Metropolitan Archbishops +Wallce David de Ortega Maxey, +Mikhail Itkin, +Jerome Joachim, +David Luther and other lines of succesion
By: His Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
Apostolic Succession in general:
The AUGUSTINIAN THEORY states that because of the indelible character of a consecration, a validly consecrated bishop permanently retains Episcopal powers notwithstanding any schisms or excommunications.
The CYPRIANIC THEORY holds that schismatic orders may be accepted or rejected to the extent that they are adjudged expedient to the best interests of the Church, that a bishop is consecrated for a particular jurisdiction and keeps those powers granted to a bishop only as long as he remains under the consecrating jurisdiction.
In the published work, “Successio Apostolica,” about Mar Georgius I, Patriarch of Glastonbury, in explanation of his seeking after many different lines of succession it is stated: “Having undertaken the work of the restoration of the Orthodox Apostolic Catholicism of Undivided Christendom, he and those with him realized in the early days of his pontificate, that while all consecrations and ordinations of proven validity are equally efficacious irrespective of any particular line of Apostolic Succession. Nevertheless, in the present divided state of Christendom, some degree of ‘irregularity’ must inevitably attach itself to acts lacking the ecumenical sanction of the One Body Mystical, being derived as they are from a part of the whole, it was felt under Divine guidance, that to remedy this position and also at the same time to counter any doubts which might be alleged, even though contrariness or ignorance against any particular line of succession that the existing Orders of this Rite should be fortified by a series of conditional consecrations have also the force of co-consecration and of additional commission in the ecumenical sense, thus bringing into being, an ECUMENICAL APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION derived from every part of The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”.
“The action of Mar Georgius (and others) in receiving additional lines of succession has been the subject of certain criticism in more than one quarter. It is readily agreed that in a united Christendom such a thing would be both unnecessary and, indeed, wrong; for under those conditions consecration ‘Sub Conditione’ would be called for only when some specific doubt had arisen as to the validity of the original consecration. But, in a divided church, quite different considerations apply.”
Most of the many reconsecrations of Mar Georgius are enumerated in other articles, together with others who have had similar thoughts in mind regarding the efficaciousness of additional consecrations. Most of those known to the writer have been undertaken prayerfully and with the desire to cement ecumenical relationships and shorten the period until the Church, the Body of Christ, will once again be united. We realize that there are those consecrations, which take place for reasons other than herein mentioned. We regret these, but can do little about it.
A Third Theory? There are some who hold the idea that both theories (Augustinian and Cyprianic) are valid theories to be contemplated by those afflicted by judicial disease. However, it is believed by some that a valid consecration, whether for reasons so explained in MAR Georgius' “Successio Apostolica,” about Mar Georgius I, Patriarch of Glastonbury, or for other honorable purposes... the chrism from Holy Spirit through the particular consecrator, imbues the one being consecrated with that which comes with all the spiritual character of the consecrator and thus each consecrator has his own spiritual character which is passed on to the one being consecrated. Thus, it is finally believed by some, that the consecrand (person being consecrated) who has had numerous consecrations over time, is imbued, by Holy Spirit, with what is specific to the Consecrator. While such a thought may not be acceptable, it is arguable only in that to validate that which was undertaken with proper intentions, is valid in and of itself. To deny any consecration when being consecrated, again, is to deny the operation of the Holy Spirit in previous consecrations which is a form of blasphemy by some thinking.
Thus, there are those who would believe that the Consecrations of their Eminences of reposed memory, Metropolitan Archbishop +Maxey, +Mikhail Itkin, +Jerome Joachim, +David Luther, including those whom they consecrated, were not a repudiation of previous consecrations, but an affirmation of the actions of the Holy Spirit in spirit and truth over time, while also ensuring the "Orthodoxy" of the Holy Orders passed on so as to correct any deficiencies that may had previously occurred.
There have been, in recent months, some discussion on various lists and in some groups, concerning the validity of those who have gone to their repose as named above. Some of those discussions were initiated by individuals who, themselves, may have deficiencies or defects not in their consecrations but in their non-adherence to the faith by their war-mongering and other un-acceptable politicalizing tactics to diminish the faith by allowing the Evil One to enter in and operate through them.
Some of those individuals have a self-image problem and are unable to maintain a respect based on their own ministry. They go forward like sheep in wolves clothing to raise questions and provide half-truths and untruths about the life and faith of others in the vineyard. These men should be thwarted by not responding to them.
But, instead of avoiding those men, there are many gullible clergy and faithful who, in their youthfulness, bite into the debate and arguments presented. Thus, the issue about, and concerning, those honorable men who have gone to their repose (and who can no longer defend themselves) comes to be a subject of discussion by many.
When those honorable, and somewhat controversial, men were consecrated, regardless of the number of times they were consecrated, their reasons for allowing themselves to be consecrated were rationally and spiritually examined by each of them, internally, believing their actions were just and proper.
We personally know that Metropolitan Maxey did not leave the faith to which he was initially ordained and consecrated for. We know, personally, that he had requested and was given a "sabbatical" so that he could persue research concerning Protestant Churches, their theology, habits and more. He desired to not only do research, but to write or have written for him as his health in his elderly years, caused for many problems. Several individuals did, in fact, take advantage of him, his episcopal office and mental state or condition so that it made some to believe they were consecrated by him when they were not, but documents to the contrary were often forged or altered.
Metropolitan Maxey, when he came into contact with Metropolitan Joachim, did indeed take part in several consecrations with Metropolitan Joachim's assistance because of the harms done to himself (Maxey) by others in years previous.
It was Metropolitan Joachim who had obtained permission to bring Maxey out of retirement. This was done in conjunction with Ourselves, Metropolitan +Itkin, +David Johnson, and several others. Maxey took voluntary retirement previously because of such claims that he had left the faith when, in fact, he had gone on permissible "sabbatical" and had not left the faith whatsoever.
There are far too many who claim Metropolitan Maxey was no longer valid because of such issues. Let the facts and Our own testimony hereinabove written, stand.
In life, as in death, Metropolitan Archbishop +Mikhail Itkin has always been one of controversy. In order to understand the man, one has to understand the Jewish heritage and faith that he came from before he converted. Yet, even that would not do enough to explain this short statured man.
Regardless of what anyone wishes to think of or about this man, he acted in ways to intentionally provoke people into thinking about their faith. He was ill tempered to many. Yet, I know he was loving to a great many more. Active in many ways and in many issues of Human Rights and Civil Rights from the East Coast to the West, the North to the South. Yet, in all that he did, many of the rumors concerning him were either inventions or based on half-truths only because that is what they were, rumors! Rumors are cheap gossip with no true foundation, even if they be half-truths. Yet, often times, this man would intentionally let rumors about himself run amuck because some rumors were more beneficial to his social justice activism activities for human and civil rights, than adverse.
He made a statement to a group of Clergy in 1976 (Sacramento, California) in which he said, "I don't care if someone is openly gay as I am concerned about their faith practice." That says a lot! His views on Gay people in those times were such as to make one realize, if they came to know him, that he did not believe an active gay person should be engaged in sodomy when it came to clergy. He believed that one's private life was between that individual and God. He was a vigorously studied person and knew Holy Scripture to an extent that many could not compare to. He wrote volumes of articles and presented many understandings for families as well as single people and clergy alike; all that did, in fact, blend in with Orthodox Catholic Christian belief and teachings which were handed down from the times of Jesus Christ, through the Holy Apostles to today's apostles in the lines of succession.
He was not what many would call "conservative" on many things, but was, as compared to those of today, conservative in many areas.
Re: +Jerome Joachim and +David Luther:
Both were indeed consecrated by valid Orthodox Catholic Bishops in the true lines of succession. They maintained the faith to the end, although with some vitriolic instances of words being exchanged along the way, almost similar to that of +Itkin.
Those on the various lists and in several different groups who are exchanging e-mails concerning their arguments and debates concerning those men are doing themselves grave and serious spiritual harm because the men they are discussing can no longer defend themselves from the grave.
By discussing them to the extent they are, especially in the manner that they are, is nothing more than self-image building to see who can do the most harm to the image of reposed men whose Holy Orders in the Episcopate were most definitely Valid in spirit and truth! Those who have initiated the discussions are themselves harbingers of serious and grave harms through self-image building because they have, for most of them, lost respect amongst the major part of the Orthodox Catholic Christian Church. Their actions to raise the issues they raise about dead men, go against the very teachings of the Church Catholic.
Those who have been consecrated in the Lines of true Apostolic Succession and later began to ordain women, are still valid, although illicit by their departure from the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Thus, the ordinations they conducted prior to their participation in the ordination of women, are valid and licit. Unless they repent of their actions and seek forgiveness from the various Holy Synods, their continued ordinations are factually, invalid and illicit because they have maintained a departure from the faith as given by Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and their true successors!
Far to many forget that on many issues and in many instances, We do know where the proverbial "bones" are buried about those who have sought to initiate their self-image campaign by attempts to resurrect the reposed on the basis of who is or who is not valid.
There are many Saints and Martyrs who, in life before they accepted the fullness of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, were horrid and horrible to others, did many deeds that would turn the hair white... if such were to be known. But the Church has always made the attempt to sanitize the lives of many saints and martyrs. While, it is true, there are many more whose lives from the cradle to the grave were upright and truly "saintly" and filled with sanctity- not all saints were thusly raised. Often times, it was God's desire that those of ill-repute be used as His instrument for good and thus, later on, became Saints.
Harm is done to the Life and Teachings handed to us when glory-seekers attempt to use reposed clergy as the means to sanitize their own self-image by opening discussions about the questionable antics and acts of validly ordained and/or consecrated clergyman who have since gone to his repose.
Worry more for your own self, your very soul! Take not from God what is His.... Judgment! Especially those who have gone to their repose. Even more especially those who have altered their own lives to live, within their own nature and degree of ability, the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and their true successors. What you judge another by, you also will be judged by in spirit and truth! Be careful that you do not take upon yourself the sin that you accuse another of, especially one who has gone to their repose, for your judgment shall cause that sin to be applied to yourself too!
Many there may be who claim the use of the name AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH in individual states of the U.S., but none can claim as being the original or true AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH because We do hold, by rights of succession, mandate and that of the Holy Synod, the validity of that which had begun as the AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH through +David Baxter and +David Johnson.
Metropolitan Archbishop +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
(Lines of Succession: for those who have discussed them)