As reported by Nigel Hunt in today’s Advertiser (“Warning not to disrupt priest”, p15), GOCSA have been issuing the following warning in their invitations to tomorrow’s “ordination”:

We advise and caution members against engaging in possible mischief by obstructing, disturbing or acting in a calculating manner for a church interest other than the AGOCAA.

As noted in an earlier post, somewhat more forceful threats have been made on the St Nicholas Facebook page, where reference is made to legal prohibitions and punishments ( up to $10,000 fine and 2 years in prison!). This law prohibits anyone from obstructing a religious service.

But what if the religious service in question explicitly calls for the people to express their view? Such as in an Orthodox ordination service, where the laypeople are asked if they think the candidate is “worthy” (axios)? Shouting “anaxios” wouldn’t be obstructing such a religious service – it would simply be participating.

Unless of course it’s a different type of ordination service where the laity do not have that right. A different type of service run by a different organisation which is not obliged to use the standard rules that apply to ordinations. Then of course they can have whatever rules they want. For example, they may insist that the laypeople must not speak their minds at the appropriate time, and insist that the laypeople must shout “axios”, or else risk being fined or imprisoned for obstructing the service. If it was a different type of ordination service, run by a different type of organisation, then they might try to do this.

In other words, if it’s a non-Orthodox ordination service run by a non-Orthodox organisation, they might try to do this…

Of course, if the only way you can get everyone to say “axios” is by threatening everyone with imprisonment if they say “anaxios”, then that’s hardly a vote of confidence (a true “axios”) in the ordination candidate, is it?