For a number of reasons, I am offering a somewhat revised posting for an open position.
For the same number of reasons, I am deliberately less than explicit about the position itself. I think that each of the three sections herewith (i.e., “qualifications,” “responsibilties” and “objectives”) should make clear the subject matter.
The revisions are minor, and are meant to clarify statements that were needlessly dull or obtuse.
While I entertain myself with postmodern irony and that most degenerate of rhetorical humors, I must insist that my theme is of frightful seriousness.
He possesses a good grounding in the humanities, having read and understood at least some of Homer, Virgil, Chaucer, Dante and Shakespeare. Also Eliot, Dostoevsky and Frost.
He thinks logically, empirically. Thinks thoroughly, beyond superficiality. Thinks hard.
Has a library of doggy ears and broken spines.
Serves Liturgy with grace -- with enough familiarity to be less self-conscious that he is serving, and more aware of Whom he is serving, and of Whom he belongs.
He possesses an even better preparation in Patristics, especially the Cappadocians and the Damascene.
He holds a degree from an Orthodox seminary (with a few reservations). Catholic seminaries don’t count, and protestant institutions might count against. A stint at Halki would have been nice ... but one can't have everything.
He has experienced tenure at an Orthodox monastery: long enough to have learned the ways of obedience, humility and ascesis.
He displays proficiency in thinking on one's feet.
He can tell the East from the West (and the rest). Has met mystery, and is afraid.
He is tempted by the notion that there might be a relationship between his own righteousness and sacramental realization: "the prayer of a righteous man is effectual," after all.
He prays. The busier he gets, the more he prays. Remembers, with fear and trembling, that there is no priesthood -- especially no episcopacy -- without prayer. He is convinced that the old monastic sound byte, "Bishops are too busy to pray," is just plain offal.
He knows, at the direct experience of reality, that prayer can arise only from belief. He knows that prayer not only can move mountains, but must move mountains. The relocation of chthonic topographies is the necessary manifestation of true prayer.
(And it would be great if he knew what “chthonic topographies” were.)
He is holy. He will not discard a bruised reed. At the same time, he is consumed by the zeal for the House of the Lord.
He does not have a history of tantrums. He has not been stuck in the slough of despond.
He does not need a psychological test to confirm his stability. He does not have a trail of pastoral disaster wending far behind him.
He can speak theologically, simply, concretely.
He can catechize the young, gently. Can catechize the old, respectfully.
He is not impressed by new shiny things (or people). Is doubly unimpressed by terms like "program," "initiative," "coalition," "conference/committee," or "consultation."
He is not a magpie, coveting a fancier nest.
He can live alone, because he will be living so. He has already lived alone. There is a reason why the Orthodox episcopacy is predicated on an actual monasticism. It is because this alone can produce a chaste celibacy that can withstand the tempers of this modern decadence. Especially on the road: and he will be on the road, like an apostle, more than he will be home.
A bishop must be chaste to pray.
And to live, a bishop must pray.
He will pray and serve. As has been noted, there is no episcopacy outside of prayer. If such a non-ascetic apostolicity has been tried, oxymoronic and contrary to all Tradition, then the resulting failure has resonated throughout time and space. Most of the failures of church history can be traced to such ill-begotten attempts. Non-praying and unrepentant bishops -- hospodi pomiluj.
He will not keep dossiers like the ones kept in Langley, Virginia. He will not hold information for future extortion.
He will become aware of sin with sorrow. He will weep over the failures of his peers, his priests and his flock: "Did not my heart break for you? … And apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant" (2 Corinthians 11.28-29).
Now there's a real bishop.
He will not sue.
He will maintain the ceremony of his office while recognizing that the ceremonial honorifics (of vestiture, ritual and veneration) are directed at his sacramental position, not him.
He will not produce embarrassing emails, tweets, articles or comments on regrettable blogs.
He will speak with intelligence, grace and compassion. He will not speak with a manufactured Russian or Greek accent.
He will be American, but will know how to be pastoral in the old language.
He will fast, according to the rubrics.
He will believe, according to the dogmas.
He will protect his priests from encroaching congregationalism.
He will protect his parishes from encroaching secularism.
He will discipline his clergy. Will pray with his clergy and lead them into the ways of true theology -- which is what has not been done enough. In fact, the current malaise is the way it is because theology has not been led into. He must fulfill the promise of "we too believe, and so we speak" (2 Corinthians 4.13).
He will meekly befriend the poor.
He will not pay too much attention to the rich, especially rich benefactors.
He will lead his flock, in love, into prayer and mystery.
He will keep open books. He will prohibit secret funds.
He will not sign creeds or declarations or manifestos with the heterodox. Will not join, as a "member denomination," any "council of churches" (sic).
He will maintain a different, transcendent definition of "ecumenical" that inhibits degenerate terms like "ecumenicist."
He will demand theology and ascesis from his priests, and lead them personally into the ministry of the Good Samaritan. "You are in our hearts, to die together and to live together" (2 Corinthians 7.3) -- when will this come true?
He will oppose abortion and euthanasia. He will oppose hyper-capitalism and libertarianism. He will doubt the facile charms of socialism and warn against statism. He will die for the faith against t0talitarianism.
He will consecrate the Eucharist in the fullness of Tradition, fully aware of the world hurtling toward parousia.
He will be courageous and wise enough to preach the Gospel at the end of time.
He will recognize beauty, cherish goodness, and be at peace.
In a word, Theosis.
That is, the preaching of the Gospel, and the teaching of the apostolic doctrine.
That is, the increased practice of fasting and almsgiving and prayer.
That is, the flowering of virtue. More love. More joy and peace (of which there is not nearly enough). More forgiveness. More goodness, gentleness, patience, courtesy, self-control.
More theology, doctrinal awareness. More knowledge of the Word. More intelligence, psychological maturity and godly culture: "everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honor, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise" (Philippians 4.8).
These are the touchstones of true culture. The bishop is personally responsible for these improvements.
More monastic vocations.
More stable, chaste and prayerful monasteries. This is a prerequisite for administrative unity.
More divorce-proof nuptial unions. More nuptial affection in marriages. More children growing safely, securely, and religiously.
More youth who stay in Liturgy beyond first confession and altar-boy years.
More new parish missions in the lands of the unchurched -- and these domains are multiplying. If the unchurched are those who do not commune with the Eucharist and the Church of Holy Tradition, then we have entered an age of complete paganism. The Gospel most certainly has not been preached to all the nations: indeed, there are newer and newer nations in this hyper-modern world of insanity, and fewer and fewer ethnoi have even heard of the Gospel. We are living in the cosmos of the unchurched.
More saints. More saintliness.
A more prayerful culture.
What is not an objective:
Numeric growth. God adds to those who are being saved, not anyone else. A true evangelist does not take a census. Every numeric figure issued by jurisdictions -- especially those that report on size and success -- are less than real and are unworthy of the word "church."
Institutional survival. If you must worry about the survival of your ecclesial community, then repentance is the thing to be done, not institutional modification. Most jurisdictions are rearranging themselves like walnut shells, insituting new commissions and committees, until there will be left a single sullen "committee of the whole."
Doctrinal modernization and societal accommodation. Being up to date, mainstream, or Madison Avenue approved -- these are not important, and militate against prayer.
Excitement. Entertainment. Enthusiasm. Same thing.