Ben Lomond Crisis

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The 1st version of the article was the most objective and balanced. It lacked certain key information, but should have been acceptable to all. It was erased (rendering that page blank) by someone who would rather there be no real information available. Here's the timeline.

Late December - the first Ben Lomond Crisis article existed on 12/31/2007 and was completely erased from the Orthodox Wiki on 1/1/2008, beginning the new year with a blackout of history. Early January - notation of this fact and date was made on that wiki page.

Mid January - a new article describing the crisis was put up.

Late January (1/21) - that article was reformatted and rewritten a bit to give it some objectivity and balance.

Later January (e.g. 1/22-23) - that article was completely deleted off the wiki, rendering even the link broken. Here is a pdf of that article which shows when it was present: Deleted 3rd Version (PDF)

It is a terrible shame when the truth of something is so scandalous, that it has to be covered up by an information blackout.

It should be noted that, while this doesn’t indicate the source necessarily, the link to the article from the Antiochian website is not the link to read the article, but rather the direct link to edit it.

Here's the most recent article which was simply deleted wholesale.

Ben Lomond Crisis From OrthodoxWiki

   * Due to controversial subject matter, this article has been reduced to a series of dot points.

The Parish

   * There was a parish in Ben Lomond, California, formerly within the Evangelical Orthodox Church, which came into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to constitute a parish in the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission.
   * This parish, numbering approximately 1500, was the largest of the AEOM. Some have estimated 200 to be in attendance at Saturday evening Vespers. This parish practised congregational singing.
   * The parish also supported a K-12 school, had a world class choir, a hospitality house for visitors, programs for teens and supported Conciliar Press.

The Crisis

It should be considered that this whole section has an ‘allegedly’ before each point.

   * The parish allowed an Athonite spiritual father to visit and to hear confessions, which reportedly achieved a higher level of prayer and fasting.
   * The Archdiocese forbade any of its clergy or faithful to confess to a priest outside of the Church of Antioch.
   * The practise of the parish to have a complete round of daily services (Matins, Vespers and Liturgy) was allegedly considered bizarre and abnormal.
   * An edict was allegedly sent from the Archdiocese, demanding that all liturgical music be from the Archdiocese, prohibiting the Russian chant predominantly used by the parish.
   * A parish meeting was called, and the parish petitioned the Archbishop to transfer to the OCA. In response, the priest and his supporting clergy received a fax announcing their defrocking.
   * An appeal was lodged with an Antiochian trial council, with the priest and his supporting clergy excommunicated, some for a minimum of three years and others for a minimum of five years.
   * The building, property, school and bank accounts were seized by the Archdiocese. Contested in court, the Archdiocese retained all of the preceding.

The resolution

Again, mostly ‘allegedly’.

   * Most parisioners were scattered and priestless; the remainder had not been the primary financial backing of the parish and couldn’t support the church. The school was entirely abandoned, as were other things and programs, with property being sold.
   * The OCA received a large number of the faithful, on the condition of their silence on the matter, also forbidding other OCA clergy to discuss it.
   * The Jerusalem Patriarchate received the remainder of the faithful.
   * In response to both of the above, the Antiochian Archdiocese considered suspending communion with both the OCA and the Jerusalem Patriarchate.
   * The clergy were considered persona non grata for years, even after their excommunication ceased. Recently, these clergy were received back into the archdiocese.
   * To this day, there remains a watchfulness against parishes becoming too similar to the Ben Lomond parish.