Well Done, Syossett and Metropolitan Jonah!

Rev. Dr. Harrison testifies in front of Congress (Photo: wapo.com)

We here at Monomakhos have been critical of certain individuals in the OCA in the recent past. One of them being Fr Leonid Kishkovsky, mainly for his involvement in the National Council of Churches. As is by now well-known, this organization has become an obstacle to the proclamation of Holy Tradition, often finding itself being used as a mouthpiece for secular Left. However, when somebody –anybody–does the right thing, we will gladly acknowledge it.

Please read this statement on religious freedom which was crafted by Rev Matthew Harrison, the President of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. It was signed by several religious luminaries including His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah. In a very welcome move, Fr John Jillions and Fr Leonid Kishkovsky also signed it. This is a sterling example of The Ecumenism of the Holy Spirit. And it’s a welcome respite from the tumult that followed His Beatitude’s signing of The Manhattan Declaration. (Would it be too much to ask for the rest of the Assembly of Bishops to sign it as well and perhaps clergymen from the other jursidictions?)

Well done, Fathers John and Leonid. Axioi!

Read more below from the Institute for Religion and Democracy website.

View the signed public statement.

Source: Institute for Religion and Democracy |By Julia Polese

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) recently released a statement on religious freedom expressing solidarity with the Roman Catholic Church in their fight against the HHS mandate requiring religious institutions to provide contraception to employees. In a video statement on the Synod’s website, President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison emphasizes the first amendment guarantee that religious people not only have freedom of assembly, but mentions that “Congress cannot make laws that prevent the free exercise of religion in this country,” which not only means freedom to assemble but freedom to “practice our religion in the public sphere in institutions that we have and run as Christians or other religious people.” The statement was signed by an ecumenical group of clergy and lay people, from Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan to Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and Imam Faizul R. Khan, the founder and leader of the Islamic Society of Washington Area.

The statement comes at the beginning of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” events. Centered around local dioceses, the events intend to rally Catholic laypeople to the cause of religious liberty with special prayers and marches. The left has shown typical paranoia about these events, questioning their funding (because, as we all know, you scratch a Catholic and find a Koch brother) and motives (Sammie Moshenberg: “It’s a marketing ploy.”). The LCMS’s statement, however, shows that the HHS mandate is not only a Catholic problem, but one for all religious people in the United States.

Rev. Dr. Harrison identifies the crucial difference in the invocation of the First Amendment in this debate. For many supporters of the HHS mandate, freedom to assemble is reinterpreted to mean freedom from public engagement from a religious worldview. Professor Peter Singer, the notorious utilitarian who has argued for infanticide in the past, articulates this angle in his latest piece. He asserts “the Obama administration’s requirement to provide health insurance that covers contraception does not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion. Catholicism does not oblige its adherents to run hospitals and universities.”

This limitation is not true freedom of expression, but instead an implicit command for bifurcation of the religious person’s life. Freedom of conscience is great until it butts heads with the conscience shaped by thinkers like Rousseau and Bacon. At its root, it is moving any religious mindset to a private sphere. Leave your beliefs in church where they belong. In a blog on the Washington Post website this morning, Bishop Lori articulated what is wrong with this conception of religious liberty. He wrote: “As we often say, we serve people because we are Catholic, not because they are. It is why so many Catholic schools enroll so many non-Catholics; Catholic hospitals don’t ask for baptismal certificates upon admission; and Catholic soup kitchens don’t quiz the hungry on the Catechism.” As a Reformed Southern Baptist whose alma mater stands both on the Potomac and the opposite side of the Tiber, I am thankful for this impulse to service and I must say that my education was best when unapologetically Catholic. A shared worldview can form partnerships in the public square between the sons of Martin Luther and those loyal to the Pope.

The HHS mandate is only a symptom of a grander impulse to demand religious people to abandon their views that do not overlap with modern liberalism in the public square. It is not just about contraception, but a clash of worldviews. For this reason, the ecumenical statement from the LCMS in support of the Catholic Church is encouraging in its explicit recognition of this problem and the Mainline Left’s response (or lack thereof) reveals where its true intellectual heritage lies.

Comments

  1. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    Axios for Metropolitan Jonah and Fr. Leonid for signing this important document.
    The time has come for a complete reassessment of Orthodox ecumenism. In the past we have concentrated on groups like the NCC and dialogues with so called Mainline Protestants. These have led to nothing of value because most of our older ecumenical partners have surrendered to the values of our secular society. For example, how can we have relations with the groups that dominate the NCC like the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or the Episcopal Church now that they ordain non-celibate homosexuals, bless same sex marriages, and support abortion rights?. Now is the time to recognize that the old ecumenism has failed because we have sought doctrinal agreement with non-Orthodox when doctrinal agreement is not possible. Instead, we should embrace a new ecumenism that seeks agreement on common recognition of the principles of Biblical morality while recognizing that union with non Orthodox is not a realistic goal because we cannot share Communion or unite with any group that does not share our Orthodox Faith. However, we can work with other Christians who share a commitment to traditional Biblical morality to present a common witness to our secular society. Metropolitan Jonah has spoken of this during his statements to the Anglican Church in North America as has Metropolitan Hilarion of the Moscow Patriarchate when he speaks of the new division between non-traditional churches which embrace the values of secular society and traditional churches which still believe in the moral principles taught by the Holy Scriptures. This means that we should continue to dialogue with the Roman Catholics, but that we should reach out to others with which we have not had ecumenical dialogue in the past. We should explore relations with continuing Anglicans, Evangelicals, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and the North American Lutheran Church and Pentecostals who share our moral values to stand together as a voice for Biblical morality. We can do this in a way that does not compromise our Holy Orthodox Faith because the goal is not union but common witness to traditional Christian morality.

    Archpriest John W. Morris

    • Antonia says:

      Establishing closer ties with the Old Calendarist Orthodox, not all of whom are the crackpot idiots that many erroneously believe them to be, and who are far closer to us in theology than are the Catholics and Protestants, would be my recommendation. Then with the non-Chalcedonian Christians (or whatever is today’s politically correct label), later with the Catholics and Protestants. Starting “within the family” is common sense. Communication with these other groups may prove fruitful, but should be secondary.

      • Fr John, your response was a well-crafted “manifesto” in its own right. Perhaps the ACOB will pick it up and make it a directive for the future, one that is predicated on “An Ecumenism of the Holy Spirit.”

        Antonia, we should make inroads to the Non-Chalcedonians as well but in rather limited experience with them, they are in the survival stage of immigration. Completely insular and not ready or unwilling to engage the broader culture. Yes, by all means, bring them along, but in the meantime a massive Christian army already exists: the traditionalist within the Western confessions that have not gone the full Gramsci. Rev Harrison, Cardinal Dolan, Franklin Graham are already part of this force, primed and ready for the fight.

        • Antonia says:

          George, I agree that it potentially would be better to rearrange my list with Catholics and “traditionalist” Protestants prior to the non-Chalcedonians, but this shift on the grounds that those Christian groups already share our beliefs regarding the basic nature of Christ. My central point remains, however, my conviction that we should heal rifts with our fellow Orthodox Christians before moving on to other groups.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Antonia, I’m fine with that. It’s just that in my limited experience with the non-Chalcedonians, they’re even more tribalistic than the existing ACOB jurisdictions. And that’s saying a lot. Mind you, I’m not criticizing them, I’m just saying what appears to be the case.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

      Thank you, Father John

  2. Carl Kraeff says:

    Father bless!

    Dear Father John–Couldn’t agree more. Thank you for your eloquent statement on the way ahead.

  3. Diogenes says:

    Memory Eternal!

    Archpriest Peter Gillquist has reposed in the Lord. A staffer with Campus
    Crusade for Christ in the 1960s, he, with his Evangelical friends, began a
    search for the apostolic, historic Christian Church. Under their leadership, a
    large number of parishes formed the Evangelical Orthodox Church, which
    eventually united with the Orthodox Church. Fr Peter was also for many years a
    senior editor with Thomas Nelson Publishing. May his memory be eternal!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_E._Gillquist

    http://allsaintsbloomington.org/our-pastor/fr-peter-seniors-health/

  4. Fr Basil Biberdorf says:

    Agreed, Fr. John. I’m also happy about the statement and the signatories to it. (I know Rev. Harrison personally, having been a field worker seminarian at his former parish a long time ago, and will attest that he’s a good man, and with good political instincts for how to bring about desirable outcomes. His Beatitude could learn from him on this point.) In contrast, I’m chagrined that the Episcopal Assembly has remained silent. I suppose they’re conflicted about supporting “universal healthcare” (which Obamacare never really was) and rejecting tax-funded support for abortion.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      The Assembly of Bishops has not remained silent. They issued a statement months ago supporting the Roman Catholic Bishops in their conflict with Obama’s efforts to make them pay for birth control and medications that cause birth control.
      If the Old Calendarists would listen to us, I would be for dialogue, but first they must recognize that there is a radical difference between the Orthodox attitude towards ecumenism and the Protestant forms of ecumenism that they constantly accuse us of supporting. Ecumenism as the so called traditionalists define it is indeed heretical, but Orthodox do not believe in ecumenism as defined by the critics of Orthodox ecumenism. The Oberln Statement is the best summary or the proper Orthodox position on ecumenism. http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/oberlin.aspx If you can find it read the old SCOBA guidelines on ecumenism read the documents that are official expressions of the proper Orthodox attitude towards ecumenism which is basically that we are there to witness the truth of Orthodoxy to non-Orthodox. Unlike others, I have actually participated in Orthodox ecumenical dialogue. I was on the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. We refused to compromise the Orthodox Faith in any way despite pressure from the Lutherans to make compromises. The Lutherans finally suspended the dialogue because they realized that we refused to accept anything less than full agreement with the Orthodox Faith. Thus I know from actual personal experience that most of the accusations against Orthodox ecumenism are not true. I do think that some Orthodox make a very serious mistake by participating is so called ecumenical worship. Praying with the non Orthodox creates the false illusion that a union exists that does not exist. I seconded the motion to get the Antiochian Archdiocese out of the NCC because the NCC has become much too political and is dominated by sects that reject most traditional moral beliefs.

      Fr. John W. Morris

      • Fr. John, it is true that the Assembly of Bishops did release that statement, five months ago, but that’s pretty much all the action that has been seen from the Orthodox Church so far.

        Fr. Chad Hatfield did appear on C-Span a few weeks ago to talk about the issue, though. He starts talking at about 39 minutes, and also answers a question at the end. The other speakers in this video are also definitely worth hearing, especially the Orthodox Jewish rabbi immediately following Fr. Chad.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Fr Basil, I’m not sure I understand your criticism about Metropolitan Jonah. Indeed, it struck me as less than gracious. If anything, he showed us how to “work with others for desirable outcomes” three years ago when he signed The Manhattan Declaration. I realize that this may have inflamed the modernists within the OCA who have drunk deeply from the well of secularism, but it’s not an example of His Beatitude not working well with others.

      • I think Fr. Basil was referring to Met. Jonah’s alleged troubles with working with the chancery staff in Syosset.

        • Fr Kishkovsky signing the protocol is nothing more than one of his self-promotion stunts. You have the First Hierarch of your Church sign the protocol. Who cares if Kishkovsky signs it. Any other OCA bishops sign it? Kishkovsky continues to work behind the scenes to make Jonah’s life miserable. This is not any sign of détente. . Peace has not broken out in Syosset.

          • Carl Kraeff says:

            This is not the product of a horse or a cow, but of an elephant! Come on now, must you be so negative and venomous?

          • Nikos, what is Fr. Leonid doing that troubles you about how Met. Jonah is being treated?

            • Carl,

              I am sorry if I have knocked your rose-colored glasses ascue. Sometimes the truth is tough.

              Helga,

              Fr Leonid has not changed his stripes. He continues to tell everyone who will listen to him that +Jonah is a big mistake. He is also not missing an opportunity to make +Jonah look bad. We all know that +Jonah has worked very hard to repair and build new bridges between the OCA and ROCOR. Fr Leonid will not let the DC nuns be at peace. He wants them to go back to Greece and thus make +Jonah look bad for receiving them in the first place. This all goes back to the Bp. Melchizedek affair.

              The same old lies about the DC nuns are being peddled anew, like, they have no release from their bishop in Greece. Not true. Fr Simeon is a rapist, that he raped the nuns. Not true. And now, Fr Leonid is using a power struggle inside ROCOR to advance his attack on +Jonah. The same things that are being said about +Jonah are being applied to +Hilarion (nice guy but weak, he should have never accepted the nuns into ROCOR). Anyway, it is business as usual in the new OCA and the protocol signed by +Jonah AND Kishkovsky is nice window dressing but does not reveal an “OCA Spring.”

              • Nikos, how much influence does Fr. Leonid have in ROCOR? I believe you, but those liberal SVS/Syosset types don’t get much traction in ROCOR in my experience, so I would hope they’d know better than to take Fr. Leonid seriously.

                Unfortunately, I’m not familiar enough with Metropolitan Hilarion or ROCOR’s internal politics to know who is against him or what their motives would be.

                I do keep my ear to the ground about Met. Jonah, which is why I asked you for further details. Fr. Leonid isn’t the only problem here, sadly.

              • Carl Kraeff says:

                May be George knows who you are and is confident that your insider reporting is true. As it is, all that we mere mortals know is that a person called “Nikos” is offering some wild and unsubstantiated stories about the goings on inside the CA.

                .Question: If CA is so bad, how is it that you are there or have sources there? Or have bugged the joint?Come on Nikos, come clean.

                • Carl,

                  You know I can’t reveal my sources. But just to let you know I always double confirm information before I post because I know you will be keeping a close eye on things! 😉

              • Geo Michalopulos says:

                Niko, you may be right but what holds me back from agreeing you (for now) is that my take on progessives and liberals within the Church (and society) in general. As a rule, they don’t sign protocols of this type unless they feel some conviction. The reason is because they invariably believe that they’re on the right side of history. Pro-life to them is 100% retrograde and will be tossed aside like opposition to gay marriage, etc.

                It’s like all those old Lefties who still think the Rosenbergs or Alger Hiss were innocent even though the Venona decrypts from the USSR proved that they were all commie spies. These dupes continue to believe in their religion because Trotskyism is their religion. (But that’s an argument for another day.)

                Ultimately, that’s what restrains me ultimately from casting aspersions on what Fr Leonid did. If I’m wrong, I’ll fess up.

                • Monk James says:

                  The only problem with Fr Leonid Kishkovsky’s public presentations is that he is now without portfolio; his opinions are his own, and (as they say in legalese) do not necessarily reflect the position of the OCA.

                  • He is still the OCA External Affairs person. Why do you say without portfolio?

                    • Monk James says:

                      ‘Nikos’ is mistaken here. Bp Alexander Golitzin is the OCA’s officer for External Church Relations.

                    • Fr. Leonid is still listed as the director on the OCA website. That’s curious, because I could have sworn that at the last Synod meeting, they did make Bishop Alexander the head of that department.

                    • Monk James,

                      The OCA departments have always had an episcopal moderator as the head of the department but the real work is done, in this case, by Kishkovsky. Golitzen was hand-picked by Kishkovsky to be the e.m. for external affairs. So, one could say we are both right, but I think you will agree with me that Kishkovsky is the power broker and shaker and mover in the area in question.

              • That would be askew, not “ascue.” (If yew ask)

              • Pravoslavnie says:

                ROCOR has had its share of past troubles, but a power struggle against Met. Hilarion is news to me and our ROCOR parish. I still have to ask what is so frightening about that lovely group of sisters that they have to suffer such abuse and be packed off to Greece? If there are any skeletons in Bp. Melchizedek’s closet I wish somebody would pull them out so we can get to the bottom of this once mystery and for all.

                • Silouan R. says:

                  The problem is not the nuns themselves, but the “elder” of the nuns – Archimandrite Dionysios – a very charismatic but renegade monk who left his monastery on Mt. Athos without a blessing of his Abbot to start his “own” monasteries. He also got into some trouble awhile back in Jeruslaem and was kicked out of the patriarchate. I don’t know any details other than the monks of Simonopetra told me when I was there to stay away from him. That is enough me. Anyone who wants to know themselves can connect Simonopetra. We need solid and traditional monasticism here in the States, but not from someone with a questionable past.

                  • Pravoslavnie says:

                    I see the “problem” has shifted from the nuns themselves, and now been pinned on their spiritual father.The initial controversy allegedly involved the nuns not having a proper canonical release from their monastery in Greece. A subsequent and related controversy involved Bp. Melchizedek allegedly not having a proper release from his abbot. That abbot being the very same Archimandrite Dionysios shared as a spritual father with the sisters. In any case Bp.Mel has been accepted by the OCA with a relase from the same Arch. Dionysios without controversy, and the sisters are now under the Omophor of Met. Hilarion. When will the slander be put to rest?

                    • Silouan R. says:

                      What’s the slander you’re referring to?

                    • I hate to tell you dear friend that the whole issue is once again front and center and +Jonah, of course, is being blamed by the OCA bishops. That’s all I can say for now.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says:

                      The nuns should be left alone. If the OCA’s acceptance of Mel is good enough to put paid to his own problems, then ROCOR’s acceptance of the nuns is just as good.

          • Geo Michalopulos says:

            Niko, that wasn’t my point. It’s not given any more credence or moral authority if Kish signs it or not. What’s important is that he and Jillions did sign it and none of the Stokovites raised a fuss like they did 3 years ago. That’s all that was my point. It’d been the same thing if Jonah signed it and nobody else did as well,

  5. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    Fr. John You are correct and 100% correc at that. Ecumenism has robbed our Church of its true witness in the world and to the world, and has infected the Greek Orthodox Archdioces with a liberal/progressive zeitgiest that, and it truly pains me to say this, goes all the way to the top to the EP. Its time for the EP to stop being the “Green” Patriarch and start being the real “Ecumenical” Patriarch. Saddly I do not see this happening any time soon.

    This is why I am a very big supporter of the Ephramite Monasteries in the GOA. They are the only force right now that can turn the tide. I hope and pray everyday the GOA just gets officially out of the NCCC and the WCC and the old Ecumenical movement and stays out.

    The Antiochians left, the ROCOR was never in it, Old Calendarist Greeks were never in it, its just time for the rest of Orthodoxy to get out and stay out and build a new form of ecumenism that benefits the witness of the Gospel of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now, in this day and age more than ever.

    Very God to Metropolitan Jonah, Fr. Jillion and Fr. Kishkovsky. The Whole Orthodox Assembly of bishops needs to sign this. I hope they do.

    Peter

    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says:

      I have to say Peter I have enjoyed reading your entries especially these last couple of weeks. To build on what you say here, I think a vision is coming into clearer focus for the Orthodox Church as a whole; take the lead on standing up for Biblical morality and invite others of like mind to participate with us in further dialogue, establishing cooperation to address the sins which seek to destroy us as persons and as a nation. The impression heretofore of the Orthodox Church is that of running after everybody else, as if we are so afraid of being overlooked and considered of no effect and of no significance. We’ve been at the “old time” “ecumenical” process long enough to know that there is an ontological difference between the Orthodox Church and those who drink from the well of a western intellectual, philosophical system without God; a leopard cannot change its spots for tiger stripes.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

        Thanks Father. I did fail to mention the one other thing, besides our monasteries that will help us through all of this – CONVERTS! As an ethnic Greek I know how hard it is to breakout of an ethnic enclave. I got out but not by choice, but because my mom and dad moved to Clearwater, Florida. I went from an Isolated ALL GREEK environment, to a wonderful and scary tapastry of American culture in all shapes and sizes.

        It was in Florida, through my experiences there, that I started to think of myself not as Greek Orthodox, but simply as an Orthodox Christian. Clearwater, even though I moved back to Chicago, is my home. My heart is there and always will be. Although I stayed in the GOA in Florida and still do today, I try to not burden myself with all that ethnic baggage. I defend the GOA because its my jurisdiction, but I don’t support many of the things its done or currently does.

        I just want an Orthodox Church here in America without the ethnic titles. We are American now and our alligence is to America. I’m never going back to Greece to live, my kids will never go back, my family and I are here to stay. Its my home.

        All the jurisdictional fighting gets tiresome and feeds resentment. While we argue, while we play “Catch-up” via the ecumenical movement, while we do this that and the other thing we miss that most Americans are now Athiests, and hate religion. We lost an entire generation! We have food festivals, but how many outreaches do we have to get people into an Orthodox Temple? To explain the Iconography, Our Traditions, Our Beliefs?

        Getting out of the Ecumenical movement is a step in the right direction, but so much more needs to be done. I hope in the future it is, and I will always support our Church, Christ Church for that, especially when it comes to converts. That’s why the contribution of Fr. Gillquest was so huge. I have may disagreed with the process, but it did happen and it opened the floodgates to many more who wanted to convert to Christ’s Church. Rest in peace Fr. Gillquest, you did great!

        Peter

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Well, Peter, we do both (Food festival and intro to Orthodox belief) at the same time. During our annual BIG LEBANESE DINNER (76 years and counting) we also give tours of our Cathedral Temple. During the tour we explain the basics of what we believe and why and everyone gets a big dose of iconography. Personally I use the icon of the nativity (to me the perfect icon) to explain the vast richness that is there.

          We feed 5000 people every year about half come in for the sit down meal and about 30-40% of those take the tour. We do many other things as well but that is the one in which I am most active. I’ve had tours as short as 10 minutes and as long as two hours with the average being 30-40 minutes. It is a packed time and most folks go away uplifted and with a new appreciation for Christianity.

          Of course the other good time for evangelization is our funerals. They are unique. We’ve had a number of inquirers whose first contact with us was because they came to a funeral of an Orthodox friend.

          My best friend died a few years ago. A gentleman (quite deaf) who knew him from work remarked loudly as we left the sanctuary that he couldn’t really hear what was said but was quite impressed nonetheless becuase “they DO something”

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

            We used to do the same, but over the years the festival took over to the point that almost no church tours occured. Don’t get me wrong church festivals are great and needed for the money but also for the evangalism. We had a good balance in the past that unfortunately got out of balance.

            However, speaking about the Antiochians we here in Chicago are blessed with St. George’s in Cicreo that has the weeping Icon of the Panagia (Virgin Mary). I still go there every once and a while just to take a look, especially after the rennovations that they had following their fire. I personally, love that church because of this Icon (The Miraculous Lady of Cicero, Illinois – Met. Phillip), but that’s just me. That is Evangelism.

            Here is their website if anybody is interested: http://www.stgeorgecicero.org/

            Peter

    • Michael Bauman says:

      You know Peter, the more I read of your comments and consider the whole of what you write, you seem to be quite a romantic idealist. Certainly you you seem to have a large strain of wild optimism.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

        HAHAHA! You are correct sir! My cousin Chris always says this and plays this You Tube video every single chance he gets to get that point across. my nick name with him is Jimmy Stewart. Enjoy and have a few laughs.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja90EpsZ7Zs

        BTW my mom was the same way. I definitely got it from her. Thanks mom.

        Peter

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

          Also, I may be optomistic, but I am also realistic. You don’t get to practice in Chicago for 15 years by wearing rose-colored glasses because they get knocked off and broken very quickly.

          • Geo Michalopuls says:

            I’ll second that Peter! The Windy City is not for the faint of heart!

  6. Michael Bauman says:

    “The Antiochians left…”

    Ah yes another one of those things that the horrible Met. Philip did.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

      I wish we in the GOA had left as well.

      • Geo Michalopuls says:

        And we in the OCA. The NCC has long been a joke, now it’s just a wisp of a joke.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      My comment was sarcastic in nature. It is one of the things I applaud Met. Phillip for and, to me, indicates much more the heart of the man than most of what he is criticized for.

  7. NEWS FLASH——–DOS ASSEMBLY CANCELLED

    In a letter to DOS Clergy, Archbishop Nikon has postponed the July Assembly stating that Fr. Gerasim has not been sufficently vetted by the Synod.

    Fr Gerasim will present himself to the Synod at the Fall meeting to answer questions from the Bishops.

    I don’t think this is going to go down too well in the South.

    • Diogenes says:

      Again, + Jonah should take the role of Bishop of the DOS and step down as Met. A locum tenens would be elected as Met. and no permanent election until the next OCA Big Bash.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

        For the love of Mike, why do you keep pushing this non-starter???

        • This is not about +Jonah. This is about +Nikon and his ties to Bishop Mark Maymon.

    • StephenD says:

      It begins

    • Mark AC says:

      Between the recent Supreme Court decision, this announcement, and some other not directly related events on the religious scene I’m starting to wonder: has the whole freaking world gone mad?

    • Nikos and/or George, is there any way you can post the text of the letter?

  8. In cancelling the Assembly, Ab. Nikon said that both candidates, Gerasim and Mark are controversal, Mark for his tenure while in the DOS and Gerasim outside the diocese. What does that mean “outside the diocese”?

    A question – what type of vetting process did +Mark go through?

    Gerasim was vetted by the OCA Synod. He provided them with a 34 page biography. He was touted by Nikon as THE VETTED candidate of the synod.

    Is the Synod reacting to the vicious assault on the Orthodox Forum by Vanyabanya and ND? It would appear that the synod has caved to outside pressure.

    Let’s just hope that Archbishop Nathaniel doesn’t pull a fast one again like he did with Archbishop Job and had the synod elect him the bishop of Chicago without a diocesan assembly. Will Nathaniel try and sneak in +Mark at the fall synod meeting? It HAS been done in the past.

    Enough from me, it is time for the DOS to respond.

    • The Synod already vetted Fr. Gerasim, so this is a total farce. Archbishop Nikon knows this is a pack of garbage, he just wants to force the DOS to elect Bishop Mark so that Bishop Mark will have a vote on the Synod and further isolate and marginalize the Metropolitan.

      Bishop Mark’s rampant stupidity and pastoral abuse will destroy the Diocese of the South, but they don’t care. They probably think that once Archbishop Dmitri’s body is entombed in the Dallas cathedral, it will keep the St. Seraphim’s community placated and they won’t bolt to ROCOR. Maybe they’ll also move the diocesan headquarters to Miami; I can’t imagine an enthronement for Bishop Mark in St. Seraphim’s would go peacefully.

      • Geo Michalopuls says:

        Looks like I’ll have to eat some crow. One of the bugbears that bugged me about the GOA was the way they make things up as they go alone. I guess the OCA is no slouch in this department as well.

  9. I need to correct one part of what I posted. ONLY THE SPECIAL ASSEMBLY (the nominating part) of the DOS Assembly has been cancelled. The regular DOS Assembly will be held in Miami

    I apologize for that error.

    • Rod Dreher says:

      Full Nikon letter now up at my blog. Click here.

      • Geo Michalopulos says:

        Thanks Rod. I think I saw this movie before, it was either starring Buster Keaton with an assist from the Keystone Kops or The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

  10. StephenD says:

    Nikon letter:

    Dear Brothers,

    Originally as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South I had scheduled a
    Special Assembly this month (July) in order for a candidate to be selected and
    proposed to us for canonical election to fill the vacancy of the archpastor of
    this widowed diocese.

    Two candidates to date were probably going to appear on the ballot and one name
    would be sent to us. Both are controversial in different ways. One Bishop Mark
    Maymon within the diocese due to some unfortunate incidences and the other
    outside of the diocese Fr Gerasim Eliel that several of you have indicated have
    serious questions or concerns.

    The problem is that one of them has never met any of us. Although there was a
    rudimentary vetting of Fr. Grasim a number of years ago but the make up of the
    Synod at that time was different than today and several of you have expressed
    serious concerns and have questions that they would like to have answered should
    his name be placed before us.

    Therefore I am postponing the special assembly and suggest that Fr Gerasim be
    invited to the Fall session of the Holy Synod so that he may be properly vetted
    by the current members of the whole Synod and answer any questions and address
    any concerns you may have.

    In all fairness to us and to the Diocese of the South, we cannot expect the
    Synod to elect someone they do not know and further, should the special election
    take place now, and the name be unacceptable to the majority of the Synod
    members, this would then place us in the precarious position of “appointing” an
    arch pastor who either may or may not be known to the diocese. In effect the
    diocese would have forfeited there election process. This is something that
    cannot and should not occur as we, both the synod and the diocese choose a
    successor to Archbishop Dmitri, of Blessed memory.

    + NIKON

    • Antonia says:

      Please excuse; however, I cannot avoid a reflexive thought. The South seceded from its own country once before. This different kind of “South” might, in theory, choose to do the same. The non-Miami-fettered portion, at any rate.

      Frankly, I yearn for an Orthodox jurisdiction free from the politics that I see destroying most of the mainline jurisdictions in the U.S. We are supposed to be Orthodox in order to worship God and to pray for the salvation of our souls. Instead, we worship ourselves and cannibalize each other.

      What a bitter post from me this morning.

      • Antonia,

        I share your despair this morning. If DOS clergy are willing to leave the OCA and take their parishioners with them, leaving their property behind and staring anew under another Orthodox jurisdiction, that would produce the South succeeding once again. Under such a circumstance, you can bet that a new diocese in another jurisdiction would be created. Let us pray that it does not come to that radical an action. My heart is breaking for Archbishop Dmitri.

      • Geo Michalopulos says:

        Antonia, you may be on to something. Best thing we in the DOS can do right now is pray that the Lord comforts the Venerable Dmitri. What a terrible burden he must be feeling right now knowing that we were orphaned with his passing, and now being treated like step-children in some foster program.

        • Antonia says:

          The loose analogy I raised earlier probably emerged because there seem to be here a number of what used to be called “Southern sympathizers”. (I am staunch Yankee, for the record.) As to that, or to any other topic, my personal speculations are no more, no less, valid than those of anybody else here. All of us here offer personal spin. (I exclude the frequent ugly innuendo and slander served up.) Thus, with respect to Abp. Nikon, I’ll add my optimistic hope that his decision to postpone a nomination for DOS bishop might be, in fact, his effort to salvage a nomination of Fr. Gerasim. If additional time is needed to squash non-supportable attacks, or to establish that specific questions and issues require clarification, far better to postpone a vote. Nevertheless, if Fr. Gerasim has not been sufficiently “vetted”, I sure wonder what the Synod has been doing during the man’s time in seminary. Our understanding has been that he was required to attend the seminary as part of preparing him for a future post as a bishop.

          • I understand Carl’s “several bishops” are in actuality several DOS priests. At least that is how I “read” the letter.
            The Synod itself already Vetted Fr. Gerasim. I am sure other Synods changed membership over the course of nominations in the past.
            I do not think we can be tarred for the truth, as foolish as we may seem sometimes.You are correct about his Seminary time, and Vetting.

            • Carl Kraeff says:

              It is not “Carl’s several bishops.” The letter from +Nikon is addressed to his fellow bishops. Or are we wrong in this? Let’s look at the relevant passages:

              “Two candidates to date were probably going to appear on the ballot and one name
              would be sent to us. Both are controversial in different ways. One Bishop Mark
              Maymon within the diocese due to some unfortunate incidences and the other
              outside of the diocese Fr Gerasim Eliel that several of you have indicated have
              serious questions or concerns.

              The problem is that one of them has never met any of us. Although there was a
              rudimentary vetting of Fr. Grasim a number of years ago but the make up of the
              Synod at that time was different than today and several of you have expressed
              serious concerns and have questions that they would like to have answered should
              his name be placed before us.”

              Go ahead and please tell us how you arrived at another interpretation than “fellow bishops.”

              • Nikos post on July 4th

              • Carl Kraeff says:

                Upon reconsideration, I see that the letter is addressed to the DOS clergy, thus in places, “several of you” may indeed refer to DOS priests. That is clearly the case in the first paragraph I quoted above.

                The second paragraph is more problematic (and the source of my confusion). It may well be that the “several of you have expressed serious concerns” continues to refer to DOS priests. However, the rest of the sentence must surely refer to the bishops of the Holy Synod “…and have questions that they would like to have answered should his name be placed before us.” Either this is awkward phrasing or the concerned DOS priests have an inordinate degree of influence–the deans’ unanimous backing of Father Gerasim is NOT small potatoes after all. So, I read this to say that the new bishops need a chance to talk to Father Gerasim and clear the air. This would be the ones who joined the Holy Synod since 2009 when Father Gerasim was last vetted. As far as anyone knows, the only thing that is new since 2009 is the fact that Father Gerasim graduated summa cum laude and at the top of his class from SVOTS.

  11. Indeed the makeup of the OCA Synod has changed. Changed enough that they would allow Bp. Alexander to be elected by them even though the OCA Synod officially and permanently rejected Alexander from EVER being considered for the office of Bishop. This is a fact known by all the members of the Synod. However, again, Bp. Benjamin lobbies for Bp. Alexander and proclaims, “his past is not relevant.” Well, I suppose that also goes for +Benjamin and his past, or Bishop Mark Forsberg and his companion Dn. Burke. But now Gerasim’s past is relevant? Hypocrisy.

    Folks, the OCA Synod is a laughing stock and +Nikon’s letter just compounds the issue. His close ties to Forsberg and Burke who have lifelong ties to +Nathaniel, who all support +Maymon for bishop of the DOS is a scandal to the Church.

    It is time for +Nikon to step down as Locum Tenens for the DOS. I know his health is failing, but he was well enough to go to Albania a couple of weeks ago but at the 11th hour he throws the DOS into turmoil?

    If +Nikon has new verifiable evidence that Gerasim, by his proven actions, and I am talking about a moral impediment, then his duty is to be forthright with the South and say so. His lame letter about vetting is just plain weak. The man wrote a 32 page autobiography which clearly gave an unvarnished account of his past. Not so with the vetting process of +Benjamin who simply would not admit to the OCA about his serious drinking problem, which was then confirmed with his DUI and abusive behavior towards the arresting officers. That’s ok, as well as letting a cleric who married another man get off scott free.

    Why would Gerasim’s name be unacceptable? What do you they know that we don’t? Don’t the members of the DOS deserve transparency and accountability? It now appears that the vindictive actions of one member of the DOS parish in North Carolina is more important than the DOS deans, clergy and laity. Based on what the OF is spewing about Gerasim, the Apostle Paul would not be acceptable to the OCA synod.

    And while the DOS is dangling and twisting in the wind, Bp. Tikhon is vacationing in France and Bp. Benjamin is off to Italy leading a “tour,” all the time +Jonah needs a permission slip to go to the outhouse. What a dysfunctional group of men.

    Today, the OCA Lesser Synod is meeting. This could have been the perfect forum for the bishops to question Gerasim. Why didn’t +Nikon use this opportunity to ask any questions to rest or reject Gerasim for cause? Let Gerasim face his accusers.

    I am sorry, this whole thing does not pass the smell test and I grieve for what the OCA has sunk to. It is truly tragic.

    • Would that be the same Bishop Benjamin who through his priest Fr. John, and at the DOW cathedral in S.F chrismated two transsexuals(partners) at Pascha? Is that the same Bishop Benjamin who encouraged an active gay man to become a deacon in the diocese?
      It seems our Orthodox Christianity is being hijacked . Maybe it’s really time to stop it.
      Given the “past” cowardness of the priests In the DOW(their jobs after all) It will be amazing to watch how the Priests in the DOS respond to this event.
      I salute you all if you can stop this outrage. However if you do not, perhaps you don’t deserve Fr. Gerasim as a Bishop. I am praying for his protection from all this garbage and for yours too. I am bitter this morning too!

      • Transsexuals? You have got to be kidding me!

        • Nikos, Were that it weren’t. This seems like it is off the tread, so to speak, but It ties in….. at least to me.
          fortunately, for me at least, I am not attending the Cathedral, or any OCA parish in the West any more because of all this that isn’t The Word of God with them. Perhaps someone who does will respond.
          My source is really solid. It is my understanding, that the Guys(turned into gals) are in a lesbian relationship presently.
          As for the other case I understand that Deacon is back living with his partner.
          The upshot is that the OCA has a Shepard in the West that is leading his flock into heresy. or is a heretic already.
          While Bishop Benjamin has done good deeds in the past, his talent, at saying “shut up and sit down” is firmly in place and growing. As jobs, always trump GOD what can we expect to happen now? I am not theologically sound enough to throw punches with him, nor articulate enough, nor emotionally fit. But I do know to follow the word of God. This is not tolerable to me.
          Everything this Bishop does looks like an attempt to build a gay coalition on the Synod and get the Obedience of “his” priests.
          That is not to say, I have great compassion for those who have self mutilated in an attempt to find peace.
          But repentance, looks a little different to me. It seems that those who have walked down this frightful path would learn(at least during catechism) to return in dress,at least, to their born creation of God. Deal with the pain of that and embrace chastity. Anything less, doesn’t seem to me to be repented before become Orthodox, or ANY Christianity for that matter.
          Sad Day

    • Carl Kraeff says:

      Enough of this gnashing of teeth and wild accusations! Read Archbishop Nikon’s letter and you will see that he is afraid of the following scenario:

      The Special Assembly sends Father Gerasim’s name to the Holy Synod, the Holy Synod does not elect the nominee because “several of you have expressed serious concerns and have questions that they would like to have answered should his name be placed before us.” He concludes “should the special election take place now, and the name be unacceptable to the majority of the Synod members, this would then place us in the precarious position of “appointing” an arch pastor who either may or may not be known to the diocese. In effect the diocese would have forfeited (its) election process. This is something that cannot and should not occur as we, both the synod and the diocese choose a successor to Archbishop Dmitri, of Blessed memory.”

      We have no idea who the “several” bishops are. We do know that +Nikon is raising and rejecting the prospect of the Holy Synod electing (tellingly he calls this “appointing”) somebody whose name was not forwarded by the Special Assembly. Now, this shows me an arch-pastor who cares for his flock, locum tenens or not.

      I suspect that the supporters of Father Gerasim, and even Father Gerasim himself, may have been too timid and limited in presenting their case. Mr. Skovran’s accusations in the Yahoo Orthodox Forum were detailed and could raise questions in the mind of folks who do not know Father Gerasim, not only in DOS but also throughout the OCA. Frankly, I am glad that Father Gerasim will have his opportunity to meet with the current Holy Synod and to present his case. If he is vetted after the September meeting, it will be so much more difficult for any opposition to succeed. If he is not, we are back to the drawing board and back to reality: the deans and most of the priests and laity in DOS do not want Bishop Mark.

      Now, as I have said before, apparently to no avail, that the more you criticize Bishop Mark, to more you project your venom onto the CA, the Holy Synod, and bishops like +Benjamin, +Melchisedek, +Nikon and others, the more you are setting up a reaction against your candidate, who is Father Gerasim. Way to go people, keep up shooting off your mouth and shooting yourselves in the foot! He may be tarred by the fools who are supporting him.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Carl, he should have been vetted before (and he was), not at this late state. I’m sorry, but this gives the apprearance of ineptitude. There’s no way around this.

        Think of the people who were excited to go to Miami to finally nominate a bishop, one who the deans and pastors overwhelmingly approved of. Now, what? They’ll have to do this again in 4, 5, 6 months? I’m sorry, but I’m not made of money. Also, think about poor Fr Gerasim, his name has been blackened by some internet troll who made some wild accusations.

        What does this portend for the future? How many candidates will want to put their name in contention now? What guarantees do they have that some malcontent won’t besmirch them? How many will think that their names are only token ones because the synod already has somebody in mind (i.e. Maymon?) Do you think they’re going to want to be dragged through the mud?

        The scuttlebut is that the usual antagonists made Tikhon do this because they didn’t want a real monk on the synod, another supporter of Jonah. This could be wrong but given the stunning bad faith on display last year, it’s hard to shake the conviction that the old guard will do whatever they can to railroad Jonah and continue to keep the South on a short leash.

        Of course I’d love to be proven wrong.

        • Not only that George, but +Nikon states that all of them have never met ONE.
          OK who is that one? Bishop Benjamin and +Met Jonah certainly know Fr. Gerasim. That is two …. you connect the dots .
          Maybe it is +Mark that none of them have met.?

        • Carl Kraeff says:

          Right and right. However, venting does not help. Let’s keep our eye on the prize. The objective is for Father Gerasim be elected the new bishop of DOS. The objective is not to air old grievances or to speculate this and that or to even dump on those who will make the final selection. I do not care that bishop “x” has done this and that; unless his conduct precludes him from voting, it is not applicable.There is a time and a place and this flailing about is not helping neither DOS or Fr. Gerasim.

          • another one says:

            Carl,

            Just when you have me agreeing with you,

            We have no idea who the “several” bishops are. We do know that +Nikon is raising and rejecting the prospect of the Holy Synod electing (tellingly he calls this “appointing”) somebody whose name was not forwarded by the Special Assembly. Now, this shows me an arch-pastor who cares for his flock, locum tenens or not.

            you then turn around and write something that compels me to respond.

            The objective is for Father Gerasim be elected the new bishop of DOS.

            Sorry, but the objective is to elect the best possible bishop for the DOS.

            An excellent candidate, Fr Meletios Webber, was very supported by the Deans, and others who have talked to him and heard him speak. Unfortunately, his bishop was would not release him to be a candidate. Fr. Mel then (as a result??) asked that his name be withdrawn.

            Abbot Meletios would be a superlative bishop for the DOS.

            The choice was quickly winnowed down to Fr. Gerasim or Bp Mark. In the minds of so many, this is no choice at all. But Fr. Gerasim should be elected on his own merits, not because he is “not-+Mark.”

            While it seems that Nick’s OF posts seem to be an invitation for a libel suit, if these issues (whatever they are, I’ve not seen them) are of concern to the Synod, I applaud Abp Nikon’s attempt to get them straightened out prior to a nomination sent up by the Assembly. Yes, it was late, but perhaps the data was just recently available.

            So much of this discussion seems to assume that the Synod is hell bent on installing Bp Mark over the objections of the Dallas deanery and anyone else with a problem. If that was the objective of the Synod, they could have easily just allowed this nomination to occur, declare some kind of impediment, and place Bp Mark in the postition. Of course the fallout would be quiet clergy retirements, and lay migration to other jurisdictions, thus dooming the South and the OCA behind it.

            So Bp Nikon took the harder path. And is getting the flack from the Internet armchair quarterbacks. But what he did here took courage, and I believe that he did this with the best interest of the DOS in mind.

            How about we lay aside the fear of a cramdown of Bp. Mark and instead look for the best candidate, wherever he may be found? If Nick’s accusations are not legitimate, then he must stand the legal and/or spiritual consequences. If they are, shouldn’t we quit elevating folks with impediments?

            • “DATA”?

            • Carl Kraeff says:

              I don’t think that we are that far apart. Indeed, I do agree that the policy is to elect the best possible bishop for DOS. The Search Committee has tried hard to find candidates in addition to Bishop Mark and Father Gerasim. Of the two, the best possible bishop right now is Father Gerasim. Or, are you proposing that we refrain from nominating a bishop until additional candidates (that are possible) are found?

              • Carl,

                It would not surprise me at all if both +Mark and Gerasim are both out of the running for the DOS. It would also not surprise me that +Mark will get kicked upstairs to a cushy desk job in Syosset and Gerasim will be sent somewhere to be watched, carefully by one a Babysitting Bishop.

                It would also not be a big shock to me if the bishops are looking for just the perfect (in their estimation) candidate for the DOS. So the South will continue to wait, continue to be a pawn of the inner machinations of Syosset, and Jonah will be further emasculated. More than emasculated, the efforts started at Santa Fe attempted at the AAC to rid the OCA of Jonah have not abated. He is still a marked man.

                Of course, this is just wild speculation on my part, another set of crazy thoughts from a woolly mind. Maybe I should start writing fiction? What do you think, Carl?

                • Carl Kraeff says:

                  Well, you do have a flair. If you think you might enjoy writing fiction, why no?

            • Geo Michalopulos says:

              Another One, while you raise some interesting questions, the overall thrust is naive. What Arb Nikon has done is maladroit at best and raises up old questions about whether we are dealing with good-faith actors. Sorry, I don’t mean to be harsh but if the object is to elect the “best possible candidate,” then the HS should have leaned on Bp Benjamin and told him to release Fr Meletios Webber for consideration. They could have also leaned on Nikon to release funds from the DOS to interview other candidates at a deliberate pace. Remember, these protocols were instituted by the DOS 13 months ago –June 2011. We twiddled our thumbs floating possible names, some of whom withdrew when they saw that the fix was in for Bp Mark. Now that Bp Mark’s candidacy had become unviable, the holy synod was placed between a rock and a hard place.

              You may want the best possible candidate, I certainly do, but Jonah’s antagonists on the synod don’t. They still want to find a way to place a cipher on the Southern throne, if it can’t be Mark, then they’ll leave it as vacant for as long as they can. Rather than a standup guy like Meletios or Gerasim. The last thing they want is a real monk.

              • another one says:

                George,

                While you might find my position naive, I think you might be getting your exercise jumping to conclusions. And your conclusions seem to indicate that there is no hope for the OCA, given the corruption of our episcopate. Naive as it may be, I think you paint with too broad a brush. While I am not thrilled that things have come to a head so close to the Diocesan Assembly, my point is that Abp Nikon’s late action is better than not addressing the issue at all.

                Bishop Nikon is in a better position to know the seriousness of the misgivings of the Synod than either you or me. (I do not believe that every scandal should be tried on the Internet – some things are best dealt with by the HS, at least theoretically.) And his concern that if the Synod did not elevate the nominated DOS candidate that there would be significant resulting upheaval among the clergy and faithful was spot on. (Tell me you wouldn’t be screaming for full disclosure if the nominated candidate was not elevated.) Understand that the easier way would have been for him to ignore this, especially if the motives you ascribe are for the detriment of the South. But he did not. Give him some credit where it is due.

                I think, George, that we agree that this process has been less than pristine. But we cannot go back and change the past. But to the extent that better candidates might exist, we now have a window to find, vet, and meet them across the DOS. We in the South need to do a better job going forward.

                I am not happy that the field of possible candidates is so narrow. We simply do not have a deep bench of eligible single monastics from which to choose a nominee. I am unhappier still that this selection process has come down to Bp Mark, or “anyone except Bp Mark.”

                The South is a mission diocese and desperately needs a leader who can communicate his vision. The DOS needs someone who will stand up for it, who will support and develop its clergy, shepherding both clergy and faithful. Who can love and discipline this huge and diverse collection of Orthodox Christians, and can lead others to join us. The man who can do these things will not be a cipher.

                Conversely, if we do not examine our candidates in the light of something other than “not +Mark-ness” then we may unwittingly bring a cipher on ourselves. If Father Gerasim can dispel the reservations of the Synod and fill the requirements above, then we can just forward his name at the later scheduled special assembly.

                And Bishop Nikon has, to the extent possible, left the nomination process in the hands of the DOS, rather than forfeit it to the Synod. Let us not waste the opportunity.

      • Alf Kentigern says:

        Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! Speaking of gnashing of teeth and wild accusations reminds me of the attitude and type of reporting that seems to underlie such posting on the Orthodox Forum :). Evident in hearsay and circumstantial evidence regarding alleged association with “shady characters,” with many a “perhaps” in speculative jump to conclusion, one post indeed explicitly likened its own approach to a “game” analogous to secular politics. One imagines a similar approach keeping St. Paul from becoming an Apostle, due to his past persecution of Orthodox Christians and complicity in murder. That’s not to compare the Holy Apostle with the individual episcopal candidate, who of course can be legitimately questioned! But it is meant to highlight the effect of speculative screening, of insinuated guilt by association, without details or context, which does not acknowledge the transformative power of the gospels. Similar types of accusations of course were made against our Lord as well. And our hierarchs, as you note, can be targets of the same. In the case of the episcopal candidate in question, however, unlike the case of St. Paul, there is no allegation of complicity in murder–yet. Although I wouldn’t be surprised by anything, given the apparent passions involved in the speculative writing of his accusers.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Mr. Siewers,

          I’m not exactly sure as to your purpose in the introduction of “smarm” to the discussion – and though you seem quite practiced, you are not quite elegant enough to be referred to as “bonhomie.” All of these words to say you object to what you perceive as unjust accusation. Three cheers for brevity, and it’s on to Miami and let’s win there…

          I am in the wise camp of another one, “Give credit where it is due.” I can’t think of a wiser decision on the part of the HS at this point than to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1) and if there is “controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my assemblies.” (Ez. 44:24). I’m thinking there are certainly worse alternatives.

          Sarcasm goes a long way, Mr.Siewers, but it seems to me only effective when used sparingly and tempered with equal amounts of appreciation for hard-fought changes. A short tip of the hat in the direction of another one might bring you some relief.

          • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says:

            Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

            M. (Monsieur?) Stankovich,

            I salute your own self-proclaimed bonhomie and panache, with appreciation for its echo of the old Paris School, and a tip of my tourist beret on behalf of those of us still in the OCA 🙂 (which you apparently no longer belong to or will admit to anyway?).

            I’d certainly agree that we should let the Holy Synod come to a prayerful resolution. But until reading your reply I had thought this should be so without the two of us putting in our two cents, neither the appropriately named (I only say that only because of my weakness in trying to impress your Continental sophistication) Yahoo Forum. I see now that you must see the latter as an appropriate expression of a new sobornost, regardless of the Synod’s prerogatives or those of the actual Diocese of the South and its people. This most be a new revelation of what the Church should be. For I don’t think that a St. Paul with a murder-accomplice rap could make it through a cyber-mob screening to become a bishop, and probably not pass any psychological screening either, given how he heard voices, saw light, went to live in the desert, etc.

            But this is the twenty-first century, you are right! And your revised cyber-doctrine of sobornost (pioneered on the late lamented OCANews) features the wisdom of Room 101-style checklists in which there can be no room for the transformative power of the gospels in a person’s life beyond the legalistic approach, the “game” similar to secular politics as the Forum poster calls it. But perhaps this is only a pose, by which you and your friends in high places test us, veering (depending on the situation) between tales of lay involvement in sobornost (as in the DOS), criticism of the OCA arch-pastor, and an hierarchical ultramontanism, which confuses only us yahoos among the overlapping synodal jurisdictions of North America? Speaking of the latter situation, if you are not a member of the OCA, following your lead, if sobornost applies across jurisdictions, then apparently we all should be getting ourselves intimately involved in the business of all the different Synods in North America? This will keep us all very busy (and out of secular trouble) indeed, trying to hold steady the ark online! A new age indeed.

            Of course you will share now again your own hair-raising experiences as a Houdini going behind bars and coming out again in a day, with time to give us insights online into theosis beyond those of us mortals who never face the kind of traumas you do. I propose, based on your experience and e-wit, that from this day forth, Monomakhos and the Forum join forces in supporting your candidacy for the new Bishop of the South in the OCA. It will be the start of Orthodox unity in America and a new age for the Church! No protests or false modesty or thanks, please! I am contacting all on this now!

            Please pray for me a sinner!

            • M. Stankovich says:

              Mr. Siewers,

              I am going to ignore your sarcastic personal insults and speak to, well, nothing, because your comment is nothing but sarcastic personal insults.

              • M.Stankovich! You don’t ignore anything by commenting on it, as you have done or by emotionally declaring it to be “nothing but sarcastic personal insults.” So you feel insulted? By what? As far as I can understand it, Kentigern has referred negatively to the Orthodox Forum, but that is a total no-brainer…they just try to keep that old Conciliarity Banner flying. “All power to the Soviets, ooops, Councils!” I think of that Forum as a kind of “Cathedral of Inanition.” Lovers of Lewis Carroll may also appreciate its Red Queen “Off with their heads’ readiness to ban dissidents. Sometimes I think they’re somewhat jealous of Voices from Russia.

                • M. Stankovich says:

                  Vladyka Tikhon,

                  I “don’t” ignore by commenting? Well, I apparently managed it until your forced exhumation. Have you heard the expression regarding “sleeping dogs?”

                  Mr. Siewers “tossed the dice” with his near-identical comment on the Orthodox Forum and was, in my assessment, “batted around” by Forum members. Rather than waste a perfectly-good piece of sarcasm, he chose to post the same piece – “smiley-face” and all – here. Frankly, I did not necessarily disagree with the sentiment, just the “smarm.” His choice to turn “snide” with me, however, was dastardly, I tell you, dastardly. Someone hail me a Mountie!

                  Nevertheless, Vladyka, I always appreciate any mention on your “News & Commentary Hour,” that has nothing to do with my drinking, sexual indiscretions, or criminal record. And knowing you to be a master (pun intended) of history and quotation, I offer the following :

                  “If nominated [as Bishop of the God-Saved city of Dallas and the Diocese of the South] I shall not run, and if elected, I shall not serve.”

                  • M. Stankovich asked, “I ‘don’t’ ignore by commenting?”
                    Answer: that’s right. Commenting on a post, including the comment that one is ignoring it, is paying attention to the post.
                    You obviously paid attention to the post, through commenting on it.
                    Get it?
                    I know, when one plays “droley” in a “stupet” sandbox…well…Whaddya expect? it may be good enough for Forum types, but here George and others establish the tone and legibility.
                    This’ll all become clearer upon reaching teen age.
                    Meanwhile, thanks again to Kentigern for maintaining his cool.

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Vladyka Tikhon,

                      Our British friends might take great exception – and rightfully so – to your oblique reference to the Oxford English Dictionary – “widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language” – from where I derived the spelling “drole,” as a “sandbox.” I might also add that you should extend an apology to Nikos on your too-quick-to-correct assumption of misspelling of “askew,” when the OED notes “ascue” is a perfectly acceptable form.

                      I would suggest that, having the need to chastize in the future, you would, at minimum, quote my idiocy accurately: stupit not stupet. I am going to issue you a “thumbs down” for misspelling, rather than my first inclination, “thumbs down” for appearing not to care for the hip-hop muzik.

                    • I didn’t compare the O.E.D. to a sandbox, as M. Stankovich implies, although M. Stankovich himelf uses the O.E.D. as a child would use a toy in his sandbox,, where he takes his little shovel to dig up words (he hopes) the other kids in the sandbox don’t have.
                      And,oh yes! The toiling lexicographers responsible for the content of the O.E.D. never ever pronounce any word “a perfectly acceptable form.” That’s Stankovich’s hopeful language.
                      In fact, though, the O.E.D. does add “Ascue” in fine print, at the end of the definitions of askew, thus: “Ascue obs. form of Askew.”
                      Obsolete words, M. Stankovich, are NOT acceptable at all in the converse of the adult sane. Go to your local community center and try to find others with your style and interests. Get a life.

                    • Isa Almisry says:

                      I recall the O.E.D. in the mid 80’s putting an edition out for the Soviet Union, which had such definitions as “Communism: the logical end of scientific progress” or some such thing. Just reaffirmed my commitment to Mr. Webster.

    • Diogenes says:

      So Nikos, please tell us all why Bp. Alexander was banned from ever being elected bishop. Tell us all why you believe this poppycock. Sounds like a BT fabrication.

      • He was banned for moral deficiencies. But, apparently the morals of the synod have changed. I mean, +Benjamin has no problem receiving at his own hand, two transsexuals (male to female) couple, at Pascha. So, yes, things have changed in the OCA and more changes to come, I am sure.

        • “+Benjamin has no problem receiving at his own hand, two transsexuals (male to female) couple, at Pascha.”

          Yesterday, it was “through his priest Fr. John” (source).

          So which was it, at Bp. Benjamin’s hand or at Fr. John’s hand? Let’s get the facts straight. Surely there is a photographic or written record of this public event.

          • Good point and as you well know the hand of the priest is the hand of the bishop. That signature on the antimins isn’t there for window dressing.

      • Once, after he reviewed the personnel file of Father Alexander Golitzin, Metropolitan Theodosius announced to the Holy Synod that Father Alexander was no longer under consideration for the episcopacy. Another time, when Metropolitan Herman was First Hierarch, he, too, after reviewing the personnel file of Father Alexander Golitzin, made that announcement, although his words were that Father Alexander’s name was now permanently removed from consideration.
        No Hierarchs, including Job, Seraphim, Dmitri, Peter, Kirill, Nathaniel, Gregory, Herman, or Tikhon (me) asked Metropolitan Theodosius the reason for his announcement. No Hierarchs, including Job, Seraphim, Dmitri, Peter, Kirill, Nathaniel, Nikolai, Nikon, Benjamin, or either Tikhon asked Metropolitan Herman for the reason.
        My understanding is that on the Certification and Oath form completed before Father Alexander’s ordination to the Priesthood, his “”Spiritual Father” had written in long hand that Father Alexander “has repented of all canonical impediments to ordination.” Obviously, that was an incredibly STUPID remark for any allegedly educated Orthodox Priest to make. Repenting of IMPEDIMENTS? Sounds like a Polish joke. The ordaining Bishop must not have even read the form (if he had it) before ordaining him. So stupidity was married to incompetence. No doubt, though, this has all been “straightened out” (I say “no doubt” because from the so conscientious and scrupulous claims of Bishop Nikon relative to Father Gerasim, the current watchful and ethical Holy Synod must have thoroughly checked such matters out, no?

        • I wrote the above message on July 7, 4:32 pm to reply to Diogenes’s challenge of Nikos: “So Nikos, please tell us all why Bp. Alexander was banned from ever being elected bishop. Tell us all why you believe this poppycock. Sounds like a BT fabrication.”

          Diogenes, no matter how often wrong, keeps plugging away, like a real fanatic.

  12. Lydia Paraskevas says:

    What happened in North Carolina? How/why is this affecting the election?

  13. A regular poster on the OF sent two letters to all the DOS clergy calling into question Fr. Gerasim’s past stating among other things that he was part of a schismatic group, which he freely admits, that his Orthodox teachings are questionable, which they are not, and in general this man was abusive to Gerasim when the Abbot visited the parish in Raleigh.

    If anyone has those OF posts and would like to share them here, you can judge for yourselves the veracity of this man’s campaign against Gerasim.

    • Carl Kraeff says:

      There was nothing new in Skovran’s detailed list. Father Gerasim’s 32 page biography covered it all and when confronted by Skovran, Father Gerasim answered his question. Period.

      • So why is the Synod reacting in this fashion? I agree with you that Skovran’s hit piece said more about others and little about Fr. Gersasim, and Skovran’s feeble attempt to not assign “guilt by association” is exactly what his vicious attack letter was all about.

        One could say that +Nikon is erring on the side of caution but he is also giving credence to this Vanyabanya letter and thus opening up candidates to unfair and unnecessary scrutiny of which the Synod did not at all attach the same level of inspection of Bp. Alexander who was barred from episcopal consideration because of substantiated moral deficiencies.

        The inconsistency of the Synod is again exposed and in the meantime the DOS waits while still paying her guest bishop.

  14. Has the Holy Synod VIA TELEPHONE voted to demand Metropolitan Jonah resign?

    • Apparently a conference call was scheduled for noon today ahead of Bp. Tikhon of EPA leaving for France tomorrow. It is anyone guess when us mere mortals will be informed or if +Jonah will fight this.

  15. QUESTION:
    During the time of the campaign against Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, the Holy Synod was besieged directly and remotely (through ocanews.org) with the calumny against Father Rodion that ‘too much power has been concentrated in the hands of one man, the Chancellor.” Such remarks were made even by self-professed lay “management experts” and “professionals” who were, nevertheless, unable to show how Father Rodion’s “span of control” exceeded any known business standards. One such management expert, a Deacon on the side, also complained that he had no idea what powers or span of control were customary for chancellors as such, whether in German government, some American and European Universities, or, e.g., the Chancellors of the Greek or Antiochene Archdioceses, or the Church of Russia, but that “anyhow” Father Rodion’s control was too large.
    Nevertheless, no Chancellor in the history of the OCA/Metropolia/NorthAmericanMission has exercised the powers of the Chancellor AND other officials reigning in today’s OCA Central Administration.
    Imagine such an instance informing the Metropolitan that if he didn’t write and sign a letter of resignation IMMEDIATELY, his paycheck would NOT BE SIGNED! And imagine the Metropolitan, therefore, signing such a letter. Believe it!
    Here’s another one. Imagine that ANY Priest, let alone the Priest in charge of External Affairs, would escort a Priest from ROCOR to the OCA’s chancery so that both Priests could examine in detail the entire personnel files of an OCA Bishop, without that Bishop’s knowledge or permission, and without the presence of even one Hierarch?.. Well, don’t say “never happen”. It just did. Father Leonid Kishkovsky escorted Father Seraphim Gan in an expedition to Syosset where they together pored together over all the personnel and other files of His Grace, Bishop Nikolai (Soraich). This seems to have been caused by an absolute panic amongst the Bishops and the writers and lawyers of the administration at the thought that Bishop Nikolai might be received into ROCOR as a retired bishop and given a parish whereat to serve on occasion! NO, NO, NO! “We’ve been unsuccessful in finding him guilty of any canonical, criminal or civic crime, but that doesn’t mean we mustn’t treat him like a dog, and we don’t want anyone ELSE daring to extend a hand of love and charity to him, No. Sir.”

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      So are you saying Metropolitan Jonah resigned?

    • Monk James says:

      Well, there’s certainly all THAT.

      At the moment, though, it’s worth remarking that the very same people who persecuted Fr Robert Kondratick are now persecuting Met. Jonah and have done ever since his election.

      As our OCA’s primate they wanted someone they could control, but they got a real monk with a functional conscience, so they don’t know how to behave now that their plans are frustrated.

      These people are doing evil for reasons even they themselves haven’t fathomed, so — like our Lord Jesus Christ — let’s ask our Father in Heaven to forgive them, since they don’t know what they’re doing. They really don’t. Not even on a good day.

      Perhaps they will kill us and our OCA, but we will rise again.

      ‘Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance!’

      • Diogenes says:

        Sorry, if it is true that + Jonah has resigned, it’s because of his own actions. He was pretty open about wanting the OCA to get rid of it’s autocephaly; join with Moscow & ROCOR; abolishing the Met. Council; etc. If he has resigned, it’s because the Synod of the OCA limited his actions; not enemies, but his own brothers in Christ.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Diogenes, I really wrestled with whether I was going to allow your message to be posted. I decided that I would because I wanted people to see your thoughts for what they were –graceless, tactless, and untrue.

          Since you want to kick a man when he’s down, I fully realize that you are impervious to facts. But for the sake of everybody else, here goes:

          1. Joining with ROCOR and MP is a good thing, not a bad thing.

          2. The Metropolitan Council is a dysfunctional holdover from a colonial paradigm in which the Metropolia had only one bishop, all the others being auxiliaries.

          3. He did not try to get rid of autocephaly. In fact, in his speech in Dallas 3 years ago, he got very much in trouble for extolling it.

          4. If you call some of these bishops “brothers in Christ,” then we are truly sunk.

          As always, I will allow your comments as they serve as a barometer of bad taste. (I have this sneeking suspicion that you represent a vanguard that is in alliance with the Phanar, the purpose of which is to destroy the OCA.)

          • Harry Coin says:

            “1. Joining with ROCOR and MP is a good thing, not a bad thing.” — Ah, there it is, the reason for this blog and who it backs. Who will join the OCA when its decisions are taken in Moscow? Or, if an ‘episcopal assembly’ that has its decisions taken in Turkey (to the extent it takes decisions at all).

            George, you Phanriot (sic) you!

            • Harry, no Orthodox Synod can meet without its elected First Hierarch presiding or a substitute whom HE appoints. Such meetings would be unlawful assemblies in the basic sense of that term. But, Harry, the OCA’s Holy Synod is basically an assembly of empty places; the real and effective administrative force in the OCA is archpriests. It is what the Greeks call “Protopapakratia.” If, for argument’s sake, we would point out that Archbishop Benjamin has the most power in the Synod, second only to that of Archbishop Nathaniel’s, that is because they are supported by the controlling archpriests. Please note that the Archpriest in Syosset who demanded Metropolitan resign his position as President of the HOly Synod, or ‘Primate,” threatening otherwise to refuse to sign the Metropolitan’s pay check, did not have to wait for any Holy Synod to take action. What an idea! It’s pretty easy to figure out who these guys are: they are all approved by Mark Stokoe and company or they wouldn’t be occupying their present positions.
              The OCA has actually become what many always feared it might; a ‘Lavochka”: that is, what a small business concern in a shtetl in the Pale of Settlement used to be called. The shopkeepers are all Protopriests, carefully managing their salary accounts, and prices (CAA) they have levied on their customers (The People of God).
              No need to worry about episcopal dictatorship or domination of ANY kind. Every one of the current incumbents of that Synod is what is called (also in Russian) a “Pustoye Mesto” (empty place). In American terms, to characterize any one of them one would need only resort to that old canard; “A COMPLETELY empty limo pulled up to the curb: The door opened and Bishop X got out.”
              Stokoe always knew what he was doing: he had a bishop or two automatically clue him in on every action of the Holy Synod, often before the Synod members had their own copies of the minutes and, armed with this information, he informed the real Powers that Be, that is, the Dalai Lama of Protopresbyters and the Septuagint of other OCA Archpriests. As for the hierarchs, Harry, they all have their assignments.

              • The paycheck thing is pretty asinine. Wouldn’t they still deny Met. Jonah his paycheck if he were no longer employed? If they denied him his salary while he is employed by them, all he would have to do is invoke the thirteenth amendment and call the civil authorities.

              • Harry Coin says:

                Your Grace, what a situation. A long retired relative of mine spent many years having to make decisions involving a great deal of money relating to large buildings, hundreds to low thousands of people’s careers and life direction, and institutional direction. Each major decision full of constraints, full of pressures, invitations to success and failure abounding one often looking like the other, certain to generate offense both long and short term, both rational and irrational no matter the outcome of strategic decisions. He found great value in the obvious sounding but not so easy to actually practice discipline of being careful to recognize from the discussion alternatives that actually exist beyond hope and vapor, or reasonably could be generated soon enough to be practical.

                In the large picture I see here a concerted effort by the anonymous generally, and some others, to ‘dump ho’ ferociously upon the petty miscues of regional leaders. Generally the project is to dis-enfranchise, dis-empower them, and the like. Motivations appear to vary from being dumped upon in the past by them, or to do so in hopes maybe of future vindication, for the younger perhaps jobs or prestige, an anesthetic of some kind should the regional leaders of the moment be ‘swept aside’ by a greater power (or bully, depending on one’s perspective).

                What is the real alternative we’re speaking of? Foreign control. It’s unstated, because it’s indefensible, that foreign control would lead to a better result. Some I think enjoy their thirty pieces of silver enough they don’t want to think critically about this. I think this isn’t anyone’s first barbecue. Those with more money than the OCA, both here and overseas, have the capability of hiding not only petty personal miscues but also real errors from the mundane to grotesque from public view. The OCA’s financial straits have made visibility greater (used and misused, ‘spun’ and so on as many have noted by those in early receipt of developments). The misdoing of those with greater control in places with enough money use it to be less worthy, hiding and enabling worse, much worse than what we’ve been given to read.

                It is to these the OCA would cede itself? What’s the Gospel question here at hand: The Great Commission– will this bring folk or repel folk on balance. And this is without regard to the ancestral DNA of the people.

                What does ‘foreign control’ reversion mean in the OCA’s case? Russia. Now I have great hopes that with broadening education and generally improving healthcare access life for folks over there will smooth out and improve considerably, which will reduce tensions everywhere. One can only look in hopes of a better tomorrow at a country that spans so many time zones and has so much land. What could happen there should energy become inexpensive and broadly available?

                But that day is not this day, and even when that day comes it will never, ever be the case that folk here will be fooled into thinking some group of foreign controlled ‘administrators at episcopal assemblies’ who have an annual prayer week together here are or will ever be a ‘local church’ in any real Orthodox sense until they can take their own decisions, appoint their own leadership and police their own ranks. Many here on this forum and some elsewhere believe folk will be fooled into thinking if the press release has a local address on it the decisions are not in some sense dictated from afar, or perhaps bribed (as is the prevailing culture in every foreign case at issue presently). So long as there is foreign control and foreign permission required to change that fact such a strange thing will never, ever grow in the USA. It matters not that the foreign control is spread between Istanbul’s Phanar, Moscow, Damascus, other smaller spots of historical importance oceans away. No chance at all no matter how much the foreign types would prefer to think emotional blackmail will sustain it. Maybe some don’t care and just want to be part of the real-estate money gravy train as parishes are sold.

                The alternative is what you’ve set forth or some close cousin, bishops of defacto not so many parishes, not so many people each; who have to appease some group of parish clergy, but who could if given cause remove any one of them. And in synod deem it wise to police their ranks for the greater value of local loss is more than ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’. Well it isn’t perfect but it has the virtue of at least everyone being forced to talk with, and not ‘at’ one another. That activity, real, if highly imperfect sobornost, well it has a better chance of a future that includes people enough to grow.

                I understand there is a risk that such a group could be taken over by those with theological destruction in mind. I think this the lesser risk since those who don’t want to be Orthodox already have at hand many alternatives, very many. And, in the end, the foreign-authority alternative hasn’t worked out so hot for Rome if theological destruction is a problem as well as coverup of gross misconduct as we see. ‘God’s vicar on Earth’ ‘Universal Ordinary’… Hmm…

                Finally, I just don’t think the Holy Spirit is taking a little nappy.

                The moment there is any buy in to the ‘need for a theory of primacy’ some creation of the bride has replaced the bridegroom.

                • Harry. I believe that some feel justifiably something like this: “Foreign-Shmoreign, if the most competent leadership is to be found in the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia, and the most inept leadership in the OCA (or GOA, for that matter) get out of the way: I want it.”
                  I’d like to comment on one of your management obsessions. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, the TYPICAL diocesan bishop in the Church of Russia had SEVERAL thousand parishes in his diocese. Compare the state of the Church of Russia in those centuries with any and all other Local Orthodox Churches, remember how those Bishops responded against the war of the League of the Militant Godless and others against that Church. Look at it today, and give us some more of your malarkey about management dogma and a married episcopate.

                  • Harry Coin says:

                    What is important is retaining folk and growing. What worked in Russia (until it didn’t and produced repression killing so many thousands) will not generate growth in this country at this time. What resonates with what’s in the Gospels (smaller cohesive diocese, not impersonal, actual dialogue, due care with talent and money) attracts folk here and now. Those of us with kids, kids who are likely not to live in the same town when they grow up, we want them to stay active in the church, we want that very much. Bishops ‘over there’ who plainly appear to have enough to be getting along with, are indeed resources of advice but to put on them the burdens of decision making here as well? If you don’t like how things are going now, try that for a while and watch the shrink accelerate.

                    Foreign decision making, no matter how masked or PR spun, will not lead to growth here.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Harry, surely you can’t be serious. You continue to beat the dead horse of Jonah’s supposed obeisance to the concept of “foreign domination.” Everytime somebody (like me) brings up different occasions where Jonah has said the exact opposite, you continue to cling to this fantasy.

                  Regardless, if the ROC is doing anything, it’s spreading the Gospel AND protecting Christians from slaughter in the Middle East. In the meantime, we here in America are devolving into socialism, forced incarceration of bishops, and mandating military chaplains betray their faith.

                  Rod Dreher said that “Stokoe is having the last laugh.” I beg to differ, I’d say it was Lenin who was having a bellyfull right now.

            • Harry, where did I say “so that decisions would be made in Moscow”? Point to me anywhere those eight specific words were said. They don’t have to be in order, either. Please.

          • Carl Kraeff says:

            George–Diogenes stated his opinion in an acceptable manner. No other forum administrator would have considered disallowing his post. I suppose emotions are running high right now, but if you intend to have only friendly/concurring posts on this forum, you may well lose a lot of posters, to include me.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Well, then Diogenes can start his own blog. He can be the upholder of the secular/modernist movement within Orthodoxy. And then when his arguments are demolished, he can aspersions on our motives.

            • Heracleides says:

              Carl, could we have that in writing?

    • fatherpep@gmail.com says:

      If any person entitled to a paycheck is denied such a check because he refuses to submit an improperly (or dare we say illegally) demanded resignation, that person merely needs to have an attorney file suit on his behalf. That would be a simple contractual or employment type of action, and a court would not be prevented from ruling on the matter. Let us not forget the possibility of seeking damages as well. The victim could end up owning a nice piece of property, complete with a large house and office complex, on eastern Long Island, New York.

    • Abercius says:

      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!

      • My thought is that if delegates decide to stay home, they should say why… politely but publicly.

        And if they decide to go anyway, I hope they make their displeasure known. I would strongly suggest trying for a vote of no confidence in Archbishop Nikon.

      • If true, then Stokovism lives even if its avatar is not on the MC. I fear for those who did this as bowls of wrath will be overturned. Lord have mercy.

        • If Met. Jonah is gone, there’s no more reason to cling to the OCA as an institution for his sake. Once he is at a safe distance, it’s time to send this horsey to the glue factory.

  16. Harry Coin says:

    What matter had such time pressure that a teleconference of bishops was enough to force the resignation of a high church official? This news, it is really hard to credit. The friday/saturday of the 4th of July weekend, Russian leadership touring files at the headquarters, guards surrounding the Greek leadership at their ‘clergy laity’ congress this past week, this has what you might call ‘really bad optics’.

  17. Daniel E. Fall says:

    Well, all I can say is here we go again. Republicans deciding that individual liberty is not paramount to organized religion cramming doctrine down anyone’s throat; even non-members.

    Sorry folks, as I said before, the Rastas proved the point a long time ago with the death of Bob Marley. Hell, an employer could be anti-doctor, let alone religious or a religion; imagine how he might cherry pick the employees health care plan.

    Unfortunately, the leader of the church and many of his men isn’t/aren’t wise enough to recognize the realities of the situation. The church cannot decide what health care is appropriate for individuals. If it did, the church of no antibiotics would get to decide just as the churches were deciding about contraception and abortifacients. Sadly, this is the kind of thing where church leaders see what they like to see and do not see wisely, and in this case, government trumps the decision making of the church. Now, many of you are adamantly disagreeing at this point, but to little avail. The government is the wiser and this is the sadness! Oh, a few may try to argue, but Bob Marley won it for me long ago and that’ll be my last word.

    Someone needs to tell our church leaders the last line of the serenity prayer; they missed it somewhere along the way. If we suppose for one instant that the Metropolitan considers it politically wise to go against the HHS ruling; then is he a bishop or a politician? I understand he feels he needs to lead, but it is absolutely inappropriate in the US to allow employers to cherry pick parts of a health insurance policy; it goes against everything about America; especially freedom.

    Let’s see, if we tick off the gays in the church, and the women in the church; at least we’ll still have a few die hard anti-abortion people that think us wise because we suggest employers should decide if employees get to use contraceptives…yeah, that is wise.

    I think I’ve heard it all now.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

      Let me see if I get this. Bob Marley might want marijuana use certified as drug therapy, so the Catholics should be forced to fund arbortifacients? Does that cover the objection?

      Or is it that because objections are inevitable, we should all, for the sake of peace and concord, be forced to submit ourselves to the decisions of the state. Does that fit the prescription?

      Ever think that turning America’s entire health care management over to the state might be the bone headed idea?

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Daniel, what part of the Bill of Rights don’t you understand?

      • Daniel E. Fall says:

        Well, I know you are all asking rhetoricals, but if I may..

        The bill of rights does not say employers choose healthcare George. You can twist the balloon into all shapes to make it fit, but the bottom line is the same, bill of rights doesn’t say healthcare determined by boss.

        And good priest, Bob Marley cited religious belief for not amputating his cancerous toe. The analogy isn’t far fetched…if a religion decided it was inappropriate to fund amputation-the employer would decide the employees fate. The HHS mandate isn’t so terrible; if the churches don’t want to fund abortion; they can choose to not pay for the health insurance at all. Of course, this would put them at a competitive disadvantage, so it is easier for them to be sneaky and cherry pick, or even be up front about the cherry picking, which puts the employee at the financial disadvantage for the churches concepts (however far fetched they could be…).

        From the government’s perspective, if you put any other procedures in the sentence, the employer can’t decide.

        And now to really get to bother all of you. An insurance company is a pool of money; nothing less. You put your money in the pool and others use it for their purposes. If abortion is funded by the insurance company at all; you are funding abortion, unless you use more of the pool than you put in…yeah, Rhonda, this means you have funded abortion if you have paid for health insurance and the insurer pays for it.

        There is only going to be a legal solution to the entire matter. Perhaps an insurance company that doesn’t pay for abortifacients and abortion would be possible and legal, but it might have trouble competing with the others (or not), and it may have other legal problems or it may have trouble getting started..

        All I know is the employer cannot cherry pick health coverage; ain’t gonna fly no matter what the reason, and especially if that reason is to circumvent laws. The insurer perhaps can have its own set of rules that govern all policies; that would make more sense to be an insurance company that simply doesn’t allow funds in the pool to be used for abortion. The employer could offer that insurance among others and then freedom is restored to all. I don’t know how the SCOTUS would respond to such and effort, but it makes more sense to have an insurer that doesn’t fund abortion than letting the Rastas decide no amputations..

        gotta run, sorry if I need edits here..be kind..I actually am

    • Ronda Wintheiser says:

      “The church cannot decide what health care is appropriate for individuals,” you say.

      Even when killing is defined as “health care”?

      Yes, Mr. Fall, I’m one of those “die-hard” abortion people.

      However, I don’t think employers should decide if employees get to use contraceptives. I just don’t think other people should be expected required forced to foot the bill for it, especially since many if not most “contraceptives” are, in fact, NOT contraceptives at all because they do not prevent conception. They destroy the newly Created conceptus, otherwise known as unborn child.

      The Christian churches of Germany remained publicly silent in the face of the Nazi annihilation of Europe’s Jews. Unlike the protest of the Nazi “euthanasia” policy, which Catholic intervention succeeded in halting, there was no public outcry from the churches when Jews were “evacuated,” and no official church condemnations were issued when news of atrocities in the East reached Germany.

      And you want Metropolitan JONAH to be quiet?

      Perhaps YOU are the one who needs to revisit the last line of the Serenity Prayer.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Actually Rhonda, the Politically Correct pietism that we Orthodox are supposed to practice is one of extreme silence in the face of oppression and injustice. We can’t have hospitals and orphanages or speak out against immorality unless we first are perfect. Can’t do good until we’re perfect.

        If you neighbor lost his job, or you see a beggar on the street, you’re supposed to say “go in peace brother, I will pray for you.” As long as you know the difference between in prokeimenon and a kontakion and which tone of the week it is, you’ve attained theosis.

  18. cynthia curran says:

    Well, speaking of cheap labor George, I think the main problem is that hispanics as a group process slower economy that non-hispanic whites. Take the commonwealth of Puerto Rico there is a lot of tax breaks to locate a business there but its still much poorer than even Mississippi which is rural with a high black population.. The elite Republicans don’t understand this. Taking the recent development of Eastern European countries like Slovekia, Estonia and the Czech Repubic where two of the countries are now over 20,000 and one is around 16,000. The highest for any Latin American Country is 13,000 for Chile or Costa Rica and Mexico is behind even Russia now at10,000 versus 12,000 for Russia.