Comments Posted By George Michalopulos
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Carl, I am genuinely touched by your sincerity. But it does matter. If I am consumed with hatred then I will have lost Christ. Disappointment is born of love, not hatred. The “venom” you see me write is no different than the writings of the Fathers to each other and/or their co-evals whom they thought were trashing the Gospel or preaching “other Christs.” As for my personal being, I am anything but sad. What Syosset has done to the OCA (leaving aside their massive injustice against one man) is great cause for sadness at the very least. Say what you will but our Church will not heal of this short of repentance.
The very real gifts of the OCA have been squandered. We will contribute nothing to American Orthodoxy. And quite possibly, we have made the continuing divisions between jurisdictions permanent, at least for the foreseeable future.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 21, 2013 @ 7:36 am
John, when I first read your missive, I thought I had hit on the motherlode of Drezhlonic Thought. Either you are the Great Man himself or one of his most trusted devotees! I since have reconsidered my opinion. No, you are clearly a sincere man who really believes that some Orthodox are devoted to the “externals,” that the OCA under Stokoe, Jillions, Tosi, Vinogradov, Arida, et al, point the way to the future of an authentic American Orthodoxy.
Where to begin? How about where you were right?
Yes, Bp Dmitri Royster was disappointed upon not be elected Metropolitan by the overwhelming majority of the delegates. (“Dejected” may be too strong a word.) Do you know who else was “dejected”? Fr Alexander Schmemann, and those voters who had two active neurons firing.
As for the rest of your screed I see clearly that you have little or no historical knowledge. For your edification, these curious “house churches” you speak about are quite Christian in origin. Next time you’re in a hotel, there’s a curious book in there called The Bible. Please turn to a section called “The Acts of the Apostles.” In it you will find many mentions of house churches.
As others have already taken you task regarding the “externals” which appear “Russian,” the next time I’m visiting my father, I will take a photograph of a painting on the wall. It is a self-portrait of a man who flourished in the mid-nineteenth century in southern Greece. He was my great-great grandfather, a priest/iconographer who was dressed in the “Russian” manner you describe. Curious thing though, he was’nt Russian, or Slavic, or anything remotely resembling someone from north of the Danube. He was a Greek who was born in Palermo, Sicily.
As for the “education” that you think we Texas “sectarians” require, we can see where it has gotten the OCA at present.
Thanks but no thanks.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 21, 2013 @ 7:30 am
Fr George Washburn, Hyperdox Hank and SAM, if I may, I’ll reply to all of you.
First of all, thank you for your criticisms. I need to be kept honest. In no certain order here is my defense:
Let’s begin with what I believe, my worldview so to speak. In regards to the Church, I believe in this governance model:
2. diocesan autonomy.
3. transparency (which means robust debate/no code of silence).
5. the observance of minimum standards in relation to the secular sphere.
You can see that I have followed those principles. In the issue of Bishop Matthias (whom I view as a traditionalist) I did not want to pile on regarding the leaked emails/texts. I could have ignored them. Instead I didn’t. Why? Because there would be no transparency or accountability. Second, I wanted to highlight the manifest hypocrisy displayed by those who conspired against His Beatitude.
In the issue of Bishop Michael (whom I also view as a traditionalist), the issue was one of an incipient EEOC suit against St Tikhon’s Seminary. That was newsworthy. I believed then (and continue to hope now) that this issue could be resolved before it went to court and a just settlement could be reached.
In the issue of Metropolitan Jonah, I took him to task for succumbing to the extortionist tactics employed by the Synod to force him to go to St Luke’s Institute. I said that in doing so, he was bringing scandal not only upon himself but the Church.
If this appears to be “all over the place” it’s because the incredible dysfunction that exists in the OCA. Kindly permit me to go on.
In the case of Arb Nikon, I took him (or his scheduler) to task for allowing a Muslim woman to preach from the ambo of one of his parishes. Mind you, that’s his diocese and he’s entitled to do so but the same forbearance was not extended to Jonah regarding his dreaded “unilateral” sighing of The Manhattan Declaration.
The adherence to diocesan autonomy is haphazard at best. Arb Nathanael Popp is allowed to exercise near-papal authority within his semi-autonomous exarchate regarding certain priests but Jonah was raked over the coals because he dared to tonsure a dying woman into the monastic order. The reception of Bp Melchisedek Pleska is likewise problematic but the entrance of nuns from his monastery in Greece is viewed as a cause for scandal.
The Statutes of the OCA state clearly that an episcopal vacancy is to be filled as soon as possible, that a locum tenancy is not to last more than ninety (90) days. The Dioceses of the South and Alaska are now in the third year of vacancy. When the DOS meet to nominate Abbott Gerasim Eliel as their candidate, the locum tenens abruptly and unilaterally cancelled the electoral assembly, inconveniencing priests and delegates to stay an extra night in Miami for no reason at all. The cost to many parishes was not negligible.
As for the most recent lapse in decency, the files of certain bishops are opened without permission to various and sundry people. No effort has been made by the central administration to allow those named in the files to get their side of the story. Compare this to the secular sphere.
The interference by the central administration into the life of the Diocese of NY/NJ in regard to an adjudicated proceeding. To leapfrog over the bishop so to speak.
Others will come to mind.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 19, 2013 @ 3:21 pm
Thank you Fr for this excellent and understandable synopsis. Are we to understand that the process of appealing the decision of the Diocesan Court (in this case) was circumvented by the prosecution (i.e. Syosset)? It would appear to me to be so but I await your considered opinion.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 19, 2013 @ 10:40 am
For what it’s worth, in most secular corporations that I know of, whenever there is a complaint lodged against an individual, that person is allowed to come and be questioned, review his file, and make his own statement.
Given the previous tactics of Stalag Syosset, I seriously doubt that anybody –bishop, priest, or deacon–has ever been allowed to see what’s in his files.
It’s a sad day when a secular corporation that creates products that have to do with erotica (Conde Nast Publishing, HBO), weaponry (Lockheed), or vices like gluttony and alcohol (McDonald’s, Seagram’s) have higher standards than the OCA.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 19, 2013 @ 10:35 am
Nice parry, but no dice. There are several problems with your scenario.
1. The OCA is an autocephalous church (until further notice). That means that the strong-chancellor form of government is not suited for it (unless you also want a strong Primate, “Carl 34, where are you?”)
2. That means the bishop is responsible for discipline in his diocese. Bp Michael did not outsource his job to Syosset but convened a spiritual court for a defendant in his diocese. Though he instigated the case, he abided by the court’s ruling. This is real accountability.
3. The Strong Chancellor on the other hand was not content with the ruling. In civil terms, this is called “double jeopardy,” trying a man twice for the same crime. That’s egregious in an of itself.
4. In order to circumvent this he tried to neutralize the bishop. Other reasons for doing so is that Michael, though the most junior bishop has the most ardent following (as evidenced by the overwhelming majority votes he received at Parma).
Ultimately, the ends don’t justify the means. A charge was leveled against the priest in question, his bishop acted with alacrity, a spiritual court was convened with prosecution and defense, records were kept, the bishop recused himself from being the president of the spiritual court in order to not influence the decision, a verdict was rendered, the bishop abided by the verdict, and the accused was made whole.
All of this was done at the local (i.e. diocesan) level. As it should be.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 19, 2013 @ 8:08 am
I’ll make the correction. However he still had a file there.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 19, 2013 @ 7:54 am
Ultimately, that’s the issue. Unfortunately with the current structures in place (MC vs Synod vs Chancellor) it may not be possible. Last year I asked simple question: could somebody create an organizational chart for me which describes the OCA. As near as I can tell, it’s impossible. Hence the inevitability of reform.
For what it’s worth, the word that’s being banied about lately is “unsalvagable” as in “the OCA is,”
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 18, 2013 @ 7:16 am
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 17, 2013 @ 7:52 am
Fr Peter, I would love to write about good things going on the Church. Truth be told, I have a backlog of political and cultural items that I think need addressing as well, however events in the OCA keep derailing my plans. Please forgive me.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 17, 2013 @ 7:52 am
Thank you Gail, you’re very kind.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 16, 2013 @ 9:39 pm
Theodore, for what it’s worth, I never understood the concept of haikus in the first place.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 17, 2013 @ 8:25 pm
A fantastic posting Fr. Thanks for being one of the few priests in the OCA to have the courage to speak forthrightly and openly. It’s refreshing.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 15, 2013 @ 10:32 pm
It’s fascinating isn’t it? The people at Seattle voted overwhelmingly for the New York Plan (which was to take the per capita down to $50 over a three year period) but they come up with this boondoggle to show how relevant and necessary they really are.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 15, 2013 @ 10:28 pm
Not a pretty picture, is it, Fr?
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 15, 2013 @ 7:04 am
Patrick, I very much agree with you that the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II was perhaps the last Christian monarch from a long line of monarchs that withheld the bloody reign of anti-Christ. That doesn’t mean that in the interim that the Papacy hasn’t had the spiritual resources to take up the slack once secularist terror was unleashed on the world (from 1914 on). Even though I am not a Roman Catholic, I firmly believe the possibility that the Fatima Appearance was prophetic. In it the Virgin told the people to “pray for Russia.” When the evil Bolshevists took over, the Pope at the time did “consign” Russia to the protection of the Theotokos.
If I remember correctly, Orthodox theologians spoke of icons in Russia glowing mysteriously around this time, which gave comfort to the people to persevere, if secretly. The key of course was repentance. I believe that the Russian people did repent of the satanic folly of Bolshevism (which was thrust upon them by alien evildoers) and the unjust murder of their sovereign done in their name.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 14, 2013 @ 9:45 pm
Carl, were you staring in the mirror when you wrote the words “Jonah Derangement Syndrome”?
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 12, 2013 @ 9:58 pm
I’ve been doing C E for close to 30 years now. In the old days it was fun –ski trips, Vegas nites, Super Bowl parties, etc. Now since the IRS tightened up on the fringes, it’s become a drudgery.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 12, 2013 @ 12:31 pm
Good, then let the diocesan bishops run these programs. I’m tired of all this over-centralization. This is nothing more than Syosset increasing its stranglehold over the parishes at the expense of the bishop. Sex Czar, Clergy Cop, now cajoling priests who don’t have time for their families to have to attend C E classes. It’s all smoke and mirrors, intended to fool the people in the pews that “Syosset is all over it.”
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 12, 2013 @ 12:30 pm
I was in the GOA. A lot of this stuff is bogus. And anyway, why should the OCA copy the GOA in this regard? Why doesn’t Syosset insist on following the GOA’s guidelines on clergy compensation? This is nothing but trying to be relevant on the cheap.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 12, 2013 @ 12:27 pm
I have an idea: how about giving the priests resources to be able to partake of the centuries-old spiritual traditions of the Church? Things like giving them stipends to allow them to take yearly sabbaticals to places of pilgrimage?
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 12, 2013 @ 11:21 am
Fat chance of that happening. The Revered Protosbyterians have long ago made their accommodation with episcopal immorality. The better to control them.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 12, 2013 @ 11:18 am
Mr Fall, we had the BEST healthcare in the world by almost any metric you could think of (including the one that causes immigrants and foreigners to rush into and take advantage of). There’s a old cliche: “when the rubber hits the road…”
» Posted By George Michalopulos On March 7, 2013 @ 6:57 am
That doesn’t make sense. Welfare pays a lot less to a family than does an honest job, otherwise more people would get on Welfare. Medicare pays less because it has distorted the entire system in ways too numerous to enumerate at present.
I will agree with you in this regard: so has private insurance. If there were no third-party payors at all, then the cost of medicine would plummet. Think of those specialties which are not covered by most insurance: the so-called vanity practices (i.e. lasik eye repair and most cosmetic surgeries, which are very affordable).
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 27, 2013 @ 10:53 am
Mr Frost, any head of state (whether democratically elected or not) is competent to act as you describe. He is also responsible to his people. The president of Georgia may have the right to poke Moscow in the eyes and make cause with American Neocons (many of whom hate Christ but that’s a story for another day) but it doesn’t mean that it would be prudent to do so. The Neocons sold Georgia a bill of goods. As to why the Georgians ever thought that the Russians wouldn’t react as they did is beyond me.
As to your other points, I too am against the loss of any Church’s autocephaly by a hostile power.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 26, 2013 @ 10:41 pm
Again, I would ask you to investigate the connections between the President of Georgia and the Neoconservative movement very closely.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 26, 2013 @ 8:10 am
Francis, a lot of what you write is true. However you leave out a convenient fact: that Michael Scheuerman (a well-known Neocon lobbyist) worked with the President of Georgia to foolishly instigate a war against Russia. The hope was to bring in NATO on the side of Georgia.
I’m sorry, but the hatred for Russia of the Neocon/Neoliberal establishment will not abate until the US is dragged into a shooting war with either Iran or Russia –two countries with which we have no particular beef or territorial grievance.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 23, 2013 @ 10:06 am
Nate, that’s so not true. Entitlement spending is more than cash-outlays. There’s SNAP, Headstart, Section 8 housing, free ER care, free childcare, Medicaid, etc., etc., etc. The US has an entitlement problem that dwarfs Greece’s to the tune of $70 trillion. California, which has 1/8th the population of the US does have 1/3 of all Welfare spending, a lot of it driven by rampant illegal immigration to be sure, but also by the native middle class voting themselves largesse from the state fisc.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 23, 2013 @ 10:02 am
Dan, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The fact of the matter is that the GOP is over as a presidential party for a host of reasons, the most significant one being that those riding inside the wagon now outnumber those pulling the wagon. It’s really that simple.
There won’t be a conservative or Reaganesque revival because too many people are sucking at the Federal teat. The only hope is that there are some states that are more business and consumer friendly than others, therefore you will see an increased bifurcation in the nation as a whole. Those who for whatever reason cannot be self-sufficient will migrate to those states which will coddle them. California is the prime example. In fact it’s in California where 1/3 of all Welfare recipients live. The question is how long can that state survive before it turns into Greece?
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 22, 2013 @ 10:51 am
Back To Stats Page
I stand by what I said. Consider: in 2008, Sen Barack Obama got 96% of the African-American vote. In 2012, he only got 93% of that same demographic, a collapse of 3% in other words. (He also go 6.5 million fewer votes overall, a collapse of 2%). But there’s more: according to the Pew Research Poll, Mitt Romney got 20% of all male, African-American voters under the age of thirty. So yes, it looks increasing improbable that President Obama got 100% of the votes in 100% of the overwhelmingly black precincts of Philadelphia. To say nothing of the Ohio precinct workers who admitted that they voted two or more times.
Would these have been enough to tip Pennsylvania and Ohio over to Romney? Doubtful, but that’s not the point I was making. The point was American vote fraud which is non-existent in the minds of Russia’s critics. It’d be a good thing for us Americans to tend to our own knitting before we start making rash accusations against foreign leaders that our Ruling Class doesn’t like at the moment.
» Posted By George Michalopulos On February 22, 2013 @ 10:30 am