftheapparentreconciliation."But,I'vehadnodifferenceswiththese people,"saidAftimios. OthersattendingthismeetingwiththeBishopweretwomembersofthe"Community Association"andseveralprominentNewYorkers,personalfriendsofAftimioswhohadbeen specificallyinvitedbytheBishop,shouldtheirinfluencebeneededtohelpeffectuatea settlement.BishopRaphaelbenignlyaddressedhimselftothecollectivegroupfrom Montreal,askingthemtofreelyairtheirdifferences,cleansetheirhearts,andmakepeace. WhenAftimiossaidhehadnodifferenceswithanyone,borenooneanyillwill,andwasnot inconflictwithanyone,hewasaskedbyRaphaeltoexplainthemanycomplaintsand accusationswhichhadbeenmadeagainsthimbyletters,telephonecallsandtelegrams. Aftimiosanswered,saying,"Youshouldhavetoldmefromthebeginningthesechargeswere beingmadesothatIcouldhaveimmediatelygivenyouthetruefacts:thusthisschismatic developmentmighthavebeenprevented.Idonotknowthereasonfortheantagonismofthe dissenters,astheyhavehadnopersonaldealingswithme.Asmysuperior,Ishouldhave expectedyoutohavegivenmeimmediatenotificationoftheseallegations,allowingmethe opportunitytogivearesponsibleandtimelyaccounting.Ishouldhaveexpectedand accepteddisciplinaryactioniffoundguiltyasaccused,orvindicationifproveninnocent,and theaccuserstohavebeensilenced. "Itisonyourordersthatthepresentconditionsexist.Ihavetriedtounitethecommunityon thebasisofequality,buttheOrthodoxBenevolentSocietyrefusedtoallowequalprivileges toothers.Icannotservepersonalitiesandprivatemotives.Thepriestyousentthemwho splitthecongregationissittingintheadjacentroom.Iftheyhaveanythingagainstmeitis

betweenthemandhim;Icanneitherhearnoranswertheirbaselesscharges.Representatives oftheotherfactionarehere,andwhatevercomplaintoraccusationagainstmetheymay make,Iamreadytohearandanswer." Whenthisinitialmeetingendedwithoutarrivalatasatisfactoryconclusion,theBishop announcedthatAftimioswouldbedetainedinBrooklynforacontinuationofprivate hearings.Atoneoftheseclosedsessions,Kerbawymadeadefinitedeclarationthatheno longerdesiredtoreturntoMontreal,whichRaphaelattributedtotheignominoustreatment he'dreceivedthere.Atthisopportuneoccasion,Aftimiossuggestedthattheindignityhad beenprecipitatedbyKerbawy'spublicdisparagementoftheCommunityAssociation.Bishop Raphaelthenraisedthequestionastowhetheritweretruethat,atthefirstbuildingfund meeting,therehadbeensubscribed$14,000.00.Aftimiosrepliedthat,hadheknownthe Bishopdoubted,andwouldquestionhimaboutit,he'dhavebroughtthebankpassbook showingthedepositmadetothebuildingfundaccount.ThisconvincedtheBishop,whothen pronouncedabenedictiononAftimios,whowasalsoexoneratedforfailingtomention Raphael'snameduringtheliturgicalservice,afterhe'dexplaineditwasomittedinorderto avoidviolenceandpossiblebloodshed. DuringtheperiodofhisdetentioninBrooklyn,AftimiosdeclinedBishopRaphael'sinvitation toparticipateintheperformanceofanychurchserviceonthegroundsthathisflockwas withoutapastor.HedismissedRaphael'ssuggestionthatpeoplewouldthinkhe'dbeen suspended,sayingthatsincetheybothknewthiswerenotso,itmatterednotwhatwas thought.Meanwhile,therewasaconstantflowoflettersregisteringcomplaintsaboutthe prolongedabsenceofsacramentalservices.Also,wordwasreceivedthatascheduled meetingwiththearchitectwho'dbeenengagedtodrawplansforthechurchedificewould havetobecancelledandbuildingplansscuttledifAftimioswasnottobetheirpriest.Healing ofthebreachofunityachievedthroughttheformationofthe"CommunityAssociation"now seemedhopelesslyfutile.Thetreacherousseditionhaddelveddeeplyintohumanemotions, stirringpassionswhichhadevokedactionsleadingtothecreationofanunbridgeablechasm. Therefore,theBishopdecidedtosendAftimiosbacktohisflock,andtolaterassignanother priesttoministertotheothersheep. ******* Withthereturnoftheirpastor,theflocklostnotimeinresumingnegotiationsfortheir constructionprogram.Conformingwithlegalrequirementstoberecognizedasareligious

entity,theytookthepreliminarystepoffilingforacharteras"St.Nicholas'Church."The otherfactionimmediatelytookexception,andwasencouragedbytheBishoptofile injunctionproceedings,promisinghe'dtestifyontheirbehalfthattheyhadprioritytothis name. Subsequently,animpressiveappearancewasmadebythemantledBishopRaphaelandthe highlydecoratedRussianConsulGeneralinaQuebeccourtroom.Askedbythepresiding judgewhathe'dliketosayaboutthedisputedissue,BishopRaphaelsaidthathe,andthe ConsulGeneral,whorepresentedtheRussianSynod,weretheretocontesttherightofFather AftimiosandhisgrouptotheuseofthenameofSt.Nicholas,andtoseethattherighttoits usewasgiventotheOrthodoxBenevolentSociety. "YouareinCanada,notRussia"thejudgetoldRaphael,askingthathegivethecourta statementastohisobjections,andhisreasonfortheobjection,andleavethedecisiontothe court.Takingumbrage,thebishopandtheconsulgeneralturnedandleftthecourtroom withoutfurtherado.Thecourt'sdecisiongavethedefendantstherighttocalltheirchurch 'St.NicholasofCanada',andtheplaintiffstherightofcallingtheirchurch'St.Nicholasof Montreal'.Aftimios,whohadnotparticipatedintheabhorrentlitigation,mettheBishopat thedepotwhenhereturnedfromQuebectoMontreal.Hepaidhisrespectsandescortedthe Bishoptothehomeofhishost,presidentoftheOrthodoxBenevolentSociety,leavinghimto restwiththepromisehewouldreturntovisitlater.Arrivingseveralhourslater,Aftimios overheardBishopRaphaelreprimandingmembersoftheOrthodoxBenevolentSocietyfor theirdeceptionwhichhadsubjectedhimandtheRussianconsultohumiliationandtelling themthatthepriestinhisdiocesewhomhemostrespected,trustedandcoulddependon wasAftimios. AftergivingAftimiosacordialgreeting,Raphaelexpressedregretthatthisscheduledreturn toBrooklynthateveningpreventedavisitattherectory.Immediatelyaninvitationwas extended,whereupontheBishopandhisentouragewenttotherectorywheretheremaining timewasspent.Fromthistimeon,theBishop'sdoubtsofAftimios'loyaltyandhisfearof losinghimandtheCanadianparishtotheAntiochianSee(whichhadbeenfomentedby Kerbawy)wereremoved,andthediocesanpublication"ElKalimet"ceaseditscriticismsof Aftimios'activities.OntheoccasionofthededicationbyBishopRaphaelofthecompleted churchedifice,Aftimioswaselevatedtotheofficeofarchimandrite. WhentheAntiochianPatriarchGregoriouswroteaskingAftimios'confirmationoftherumor thatheandtheCanadianswereplanningtodefecttotheAntiochianSee,Aftimioshadsenta swiftnegativereplywithanunequivocaldeclarationoftheinviolabilityofthecanonical

jurisdictionoftheRussianChurchSynodovertheOrthodoxmissioninNorthAmerica. GregoriousthenwroteBishopRaphaelasking,andreceiving,permissiontosendoneofhis bishopsintotheBrooklyndioceseforthepurposeofcollectingfundstobuildanagricultural schoolinthevillageofAmm'iek.Theeasewithwhichtheemissaryaccomplishedhisfund raisingmissionarousedBishopGermanosGhehadi'savaricesothathebegantoundermine hishostbysowingseedsofschismaticdissentionbyanappealtonationalism.Withtotal disregardofcanonlaw,GermanoscalledforarenunciationofallegiancetotheRussian Synod,andaffiliationwiththenativeAntiochianChurch,motherofChristianity.Litigation proceedingshadbeeninitiatedinvariouscommunitiesbeforeBishopRaphaellearnedofthe widespreadparochialriftsresultingfromtheseditiousactivitiesofBishopGermanos,with whichhecouldnotadequatelycopeorcontrol.Consequently,RaphaelwrotethePatriarch accusingGermanosofbreachofagreement,discourtesyandflagrantviolationofcanonlaws, andaskedGregorioustorecallhisemissaryatonce.Unwillingtocurtailtheinflowof revenue,thePatriarchignoredRaphael'srequest,andtothisunethicalinterferenceinhis diocesewasattributedthecauseofRaphael'sillnessandsubsequentdeathon2/14/15.

LIFEStoryOFSt.AFTIMIOSPart2 AManofVirtue ABiographyofArchbishopAftimiosOfieshbyMrs.Aftimios(Mariam)Ofiesh Aftimiosexpressedhissorrowforthepeoplewho'dbecomethepreyofthePatriarchandhis SynodwhoDIOCESANEMBROILMENTGermanostookRaphael'sdeathastheoccasionto openlydeclarehimselftobethelogicalsuccessor,challengingthejurisdictionoftheRussian SynodovertheSyrianOrthodoxinNorthAmerica.Thiswantonviolationofcanonlawin strivingtoannextheBrooklyndiocesetotheAntiochianSeemetwithvigorousoppositionby theoutragedloyaldefendersofthehonoredchurchcanons. Themutualdistrustandincompatibilitywhichhadlongcharacterizedtherelationship betweenBishopRaphael'sdean,ArchpriestBasiliousKerbawiandhissecretary,Archdeacon EmanualAbuHatabceasedwhentheyjoinedforcestocombatGermanos.Notbecausethey wishedtodefendtherightfuljurisdictionoftheRussianNorthAmericaMission,neither becausetheywereaversetoaffiliationwiththeAntiochianPatriarchatedidtheyoppose Germanos;butbecauseoftheirpersonaldesignsandselfishambitionsaccordingtowhich EmanualwassetupastheprimecandidatefortheBrooklynbishopric. THEBROOKLYNDIOCESE BishopNicholas,headoftheRussianOrthodoxChurchinNorthAmericawasattendinga sessionoftheHolyRussianSynodinthesummerof1895whenthepetitionoftheSyrian OrthodoxBenevolentSocietyofNewYork,askingforaSyrianpriesttoservetheirspiritual needs,reachedtheSynod.TheSyrianArchimandriteRaphaelHawawini,whoatthattime wasservingtheflockatKazan,Russia,wasdesignatedtofillthispost.Heaccompanied BishopNicholasonhisreturntotheUnitedStates. AtthetimeofArchimandriteRaphael'sceremonialinstallationaspastoroftheSyrian OrthodoxcommunityinNewYorkhewasappointedofficialrepresentativeoftheHoly RussianSynod,andwaschargedwithresponsibilityforthespiritualneedsofallSyrian Orthodoximmigrants.Newchurchessprungupintheoutlyingareasasthenumberof communicantsincreasedforwhichpriestswereordainedbytheRussianBishop,as recommendedbyHawawini. DuetothemanifoldactivitiesinthemoredenselypopulatedEast,theRussianPatriarchal SynodfounditdesirabletotransfertheheadquartersofitsNorthAmericanmissionfromSan FranciscotoNewYork.ArchbishopTikhon(wholaterbecamePatriarchoftheHolyRussian Synod),whowasatthattimethechiefhierarchoftheOrthodoxChurchinNorthAmerica recommendedthatthesizablyexpandedSyrianbranchoftheRussianOrthodoxmissionbe

elevatedtotherankofanepiscopy.Consequently,TikhonandBishopInocondiousofAlaska consecratedonFeb.29,1904,RaphaelHawawiniasBishopofBrooklyn,headoftheSyrian OrthodoxspiritualmissioninNorthAmerica.AfterRaphael'sdeath,ArchbishopEvdokim, whohadsucceededArchbishopTikhon,designatedtheAlaskanBishopAlesander NemelovskyasactingpresidingBishopofBrooklynpendingtheelectionandconsecrationof asuccessortoRaphael. INTRIGUE WhenAftimiosarrivedinNewYorktoattendRaphael'sfuneral,hewassurprisednotonlyto findEmanualAbuHatabawaitinghim,butmoresoathisinsistencethathetakehimtohis hometobehisguest,ahithertounwontedcourtesy.Withreluctance,Aftimiosyielded, cancellinghishotelreservations.OutofrespectforthelateBishop,whosebodylayinstateat thechurch,Aftimiousrestrictedhismovementstogoingtoandfromthechurchtohishosts' home.HeretheconstantpresenceofandsurveillancebyamemberoftheAbuHatabfamily madehimfeelmorelikeahouseprisonerthanaguest.OnedayavisitoraskedAftimiosif therewereanytruthtotherumorcirculatingthathe'dvoluntarilywithdrawninfavorof VictorAbuHatabasapossiblecandidateforthesuccessionofRaphaeltothebishopric. Pained,andshockedatthisevidenceofpoliticalmaneuvering,AftimioschidedRev.George Kattoufforhisparticipationinthisdisrespectfulactivitybeforetheirbishopwasdecently buried. Thenextday,whenRev.MusaAbiHider,ofSpringfield,Mass.calledonAftimios,hespoke directlytoEmanual,saying,"YouaremyfriendandIlikeyouEmanual,butIdon'twantyou asmybishop."Intercepting,Aftimiossaid"OurBishopisstillamongstus,eventhohelies dead.Weshouldhaveenoughrespectforourlateleadertorefrainfromsuchdiscussionsat thistime."AbiHiderhotlyreplied,"Don'ttellmethis,tellittoEmanualandKerbawiforthey arebusilyengagedamongtheclergyandlaity,tellingthemyouhavecededthecandidacyto Emanual."(AstoldbyAftimios.) Afterthefuneral,whilepreparingtotakethelateafternoontrainbacktoMontreal,Aftimios receivedaphonecallfromMr.NajeebDiab,editoroftheArabicnewspaper"Ner'attel Gharb."Speakingforacommitteecomposedofhimself,WilliamKatziflis,EliasAttalla,and Abed'L'MessiahHaddad(Editorof"AsSayeh"),Mr.DiaburgedAftimiostodelayhis departureuntilthiscommitteehadtheopportunitytomeetanddiscusswithhimthegrave situationconfrontingthem.Heagreedtoseethemiftheycamepromptly.Thecommittee wasthediocesanvanguardoftheloyaldefendersofthesanctityofthecanonicalauthorityof theRussianPatriarchalSynodoveralltheOrthodox(EasternCatholic)inNorthAmerica,and werehighlyincensedatBishopGermanosGhehadi'sflagrantviolations.TheycitedGhehadi's

extensiveencroachmentontheBrooklyndiocesesincehisarrivalin1914;hisabuseofthe hospitalityofthelateBishopRaphaelwhohadgraciouslypermittedhisadmissionintohis dioceseonwhatwastohavebeenalimited,fundraisingmission;hisappealtonationalism bydeclaringthatallSyrianOrthodoxinNorthAmericarightfullyowedallegiencetothe AntiochianPatriarchate;and,hiseffronteryinpetitioningtheRussianSynodtoappointhim successortoRaphael.TheirparamountdesirewastostopGermanosfromtakingthe BrooklyndioceseovertotheAntiochianPatriarchatetobe"milkedlikecows".Theywanted tosupportandwageavigorouscampaignforonecandidatetosucceedRaphael.Accordingly, AftimiosandEmanualweretoldthatoneofthemshoulddefertotheother'scandidacy. Aftimiostoldthemhewasnotanaspiranttothepositionwhich,hesaidheconsideredasa spiritualcalling,ratherthanapoliticaloffice.HeassuredEmanualthathe'dnotmakethe slightestmovetowardthenomination.Emanual'sresponsewasanexplanationofthe electioncampaigntechniquesoftheAmericanpoliticalsystem,andadeclarationofhis intentiontoemploythesefullyinhisvigorouscampaignforthebishopric. AtthispointWilliamKatziflisspokeupsaying"Letusbefrank;bothofyouareourdear friendsbutbothofyoucannotbebishop.Wemustunitedinsupportingonlyoneifweare tobestrongenoughtopreventGermanosfromwinninggreatnumbers.Wemustuniteand becomewellorganizedtoovercometheadvantagehealreadyhas".Aftimiosreplied,saying, "Ihavenothingtosayinthismatterexceptmybeliefthatthebishopricisasacred appointmentwhichmustcomefromGod,towhomIleaveit.Myobligationistomyflock,to whoseservicemyentireeffortswillbedirected.YoumaysupportEmanualIhaveatrainto catch".HereturnedtoMontrealthateveningandappliedhimselftohispastorate. ACOMPULSORYCANDIDACY ThecleavageintheSyrianOrthodoxcommunityinNorthAmericawasnotwelldefined.On onesidewereGermanos'groupofdefectorstotheAntiochianSee.Intheoppositecamp weretheloyaldefendersofthecanonicaljurisdictionoftheRussianPatriarchalChurchover theBrooklyndiocese,whichwaspartoftheirNorthAmericanmission.Thelattergroup petitionedtheRussianArchbishopEvdokimtoconsecrateAftimiostoheadtheBrooklyn diocese,buthedeferredactioninhopesthatunityandpeacecouldberestoredinthe diocese.Duringthetimethediocesewasleftwithoutabishop,from2/1915to5/1917, Germanosaddedtohisunethicalactivitiestheordinationofprieststoservetheseparatists. Meanwhile,exceptwhenbusywithpastoraldutiesandservices,Aftimiosconfinedhimselfto hishomeinMontreal.Tothemanyfriendswhourgedhimtominglemorefreelyandmake himselfmorewidelyknown,particularlyinspheresofinfluence,herepeatedwhathe'dtold NajeebDiabandhiscommitteeinBrooklyn.Hereiteratedhisconceptofthebishopricasa

divinecallingtospiritualservice,atotalcommitmentanddedicationtoresponsibilitynotan opportunepoliticalpostforselfpromotion,personalpowerandprestige.Hetoldthemalso, thathedidnotconsiderhimselfworthyoftheoffice.Agroup,headedbytheinfluentialand prominentMr.MusaBuSmra,onedaycalledonAftimiosandattemptedtopersuadehimto travelthroughoutthedioceseandenlisttheaidofmeninapositiontohelphimwinthe nomination.Aftercitingverses3and5ofPsalm146,AftimiostoldthemthathebelievedGod tobetheonlyauthorofmanandhissalvation,andthatHealonewastheSourceand BestowerofGrace.Further,hetoldthem,thatChristJesus,theSaviour,wasthesame yesterday,todayandforever;theWay,theTruthandtheLife,andthatChristhad,without theologicaldirectionsimplydefinedtheWaywhenHesaid"Ifyeabideinme,andmyword abidesinyou,yeshallknowtheTruthandtheTruthshallsetyoufree.""Come",said Aftimios,"Letusputanendtothisdiscussionandhaveapleasantvisit."(astoldbyAftimios) Onanotheroccasion,anativeofZahle(partofBishopGermanos'homediocese),Shaheen SabaofTorontocametoAftimiosstatinghe'dbeenaskedbyGermanostoarrangeameeting betweenthetwo.SaidShaheen,GermanoshadsincererespectforAftimios,andfeltstrongly againstAbuHatab'sbecomingabishop,andthathewantedtopersonallyofferhisservice andcooperationinpreventingthisfromhappening. AftimiosaskedShaheenifGermanoshimselfhadceasedstrivingtogaintheBrooklyndiocese. HetoldShaheenthathewasaChristiansoldier,notapolitician,andcouldseenobenefit derivingfromameetingwiththeinsincereGermanos.Toavoidappearingarbitrary,andto giveShaheentheopportunityofwitnessingforhimselfGermanos'dissimulation,Aftimios agreedtothemeeting,whichwasheldatthehomeofMr.NajeebTabah,alsoanativeof Zahle.Germanos'preliminarystatementwasadeclarationofPatriarchGregorious'friendship andloveforAftimios."Whatelsehaveyoutosay?"AskedAftimios.Germanos'replywasa detaileddescriptionofthecampaignactivitiesofKerbawiandAbuHatab.Hetoldoftheir conspiraciesandscurrilousslanderingofAftimiosamongstclergyandlaity,whichhe'd witnessedinhisextensivediocesantravelsinwhichtheirpathshadoftencrossed.Also,of bribesbeingofferedforEmanual'ssupportwhileAftimioskepthimselfisolatedfromsocial gatheringsandpoliticaldiscussions.AgainAftimiosasked"Whatelsehaveyoutosay?" GermanosrepeatedhispreliminarystatementaddingthatthePatriarchwouldliketosee AftimiossucceedRaphael;thatheconsideredEmanualAbuHatabunfit,andwasconvinced hisattachmentwiththeRussianSynodwasnotbornofstrongconvictionsornobleprinciples, butbecausehethoughttheywouldhelphimbecomeRaphael'ssuccessor.Furthermore,the PatriarchaskedthatAftimiosrenouncehisallegiancetotheRussianSynodandsignapledge ofallegiancetotheAntiochianSee,followingwhichthePatriarchpromisedtoimmediately

dispatchanotherbishoptoaidGermanosinconsecratingAftimiosasbishopoftheBrooklyn diocese.AftimiostoldGermanosofthedualallegiancerolewhichhadbeenplayedbythe lateBishopRaphaelwhohadentertainedhighhopesofsucceedingthelateMilitoustothe Patriarchate,andofhisdisappointmentatnothavinghadthecourtesyofanofficial notificationofMilitious'deathsothathecouldhaveattendedthefuneralandparticipatedin theelectionofasuccessor.ImpatientlyGermanosaskedwhatthathadtodowiththesubject he'dbeendiscussing. Aftimiosrepliedhe'dciteditasanillustrationofthegameplayinghe,Emanual,Kerbawiand othercampaignerswereengagedin,inpursuitofselfishaimsandpersonalambitionswithout realregardfortheAntiochianPatriarchateortheRussianSynod.Asfortheproposalmadeto him,AftimiosremindedGermanosofthatportionoftheconsecrationservicewhichdeclared that"thegraceofGod,andtheheavenlyblessinghaschosentotheofficeofbishop". Moreover,hetoldGermanosheconsideredhimselfunworthyoftheoffice,themeaningof whichmeanttotalselfdenialandfollowinginthefootstepsoftheMasterinrendering servicetoGodandfellowman,andwhileaffirmingfullfaithinGodandareadinesstoobey asdirectedbyGod,hewasnotseekingtheofficeofbishop. ToGermanos'remarkthattheChurchconductedtheseaffairsintraditionalways,Aftimios reiteratedhisbeliefthatthechoicewasGod'salone;elsewereaconsecrationtoproceed supportedbythecombinedforcesoftheAntiochianSeeandtheRussianSynod,the Americancivilauthorities,thediocesanclergyandlaitywithoutGod'swill,atthevery momentofthelayingonofhandsbytheConsecrators,hewouldfalldead.Onthisnote,the meetingended,Messrs.ShaheenandTabahhavingwitnessedtheirreconcilabledifferences betweenhewhowouldservehisGodwithpureheartandclearconscience,withprincipled adherencetohisChurch'scanons,andthosewithdeadenedconsciencewho'dmake merchandisethereof.Germanoscontinuedhiswidespreadandseditious,schismatic activities. Notlongthereafter,EmanualtelephonedfromBrooklynaskingAftimiostomeetwithhimin Malone,NewYorkonavitallyimportantmatter,thenatureofwhichherefusedtoreveal.He didn'twanttobeseeninMontrealandhisurgencywouldnotbedenied,soAftimiosagreed tothemeeting.InMalone,EmanuelconfrontedAftimioswithquestionsastothenumberof clergyhehad."YoubroughtmetoMaloneforthis?"askedAftimios.WhereuponEmanuel begantolisttheadvantagehehadduetohisformerpositionassecretarytothelateBishop Raphael.AftimiostoldEmanuelhecouldseenoreasonforhisworrysincehehadtheclergy, thelaity,andtheRussianSynodinhispocket.Hetoldhimhe'dbeenawareofthemotive behindtheunaccustomedhospitalityimposeduponhimatthetimeofRaphael'sdeath,but

hadnotresentedit,sincehedidn'tcovetnorhadhesoughtaftertheofficeofbishop. Emanuelthensaidhe'dcometothepoint,declaringhewaswithdrawinghiscandidacy,and sayinghe'dcometointercedeforKerbawi.Kerbawifearedpossibleretaliationforhis defamationofAftimioswhilecampaigningforEmanuelandwantedawrittenpromisethatno punitiveactionwouldbetakenagainsthimwhenAftimiosbecamebishop.Aftimios'response wasthatitwouldbepresumptiveonhisparttoactonsuchanabsurdrequest,repeatingthat hewasinnowayseekingaftertheoffice,andwouldcontinuetobegovernedinallhis actionsbythespiritofGod."Kerbawi'sdifficultywillbesecuringprotectionfromyou,his erstwhilefoe,"Emanuelwastold. Meanwhile,theRussianSynodhadconvenedandnominatedAftimiostosucceedRaphael. TheArchbishopofCanadaandtheAleutianIslands,AlesanderNemolovski,wasdesignatedas themessengertobringwordtoAftimiosthattheconsecrationwouldtakeplaceinthe RussianCathedralinNewYork,andthathewouldbeoneofthecoconsecrators,with MetropolitanEvdokimaschiefconsecrator. ThecontinuationofGermanos'incendiaryactivitieshadconvincedMetropolitanEvdokim thathealingthebreachintheBrooklyndiocesewashopeless.Moreover,hewasplaguedby poachersfromotherquarterswhenthepreBolsheviksanctityofthehonoredNorth AmericandomainoftheRussianPatriarchalSynodwasviolatedbytheintrusionofhierarchs oftheGreekEcumenicalSeeofConstantinople(nowIstanbul).Soheauthorizedanelection intheBrooklyndioceseofasuccessortoRaphael,inwhich34outof41priests,witha correspondingmajorityofthelaity,choseAftimios.Evdokim'sreportoftheelectionresults wassenttotheRussianSynodwhichwaspresidedoverbyArchbishopSergius,whohadbeen namedLocumTenensbytheimprisonedPatriarchTikhon.WhentheSynodhadratifiedthe electionresults,MetropolitanEvdokimwascommissionedtoproceedwiththeconsecration. Accordingly,EvdokimassistedbyAlesanderNemoloski,BishopofAlaska,andStephen Dzubai,BishopofPittsburgh,consecratedAftimiosintheRussiancathedralofNewYorkCity onMay13,1917,whichwaswitnessedbymostofthediocesanclergyandnotables.Aftimios acceptedthesacredtrustthrustuponhim,undauntedbytheunenviablecircumstancesofa cruellysplitdioceseoverwhichthevultureshadbegangatheringduringthelifetimeofhis predecessor.Theunquenchedembersfromloftygoalssetwhileyetaseminarian,whichhad seeminglylaindormantsincehisemigrationfromLatakia,mightyetflareuptoeventual attainment! PARTTHREE "ButIhaveabaptismtobebaptizedwith;andhowamIstraitenedtillitbeaccomplished?" (Luke12:50)

"TothisendwasIbornandforthiscausecameIintotheworld.."(John18:37)Whenhetook thehelmofthestriferivendiocesanshipAftimioswaskeenlyawarethatonthealready agitatedwatersuponwhichhewaslaunching,turbulentwaveswerebeingmadeasan aftermathoftheRussianrevolution.WithimplicitfaithinGod'sdivinepurposeunshaken sincehehad,attheageof12chosentowalkthepathclearlyseentohavebeenchartedfor him,AftimiosacceptedhiscommissioninawillingactofsubmissiontoGod'swillratherthan asanoccasionoftriumph. Thepositiveconceptsandfirmconvictionswhichhadactivatedtheyouthfulseminarianand youngdeanoftheLatakiandiocesehadbeenreinforcedbytheexperienceofhismore matureyears.IfthechurchandherrepresentativesweretofunctionasGod'simplementsin accordancewiththeteachingsandpracticeofChristJesus,theyshouldbepureand wholesomechannelsconveyinglivingwaters.Theirlightshouldbeshiningandtheirsalt uncorruptedsoastobetrulythelightoftheworldandthesaltoftheearth,elsetheyshould becastoutasunfitforservicetoGodandman. Aftimiosfoundhisnewtitleandtheattendantsubservienceofotherstobean embarrassmentandabarrierbetweenhimselfandhisCreator.Hepreferredsimple fellowshipandsincerebrotherhoodwithoutanypreeminenceinaccordancewiththegospels andconstantlyprayedforenlightenmentandunderstanding.Hislifetimepracticeofsoul searchinginevitablyledhimtoquestionthepurposeforwhichhe'dbeenpropelledintothis responsibleoffice.Conceivably,beginningstepstowardneededreformswithinthechurch, withthesupportofPatriarchTikhon,mightpossiblynowbeundertaken.Buthowwould capriciousfatebehave?SupportedandprotectedbytheCzaristgovernment,theRussian Churchhadeffectivelyexercisedinternalcontrolandexternaldisciplineoverhermissions abroad,anddependentsisterOrthodoxchurchesofothernationswhichshesubsidized.With thedownfalloftheCzaristregime,followedbytheuntimelydeathoftheimprisoned PatriarchTikhon,thebereftchurchwasrenderedincapableoffunctioningeffectively. ConsequentlytheNorthAmericanmissionoftheRussianchurch,ofwhichtheBrooklyn diocesewasapart,becameopenpoachinggroundsfortherapaciousGreek,Antiochian,and EuropeanpatriarchateswhichhadlongcovetouslyeyedAmerica. DIOCESANORGANIZATIONALSTRUCTURE Tosecurethecooperationandassistanceoftheclergyandlaitythroughtheiractive participationinadministrativeresponsibilities,Aftimiosorganizedadiocesancounciland localchurchcommittee.Theformerconsistedoftheclergy,churchcommitteemenandlay representativesfromeachlocalparish,andwaspresidedoverbythebishop.Thelatterwas

composedofdulyelectedofficersandboardmembers,withtheparishpriestactingas honorarypresident.WhenhemovedtoBrooklyn,thebishop'smansewasstillbeingoccupied bythebrotherofthelateBishopRaphael,soAftimiosmovedintothelivingquarters attachedtothechurch.Whenlater,thechurchofficersdecidedtoreplacetheoldchurchwith alargermoreadequatechurch,acourtorderwasrequiredtoevictMr.Hawawiniandto securethedeedtotheproperty,whichhadbeenrecordedinRaphael'sname. NowthattheRussianSynodhadofficiallyfilledthevacancyoftheSyrianBrooklyndiocese,it hadbeenexpectedthatthechurchcanonwhichforbadetheintrusionintoadulyestablished andrecognizedmissionwouldbehonoredbytheAntiochianPatriarchateandher representative,Germanos.Instead,Germanos'unethicalactivitieswerecompoundedbythe issuanceofafalseproclamationthatPatriarchGregorioushadofficiallyappointedhimhead oftheBrooklyndiocese.Asaresult,ameetingofthediocesanCouncilwascalled,andthe followingactiontaken: AstatementofthedeplorabledisruptionoftheBrooklyndiocesewasdrawnupandan itemizedlistofdocumentedactsofseditionandinfractionsofChurchcanonsbyGermanos wassentinMarchof1919totheAntiochianPatriarchandhisSynod,whowereaskedtotake correctivemeasures. GREGORIOSHADDADPATRIARCHOFANTIOCH Whenformalpermissionwasrequested(inaccordancewithchurchcanons)byPatriarch GregoriosforafundraisingtouroftheBrooklyndiocesetobemadebyBishopGermanos, thelateBishopRaphael'sconditionalconsentrequiredthatthevisitorreturntohisown dioceseuponcompletionofhismission.However,whenhebegantoregularlyreceivelarge sumsofmoneyfromGermanos,hechosetooverlooktheextensionofGermanos'stay.This oversightofthePatriarchapparentlyemboldenedGermanos,forheissuedanannouncement thathe'dbeenappointedastheofficialpatriarchalrepresentativeintheBrooklyndiocese whichheallegedwasnowsubjecttothejurisdictionoftheAntiochianPatriarch.Patriarch GregoriosandtheAntiochianSynodmadeanimmediateapologytotheRussianPatriarchate, andissuedapublicdenialoftheclaimsmadebyGermanos.TheydeclaredGermanostobein disobedienceandrebelliontothechurchcanons,butneglectedtotakedisciplinaryaction,or toinformBishopRaphaelthatGermanos'proclamationwastotallyunauthorized.Gregorios wrotetheproAntiochianfaction(whichhadbeenfomentedbyGermanos)whohadwritten askinghimtoappointthemabishop,thathewouldnotviolatenormakemockeryofthe churchcanons.Heremindedthemofhissolemnpledgetoupholdanddefendthecanonsasa successorofthejustapostlesandaskedthemifthey'dliketoseedestroyedthatwhichhe wascommittedtopreserve?Heinformedthemmoreover,thatthediocesanbishopsofthe

Antiochianseewouldnotcountenancesuchamoveonhispart. Astimepassed,hebecamemorethaneverdistrustfuloftheunrulyGermanoswhichcaused himtoissueanofficialsummonsorderingGermanostoreturntohisnativedioceseandto writevariousgroupsandindividualsexpressinghisdisapprovalofGermanos'unauthorized activitiesandoverextendedabsence.Thiswasapreliminarysteptoplanshewasbeginning toformulateforthefurtheranceofhithertounattainableprivateaspirations.Thesecondstep inGregorios'strategywaspromptedbytheinternalupheavaloftheformerlyallpowerful CzaristprotectedandsupportedRussianPatriarchate.OnAugust14,1921,thePatriarch wrotethepracticallyimpotent,undertheBolsheviks)RussianHolySynodstatingthatthe nearly1/4millionSyrianOrthodoxcommunicantsinNorthAmericawishedtoreaffiliatewith theirnativeAntiochianchurch.Heexpressedstrongfearsthattheymightdefectfromthe faithiftheyweredenied,andrequestedauthorizationtoannextheBrooklyndiocesetothe AntiochianPatriarchate. Onthe17thofJanuary,1922,theRussianSynodwroteGregoriostellinghimoftheirdifficulty inmaintainingcommunicationswiththeirspiritualmissioninNorthAmericanandtheir consequentinabilitytoascertainthepositionandthinkingofthosewhoweresubjecttothe jurisdictionoftheRussianchurch.Toavoidmakinganerrorinjudgement,theSynodasked whatpossiblemeasuresmightbetakentowardapeacefulsettlementofthematterwiththe leastpossibleinjurytoBishopAftimioswhowasheadoftheSyrianmissionandwhichwould leastdisruptthemissionanditsprogress. Statingtheirreadinesstoconsiderwhateverstepsmightbeproductiveofbeneficialresults, theSynodsaidthatjurisdictionaltransition,thoughcontrarytofundamentalchurchcanons andtraditions,wasnotimpossibleifindeeditweretheONLYmeansofrestoringordertothe Brooklyndioceseandofhealingthewoundsofschism,astheAntiochianPatriarchhad declared.Theyreiteratedthatthereshouldbenoprejudicialconsequenceoranything detrimentaltothepeaceandwelfareofthatsectionoftheSyrianspiritualmissionwhichwas headedbyBishopAftimios. Gregorios'lettertotheRussianSynodwhichhadfailedtomentionGermanos'continued uncanonicalpresenceandsubversiveactivitiesthroughouttheBrooklyndiocese,had obviouslyconvincedtheSynodoftheextremedegreeofwidespreadapostasyimminently threatenedamongtheNorthAmericanSyrianOrthodox.However,Gregorioswasfarfrom pleasedwiththeprovisoattachedtothelimitedassent,andwiththeemphasisplacedbythe RussianSynodontheirdesiretoactinaccordancewithchurchcanonsandtraditions. Therefore,hedecidedtotryothermeanstoattainhisends,namelythroughtheKarlovci

Synod.[Editor'snote:ThisSynodisthe"RussianOrthodoxChurchOutsideRussia,"alsocalled the"RussianOrthodoxChurchAbroad."] TheKarlovciSynodwascomposedofbishopswhohadforsakentheirpostsatthetime PatriarchTikhonwasimprisonedbytheBolsheviks.ThesehadconvenedatSurmanski KarlovciundertheleadershipofMetropolitanAntoniosofKiev.TothemGregorioswrote, tellingofthepartisanshipwhichhaddividedtheBrooklyndioceseandthatthefactionled bytheAntiochianBishopGermanoswantedtobringtheBrooklyndioceseunderthe jurisdictionoftheAntiochianSee.Heexplainedhisreluctancetoimplementhisorder recallingGermanostohisnativedioceseforfearsuchactionwouldresultinGermanos' outrightrepudiationofchurchauthorityandbringaboutacompleteschismintheAntiochian church.Hetoldthemhe'dwrittentheSynodinRussia,askingcooperationinsolvingthe problem,andthattheirreplyhadbeenthatannexationoftheBrooklyndiocesebythe AntiochianSeewasnotanimpossibility. GregoriosaskedtheKarlovciconclavetoagreetotheappointmentofArchdeaconThomas MalloofasbishopoftheBrooklyndiocese,withthestipulationthatAftimiosandGermanos bemadetowithdraw.Hesaiditwashisopinionthiswouldquellthedisturbanceandsecure thediocesewithintheOrthodoxfold,addingthathedidnotconsiderthedissolutionofa canonlawsingulartothismatter. MetropolitanAntoniosandhisKarlovcicolleagueswroteexpressingdeepconcernoverthe "abscesscausedbytheschismintheBrooklyndiocese",andstatingtheirlackofauthorityto takeofficialaction.Theyexpressedinterestinpreservingorderandprotectingthewelfareof theSyrianbranchofthemissionoftheRussianOrthodoxChurchinNorthAmerica,andgave theiropinionthatnointerferenceshouldbepermittedwithoutpriorconsultationwith MetropolitanPlaton.(MetropolitanPlaton,formerheadofthetheologicalcollegeatthe UniversityofKievwasarefugeeinNewYorkatthattime).Moreover,Antoniossaiditwould beunjusttomakeajudgementconcerningaspecificdiocesewhichhadalawfulbishop, clergyandlaity.Hethoughtanyactionshouldbeprecededbyafactfindingconferencewith thediocesanprincipalswhoshouldnotbetreatedlightlyasacommoditytobeexchanged,or asslavestobetraded.OnJune14,1923,however,theKarlovcibishopsreversedthemselves andgaveadecisiontotheeffectthattheSyrianfoldinNorthAmericacouldbedivided betweentheRussianandtheSyrianbishopsifthisconformedwiththedesireandhadthe consentoftheflock,andifitwereinaccordwithamutualagreementbetweenbothNorth Americanbishops. ATORPEDOFIRED

SyrianandRussianOrthodoxinNorthAmericawerealikeshockedonJune8,1923,whenthe 453rdissueofthenewspaper"ElHediyat"carriedtheofficialannouncementofPatriarch GregoriosofhisjurisdictionovertheSyrianOrthodoxinNorthAmericacallingforthe nominationofthreecandidates,ofwhomonewouldbeelectedandconsecratedbishop. DashedwerethehopesthatthePatriarch'sincreasedpressureonGermanostoreturntohis nativedioceseweremeanttoalleviatethechaoticconditionsinstigatedbyhim.The indignantBrooklynDiocesanCouncil,andtheindividualclergywiththeirlocalchurch committees,immediatelydispatchedtelegramsofprotestandrepudiationofthisunethical act.LikewisedissentingwerethebishopsoftheAntiochianSynod. AftimiosreceivedlettersfromanumberoftheAntiochianbishopsavowingtheirinnocence ofthePatriarch'saction,aboutwhichhehadneitherinformednorconsultedwithany memberoftheSynod.TheystatedtheyhadtakenexceptiontothePatriarch'sactionin privateandpubliclybymeansofanopenlettertothenewspapers,inwhichtheyconcurred withtheveracityoftheBrooklynDiocese'sconvictionthattheenactmentoftheAntiochian Patriarchwasunjustandmotivatedentirelybyselfishnessspurredbygreedforpowerand wealth.Ironically,thedespotismfromwhichAftimioshadsoughtescapebyemigrationnow spannedoceansandcontinentstoplaguehim. Aftimioshadengrossedhimselfwhollyintheorganization,stabilizationandadministrationof anextensivelydisrupteddioceseconfidentthatthePatriarchwouldbeguidedbychurch canonsandtraditions,andtrustfullyexpectinghimtotakestepstocorrectthepernicious mischiefofGermanos'activities.Instead,andwithoutthecourtesyofanyinformational exchangeorattemptatanytypeofnegotiationswhichconceivablymighthaveresultedina salutarysolutionoftheproblem,Gregorioshadlaunchedhistorpedo. GERASIMUSM'SUERRA,BISHOPOFBEIRUT AnEpiscopalianchurchdignitary,visitingtheAntiochianpatriarchatehadsuggestedthata PatriarchalrepresentativeattendtheupcomingEpiscopalChurchConference,scheduledto beheldinOregon,andreporttotheConferenceit'sstateofaffairs.(ThePatriarchaltreasury hadbeendepletedsinceterminationofsubsidiesbytheRussianCzaristchurch.)Thiswasthe professedreasongivenforthearrivaltotheU.S.onSeptember6,1922,ofGerasimus M'Suerra.TheconcealedreasonforhiscomingwastolaythegroundworkfortheJune8, 1923firingofthePatriarch'storpedo,aslatereventsrevealed. Inaccordancewithprotocol,Gerasimus,accompaniedbyhissecretarydeaconAntonyBashir, andtheArchimandriteVictorAbuAssally,presentedhimselfasaguestintheBrooklyn diocesetoAftimioswhoreceivedhimgraciouslyandaccordedhimduerespectand

hospitality.TheyparticipatedwithAftimiosinconductingservicesintherecentlyacquired andrenovatedcathedral,whichGerasimustoldVictor,"boreeloquenttestimonytoAftimios' diligence".GerasimusopenlyexpresseddisapprovalofGermanos'activities,declaringhis desiretohelphealthewoundsthey'dcaused,andtobringpeacetotheBrooklyndiocese.He displayedfriendlinesstowardAftimiosandshowedimpartialityamongtheclergyandlaityof bothfactions. AftimioswaspresentattheEpiscopalianconferenceinOregonwhereGerasimusreportedon theinsolvencyoftheAntiochianPatriarchate.Attachedtothesubstantialgranttothe PatriarchatemadebytheConferencewasthefollowingarrangement: Gerasimuswastoelevatehissecretary,AntonyBashir,fromdeacontoarchimandrite,and designatehimastheAntiochianenvoytotheEpiscopalianchurchinNorthAmerica.Assuch, hisdutieswouldbetoencouragetheSyrianOrthodoxwhohadnochurchoftheirown,to affiliatewiththelocalEpiscopalianchurch,forwhichhewastoreceive$300.00monthly. Aftimioswasapainedbuthelplesswitnessofthetransaction. ReadynowtoreturntoBeirut,Gerasimussealedthecompletionofhismissionwithaletter fromthePatriarchwhichhesenttotheArabicnewspaper,"ElNis'r"TheEagle).Theessential messageofthepastoralletterwasacallonthefaithfultoparticipateintheselectionofthree nomineesforthebishopric,fromwhichtheSynodwouldelectonetopresideoverthe schismaticfactionoftheBrooklyndiocese. AppearanceofthePatriarch'sletterin"ElNis'r"outragedtheaggrievedBrooklyndiocese. Theoutbreakofindignationwasevidencedintheeditorialsof"Mir'autelGharb"(Mirrorof theWest)andthe"AsSayeh"(TheTraveler).Theformer'seditorialwascaptioned"Bishop M'SuerraIgnitesFiresofSeditionandFleestheFlames".Thiseditorialgaveadocumented recordofthefoundingoftheOrthodoxMissioninNorthAmericaandtheestablishmentof theBrooklyndiocesefortheSyrianOrthodoxbytheRussianPatriarchalChurch.Itcitedthe timehonoredcanonlawsoftheChurchwhichgivetothefoundersofamissioninnewly establishedterritorythesolerighttofunctiontherein,andabsolutelyforbadeany trespassinginother'sjurisdictionaldomain,exceptwiththeconsentofthelawfullypresiding prelate,givenforspecificandtemporarycause.NajeebDiab,theeditor,castigatedthe AntiochianPatriarchandemissariesfortheirflagrantdisregardoftheRussianOrthodox Church'scanonicaljurisdictionovertheBrooklyndiocesewhich,hewentontosayhadlived inpeaceandharmonybeforetheperniciouspracticesoftheintruders.Addressinghimselfto thePatriarch,Mr.Diabasked"DoesnotthePatriarchknowthathiswillisnotabovethe canons?....andthathecannotimposehiswilluponaselfennobledpeoplewhohavecreated

adiocesebydiligenteffortandthesweatoftheirbrow?ThePatriarchshouldknowthatthis foldisliberatedfromallautocraticauthority...andthatitrejectstyranny...thatitwillcombat clericaldespotismasitfoughtthetyrannyoftheOthmanicgovernmentforjustice,withthe right,bythetruth,andonlytherightshallprevail."ToBishopGerasimus,Mr.Diabwrote,on June25,1923,thathispaperdidnotcaretopublishseditionwhichnoonewithalive consciencecouldwriteorpublish."Ashepherdshouldgatherandprotect,ratherthanscatter andtearasundertheflocks",wroteDiab,and"Inrefusingtopublishyourdocument,wefeel weareprotectingthepeoplefromyourunjustpoliticsanduncanonicaldeeds,thatwethus betterservethosewhoseonlycrimewastheirhospitalitytoyourEminence."/S/Mr.Najeeb Diab ThetoneandsubstanceofMr.A.Haddad'seditorialin"AsSayeh"wasessentiallythesame Mr.Diab's,withthefollowingratherpoignantconclusion:"Iprayyoumaylivetoseeand hearwhatwillhappentotheOrthodoxinAmerica;perchanceyourconsciencewillbe awakenedbytheconsequencesofyourpromulgation."/S/Mr.A.Haddad VICTORABUASSALLY TheArchimandriteVictorhadtouredtheBrooklyndiocesewithBishopGerasimusbutdidnot returnwhenthelatterdid,ostensiblytovisitwithrelatives.Thathe'dbeenpartyto Gerasimus'secretmissiontheU.S.wassubsequentlyrevealedbythePatriarch'sofficial announcementthatVictorhadbeenelectedtobeconsecratedbishopovertheseparatists fromtheBrooklyndiocese.ThegroupofAntiochianbishopswhohadprotestedtheJune9, 1923proclamationofthePatriarchdeclaringituncanonical,nowbecamesoincensedatthis addedoutragethattheyrenouncedtheirallegiancetohimandelectedArsanius,bishopof Latakia,tobetheirPatriarch.TheeffectofthepatriarchalannouncementofAbuAssally's electionontheschismaticsoftheBrooklyndiocesewastodividethemintotwocamps.The proGermanosfaction,takencompletelybysurprise,declaredtheelectionfraudulent,the Patriarchunjust,andthreatenedtorepudiateGregoriosandoperateindependently. ThewedgedrivenintotheBrooklyndiocesebyGermanos,forwhichPatriarchGregorioshad earlierapologizedtotheRussianChurch,wasnowirrevocablyreinforcedbyhisown arrogationofthesovereigntyoftheBrooklyndiocese! THECONSECRATIONOFABUASSALLY DespitealltheeffortsofBishopAftimiostopersuadeBishopZechariahtodelaythe consecration,pendingafullunitedstudyofthematter;VictorAbuAssallywasconsecrated onNovember8,1924asBishopofNewYork,intheAlbanianOrthodoxChurchinWorcester, Mass.ThecoconsecratorwastheGreekBishopPenteleimon,BishopofNablos,ofthe

JerusalemSee,whosecomingtoWorcesterforthispurposehadbeenfacilitatedbyan agreementbetweenthePatriarchsofAntiochandJerusalem,respectively. SomeoftheBishopsoftheAntiochianSeewerehighlyincensedattheactionbythePatriarch ofsecretlysendingZechariahtoNewYorktoconsecrateVictorwhichhadnotbeenbrought upbeforenorapprovedbytheSynod.ThethreeBishopswhotelegraphedtheirprotestwere AlexanderTahhan,BishopofTripoli,ArsaniusHaddad,BishopofLatakiaandBasilious,Bishop ofAckkar.BishopBoulosAbuAdal,ofBeirutwrotethePatriarchandtheSynodsayingthat theconsecrationofVictorAbuAssallyshouldnotonlyberescindedbuttheentireAntiochian actioninNorthAmericashouldbeabrogated.Neitheroftheseactionshadanyeffectonthe Patriarch.TheRussianRevolutionwhichhadwroughthavocwiththeMotherChurchin Russia,hadrenderedtheNorthAmericamissionanopenarenaforintrudersandhadmade herBishoptheirhelplessvictim.BishopZechariahandthenewlyconsecratedBishopVictor immediatelybeganatourofthediocese,encouragingclergyandlaitytorepudiatethe RussianPatriarchaljurisdictionunderBishopAftimios,andtosubmittoAntiochian PatriarchaljurisdictionunderBishopVictor.ThisappealtoNationalPatriotism,bythe Patriarch'spersonalenvoy,wasbothimpressiveandeffectivelyinfluential.Itreinforcedthe schismsinlocalparisheswhichGermanos'activitieshadinstigated,andproducedmoreofthe sameinotherparishes,tothepointofcivillitigation. Germanoswas,atthispoint,beingthreatenedbythePatriarchwithexcommunicationifhe failedtoreturntohisnativediocese.ReceivingthesuspendedpriestSlaimanBoulosof Pittsburghwasaviolationofthecanonlawwhich:(1)forbadethereleaseofasuspended clergymanbyanyoneexcepttheonewhohadoriginallytakenthedisciplinaryactionand;(2) prohibitedacceptancebyaBishopofanyclergymanfailingtopresentavalidreleasefromhis previoussuperior.NowthathewasofficiallyreplacedbyBishopVictor,hecouldnolonger withimpunitydisregardthePatriarch'sorder;andshortlythereafter,returnedtoSyria. BishopZechariah'shasteincarryingoutthePatriarch'sorderofconsecratingVictor,hadin effect,putthePatriarch'sofficialsealonthecleavageoftheBrooklynDiocese.Hisrefusalto delaytheconsecration,pendingmeetingwiththeDiocesanclergyandlayleaders,as requestedbyBishopAftimios,hadabortedthelatter'ssanguinehopesofeffectingapeaceful settlementthroughnegotiation. BISHOPZECHARIAHRAGI AftimiosandZechariahhadbeenfellowstudentsatthetheologicalseminaryinBeirut,andas deacons,eachhadservedassecretarytoabishop.DuringameetingoftheSynodatthe AntiochianPatriarchate,Zechariahhadhelpedhimselftosomeofthechoicefruitofthe

Patriarch'sguardedprimefruittrees.WhenPatriarchMiletiusDumaninoticedthemissing fruit,hedemandedoftheBishopsthattheoffenderbeidentifiedandproperlydisciplined. KnowingthatdeaconZechariahwouldbesubjectedtohumiliatingcorporalpunishmentby hisbishop,Gregorios,andwantingtosparehimthepainandembarrassment,Aftimios steppedforwardandconfessed,forheknewthatArsanius,hisbishop,wouldbecontentwith averbalrebuke. Almosttwodecadeslater,whenAftimiosreceivedaphonecallfromZechariah,nowbishop ofHaran,Syria,sayinghewasinWorcester,Mass.hewastakenbysurprise;thecanonical protocolspecificallyrequiredthatvisitingclergyreceiveclearancefromthepresidingofficial ofthediocesebeingvisited,andthecourtesyofapersonalcalluponarrival.Aftimiostold Zechariahhowsurprisedhewasathisdisregardoftheproperprocedure,sayinghewould nothaveexpectedhimto"climbupsomeotherway,butthathewouldenterbythedoor". (John10:1) Zechariah'sreplywasthathewantedAftimiostogotoWorcestertosignthedocumentsent bythePatriarchforhissignature,followingwhichhe'dreturnwithAftimiostoBrooklyn. Decliningtorevealthenatureofthedocument,Zechariahwouldonlysaythathe'dbeen chosentobringthedocumentforAftimios'signaturebecauseoftheirlongfriendship. Eventually,atAftimios'insistence,herevealedthatthedocumentwasapledgeofallegiance tothePatriarchofAntioch,andrenunciationofallotherauthorityandjurisdiction.When toldbyAftimiosthatGermanoshadpreviouslyaskedhimtoparticipateinthiscollusion, ZechariahprotestedhisloveforAftimiosandwishtohelphim,addingthathewasunder orderstoconsecrateAbuAssallyifAftimiosrefusedhissignature.

lifeofAftimouspart3 AManofVirtue ABiographyofArchbishopAftimiosOfieshbyMrs.Aftimios(Mariam)Ofiesh Aftimiosexpressedhissorrowforthepeoplewho'dbecomethepreyofthePatriarchandhis SynodwhowerebuildingonthesubversivegroundworklaidbyGermanos.Statinghe'd takennoactionwithoutconferringwithhisdiocesanclergy,councilandlayrepresentatives, AftimiosaskedZechariahtopleasedelaytheconsecrationofAbuAssallyuntilhecouldget togetheradelegationtomeetwithhimandexplorewithhim(Zechariah)themostsuitable courseofactiontobetakenforthegoodofthediocese.Thisrequestwasrefusedby Zechariahwhoterminatedthephonecallbysayinghe'dholdAftimiosresponsible.Thatsame day,October3,1924,AftimiossentaspecialmessengertoZechariahwithaletterprotesting hisinterferenceintheaffairsoftheBrooklyndiocese.Zechariahwasaskedwhatthe responsibilitywaswhichhe'dvociferouslyspokenof,andwhatofficialauthorityhehadto bindAftimioswithresponsibility?TellingZechariahthathedidn'tconsideraphonecalland invitationtodinnerinWorcestertobeincompliancewithcanonicalprotocol,Aftimiosagain importuneddelayintheconsecrationofAbuAssallypendingnegotiationforapeaceful settlement.Hecautionedagainsttheperformanceofanyofficialactwithoutprior consultationandconfirmation.Theresponsibilityforanyharmfulconsequencesof disregardingthewarningplacedonZechariahwhowasurgedtonotbetheonetocomplete thedevastationoftheBrooklyndiocesewhichhadbegunwiththeAntiochianenvoys precedinghim.Zechariah'sreplywasdeliveredonOctober24,1924,toBasiliousKerbawi, Aftimios'vicar,byArchimandriteVictorAbuAssallyandMichaelAnsara.TheytoldKerbawi theconsecrationwouldbepostponedifthiswouldbringpeacetothediocese.Basilios relayedAftimios'invitationtoZechariah'sdelegatestocometohishomeandpersonally discussthesubjecttoseewhatstepsmightfeasiblybetaken,butVictordeclined,sayinghe'd beembarrassedtogotoAftimios. Zechariah'sletter,writtenOctober22,1924,chidedAftimiosforreferencestocanonical protocol,sayingfatigueandillhealthhadpreventedhimfromcomingdirectlytoBrooklyn, andreproachedAftimiosfordecliningtogotoWorcester.Enclosedwiththeletterwasthe documentthePatriarchhadsenttobesignedbyAftimios,whichZechariah'sletteraskedhim tonowsigntobringaboutpeaceandrestoreharmony.HeavowedhisloveforAftimios, wishedhimhappinessandsuccess,concludingwithaprayerthathemightaccomplishhis missionandthattheymightmeettogether. Aftimios'requestforameetingbetweenZechariahandarepresentativediocesandelegation wasdisregardedbyZechariahwhosaidhewouldproceedwiththeconsecrationofAbu AssallyifAftimiosfailedtosignthepledgingunconditionalsubmissiontotheAntiochian

Patriarch.WhileAftimios'foremostdesirewastoseethelongfesteringwoundsofthe Brooklyndiocesehealed,hecouldtakenoactionwithouttheknowledgeandconsentof thosewhohadbeenresponsibleforthecreationoftheBrooklyndiocesewithinthe canonicallyestablishedmissionoftheRussianPatriarchalChurch.Ledbytheinfluential Arabicnewspapers,"Mir'autelGharb"and"AsSayeh"intheirpastresistancetothe subversiveactivitiesofGermanosandGerasimos,theloyaliststotheRussianPatriarchal jurisdictionresentedthedictatorialtechniquesofthePatriarchwhichmadethemmore adamantintheirresistance. ABUASSALLYCONSECRATED VictorAbuAssallywasconsecratedasbishopofNewYorkintheAlbanianOrthodoxChurch ofWorcester,Massachusetts,November8,1924,bybishopsZechariahRajiandPenteleimon, aGreekbishopoftheJerusalemSee,inaccordancewithaprivatelyprearrangedagreement betweenthepatriarchsofAntiochandJerusalemwithouttheknowledgeoforapprovalby theirrespectivesynods. BishopsAlexanderTabhanofTripoli,ArsaniusHaddadofLatakia,andBasiliousofAkkar expressedtheirdissenttotheconsecrationbysendingtelegramsofprotesttoPatriarch Gregorios.BoulosAbuAdal,bishopofBeirutwrotethePatriarchandtheSynodastrong letterstatingunequivocallythathethoughtAbuAssally'sconsecrationshouldberescinded andtheentireactivitiesintheBrooklyndiocesebyAntiochiansbeabrogated.However,the Russianrevolution,havingincapacitatedtheRussianPatriarchalSynod'sabilitytoexercise propercontrols,disciplineorprotectionoftheirdomainathomeorabroad,hadmade Gregoriosimpervioustocanonicaljustice. Victor'sconsecrationservedtoimplementthePatriarch'scallonBishopGermanostoreturn tohisnativedioceseunderthreatofexcommunication.FollowingGermanos'returntoSyria, theparisheshehadorganizedwerevisitedandconfirmedbyZechariahandVictor,which precipitatedanoutbreakofcivillitigationovercustodyofchurchproperty. ANAGITATEDPEOPLE ThesceneofthemostextremedisorderwasstagedinPittsburghwhereanattempttowrest controlofthechurchwasmadebybishopsZechariah,Victor,andthesuspendedpriest SlaimanBoulos.Theaffrontedparishionersstagedariotwhentheseclergyenteredtheir churchandpoliceinterventionwasrequiredtoquellit.Litigationensuredinwhichitwas broughtoutthat:(a)Asuspendedpriestcouldbeabsolvedonlybythebishopwhohad suspendedhim;andthatthecanonsalso(b)forbadeanyotherbishopfromacceptingany priestwhodidnotpossessavalidreleasefromhisbishop.(Acceptanceofthesuspended

priestSlaimanBoulosbyBishopsZechariahandVictorwasanotherviolationofthecanons.) Thedecisionofthecourtofcivillawgrantedlawfuljurisdictionoverthechurchtothe BrooklyndioceseestablishedbytheRussianPatriarchalChurchmission. INQUESTOFPEACE Aftimiosissuedapastorallettertothediocesanclergyandlaityinwhichthecommunications exchangedbetweenZechariahandhimselfweredetailed.Theundulyhastefulactof consecratingVictorAbuAssallyhadshatteredhopesforanegotiatedpeacefulsettlement, andseveredtherelationshipbetweentheBrooklyndioceseandtheAntiochianOrthodox Church. AftimiosconvokedadiocesancongressinBrooklynfromthe25thtothe27thofMarch,1925, forthepurposeofstudyingtheprevalentsituation,andgivingconsiderationtothepossible remedialandprotectivecoursesofaction.Followinginvocationandpreliminary parliamentaryprocedure,asummaryofthechainofevents,beginningwiththeRaphael GregoriosnegotiatedagreementtothefundraisingadventofGermanosintotheBrooklyn diocese,anditssubsequentdevelopments,leadingtothecurrentstateofanarchywasgiven byAftimios.Hetoldhowgreatlyhedeploredthetaxinganddepletionofeconomicresources bytheongoinglitigationinseveraloftheparishes,andthemisdirectionandwasteofsocial andculturalenergiesandpotentialities.Stressinghisutterabhorrenceofstrifeandviolence andhisheartfeltdesirefortheunificationofthediocese,parochialpeaceandorder,he offeredtoresignfromofficeiftherebythedesiredobjectivecouldbegained. Theconventionwasurgedtoconductafreeandopendiscussion,givingconsiderationtoall possiblewaysandmeanswhichmightcontributethegreatestgoodtothegreatestnumber; andtoexplorefromeverydimensionalperspectiveallavenues,settingthegeneraldiocesan goodandwelfareaboveandbeyondthatofanyindividualorgroup.Declaringhimselfun attachedtotheepiscopacywhichheagainemphasizedhisreadinesstorenounce,Aftimios askedtobeexcusedsothatthesessionswouldbefreefromanyconstraintorpressurehis presencemightimpose,andleft. PRELUDETOTHECONGRESS ThesovereigntyoftheRussianOrthodoxPatriarchalSynodoverallthosewhoprofessedthis faithinNorthAmericahad,sincethefoundingofthefirstEasternOrthodoxCatholicmission inNorthAmericaviaAlaska,beenunquestioninglyacknowledgedbyalltheautonomous EasternOrthodoxCatholicPatriarchates.Theyhadadheredtothetimehonoredtraditions andchurchcanons,makingnoattempttoinfringeuponthissovereigntyuntiltheAntiochian Trojanhorse,Germanos'arrivalintheBrooklyndiocese.

AttendingthisemergencydiocesancongressweremanySyrianimmigrantswhohadfledfrom theintolerablyoppressivetyrannyoftheOttomanEmpire.Theyhad,inAugust1895, successfullypetitionedtheRussianPatriarchtodesignateaSyrianpriesttoservethem,which wastheculminationofhappinessintheirenjoymentoffreedomsandprivilegesoftheir chosenland.Ofthesesacredtreasurestheywouldnotbereadilydispossessed!Alsopresent werethepublishers,editors,andwriterswhosewritingsintheArabicpresshadbeen instrumentalintheorganizationofparishesintheoutlayingcommunitiesforwhompriests hadbeenrecommendedbyArchimandriteRaphaelHawawinitobeordainedbythepresiding Russianbishop.ThedevelopmentofacommunityofSyrianchurcheseventuallyledtothe creationoftheBrooklyndioceseforwhichRaphaelhadbeenconsecratedbishopbyTikhon. Theresolutionsoftheconferencefollow: WHEREAS:TheSyrianOrthodoxadherentsoftheBrooklyndioceseconsidertheRussian OrthodoxChurchtobetheirMotherChurch,andtheyasherchildren.Thereforetheyhave resolvedthatnopoweroreffortofanyAntiochianorRussianpartisanshallseparatethem fromtheirMotherChurch,theRussianOrthodoxChurch,towhomtheyfeelboundbythe strongestofbonds,inreligiousties,and WHEREAS:Theirbishop,HisGrace,Aftimiosis,aswashispredecessor,thelateBishop Raphaelandhissuccessorshallbe,abishopoftheRussianOrthodoxChurch,therefore subjectonlytothecanonicalpatriarchoftheRussianOrthodoxChurch.Thushasitbeen,is now,asitshouldbe,andsoitshallbe! THEREFORE:We,theclergyandlaydelegatesoftheBrooklyndiocesewhomakeupThebody ofthisassemblywhichconvenedonMarch25,1925,doherebydeclareandconfirmthe followingfacts: THAT:TheBrooklynDioceseisrightfullypresidedoverbyHisEminence,BishopAftimios,and THAT:BishopAftimioswaslawfullyelectedbythemajorityoftheclergyandlaityofthe diocese,and THAT:TheBrooklyndiocesewasfoundedbytheHolyRussianOrthodoxChurch,andin accordancewiththecanonlawsoftheOrthodoxChurch,theBrooklyndioceseshouldremain asithasbeen,subjecttotheRussianOrthodoxChurch,and THAT:Onthissoundprinciplethediocesecametobeundertheadministrativeauthorityof thecapableandjudiciousBishopAftimios,andfurthermore,thediocesehastraversedthe tidalwaveofthetroubledOrthodoxsea,and THAT:Thediocesehasbeenimperiledbyincreasingglobalpoliticalunrest,particularlyin Russia,and THAT:TheviolentoverthrowoftheCzaristgovernmenthassoshakentheHolyRussian OrthodoxChurchastohavemadeherfunctionallyincapableandadministrativelyimpotent,

and THAT:UndersuchconditionsitisextremelydifficultfortheheadoftheOrthodoxChurchin Russiatofreelyspeakoreffectivelyrenderofficialjudgements. THEREFORE:Itisresolvedbythisconvention THAT:Weshallstandfirmlyonourfirstprinciples,and THAT:WeshallrejectanydecisionemanatingfromeithertheAntiochianortheRussian Patriarchates,and THAT:OurpositionregardingthetrespassesoftheAntiochianSeeagainstourdioceseisthat weshallseverourspiritualfellowshipwiththeAntiochianSeeinaccordancewiththecanon lawswhichsheviolated.Weshallwelcometheresumptionofthisrelationshipwiththe restorationoftherightsofthisdiocese,andthemaintenanceandpreservationofthecanons. /S/VeryRev.SolomonFournainySecretary ATORMENTEDSOULTAKESINVENTORY Standingonthethresholdofanewdimensionoflife'sstage,Aftimiospainfullywitnessedand registeredthemostbizarreperformancehe'deverseen.Theweirdplay,directedand enactedbytheAntiochianperformersgavepositivetestimonytothecollapseofthemajesty, glory,andinfluenceoftheRussianOrthodoxChurch. Theflockwhichfatehadconsignedtohiscare,caughtnowbetweentherapaciousclamoring Antiochianwolvesandthecontentiouswarriorspoisedforviolentaction,hadtheirhopeful eyesfocusedonAftimios,expectingdeliverance.ClosetedinhissanctuaryAftimiosfervently praysforstrengthandguidance.Thevastpanoramaofthemomentouseventsinhislife flashedthroughmemoryrecallingtheemotionalreactionstothedistressfulandhappy occasionsexperienced.Theanguishofthe12yearoldboyaccustomedtopracticingfilial pietyandobedience,atchoosingavocationcontrarytohisfather'swillcompoundedwhen emigratingwithoutbiddingfamilyafondfarewelltoescapewitnessingtheirgriefathis inabilitytocomplywiththeircertainpleathathenotemigrate.(Aslongashelived, wheneverhetoldofalettersenthimbyhisfather,addressinghimas"DearFriend"soon afterhearrivedinNewYork,hisvoicebroke,andhiseyesfilled.) Thehappyaccomplishmentsasaseminarian,thetremendoussuccessasanadvocateofthe downtrodden,theoppressed,theneedyofallsects,assecretarytotheLatakianbishopthe griefatthecrushingblowwhichhaddisintegratedthebrightlypromising"SyrianYouth"

association,dealtbytheautocratic,shortsightedPatriarchDumani,largelyresponsiblefor hisdirectingAftimios'thoughtstowardthelibertyandfreedomofAmerica.Scenesfromhis experienceasapastorinMontreal,thehornsofthedilemmaonwhichhe'dfoundhimself whenhewasconscriptedtothebishopric,solikehispresentpredicamentbroughtforthhis agonizedprayer,"O,myGod,showmehowtogo,whattodo;hereamIwiththesheepof yourpasturethreatenedbyvultureswithoutandendangeredbyintransigencewithinlead usaccordingtothywill".Unfailinglyasever,cametheresponsefromhisconstant companion,theScriptures,whichhetookasapersonalletterfromhisFatherGod,forhis guidance,"Fearnot,forIhaveredeemedthee,Ihavecalledtheebythyname;thouartmine. WhenthoupassestthroughthewatersIwillbewiththee,andthroughtherivers,theyshall notoverflowthee:Whenthouwalkestthroughthefire,thoushaltnotbeburned;neither shalltheflamekindleuponthee,forIamtheLordthyGod...thySaviour."(Isa.43:13)In gratefulobediencetotheGodwho'drenewedhisstrengthandreassuredhimofHisconstant PresenceandsustainingPower,Aftimiostookthecupofpromisedtribulationsandwithit theadmonitionofSt.Paul,whosaid:"PutonthewholearmorofGod....towithstandinthe evilday,andhavingdoneall,tostand...havingloinsgirtaboutwithtruth,andhavingonthe breastplateofrighteousness;andfeetshodwiththepreparationofthegospelofpeace: takingtheshieldoffaith....wherewithtoquenchallthefierydartsofthewicked...andthe helmetofsalvation,andtheswordofthespirit,whichisthewordofGod."(Eph.6:1118) GATHERINGUPTHEFRAGMENTS TheBrooklynDiocesanCouncilhadagreedtoreplacethePacificAvenuechurchproperty whichhadbeenpurchasedfor$7,000in1895,withsomethingmoresuitableandadequate. Anattractivepackagedealhadbeenofferedforthesumof$50,000,forachurchedifice, communityhallandlargemanse.Constructionofachurchedificealone,inMontreal,had costconsiderablymorethanthismodestsum.Theplanscalledforthesaleofthemanse, consideredbyAftimiostobetoopalatialforthismodestneed,anduseoftheproceedsfrom thesaletoreducethemortgage.Theprojecteduseofthecommodiouscommunityhall,aside fromparishfunctionsoractivities,wasadiocesanoffice,library,andseminaryforthe trainingofpriests. However,theplansweresnaggedbythelocalchurchcommitteewhichstillowed$6,000on thepropertypurchasedin1895,whoobjectedstrongly.Accordingly,hesetforthonhis pastoralvisitation,duringwhichhemetwithwidespreadapprovalandfiscalsupportofthe project.RegistrationofthepropertypurchasewasmadeinthenameoftheBrooklynDiocese themansesoldasplanned,andthechurchdedicated,afterrenovation,inOctober,1922. AftimiospeacablycoexistedwithVictorAbuAssallytowhomGermanos'erstwhilepartisans becamereconciledafterGermanosreturnedtoSyria.TheGreekbishopwhohadbeen

importedfromtheJerusalempatriarchatetoassistinVictor'sconsecrationtooktheoccasion asanopportunitytoremainandorganizetheGreeknationalsintoseparateparishes.These laterrenouncedthecanonicalsovereigntyoftheRussianPatriarchalSynodandtransferred theirallegiancetotheGreekPatriarch.MetropolitanEvdokim,unabletomaintaindiscipline ortocontroltheRussianmissioninNorthAmerica,returnedtoRussia. THESYRIANORPHANAGE TheorphanagewasthefirstinaseriesofundertakingsprojectedfortheSyriancommunityby Aftimios.Hefondlyenvisionedgradualprogresstootherventureswhereinhispeoplewould learneventuallytoexercisetheessentialqualityofselfrelianceintheircommunalaffairs. ThelocationoftheorphanagewasEastGreenbush,NewYorkonsome200acrescontaininga fewbuildings,whichhadbeengratuitouslyofferedforthisgoodcausebytheRussianrefugee MetropolitanPlatonRedzestvensky.HetoldAftimiosthatthepropertyhadbeengivenhim uponhisarrivalintheU.S.bytheRussianembassy,whichhadoriginallyendowedittothe church.Ithadbeenusedasamonasterybutwasnolongerinusebecauseofthecurtailment ofoperatingfundsfromthemotherchurchaftertheoverthrowoftheCzaristgovernment. TheoneconditionimposedbyMetropolitanPlatonwasthat"HolyTrinity"beretainedasthe nameoftheinstitution.Accordingly,itwasregisteredatAlbanyunderthename"HolyTrinity Orphanage",andforthislargessethegratefulAftimiosgavePlatonamonthlysubsidy. Compliancewithstatestandardsrequiredanexpenditureofabout$30,000onthebuildings, afterwhichthenonsectarianorphanageopeneditsdoorstoSyrianorphansofany denomination.Graduallythepopulationincreasedto40boysandgirlsofdiversagesand backgroundwhoreceivedconcerned,tenderlovingcare,andweretaughtequalityand brotherhoodwiththeiracademics. Apamphlettitled"WillPower",publishedbyJosephAbilamehinToronto,Canadaand authoredbyArchimandriteEmanualAbuHatabincludesthefollowinginsightful commentariesonAftimiosandtheorphanage: ThatAftimios'plansofservicetothispeoplewouldstrengthentheiridentityandpromote themtothelevelofotherethnicgroups...hisonlyresourcesbeingdevoutlysincere motives..firmresolve...anardentironwill.HetellsofAftimios'unsuccessfulattemptto instituteeducationalprogramsfortheprogressanddevelopmentofhispeople,duetotheir disinclinationtoinvesttimeandmoneytowardthatobjective;andhowthefoundingofthe orphanageprovidedhimtheopportunitytotieinthelongrangeeducationalgoalwiththe immediatehumanitarianactivity.(Noadvancepublicannouncementnorappealforsupport

hadbeenmadeuntiltenorphanswerecomfortablysettledintheirnewhome,inorderto avertobstruction.Aftimioshadtoiledforsixmonthsdevotingmostofhistimeandallofhis resourcestowardthisachievement.)TheArchimandritewrotedescribingthechangein attitudeofformerskepticswhohadbelievedthatallcontributionsmadetocharitablecauses werelost,sacrificedatthealtarsofselfishinterestsandprivategain;whonowbecame convincedthatendowmentstocharitablecausescouldbeentrustedtoworthy administratorsofphilanthropicenterprises,sayingthatAftimios'"probity,nobility, patriotism..wereararityamongsthispeersorhighfunctionaries." Hedescribedsceneshe'dwitnessedattheorphanagethus:"Hewhoishighinstatus,Isaw lowlyinservice...thebiginheartandhumbleofspiritIsawcastoffhisrobe,laydownhis scepter,removehismitre,etc.beforealittlechildwhomheperchedatophisshoulder,and withthekindnessofafather,andthetendernessofamother,speaktothechildandwashhis handsandface. "Heseestothefeedingofthechildren,takesthemonwalks,teachingandcultivatinginthem thespiritofpatriotismandcourtesy.Later,hetenderlywatchesattheirbedsidetoprotect themifpossible,fromdisturbingtroubleddreams. "Reflectivelyviewingtherestfullysleepingchild,heraiseshiseyesandgivesGodthanks, movingfromchildtochild,takingnorestuntilassuredoftheirrest.Thisisthepleasureand happiness...ofwhomwerightfullycallthe'Fatheroforphans'". ******************** THEORPHAN Thepurposeofthemonthlypublicationtitled"TheOrphan",asdeclaredbyAftimiosinthe editorialofthefirstissuewasasfollows:Toportraythefoundingoftheorphanage,andto reportonitsprogress,activities,administrativeandfinancialsituation,soastoeliminateall suspicionanddestroyanydoubtofevery"Thomas."Everydiocesanwhoseaddresswas knownwassentacopy,witharequestforthemodestannualsubscriptionfeeof$1.00, placingitwithineveryone'smeans.Excerptsindicatingthepolicyofthepublicationand philosophyofthepublisherfollows: "Manexistsinthisworldtowork.Hisworkwillbeconductedinaccordancewithhisinherent tendenciesandwillbeeitherbeneficialorharmful.Ineithercase,heshouldbehonestand

sincere...fortheconsequencesofhislaborsarebeneficialtoall.Hewhosedeedsare beneficentderivesabenefitinthatseedsofhisactsaresowedintheheartsofthosewhose spirithasanaffinitywithhiswhowalkhiswayindoingtheirwork.Hewhosedeedsare harmfulwilfullyorunintentionally,alertsotherstomendtheirwaysoastoescapethe censureandrebuketowhichhewassubjected. "Asapartofthisworld,Irealizethatthereisaparticularsignificancetomyexistencewhichis inaccordancewiththediverseresponsibilitiesassigned.Chargedbythisresponsibility,Iam impelledbymyinherenttendenciesanddispositiontodothatwhichIbelievetobe consistentwiththepurposeofmybeing.Possiblymyactionsmaybeviewedbysomeas harmfultoothers,butaslongasIpersonallybelievemyactionstobe...consistentwiththe purposeofmyexistenceintheworld,thereisnowaytodeviate,whiletheymaybenefitby notrepeatingsuchactions. "Assuminglife'srangetobeinfourstages,Istriveinmyfourthstagetoapplytomy endeavorsthelessonsofthepastthree,sothatIshallnothavetraversedthefinalstage withouthavingbeguntoatleastpartlyunderstandwhatBeingis,andshallhaveplaceda propervalueonmySelf.Ilaborinaccordancewiththisconvictionandwouldwishevery persontoactifhewouldmakeaplacefor,andsetvalueuponhisSelf." MYSELF "ForthegoodofmysoulIworkforthegoodofothersandbecauseIesteemmy'Self'toan indescribablyhighdegree,Ideemitincumbentuponmetorespectothers,andtoknowno limittomysacrificesintheirbehalf.Mymaterialwealthorspiritualrichesiscommensurate withmyabilitytobeofservicetoothers,soIsetnolimittothistypeofeternalriches.Service toothersincludesservingthewretchedandneedy,henceIamrewardedforwelldoing,or rebukedformisconductbymy'Self'alone.Thepraiseorcriticismofmydeedsbyothersis needlessfornonecanbemorevigilantlywatchfulorscrupulouslycriticalofthemthanmy 'Self.'Thereforeneitherdoesanyone'sapprobationplease,norcriticismangerme. "TheSyrianorphanageisthefirstlinkinachainofprojectsforourSyriancommunity designedtocultivatethenecessaryqualityofselfrelianceinourcommonwelfare.Thename 'HolyTrinityOrphanage'isinaccordancewiththeconditionstipulatedbyHisExcellency MetropolitanPlaton,whodonatedthepropertyforthiscause.Ithadbeenpreviouslyusedas amonasterywhichwentbythenameof'HolyTrinity.' "Thenextlink,inevitably,willbetheacquisitionofamuchneededprintingpressforvarious typepublicationsandforwhichthereisadequatespacetohousethisoperationinexisting

diocesanbuildings.Inprinting'TheOrphan,'andanArabicdiocesanperiodicalaswellasall otherdiocesanpapers,thepresswillmorethanpayforitself.Inaddition,itwillaffordthe opportunityofteachingtheprintingtradetotheboysoftheorphanage,besidesmanymore meaningfulandinvaluablebenefitstobederived".(Unfortunately,subsequentlitigational expensespreventedfulfillmentofthisplan). Promisedinthisfirstissueeditorialwasamonthlypublicationofallcontributionsreceived.A footnoteatitsconclusionread"Wealthplacesonitspossessorsamoralobligationtohelp others;thatisthecauseforwhichwealthexists.Wealthisacrimeunlessitisusedin service." Aftimios'editorialinthesecondissueof"TheOrphan"statedthefollowing:"Inthefirstissue ofthisperiodical...Ioutlinedmy'Self'andtheguidelinesofmylife,andsetforththecourse thispublicationwillfollow.Ibelievethatthereaderswhonotedmythoughtsfrankly expressedinplainwords...knowthatIamnottryingtobeboastful,norseekingpraiseeven asIdisregardattacksofwhatevertypeorsource. "However,Iwelcomejust,constructivecriticismwhichispromptedbygoodwillandis sincerelymade...whichneedsnobelaboredanalysisofambiguities...whoseunmistakable goodintentionsspeakeffectivelyforthemselvesandareproductive.Ihavenodesireto occupyamomentoftheminutesofmylifearguingorexchangingcriticisms,butinthisword whichcomesfromtheheartI'dliketoclarifymypositionandactionsaboutwhichIknow morethanothers."AlmosthalfacenturyhaspassedsinceSyriansemigratedtoAmericaand whileindividualeffortshaveresultedinachievementsofwhichonemaybeproudamong emigrantsofothernationscollectively,theSyriansremainintherearwardofotherethnic groupswho,intheirgeneralcommunallifearevisiblyvitalorganizations.Proofofthisfactis theconditionofourreligionandourpress. Ourreligiousorganizationisinageneralstateofanarchy,whichisprevalentthroughoutthe congregations.Unfortunately,toofewofourclergyareengagedinthespiritual,beingmore preoccupiedwiththematerial.Ineverycongregation,church,andparishthereisconfusion andbittercomplaint,forwhichthepastorsareprimarilyresponsible;forhadtheyputinto theirheartsthespiritofthegospelsandlivedinaccordancewiththetextualteachingsofthe greatMaster,JesusChrist,theirlectureswouldnothavebecomebarren.Peacewouldhave prevailedamongsttheflock;individualswouldhavecooperatedinproperlyorganizingtheir collectiveaffairssothateachwouldknowhisboundsandwoulddohispartinthefulfillment ofobligations,therebysecuringhisrights.

"Theconditionofourpressisnolessreprehensible.Ithasbeensaidthatthepressisthe mirrorofthepeople,andourpressistrulyourmirror,reflectingusasweare.Unfortunately, however,itsnoncommendablereflectionofusputsustoshame,forwhichthejournalists aretobeheldaccountable.Hadtheychosentopracticeinaccordancewiththeir responsibilitiestowardthepeople,theywouldhaveavoidedthefutilerivalriesderivingfrom competitionformaterialisticgoalsandodiousjealousiesandwouldhaveprovidedhonest counselandservice.Theseleadersinourcommunallifearethepracticalartisansonwhose deportmenthangsthedestructionorconstructionoftheedificeofourpubliclifeasanation amongnations. "ItwasGod'swillthatthepathwayofmyworkinthisworldshouldbethatofaclericwhichI havebeensinceearlyyouth.SinceGodhaswilledthatIbeoneofthereligiousleaders,Ilabor assuch,withinwhatIbelievetobetheboundsofmyresponsibilityandduty.Godknows whetherIhavedonewellorbadly;allIknowisthatIhaveworkedtobeconstructive.Ifthose whocommissionedandplacedmeunderthisresponsibilityseethingscontrarytowhatIhave believed,doneandproclaimed,letthemmakethisclearandsaysofrankly.WithpleasureI shallthenwillinglyreturntothemtheyokeofresponsibilityandleavethetasktotheone theyprefer." "WhenIfoundedtheSyrianorphanageIannouncedthatitwaspublic,forallSyriansof varioussects.Allapplicantswereadmitted,irrespectiveofdenominationalaffiliation. Anyonedoubtingthismayinoneexploratoryvisittotheorphanagefindsufficientevidence todispelorconfirmhisdoubts.""InanArabicnewspaper,whichisfeudingwithanother,I notedanallusionmadetothenonsectarianismoftheorphanage.Apparentlytakingthisas licenseforthisaction,theeditor,inanunworthymanner,disparaginglyquestionsiftherival publicationisconveyingtothemanagementoftheorphanageallfundsbeingcontributed throughitsmedia. 1.Theorphanagewasfoundedandislocatedinthiscountryanditsheadquartersareinthe samecityinwhichthisnewspaperispublished.Therefore,itwouldhavebeenmoreworthy oftheeditortohaveverifiedthroughthisheadquartersthetruthorfalsehoodbefore attributingunreliabilitytohiscolleague. 2.Thenamingofaspecificdenominationinhispointedlydirectquestion,evenwhile declaringhisrighttoinquirebecauseofthenonsectarianismoftheorphanage,would indicatehisaimtobeotherthantheallegedconcernoverthetransmissionofcontributions. "Accordingly,andinordertoavoidsimilarambiguitiesinthefuture,Iwillissuemywordon

thissubject: a.ThepublicnatureoftheorphanagecontinuestoberestrictedtoeverySyrianwhowishes tobeadmitted,regardlessofthesectorconfessiontowhichheadheres. b.Themanagementoftheorphanageshallremainasitisnow,inmyhands,untilsuchtime asweareabletoequalizetheobligationsandresponsibilitiesinaccordancewithourdesire toequalizeprivileges. c.Withtheexceptionofafewindividuals,onlyonesegmentoftheOrthodoxcommunionin Americahassupportedandcontinuestosupplythenecessitiesoftheorphanage. d.Themanagementoftheorphanageisatalltimesreadytoopenitstransactionstobe examinedbyeveryindividual,committeeorgroup."Finally,followingthisfrankstatement themanagementoftheorphanageshallnotfeelobligatedtoenterintoanycontroversy regardingtheorphanageinthepress.Whoeverwishestoknowanythingofitsstateofaffairs willbewelcomeatheoffice.ThePressisprivilegedtodiscusstheorphanageasitpleases, butshouldnotexpectattentiontoitsdiscussionorreplytoitsinquiries,nomatterhow important,unlessitcommunicatesdirectlywiththemanagementoftheorphanage."/s/ ArchbishopAftimios Vol.1,No.4,April,1926issueof"TheOrphan"carriedthefollowingeditorial: ANINDISPENSIBLEWORDONTHESYRIANORTHODOXCHURCH "IshallnotdenythatthediscussionsofthisJournalwhichIfoundedtoservetheexclusive interestsoftheSyrianorphanageshouldremainlimitedtotheactivitiesoftheorphanage. Nonetheless,sincetheprimaryresponsibilityfortheoriginandconductoftheorphanageis minealone,(withduerespectforthosewhohelpedmeinonewayoranotherwithout undertakinganyoftheactualresponsibility)andsincemyclericalstatusaffectsthelifeofthe orphanagewhichisconnectedwithmylife;andsince'TheOrphan'istheonlypublicationin whichImayreservetherighttopublishwhateverIwish,asIwish,inwhateverpertainsto theofficialconditionsandcircumstancesofmylife,totheSyriansingeneral,andthe Orthodoxinparticular,withoutbeingsubjecttotheinterests,policies,principles,orpolitics ofotherpublications,Iaskthekindreader'sindulgence,inmyuseofthiseditiontobringto lightthetruthconcerningtheeventsoccurringsoastoclarifytheissues.ItistheonlytimeI shallspeakonthesubject. "Everyoneshouldknowthatthelawsaresacredandtoberespectedandkept,whether believedtobeinspiredormanmadewhichhasnoaffectontheirsacredness.Thelawsassign responsibilities,definerightsanddutiesandtheirlimitations.Theyshouldbeacknowledged, honoredandobeyeduntilsuchtimeasitissaidtherearenolaws,wheneachpersonwill becomealawuntohimself,accountableonlytohimself.

"Allmenofwhateverrankandorderarebrotherswithoutdiscriminationexceptwithregard tothepositionoccupiedinthisworldandthedegreeofvoluntaryresponsibilitiesborne, wherebyheministerstoothers.Bishops,pastors,deacons,illustrateformalordersinthe church,whichwerelaiddownanddefinedbythechurchfathersforministeringtothepeople andtheassignmentofresponsibilitiesandmannerofperformanceofservices.Asforthe otherselectrank,suchasarchdeacon,archpriest,archbishop,patriarch,etc.,theyaremerely titlesusedformorepreciseorderandbetterorganization,andfortherecognitionand meritedrewardofthosedeservingfaithfulservants.Anyholderofoneofthesetitlesfound toberemissintheperformanceofhisofficialdutiesshouldbeexposedandrebuked,justas praiseandhonorshouldbeaccordedforwelldoing.Inanyevent,sincerity,goodmotivesand faithfulnessshouldattendallaction. "Christ,theLordwhocametosavetheworld,didnotholdaccountablethosewhoresisted, criticized,insulted,judgedandcrucifiedHimwhileHewasonearth.NordidHewantothers todefendHimbeforethejudgesandrulersofthepeopleintheaccusationsmadeagainst HimattheinstigationofthehighpriestsoftheJews.Theapostle,Peter,whomJesustook withHimintothegardenforsolitaryprayers,wasrebukedwhenheattemptedtodefendHim againstthesoldierscomewiththetraitorousJudastoarrestHim. "Afterenduringtheinsults,allHedidwastopraytohisHeavenlyFatherwhilebeingnailed tothecrossforthosewhohadinsultedHim,askingGodtoforgiveandnotholdthem accountablefortheirdeed. "Itisnecessary,incitingthefactsneededtoconfirmthemattersunderdiscussion,toreferto certainpersonswhosehighpositionsandhonorableordersarerespected,andwho personallyareheldinthesamehighesteeminwhichweholdourself.Whoeverchoosesto thinkotherwise,itisuptothem."Nooneremainsunawareofthemorethanelevenyearold dissentionwithintheOrthodoxchurchinthiscountry.Thereisnoneedtoelaborateonthe precipitatingcausesandresultsofeachchangingstatewhichwerepublishedasthey developedandthejudgementthereonlefttothepublic.Whatisknownbycertainpersons, butnotbythepublic,willbeherementioned,beginningwiththeproclamationbythe AntiochianPatriarchateofecclesiasticalauthorityoverpartoftheflockinthiscountry, followedbythecreationofabishopwhohastakentohimselftherighttoexercisethenewly transpiredauthority."SubsequenttotheactionoftheAntiochianpatriarchate,aconvocation ofthediocesanSynodcomposedofpriestsandlayrepresentativeswascalled.Afterrelating thesequenceofeventstotheSynod,weleftsothattheycouldfreelydiscussallaspectsof thesituationandarriveatadecisionastothebestcoursetofollow.Theresolutionsofthe threedaysessionoftheSynodwerepublishedinArabic,EnglishandRussiananddisbursed

tobereadhereandabroad,whileweresumedtheworkofourministryandthedischargeof ourmanyheavyduties. "MeanwhiletheenvoyoftheAntiochianpatriarchateandthebishophehadconsecrated, deludedthattheywerethechildrenoftheapostleofpeace,wentfromtowntotown, meetingwiththisoneandthatone.Theyinterposedquestionsforpeopletoaskusasto whatwewantedtomakepeaceandallegedthatAftimiosalonewasandcontinuestobe withoutpeace.NomentionwasmadeofourpleathattheconsecrationofVictorbe postponedpendingconferenceandselectionofwisediocesanleaderstoseekandfindthe bestcourseofactionfortherestorationandmaintenanceofthesolidarityoftheflock.Norof ourdeclarationinthesameletter,ofourcompletereadinesstosacrificeinthecauseof peace,whichZechariarefusedtoconsiderasheproceededtowardfulfillmentofthepurpose forwhichhehadsecretlyleftSyria,andstealthilyenteredAmerica'sBrooklyndiocese. Whileusingthepretextofpeace,ZechariaandVictorwerecovertlyenticingourprieststo defect,expeditingtheirinsubordination;atthesametimeincitingrenewalofcivillitigation againstourchurchesinordertocompoundourtroubles,addtotheweightofourburdenso astowearyusandcompelustoyieldtotheiraimsandpurposes.However,theirmethods serveonlytowidenthebreachbetweenus,provingtheirobjectivetobenotconformingwith thewelfareoftheflockortheinviolacyofthecanons. "Therefore,whenitbecameevidentthattheirgoalswereunlimited,andthatthecommunity wasgraduallyfallingpreytotheirrapaciousendeavors,wecametoadecision.Actingonthis decisionduringourlastvisittoBoston,wemetandconferredwithMessrs.GhosnJoseph Ghosn,MitriKhouri,andAssadM'darri,sagemembersofthecommunity,withRev.Father BasiliousMahfouzpresent.Allwereawareofourstrongdesiretobringaboutpeaceand completereadinesstopersonallysacrificeallforthesakeofthechurchandflock.The deplorablystrifebornconditionoftheOrthodoxcommunitywithitswidespreadanarchy arisingfromcontentionsoverleadersandhierarchalsupremacywaslaidbeforethese gentlemen,withemphasisontheurgentneedforunited,responsibleactionandacallfora littlepersonalsacrificeonthepartofindividualswhichwouldbeacrownofhonorandglory tothosewhowouldhavethegoodfortunetobeexercisedbyselfabnegation.Four alternativepossiblecoursesofaction,eachleadingtorealpeace,wereoutlined.Insetting forththeproposals,werepeatedanewthedeclarationofourreadinesstoactinallhonesty, sincerity,withouttheslightesthesitancyinacceptingandfollowinganyofthecourseschosen bytheproAntiochianfaction. OPTION#1TheAntiochianpatriarchatetoendallsubversiveactivities,andrecallherbishops,

ZechariaandGermanos.AftimiosandVictortovoluntarilyrenounceoffice,therebysettingan exampletothepastorsandflockinthenecessityforsacrificetobeconsideredina conventionatwhichtheassemblywoulddeterminethebestproceduretobefollowedbythe SyrianOrthodoxinNorthAmerica. OPTION#2AftimiosandVictortosecurefromtheirrespectivesuperiorsrecognizanceforthe establishmentofanautonomous'EasternOrthodoxCatholicChurchofNorthAmerica,' governedbyherownhierarchalsynod,andonaparwithotherautonomousOrthodox churches. OPTION#3AftimiosyieldtoVictor,leavingtotheAntiochianChurchthetaskofremedying theconditionoftheSyrianOrthodoxchurch;providedtheyobtaintheapprovalofthe Russians,andthatAftimios'actionberegardedasanabsolutesacrificeforthepeaceofthe community. OPTION#4Victorandhisauthoritytoyield,leavingthefullresponsibilityofdealingwiththe SyrianOrthodoxtoAftimios. "Theseproposalswerehandwritten,makingthemmorebindinguponus,andgiventoGhosn J.Ghosnwitharequestthathepersonallypresentthemtotheresponsibleleadersofthe othergroup,toBishopsZechariaandVictor.Atimelimitof15daysfromdateofdeliverywas set,afterwhich,ifnoreplywasforthcoming,wecouldconsiderourselfabsolvedofall responsibilitywhichwouldthenfallonthem,followingwhichtherecouldbenofurther discussiononthissubject. "Shouldanyonequestionthesettingofa15daytimelimit,theanswerisOurdioceseis organizedandgovernedbyaconstitutionframedbyitscongresscomposedofclergyandlay representatives.Thisconstitutionlimitsouradministrativefunctionsanddefinesourduties andauthority.Weareboundbythespiritualcouncilwhichcodirectsthediocese.Also,we areboundbythegeneralassemblywhichconferredonthissubjectattheirlastmeeting, whentheyannouncedthatthedoorwaswideopenfornegotiationswiththesonsofpeace onthesubjectofpeace,andassertedtheirrighttoparticipateinthediscussionsand determinations. "Inaddition,weareboundtoahigherauthoritytowhomanaccountonallmattersmustbe given,particularlytheonewithwhichwe'reconcerned.Nevertheless,we'veundertakenthe responsibilityofcommunicatingdirectlyinthepreviouslydescribedmanner,becauseofour convictionthatourdesiretoactforthegoodofthecommunityandthegloryofthechurchis

sharedbyourbelovedhigherAuthoritytowhomIoweallegiance,andbythereverendclergy andthebelovedcongregation. "The15daylimitwassettoavoidoccasionforfindinganew,othersourcesofconfusionin thecommunity.Andbecause15dayswasconsideredampletimeforastudyofandanswer totheproposalsbytheonewhoarrivedfromSyriaonMonday,madeallnecessary preparationsin5daysforconsecratingonSunday,the6thday,anewbishop,allegedly becausehehadtoreturnquicklytoSyria.Ifthedesireforpeaceistrulyreal,goesbeyond meretalk,pretenseandputtingsandineyes,15dayswillbefoundtobemorethan adequate."Itisnecessarytoelaboratefurtherinordertoclarifyandexplainthefourpoints oftheproposalwhichtosomemightbepuzzling.Thecallforanendtothesubversive activitiesoftheAntiochianpatriarchatewasmadebecauseshehasgivenherselfa dispensationtointerferebytheclaimofadesiretofindaremedyforthewoundsofdivision betweenthetwofactions,knownas(1)Russianand(2)Antiochian.Yetthisdivisionwould notexist,norwouldthesefactionalnamesifitwerenotforthepresenceandinterferenceof oneofherbishops,whoisBishopGermanos.Consequently,theprimaryfactioncomprising theBrooklyndioceseconsideredtheintrusionoftheAntiochianpatriarchatetobea deliberateinsultbecauseshefailedtoobservetheformalitieswherebytoformallyarrange discussionsonwhichtobaseamutualunderstandingregardingtheobviouslypredetermined objective.TheBrooklyndioceseconvenedtherefore,andregisteredformalandofficial protestswhichwereprintedinallthecurrentpublicationsandsenttotheheadsofallthe autonomousOrthodoxchurches. "Meanwhile,thepretender,thesecondfactionsocalled,splitthreeways.Onegroup announceditsindependence;anotherdeclareditselftobeindependentoftheleadership createdbytheAntiochianpatriarchate,butsubjectdirectlytotheAntiochianPatriarch;the thirdexpressedthedesiretoreunitewiththeprimaryfaction(TheBrooklyndiocese)who wererejectedbecauseofillicitactivitieswhichhadoriginallycausedtheschism. "TerminationoftheintrusionandwithdrawalofenvoysoftheAntiochianpatriarchate; Aftimios'andVictor'sabdication,wouldsetanexamplefortheclergyandlaitysothateach wouldgiveuppersonalmotivesandactinconstructiveunisonindividuallyandcollectively forthegoodofthechurch."Re:Option#2.Ascanbeseenbythereaders,theonlyremedy fortheepidemicofschismamongadherentsoftheOrthodoxchurchofvariousethnicgroups, Russian,Syrian,Greek,etc.,istheirautonomy,independencefromalloutsideleadership.This ideaprevailsamongtheleaderswiththeiradherents,particularlyamongstthosestillinclined towardrestorationoforderwithinthechurch.

"Option#3:Avowalofmyresignationfromtheprimacy,providedIgettheapprovalofmy flockwhichelectedmetobeartheyokeofresponsibility,andthatmyactbetakenasa divestedsacrificeforthesecurityofthedenomination,forIsoughtnottheprelacybut respondedtothecallthereto,andbecauseIwasintheserviceofthediocese12yearsprior tomyoccupancyofthebishopric,andbecauseIfearednottobeartheweightoftheburdens, norwasIexhaustedbythedifferenttrialswhichhaveandcontinuetohurtmegreatly althoughIenduretheirpainwithpatienceandamalwayspreparedtoresistthemeventothe lastbreathoruntilthecongregationitselfcallsforarelinquishmentandsetthelimitson whichtostand. "Shouldanysaythatthedivisionsexistedwithinthediocesepriortomyinvestitureasits bishop,asmanyhavealleged,withthosewhoarewellinformed,thisallegationrefutesitself inrelationtowhathasbeeninmost,ifnotalltheAntiochiandioceses.Tokeepitbrief,we'll citethemostrecentofwhichoccurredinthedioceseofHome.Hereasegmentdefectedto theCatholicchurch,yettheAntiochianPatriarchatepaidnoattentiontothem,but consecratedforthedioceseabishoponwhomthelothadfallen. "IproposedrelinquishmentoftheAntiochianPatriarchateandhermen(amongstwhomis oneshemadeheadofaspecificfactionwithouttheiragreementorapproval)becausethe Patriarchatehadn'tatraceofauthorityhereuntilheractivitiescreatedthedivisive movement.Nordidsheproclaimanykindofjurisdictionuntilaftersherequestedpermission almosttwoyearsago,oftheRussianchurch,theacknowledgedpossessorofthesovereignty; neitherdidsheconsecrateherbishopuntilafterhehadtraversedthelengthandbreadthof thelandamongsthistownsmen,kinsmenandthosewithpersonalprinciples."Hadthe AntiochianPatriarchatestoppedatthispoint,afterthesatisfactionofhavingappointeda successortothelatebishopoftheBrooklyndiocese,andhadshehaltedthecalumnyofher men,thesparksofsectariandissidencewouldnothavespreadtothisextent.Andevennow ifsheshoulddothis,withalittlecareandinashortperiodoftime,theeliminationofdivision couldbeaccomplished. "AlloftheteachingsoftheChristianreligionarecombinedinLord'scommandmentsaying, 'ThoushaltlovetheLordthyGodwithallthyheart,withallthymindandwithallthysoul, andthyneighborasthyself.'Also,'Dountoothersasyewouldthattheydountoyou.' "Onthesehonorable,sublimedoctrinesweaskGod'sguidanceinorderingourlife."/S/ BishopAftimios "Wehavecandidlypublishedthefullparticulars,consideringthemtobearepleteanswerto

whathasbeencirculatedamongprivateindividualsandthegeneralpublicastotheirdesire toestablishpeaceinthecommunity,butthatwewereturningadeafear.So,inorderthat thesesayingsshouldnotstickinthemindsofthoseparishionershearingthem,werepeatedly announcedourposition,hopingthattheAntiochianleaderswouldopenadoor.Butthey closeditandsaidwedon'twantitopen." Ascanbeseenfromtheforegoing,theideaofautonomywhichhadrecurredtoAftimios sincethebeginningofthediocesandissidence,waspresentedasoneoftheoptionsfor healingthewoundsofthestrifetorndiocese.Takingthelongrangeviewonthelifeofthe OrthodoxchurchandheradherentsinNorthAmerica,he'dbecomeconvincedthatitwasthe onlywaytoassureimprovementoftheconditionsinthediocesewhosebreachgrewwider withtheongoingdissidence. Subsequently,communicationswereexchangedbetweenNicholasKouriSlaiman,secretary oftheAntiochianfaction'sCommitteeforPeace,andSubraiAndreaia,secretaryofSt. Nicholas'ChurchCommittee,whichculminatedinacalltoBishopAftimiosonMarch6,1927 tothehomeofMr.RashidEadi,forameetingwithBishopGermanos,who'dbeen accompaniedbyMr.SalimShaheenofToledo,Ohio.Afterspendingareasonableperiodof timelisteningtogeneralities,Aftimios,withhiscustomarydirectness,askedifhe'dbeen calledtoexchangeamenities,or,iftheyhadapurpose,wouldtheypleaseelucidate. Germanosrespondedsayinghe'dliketobringaboutpeace,butdidn'tknowifAftimioswould consenttoameetingwithBishopsZechariaandVictor."Wherearetheynow?"asked Aftimios."InLowell,Mass,"repliedGermanos.ImmediatelyAftimiosaskedtheirhost,Mr. Eadi,topleasegetVictoronthephone,andwhenthecallwascompleted,Aftimiosspoke withVictorandtoldhimthatheandBishopGermanoswouldliketomeetwithBishop Zechariaandhim.Victorsaidhecouldn'tcometoNewYorkbeforeThursday,promisingto callAftimiosassoonashearrived.Accordingly,onthe10thofthemonth,Aftimiosreceiveda callfromVictorwhotoldhimthatheandBishopZechariahadjustarrivedatthehomeofMr. Sao'dAbu'muraddwhereAftimiosjoinedthemwithoutdelay. Characteristically,Aftimioswentdirectlytothepointandsaid,"Thecauseofthedivisionsin thecommunityisus,andwearetheremedy,ifwechoosetobe.Ifyoutrulyintendtowork forthecauseofpeace,letusfirstunderstandthatthereisnopeacewithoutsacrificeand thereisnosacrificetoogreatorofcomparableimportancetothispeace. "Therefore,letusleavethepastandburyitforever,andburywithitallmymisdeedstoward you,andyourstowardsme,andletussincerelyexploretheclosestwaysandmeansof securingpeaceandwhichwillbemostconstructivelybeneficialtothecommunity.

"ThosebelongingtotheRussianleadershipwillnotbesatisfiedtoseparatetherefromand jointheAntiochian;likewisewiththoseadheringtotheAntiochianleadership,leavingbut oneremedywhichassureshealingofthedivisionsintheSyrianbranchofthetreeofthe OrthodoxchurchinNorthAmerica.Thisremedywillbethefirm,truebasisforhealingtheills ofdivisionintheremainingbranchesoftheOrthodoxchurch,suchasRussian,Greek, Serbiansandothers.TheremedyistheindependenceofalltheOrthodoxinNorthAmerica fromallexternalsuperiorauthority,thatis,outsideofAmerica.Itshallbegovernedbyher ownsynodofbishops,andhaveunityandauthorityequaltothatofotherindependent Orthodoxchurches.AnunderstandingamongtheindependentOrthodoxchurchesis impossible,anditisdifficulttobringaboutanunderstandingbecauseeachcovetssuperiority overtheothers.And,undertheexistingcircumstances,thereisnowayforcommunications withthehigherauthoritiesofeachofthechurches,becauseoftheconfusionattheheartof everychurch.I,therefore,consideritnotinconsistentwiththecanonsfortheSyrianchurch tobeginlayingthefoundationforthisundertaking.Asitiscentrallycontainedinhistorythat thefaithfulwerefirstcalledChristians,afterthenameofChristJesusatAntioch,soletthe creditfortheindependenceoftheOrthodoxchurchalsoberecordedinhistoryforfuture generations." BishopZechariathenreplied,sayingthatparticipationbyrepresentativeinthisthistypeof discussionwouldbeconsideredtreason,andthatitwouldbebestforVictortoanswer. Askedtoexpresshisopinions,Victorsaiditwouldbeuptohisauthoritytomakea determinationonthistypeofdiscussion,andthathisindividualparticipationwouldhaveto beconsideredabetrayaloftherightsofhisauthority. "Itisselfevident,"saidAftimios,"thatitshouldbeunderstoodthatsuchastepasthisshould gettheapprovalofthehigherauthorityofeachparty,asforexample,ifBishopVictoris unabletogettheapprovalofhisauthorityfortheundertaking,hispersonalacceptanceofit wouldhavenovalue." BishopZechariarespondedsayingthattheonlywayhecouldbeofassistancewouldbeto carrytheideaofautonomybacktothePatriarchwithAftimios'spermission.Aftimiostold himthatitwasincumbentuponhim,asafaithfulenvoyandaspatriarchalrepresentative,he wasdutyboundtoreportallhehadheardandseen,withorwithoutAftimios'permission. "However,"continuedAftimios,"Theobjectisthatwethreefirstunderstandthedegreeof ourresponsibility,andthatwearethemalady,andwearetheremedy;andthatthe understandingwe'vegainedbyexperienceandfrombeingonthescenecannotbegainedby thosewhoarefaraway."

AftimiostoldBishopsZechariaandVictoraboutthediscussionsindepthhe'dhadwith individualsandgroupsofRussian,SyrianandGreekchurchdignitariesandlayleaders concerningthedeplorablestateofaffairsoftheOrthodoxchurchinBolshevikRussiaandthe consequentturmoilwithinalltheEuropeanOrthodoxchurchesandthewidespreadanarchy intheNorthAmericaOrthodoxchurches.Thecriticalneed,itwasagreed,wasthe preservationoftheunityoftheOrthodoxfaithfulandcontinuityofthefaithamongstpresent andfuturegenerationsofOrthodoxAmericans.Theconsensuswasthattheestablishmentof anindependentAmericanOrthodoxchurchwasthebestwaytoaccomplishthisandatthe sametimereconciletheambitiouscontendersandcurbtheravagementoftheaggregate church. ThisaccomplishmentwouldalsoassuretheOrthodoxanequalstatusamongsttheuniversally recognizedchurches.AtthispointZechariathankedAftimiosforcallingandpromisedto returnthecourtesy.ButAftimiosdeclaredhewasn'tactinginaccordancewithprotocol,but beingstronglymotivatedtosearchforpeaceheexpressedhisreadinesstofacilitateallroads towardthisend.Thereforetheinacceptabilityoftheexcusesofferedforinabilitytoacton theproposalforanindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurch.Aftimiosaffirmedthereshould benoobstacletothetakingofseriousconstructiveactionforthepeaceofthecommunity.At asubsequentmeetingwithReverendAbuHatabandFernainypresent,Aftimiosreiterated hisfirmconvictionthatestablishmentofanindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurchwasthe mosteffectivewaytoachievepeace.Callingonalltobesincere,dispensewithempty amenities,forgetpastviolations,hostileactions,recriminations,etc.,andtojoinhandsin trueChristianlove,unifyingthevoiceofOrthodoxyandupliftingherhonorinNorthAmerica, Aftimiosagainexpressedhisreadinesstopersonally,actuallysacrificehimself.Agreeingthat theideawasgood,Zechariasaiditwasprematureandrequiredpreparationofthought towardthatend.Victorsuggestedaliftingofthedivisivebarriersasaprimarysteptoward unitythougheachwouldcontinuetobesubjecttohissuperior. Aftimiospointedoutthatthecreationandexistenceofthebarrierswasforknowncauses whichmustneedsberemovedinordertoliftthebarriers.Hequestionedthegoodof maintainingthestatusquoandremovingtherestrictionswhichhefeltsurewouldonlylead togreaterconfusionandanarchy.Contrariwise,hesaidthatbydiscardingprivatepersonal benefit,removingthecauses,they'dbemovedoutoftheirpresentstateintoonehigher, morebeneficialprovidinggreatersecurityforthelifeofOrthodoxyinAmerica,achievableby completeautonomyfromeveryforeignsupremacy. WhenVictorcalledattentiontotheincongruityofthesituationinwhichlitigationwasgoing

oninPittsburghwhiletheywereexploringthemeanstopeace,Aftimioswiredhisvicar, Kerbawi,toworkoutasuspensionoflegalprocessesthroughtheattorneys.Meanwhile, VictorwastogotoPittsburghandmeetwithKerbawiforthepurposeofholdingapublic referendumonthequestionofanindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurch. OnMarch14,1927,ZechariametwithAftimiostotellhimhe'dcometotheconclusionthat anindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurchwasnecessaryandgood,andthattherewasno wayheknewoftoremovethestateofanarchy,causeofschism,etc.However,hedeclared thatanyactionwouldhavetobetakenbyVictor,theAntiochianPatriarch'srepresentativein America.Accordingly,whenVictormetwithAftimiosonMarch17,1927,aconclusionwas reachedthathe'dhavetoconsultwithhissuperior.MeanwhilehetoldAftimiosofthe committeeforpeacewhichhe'dappointed,chairedbyKalilAndrews,andthatthecommittee secretary,NicholasKourySlaiman,hadsentAftimiosacommunicationregardingthe committeeaction.Aftimiospromisedtogiveitdueconsiderationandstudy.Aftimios respondedtorequestthatacorrespondingpeacecommitteebeappointedtonegotiatewith theAntiochianfactioncommittee,namingTamirMaloof(chairman),WilliamKatziflis (secretary),M.DiabRashiEadi.Ajointconferencewassetup.Afterexchangeofmanyformal communications;Germanos'groupapprisedofongoingeventsviaAssadMilkiewhowas givenacopyofAftimios'pledgeashadbeengivenN.K.Slaiman.Thisdocumentgavefull absolutefreedomandempoweredtheRussian(Brooklyn)committeetotakewhateveraction necessarytobringpeacetotheOrthodoxcommunity.Notonlyweretheycommissionedto disregardthesacrificeofanyindividualintheprocessbutwerepointedlyaskedtospecifically giveAftimiosthehonorofbeingfirsttobesacrificedinthecauseofpeace.Hepledgedto acceptandimplementwhateverdecisionswereconcludedbyconferenceofjoint committees,withoutquestionorobjections,or,failingtodothis,toresignfromoffice. AftimiostalkedwithGermanospersonally,gavehimacopyofhispledge,ashe'dgivenA. Milkie,tellinghimhe'daskedAssadMilkietotrytogetuparepresentativecommitteeto representtheirfactionattheupcomingconference.Germanospromisedtocooperate,andto makethesametypepledgemadebyAftimios. ThefirstmeetingwasscheduledMay21,1927inthecommunityhallofSt.Nicholas' cathedral.TheassignedBrooklyndelegationconsistedofthefollowingSalimMaluke (chairman),TamirMaloof,WilliamKatziflis(secretary),N.Diab,Abd'lMassiahHaddad, MilhamHawi,RashidEadi,AssadM'Durri(Boston),NicholasSaab(Montreal),ShikriAbiSalih (Worcester).RepresentingtheAntiochianfactionwerethefollowing:NicholasK.Slaiman, MichaelAnsara,JohnNasserwhoaskedpostponementduetotheabsenceoftheirchairman, KalilAndrews,andotherdelegates.TheygaveassurancethattheyhadVictor'spledgeintheir possessionandsaidtheyhadinvitedmembersofGermanos'factiontoparticipateinthe

negotiations,butthattheydeclined,unlessaformalinvitationwereextendedthroughdirect contactwiththeirleader,Germanos.Victor'sfactionrefusedtodealdirectlywiththe suspended(bythePatriarch)Germanos,sayinghisfollowersweretoofewtohaveany significance.Nevertheless,inasmuchasthisgroupadheredtotheAntiochianPatriarchate versustheRussiansynod,Aftimios'groupdeemedthepresenceofthisAntiochiangroup necessaryforunificationoftheefforttowardpeace,despitethefactthattheBrooklyn dioceseseveredformalrelationshipswithGermanosforseveralyears,communicationsbylay delegateswouldinnowayaffectGermanos'clericalstatusorhisrelationshipwiththe church.Theconventionwastoassemblethecongregationandconsolidatetheirword withoutregardtothehierarchsandallgoverningbodies.Theyrepudiatedthestancethatthe fewnessinnumberofthethirdfactionmadeitinsignificant,declaringalltobeequally importantineffectuatingatruepeace.BrooklyngroupofferedtorelieveVictor'sgroupofthe responsibilityofdealingwithGermanos'byactingasmediators,andthemeetingwas rescheduledforthefollowingday. Again,chairmanKalilAndrewswasabsent,buthe'dappointedMichaelAnsaratosubstitute forhim.AskedtoshowthedocumentcontainingVictor'spledge,NicholasK.Slaiman producedablanksheetwithVictor'ssignatureatthebottom,sayinghe'daskedthemto writethereonwhattheywished.Objectionswereraisedasthevalidityofthisprocesswas questioned,butacompromiseagreementwasreachedtosavetimeatthebehestofthe delegateswhohadcomeagreatdistance.WhereupontheAntiochiandelegationusingthe pledgeAftimioshadgivenasapattern,filledintheblanksheetVictorhadgiventhem, subjecttoVictor'sapproval,addingthatVictorwastoremainsubjecttohissuperior authority.InasmuchasAftimioshadpledgedtoresignfromofficeifhefailedtoacceptand implementthedecisionsoftheconvention,Mr.Malukeaddressedtheassemblysayingin affect,theywereinsessiontofindthemeanstopeaceinthecongregation,withoutregardto theoutcomeforanyoftheleaders;thatiftheyfailedtorepresentthevariousfactionsofthe congregationtomenditsfracturesinaccordancewiththerightsvestedinthembythe people,eachdefendinghisbishopandconsideringpointsfromtheviewofwhatwouldsuit hisbishop,theyneednothaveconvened.Victor'sdocumentwasthenrevisedtoconform withthesameconditionscontainedinAftimios'pledge.ContendingthatGermanos'group hadnocanonicalentitybecausetheirleaderhadbeensuspendedbythePatriarchforhis disobedience,andthatbecausethecanonsforbadecommunicationwithsuspendedpersons, somemembersofVictor'sdelegationopposedparticipationofGermanos'delegationinthe peaceconference.Whereupon,S.Malukespokeupsayingthattheconferencehadinits powertoeitherkeepthecommunityinitspresentstrifetornstate,ortobringaboutpeace whateverthesacrificerequiredforpeace.Butifcontentionscontinuedastothisbeing suspended,thatbeingtheoriginal,thisbeinganintruder,noprogresscouldbemade,andthe

communitywillhavelostagoldenopportunitytogatherwithinitsfolditsscattered members.MichaelAnsaraspokeagainofGermanos'faction'sinsistenceontheextensionof formalinvitationtoGermanospersonallyforparticipationinthepeaceconference. AssadM'durriexpressedhisviewthatthetwodelegationsweretheninapositionlimitedto eitherconscientiouslyandsincerelycorrectandimprovecongregationalaffairsoverlooking privateinterestsofindividualleadersandsupremacies,therebyservingtheinterestsofthe newergenerationswhonowstoodinaquandarynotunderstandingthemeaningofallthese conflicts;ortocontinueastheywere,whereuponthoseweariedbyallthecontroversieswill leavethecongregationandentertheopendoorsofalienchurches.Itwasagreed,aftera lengthydiscussion,thatthejointdelegationsconveningwouldformallyextendaninvitation directlytoBishopGermanostosendadelegationrepresentinghisfactionattheconference forpeace. TheyproceededtoorganizetheconferenceandM.AnsaraaskedS.Malukeifthey'dprepared aprogramashiscommitteehad.Malukerepliedthatthey'dcomeintheinterestofthe wholecongregationratherthanaspecificgroupandthereforehadlefttheagendatobe developedbythepeaceseekingconferees.Awillingnesstoseethepreparedprogramwas expressed,whereuponSlaimanreadittotheassembly: Part1,AgreementtosubmittotheAntiochianSee.Divisionofthecongregationintotwo geographicparts,equalinimportanceandnumber.Presentationoftheagreementtothe PatriarchofAntiochandhisSynodforratification.Settingupacommitteerepresentingboth factionstoimplementthisprogram. Part2,Continuationofeachfactioninitspresentstate.Removalofrestrictionswhich separatetheclergyofeachgroup.Settingupcommitteeswithineachfactiontoadjudicate disputesregardingchurches,portableorstationary,sharedbybothfactions./S/NicholasK. Slaiman ThisreadingeffectedaunanimousagreementamongstthedelegatesadheringtoAftimios' leadershipthatthefouritemsinpartonewerenonconformabletothecanonsuponwhich theNorthAmericandiocesewasbased.Specifically,thathadtheydesiredtodeviatefromthe canonicaljurisdictiontowhichtheyweresubjectandgoingasspokenofintheirprogram, therewouldhavebeennoneedfortheirbishop'spresenceinthiscountry,inadditionto whichtheyconsideredittobenotinthebestinterestofthecongregation,andinconsistent withthespiritoftheconference.Whileadiscussionofthethreeitemsinparttwoshowsthat nothingnewintheconditionofthecongregationwouldbeadded.Thatifalltheywantedof

peaceconsistedinthedivisionofthecongregationbetweentwoleaders,andthedioceseinto twodifferentjurisdictions,thiswouldnotbringaboutpeacebutwouldbeinstrumentalin increasingdissension. M.Ansaraexplainedhehadhimselfmadeouttheprogramashe'dthoughttheywereto presentone.Heaskedthemtosetforthwhattheywishedtopresentfordiscussionandthe followingpointsweretheresult;(1)Thereshouldbeagreementthatnooutsidesupremacy havejurisdictionovertheNorthAmericancongregation,(2)ThatanIndependentAmerican OrthodoxChurchinNorthAmericabepropagatedtotalindependence,(3)ThattheSyrians begintolaythefoundationforthismomentousundertakingwhichwillbetheregistrationof theOrthodoxfaithinthiscountryasoneofherotherofficialfaiths,(4)Acalltoallbranches oftheOrthodoxfaithtojoininthisundertaking.Theyexpressedfirmbeliefthatonlyonthis basiscouldpeacebeattainedandthosestrayedbegatheredandreunitedwiththeOrthodox community.TheyfoundtheideaofIndependencehardtoswallow.Aftersomediscussion, themeetingwasadjournedandtheysaidtheproposalwouldbepresentedtoanddiscussed withBishopVictor,promisingtocontactusin2or3days.Andthatwasthelasttheywere seenorheardfrom.However,onJune6,1927,KalilAndrews,whileinNewYork,calledonS. Malukeathisofficewhereanumberoftheircontemporariesweregathered.Intheensuing discussionheexpressedregretatmissingtheconvention,explainedhisabsencefromNew Yorkatthattime,sayinghehadnotbeeninformedwhentheconferencewasinsession duringwhichtimehe'dspokenbytelephonewithmembersofhiscommittee.Theideaofan autonomousAmericanOrthodoxChurchstronglyappealedtohimastheonlybasisonwhich thepeaceoftheOrthodoxcongregationcouldbebuild,andpromisedtofollowupwithhis committeeandcometothescheduledJuneconventionpreparedtosupportit. TheconventionwastwicepostponedattherequestoftheAntiochianpeacecommittee beforeitlapsedintocompletesilence.Acompleteandfinalreportonallactivities, communications,etc.,waspresentedtoAftimiosbyhiscommitteewhich,inconclusion, stateditsownpointofviewandrecommendations.Theystatedthataftermakinganin depthstudyofthepresentsituationandgivingdueconsiderationtothefuturewelfareofthe congregation,theirconsciencebroughtthemtooneconclusion,andfirmconviction.Itwas thattheoneremedyfortheirills,theonlywaytoupliftandamelioratetheconfusioninthe OrthodoxcommunitycollectivelyinNorthAmericaandtonurturetheOrthodoxfaithinher newergenerations,presentandfuture,wasintheimplementationoftheprogramforaction towardpeacepresentedattheconventiontotheAntiochianpeacecommittee. WhileacknowledgingawarenessthatAftimios'restrictionsinthisregardwereastightas thoseofotherbishops,theyremindedhimthathisprimarydutywastohisfold,forthe

generalgoodandthefutureoftheyoungandexpressedconfidencethathis conscientiousnesswouldobligehimtodoallwithinhispowertoactualizethisnoble objectivewithitsfarreachingenduringbenefitstoallbranchesofOrthodoxyinthiscountry. Theydeclaredtheiruniversalobjectivetobeunbiased,nonpartisan,bringingstrengthtothe faithfulinAmericawhosesonstheywerenow,nondisruptiveoftheircloserelationshipto theautonomousOrthodoxchurchoftheworld.Theysawthemselvesinstrongneedto establishOrthodoxconnectionsbetweenthemselvesandtheirchildrenwhichwouldassure theirstabilityinthefaithwhichhadalmostbecomeforeigntothem.Profoundregretatthe failureofthepeaceconferencetoreconvene,thecommitteeaskedAftimiostoconsiderthem anactivevitalsectionoftheconference,importuninghimtostudytheprogram,transferit intotherealmofactionbyimplementationtoGod'sgloryandforthebenefitofthe congregationandthegoodofOrthodoxy./S/Katz,Maluke,Haddad,Maloof,Diab,Eadi,Hawi, Saab,M'durri,Abisalih. Aftimiosporedoverthereport,givingdueconsiderationtothecommittee's recommendation,andtotherampantagitationandstateofanarchyinstigatedbythe encroachingAntiochianbishops.Impelledbytheneedtorestoreandpreservediocesan integrity,Aftimiosconvokedameetingofdiocesanclergy,layleadersandparishdelegatesto takeplaceinSt.Nick'scommunityhallonAugust2,1927. PEOPLE'SGENERALCONVENTIONIII Followingtheinvocation,Aftimiosrecappedthesequenceofeventsleadingtothechaotic strifetornconditionofthediocese,jeopardizingcontinuityoftheancestralfaithamongstthe youngandfuturegenerations.Emphasizingindividualandcollectiveresponsibilityforthelife oftheircollectiveOrthodoxcommunityandstressingtheneedforpersonalandpartisan sacrificetowardthatend,Aftimiosunequivocallystatedthathewasperfectlywillingand readytoresignhisofficetoobtaintheessentialobjective.Attendantswereencouragedtobe completelyfreeandopeninexploringcoursesofactionleadingtotherestorationofharmony andunity.TheelectedconventionofficialswereViceChairman,ArchmandriteEmanualAbu HatabandWilliamKatziflis,secretaryArchpriestSolomanFernainyandFredTabah, transcribersofproceedings,ReverendBasilMahfouzandSubraiAndria.Assignedtoreceive allwrittenandsignedmotionsmadewereReverendBasiliousKerbawi,ReverendGeorge Kattouf,ReverendMecariousMoors,ReverendNabibGeorgeNahas,N.Diab,Abd'lMessih Haddad,NaseebMetar,JosephAzizHyder,KhalilHyderandSheikAlexanderJoseph.Next itemontheagendawasafullreportfromthecommitteewhichhadparticipatedinthepeace conference.Thisengenderedprolongedandlivelydiscussions,questionsandmotionswhich evokedmoreofthesame,endingwithaconsensusontheneedforresearchandageneral referendumbeforefurtherstepsshouldbetaken.Accordinglytheconferencewasadjourned

tothefollowingOctober. Theprogramforactionwithcorrelatingstatutesandresolutionswhichwaspresentedtothe Octoberconferencebythepreviouslycommissionedcommitteewasprefacedbyanarration oftheprecedentcanonicaleventonwhichtheirenactmentwasbased."TheActofFebruary 2,1927"passedbytheconventionofthecanonicalhierarchyoftheRussianPatriarchalSynod atSt.Tikhon'smonasteryatSouthCanaan,Pennsylvania,presidedoverbyMetropolitan PlatonRedjezventsky,decreedthatthedutyandfullresponsibilityofprovidingtheOrthodox teachingsandchurchsacramentstounattachedAmericanbornofanyethnicgroupbeplaced ontheprimaryrepresentativeoftheRussianOrthodoxMissioninNorthAmerica,Bishop AftimiosservingasheadoftheSyrianOrthodoxbranchofthismission. ForthispurposeAftimioswasempoweredandcommissionedtoconstitute,organize, establish,head,leadandadministeradistinctindependentbranchoftheOrthodoxChurchto becanonicallyestablishedandpubliclyknownastheHolyEasternOrthodoxCatholicand ApostolicChurchinNorthAmerica.Articlesof"TheAct"specifiedthatauxiliarybishopswere tobeconsecratedtoaidtheBishopofBrooklynincarryingouttheprovisionsthereof,and designatedBishopTheophilosofChicagoandBishopArsaniousofWinnipegtoservewith Aftimiosascoconsecratorsasoccasionrequired. Theassemblyunanimouslyagreedthatthebestlongrangeinterestsofpresentandfuture OrthodoxyouthinNorthAmericacouldbestbeservedbyanautonomousAmerican OrthodoxChurch,freefromforeignadministrativedomination,havingequalstatusandin communionwithothernationalchurchessynods.TheCommittee'sreportand recommendationswereapprovedandendorsed. Theprocedurefortransferofparishestothenewchurchwasrelativelysimple,provision beingmadeforpetitionbyparishpriestandcounciltotheArchdioceseofBrooklynaddressed toArchbishopAftimiosasHeadoftheSyrianOrthodoxCatholicmissionaskingtransferofthe parishwithitspriesttothenewindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurch.Simultaneously, saidparishinlikemannershouldpetitiontheHolySynodoftheHolyEasternOrthodox CatholicandApostolicChurchinNorthAmerica,addressedtoHisEminence,Aftimios, ArchbishopPresidentoftheHolySynoddeclaringtheiracceptanceofthenewchurch's constitutionandherauthorityandjurisdiction,requestingadmissionthereto. TheArchbishopofBrooklynwouldthentransferthepetitioningParishandPriesttothe jurisdictionoftheAmericanHolySynod,andtheArchbishopPresidentoftheHolySynod wouldthenadministersuchparishesandclergydirectlyuntiltheHolySynodestablishes

diocesesandappointsdiocesanprelates.ArchbishopAftimioswastoretainhisofficeas ArchbishopofBrooklynandHeadoftheRussianJurisdiction'sSyrianGreekOrthodoxCatholic MissioninNorthAmericaaslongasanyparishesorclergyremainedintheBrooklyndiocese undertheRussianjurisdiction. Thusthecanonicaltransferofparishesandclergyfrompresentauthoritytotheindependent churchcanbeaccomplishedwithoutdifficultyoreithercanonicalorcivillegalobjection. TheindependentchurchwascharteredbytheCommonwealthofMassachusettsasa religiouscorporationunderArchbishopAftimiosasArchbishopPresidentoftheHolySynod, wherebythenewchurchacquiredcivillegal,aswellasecclesiasticalrealityandexistence. (MetropolitanSergios,ActingPatriarchalLocumTenensofMoscow,andthePatriarchal Synodrecognizedandconfirmedthe"ActofFebruarySecond,1927"inacknowledgement that"continueddivisionanddisputeoversupreme,exclusivejurisdiction,headshipor authorityinOrthodoxyinAmericaistreacherytotheChurchofChrist,andthatthetimehad comewhenthedutyofallnationalitiesandfactionsinAmericaistouniteinanindependent AmericanOrthodoxCatholicChurchfortheAmericanchildrenofOrthodoxy."(FromAftimios' messagetoconvention)OnSeptember11,1927,inaccordancewiththeorderof MetropolitanPlaton,approvedandratifiedbytheSynodofBishopsoftheAmericanDioceses oftheRussianOrthodoxChurch,ArchimandriteEmanualAbuHatabwasconsecratedbishop asassistanttotheheadofthenewchurch,atSt.Tikhon'smonastery,SouthCanaan, Pennsylvania.Withcharacteristiczeal,Aftimiosplungedintotheorganizationand administrationoftasksasrequired.ImmediatelytheconstitutionofthenewAmerican OrthodoxChurchwastranslatedfromArabicintoEnglish,Greek,Russianandsentwith letterstransmittingthecallingforunityandthepromulgationtothegoverningprelates, synods,authoritiesandbishopsofallOrthodoxCatholicchurchesandjurisdictions(with whomAftimioshadpreviouslymetanddiscussedthedeplorableconditionoftheOrthodox churchesinNorthAmericaofwhichhehadmadeanextensivesurvey,copiesofwhichhad beenwidelydistributed)onDecember19,1927.Subsequentlyconsecratedasbishopsforthe independentAmericanOrthodoxChurchwasReverendSophroniosBishara,JosephZuk,a Ukrainian,andaformerAnglicanpriestnamedIgnatiusNichols,whosereligiouscolumn "HighwaysandByways"appearedintheScrippsHowardnewspapers,whohadbeendrawn toanindependentAmericanOrthodoxandhadacceptedorderstherein,ashadseveralother nonArabicaffiliatesofotherpersuasions,includingBorisBurden,whoservedasAftimios' secretary,andaUniversityofBuffaloprofessornamedMichaelGelsingerwhowas commissionedtotransposethemusicoftheOrthodoxliturgyforthenewchurch. TheobviousadvantagesofbasicconceptofanindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurchasa

remedyforthechaoticconditionsinandamongstallethnicOrthodoxgroups,andasthe perfectmeansofunifyingwhilepreservingindividuallanguage,customs,chosenleaders,etc., despitesuperficial(toAftimios)sacrificeofcontentiousissues,personalpride,prestige,etc., wassoclearanddesirabletoAftimios,hecouldnotunderstandoracceptthereluctanceof hisfellowclergytogiveitwholehearted,vigorousandpositivesupportiveaction. Aftimioswaschagrinedbeyondmeasurewhensomeofhisclergyapproachedhimaskingthat thecreationoftheindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurchberescindedandareturntothe RussianPatriarchalSynod'sjurisdiction.Givenasreasonswerethatinthelongrun,an independentAmericanchurchwouldputinjeopardythechurchpropertiesandpossessions, allegingthattheAmericangovernmentcouldconfiscatethemintheeventofinternal controversiesorconflict. Therecouldcouldbenodoubtthatthiswastheoutgrowthoftheinvidiouslyplantedseedsof theAntiochianbishops,inwhosecountrysuchatakeovermighthavebeenpossibleduring theOttomanrule. Aftimiosassuredthemthatthegatesofhellcouldnotprevailagainstthechurchwhose foundationwasfaithinChristJesus;butiftheyconsideredthemselvesasbelongingtoa religiopoliticalpartisanship,theirfaithbasedonpersonal,materialtemporalbenefits,evil wasmorelikelytobefallthemthantheChurchanditspossessions.Thechurchwouldendure throughouttheages,butmanwastransientandinproportiontohisprogressinChristian perfectionishisworthinesstoheaven. GettingnowherewithAftimios,therenegadesbegantospreadthespiritofapostasyamong thediocesanparishes.Foremostamongsttherenegadeswerethefollowing:(1)Metropolitan Platon,therefugeefromBolshevicRussia,chiefvicaroftheRussianPatriarchalSynodin NorthAmerica(afterEvdokim'sdeparturetoEurope,wherehemarriedafterestablishing "TheLivingOrthodoxChurch"),whomAftimioshadsheltered,providedforanddesignatedas officialrepresentativeofthePatriarchateofMoscowandallRussia,anditsSynodofBishops, givinghimstatusandpower;(2)Emanuel,whomAftimioshadelevatedtothebishopricand postoffirstassistant,whohadspenthistimetravelingthroughoutthediocesebeingfeted whilereceivingunaccountedcontributions,leavingthelaborstohissuperior;who entertainedfondhopesofbecomingthepresidingbishopovertheSyrianbranchofthe Russianjurisdiction;(3)BasiliousKerbawi,Emanuel'sconspiratorialpartner,luredbythe prospectofsplittingtheproceedswithEmanuel(dividingAftimios'robe)thoughneither couldstandtheother,eachthreateningtoexposetheother'streachery.(NajeebDiab,editor of"Mir'aatElGharb"onceaskedKerbawiwhatwasgoingon,sayinghehadobservedhis

uncustomarycloseassociationwithAbuHatab.Kerbawi'sreplywasthathepreferredthe trimmingsofAftimios'fingernailstoathousandAbuHatabs,butAftimiosinsistsonconduct accordingtothecanons,andwehavefamiliestosupport!) UnderthelateRaphael,Kerbawihadbeenrestrictedintheperformanceofsacramental servicesforwhichRaphaelcompeted,havingtogivetoRaphaelanaccountofanyandall servicesandderivedincome;whileAftimiosgavehimsoleprivileges,withoutrestrictionor accountability,besidesaskingthecongregationtoincreasehismonthlysalarythreetimes, andappointinghimhisvicar,overlookinghisfrequentmisdeeds. ThesethreebeneficiariesofAftimios'largessatfirstappearedtobemeekaslambs,but beforelongtheirtruerapacitywasrevealedintheconspiratorialwebtheysecretlywove aroundtheirbenefactor,enticedbytheirpersonalambitionsandhopedforgainsfromthe exploitationofthediocesanflock.Withthepeculiarmalignitycharacteristicofapostatesthey createdanddevisedobstacles,complications,hindranceswherebyallconstructivemeasures takenbyAftimiosfortheimprovementandlongrangegoodoftheChurchwereimpeded. FailingtogetAftimiostorescindtheacttheyhadpreviouslyadvocatedandratified,now legallychartered,itsconstitutionwithappendixestranslatedintofourlanguagesand distributedinAmericaandabroad,towhichsomefavorableresponseshadbeenreceived, AbuHatabandKerbawitookanotherlineofstrategy.Theysurreptidiouslycommunicated withprominentandinfluentialindividualsandsomeparishpriests,fomentingresistanceto theindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurchculminatinginacivilsuitbroughttocompel AftimiostorescindtheAct. However,thecourt'sdecisionfavoredAftimios,sayingthathewaswithinhislegaland canonicalrights.Notlongthereafter,SalimMalukecalledandaskedAftimiosforan interview.Thatevening,he,RiadJabara,NajeebDIab,NajeebKiami,WilliamKatziflisandAziz AtiyehwerereceivedbyAftimios.Theamenitiesover,WilliamKatziflisspokeup,saying, "Lookuponthefacesofthesefriends,doesn'tyourheartopentothem?Doesnotyoursoul highlyprizetheirfriendship?Haveyoutheslightestdoubtoftheirloveandrespectforyou?" Askedtoproceedwithwhathehadtosay,"Eachoneofuswasamemberofthecommittee whichpassedtheresolutiontoestablishtheIndependentAmericanChurch.Eachofusstood beforethediocesandelegatesandmembersoftheconventionsandopenlydeclaredthat therewasnolifeforOrthodoxyinthiscountryexceptintotalautonomyfromalloutside domination,ifwetrulylovedOrthodoxyandwishedtopreserveandbequeathittoour children.However,ithasnowbeenmadecleartousthatouractionwaspremature,because thepeoplearenotreceptivetoit.Therefore,we,yourfriendsinwhosesincerityyoubelieve, takethelibertyofaskingyoutorescindautonomy,eventhoughweknowthisdifficultfor

you,forweseeitasinevitable." Verystrangeindeed,thisstanceandthinkingofmature,intelligentandsuccessfulbusiness andliterarymen,enjoyinglifeinaliberatedAmerica!AfterabriefpauseAftimiosaskedthem iftheywantedhimtoresignasPrimatePresidentandunanimouslytheycriedout,"No,we wantnoonebutyou.""Inthatcase,"repliedAftimios,"autonomyiscloserandmoreeasily accomplishedthanwhatyouask,sincebutyesterdayyoubelievedthatonlyinthiswaywas therelifeforOrthodoxyinthiscountry,elsewouldyourchildrenbedispersedamongstother persuasions,whichismyfirmbelief.AfteralltheeffortIputforthandthepromisingresults ofmydayandnightlaborstoimplementtheresponsibilityplacedonmebythePatriarch SynodIcannotmyselfdestroy,norseedestroyed,theprincipleandbrightfutureofthe autonomousOrthodoxChurch.Nothinggivesmethisright." SalimMalukethenofferedtoreimburseAftimiosforallhisexpensesandpromisedamonthly salary(Aftimioshadneverinhislifebeensalaried,refusingtobea"hireling")urginghimto discardtheheavyburdenwithwhichhe'dbeensaddled,totakelifeeasy,makingpastoral visitsthroughouthisdioceseamongstthepeoplewholovedhimandwouldrejoicetosee him.Afterlengthydialoguethevisitorscameawayadmiringandconvincedinheartandmind oftherightnessofAftimios'standregardingtherescindingofautonomy.However,theywere soonthereafterindividuallycontactedandtoldthathadAftimiosanyrealconsideration,love andrespectforthem,hewouldnothavehumiliatedthembyadamantlydenyingtheir request.Somethenjoinedtheopposition,othersbecameneutralandveryfewremained loyal. RENEWEDLITIGATION WhenAftimioshadpurchasedthechurchproperty,consistingofcathedral,communityhall andmanse,thelocalparishhadstronglyobjectedtothefinancialburden.Hehad,as planned,soldthemanse,usingtheincomethereofasadownpaymentandtraveled throughoutthediocesegatheringfundstolightenthemortgageontheproperty.Unlikehis predecessor,hedidnothavethedeedrecordedinhisname,butaswaswidelyknownatthe time,inthenameoftheBrooklyndioceseandthediocesancouncil,allofwhosemembers werelocalresidentsandmembersofthelocalparish. UndauntedattheirfailuretoabrogatetheindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurch,Abu HatabandKerbawinowturnedtheirattentiontootherdirections.Theyprevaileduponthe localparishtolitigateforthetransferalofthetitledeedtothechurchpropertyfromthe diocesannametothatofthelocalparish,hopingtokeepAftimiostoopreoccupiedtodevote anytimeorenergytothenewchurchorganization.

Afterhearingtheplaintiff'sallegationsandthedefense,thejudgethrewthecaseoutof court,sayingthattheArchbishophadactedentirelywithinhisprerogativeinaccordancewith hisduty,andthatregistrationofthechurchpropertyinthenameofthediocesancouncilwas properandright. Duringanelectioncampaignlater,whenoneofthecandidatesforjudgewasMitchellMay, whohadbeenappointedtofilltheunexpiredtermofthedeceasedjudgewhohadthrown outofcourttheoriginalcivilsuit,theadversariesagainbroughtsuit.Likehispredecessor, MitchellMaycouldfindnolegalgrounds,andrebukedtheplaintiffsforsubjectingtheir bishoptocourtproceedings.Theyrequestedandweregrantedcontinuationofthetrial.They thencontactedleadingpoliticiansandothercandidatesforofficeandpersuadedthemthat theylovedandhonoredtheirbishop,butwereconcernedaboutthelackofattendanceat churchservicesbythepeoplewhoobjectedtotheindependentAmericanOrthodoxChurch, fearingatakeoveroftheirchurchpropertiesbyforeignelementsunlessthedeedthereto wasregisteredinthenameofthelocalparishcouncil.Thesecandidateswereaskedtoattend theSundayserviceandseeforthemselves.OnthatSunday,theypostedsentriesateach cornerofthestreetsapproachingthecathedralandtoldallcomersthatthebishopandpriest wereoutoftownandnoserviceswerebeingheld,sotheyeitherreturnedtotheirhomesor wenttotheAntiochianchurchservice.Thusweretheircontentionsconfirmedtothe observingwitnessesattheservices. AlsotheysenttwoseparateindividualstousetheirpersonalclosefriendshipwithAftimiosto persuadehimtoyieldtotheirrequesttoabrogatetheindependentAmericanOrthodox Church.Inthatdialogue,Mr.AneesKhourifoundnofaultwithAftimios'personalor administrativeconduct,butthatallwereagreedhefailedtohumourthepeople'swishes. Thatdespitehisselfabnegationanddedicationofallhistimeservingthepeople'sinterest andorganizingtheirspirituallifeinlinewithChristiandoctrine,theywerebuthumanand couldnotliveinaccordancewiththespiritandteachingsofChristallatonce,asAftimios wished. WhileAftimioshadneverclaimedperfection,hefranklyspokeofwalkinginthepathtoward perfection,expressingconfidenceinattainmentinaccordancewithhisfaithfulness,vigilance andhonestendeavor.Moreover,heexpectedallwhoclaimChristtowalkinthispath; clergymenfirst,becausetheyweretheonesdesignatedtobethelightofwhichJesusspoke whenhesaid"...ifthelightthatisinyoubedarkness,howgreatisthatdarkness." WhenthecourtcasewasresumedactingjudgeMitchellMaywasgiventhereportofpolitical

candidateswhohadbeentheonlyserviceattendantsattheSundayservice,andacomplaint ontheallegedlyadamantattitudeofAftimios.Hisdecisionfavoredtheplaintiffs.Therewere manysupporterswhourgedAftimiostoappealtheverdictattheirexpense,buthe persuadedthemtonotfoolishlywastetheirhardearnedfundsinlitigation,assuringthem thattransferoftitledeedfromdiocesantolocalparishcouncilhadnoadverseaffectonhis statusasheadofthedioceseandofthenewAmericanOrthodoxChurch.Aftimioshadspent thecourt'srecessandlunchtimeadjournmenttimealongreadingscriptures,prayingand agonizinglyreviewingandappraisinghisconstructiveendeavorstoimproveconditionswithin thestrifetornBrooklyndiocese,allofwhichhadbeenvigorouslyresisted.Hishighhopesfor thefutureoftheorphanageonwhichhehadexpandedmuchenergyandvastsums,had beencrushedafterseveralyearsofunremittingattacks,acrimoniouscriticismandfalse accusationsinstigatedbyAbuHatabandKerbawiandsupportedbymostoftheArabicpress. Thehopedforprintingpressandschoolhehadfounded,hehadhadtoabandonwhen litigationtookallavailablefundsandtime. Finally,theIndependentAmericanOrthodoxChurchsolutionendorsedasidealforhealing thediocesanbyhisowndiocesanclergywhichtheRussianPatriarchalSynodhadproposed andresponsibilityfortheimplementationofwhichhadbeenplacedonhisshoulderswas broughtunderfirebythedemolitionsquad.Failureofthepromisedsupportandcooperation ofAtheragorasafterthetime,energyandexpenseofmakingandpublishinginfourlanguages thepracticalsurveyoftheOrthodoxsituationinAmericawithprogramforunity,whichhad beenrequestedoftheGreekbishopAthenaporas,alsofishinginthetroubledwatersofthe canonicaldomainoftheincapacitatedRussianPatriarchalSynodofMoscow.Suspensionof publicationofTheOrthodoxCatholicReviewafterthe7thissuebecauseofcurtailmentof funds. Why?Why?WhywasAbuHatab,whohadbeenelevatedtotherankofBishopand appointedAftimios'vicarandgivenfullfreedomtoenjoy.....Kerbawi,whohadbeengiven chargeofservicesinthediocesancathedralwhichyieldedhimfabulousrevenueswhydid thesetwo,whocouldnottolerateoneanother,uniteinresistinganddestroyingprojects intendedtobenefittheOrthodoxfaithfulpresentandfuturegeneration?(Ps.64:2)(Ps. 120:6,7) TheGreeksfeltthattheirchurchshoulddominateallworldOrthodoxasthechurchofRome controlledallWesternCatholic.TheRussianshadsecondthoughtsonyieldinganyrightstoa newAmericanchurchexpectingthattheBolshevicregimewouldsoonbeovercomeandthe RussianPatriarchalSynod'spowerandgloryrestored.However,thedulycanonically constitutedandlegallycharteredchurchcouldnotberevoked,butwithdrawalofthe

enthusiasmofitsfounders,theoppositionofmanyofhisownloyalists,thepersistentdivisive insurrectiveactivityoftheAntiochianPatriarchrepresentativepresentedformidable insurmountablebarriers.TheCourt'sadversedecisionbroughtAftimiostoapersonal decisiontonolongerwastetheyearslefttohimamongstthem,hedeterminedtotravel amongtheparishesinhisdioceseteaching,preachingandpromotingthecauseofthe IndependentAmericanOrthodoxChurch.Heperformedonefinalserviceinhiscathedralin theconsecrationofFatherIgnatiusNichols,aformerEpiscopalianpriestandnavychaplain whohadcomeintotheAmericanOrthodoxChurchasBishopforAmericansandotherEnglish speakingpotentialOrthodox.Thetextusedinthislastservicewas"OJerusalem,Jerusalem, thouthatstonesttheprophetsandkilleththemthataresentuntothee,howoftenwouldI havegatheredthychildrenasahenherbroodunderherwings,andyewouldnot.Behold yourhouseisleftuntoyoudesolate,youshallnotseemeagainuntilyousay,blessedishe whocomethinthenameoftheLord."(Luke13:34,35andMatthew23:37,39) Attheconclusionoftheservices,heaskedhissecretary,FatherBorisBurden(aformer EpiscopalianpriestwhohadcomeintotheIndependentAmericanOrthodoxChurch)topack hisoldestvestmentsandserviceparaphernalia.TwodayslaterheleftBrooklyn,callingonthe diocesanparishes,lookingaftertheneedsofthechurchesandflock,preachingthewordof salvation,forbiddingdiscussionofcontroversies. THEENDOFTHEBIOGRAPHY