Please read this report sent by one of my sources in the Moscow Patriarchate. Fr Leonid “Lefty” Kishkovksy (already called out for spinning the story of Jonah’s removal in the Russian press) tried to convince everyone who would listen in Russia that Jonah suffers from mental disturbances. His back-stabbing scandalized all who heard him.
One thing is for sure, even with a bishop in charge of External Relations, they never rise higher than mediocrity. Does this man any difference in the long run? I doubt it. Once a regime does something this stupid and non-canonical (criminal?) it closes ranks and hopes to ride out the storm.
Smart people would read Moscow’s snub sent earlier today as a signal to start ameliorating the damage. But then, if Syosset denizens were smart, they would have attempted an intelligent and humane way to retire His Beatitude.
OCA Snubbed in Kiev by Russian Orthodox Church
Of course Big Brother will tell us that all reports to the contrary, the unjustified ouster of Metropolitan Jonah has not caused any hiccups in our relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. We will be told that Bishop Alexander (Golitzyn) and Fr Leonid Kishkovsky were greeted warmly by the Moscow Patriarchate this weekend while they were in Kiev. Unfortunately, such a rosy view will be hard to square with the facts on the ground.
High level sources in the Russian Orthodox Church traveling with Patriarch Kirill in Kiev for the celebration of the Feast of St Vladimir are reporting that the OCA delegation was greeted “politely” by officials of the Russian Orthodox Church but no special accommodations or recognition of them was offered.
Bishop Alexander served at the main liturgy led by Patriarch Kirill and other heads and representatives of Orthodox Churches for the Feast of St Vladimir. Of prime importance however is how the Russian Orthodox Church officially recognized the heads of other Orthodox Church during the Divine Liturgy. The Orthodox Church in America was not commemorated during the chanting of the Diptychs nor by Patriarch Kirill at the Great Entrance.
The chanting of the Diptychs and the commemorations at the Great Entrance are affirmations that the head of the local Church, in this case Russia, recognizes several other Churches. As is customary, all other Churches are commemorated in order of dignity and primacy. The Orthodox Church in America is last since it is the youngest autocephalous Church.
However after the commemoration of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, the OCA was skipped and the commemorations all all Orthodox Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops that were present was offered instead.
Even without a ruling Primate, the Locum Tenens of an autocephalous Church is commemorated; no mention was made of Archbishop Nathaniel however. [Editor's Note: I remember the first primatial liturgy I attended in Dallas in 2001, the See of Jerusalem was vacant at that time yet Jerusalem was named in its proper order and Archbishop Cornelius was mentioned as the "Locum Tenens of the See of Jerusalem".]
Is this a sign being given by both Moscow and Constantinople, who was represented by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France at the Divine Liturgy? Russian Orthodox Church officials and members of the Russian Synod are reported to be scandalized by the way the OCA has treated Metropolitan Jonah.
They were especially taken aback by Kishovsky who spoke freely to clergy and hierarchs that Metropolitan Jonah is “mentally disturbed.” If so, then the “justification” for the action of the OCA Synod is being accepted with the same level of seriousness as it is here in North America.
Compared to how the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are treating Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev (who is old, infirm, and barely aware of his surroundings), the contrast is stark and speaks for itself when compared to the way the OCA treats its primates, even when they’re relatively healthy.
It appears that the attempts by the OCA to peddle their version of the removal of Metropolitan Jonah is not going down well and that the impression by those in Russia and other Orthodox Churches is that the OCA is in chaos.
Here’s the video of the Liturgy: