Dear Father Alexander, bless.
"4) Therefore, it is completely correct to call the clergy appointed
by either name -- a "Judicial Commission" or an "Ecclesiastical
Tribunal," since they were a **Judicial Commission, acting as an
Ecclesiastical Tribunal**. "
May I ask what the difference is between an "Ecclesial Tribunal" and
a "Judicial Commission"? When is one used, and when is the second
used? Why was a commission used in this case, and what precautions
were taken in this case to ensure that the judges had no personal
enmity towards the accused, or no political disagreement with them
that might bias their judgement? A judge is always biased, even when
he tries not to be.
"5) The clergy that comprised the Judicial Commission/Ecclesiastical
Tribunal all completed a full theological education, including
courses in Canon Law, and were well versed in both the Canons of the
Church and the Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church. The three
clergymen had a combined one hundred years of service to the Church
These remarks surprise me. The knowledge of the law is not what makes
a judge fair. If the judge considers that it is fair to condemn a
bishop for typos, the fact that the judge in question has a good
knowledge of the law does not reassure me. How many "years of Church
service" did the condemned French clergy have?
The fact that the judges are versed in the canons and regulations
does not guarantee that their decision was not influenced by grief
and hostile personal or political feelings. When a judgement is
challenged in appeal, the fact that the judges of the questioned
judgement are knowledgeable is not an argument to convince about the
equity of the judgement.
How come the commission was appointed, the judgement was pronounced
and confirmed by the Sobor in two week-end days, without the accused
even being informed that they were being judged and without them
later being personally notified of their own condemnation?
Is this like any serene, compassionate and wise way of behaving for
a "tribunal". Does that not recall the expedite justice of
dictatorial regimes that condemn before they have judged? What is
incomprehensible, is that apparently no precautions were taken to
guarantee a likelihood of fairness of the judgement. A frequent
character of justice is that it is perverted. What precautions were
taken in this case to see to it that justice would not be perverted?
" 'Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or
favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus
Christian Justice, is the highest justice. It is the justice of the
Christian heart. The basic wise and at the same time clear and
understandable principle is expressed in the Gospel in these words:
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them: (Mathew 7:12).
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
> Serge Rust wrote:
> >Fr Alexander,
> >- when you judged «fr Benjamin and other clergy», without
> >hearing them, did you make the above implied assumptions?
> Those are **your** assumptions.
> Don't presume to make them mine.
> >- how could your judgement defrock «fr Benjamin and other
> >clergy», since you claim that
> >«**no** commission and **no** tribunal can "defrock" any
> >(your post dated Tue, 27 May 2003 15:40:11)?
> >- was it a *tribunal* or a *commission*? (already repeatedly asked)
> >Not doubt that this List will find it symptomatic that the members
> >this *thing* cannot answer whether this *thing* was a *tribunal*
> Serge here again displays a remarkable lack of knowledge about
> procedures in the Orthodox Church, and, here, specifically, in the
> Church Abroad.
> In order not to be misunderstood again, I will try to patiently
> 1) In each Diocese, there exists a standing Ecclesiastical Tribunal
> that typically hears cases that come up in the Diocese.
> 2) In addition, the Synod of Bishops can and does, when it
determines it to
> be necessary, appoint a special ad hoc Judicial Commission, which
> an Ecclesiastical Tribunal.
> 3) In the case of the "French Clergy," the Synod of Bishops
> special Judicial Commission, which acted as an Ecclesiastical
> 4) Therefore, it is completely correct to call the clergy appointed
> either name -- a "Judicial Commission" or an "Ecclesiastical
> since they were a **Judicial Commission, acting as an
> Tribunal**. (This is similar to the situation in many states that
> appointed Commissioners to act as Judges--they are really
> but their powers are exactly the same as judges--and when a
> a Judge makes a ruling, it is equally binding, no matter what the
> the bench is called).
> Therefore, the question of whether it was a "commission" or
a "tribunal" is
> completely irrelevant, since it was. in reality, both.
> 5) The clergy that comprised the Judicial Commission/Ecclesiastical
> Tribunal all completed a full theological education, including
> Canon Law, and were well versed in both the Canons of the Church
> Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church.
> The three clergymen had a combined one hundred years of service to
> Church as clergymen, and all three had many years experience as
> or Chancellors of their respective Dioceses. Each had the
> decades of service as members of Ecclesiastical Tribunals in their
> respective Dioceses, as well.
> 6) It must be emphasized that an Ecclesiastical Tribunal (or a
> Commission acting as an Ecclesiastical Tribunal), does **not** have
> canonical authority to actually "defrock" or depose from office any
> clergyman--that authority belongs solely to the Synod (or Sobor) of
> The Ecclesiastical Tribunal hears the case and determines whether,
> opinion, the accused clergyman should be subject to deposition from
> or not, and prepares a formal Resolution expressing its judicial
> If the decision of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal is that the
> be deposed, this does not happen automatically. The decision of the
> Ecclesiastical itself does not actually depose anyone, as I stated
> list before.
> Such a decision is sent to up to the Council of Bishops, who can
> reject, send back for further deliberation, or confirm that
decision of the
> Ecclesiastical Tribunal.
> Only if the Synod of Bishops confirms the decision of the
> Tribunal and passes its own Resolution stating that the individual
> clergyman is deposed from office does the actual removal from holy
> take place.
> To reiterate, it is only the Synod or Sobor of Bishops that can
> clergyman from ecclesiastical orders. The Ecclesiastical Tribunal
> integral and required part of the process, but not the ultimate
> decision-making body.
> I hope that this will clarify the matter for all who may have
> my previous posts, or if I had not been sufficiently clear before.
> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff