Comments Posted By Abercius
Displaying 1 To 30 Of 36 Comments
Take a “bold action” unilaterally in our state of ill-health and disrepute–and divide the Church further–or at best, isolate ourselves still more from the rest of the Church. “Be a leader”–right down the drain of irrelevancy and schism.
» Posted By Abercius On April 19, 2013 @ 12:04 pm
Why is it that the shaven, shorn, scarf-denouncing, pew-promoting, clerical-collar wearing clergy with their thirty-minute Vespers once a week and one-hour Liturgy on Sunday never get charged with playing at being Orthodox?
» Posted By Abercius On April 19, 2013 @ 12:20 pm
Where is the sex in the bishop’s actions? Where is the sex in his words? It is hard to see any sexual conduct or misconduct in this matter, though that there were foolish words and conduct is pretty much beyond dispute. Zero tolerance for fools then! And many of us would be gone…
And why do we insist on using the worldly term “sexual misconduct’ for the thing that will not be tolerated? How about using the scriptural and canonical terms for specific sins: adultery? fornication? impurity? sodomy? Coarse jesting? Drunkenness?
What scriptural or canonical offense would you pin on him? And what should be the penalty for it?
» Posted By Abercius On March 4, 2013 @ 11:26 pm
The danger of using worldly slogans (like ‘zero tolerance’) to set Church policy!
» Posted By abercius On February 28, 2013 @ 11:25 am
JJ–So you admit the central administration is a burden on the Church? Right you are! Many of us would be very happy for the central administration to both take less and do less since what they take and do doesn’t translate into commensurate benefit to our ministry at the parish level–and actually, their actions have made our ministry more difficult. Fr. Alexey speaks the truth.
» Posted By Abercius On February 15, 2013 @ 12:54 pm
Canon 34 also requires the rest of the bishops to do nothing without the primate’s consent in matters that go beyond the bounds of his ‘parish’ (diocese). The OCA bishop of Boston did not consult let alone secure the consent of his primate when he had the Muslim head of state of Kosovo, President Jahjaga, visit his cathedral in March 2012 and address the people in the context of the Sunday Divine Liturgy. He acted unilaterally in regard to the canon and caused a strain in relations with our brethren in the Serbian Church. This was a matter that went beyond his own diocese. Where is the outrage from you, Fr. Kishkovsky, and our good bishops over this violation? All bishops are equal we’re told, but some appear to be more equal than others.
» Posted By Abercius On January 15, 2013 @ 3:51 pm
Thought experiment: let’s translate Mr. Stankovich’s diatribe into political terms and see what we get: “You just came to this country. My ancestors have been here for six generations. You weren’t here when we declared independence, when we passed the Constitution. We built this land, and now you and your political demands are ruining it. You haven’t been here long enough to have a voice. So go to the back of the bus, sit down, shut up, and let us keep running things as seems best to us.”
I daresay the esteemed M. Stankovich does not take this position politically. So why does he take it in the Church towards brother Christians? It is the same attitude some of the first Jewish Christians had towards Gentile converts.
» Posted By Abercius On November 10, 2012 @ 1:23 pm
DTF, your words reflect my thoughts as I read and reflected on the two letters. Does not the Church contain within herself the resources to heal the sinner? Why resort to secular professionals? Do they have power to heal that Christ lacks? That is what the Roman Catholics did in their own situation with sexually abusive priests: they ignored the ancient canons and followed the advice of the day of the professionals who claimed they could cure the offenders with therapy so they could be reassigned. We know how that turned out.
What would Christian treatment look like here? Six months, a year, two years in a monastery with daily attendance at services, a penitential prayer rule with prostrations, frequent Confession to a wise, seasoned spiritual father, obediences to humble the soul, concentrated spiritual reading, cultivation of noetic prayer…?
Instead, the bishops appear here to reveal a thoroughly secular mindset and confess their spiritual impotence to heal by submitting themselves to the “Response Team” (who are they again? what is their competence in spiritual healing?) and prescribing secular remedies no doubt dreamed up by a lawyer seeking to reduce legal liability. This is deeply troubling. Do they believe in the power of Christ the Great Physician? Do they have any idea how to bring that power to bear on the lives of others?
St. Paul warns St. Timothy in his second epistle:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Is the power of godliness still present in the OCA to heal, to make saints? Are our bishops able to communicate this power to us in their teaching, their preaching, their writing, and their example? Surely it has not been reduced to a form, for who wants a mere form of godliness? Life is too short to waste playing games. Time to ponder these words for their applicability to the OCA’s situation and Paul’s command in the last words of the passage.
» Posted By Abercius On November 5, 2012 @ 10:34 am
Your Eminences and Graces of the OCA, you should know that because of the things detailed in the statement by the Sons of Job and your brutal treatment of Metropolitan Jonah, you have little credibility and are fast losing the respect of people of good will who labor to think the best and not rush to judgment. The Sons of Job speak for more of us than you probably realize.
Even if you try to ride out this storm by keeping brazen silence, not addressing credible charges or answering reasonable questions, even if you try to go ahead with ‘business as usual’ pretending that nothing unusual has happened, you have lost our confidence and our trust, and have wounded us with your highhanded dealings, offending not just one but many of “these little ones”–and it is better to be tossed into the sea with a millstone about your neck than to do what you have done to Christ’s flock. Having the chancellor blog on your behalf when he should be attending to more serious administrative matters won’t win us back. Does not one of you have any courage to speak up with humility and honesty, or will you try cover your nakedness with lies and blaming others? Is none of you able to call his brethren to account, to break ranks with this unholy code of silence? Unless you find a way to humble yourselves, to admit your own sins and mistakes as your canonical Primate has done, and to repent, you will have no moral authority to lead, though you may occupy the position of leadership–and the ranks of followers will thin.
Can you lead as Christ showed, by making himself servant of all, or will you insist on lording it over us as the gentiles do? Can you show us an example of faith, of love, of humility, of honesty? I’ve seen none of it since Santa Fe at least. Can you show that you care more about the Church of Christ and Christ’s little flock than about your egos and agendas? Will you stop delegating oversight of Christ’s Church to the lawyers, to crisis management teams, to bullies whoever they may be, and to the Metropolitan Council? You are the overseers, after all. Your cowardice in Pittsburgh four years ago is not forgotten–pushing a fledgling bishop out in front of an angry council because none of you had courage enough to speak. Can you be godly men? We are waiting and watching and listening. Without public repentance on your part naming the specific sins of which you are repenting, I fear your Council in Parma will be nothing but a robber council and will do nothing to heal the Church. You’ve lost your scapegoat and whipping boy now. It’s all on your shoulders–which so far don’t appear manly enough to bear the load. May God have mercy on your souls to help you find a godly way forward.
» Posted By Abercius On October 30, 2012 @ 5:59 pm
The OCA tolerated Fr. Paul Tarazi saying similar things about the Old Testament in his classes at SVS for many years, where he dished out leftover German higher criticism of the 1930s with the thinnest of ‘Orthodox’ veneers. Metropolitan Philip never straightened him out, either, though he was under his omophor and represented his Archdiocese. We can thank him and his teaching for much of our muddled thinking about the Scriptures to this day. Given that, I’m not sure reporting it to a bishop will do much good, it should be worth a try–but remember the fate of Fr. Vasile Susan.
» Posted By Abercius On October 26, 2012 @ 10:52 pm
I saw that too. +Jonah resigns as Metropolitan, so he implicitly resigned from being Archbishop of Washington (though he didn’t). They’re connected, so he did, so they say. If what they are saying is true, and the Metropolitan See in inextricably connected to the See of Washington DC, they why is Bishop Alexander not also Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See? Or why isn’t Abp. Nathaniel not Locum Tenens of Washington?
And they wonder why we don’t trust them and don’t believe what they say? Are they really this incompetent? Can we trust anything they do and say? And they would have us believe it is all +Jonah and George’s fault. Really, if it weren’t for those two, everything would just be fine.
You’d better think again dear Archbishops, Bishops, and staff members at Syossett. Man up, take some responsibility for your own mistakes, which are piling up, show some humility and repentance, before it is too late (we need to see your example–you are our leaders after all–if you expect us to repent also). You are making us the laughingstock of the Orthodox world! Please stop, you are embarrassing us! And you are about to break things even more if you don’t make some changes…
» Posted By Abercius On October 27, 2012 @ 4:41 pm
Two passages in Fr. Jillions’ own words from OCA News describing events in England in 2002 are striking.
“After our conversation I went next door to one of the rooms in the church hall where the five Sourozh Archpriests happened to be having a meeting (they acted as a kind of executive of the presbytery). They were gathered around a table with a six-pack of beer. They offered me one and invited me to stay (though I was not an archpriest). There was a distressed and depressed air among them. They brought me up to date, and said they were discussing “how to get rid of this new bishop.” I was honestly shocked. This was a cabal, plain and simple, and I had innocently never encountered such plotting in all my years of church life.”
Is Fr. Jillions still shocked by cabals?
In a letter he wrote to church authorities in England in 2002:
“High-minded debate about ecclesiology, canonical order and the special character of the Sourozh diocese cannot cover up an ugly run-of-the-mill injustice that we as a diocese still have not acknowledged: how a new assistant bishop was publicly accused, humiliated, effectively put on trial and dismissed by the diocesan leadership. Whatever his perceived flaws, the fact remains that Bishop Hilarion was not given the due process that should be accorded to anyone in the Church, let alone a bishop. His trial by public propaganda was worthy of Soviet justice, not a diocese claiming to be heir of the 1917-18 Council. Indeed, if today any priest or bishop in Russia had been treated this way there would have been a huge public outcry from Orthodox in the West.”
Does Fr. Jillions still have the same concern for justice and due process?
» Posted By Abercius On November 10, 2012 @ 11:08 am
Once it has fulfilled its function, it will indeed! (follow the Edsel)
» Posted By Abercius On October 7, 2012 @ 7:36 pm
“until they become really offensive and, and proactive I think even, they should be able to remain in Holy Communion, because, because however else are they going to be able to continue.”
How? By repenting?
I can’t believe he actually said this!
» Posted By Abercius On October 6, 2012 @ 8:42 pm
To paraphrase Tolkien: “So many strange things have chanced that to learn penitence under the loving strokes of a policeman’s baton will seem no great wonder.”
» Posted By Abercius On September 29, 2012 @ 2:46 pm
How about +Jonah and +Tikhon (retired)? Or +Jonah and +Nikolai? (That would be interesting.) They’ll throw out a ballot with the same name twice.
» Posted By Abercius On September 19, 2012 @ 11:36 pm
I suppose another question would be, was this advice good advice? Look at the legal system, see what the lawyers have done with their own house. Are they really the ones you want guiding the Church? How concerned are they with what is true and just? With honesty?
Another question: to what degree is the Metropolitan obliged to follow the advice of his fellow bishops? To what degree is he or the Holy Synod expected to follow the advice of lawyers? Do we want to be governed by lawyers?
» Posted By Abercius On July 16, 2012 @ 11:17 pm
Finally a statement. One question: did this priest ever formally transfer to the OCA? Was the paperwork ever done? I don’t remember seeing his name in the clergy assignment section of TOC.
» Posted By Abercius On July 16, 2012 @ 1:05 pm
Thank you, your Grace, for making this institutional history known. Perhaps with the Holy Synod on a tear to retract the mistake they must feel they made in Pittsburgh, they’ll back up further and address a serious mistake such as this one? Perhaps they’ll address the Gregory Burke situation? Censure Bishop Nikon for receiving in his cathedral the Muslim Kosovar head of state without going through the Metropolitan’s office as the canons require and causing great strain in our relations with the Serbian Church?
» Posted By Abercius On July 16, 2012 @ 12:14 pm
Helga is right. And when did the Metropolitan ever have a chancellor and a secretary who supported him wholeheartedly and provided competent administrative support to make him succeed? Isn’t his failure also the failure of the central administration and the Holy Synod? They elected him. I wonder when they will publicly admit their mistakes as +Jonah has.
And one more thing: the Metropolitan’s letter of resignation was addressed to his “brothers” i.e., to his brother bishops. Why was this letter published? Who released it for publication? Why was only a priest sent to ask for the Metropolitan’s resignation and not two or three bishops? Does no one have any sense of respect for the dignity of the office of primate? Why is so much sensitive work being done by phone rather than in person? (I wonder who keeps minutes on those phone meetings, if anyone.) And yet the Holy Synod could not vet Fr. Gerasim in three years, and wants to put off vetting him until the fall meeting? Come on, folks.
» Posted By Abercius On July 15, 2012 @ 2:09 pm
We’ve got a lot more going on here than a ‘missing watch mentality’. Perhaps a fatal case of missing consciences.
» Posted By Abercius On July 11, 2012 @ 11:13 pm
Boy, he is taking big risks, there, ‘being misunderstood.’ Tough job if that’s the worst he faces. Consider what others have risked (and lost).
» Posted By Abercius On July 11, 2012 @ 11:02 pm
I was wondering whether they would follow the statute, to call an assembly and elect a new Metropolitan within 90 days. Based on what Fr. Kishkovsky has said, (“However, if necessary, this period should be extended.”) you can be sure they’ll be trotting out excuses for delaying that election for a long time to come.
He says, ” so it seems to me that the new primate, and before his election – the Holy Synod, should see their task is to create an atmosphere as possible balance and mutual trust in the Church.” They are rapidly getting to the point where only their public penitence or resignations will have any chance of creating “balance” and “mutual trust.”
» Posted By Abercius On July 11, 2012 @ 4:19 pm
Here is a simple solution for DOS Parishes: for the 2013 budget, 38% of Diocesan Tithe income is projected to be sent to Syosset. Hold a parish meeting, pass a resolution that you will not send to the DOS that percentage of your normal tithe (send 6.2% instead of 10%). Let your dean, the chancellor, and treasurer know that your people will not in good conscience send more money to support the central administration. Keep your parish and diocese funded, but send a message to the myopic central administration.
Parishes in other dioceses can send in their diocesan assessment, but not the $105 national church head tax, which we are supposed to be moving away from, right? We did pass that in Seattle? Where are the press releases speaking of progress in that field? Fr. Tossi? Fr. Jillions? Are you working on it? Will we have proportional giving in the OCA before the year is out? Or will we hear more excuses while you keep padding the payroll with sex police?
» Posted By Abercius On July 11, 2012 @ 9:45 am
And remember, they made him metropolitan, so they bear the ultimate blame, don’t they? I guess like with Fr. Gerasim, they didn’t do due diligence in vetting him.
» Posted By Abercius On July 10, 2012 @ 11:09 pm
Will the bishops and their employees in Syossett keep making a scapegoat of one man, or will they ever own up to their own mistakes, their own sins, their own failures, and take responsibility like men? We’re waiting. “He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes it will find mercy.” They are right: they have a crisis on their hands. And much of the fuel for that crisis is within them.
» Posted By Abercius On July 10, 2012 @ 5:29 pm
Let’s have our bishops show the way to building the church and putting Christ and the Gospel first.. Most preside over declining dioceses. If they can’t do it there, where can they do it? Frankly +Jonah was the only one in office who has offered any consistent inspiration and vision for this. Will +Nathaniel do it? Will +Nikon? Will +Benjamin? Will +Tikhon? +Melchisidek? +Alexander? Will the staff in Syossett who so miserably betrayed the Metropolitan these past couple years show us the way? I sincerely hope they will, but their behavior leaves them looking so morally compromised, I don’t see it how they can proclaim Christ with a straight face. All their words ring hollow and false. Their actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what they are saying.
Fr. Tosi says, “At this time of transition, all of the Chancery’s efforts are directed at moving forward in faith and good order, ensuring that the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ is strengthened.” Now that you’ve violated good order and undermined our trust by your actions, you want to ‘move forward?’ You are ‘ensuring’ that the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel is strengthened? How? What is your programme? Empty, empty words.
» Posted By Abercius On July 10, 2012 @ 11:06 pm
A priest who has given much of his life to serving in the OCA, starting missions, starting and building a monastery, being pulled away to serve as successor to Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory and then being taken really against his will to serve as metropolitan will be paid only through October? Really? And our sapient bishops have given another bishop, a newcomer to the OCA, a $70,000 a year sinecure as a guest indefinitely imposed on the DOS? Justice? Discernment? Wisdom? Anyone?
» Posted By Abercius On July 10, 2012 @ 5:56 pm
Having thought about it a bit more, I have to agree. If you were planning on going to the DOS Assembly, go. Especially the laity.You have a freedom to speak that the clergy lack. Let Archbishop Nikon know your dismay. Let him sit facing you all and make him answer your questions. The bishops are out of touch, and the bureaucrats in Syosset even more so, the treacherous ones, who had no loyalty to the metropolitan and actively worked against him. Let Archbishop Nikon know the consequences of his actions for participating in this coup. These bishops pulling off the coup are the same ones who were afraid of the gathered assembly in Pittsburgh and threw the new bishop Jonah to the wolves because none of them had the courage or the words to offer the unhappy people. They have now lost the covering he provided them then. Let them hear your displeasure.
» Posted By Abercius On July 8, 2012 @ 8:09 am
Back To Stats Page
It was fine for the OCA to take Puhalo as a retired bishop, but not fine for ROCOR to take Bp. Nikolai?
I’m tempted to vote for Bp. Nikolai for the DOS–if we ever have that election.
But if Metropolitan Jonah is gone, that will be the high sign that the OCA as an institution is going down as sure as the Titanic. The Church will prevail against the gates of hell, but the OCA??? I’ve always been a strong supporter of the OCA and its vision, but the shenanigans of the bishops over the past year and a half and more, their persecution of the Metropolitan, and now this cancellation of the election are rapidly eroding any confidence I have in their ability to exercise wise, godly leadership. One wants to think the best, but it becomes increasingly difficult. We need two sex police positions in Syossett because they can’t take care of their canonical duty. An election is cancelled because in three years they could not carry out their statutory duty to vet a candidate–one whom they have known for months was top candidate for the DOS. You force a Bishop who made stupid mistakes on a diocese indefinitely as a paid guest. Please your Eminences and Graces, give us some good reason to trust your leadership, or you’ll find yourselves without anyone to lead.
To those of the DOS: you should speak up, not be passive, and be prepared to take action in Miami if you go. Of course, it is tempting to stay home and make a statement that way too. May God and the Most Holy Theotokos and Archbishop Dmitri help us!
» Posted By Abercius On July 7, 2012 @ 9:29 pm