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8742Re: Fundamental Question

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  • vkozyreff
    Jun 23, 2003
      Dear Father Alexander, bless.

      You write:

      "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.

      You write:

      "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
      as clergymen,..."

      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
      19:14-16)

      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 God,

      Vladimir Kozyreff

      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
      <lebedeff@w...> wrote:
      > 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
      > >clergyman»
      > >(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
      of
      > >this *thing* cannot answer whether this *thing* was a *tribunal*
      or a
      > >*commission...!
      >
      > Serge here again displays a remarkable lack of knowledge about
      judicial
      > procedures in the Orthodox Church, and, here, specifically, in the
      Russian
      > Church Abroad.
      >
      > In order not to be misunderstood again, I will try to patiently
      make things
      > clear.
      >
      > 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
      acts as
      > an Ecclesiastical Tribunal.
      >
      > 3) In the case of the "French Clergy," the Synod of Bishops
      appointed a
      > special Judicial Commission, which acted as an Ecclesiastical
      Tribunal.
      >
      > 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**. (This is similar to the situation in many states that
      allow
      > appointed Commissioners to act as Judges--they are really
      Commissioners,
      > but their powers are exactly the same as judges--and when a
      Commisioner or
      > a Judge makes a ruling, it is equally binding, no matter what the
      person on
      > 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
      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 as clergymen, and all three had many years experience as
      Secretaries
      > or Chancellors of their respective Dioceses. Each had the
      experience of
      > 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
      Judicial
      > Commission acting as an Ecclesiastical Tribunal), does **not** have
      the
      > canonical authority to actually "defrock" or depose from office any
      > clergyman--that authority belongs solely to the Synod (or Sobor) of
      Bishops.
      >
      > The Ecclesiastical Tribunal hears the case and determines whether,
      in its
      > opinion, the accused clergyman should be subject to deposition from
      office
      > or not, and prepares a formal Resolution expressing its judicial
      opinion.
      >
      > If the decision of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal is that the
      clergyman should
      > be deposed, this does not happen automatically. The decision of the
      > Ecclesiastical itself does not actually depose anyone, as I stated
      on the
      > list before.
      >
      > Such a decision is sent to up to the Council of Bishops, who can
      modify,
      > 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
      Ecclesiastical
      > Tribunal and passes its own Resolution stating that the individual
      > clergyman is deposed from office does the actual removal from holy
      orders
      > take place.
      >
      > To reiterate, it is only the Synod or Sobor of Bishops that can
      depose a
      > clergyman from ecclesiastical orders. The Ecclesiastical Tribunal
      is an
      > 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
      misunderstood
      > my previous posts, or if I had not been sufficiently clear before.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > With love in Christ,
      >
      > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
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