[When I said],”If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.” I meant it was terrible to desire, not the work, but the absolute authority and power.

I think a man must rid his mind of this ambition with all possible care, and not for a moment let it be governed by it, in order that he may always act with freedom. For if he does not want to achieve fame in this position of authority, he will not dread its loss either. And if he does not fear this, he can always act with the freedom which befits Christian men. But those who fear and dread deposition from this office endure a bitter slavery, full of all kinds of evil, and cannot help often offending man and God.

But the soul ought not to be in this condition. As in war we see soldiers of fine spirit fighting eagerly and falling bravely, so those who have come to this administration should be ready either to be consecrated to the office or to be relieved of it, as befits Christian men, knowing that such deposition earns a crown no less than the office itself.

For when anyone has this done to him because he will not submit to anything which is unbecoming or unworthy of his position, he procures a greater punishment for those who wrongfully depose him, and a greater reward for himself. “Blessed are ye,” says our Lord, “when men shall reproach you and persecute. you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven.”‘ This is surely true even when anyone is expelled by men of his own order, either through envy or to please others or through enmity or any other wrong motive. But when he gets this treatment from his enemies, I do not think any argument is needed to prove how great a benefit they confer on him by their wickedness.

So we must be thoroughly on our guard against ambition and examine ourselves carefully.

—St. John Chrysostom

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Sometimes the temptation for men to seek ordination in Christ’s Holy church can be born out of a desire for honor or power. That is why it is safer for Bishops to come from the monastic rank of the Church. They have a much better possibility to handle temptation for earthly glory and power having been previously formed on the foundations of ascetic spirituality. Bishops are celibates because they usually were monks. The pressure to act more like a Byzantine King rather than like “Christ the Servant,” is more (it seems) than most can handle. Some hierarchs manage to keep the way of humility in their leadership.

St. John Chrysostom writes: “But no one will always endure the strain; for fearful, truly fearful is the eager desire after this honor. And in saying this I am not in opposition to blessed Paul, but in complete harmony with his words. For what says he? “If any man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.” Now I have not said that it is a terrible thing to desire the work, but only the authority and power. And this desire I think one ought to expel from the soul with all possible earnestness, not permitting it at the outset to be possessed by such a feeling, so that one may be able to do everything with freedom. For he who does not desire to be exhibited in possession of this authority, does not fear to be deposed from it, and not fearing this will be able to do everything with the freedom which becomes Christian men: whereas they who fear and tremble lest they should be deposed undergo a bitter servitude, filled with all kinds of evils, and are often compelled to offend against both God and man. Now the soul ought not to be affected in this way; but as in warfare we see those soldiers who are noble-spirited fight willingly and fall bravely, so they who have attained to this stewardship should be contented to be consecrated to the dignity or removed from it, as becomes Christian men, knowing that deposition of this kind brings its reward no less than the discharge of the office. For when any one suffers anything of this kind, in order to avoid submitting to something which is unbecoming or unworthy of this dignity, he procures punishment for those who wrongfully depose him, and a greater reward for himself. “Blessed,” says our Lord, “are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.” And this, indeed, is the case when any one is expelled by those of his own rank either on account of envy, with a view to the favor of others, or through hatred, or from any other wrong motive: but when it is the lot of any one to experience this treatment at the hand of opponent, I do not think a word is needed to prove what great gain they confer upon him for their wickedness.”

“those who will deny men freedom first attempt to deny them truth. Yet truth can never be fully repressed, for it is not a fact or dogma, but a Person.”

Source: Dennis Engleman -Ultimate Things-

A Tragic Division Liturgical schism splits Ben Lomond orthodox church
Rift pits longtime parishioners against each other by May Wong
Sentinel Staff writer

Sunday August 30.1998

They worshiped together under the same gold dome for decades. Not anymore.
They are a church divided. What started as differences over litugical style
at the St Peter and St Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond has
snowballed into a bitter dispute over power and money. The imbroglio has led
to massive dissension, ex-communication of priests, and uncharacteristic
visits by sheriff’s deputies as members squabbled over ownership of icons. It
has pit godchildren against godfathers, and neighbors and friends against
each other. In one case, a husband and wife are on different sides. The
struggle has even spilled into the courts and resulted in a ruling that says
the church’s roof and the rest ofits buildings no longer belong tothe
parishioners and priests who poured over 1$ million into the property over
the past two decades. The court battle ended last week with the smaller,
so-called loyalist faction backed by the New Jersey-based archdiocese
winning. In a case that raised constitutional, property rights and seperation
of church-and-state issues, Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Samuel
Stevens ruled that the church off Highway 9 and its rellated properties
ultimately belong to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North
America. “It’s really sad,” said Sophie Majmudar, a Ben Lomond resident who
grew up in the church built now worships elsewhere because of the court
order. “All our tithe money has gone into this property.” (more…)

Thursday, August 27, 1998Author writes: Feel free to forward, post, print, e-mail or paper mail to anyone you
think might be interested. Thank you.

BRIEF SUMMARY: Due to the legal and ecclesiastical conflicts at
Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond, the St. Theophan
Academy, which serves students from first grade through high
school, is in urgent need of financial assistance in order to
continue its operations for the fall academic semester. This is
one of the few grade 1-12 Orthodox schools in the country, and
enrollment of 50-60 students is expected when school begins in a
few weeks. To make a contribution, see the information at the end
of the following letter.

Dear friends,

Some of you have been following the controversy surrounding Saints Peter
and Paul Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond, California, for the last six
months. One of the “untold stories” behind this tragedy is the status
of the parish school which has served many of the children in the parish
for the past seven years. (more…)

G.O.PAT.ANTIOCH.DAMAS. Fax.963-11-542440414 Jul ‘9S 17:45 P.01 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & all the East .July 14, 1998

To : The Accused Fr. Terry Somerville

From: Bishop George Abou Zakhem

Re : July 28, 1998 Hearing in the matter of Weldon Hardenbrook, et al.

Enclosed is the notice of Hearing. Please inform me by July 20, 1998, of the names of all persons who will be present at the hearing, and how much time you will need for your case.

Fox No.:00963-11-5424404- P.O. Box (9)- Damascus – SYRIA


G.O.PAT.ANTIOCH.DAMAS. Fax.963-11-542440414 Jul ‘9S 17:45 P.01 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & all the EastJuly l4, 1998To: Fr. Terry Somerville, Advocate for the accused and excommunicated Clergy and laity of St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, Ben Lomond California, U.S.A (Fax: 408-336-3648) or (Fax: 408-336-1820)From: The Clerical Disciplinary Appeals Council of the Patriarchate of Antioch – Syria – Damascus (Fax 963-11-542-4404)

Re: Appeal Hearing Request

You are asked to appear on July 28, 1998 at 10 A.M. Damascus time, at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Damascus – Syria to hear your appeal before the Clerical Disciplinary Appeal Council. In case you do not appear the Court will judge the matter.

Bishop George Abou Zakhem

(signed)

The Secretary of the council

June 22, 1998

To: The Clerical Disciplinary Appeals Council of the
Patriarchate of Antioch (FAX 963-11-542-44-04)
From: Fr. Terry Somerville, Advocate
for the accused and disciplined clergy of
Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church,
Ben Lomond, California, U.S.A.
(FAX 408-336-3648) or (408-336-1820)
Re: Appeal Hearing Request

By this writing, we, the accused Presbyters, Deacons and laity of Ss. Peter and Paul Church, Ben Lomond, California, formally request a hearing in order to appeal the verdicts and decisions of the Spiritual Court of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, received by each of the accused and dated June 15, 1998.

This hearing is requested pursuant to and in compliance with information received via fax dated May 12, 1998 to Fr. Terry Somerville from Very Rev. Fr. John Badeen re: Spiritual Court, “6. Within ten calendar days after the Metropolitan has sent the relevant party(ies) notice of such final action, the party(ies) sent such a notice has (have) a right of appeal in writing to the Clerical Disciplinary Appeals Council of the Patriarchate of Antioch and/or the Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, with a copy of such appeal to the Metropolitan.”

The reasons and justification for such an appeal are varied and diverse, and include but are not limited to the following: (more…)

before the Spiritual Court of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA May 26, 1998
+++++++++
[Fr. John Hardenbrook]

Esteemed members of this spiritual court. I, Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook, the laicized Archpriest of Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church of Ben Lomond, California humbly present to you the defense for my actions and the actions of my fellow disciplined clergy.

I begin with some most serious questions: (more…)