Jonah the Prophet

Syossett is hell-bent on destroying the OCA. Given the false paradigm of Protopresbyterianism and the tactics of Soviet psychiatry by which Syossett kept their power over the years, destruction may be for the best.

I’ve been talking with several solid priests I know from different jurisdictions. They believe that the institutional Church has to collapse in order to clean out the internal moral rot holding it back (one says OCA first, GOA second). I wonder more and more if they are right. Antioch is more solid on these matters but even here there are wide discrepancies (convert priest in California deposed for molestation but Syrian priest in Massachusetts who assaulted a woman and is in jail is still on the sacerdotal list). It may be the only way a truly local Church can arise.

A few days ago Syossett took a giant step forward towards the fulfillment of the the priests’ prophecy. More information will be available later this afternoon.

In time, I will comment on the sheer idiocy of the OCA apparat. I will also reflect on the positive legacy of His Beatitude and the vision he offered for Orthodoxy in America. Today however, I will direct your attention to an earlier prophecy given two years ago regarding the normalization of sodomy within the armed forces and the demons that it would unleash.

Special thanks to Byzantine TX for providing the link.

In the meantime, all you Progressives who rolled your eyes at the “reactionary” attitudes of Conservatives who warned that freedoms would be curtailed and other abuses would ensue, do you wonder why we think you are either uninformed, stupid, or lying?

Oh, and one more thing: His Beatitude won’t say it but I will: I told you so!

Met. Jonah prescient on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal

Source: Byzantine TX

Two years ago Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the OCA, wrote a letter to the Armed Forces Chaplains Board wherein he said (PDF available here):

The main way an Orthodox priest might minister to someone who embraces a “gay” identity and engages in homosexual activity is to call him or her to repent, to change his or her lifestyle, to renounce the “gay identity” and to embrace a Christian lifestyle of chastity. The call to repentance is a call to healing, to forgiveness and to transformation. It is the core teaching of the Church for anyone caught in sin.

If our chaplains were in any way forced to minister the sacraments to those involved in such activity; or forced to teach that such behavior is either good or acceptable, or prohibited from denouncing such behavior as sinful and self-destructive, it would create an impediment to their service in the military. If such an attitude were regarded as “prejudice” or the denunciation of homosexuality as “hate language,” or the like, we would be forced to pull out our chaplains from military service…

His words at the time were called inflammatory and reactionary by many Orthodox in America. At the time I commented that I thought his words pointed to a rather logical outcome of the reverse in the military’s response to gays in the armed forces. In the below story and in other recent articles I’ve read the current vibe is “Get with the times or get out of the way.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although the U.S. Military fight and die to uphold freedom, high-level military chaplains report they are increasingly being denied freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. There is also alarm about the negative effects on troop morale over the undoing of the 237-years’ practice of providing traditional religious support for U.S. soldiers.

“We were promised that we would see no change – very little change,” says Col. Ron Crews, alluding to a two-star officer’s assurance that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal would not impede the ministry of military chaplains. That promise, he says, has not been kept.

Col. Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, was speaking at a panel along with military chaplains and religious freedom activists during the 2012 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington D.C on May 24.

The panelists agreed that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other policies have made it difficult, if not a punishable offense, for military chaplains to read passages of Leviticus, pray aloud in the name of God at a soldier’s funeral, or preside over traditional services.

Col. Crews recounted an interchange in 2010 between Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a military chaplain. While Adm. Mullen was briefing the troops on what the repeal might look like, the chaplain asked if those with “biblical views that homosexuality is a sin [would] still be protected to express those views?”

Adm. Mullen reportedly responded, “Chaplain, if you can’t get in line with this policy, resign your commission.”

Another chaplain’s promotion was unexpectedly rescinded, said the colonel. The reason: forwarding an email sent by a fellow chaplain that was critical of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. Due to this action he was told he would need to be “more closely supervised.”

Yet another chaplain wished for his chapel to be considered “sacred space” and not used to officiate same-sex marriages. He was told that despite his wishes, his chapel would be “sexual neutral territory.”

After Chaplain (Major General) Douglas Carver, the U.S. Army’s Chief Chaplain, called for a day of prayer and fasting “in keeping with your religious traditions,” the Military Religious Foundation (MRF) “wanted him fired,” said Col. Jacob Goldstein, a panelist and senior U.S. Army Jewish chaplain. He added that despite the MRF’s claims that this was offensive to Jewish people, “this fasting follows in our tradition.”

Chaplains are not the only ones feeling pressure. Veteran’s Affairs officials told veteran honor guards that mentioning God in prayer was not acceptable. It took a Temporary Restraining Order from U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes and four months of litigation for the name of God to again be permissible.

Four months was not soon enough to prevent heartbreak to the widows of the fallen. Lisa Ward, the widow of a war veteran, made a promise to her husband – in the event of his death, he would receive the full burial ritual. But arriving to bury her husband and fulfill her promise, she was told the full burial ritual was against federal government regulations. The ritual mentioned God.

“I can’t redo my husband’s funeral,” she said with tears in her eyes.

One federal official, speaking on behalf of the Houston National Cemetery, said that prayers must be “inclusive.” Another asked a veteran to submit his public prayers in writing for approval. Finally, a judge ruled, “In this country, we don’t tell our pastors how to pray.”

But these legal victories do little to reassure believers. Kelly Shackelford, a panelist at the National Religious Freedom Conference and president and CEO of Liberty Institute, said, “The speed at which we are falling is much quicker than I have ever seen,” referring to the amount of religious freedom complaints that his office receives.

Shackelford’s office is the largest non-profit law firm in America, which deals solely with defending religious liberty. Still, there are too many cases for his office to handle. Over a period of ten years, he says he has experienced the most change in the past year and a half.

More religious freedom complaints are piling up. But Shackelford said that his office can’t provide any help unless people are willing to take a stand and work through a litigation process. He ended his talk declaring, “We need to stand in a Christ-like manner, but whether we stand or not is not an option.”

Military chaplains have received a stipend for their military duties since the U.S. military’s founding. General George Washington commenting on this practice said, “It is necessary that we provide them [the military] with a spiritual substance.”

For 237 years it has been considered essential to provide U.S. troops with moral and spiritual counsel. Gen. Major Carver sought to demonstrate this importance by recounting of a soldier’s experience.

A young private was aboard the torpedo-hit USAT Dorchester on February 3, 1943. Surrounded by the dead and debris, the vessel sinking lower, he later said of the event, “I could hear the chaplains preaching courage, their voices were the only thing that gave me hope and kept me going.”

Video and DVD are available here.

Comments

  1. Ken Miller says:

    In my opinion, we need to keep courageous chaplains in there for a short time, long enough to get a good case to go to the Supreme Court. The chaplains should be given instructions to do nothing more and nothing less than quote scripture and the Fathers verbatim on the topic. When that chaplain gets penalized, that is when we collaborate with other Christians and take it to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court finds that the state has the right to dictate the holy scripture and holy tradition cannot be spoken or recited in the practice of religion, then we have huge problems. At that point, we have lost constitutional government, and our government will be worse than Brittish domination that we were liberated from, and it will deserve the same fate as the Brittish. The minute we no longer have a bill of rights in our constitution, our government no longer deserves to exist.

    If we lose that battle, our chaplains cannot stay in the military under a state mandate that we promote heresy. If our chaplains cannot practice Orthodoxy, then we have no purpose being there.

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  2. George Michalopulos says:

    Rod Dreher on Rumors of Jonah Ouster

    Source: The American Conservative

    Metropolitan Jonah Ousted

    By Rod Dreher

    Something for you Orthodox readers on Sunday morning: It has been confirmed that Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA has resigned under pressure from the Holy Synod.

    They finally got him. What they don’t understand is that they probably signed the OCA’s death warrant in so doing — not because Jonah was necessarily an exceptional metropolitan (he had his problems as an administrator, and though a very good man, was temperamentally ill-suited for the job), but because the sleazy, corrupt way the Synod has handled this from the beginning shows them to be a pack of ravening wolves.

    Now would be a good time to invoke the old saying about how the Church must be a work of God, because there is no way it could have survived for 2,000 years the fools and knaves who run it.

    UPDATE: I’m hearing this afternoon that Jonah made his resignation most likely on Friday evening, but that it is unclear whether or not it has been formally accepted. It is possible that the terms of his exit are being negotiated. Stay tuned; this situation is fluid.

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    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says:

      I don’t know why this comes to mind right now, but when I went to look at this link, something else on the blog caught my eye, about the decline in average Episcopal Church attendance by 23 percent in the past 10 years, which referenced this link here http://www.siena.org/July-2012/episcopalian-attendance-in-us-drops-23

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      • lexcaritas says:

        This will probably get lost in the shuffle, Brother Alf Kentigern, but for those who did not experience the implosion of the Episcopal Church for two decades as it picked up steam, it is worth noting that it was NOT powered by the ordinary laity but by the seminary-educated and corporate-minded bishops and presbyters who led the way, assisted by the wealthy and worldly-well-connected within the House of Deputies. Chrysostom was right in warning that the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops ,and Dante rightly populated his Inferno with a noted number of Roman bishops. It was the same in ancient Israel, where the people were misled by false shepherds and false prophets, and Christ warned us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even the infamous factions in Corinth arose so that, as St. Paul regrets, “they which are ‘approved’ may be made manifest among you.” In other words, so that certain leaders could show up and stroke their egos. The likes of the Apostles and of Athanasius, Basil and Ambrose are are few indeed.

        lxc

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        • Geo Michalopulos says:

          Tahnk you for this perspective Lex.

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        • StephenD says:

          My father was Episcopalian and I think the worse thing for him was the feeling that many of the Bishops ,clergy and “elites” considered him and other people who were against women’s ordination and other innovations as an example of their not reaching their level of spirituality.

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    • Michael says:

      I was told it happened on Saturday. A release on the OCA website will come later this week. I’m also told that Nikon and Tikhon were the one’s who pushed it.

      Mike

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      • The official release is out, as is Jonah. http://oca.org/news/headline-news/metropolitan-jonah-tenders-resignation

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        • Does anybody know Met. Jonah’s legal name? Is there any way we can send money to him to help him look after his family?

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          • James. You know his last name. Can we hold out hope that they will elect him Archbishop of Dallas? Is it possible that they will do the right thing? The fact that his letter (it must have been approved by the synod) and his request for a new assignment is an interesting 11th hour twist.

            Now all the pressure is on the synod. Will they do the right thing?

            Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but maybe, just maybe he will go back to the South. Time to light some candles and pray.

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            • EliasInDallas says:

              If he was bishop of the south he would still be on the synod and if they dislike him so so much I doubt they would put up with that. One can hope though.

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              • I agree it is a longshot. But consider this, a happy DOS makes life a great deal easier for Syosset. The fact that he was allowed in his resignation letter, to request another assignment, if denied, will make the synod look petty and vengeful. It would put them in a particularly bad light. +Jonah still has his condo in Dallas and the DOS is ready for a new bishop.

                This really ain’t over yet. The pressure is now on the synod. Very interesting.

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                • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

                  And . . . what is to happen at AAC 2014??? Will OCA even survive till then?

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                  • By 2014, the OCA will be DOA.

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                    • Ronda Wintheiser says:

                      Helga, I liked the comment you made a day or so ago that George “knighted” you for. :)

                      Why don’t we all just “walk out” and speed the OCA’s DOA status?

                      How does an individual do that at the parish level? I realise an individual can redirect tithes as has already been suggested here, but what about assessments? Does it work to ask one’s parish priest to remove one from the membership roll but remain active in that parish? (If he will even allow it… :[ )

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                    • Thank you, Ronda. :) I said in another comment that I don’t know if it’s possible to remove your name from the membership rolls and still be considered a member, but I would start by asking that my share of the assessment be withheld from Syosset.

                      Speaking of withholding, I think the DOS should seriously consider withholding its diocesan-level tithe to the Central Administration. I am tired of seeing Syosset treat it like a piggy bank, where they can just break it open whenever they feel like it, no regard for what happens to the piggy.

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                    • Rod Dreher says:

                      I understand the impulse to “just walk out,” but it is not really a viable option for many of us. I have a good pastor who is a wonderful confessor. I cannot and will not leave him. I wouldn’t do that even if there were much of an alternative. We have a Greek church in town, which might be a great place (I’ve not been), but spend five minutes talking to a Greek Orthodox believer who is engaged in church affairs and you’ll quickly learn that GOA has massive problems at the episcopal level too.

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                    • If your parish is in a situation where it either owns its own building or holds the note on the mortgage on its own, have your priest petition to be released to ROCOR and the parish council vote to move the location under them. If the diocese holds your mortgage note, I’m not sure what you can do except walk away from the parish and leave the OCA in the lurch.

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                    • Ronda Wintheiser says:

                      I have no intention of leaving my parish. It is a tiny mission parish and I moved to this town ten years ago to finally be in a parish after ten years of living without one after my chrismation in 1991.

                      I should clarify. I took Helga’s suggestion and sent my priest a note a few minutes ago. I told him I could no longer in good conscience continue to support the OCA under the direction of this Synod and that I would like to request that my individual share of the assessment to the OCA be withheld if that is possible.

                      That is what I mean by “walking out”. I mean how can we collapse the OCA; starve them out as someone said earlier? I want the thing to die a quick death, not drag it out over the next 5 years as has also been suggested. That will just mean many more casualties.

                      No?

                      I defer to everyone’s wisdom. I am short on it, I’m afraid.

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                    • fatherpep@gmail.com says:

                      Don’t “walk out.” Just engage in civil disobedience.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Well, it has now come full circle. The GOA ousted Spyridon and the OCA ousted Jonah. Power Players behind the scenes orchestrated this as they always do. Since the departure of Archbishop Spyridon the GOA fell off a cliff never to return. Leadership 100 and its (Not the Church’s) Archons siezed control and haven’t let go since.

                      Now the very same is happening to the OCA. Whoever your “L100/Archons” people are they just flexed their muscle and seized control as well. The OCA is now just a few step behind the GOA’s slide into danger. Rod you will not leave, but your church, OUR CHURCH, will leave you. It happend in the GOA, it is now happening in the OCA. While we fought the eilites took control. What a damn shame.

                      Take care and may God Bless all of us and protect us.

                      Peter

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                    • Geo Michalopulos says:

                      Peter, I see much wisdom in what you write.

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                    • Anonymous says:

                      What about clergy? (specifically readers or sub-deacons) What would be out options to opt out in conscience? Request a transfer to another jurisdiction?

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                    • The OCA has never considered such “minor” orders to be binding upon the man to a particular parish, diocese or bishop. If you even got some sort of certificate of ordination, you can just present that to your new priest. If you want to get a letter of release from your priest, you can, but even that is not necessary but if requested by your new priest, it is a good thing to have on hand. Not sure anything from the OCA these days will be considered “valid.”

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                  • Doubtful, very doubtful. I give us 5 years, tops. Maybe if Jonah is given another assignment (like Dallas) the OCA can have the opportunity to not appear vengeful and so would appear to have another chance. Without this however, and Jonah and his family on the street though, the OCA will have far fewer attendees and donors in 2014. It’ll look embarrassing and they’ll just pull the plug on the next AAC.

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                    • Diogenes says:

                      George:
                      You are soooooo wrong. The OCA will not disappear. In fact, the OCA will grow. Amazing how you sound like the Republicans railing against Obama; sheer distortion and delusion. + Jonah wasn’t the savior of the OCA people thought. He should have served as a bishop of a diocese for a while before anyone thought he’d be a good Met. They were quick to act in Pitt. and found what they thought was a breath of fresh air. Not so, they ended up with an inexperienced Russophile who didn’t believe in the true vision of the OCA. He was taking the OCA back to 1940. We’re not going there. Liturgical hats; 3 hr services; parading around in cassocks in public with long hair, long beard and weird hats; etc. Where are the real men who are priests & bishops? Where are the clerics who believe in an Orthodox Church in America; not some form of Russian Church, Greek Church, Arab Church, etc. You converts should be the first to rejoice in seeing an OCA moving forward and not back to 1940.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Diogenes, re your second sentence: wanna place some money on that? I’ll sweeten the deal: if there is an AAC in 2014, it’ll be even worse attended. Double or nothing?

                      You can contact me off-line and we’ll negotiate the terms of this wager.

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                    • So, let me get this right, Diogenes: it wasn’t Metropolitan Jonah’s administrative failures that led to his resignation (in which I suppose he was given no choice), as per his letter, but the perception that he didn’t share the “vision of the OCA” of the devotees of Fr Schmemann?
                      You know, I’ve always been inclined to take Jonah’s mea culpas at face value on those issues; after all, as he has himself admitted, he has never been attracted to administration, which, like it or not, must be a strong suit of any Metropolitan. Until now I’ve been cautious about the claims that there was a modernist cabal out to get rid of Jonah, not wanting to believe them, hoping that the OCA had finally grown out of “protopresbyterianism” and was on the way to becoming a real autocephalous church, but I think you’ve just confirmed it. In the end, it was all about the fear of “liturgical hats; 3 hr services; parading around in cassocks in public with long hair, long beard and weird hats; etc.”
                      Of course, it’s the “etc” that really matters, meaning the semblance of traditional Orthodoxy in faith and morals, and not hats and beards or even 3 hour services – on that at least I might agree with you (btw, check the pics: not many OCA priests in 1940 actually looked all that traditional and “Russophilic”; regulation haircuts and clean shaven faces were the order of the day for parochial clergy, even in those dark, pre-Schmemann days!).
                      Well, having mutineed against the rightful captain of the ship, I guess the OCA, with Fr Jillions playing the part of Fletcher Christian, is now free to chart its course for some ecclesiastical version of Tahiti which beckons over the horizon, unencumbered by hats and beards and the discipline of the traditional church, free to make up the rules as you go along and destined to finally become a historical curiosity. What hubris!
                      The real questions now are: does Jonah have the courage to get into the launch and head back to civilization and who is going with him?

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                    • Diogenes: Your cockeyed optimism isn’t rubbing off on to those outside your circle.

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                • It’s a resignation, not a retirement, meaning he is still an active bishop.

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                • Rod Dreher says:

                  This makes sense to me, this scenario. This is just speculation, but it would make sense that Nikon would cancel the Diocesan Assembly election for the new bishop if he knew the Synod was about to make this power play. Ousting Jonah and pacifying the South would be a win-win for the Synod. They would rather have Jonah off in a monastery somewhere, I’m sure, and Mark Maymon seated as DOS bishop. But the strong anti-Maymon resistance in the South made that impossible. So this is the next best thing. Jonah would be no threat to them in the South, because he has been so beat up and traumatized that he’s never going to say boo against anything they choose to do. And the South can’t very well reject Jonah as its next bishop.

                  Whether or not someone with Jonah’s admitted (by him) deficits in temperament and leadership skills, including his inability to stand up for himself and for those who stand with him, is what the South needs — well, that’s another question.

                  Frankly, I don’t know how he could stand to be on the same Synod with these men, or even in the same room. Perhaps he feels an obligation to care for his parents, in which case continuing to do so would be a mortification.

                  The only consolation I can see is that for most of us, the Church is what happens in our parish; Syosset is a long way off.

                  If I were Mark Stokoe tonight, I would be cherishing the fact that I had the last laugh after all.

                  It will be interesting to see if there is any exodus to other jurisdictions over this. I’m staying; I’ve got a good priest and a good church community, and I never have to see a bishop.

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                  • It should be a most interesting synod conference call on Monday. Very interesting, indeed. Of course the first order of business will be to elect a Locum Tenens for the OCA, then moving other deck chairs to Washington, etc. Then the real meat of the meeting, +Jonah’s request for another assignment. Are there any sane voices left that would do the right thing and give him another assignment. I think they would rather ship him as far away as possible, Alaska, but as I said before, a happy DOS is very important to Syosset. But, they might just do nothing and string things along until their fall meeting. That is more likely an outcome. By then, Gerasim might be sufficiently “groomed” by +Benjamin, so that his name can go back in the hopper for the South. My gut tells me that +Jonah won’t get the South. Maybe a blessing for his DC monks to start a monastery somewhere with +Jonah.

                    Too much “blue skying” for tonight. It is already Monday.

                    Nite all!

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                    • Rod Dreher says:

                      “His Beatitude ran out of allies,” a friend of mine says in the wake of this. That being the case, I wonder what made the Russians, including his BFF Hilarion Alfayev, walk away from him. Anybody have any idea?

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                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

                      That was my thought, Alaska. But it just isn’t doable, being as he is the sole supporter of his parents and sister. “Blue skying” . . . that’s a new expression! I hope you don’t mind me borrowing it.

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                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Rod, here’s the problem: You may never have to see a bishop, but a bishop is required for you to have a parish and to be part of the Church. To the extent that you reject the authority of the episcopate and refuse to love the authority he carries, to that extent you are nudging yourself out of the Church. We are not congregationalists. The seat for the bishop is there for a reason. He is there even when he is not physically present. That is part of the reason he is commenerated at each Divine Liturgy. Without the bishop there is no liturgy.

                    Yes, working in your own parish with love and diligence as we learn to live a life of repentance and virtue is the key, but part of that is to accept the authority of the bishops whether or not you like them. It is far easier with someone who you like of course and agree with and who is not morally challenged, but “if we love only those who love us, what thank have we”.

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                    • Let’s all admit it. The system of episcopal governance in the Orthodox Church as it is actually practiced in 99% of places, not as it should be practiced according to the Scriptures and canons, is hopelessly broken and has been for centuries. Christ left His Church all authority to address these matters, yet we haven’t. What a shame! A bigger lost opportunity there has never been.

                      If the way we Orthodox Christians address this failure is to shield ourselves and our families from so many wolves in their imperial “mitres,” then so be it. We have real authority from on high to do exactly that, and it’s recorded in one of St. Paul’s epistles. Yes, we need the episcopacy for a Church that functions decently and in good order, but the episcopacy needs decent Christian men or else does not fulfill its most basic reason to exist and is fit for nothing except to be cast in to the fire.

                      Thank you, brother, for your words in another post about fighting evil and how to go about it. Most wise and edifying.

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                    • Rod Dreher says:

                      I understand that, Michael. Just to clarify, I don’t deny, and wouldn’t deny, the authority of a validly consecrated bishop, even one I did not trust or like.

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                    • I think Rod’s attitude toward the episcopacy is a little more understandable when it comes to bishops who are generally benign even if controversy seems to come upon them. I can see why Rod would want to just duck his head down to keep from getting too attached.

                      Also, I’m pretty sure he would change his tune if he was hearing “…and for our Bishop Mark of Dallas and the South” every week.

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                    • Rod Dreher says:

                      Toward the end of my time as a Roman Catholic, I came to share the opinion of a long-suffering Catholic priest friend, who calls bishops “a necessary evil.” Necessary, because without bishops, we have no Church. The rest speaks for itself.

                      I have seen no reason to change that general opinion. I don’t know why it’s this way, but it sure seems to be. To believe in an episcopal ecclesiology does not require one to believe that bishops are always and everywhere good men, only that their authority is real. It’s great when they are good men, though.

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                    • lexcaritas says:

                      Brother Rod, bishops would stand a chance of being good and holy men if we observed and insitsted the Scriptural standards for their selection: St. Paula sets them out for us in his letters to Timothy and Titus, as you know; and the kind of men selected as the first deacons is another good guide: righteous and full of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, note that Matthias was chose by lot from two nominees selected by the whole Church (at that time the 120 gathered together) and there was not this nomination by the delegates and election by the bishops.

                      Another thing that out to be done is to reduce the tempations to pride and power which is inherent in imperial titles and regalia. Protestants have, no doubt gone too far, but our Lord did warn us about seeking titles like “Rabbi” and “Master”.

                      Finally, a shepherd must know and care about his sheep. I have observed few biships tirelessly seeking to meet their people and serve them; rather they arrive and expect to be adulated and served. A truly humble person can survive this, but it is deadly to most of us in whom pride and ego have not yet been mortified and continue to thrive.

                      lxc

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      I have known admirals and generals who were more humble and loving than most Orthodox bishops. They took the time to talk to the troops, worked tirelessly to make sure the troops were taken care of, did not stand on ceremony, righted wrongs swiftly and fairly, and set a truly Christ-like example for leaders at all levels.

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                    • Jim of Olym says:

                      A former Orthodox Army Chaplain told me that officers never eat until the troops are fed. He followed that example. We, on the other hand insist that the ‘big guys’ go to the head of the line, and I’ve never seen them refuse.

                      Strange times we live in, eh?

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                    • That’s true in the field. Garrison is another matter, but in the field an officer can easily end up with very little to eat and very little time to eat it in.

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                    • Anna Rowe says:

                      Dn,
                      Agree. It appears the focus has been lost. The people have been forgotten. You can’t be a leader if there are no followers. You can’t be a shepherd if there is no flock….and so on. It’s all very sad.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Here in Oklahoma we have a saying: “All chiefs and no Indians.” I’d like to run the numbers of the OCA Apparat –the Synod, the MC, Syossett–and compare them to the actual number of stewards.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Lex, that’s one of the things that drew us to the veneral Dmitri of thrice-blessed memory. he really cared about the people he met and even in his dotage he had a memory like a steel trap. Jonah is likewise a people person (which I envy tremendously as I am most decidedly not). Dmitri couldn’t help but suppress a smirk about the pomp whereas Jonah had this “golly gee-whillickers” wonderment of it all.

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                    • Jim of Olym says:

                      It would be helpful to the bishops if they had an ‘outside life’, like fly-fishing or chess or even backgammon or philately. Then they could have ‘fishin’ buddies’ to spend time with (or fellow players or collectors etc). That would give them a re-entry into the real world that the rest of us inhabit. As it is, the tendency is to collect vestments and fancy hats. As much as I respect the office, I feel sorry many times for the occupants.

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            • No, Nikos. Put Met. Jonah among those backstabbing fiends who still call themselves OCA bishops? I’d sooner put a cat in a blender!

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              • Well, Helga, there were some who opined a few months back that Metropolitan Jonah would be glad to resign if they’d “give” him Dallas. Those who so opined were thought to be fantasists. Perhaps the same might now opine that the events of Friday and Saturday explain Archbishop Nikon’s surprise letter about Father Gerasim.
                A new deal! A new card game!

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                • Your Grace,

                  But a deck still full of Jokers!

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                • Your Grace, having Metropolitan Jonah elected to the Dallas see was suggested, I believe, under the presumptions that the other bishops were not conspiring against their primate, and that Metropolitan Jonah would make a decision to resign of his own free will. After the events of this weekend, those presumptions are absolutely off the table.

                  Vladyko, would you please share your thoughts on the canonical implications of the fact that the Synod met without the First Hierarch, and did so in order to conspire against him? I couldn’t help but notice that Canon 18 of the Council of Chalcedon calls for the deposition of clergy who conspire against bishops. Since you are qualified to interpret the canons, I would like to know what you think.

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                  • Canon 18

                    The crime of conspiracy or banding together is utterly prohibited even by the secular law, and much more ought it to be forbidden in the Church of God. Therefore, if any, whether clergymen or monks, should be detected in conspiring or banding together, or hatching plots against their bishops or fellow clergy, they shall by all means be deposed from their own rank.

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                    • JB,

                      Quoting canon law to this synod is about as effective as selling ice cubes to Eskimos. They have demonstrated again and again and again their utter contempt of the canonical process, let alone basic human decency. They would simply laugh at your comment and respond, “And who is going to depose us?” “We are the bishops, we are the synod, we make the rules.”

                      After sleeping on it, I don’t think there is any chance that they will reward +Jonah with another episcopal assignment. Consider this, they have all been saying he is nuts. They all believe he is nuts. This is the same bunch who is now on a witch hunt with their Pilgrim witch dunker Jillions, looking for any case of “clergy misconduct” aka, get every priest who has ever caused the bishops or syosset a problem. So the idea that they will give +Jonah another diocese, in their bottom-line, protect their high paying jobs way of thinking, would be crazy because sooner or later, the wacky +Jonah will do something again, as a diocesan bishop, which will plunge the OCA into another bottom line, save my salary, episode.

                      No, +Benjamin and his gang have done their job. +Jonah is damaged goods, he is dangerous, he can’t be given another diocese. My only hope is that they give him a stipend so he can continue to support his family.

                      Folks, that sound you hear are the footsteps of people leaving the OCA while those who stay are deciding how to help their parish but not support Syosset.

                      And do note when the Press Release was posted. At midnight, like some other council that met at night.

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                  • Rod Dreher says:

                    Why would that matter? I’m not asking to be snarky; I really don’t see what the effect would be, unless Moscow were caught unawares and decided to move against the OCA on canonical grounds. I highly doubt that’s the case here. In the beginning of 2011, when Jonah’s troubles started, Moscow warned the Synod that any uncanonical moves against the Metropolitan would not be seen favorably by Moscow. Something changed. If the Russians, the only Orthodox church of any size that recognizes the OCA’s autocephaly, have signed off on this, and Jonah has chosen not to contest it, then it’s a theoretical question alone. Right? What am I missing?

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                    • The Russians were +Jonah’s backers all along. Why they let this happen now – and let there be no illusions about the power of the MP behind a lot of OCA goings-on – is the key question.

                      Moscow made a big investment in +Jonah long ago. Perhaps his conduct had reached the point that the Russians could no longer back him. Maybe he was increasingly seen as impediment to reuniting the OCA with the MP. Maybe the catfight of the last few years had done all the damage that needed to be done and now the OCA is sufficiently shattered that Moscow can consume the corpse. I don’t know and I don’t know anyone who does.

                      Bottom line is the FSB – sorry “MP” – has ditched their boy.

                      What is needed now is healing. Desperately needed. A lot of people, clergy and laity, have played sordid roles in the events of recent years – little of it looks edifying now. Much was public, much was private, nearly all of it was toxic.

                      What’s left of the OCA needs healing and prayers. What it emphatically does NOT need is more whining and complaining and politicking in public. Anyone who still buys into the white hat v black hat view (from either side) of the last half-decade is badly deluded – perhaps Satanically so.

                      +Jonah is a decent man with good instincts in some areas and terrible ones in others. He did have to go, and by no means was all of this the fault of his enemies, whose motives ranged from the pure to the severely base.

                      I am offended and more that people like you, Rod, dare to keep making public statements now, after all the damage you and your ilk – I would same the same to Stokoe if he had the indecency to start talking again now – have done to the OCA and Orthodoxy in America.

                      Time for you to shut up and pray.

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                    • It might be good to look out for ways in which to cover the Medical costs of your priests and their families. This and their “Pensions” are a lot of the reason why you get so many priests who won’t stand up for what is right.

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                    • Beck says:
                      July 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

                      Time for you to shut up and pray.

                      Beck, you forgot to add to that “and pay.”

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                    • Beck,

                      I’m sorry for my own ignorance here, but what damage has been done by Rod and his “ilk”?

                      Just because you personally struggle with hatred toward someone does not mean they have done you harm.

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                    • Beck,

                      Ironically it sounds like you actually approve of Rod and his “ilk”‘s primary accomplishment — getting Stokoe’s website shut down. Not a word of thanks?

                      Damage is generally something dramatic and concrete enough that you can describe it in words, so I look forward to reading your list detailing the actual damage done by Rod and his “ilk”.

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                    • Not clear of the damage, eh? What rock you been living under?

                      And I’ve got a shrink, thanks.

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                    • Geo Michalopulos says:

                      Beck, I must protest. “Rod and his ilk” did nothing but try to protect HB from a brood of vipers. consider me as part of his “ilk.”

                      Your assessment about Jonah’s “instincts” being “good” in some areas and “terrible” in others is really too much. I have asked several of Jonah’s critics on this blog to mention which of Jonah’s actions/instincts/etc. merited such opprobrium. I still hear nothing more than nebulous nothings like “he betrayed the mission of the OCA” and yet nobody can even tell me what this “mission” is.

                      Therefore, it’s not clear based on such variables why “he had to go.”

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      George wrote “I have asked several of Jonah’s critics on this blog to mention which of Jonah’s actions/instincts/etc. merited such opprobrium. I still hear nothing more than nebulous nothings like “he betrayed the mission of the OCA.”

                      Not quite true. I have repeatedly pointed out those actions of his that were contrary to Canon 34 (either the letter or spirit of it). I have also pointed when he went back on his word.

                      Nobody is perfect. Why are y’all defending the indefensible, especially when the person that you are defending says “mea culpa.” How many times does he have to say it before you believe him? Also, why do you have to embark on a scorched earth policy in your defense of him? Do you think that he would have liked to have a legacy of a burned out church?

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                    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says:

                      Canon 34, usually not cited completely in these discussions for its reciprocal description of unanimity, a two-way street in that also each hierarch is to acknowledge the first as head, and not to do anything significant without the first hierarch’s consent.

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Alfred–The second part–that the Metropolitan does not do anything affecting all without the consent of all–came up much more often. We do not need to rehash the reasons; suffice it to say that George was not correct when he said that nobody said nothing about +Jonah on this forum.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Carl, you’re idolatry of Canon 34 is moot. There’s nothing canonical about this process. Period. End of Story.

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                    • The now-ex-Metropolitan was an incompetent administrator and had significant personal baggage in his past. If you’ve read my other posts, and are as in the know as you think you are, you will know what I’m talking about. I’m not saying more than that in an open forum.

                      I find these failings nothing less than tragic since he respresented, on the whole, a positive change in the OCA and American Orthodoxy, and I was fully in sympathy with the frankly political aspects of his program. But we’re talking about assessing a whole person here, not just his publicly stated positions.

                      Right now he needs our prayers and everyone’s support particularly regarding +Jonah’s material needs and those of his family. The OCA owes him that, and more.

                      So those who have opposed him should encourage Syosset and that gang to do the right thing, to atone for past unpleasantness and do simply do what’s right.

                      And those who have backed +Jonah, sometimes with great zeal, need to calm down and pray – and work – for reconciliation, and not continue the unholy food fight.

                      If you don’t, the OCA will sink much faster than anyone realizes.

                      I hold provocateurs like Dreher and Stokoe in contempt, people for whom self-actualization masquerading as “truth-telling” matters more than the Holy Church of Christ. You seem like too decent a guy for that, George, but if you say that’s you, then that’s you.

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                    • Rod Dreher says:

                      Because saying that Jonah has some big compromising secret that you are too noble to mention in public, but will raise in a veiled way, is not provocative? Really?

                      The things I wrote to defend Jonah on OCA Truth are certainly open to criticism, and I accept that. One thing I’ve learned by this point, though, is that whenever people start invoking “the Holy Church of Christ” as a reason to suppress truth-telling or to compel one to acquiesce in serious wrongdoing, it’s time to watch out, because your pocket is about to be picked.

                      Anyway, yes, it’s a tragedy, one in which Jonah is not blameless, but who was far more sinned against than sinning. I do believe the record speaks clearly to this fact.

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                    • Of course you believe that, Rod, of course you do ….

                      I was once upset by your appalling “secret” conduct on OCATruth – I had assumed, wrongly, it was impossible for anyone to be slimier than Stokoe – but I realized, as did others, that there’s really no need for concern since you’ll probably be a Buddhist shortly anyway, given your track record.

                      PS The only thing more contemptible than a nasty provocateur is an incompetent one. It’s funnier too.

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                    • Rod Dreher says:

                      Meh. Ommm… I shall remember you at the next Kathmandu akathist.

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                    • colette says:

                      Beck, you are out of line. You’ve made mistakes in all of this I’m sure. Rod has admitted his and he is free of ugliness as you are not. If you want to do any good, try prayer and forgiveness and stop with the put-downs- enough already . . . .

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                    • What mistakes have I made?

                      Have I posted “secret” defamations of others, in violation of my (alleged) professional ethics?

                      Nope, sure haven’t.

                      I’m a layman who – unlike most people here, especially Dreher – wanted what was best for the OCA and Orthodoxy. For a time I discerned that might be +Jonah, and I backed him for a quite a while, but I eventually I concluded his tenure as Met. was frankly untenable. As it was. I’ve never backed any “faction” – ever.

                      And BTW Dreher sure doesn’t sound very contrite to me re: OCATruth. In his little shoes I’d be too ashamed to EVER comment publically on the faith again after that one.

                      Roissy nailed Roddy-Boy anyway LOL

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Beck, you’re in ASIATR territory and fast catching up with La Drezhlor. Watch it or I’ll ban you. And just for the record, you too are anonymous, unless you’re the Rock singer “Beck.”

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                    • George: Since I am neither a shemale nor enamored with the Russians (did you read my posts?!?) nor am I clinically insane, how am I like Barb/Stan/Whatever?

                      Except that I don’t like Dreher, I’m not seeing it.

                      I am anonymous; I’m also not a journalist with a public (and alternate) persona – which makes a diffference.

                      Regettably I am not *that* Beck.

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                    • Beck,

                      My heart goes out to you, because of your obvious pain and confusion. Still you are capable of understanding at least some of the things you remain confused about.

                      Dreher never violated any professional ethics. Please stop repeating untruths about this. If you want to start identifying your own sins against others, then start there.

                      There is no journalistic principle which says a reporter must not fully participate in the political life of his or her own church. This does not change if the reporter happens to be assigned to cover religious issues. It is also legitimate and ethical to publish under a pseudonym. In fact, it is sometimes most ethical to use a pseudonym if a publication could bring harm to oneself or others associated with the author. In this case Rod was justified (perhaps ethically obligated) to publish under a pseudonym since there is every reason to believe secular forces outside his church could bring harm to him and his family for opposing the gay rights movement’s objectives within his church. It is foolish and naive to oppose a force like Stokoe and the broader gay right movement (including its allies among the social elites of NY and DC) without protecting at least one’s own family. What family man could justify that risk? If you are interested in truth, you cannot ignore these facts. This really is all common sense, but for what it is worth I have studied journalism and I can assure you this common sense approach is mainstream. There are no secret hidden formulas or oaths that make mainstream journalistic ethics any different than what common sense tells you here. No need to invoke “principles beyond your understanding” to condemn Rod here: those principles don’t exist.

                      As an outsider, it is clear that the only plausible motivation for Rod’s behavior was love of his church (I happen to think that love is probably itself a little naive, but I admire his devotion and courage for what it is). I do not know the man personally but he is clearly a better man than I am. I also suspect that he has suffered some personal and professional harm as a result of Stokoe’s unethical publication of his identity. But I’d be surprised if he would discuss this publicly since it could perpetuate the harm. On the other hand, Stokoe’s behavior indicates a primary devotion to gay rights and gay sex, over and above his church. Even as an outsider, I cannot respect a man who prioritizes his own sexual preferences over the more basic needs of another man’s family, whether that man is Rod, Jonah, or anyone else. Beyond that, I believe the gay rights movement is misguided and profoundly harmful to society, and officially your church still agrees from what I can tell.

                      How can you claim to not be part of a faction of any kind when you tell Rod to “shut up” and insult him in various other ways (“little shoes”?!)? Clearly you are part of the anti-Dreher faction. Since you condemned Jonah long before he resigned, you have also been part of the anti-Jonah faction for a while too. So you have a good deal of hypocrisy to address even in just your last 2-3 comments. I mean this with as much respect as I can offer.

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                    • Um (can’t find a better name?) —

                      Your lack of familiarity with the issues shines through; that said …

                      1. Totally with you on the gay thing. Nuff said.

                      2. Maybe you don’t think Dreher violated any ethics, but even my Journo 101 class back in the Paleolithic taught me different and, much more gemanely, Templeton sure did!

                      3. There mere fact that you think there’s a Dreher “faction” speaks volumes. Sad, really.

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                    • Beck,

                      Don’t you think the schoolyard insults are beneath you?

                      But if you are going to name a person and claim they “violated professional ethics”, you need to state the ethical principle violated and the acts that violated it. We can all agree it violates universal ethics to slander another person (same religion, team, or otherwise) . State your claim, if you can. Otherwise apologize to Mr. Dreher and all of us who have taken the time to converse with you in good faith.

                      You create factions with your insults and vicious slander. Yes, I am speaking volumes about you specifically here. But it is increasingly clear that you do not care.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      There you go with those darn facts again, Rod! Stop it! The Jonah-haters need their mythology to salve what’s left of their consciences

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                  • Helga, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a professor of canon law to observe the actions of the Holy Synod of the OCA vis-a-vis the Holy Canons. They ignore them. They do not want to hear them. The only factor having the influence and power of ANY Holy Canon, is the stated opinion of one or more faculty members of SVS, which has exceeded in influence and jurisdiction the once mighty University of Paris in the Roman Church. I remember when, in one of SVS’s organs, then Professor Hopko printed his article on The Duties of Bishops Towards The Seminary. Now that had the force of a collection of canons. When the seminary was consulted by the Synod on the canonicity of the episcopacy of “Archbishop Lazar” (Puhalo/Buehler/Haler), they provided the advice of Father Alexander Rentel, a liturgical scholar, who simply announced that the “‘Archbishop’s” TEACHINGS were not heretical! And that settled the “canonical” questions!
                    An Orthodox synod may canonically meet ONLY when summoned by its presiding/elected First Hierarch. Meetings held (especially any DELIBERATELY so held ) without that First Hierarch or a deputy canonically chosen are not synods, but “robber synods” or the like.
                    There can be no meetings by conference call. In the Orthodox Church, Helga, as we all know, MEETINGS must begin and end with (Conciliar!!!!!) prayers.
                    One might opine that a video conference could be considered a synodal meeting if it were properly conducted as a meeting.
                    Ask this question? WHO presided at the alleged telephone meeting? WHO asked for and recorded the “votes”. WHO appointed that person to make the call? Who appointed the person to poll the members? Who counted the votes and announced the results?
                    The Three “I”s apply in the case of today’s Holy “Synod”: Incompetence, Ineptitude, and Inanition. (and a gaggle of “I”s-egos).

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                    • Your Grace,

                      As always, your institutional history of the OCA is a danger in the hearts of the current occupants of the synod. I recall a story that someone told me attributed to +Nathaniel who said about a non-scheduled meeting of the synod to depose Kondratick, “If we say it is a regular meeting of the synod, then it is a regular meeting of the synod.”

                      That pretty much sums up how this gang operates. To hell with the canons, we will do what we want, when we want and how we want. So the rest of you out there, just shut up and obey.

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                    • Diogenes says:

                      Nikos:
                      There is “no gang.” There are “no Syosset operatives.” The Synod of the OCA (not stupid people), came to the conclusion that + Jonah wasn’t the right leader for the OCA. I agree along with many, many lay people. Case closed. Now, on with moving the OCA forward with a leader who believes in the OCA.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Yeah, that’s what we’re afraid of Carl. A new leader who “believes” in a dying, corrupt ecclesial body. Put me down for some of that! All aboooooard!”

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Your Grace–Are you asking us to choose between your appreciation of the Holy Canons and that of the Holy Synod and/or the Holy Synod’s consultant on canonical matters–Father Rentel?

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          • I believe it’s James Paffhausen, Jr. But that’s a great idea.

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            • Nikos and George, there might have been a time when I would have been okay with Metropolitan Jonah becoming the bishop of the South and all that, but no, not now. I do not want to dignify any other bishop in the OCA by implying Metropolitan Jonah is in any way equal in dignity to any of them. It would be less insulting to compare him with sewer rats.

              The fact that Fr. John Jillions also held Metropolitan Jonah’s paycheck over his head, knowing full well he’s the breadwinner for four people, is nothing short of monstrous and inhuman. This an ungodly violation of everything the Church is supposed to be.

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        • EliasInDallas says:

          Lord have mercy on us and on His Beatitude.
          Hard to believe he finally caved in after all some did for him last year. Feels like all that stress last year was a waste.

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          • Not really. i for one don’t think it was a waste. If Orthodoxy is to grow in this country, these battles must be fought, otherwise we will be stuck with more lethargy than we have now. Jonah was that one bright spot which brought Orthodoxy into the limelight, much like Iakovos did in 1964 by joining MLK. Of course things regressed to the mean but Ligonier 1994 lit another (internal) spark at least but it was stamped out.

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            • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says:

              To add to George’s comments on whether His Beatitude’s time in office was for naught, this “bureaucratically enabled resignation” raises the riddle of whether a church management culture can be in schism with itself.

              Asking that sheds some additional light I think on how the Metropolitan’s tenure was not in vain.

              If it is true as discussed here that OCA culture has developed a new “protopresbyerian” ecclesiology, this would overlay the already non-canonical situation of many overlapping jurisdictions and Synods claiming the same territory in North America. And on top of that would lie the added tendency toward increased use of secular legal and management models, focused on organization rather than the Church as an organism of living tradition in sobornost.

              Whatever the configuration, the management culture didn’t seem to leave room for a seemingly eccentric figure such as Metropolitan Jonah. The founder of a monastic community who seemed to continue to live and breathe within it even when elevated to the Metropolitanate, His Beatitude ended up being shipped off for addiction/psychological screening late last year, under pressure by advocates of up-to-date management, and finally tethered by the corporate-style threat of a withheld paycheck that he needed to support aged parents.

              Ironically, as George has pointed out, His Beatitude took office as the best hope for resolving the non-canonical Church situation in America in recent times, and built on that hope. At a recent meeting at Princeton, I heard the constitutional lawyer Robert George, co-author of the Manhattan Declaration, praise Metropolitan Jonah for his current leadership of the Orthodox community among other religious communities in America. Yet such leadership, innovative in the trend of Christian ecumenical work in America toward networking on issues of religious freedom and support for traditional moral community in the public sphere, rather than dialoging on doctrine, proved one focus for internal attack on him. (Indeed, in my own very modest involvement in the OCA Strategic Planning process, I can attest to how bureacracy by itself does not empower the upholding of Orthodox tradition.)

              In all this, His Beatitude’s tenure and example were not in vain in reality, even amid the denigrations of his critics. They provided a window for developing the vision of such a properly refined version of Orthodox participation with other churches in the public sphere, and a cover for those needing to gain traction who realized that libertarian and localist resistance to anti-religious secularism in America will not be enough to protect the transmission of our tradition to our children and spiritual children and grandchildren.

              Yet the most pervasive and bureaucratically effective criticism of His Beatitude in the OCA’s administrative culture was that of managerial ineptitude. One of the great ironies of the American economy has been the rise of an impersonal managerial science paralleling economic decline. In the same ironic way, it can be said from purely organizational and economic standpoints that the effort to professionalize the OCA’s church government, not the Metropolitan’s administrative weaknesses, bore fruit in a poor example of leadership in this outcome.

              Rather than the management culture bringing together a small jurisdictional family facing severe trials in an increasingly aggressive secular society, it has exacerbated division by in effect pushing out a Metropolitan who was not a good fit for its priorities. Yet at a time when heightened morale and energy are called for in meeting the goal of moving the OCA toward tithing to support its flagging finances, that same management culture (however defined) has alienated a significantly vital portion of the Church unnecessarily. In the private-sector companies in which I worked earlier, the managers in such a situation would be giving the equivalent of high-fives all around at such bureaucratic victory, while ignoring continuing deterioration of the actual situation on the ground. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

              Some folks may just quietly fold up and go to another jurisdiction, or go more to monasteries and pray, or support their parish and be less enthusiastic about supporting the jurisdiction. And none of those are bad or schismatic responses at all, as Rod notes well. Others may adopt the path of a “sobornost tithe,” by directing their tithing goals increasingly to pan-Orthodox missions, charities and monasteries, or as suggested giving directly in cash or barter to clergy, to reduce the revenue stream to the OCA CA, until such time as the climate changes.

              Still, in the end, in a system with so many self-perpetuating Synods in one land, with one small demographically challenged jurisdiction in that situation debating self-definitions, jurisdictional commitments easily become increasingly impersonal and abstract. But sobornost is clear and personal: Prayer, faith, quiet hope and Christian love, in local community, avoiding complicity in evil-doing, while joining with like-minded people around the country as much as possible to protect our ongoing communities of living tradition. That will be Metropolitan Jonah’s real legacy.

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              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

                Alfred Kentigern Siewers, in the best analysis of the OCA problem I have read so far, puts his finger on the broader dimensions of the fight within the OCA:

                In all this, His Beatitude’s tenure and example were not in vain in reality, even amid the denigrations of his critics. They provided a window for developing the vision of such a properly refined version of Orthodox participation with other churches in the public sphere, and a cover for those needing to gain traction who realized that libertarian and localist resistance to anti-religious secularism in America will not be enough to protect the transmission of our tradition to our children and spiritual children and grandchildren.

                Siewers is correct when he points out that His Beatitude’s greatest contribution is also the reason his critics removed him. This also indicates that the present leadership seriously underestimates (or perhaps does not comprehend) the power of the ideas that informed Met. Jonah’s contribution. They are mistaken if they think that the OCA can return to an earlier operational model. It wont work.

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                • Harry Coin says:

                  I wonder whether a major factor wasn’t more mundane. A continued habit of taking decisions involving money without checking if there was money.

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                  • Isa Almisry says:

                    That could do it. But given the OCA’s history of finances, I doubt it did it.

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                  • Geo Michalopulos says:

                    And what decisions would those be, Harry? The hospitals that the OCA built in the last three years? Or was it the orphanages? Built a lot of monasteries during that time, didn’t we?

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                  • another one says:

                    Harry,
                    That’s an interesting smear without supporting evidence thrown out into the fray. And the sentence fragment protects you from libel accusations?

                    Nice.

                    Money we don’t have? You mean like the money we will be paying sex czars and investigators? Chancellors who can’t work in the US? $30,000 year for landscaping Syosset?

                    Pot. Meet kettle.

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  I do not believe the “denigration” of his critics had to do with his vision. Metropolitan Jonah specifically defined the problem himself in his address to the last All-American Council:

                  “How to get to the root of this breakdown in trust and repair it, if possible, is the real challenge for me and I am willing to do whatever is necessary, working in close collaboration with the Holy Synod. As a first step I have agreed to begin a process of discernment that will include a complete evaluation in a program that specializes in assisting clergy, starting the week of November 14th. I have chosen to do this out of love for you, the people of the Church, and for my brother bishops.”

                  “These three years have been an administrative disaster. And I need to accept full responsibility for that and for my part in it.”

                  “I admit that I have very little experience of administration and it was a risk for the 2008 Council to elect me, the newest and most inexperienced of bishops. I have worked very hard to fulfill your expectations. But this is not an excuse. ”

                  “I thought we had a good working relationship but obviously there is something very broken. I need to regain the confidence of my brother bishops and of many others in leadership positions in our Church. I tell you all here and now that I am deeply sorry for that and I ask your forgiveness.”

                  It seems to me that in the absence of personal “charisma” for leadership, the option would be to foster a spirit of cooperation and mutuality among one’s brothers to create the “authority” for leadership, and yourself provide the vision. Apparently he does not have the constitution necessary. If, as you have have said, Abouna, the bishops lack moral authority, and there is no leadership, where to begin? Alliances? Cliques “in spite of?” Democratic vote like the Supreme Court?

                  I absolutely agree that “a return to an earlier operational model” cannot succeed, and the election of the “newest and most inexperienced of bishops” was a commitment to a new and invigorated vision. But it seems to me the OCA will not stumbled its way to the future, but can be lead.

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                  • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says:

                    Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! Dear M. Stankovich, Since you’re apparently not in the OCA but have shared a webpage with our Chancellor, instead of telling us to be quiet while continuing to talk and quoting to us from our own just past AAC, perhaps you can move the discussion along more helpfully. Could you from your friend share any details about how he stood over His Beatitude while he wrote his resignation letter? I’m sure that the Chancellor would not have been holding the withheld paycheck, like some capitalist in an old-fashioned melodrama, but perhaps he will report on the scene in his next Chancellor’s Diary to quiet all this sensationalism? And perhaps official rebuttal to other sensational allegations here–if you could quickly obtain such from him as your friend and our chief administrator–regarding how or whether the Synod met proper standards if it gathered without the First Hierarch, and if without in-person conciliar prayers via teleconference. This would help refute and quiet down unanswered allegations on this blog to which you’re now a regular contributor!

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Alfred wrote “Could you from your friend share any details about how he stood over His Beatitude while he wrote his resignation letter?…how or whether the Synod met proper standards if it gathered without the First Hierarch, and if without in-person conciliar prayers via teleconference.”

                      Archbishop Nikon emailed his DOS priests to personally tell them about the resignation. He upended the following snippet from Fr Jillions’ email to the Holy Synod;

                      “I know that many of you were anxious about being unable to reach Met Jonah by phone or by email today, and had not heard from him since the Holy Synod’s conference call on Saturday. As a result, I was encouraged to go back to Washington DC to see Met Jonah in person to see how he was doing and to follow up on the events of Friday and Saturday. I would like to reassure you that Met Jonah is at home and says he is willing to collaborate with the bishops for the good of the OCA, for the peace and stability of his family and for his own future episcopal vocation. ”

                      As for Bishop Tikhon’s assertions about the canonicity of the proceedings, I am surprised that so many folks have blindly accepted them. I would like to see chapter and verse, please, and not personal opinions. BTW, Canon 18 that was trotted out is not applicable, except of course to those folks who are prepared to believe the worst about their Holy Synod. Indeed, Canon 18 could apply to some of the posters on this forum.

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                    • Carl,

                      To put is as simply as possible, Jillions is the Judas to Jonah’s Christ-like figure. He went to DC to finish the execution.

                      What a crock of bull +Nikon is feeding the DOS.

                      +Jonah is not fine. He is in a state of shock and disbelief. His “collaboration” with the synod is nothing more than an admission that they have him over the barrel and he WILL cooperate. He will be retired and join that ever-growing list of bishops that have been cast aside.

                      The synod has done its job and now the rest of us are supposed to trust them? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

                      “As a lamb led to the slaughter, he opened not his mouth.” Isaiah.

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                    • Amos wrote “What a crock of bull +Nikon is feeding the DOS.”

                      +Nikon and Fr. Jillions and all of the ruling bishops of the OCA (to include +Jonah in his letter)on one hand…Amos (whoever he is) on the other hand. Whom shall I believe? That’s such a difficult question. /s

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                    • Anonymous says:

                      In regard to Carl Kraeff’s note about Archbishop Nikon’s email to his priests, I’m told Archbishop Nathaniel sent an almost identical email to his priests, complete with quote from Fr Jillion’s email to the Synod. Looks like these bishops are all using the same playbook today. Just as sincere as usual too. What a joke.

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                    • Oh, just like that boilerplate letter the bishops sent out after Santa Fe!

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                    • It was sent to by every bishop to every chancellor to be sent to their clergy. Group think well underway showing the unity of the synod! Yeah, right. It’s called CYA.

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                • Geo Michalopulos says:

                  Fr, you are correct. The “earlier operational model” was unsustainable. In 2008 at Pittsburgh, when the bishops walked into the hall, they were roundly booed. They were so scared that they were soiling themself. They threw the newly-consecrated Jonah to the wolves. He saved their heinies. Jonah’s critics cand repeat their tired mantras of “conciliarity” or “Jonah undermined the mission of the OCA” until they’re blue in the face, it won’t change the fact that they don’t know what they’re doing.

                  I’ve thought that because Jonah had now back-up from Moscow that the ROC won’t play their hand. I’ve re-thought that: the Phanar is drunk with glee right (hear that, Harry?) because Syossett did what they could never do: completely delegitimize the OCA. On that point alone, to prevent the Phanar from picking up the pieces, Moscow might –just might–act.

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                  • Disgusted With It says:

                    “They were so scared that they were soiling themself.”

                    George,
                    To be factually accurate, I only know of one of the bishops to have soiled himself. But that was another time, another place. And from what I’m told: whatever happens there, stays there.

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                  • Harry Coin says:

                    George, What won’t you say so long as it leaves the oca a creature of somewhere else? You’ll take it out of the frying pan and into the fire. Your fellow travelers don’t see this so clearly! Be careful what you wish for!

                    One thing is certain: The OCA is a synodal church, for certain sure now. The first among them is certainly there by consent. In fact, right now, I think it’s probably fair to say that the OCA’s synod is closest to the Gospel’s and ancient descriptions as there is on the planet insofar as synod members not resembling potted plants, not creatures nor minions nor running dogs of the primate.

                    Whatever happens, it’s on, and upto, the synod now. Archpriests, advisors, whatnot– will growth happen on your watch? We do all live in hope.

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                    • Harry, you declared “The first among them is certainly there by consent.” No, he is there by right of seniority, a canonical requirement observed in this instance by the bishops. Metropolitan Jonah is the one who was there by consent OF THE BISHOPS.
                      Archbishop Nathaniel, now senor by date of consecration to the episcopate, is, Harry, a former Roman Catholic Priest of the Romanian Byzantine Catholic Church, born and raised and educated in it and at the Papal Russicon in Rome, who as a fully formed and adult priest was recruited by Archbishop Valerian (Trifa) to be his vicar and eventual replacement. I won’t comment on Archbishop Valerian, perhaps he is one of your heroes as well, though he never tried to curry favor with the Faithful or make thank-offerings to OCL. Historically, his closest buddies in the OCA were Mark Forsberg and Benedict deSocio (an ex Albanian Rite Catholic–Grotto-ferrata branch)
                      BTW. by what canonical process was Archbishop Spyridon removed? (Big tongue-in-cheek, nudge, nudge!)

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Yeah, I would like to know as well. maybe Michael Jaharis would dignify us with a response? After that maybe someone on the OCA synod would like to tell us what really happend with Met. Jonah? If we ever get a response to these questions the Cubs may have won the world series and Hell must be frozen over.

                      PS No offense to the Cubs.

                      Peter

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                    • Peter, Carl, et al.

                      What today’s announcement from the synod did not say.

                      1. This plan to oust Jonah was in the works for the last three months with EVERY member of this synod complicit.
                      2. The Chancellor and Secretary, Jillions and Tosi were also part of the plan. Apparently the only one of the Church officers not informed was Melanie Ringa. Don’t be surprised if she resigns.
                      3. Jonah will be paid through October. THAT’S IT FOLKS. That is the extent of their care and responsibility towards Jonah. Garklavs, one of their own got a much better deal.

                      This information comes from a disgusted person close to the situation who is in a position to know.

                      Oh, and Mark Stokoe was in the thick of this advising Jillions. Of course that means that Eric Wheeler was too.

                      So, Carl, what about the canons dealing with bishops conspiring against a brother bishop? I know you will just poo poo this but I think my recent posts have been spot on, even if you dismissed them.

                      I take no pleasure in any of this, but it is time to finally wake up and admit that the oca synod is corrupt to its core. They were all in on it. Jonah was an outsider when he was elected and he was an outsider to the end.

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                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

                      Who is this person in the know? Why doesn’t this person simply come forth and lay this all out?

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                    • For the same reason that others who stepped forward got “taken care of.” Among others, your ex Cathedral dean comes to mind. This person has seen what has been done to Jonah and is justly disgusted but afraid that if he or she comes forward publicly they will be punished for speaking the truth.

                      The start of a resistance movement?

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                    • Nikos, VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Nikos–I have no doubt that you have a highly placed informant. I do wonder if your informant will remain in place. Let me tell you my logic:
                      The Holy Synod members and the Chancery Staff minus (all those you have criticized) equals
                      +Jonah
                      Thaddeus Wojcik, General Counsel to the OCA
                      Alexis Liberovsky, Archivist
                      Gregory Sulich, Administrative Assistant to the Metropolitan and Chancellor
                      Melanie Ringa, Treasurer
                      Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, Projects Manager
                      Michael Zachariades, Aide to the Metropolitan
                      The Rev. Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, Director, Diaconal and Late Vocations Programs
                      Helen Detke, Chancery Assistant
                      Jessica Linke, Chancery Assistant
                      Svetlana Radunceva, Housekeeper

                      Now, given the details of your latest “report,” I doubt very much that many of these folks were privy to your “facts.” So, the short list is:

                      +Jonah
                      Alexis Liberovsky, Archivist
                      Gregory Sulich, Administrative Assistant to the Metropolitan and Chancellor
                      Melanie Ringa, Treasurer
                      Michael Zachariades, Aide to the Metropolitan

                      If the leaks to you continue after +Jonah leaves, the list would boil down ro Sulich, Ringa and CZachariades.

                      We shall see.

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                    • Nice try but you have a really old and outdated list. Are you objecting because what I say is true, or that others now know the truth?

                      And while we are at it, you seemed to have little objection back in the day to take as gospel the insider information that your hero Mark Stokoe was regularly fed. Or are we dealing with the fact that you now find yourself trying to defend the indefensible actions of the new gang in Syosset?

                      Accountability and transparency will prevail and these folks will be held under the same microscope they held others to in the past. Call your sources, Carl, if you have any, and ask them to deny that Jonah will only be paid till October. Do you think that is fair and just? Do you think it laudable that they were all working in collusion for the past three months to hatch and launch their coup?

                      This is not at all about your theoretical blitherings about conciliarity and the rest, it is about a group of men, acting in their own self-interest just threw another Metropolitan under the bus with little regard for the spiritual fallout and the wounding of souls, not to mention the man and his family. Is this what you call a Church moving in the right direction? I guess you do and for that I really feel sorry for you. But when you are ready to take of the blinders and see the havoc that these men have AGAIN wrot upon the Church, I will be here to help you through it. And, I am serious.

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      That is the list I copied from a few minutes ago at OCA.org. I am sorry but I am not in a position to know the latest and I have to rely on official OCA sources.

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                    • Ronda Wintheiser says:

                      I would also like to know who the source is for all of this inside information.

                      I have not heard from my priest yet in response to my query about my individual assessment being withdrawn.

                      I realise he needs to think and pray, and I am sure he is talking with other priests, etc…. so I am not impatient. However, it occurs to me — since he knew nothing of this on Sunday when I asked him about it and he seemed somewhat nonplussed when I implied that it is my opinion that the Synod is rife with corruption — that I may have to explain myself to him.

                      While I can certainly can give him an earful of allegations from what I have gleaned here, I have no documentation for any of it; it is all what could be described as hearsay and gossip. No?

                      I understand that those who are close to the situation may need to protect themselves from retribution.

                      However, if there is any way to document any of the facts that some of you have put forth about how this came about and why, I would appreciate hearing that or being directed to it.

                      Thank you, all of you who are sticking up for Metropolitan JONAH. I know some people think he should stick up for himself, but I think his humble response and refusal to stick up for himself is an appropriate Orthodox Christian response.

                      In my mind, it places him into a similar category with lambs to the slaughter, as has already been suggested, and also unborn children, who are voiceless and defenseless and whom he was willing to stick up for.

                      He is paying the price for that. I consider him a kind of martyr on their behalf, and I would not be surprised if they — unborn children — are advocating for him in return.

                      And so should we.

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Ronda–You are correct in approaching this cautiously. What you read here is indeed mostly hearsay and gossip, complimented by the opinions and recollections of retied Bishop Tikhon.

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                    • Ronda Wintheiser says:

                      I just received a response from my priest. He wrote:

                      “Each parish remits payment to the national administration; individuals,
                      (per se) do not. I believe you would have to convince the parish council
                      that they should withhold your portion of our assessed figure, thereby
                      putting (our parish) in arrears.

                      “I can make further enquiries if you wish to pursue this.”

                      I am more inclined to simply withdraw my membership — on paper, that is.

                      I fear pursuing it would be too divisive in a parish already floundering…

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                    • That sounds like the best option under the circumstances, Ronda.

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Name the canon and cite the applicable section of the OCA Statute, which has the force a Canon within the OCA.

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                    • Huh? Want to try that one again, Carl? I know it is hard for you to try and disarm things, but you really lost me on this one.

                      TAKE TWO (Clap)

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Nikos wrote “So, Carl, what about the canons dealing with bishops conspiring against a brother bishop? I know you will just poo poo this but I think my recent posts have been spot on, even if you dismissed them.”

                      Carl replied “Name the canon and cite the applicable section of the OCA Statute, which has the force a Canon within the OCA.”

                      Nikos wrote “Huh? Want to try that one again, Carl?”

                      Carl replies: I will spell it out for you. You brought up the Holy canons, you name them. Why do I have to do your homework for you? While you are at it, also research the OCA Statute and see what canonical nuggets you have found there. Is this clear enough for you?

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                    • Canon 34, usually not cited completely in these discussions for its reciprocal description of unanimity, a two-way street in that also each hierarch is to acknowledge the first as head, and not to do anything significant without the first hierarch’s consent.

                      In this case, the plot was hatched without the knowledge of the Primate. That makes it uncanonical, dear Carl. He was delivered an ultimatum last Thursday, totally unaware of the scheming and plotting by his brothers or the Syosset staff. Or, Carl, do you think that they just woke up on Thursday at the Lesser Synod and said, “Hey, Your Beatitude, we think you should step down and if you don’t we are going to cut off your pay.” If you think that is what happened Carl, I really feel sorry for you, but you are the hope and those who think like you of this synod. They are hoping against hope there are lots of Carls out there who will just take what they are being fed and like it.

                      Oh, and it appears the the synod has stripped Jonah of his just honorific, His Beatitude. He is now to be addressed as His Eminence.

                      I guess the normal usage of an honorific, that you refer to the person by the last and highest office he held, like Mr. President, Govenor, etc. doesn’t apply to this group that is already doing their best to act as if the last few years didn’t happen. Boy, Uncle Joe in the old USSR had nothing on these guys.

                      Your backing a dead horse trying to justify these actions against Jonah. It was a well-orchestrated palace coup, is that clear enough for you? Probably not.

                      Well, I will address him as His Beatitude and no band of unholy brothers will make me say otherwise.

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                    • Nikos, Metropolitan Theodosius and Metropolitan Herman are both still styled “His Beatitude” and “The Most Blessed” in retirement. Demoting Metropolitan Jonah to “His Eminence” and “the Most Reverend” seems like an insult.

                      Oh, but in other news, we’re commemorating Archbishop Nathaniel as the “locum tenens of the Orthodox Church in America”. OH, REALLY, NOW?! When exactly did the OCA turn into a single eparchy?! What are these constructs called “dioceses”, then? Did these bishops attend the Metropolitan Philip School of Ecclesiastical Governance?

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                    • You catch on fast, Kimosabe!

                      Another new OCA chapter unfolds for us little people.

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      The attack on Metropolitan Philip was childish. I suggest that you take care of your own problems before you criticize other Orthodox jurisdictions. We have had our problems, but nothing like the continued controversies that one reads on these pages. The fact is that under Metropolitan Philip our Archdiocese has grown from less than 100 parishes under one bishop to almost 300 led by 8 bishops and a Metropolitan. We have established successful missions all over the country. We have achieved self-rule and govern our own internal affairs. Our bishops speak clearly on matters of sexual morality. Clergy who fall into immorality are suspended or laicized depending on the circumstances. Our liturgical life has improved significantly under Metropolitan Philip. We still publish the best English liturgical books as the Liturgikon and Holy Week Books show. We have an excellent summer camping program with camps in every area of the country.

                      Archpriest John W. Morris

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                    • The things you have to say to qualify for your paltry pension.

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                    • Fr Morris, the things you have to say to have a chance to collect a modest pension.

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                    • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says:

                      Not that this will cause any lull in the hysteria here, but I rather assumed that the failure to retain title had to do with his request for another episcopal assignment. Met Theodosis and Met Herman retired from active duty. If Met. Jonah is, in due season, to be considered for another Cathedra, then not having two active Beatitudes makes sense, since, almost without exception, Beatitude is a title for the first hierarch of an autocephalous church. I took it as a sign that further Episcopal ministry for Met Jonah is a possibility.

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                    • And if that is the case Fr. Yousuf, His Beatitude will be once again that suffering servant but hopefully in a diocese where his strengths will be fostered and his weaknesses compensated by those around him who are also willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.

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                    • Geo Michalopulos says:

                      One can only hope Fr Yousuf.

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Regarding Canon 34, Nikos said “In this case, the plot was hatched without the knowledge of the Primate. That makes it uncanonical, dear Carl.”

                      This is the most twisted, perverted and idiotic interpretation of Canon 34 that I have ever seen. You may be a good spy or a good spy master, but you are no thinker, analyst, or a person whose opinions should be taken seriously. Amazing.

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                    • Carry on, Carl. But watch out for that iceberg dead ahead. Your good ship OCA is about to hit it. How about that wonderful band of brothers banning Jonah from stepping foot in St Nicholas Cathedral. Like to spin that one or just another non-answer answer from you today? I am feeln for ya brother. This must getting be to be a real life game of Twister for ya.

                      And so it has come down to this, if you can’t rebut you attack the poster. Thanks, bro. I will be praying for you tonight. I will sleep well, I hope you do too.

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                    • Carl Kraeff says:

                      Nikos–I did not say that you were an idiot or a pervert or a twisted person. I used adjectives to describe your argument. But, if the shoe fits, be my guest.

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                    • Ronda Wintheiser says:

                      Is there an address for His Beatitude?

                      And… Is there anything to be said for this band of unholy brothers to hear from we “little people”?

                      I mean directly. Individually. Since they are so fond of resignation letters, what if they were to receive piles and piles of them?

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                    • Ronda, for some reason Metropolitan Jonah’s mailing address is no longer on the OCA website. His DC address was listed as the same as the cathedral’s:

                      3500 Massachusetts Avenue NW
                      Washington DC, 20007.

                      However, since apparently Met. Jonah has been barred from the parish now, he may not get whatever you send him there.

                      I know Met. Jonah lives very close to the cathedral, but I don’t know what house. If someone around here knows which house is his and the address, maybe they can tell you.

                      Met. Jonah also has a personal email address on Gmail. I don’t want to post it in public, but George might be able to send it to you privately.

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                    • 3523 Edmunds NW
                      Washington DC 20007

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                    • Just Guessing says:

                      Hopefully they were stupid enough to put everything in writing via emails. If so, the emails will come out eventually. Surely at least one of them has a conscience and will forward them to someone, etc (we all know the drill by now). So, be patient and stay tuned. God will be taking this situation over out of the devil’s hands any moment now.

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                    • Harry Coin says:

                      Your Grace, by ‘the first among them is there by the consent of the others’, I was meaning the synod did not consent to various (Theodosius, Herman, Jonah) in turn and in due course over the years and so others took over. I do not hold any of them as ‘my hero’ only because really I don’t know them well enough, to include the present most senior of them as locum tenens. As I understand it the present situation is plainly one of temporary caretaker nature (featuring locum tenens in commemorations if I read the press releases properly). So I suppose the statute of the OCA will be read and the process of a new leadership search begun.

                      Spyridon was ‘removed’ by a very similar process (canonical? It appears if hierarchy does it, it’s canonical, if they neglect to do it, it’s canonical, and if they do otherwise it’s economic. A bishop goes to a canonist to ask for an opinion, the canonist asks the bishop how he would like the outcome to be (owing to the canon giving such leeway) and from there forward. I think they got it from my grandmother who was quite succinct and needed no pedalion, she simply said ‘because I said so’ and it amounts to the same thing. If a priest does it then he’s in limbo and out, the question of whether it’s canonical never gets aired. So, really, canons, they appear to mostly give the fellow leading the pack in Turkey organizational rights to those on asteroids, future lunar and martian colonies, and whatever else wasn’t thought of when the world ended about ten miles west of Europe’s coastline, to include my son’s cat, your socks, and cash.) Mostly what the canons do is make sure that when a bishop gets tossed he gets paid forever. If a non bishop gets tossed, wife, kids, pshaw, he had it comin and knew the rules. Feelin’ the love.

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                    • Bishop Nikolai (Soraich), Harry, never got a dime from the OCA after he left Alaska…no, not even after it was learned that he was suffering seriously from cancer. Various parishes in the OCA, particularly in the West, on their own without ANY hierarchical encouragement or direction. took up collections for him in the past few years. . Not only did the “brother hierarchs” of the OCA Holy Synod not provide him anything at all, when it appeared that ROCOR might give him a parish as a benefice, they pulled out all the stops, going so far as to send Archpriest Kishkovsky to Washington to unload on Father Victor Potapov the entire Wheeler/Stokoe/Benjamin “case’ against him, but also invited Father Seraphim Gan of Long Island, son of the famous Father Rostislav Gan, to visit the OCA’s PERSONNEL files in order to be shown everything extant against Bishop Nikolai with no possibility for Bishop Nikolai to even comment. Not only did they not extend even the help of a dog to lick his sores, they saw to it that no dog would be permitted, nor any human being, to extend a Christian helping hand to him. Bishop Nikolai continues to serve from time to time at the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles (he will do so this Wednesday and Thursday for the Feast of SS Peter and Paul) , but the OCA Bishops won’t release him to ROCOR!!! They don’t even allow him (if it were i, they’d have to call the cops to prevent me from attending services there) to pray in St. Paul Church, the temple he caused to be built by the parish he caused to be formed and grow. It is just the lowest, purely trailer-trash sort of pure American meanness, practiced by mean little trailer-trash men.

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                    • Daniel E. Fall says:

                      Obviously, this is not the perspective the others would give for their reasons, but I have experienced plenty of human pettiness in my working life, so I’m not disagreeing with you. What would they say? Especially about attending services? I’m guessing they wouldn’t say we are little trailer trash men.

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                    • Diogenes says:

                      BT

                      In your opinion! You know that you are the one who gave him everything after he was rejected by his own. Why was he rejected? You made him your head guy in Las Vegas and pushed him into Alaska. Why? All the clergy banded together to throw him out of Alaska. Why? It’s a shame he has cancer and it is great you are helping him, however, he did fail miserably as a bishop; like someone else we know. He can apply for disability and SS. Besides, how does he maintain his palatial estate in Las Vegas?

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                    • Diogenes,

                      For your and everyone else’s information, Bishop Nikolai who was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago, by the Grace of God, and to the astonishment of his doctors is not only free of cancer, but his doctor’s have pronounced that HE IS CURED!

                      “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear”

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                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:

                      Hiya, Diogenes!!!

                      You know what? I never ever made Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) or Father Nicholas (Soraich) my head guy in Las Vegas. Father Nicholas Soraich was the priest who founded the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Las Vegas. He disagreed with those members of his parish who insisted the word “Serbian’ had to be in every document naming the parish. Father Nicholas Soraich asked me if i would receive him and a group of parishioners who wished to start an English-language Orthodox mission in Las Vegas. I agreed, but at that time the Serbian bishop would not release anyone to the OCA, so Father Nicholas was received by Greek Orthodox Bishop Anthony, of blessed memory, who assigned him to be the pastor of the Greek Orthodox parish in Las Vegas, and Bishop Anthony told him that if he did well and still wanted to go to me after a year, he would release him to the OCA. (By the way, Father Nicholas had outside, full-time employment then and throughout his incumbency as a priest in Las Vegas: while with the Serbs, with the Greeks, and with us.) After one year’s service, although Bishop Anthony now offered him a $40,000 annual salary (this was the eighties) and a new car if he’d stay at his parish which was not flourishing and where Father Nicholas was MUCH loved. (Also some prosperous Serb families attended the Greek Church when Father Nicholas was appointed there. But Father Nicholas remained steadfast in his determination to serve in the OCA and build up his English mission. I received him. The mission prospered and grew by leaps and bounds. Finally, after worshiping here and there, mainly in a semi-rural funeral home, the parish built a huge, beautiful, Mediterranean style white Church and it was consecrated by Metropolitan Theodosius and I with the participation of Greek Bishop Athanasios.

                      You, Diogenes, forgive me, but rather stupidly, say I “put him in Alaska!” No, he became my Chancellor. he did such an outstanding job that the Diocesan Council petitioned that he be appointed as my Vicar Bishop. Archbishop Kyrill and Archbishop Peter and “the usual suspects” objected, since there were hierarchs senior to me who did not have vicars. (Go figure: the Diocese of the West could afford a vicar: they couldn’t risk losing any of their own compensation on a vicar.) Eventually, however, God disposed. They HAD to have a Bishop in Alaska after the moral turpitude of the incumbent became public news. So Metropolltan Theodosius asked the Holy Synod to approve Father Nicholas Soraich to be his vicar.

                      Yes, he bought a house (while also supporting his parish financially) while he was the head of the child support recovery division of the District Attorney’s office, with about a hundred employees under his supervision, and it’s a nice suburban house in a not-so-splendid area of lower middle class housing.
                      ‘Palatial estate/” My, oh my, what the green-eyed demon imagines! In Alaska, Bishop Nikolai overturned the status quo, no doubt about it. Sacred cows were demolished. Tuition at the seminary was abolished. He took Father Benjamin away from me and assigned him in Anchorage.

                      Bishop Nikolai was never, ever “rejected by his own.’ On the contrary, one of the most beautiful things to happen after the OCA’s power elite got rid of him, was his service, while undergoing cancer therapy, in Serbia, especially Herzegovina his family’s country of origin. I’ve viewed albums and albums of photos of his episcopal and concelebrated serving all over the country.

                      Diogenes, many of the faithful and clergy in Alaska were lied to by the old entrenched nose-out-of-joint powers that had been, especially after his sudden and uncanonical removal from the territory of his see.

                      He was and is a superbly functioning Orthodox Bishop—-a model, even. If Metropolitan Jonah had appointed him Chancellor, Metropolitan Jonah would stlll be First Hierarch and the prestige and good estate of the OCA would be marvellous to behold.

                      Diogenes,it’s a three bedroom three bath house. The current Rector of the Los Angeles Cathedral, Archpriest John Strickland occupied until last week, a FIVE Bedroom house in Riverside County, bought and paid for by his Housing Allowance. Palatial Estate! You, in fact, know nothing, Diogenes, and you have a mean disposition and a mean mouth. Get a life! Get a life with our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ!

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                    • Bravo Bishop Tikhon, bravo! Well said!

                      What a wonderful endorsement of Bishop Nikolai - “He was and is a superbly functioning Orthodox Bishop—-a model, even. If Metropolitan Jonah had appointed him Chancellor, Metropolitan Jonah would still be First Hierarch and the prestige and good estate of the OCA would be marvelous to behold.”

                      If the ROCOR are successful in receiving him then I am sure he will do much good for them!

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Thank you Your Grace for showing Diogenes and his ilk about what an “American” church should operate like. The trouble is when we think of American we think of fair play, decency, WASP country-club bonhomie. American can also mean trailer park unfortunately.

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                • Carl Kraeff says:

                  I affirm my long held belief that the main problem was not substantive (disagreements over issues) but procedural (how does the Primate discharge his duties and responsibilities). Indeed, I suspected for a long time that the emphasis on substantive issues was a smokescreen to cover up the procedural issues. I have a feeling that I was not entirely correct: it could be that the substantive issues were emphasized not only as a smokescreen but out of genuine worry that the OCA was going in a wrong direction. Bottom line: I think we should take Metropolitan Jonah at his words (at the last AAC, as well as in his resignation letter). For those of you who worry that the OCA will go the way of the Episcopal Church, now you have a clear shot at making your arguments, without the distraction provided by Metropolitan Jonah. You will find that I will stand with you in arguing the point but I will not be on your side when you descend into personal slurs and attacks, particularly against Church leaders. If you have an issue with any priest or bishop, please do the right thing and bring canonical charges against him.

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      • Ronda Wintheiser says:

        It was on Wikipedia last night. The statement was that he resigned his see on July 6th.

        Does that make Wikipedia more or less credible? :)

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    • Rod,
      I love that official portrait of the Synod!

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  3. Diogenes says:

    These thing don’t happen because of nothing. There has to be serious issues behind this. Possibly, we’ll never know all the facts, but for sure, the OCA Synod had to have good reason. Not the “old guard” persecuting him nor old enemies, but his own “brothers” realized that there were serious issues.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Trouble with that Diogenes is that given the track record of Syossett and certain bishops in the past, it’s very hard to believe your scenario. If they have something concrete then they should just say what it is and be done with it.

      Think about it people: when Nixon was forced to resign, the Watergate scandal was 2 years old. People knew the facts, a special prosecutor was chosen, etc. The country had been anguished all during this time. Things were pretty much in the open, very little was hidden. If you’re going to overthrow a leader, you owe the country that much at least. Nixon’s enemies at least had that much decency.

      Not us –the “body” of Christ. We throw the Church into turmoil without so much as a bill of particulars.

      Now that we’re on this road, let’s think about this. Why won’t Jonah’s antagonists tell us exactly what he did wrong? I can think of two answers:

      1. He didn’t do anything wrong, or

      2. If they do tell us it might lead to further revelations about them.

      I mean, in the interests of Transparancy and Accountability.

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    • C Matley says:

      Oh, I’m sure the Synod has their reasons.

      But I’m also quite sure they have seriously miscalculated what happens after they oust Metropolitan Jonah. (And that’s because they live in a bubble and could care less what people think.) The toll, not only on the morale of the communicants of the OCA, but also the clergy, will be incalculable, so don’t misinterpret the whimper-to-come for apathy. Anyone who has any experience in failed organizations can see that this is all part of the death throes of a dying church. It’s the mystery of “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart…” In certain ways (though not at the price of one man’s life), I’m glad to see this day come. Because it’s means we’re this much closer to the end of what has become this farce of the past five years.

      And to the next man who wears the white hat, a word of advice: “If they did it with you, they’ll do it to you.”

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      • Yes indeed.

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      • Carl Kraeff says:

        Wrong! This is symptomatic of a Church that is freeing itself from the shackles of secrecy and monarchical episcopal governance. Far from dying, our OCA is the future of Orthodoxy. Now, if you like things swept under the rug, folks punished for pointing out wrongs, and an ostrich mentality, please associate with such a jurisdiction and let us get on with the building and expanding the Body of Christ.

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        • Oh, poor Carl. You really have been taken in totally. There was nothing open and transparent in the take down of Jonah. It was done in total secrecy, behind his back. This is not a step forward for the OCA, it is another stumbling block for Orthodoxy in the USA. The Greeks are already calling this action uncanonical, which it is. I really do feel sorry for you when you finally wake up.

          But I will be here to help you get over it.

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          • Geo Michalopuls says:

            Carl, this was as open and honest as a lynching. On at least two occasions the synod met in secret. Major canonical no-no.

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        • Mark from the DOS says:

          Reading the newest statement on oca.org, there is nothing in there that seems open or transparent. This is Byzantine manuevering writ large. Lord have mercy!

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        • Geo Michalopuls says:

          Carl, I appreciate your integrity and honesty but you must be aware that this coup was done behind Jonah’s back. On at least two occasions the synod met behind his back. This is illegitimate and uncanonical. It was as legal as a lynching.

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  4. George, I think we may have to accept the fact that Orthodoxy Christianity as it exists in America is ungovernable. For all this triumphal talk of the true conciliar church, our leaders are unable to present a public witness to the faith and unable to gather in council to govern the Church. Today, its a mish-mash of highly overpaid hierarchs and bureaucrats all feeding at the trough of the donations of the faithful. Its a welfare program. Today’s Orthodox leaders have little accountability to local clergy or the faithful. Meanwhile our parishes have no uniform tradition of governance and often lapse into factions that cripple any pastor from being successful in his work. Its a sad state of affairs that any clergymen who is too successful in growing the Church can be reprimanded or reassigned for succeeding in his minsitry.

    If we want to change this then we are going to have to literally defund the American Orthodox bureaucracy in America. We must financially cripple the Church and prune it so that it may grow. I know this sounds horrible but we cannot endure 10, 20 or 30 years of more of the same.

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    • Andrew, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Eighteen years ago (during Ligonier) I was in my mid-30s. Thanks to the Phanar we lost a little over half a generation. But in reality we lost a generation given the fact that the new “metropolitans” (who are underwhelming) have another 20 years or more. But with Jonah at least America had a fighting chance that the Phanar would have to loosen the apron strings somehow. Now, thanks to this coup, we can definately look forward to 20 years of “more of the same.” Ennui, lethargy, inertia, and stagnation.

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      • Diogenes says:

        George:
        Your analysis is just wrong. + Bart has kept the Orthodox in America from uniting as you saw in Ligonier. He has been the main obstacle to real unity. Met. Jonah was elected because he wasn’t tainted by the past issues in the OCA. He had no real parish exp. nor experience in any episcopal position. If + Jonah did nothing, he could have been a hero. His own actions and agendas have caused his problems. The OCA isn’t doomed; in fact, without + Jonah, it can flourish into a real American Church. Not some imitation of a Russian Church, but an organic, growing Orthodox Church in America.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          Diogenes, thank you for continuing to show us what tactlessness looks like. Like La Drezhlo, you provide a barometer of bad taste and ill will. Gracelessness of this ilk make it very easy for me to check my opinions before I post them. Kind of like, “well if ‘X’ thinks ‘Y’ is bad, then ‘Y’ must be the cat’s pajamas.”

          As for your assessment that a “real” American Church can now “flourish” without Jonah, I’d like to ask you to please look around and ask me which “real” American Churches are flourishing? I can give you one answer: Mormonism. Any others? ECUSA? PCUSA? Methodism?

          Or perhaps you think that the OCA was well on its way to flourishing under the uninspired leadership that has blessed us from 1970 to 2008?

          Instead, I will expose your intellectual bankruptcy by asking a simple question. Anybody could answer it but I especially want your take: can anybody give me an example of an Orthodox Church that is actually flourishing anywhere in the world?

          I don’t like to inquire into a man’s judgment but I have a sneaking suspicion that your idea of flourishing would entail the OCA not embracing the Church’s moral tradition. Am I wrong?

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          • Carl Kraeff says:

            Diocese of the South
            Antiochian Archdiocese

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            • Diocese of the South: ROCOR.

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            • Geo Michalopulos says:

              Carl, please take off the rose-colored glasses. Antioch reached its peak two years ago when they had their internal blood-letting at Palm Desert. As for the DOS, it is an open question whether it can flourish. With inspired leadership it can. Hence, don’t expect inspired leadership.

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              • Carl Kraeff says:

                You are wrong my friend. My priest and parish Council members give me hope. All of the other priests that I know in DOS give me hope and assurance. There are some very good and inspirational folks in this diocese indeed. What makes you think that we will thrive or fail just because one man, no matter how good, resigned as Primate of the OCA? I submit to you that, once the passions subside, you will also see things differently. I hold onto Apostle Paul’s advice:

                “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

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                • Carl writes, “What makes you think that we will thrive or fail just because one man, no matter how good, resigned as Primate of the OCA?”

                  Why? Because he didn’t simply resign, he was forced to resign, under uncanonical and possibly illegal circumstances. ALL the bishops of the OCA conspired against him. The Metropolitan Council could barely muster a perfuctory “Eis Polla” for him, while they lauded thieves and liars. The DOS won’t live long without Vladyka Dmitri, or someone of his strength and integrity, to protect it from this morally corrupt administration.

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                  • Carl Kraeff says:

                    OK, I will restate my question: “What makes you think that we will thrive or fail just because one man, no matter how good, was asked to resign as Primate of the OCA?”

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                    • Geo Michalopuls says:

                      Carl, replace the word “asked” with the word “forced” and you will get your answer.

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                  • Geo Michalopuls says:

                    Right you are Helga!

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                • Geo Michalopuls says:

                  Read my answer again Carl. “Inspired leadership” means a good, dynamic bishop. You can have he best priest and PC in the world, but if your bishop is a backstabber, your priest will not be long for your parish.

                  You want proof? I can’t tell you how many GOA priests have expressed distress over what the OCA did to Jonah. I ask why? Because many GOA priests are good men in charge of good facilities and are raring to preach the Gospel. Unfortunately, they’re all cowed by a corrupt episcopate which is always susceptible to bribery. Bottom line: they would have loved to have a primate like Jonah at the helm.

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                  • Carl Kraeff says:

                    George–What we have in the DOS is the Dimitri Team, now that those folks that +Jonah brought in are largely gone or sidelined (+Mark, Fr Fester, etc.). Don’t underestimate the strong bond between the Dimitri Team for they are the true legacy of our beloved and saintly archbishop. Indeed, Archbishop Dimitri would be the first to (gently) chide us for the anger and despondency that we are witnessing here.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                We are way past whatever you think happened at Palm Desert. The Antiochian Archdiocese is doing quite well and continues to grow. One would think that the problems that the OCA is going through would keep you too busy to criticize other Orthodox.

                Fr. John W. Morris

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                • Geo Michalopuls says:

                  Fr John, I meant no offense, but while the model of evangelism as practiced by Antioch is ideal, the fact remains that as long as your jurisdiction (like the GOA,) remains tethered to a foreign (and moribund) patriarchate, then it’s not possible to expect a massive breakout into the general American populace. I say this with all candor: even if all the jurisdictions joined together now and enjoyed a maximal autonomy under C’pole, Orthdoxy would merely creep along and not explode.

                  Why? Because our model was never papal but local.

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    If all Orthodox were united into an autocephalous American Church that uses nothing but English and never heard of baklava or any other foreign ethnic food, we still would not attract a massive group of converts suddenly come into our Church. Orthodoxy is counter cultural. Unlike the Megachurches that are growing we require a real commitment and are not into feel good religion. We do not think in easily defined Western rational patterns, but emphasize the mystery of God, something quite incomprehensible to most American Christians who want nice simple answers to complex questions. That is why there is an alarming growth of Calvinism among American Evangelicals and even continuing Anglicans. Calvin provides nice simple answers to almost every issue. His writings are completely logical, and quite heretical. Those Americans who are into mysticism are usually into a make it up yourself hedonistic kind of mysticism and not the kind of mysticism that we preach that is tied to asceticism, the Sacramental Life of the Church and a willingness to submit to the teaching authority of the Church.
                    I am quite happy being under Antioch. When people ask me exactly what Orthodoxy is, I ask them where Christians were first called Christians, and tell them about our founding by Sts. Peter and Paul which gives me an opening to tell them that we are the original Apostolic Church. Antioch has recognized our self-rule and does not usually become involved in the internal affairs of our Archdiocese.Except in a few parishes there is not much or even any emphasis in Arabism. In fact the recent study of Orthodoxy in America showed us to be the least ethnic of all Orthodox jurisdictions. I am quite sure that our Patriarch is the only Patriarch who comes here and serves in English. He told us that he was pleased that we use English and lectured the clergy that we are here to preach Christ and not Arabism. I am all for Orthodox unity in America, but still treasure my ties to Antioch.

                    Archpriest John W. Morris

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                • How’s the financial accountability coming along Fr. Morris?

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        • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

          Of Metropolitan Jonah, Diogenes writes, “His own actions and agendas have caused his problems.”

          Oh my!

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        • Diogenes says:
          July 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

          His own actions and agendas have caused his problems.

          +Jonah’s ‘agenda’ was his personal vision for the OCA (which, ironically, was why he was elected as Metropolitan at the ’08 AAC), and his ‘actions’ were what derived from that vision. So it was his vision that the Synod and Protopresbyterians were at war with, to the great harm, and possibly even demise, of the OCA.

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          • Diogenes says:

            PdnNJ,
            No; + Jonah was elected because he was a breath of fresh air not tied to the old OCA regime. He wasn’t elected to maneuver to go back under Moscow and bring the RSK team back into the OCA. + Jonah is a Russophile pushing the OCA in that direction. We aren’t going back to 1940.

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      • Carl Kraeff says:

        Perhaps if you look at that proverbial glass as half full, the prospects will not look as bad as you now think.

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        • I am sure that when the synod meets today by conference call and gives all of us their word, that Carl will find some nugget to focus his attention, “I mean, Judas did throw back the 30 pieces of silver, didn’t he?”

          There won’t be another diocesan assignment for +Jonah. But maybe we can guilt them into doing the right thing and not throw +Jonah and his family out on the street to beg.

          Or will they just look upon him, wag their heads and walk away with a collective Aha, Aha! What a disgusting mess the OCA has become. We are not worthy now of even pretending to be an autocephalous church.

          Sorry, must stop this and go pray. Forgive me.

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        • It matters not whether the glass is half full or half empty.

          What matters is that the Synod of trying to empty their Synodal bed pan down our throats.

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          • Geo Michalopuls says:

            Mark my words: this synod will never live down this stain. Not only have they hastened the end of the OCA, they will have to answer to the Lord for their actions. They are like Lady MacBeth, no matter how many times they wash their hands and cry “Out! Out! Damned spot!” they will forever be remembered as a modern Robber Synod.

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      • Thank you George. I do not believe any responsible Ortodox Christian can continue to financially support the many Orthodox welfare bureaucracies that are out there. If we pay attention there are many creative ways to support your local priest and parish without funding national bureaucracies. Its just takes focus.

        And for the Syosett gliterratti who are running this debacle in the OCA, they should be reminded that more than a few of Orthodoxy’s hierarchs who have been forced into exile and run out of town have been vindicated by history and are today revered as great Church leaders. St. John Chrysostom comes to mind on this one.

        So be careful Syosett, your revolution might appear successful today but it may also just contain the seeds for its own undoing.

        In the meantime anyone remember that infamous Jeremiah Smith Interrogation Scene from the x-files. Syossett does have a little of the Smoking Man in them for sure

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L967AdhAX6I

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    • How do we “starve the beast” without also crippling our local parishes and our priests who depend on our tithes?

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      • This is a bit trickier in the DOS since there’s a tithe rather than a head tax. I suggest making your parish tithe in the form of material goods as much as possible.

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        • I suggest paying your priest in cash or putting money in an escrow account to pay his utilities, gasoline, and housing.

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    • Matthew says:

      Andrew, bingo. Starve them financially. It’s the only way. The sooner the better. If not, well, as you say, it’s 10, 20, 30 more years of the same.

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      • Ronda Wintheiser says:

        I’m sorry, but I have another question.

        Can I ask my priest to remove my name from the list of members in our (OCA) parish but still attend and do everything I’m already doing as a member? So that the parish will not have to count me in paying assessments?

        We are a very small mission parish, floundering, perhaps even foundering financially. My next step would be to take Seraphimist’ suggestion to our parish council.

        Is that how this works? I am on our parish council.

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        • I don’t know if that’s possible, Ronda. I would start by asking the priest if he can withhold my individual share of the assessment, saying it is for reasons of conscience.

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    • Carl Kraeff says:

      Wrong! The Holy Synod today is more conciliar than ever. We do not have the heavy hand of a dictatorial Metropolitan nor the manipulating hand of a Chancellor. What we have is a group of bishops who have succeeded in making difficult decisions together.

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      • Carl,

        As a non-Orthodox person, I find your personal religion puzzling. I mean this sincerely; I’m not trying to be snarky.

        It is very clear that your faith is grounded in the notion that a “Holy Synod” when it votes unanimously is guaranteed to be guided by the Holy Spirit and therefore cannot be wrong. This sounds very much like the Roman doctrine of Papal Infallibility, that the “Bishop of Rome” when acting in official capacity (from his chair or ex cathedra) cannot be wrong. Basically the argument is that a good God put this church in motion and placed these authorities over the church, and if we can’t trust these authorities then what can we trust and how can we make sense of this complex world we live in. Since the answer is “nothing” or “who knows”, the necessary conclusion is that a good God (if He exists) made the church’s authority infallible. The choice essentially boils down to this: Do I accept nihilism or do I accept the infallibility of this God-given authority?

        Traditional Protestants have a similar system, with infallibility attributed to the highest authority in Traditional Protestantism, namely “Holy Scripture”. Modern Protestants changed the formula somewhat to recognize “Reason” as the highest God-given authority, and therefore of necessity infallible. Post-modern Protestants came to view Reason as a construct that can be used as part of a cultural power structure to do harm to the weak and marginalized (a notion often associated with both secular and religious feminism), making it not of God in their perspective. Along with Charismatics, many of these (even though they give lip-service at times to Tradition, Scripture, and Reason, simply due to inertia), have put their trust in “Emotions” with infallibility attributed to the most dramatic emotions and personal experiences (hence the importance in the Gay rights movement of arguing that same-sex relationships involve the experience of falling madly in love and why many Charismatic and Liberal Protestant woman will tell you very openly and sincerely that they are justified in having sex with their boyfriends because both parties in the couple are “in love”). While it is easy to mock these theologies, it is possible to make a fairly sophisticated case for them. The principle that the simplest solution should be preferred is certainly in their favor: Few can argue that God gave humans emotions and reason. So if God is good, these ought to be trustworthy gifts. It is much harder to explain how or why and how we can be certain that God inspired “Holy Scripture, a Holy Synod, or a Holy Pontif”. The necessity of the infallible authorities in these older forms of Christianity is less universally self-evident.

        Deconstructionists take post-modernism to the extreme and critique not only Reason but all forms of Authority, since all power can be used unethically against those who do not have it (those who are weaker and more marginalized). In this case, trustworthy knowledge of God can only come from the most marginalized and powerless members of a society. It is a self-defeating philosophy, but if we ignore that for the moment, it does explain why it is important in some Protestant groups to not only accept “sexual minorities” but to actually put them in charge (abnormal sexual practices have caused society to marginalized them, thereby giving them prophetic authority — if they are abnormal enough and marginalized enough this prophetic authority is infallible).

        Your religion might be justified, but I’m puzzled by several issues. Among these two stand out:

        1. Why do you accept that the OCA bishops constitute an infallible Holy Synod? There are some who might characterize your faith as OCA fundamentalism, a very strong kind of faith in this particular synod, such that questioning the infallibility of this synod would be heretical. I’d like to know why this kind of faith in this synod is justified. If I have misconstrued your faith, please do correct me.

        2. Why does unanimity within the Synod guarantee or aid the work of the Holy Spirit? It seems as if you believe the Holy Synod really is only infallible when it votes unanimously on an issue. From what I have read, you view votes that are short of unanimous as resistance of the Holy Spirit in such a way that the source of that resistance really must be identified and exorcized for the Holy Spirit to work again. If this is true, then so be it. But it is not immediately apparent why this would be the case even if the OCA Synod is the God-ordained supreme authority for His Church within North America. As a practical matter this belief seems dangerous and dysfunctional to me, but I am open to correction.

        For what it is worth, it appears to me that Jonah and others may share these particular beliefs, and that contrary to what you have said, Jonah was not belligerent but submitted his own will to that of more stubborn parties within the synod in order to achieve the desired outcome of unanimity (an example of why I think the unanimity doctrine could be dangerous — it would tend to promote the views of the more stubborn and egotistical and reduce the influence of those who are more humble and meek). Either that or maybe Jonah was actually so broken by the unloving treatment, sinful behavior, and heretical views of other bishops that he finally lost his faith in the OCA synod himself. The only other possibility is that his mental and physical health were so affected by the attacks on him that he finally came to believe God had not called and equipped him for this role (as his letter suggests). The end result is that the synod does not seem more healthy or holy now, rather less so; but at the same time, you clearly have not been alone in accepting the two doctrines I question above. So I’m not trying to make you seem unintelligent or insincere. I’m just admittedly very skeptical of these two doctrines, and I look forward to your response.

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        • Brian McDonald says:

          UM,one of your two problems is a chimera since no one believes in an infallible OCA synod of bishops. Unanimity may be a SIGN of the Holy Spirit, but is no GUARANTEE. Numerous synods and councils have been firmly rejected by the Church, including several Arian councils of the 4th century and the notorious famous “Robber’s Synod” of 449, which tried to jam monophysitism down the throat of the Church.

          To put it in an overly simplistic way, what establishes the “infallibility” of a a church council’s decrees is the reception of those decrees by the Church at large. That is, a conciliar decision is infallible when, well, it turns out that it was! The larger body of the church over a course of time gave it its ‘”Amen!” This is a messy process but one that nevertheless has worked out throughout church history. The church recognizes only seven such councils though many others are given high honor and respect.

          So there is no automatic guarantee in advance that a synod or church council, unanimous or not, will be preserved from error. This is completely different than the dogma of papal infallibility, which DOES assert this automatic infallibility-in-advance if a pope speaks ex cathedra.

          The principle of no advanced guarantee of infallibility is even more true when we talk about small synods in local areas dealing with matters of polity or discipline and not doctrine. Many hierarchs deposed at such gatherings have later been acknowledged as saints by the church.

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          • The dogma of papal infallibility actually includes the same caveat: No dogma is infallible unless it is accepted by the church at large.

            As one RC priest pointed out to me: Because of this, there is no infallible list of infallible dogmas.

            So it is interesting that the Orthodox and Catholics share the view that infallibility is ultimately rooted in the authority of the church as a whole, not one bishop or any small group of bishops.

            Thanks very much for your reply!

            I’d still love to hear Carl’s personal perspective, if he happens to find this buried thread.

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            • Brian Jackson says:

              Hmm. Um, can you explain this further, as this is the first I’ve heard that papal infallibility is conditioned upon acceptance by the (RC) church at large? In fact, the dogma specifies that popes speaking infallibly declare what must be accepted by the whole (RC) church. I believe this is the quote from Vatican I:

              “We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.”

              Specifically (emphasis mine), “…therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.” I don’t see any caveats in that.

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              • Brian, you are correct. I was wrong.

                I’m not Catholic and have relied on secondary sources for my understanding of some Catholic dogmas. There are liberal Catholics who have tried to reinterpret the stance of Vatican I as you have quoted it above, but their views are clearly not as authoritative as Vatican I.

                Having said that, many Catholics would point out that the above definition limits papal infallibility to cases where the pope “defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church”. This has only happened a small number of times throughout history. Most popes have never taken such an action, and so it is accurate to say that the large majority of popes have never acted infallibly according to this definition. On all other matters, including matters of church governance, popes are not infallible.

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            • Carl Kraeff says:

              Good questions Um. I suppose that in my push-back against the papal idea that the Metropolitan is a super-bishop who rules over the others, I may have leaned a bit too far in the other direction.

              No, I do not think any bishop or collection of bishops are infallible. Indeed, I am solidly with the traditional Orthodox understanding in this regard (see Brian’s post above). I do however, give great weight to the provision in the OCA Statute that declares the Holy Synod to be the supreme canonical authority of the OCA.

              I hope and pray that the Holy Synod as a body is guided and aided by the Holy Spirit. I will also give them the benefit of the doubt until they proclaim heresy or do something that is plainly wrong. Incidentally, that is why I have been so insistent that folks back up their allegations. In this instance, I have reached the following conclusions:

              a. The Holy Synod has the power to ask any bishop, to include the Metropolitan, to retire (OCA Statute).

              b. The Holy Synod reached its decision not capriciously but had reasonable causes for action (as summarized by +Joanh on two separate occasions).

              c. The Holy Synod did not do so because of conspiracies or hidden agendas. I agree with Father John Cox’s excellent rebuttal of the conspiracy theories:

              “The announcement in recent days that Metropolitan Jonah, First Hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America, is resigning his post at the unanimous request of the Holy Synod has created quite a stir in the Orthodox blogosphere. Not for the first time. Among those expressing their indignation at the Holy Synod’s request there are some who see it as the fruit of a sinister movement within the OCA against traditional Orthodoxy. Though there are variations on the theme, the favored plots seem to take two forms which I will mention below. This post is an attempt to address the speculations of the conspiracy theorists for those who may be troubled by them.

              We would do well to remember two points at the outset which will form the foundation of our examination of the conspiracies below. First, a conspiracy by definition requires a group of people united. They must be united in secrecy. They must be united in their goals. They must be united in their methods. Several million American’s agreed with Lee Harvey Oswald that they would not like John F. Kennedy to be President of the United States. They did not agree with Oswald’s method of attaining that goal. In order for the conspiracy theorists claims to be compelling they have to offer a plausible goal which unites the supposed conspirators and also show that the persons in question are capable of being united in their methods. Second, the principle Occam’s Razor gives us a prudent rule by which to choose among competing truth claims. In essence the rule admonishes the would be discoverer of truth to select “from among competing hypotheses the one that makes the fewest assumptions thereby offering the simplest explanation of the effect.” (Occam’s Razor – Wikipedia) In other words, a conspiracy theory that relies on many unproven assumptions or ignores plausible simple explanations in favor of elaborate ones is not likely a description of reality. With all of that said, on to the theories themselves.

              1. The Lavender Revolution:
              According to some the “take-down” of Metropolitan Jonah by the Holy Synod is part of an effort by a well organized, determined, gay-affirming wing of the OCA to get rid of a traditional, monastic Bishop who stood in the way of their attempts to make the OCA as a whole more accepting of a homosexual lifestyle. Is this hypothesis likely? What would we have to believe about the members of the Holy Synod for this theory to be true? Let’s apply the two foundational tests we discussed above. First, is it likely that the members of the Holy Synod support or are willing to go along with a redefinition of traditional Christian morality? This would include Bishop Matthias of the midwest who removed Mark Stokoe from the Metropolitan Council because he allowed his website to be used as a platform for raising questions about traditional Christian sexual ethics. Is it he who supports this LGBTQIA agenda so strongly that he would lie (about the reasons for requesting the resignation) to be rid of a Metropolitan who stood in his way? What about Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey? He was the first bishop in the OCA to strongly reaffirm traditional Christian morality in the wake of New York State’s legalization of saxe-sex unions in 2011. Is it he who has now been persuaded not only to support the cause of homosexual activity but to do so with such fervor that he too is willing to lie to be rid of his Metropolitan?

              With the answers to these questions in mind we must apply the second proof test. Is the theory that the Holy Synod requested the resignation of the Metropolitan as a necessary part of the Lavender Revolution the most plausible explanation? This theory requires that we believe all of the bishops to be in support of or too weak to resist a change in traditional Christian morality. It also requires that we believe them to be willing to lie and put their flock under great stress to do so, thus being not only immoral but cruel. Lastly, and perhaps most remarkably, it requires that they have managed to keep their real agenda a secret despite the fact that confidential information seems to leak out of the OCA like water through a sieve.

              2. The Liberal/Cradle/Northeast Conspiracy:
              This theory asserts that Metropolitan Jonah was removed because he bucked too strongly against the entrenched power of the liberal, cradle-born, northeast brand of OCA Orthodoxy which has held sway, at least administratively, for a long time. This theory is a bit more complex due to the fact that there are crosscurrents and competing perspectives in the OCA as you would expect to find in any national organization. Not everyone in the OCA agrees on everything and there are people of almost every perspective who are very vocal in their advocacy for their own positions and/or in opposition to those they disagree with. But the fact that these competing perspectives exist in the OCA does not mean that the actions of the Holy Synod can be attributed to the influence or purposes of one particular interest group (the liberals). What would we need to believe in order for the this theory to be true? First, we would need to believe that each of the bishops is sympathetic to or unable to resist a morally liberal, reflexively ecumenist, anti-convert agenda. Second, it would require that each of them believed the Metropolitan to be hampering that agenda to such a degree that it was threatened and he needed to be removed. This assumes that the former Metropolitan was actually a serious threat to the supposedly entrenched ecumenist, old-guard liberalism of the OCA. While one might have been willing to believe this in the early days of Jonah’s tenure his activity and influence had been significantly mitigated by the Holy Synod in the months leading up to his resignation. If the other bishops wanted to protect liberal northeast OCA privilege they did so long before the resignation. Third, belief in this theory would require that the bishops were in such unanimity regarding these first two points that they agreed to deceive and manipulate in order to accomplish their goal. Does this seem the likely behavior of the kind and gentle Archbishop Tikhon of Eastern PA? What about Archibishop Nikon of New England? Is it often suggested of him that not only is he a liberal but a liberal of such conviction that he would be willing to lie and deceive to preserve liberal power?

              This brings is directly to the second test. Is the theory that Metropolitan Jonah was undone by liberal/cradle Orthodox/ecumenist/northeast conspiracy a more plausible explanation than the one put forward by the Holy Synod? The Metropolitan’s resignation letter itself refers to ongoing administrative troubles which is how the Holy Synod has characterized difficulties all along. This seems fairly straightforward even if the details are lacking. Is it more difficult to believe this explanation than to believe that the bishops are all dyed in the wool liberals lying in support of their goal of preserving old-guard administrative power and influence? Given the questions above the answer should be obvious.

              I do not expect that those who have devoted themselves to speculating on the resignation of the Metropolitan or to various conspiracy theories will be swayed by what I write. I am not writing for or to them. Nor am not writing to suggest that there are not issues or concerns in our little church that require our attention and prayer. I am writing solely for the faithful of our church who may be tempted to discouragement, confusion, or despair by some of the slanderous, unChristian, conspiracies one can find very easily on the internet. These conspiracy theories are not true. I have tried to show you logically how this is so. To you I echo the words of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2).”
              http://www.dormitionnorfolk.com//?s=conspiracy

              d. Finally, I am also deeply suspicious of the motivations of some of the Holy Synod’s greatest critics and +Jonah’s greatest boosters. This site abounds with them and I do not need to name them.

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              • OK, that actually makes sense: You trust the Holy Synod because it is despotic, not because it is infallible. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one none-the-less.

                This then translates my faith questions into governance questions. If I may summarize these simplistically: Must “canonical authority” be conflated with “authority” and must “supreme canonical authority” entail “all authority”? If so, why? And if not, why not?

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  5. Diogenes says:

    Psalms 109:8 says, ‘Let his days be few; and let another take his office.’

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    • A prophecy referring to Judas. I’m sure you didn’t mean to accuse +Jonah of being the son of perdition.

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      • Ronda Wintheiser says:

        That’s exactly what he meant.

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        • I know. Nevertheless, I think we know who among the Synod is holding the bag of 30 pieces of silver, and it’s not the resigning Primate who is begging on behalf of his elderly parents.

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      • Geo Michalopulos says:

        Ah, but I’m sure he did!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Here is a transcript of the relevant questions from the last AAC. Uppercase letters are used to reflect the speaker’s emphasis…

    Maureen Jury – St Seraphim’s Cathedral: “I don’t think it is a mistake that we are talking about the household of faith, and the family analogy. I certainly think that it is clear that His Beatitude has owned just about everything that he could own here in terms of some of the problems. But I think we also know that 3 years ago there were other problems. And taking taking this family analogy, you can’t just point to one person in the family and say ‘This is the scapegoat. This is the person who’s done… who has the problem, and when they fix it everything will be fine.’ So my question to the synod is: we’ve all heard that you think what His Beatitude is doing is a wonderful thing. My question is: what is it that you will be doing to fix this broken trust on both sides, to fix the problems which I think pre-dated His Beatitude, and also what do you think that we as the faithful can do to contribute to that? But I am really interested in what you folks are interested in doing there. Thank you.”

    Bishop Benjamin: “I think you would be incredibly surprised to find out the unity that there is on the synod and that the dysfunction that His Beatitude spoke of with regard to the previous synod really doesn’t exist between the members of the synod right now. The synod is remarkably united, walking in one step right now. I work within the synod. I work with these gentlemen. I’m at the meetings. YOU’RE NOT. I don’t know how you know our relations are dysfunctional. I don’t think they are. We have definitely had some situations where the Metropolitan is here and the rest of the synod is over there. But there is an incredible amount of oneness of mind and we are dedicated to working them through. And I would say that the relationship with the Metropolitan Council is one also that has transformed in the past three years as well. There is a much stronger unity between the Metropolitan Council and the synod of bishops. We have a lot to do. It’s very, very difficult. And we’re working those problems through. And there is some stuff that we just have to work through. But I assure you that the bishops are quite united on what we need to do and our ability to work them through. Sometimes some of us get ideas, that just aren’t going to work. And the other bishops have to tell the other ones that it’s just not going to work. That’s just how you work things out in a collegial way. So thank you.”

    Fr Chad Hatfield, St Vladimir’s Seminary: “I think all of us that are priests and pastors here know that in any kind of dysfunctional family, the therapy involves everyone in the family. I commend His Beatitude for being willing to undergo a psychological workup to assist in the dysfunction. My question is: is the rest of the family willing to do the same?” *applause*

    Bishop Matthias: “Once again I think that what His Grace, Bishop Benjamin, said is that you don’t know what is going on within the synod. And it is not that we are putting the blame on one person. We all play a part in that. And one of the things that is going to take place is that two other bishops will be going with His Beatitude for the help that we may all receive help from. We have to learn a lot about each other. We have to learn about ourselves. And as I said earlier before: we’re all broken; we all have our dysfunction; we all have our difficulties. But I think the whole family is working together, supporting one another and supporting His Beatitude. But, you know, the path has to be taken by all of us. And unfortunately, also as I said earlier, His Beatitude was put in this position. And it’s a difficult position. And he is the leader. He is the head of the synod. And to be first, you have to be last. And that applies to all of us. That is why I feel that he has expressed great courage in doing what he’s doing. And if there is no problem that exists that can be fixed then we have to look at ourselves as well. We are working together. We enjoy each others’ company. We tell jokes and we also fight. And that is the reality. But that is a good thing. And it is something that I feel the sense that we are growing together more and more. We’re spending more time with each other individually. And we’re getting to know one another individually. We are a young synod. Some of us know each other better than others. But we are working together as a family. And we all own whatever is taking place for the whole church.”

    Bishop Benjamin: “Let me just say one other thing. If I can use an analogy, when there is alcoholism in the family (let’s say that dad’s an alcoholic), the entire family is affected. And the solution to that familiy becoming whole requires everyone in that family working together; and in different ways, because everyone in the family is affected in a different manner. And I think that is very much the case here. Fr Chad, you were in Alaska. You experienced some of the dysfunction we had in that family. And it didn’t require everyone in Alaska going to get the same kind of therapy. But we’re still dealing with the fallout from that as a church. And we probably will, as families with alcohol or other kinds of substance abuse… I mean there is still the Alanon sort of recovery thing that has to go for the entire family. And I think in the synod it’s kind of analogous. But we definitely have a leadership issue in the synod. And it is a LEADERSHIP issue. And His Beatitude has taken the big step… of stepping out… to find out… if the difficulty lies with himself and if there is some help that is available. If not, we are going to have to take other steps as a synod to resolve them. But it is a kind of dysfunction that affects the whole synod. It not only affects us, brothers and sisters, it affects YOU. It affects YOU. It affects the dysfunction in your parishes. It affects the conversations in this hall. It flows up and down throughout the church. And we are committed to stand with the Metropolitan to do WHATEVER it is to resolve our issues. But they’re OUR issues. They’re not yours. They’re ours. And dad and the leadership of the family is going to do what it takes to take care of it. And then we hope to involve you in the restoration and wellness that all of us need to take as a church.”

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    • It’s funny, we “don’t know what’s going on” within the inner workings of the Synod. Therefore we’re just supposed to acquiesce to whatever they say without any accountability or transparency.

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      • Ronda Wintheiser says:

        George, who is set to replace Bishop Benjamin as locum tenens in Alaska? Is that known yet?

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        • Diogenes says:

          Just elevate Fr. Oleksa to the rank of bishop in Alaska. Married bishops are an Orthodox Tradition.

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          • Will you get off the married episcopate thing? It’s been close to 16 centuries since we have had a married bishop. The answer to the episcopal crisis is not married bishops, but having actual, formed, spiritually mature monastics.

            Oh, wait, that’s right. You support the faction that just forced out the one of those the Holy Spirit gave us to facilitate the healing that so many prayed for inside the OCA. Now, like that Gadarenes, you have looked him in the face and said “You just killed all our pigs! Please get away from here!”

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            • V.Rev. Andrei Alexiev says:

              The ONLY time the OCA liberals invoke the Canons is to call for married bishops AND to “prove” the validity of the Autocephaly.

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          • colette says:

            that fell out of practice . . .

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      • Exactly, George. Metropolitan Jonah is not and was not crazy, and the other bishops’ attempts to suggest otherwise are a slap in the face. If he had trouble working with the Synod, it wasn’t for lack of trying on his part. I notice they never admitted they made a mistake in accusing His Beatitude of being mentally ill, or even that the impasse might not all be Metropolitan Jonah’s fault.

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        • Carl Kraeff says:

          Wait! It was a regular participant of the Team Jonah here on this blog who said that he was suffering from some sort of mental disorder that could be controlled by medication. Y’all need to make up your minds!

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          • Jesse Cone says:

            That’s news to me.

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            • Carl Kraeff says:

              Jesse–It did happen. It was one of the anonymous posters who participated often and was critical of the Holy Synod and defended +Jonah. It did come as a surprise to me and when I followed up, the Team Jonah just about ate my lunch. And, this fellow kind of faded away. If you like, I will check the archives for you.

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              • It was Jacob who posted it. I did not think it right to publish something out of His Beatitude’s private medical records. On the other hand, the alleged diagnosis was nothing that could even be pretended to constitute a medical incapacitation.

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                • Hard to judge the nightmare of financial history, sex scandals and dysfunction in the OCA from Australia. What was clear was the Vladyka Jonah was a man of prayer, a monk who loved the monastic witness and was brave enough to found a Julian calendar monastery in the OCA. He was a man not ashamed of the Russian roots and heritage of the OCA and he built relations anew with ROCOR when it rejoined formally the Russian Church (MP) in 2007. What on earth has the OCA gained by losing him? Maybe the only true monk amongst the OCA hierarchy. A man who says lets have no military chaplains if they won’t let us teach and live the Church’s teaching that homosexuality is an abomination before God except in celibacy. I hope that Metropolitan Jonah is given shelter and a monastic home in the Russian Church where his Orthodox service and wisdom will be better appreciated.

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  7. Please, read this:
    (reposted form http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/ocacrisis.htm)

    The Crisis in the OCA

    But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block,
    and unto the Greeks foolishness.

    I Cor 1, 23

    Introduction

    The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has existed for over forty years. Sadly, born in crisis from an uncanonical grouping in North America, it has encountered immense difficulties in its brief life, going from crisis to crisis, both financial and moral. The latest study by Andrew Walsh of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, (link), is much misinformed about the role played by Parisian intellectuals in its foundation and also so harsh as to be uncharitable. However, it does focus minds on the question as to whether the OCA can survive at all.

    In this study the author asks: ‘Does or should anyone outside the group care what happens to a tiny, historically ethnic religious body like the Orthodox Church in America, or OCA, which has a paying membership of only about 30,000? Over the last two decades, the Church…has traversed a cataract of misfortunes of remarkable scope – plunging membership; attendant resource crises; financial, managerial, and sexual misconduct scandals among its senior hierarchs; and the sputtering of its animating vision of a new and unified American identity intended to supplant the divided realities of the nation’s small cluster of Orthodox Christian churches’. Given such a severe critique, is there any hope for the OCA?

    History

    Historically, the Church, in the world but not of it, has always suffered from various, this-worldly forces, coming from outside Her and oppressing Her. From the very outset, as we mentioned above, there were the Jews and the Greeks, who tried to pull the Church apart. These two tendencies, the first judaising tendency pulling towards the right side, the second philosophising tendency pulling to the left side, have repeated themselves throughout the course of history, taking on different names and forms, but always keeping the same spiritual essence.

    Thus, the same two forces, existing as philosophical currents, also disturbed the Church in the early centuries. The first was called Aristotelianism and later Scholasticism, the second was called Platonism, as represented by Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism and Origenism. Over time, the first current evolved into Monophysitism, moulded Islam, and later became Iconoclasm, the second evolved into Arianism, Nestorianism and moulded Western secularism. Outside the Church, the same currents also evolved into Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, Clericalism and Congregationalism, Authoritarianism and Populism. In modern terms, these two currents can be called Conservatism and Liberalism.

    The OCA

    Specifically within the small OCA, not much more in size than a single diocese, these currents have been brought into the Church from outside Her by secular Americanisation. This took place as She came to be dominated by a secular-minded ruling elite, originating first from Paris, then from the USA. This domination increased, as the members of this elite lost contact with the grassroots or rather, since they came from outside the Church, did not make contact with Her grassroots. Unfortunately, without any authentic monastic life, the small OCA was too spiritually weak to resist such secular pressures. Disincarnate intellectual fantasies and ideologies and ensuing personality cults, the bane of small, provincial groupings, were put above the catholicity of the Church by those who had never integrated Church life and remained unChurched.

    The first current in the OCA is a conservative one, which has gone in for fundamentalism and puritanical moralism. The second is a liberal one, which has gone in for the Americanisation of the Church, known in the Church as ethnicism or phyletism. The first current tends to be pro-Antiochian, since its Protestant-leaning bias, introduced from outside the Church, has tended to be conservative, Anglo and Republican. (However, with the events in Syria today and the US-supported insurgency there, Antiochians may yet veer away from this stance). The second current tends to be pro-Greek and, since poor Greek immigrants have tended to support the Democrats, it is pro-Democrat. Thus, the small OCA has fallen victim to secular currents from outside the Church and is being torn apart by them.

    The Church

    Whereas the small OCA grouping has been too small to resist secular pressures, the Church has always stood above and beyond such currents, from right and left. Crucified between two thieves, one on the left and one on the right, the Church is above all isms, liberalism and conservatism. The Church is the Tradition, Spiritually Incarnate, Incarnate Spiritually, resisting both the stumbling block and foolishness, witnessing to the Cross and the Resurrection.

    The Church as a whole does not know of clerical contempt for the people, for the grassroots. The Church does not lose Her roots in intellectual or ethnic ideologies or theories, which end in the ghetto and the sect. The Church is not a study, but life. As a Non-Orthodox Christian author, G. K. Chesterton, wrote in his ‘The Secret People’:

    Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget,
    For we are the people…, that never has spoken yet.

    Conclusion

    The OCA was set up as a temporary solution for an uncanonical Church grouping in a Cold War situation. Soviet-American relations of the time determined its status. Now that the Cold War is long over (despite the energetic attempts to revive it among conservative forces in the West), it may indeed be the time when the OCA will fragment into its component parts. What are these parts? First of all, a very small, clerically-dominated group may yet leave the Church entirely and set up a Renovationist sect. Other small parts, the conservative and liberal groups who came from outside the Church and have not integrated it, may well turn to the Antiochian and Greek Churches, just as similar groups have done in England in the last few years. Others may well return to their Mother Churches, Romanian, Bulgarian and Albanian.

    However, most of the OCA, its grassroots in Alaska, in Canada and in its heartlands in and around Pennsylvania, may well return to the Greater Church, that is, may well reintegrate the Russian Church. And this is the greatest hope for the OCA – a return to roots, a return to the Father’s House after the straying in a distant land over recent decades. In this way, there will cease the forced captivity to the political and sectarian prejudices of 20th century human ideologies of right and left, and there will begin again the free attachment to the Divine Theology of Eternal Love.

    Archpriest Andrew Phillips

    19 May / 1 June
    The Leavetaking of the Ascension

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    • A lot of good insights to be pondered there.
      My thanks to Fr. Andrew for writing it, and to JB for posting it.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      The Antiochian Archdiocese is not Protestant leaning. That kind of comment is uncalled for and unjustified. Our Archdiocese has led the way towards overcoming ethnocentrism and bringing Orthodoxy to Americans. Under Metropolitan Philip we have educated clergy and a group of good bishops who work together for the glory of God.

      Fr. John W. Morris

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      • Diogenes says:

        Fr. John,

        With all due respect, convert clergy in the Antiochian Arch. are second class citizens. Unless you are an Arab, you will never have a real voice with Met. Philip. He plays a good game, but don’t be hood-winked. Now with Syria & Lebanon in flames, more & more old country people & clergy will be coming to America. + Joseph is a shoe-in and for young clerics, they’d better learn their Arabic & Byzantine music.

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    • Father Andrew may be right – and I pray that he is that the OCA – or the bulk of it will return to its Russian roots – to the Church calendar, to the depth of spiritual integrity and tradition of the Mother Russian Church. The Russian Church is the hope of Orthodoxy everywhere. The liberalism, ecumenism and modernism of the Constantinople Patriarchate are not a recipe for the Church’s health.

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  8. Metropolitan Jonah’s letter is appalling. The Chancery announcement states it was composed and witnessed in the presence of the Chancellor.
    The word “prayers” appears in the letter once, in “asking for your prayers.” There is no indication whatsoever that the letter comes from anyone who believes in Christ and the Holy Trinity. It is addressed to ‘Brothers”: no attention to being concelebrants of the Lord, brothers IN CHRIST. In fact, the signer of that letter could be resigning as corresponding secretary of Alpha Phi Omega, or the local Kiwanis or Lodge, or from the management of your local real estate office.
    No request for forgiveness by anyone, no statement of forgiveness of the addressees or anyone else. And someone who purports to have a monastic formation is asking for financial support for himself and his family.
    Monomachos participants! NONE of you elected Metropolitan Jonah: ONLY the Holy Synod elected him.
    Let the Holy Synod now do what they or the people behind them want to do. Watch and wait.
    Perhaps Metropolitan Jonah finally realized that there was no canonical way whatsoever for the Holy Synod to meet without his presence, let alone remove him without canonical cause. So he just gave up, caved in, or whatever. Doesn’t Alaska want him? Did anyone ask Father Oleksa?
    Perhaps the next First Hierarch (or “Primate”) of the Holy Synod will be more religious..I wonder, do they say grace before meals when they meet now? I mean, so much has been IMPROVED since Protopresbyter Rodion was given the bum’s rush!

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    • Antonia says:

      We have neither indication nor proof that Met. Jonah himself wrote the letter text. I refuse to judge him so harshly. Not even if he is the author of the letter.

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    • Forgiveness is requested in the fourth paragraph.

      Regardless of what one may think of the metropolitan, he just got the shock of his life and felt compelled or was compelled to write this letter of resignation. Imagine this man’s anguish! His first thoughts were for his family whom he loves. Where is the charity in tearing his letter apart, implying he is a non-believer and a false monk because he broke the genre conventions of official primatial communications under the worst of circumstances?

      I imagine Fr. Kondratick will judge less harshly. My hope is that God will, too. If He doesn’t, then we’re ALL sunk.

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  9. Dont go to Rocor–join the Carpatho-Russians! the only “American” Church

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    • Ken Miller says:

      I agree with not going to ROCOR. Putting oneself under ungodly FSB control under the theory that they are holy bastion against modernism is delusional. The FSB is devoid of spirituality, and all of their interests are worldly.

      As for Jonah, even if he does not get a diocese, he can be very successful and possibly even more influential as a professor, speaker, and writer. He is already in high demand as a speaker. He is one of a very few Orthodox theologians today who truly has a patristic mind, and that is what the world needs, even if some in the OCA don’t appreciate it.

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      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

        Ken, your comment here about ROCOR is irresponsible, uncharitable, and offensive to those of us who have chosen to worship where the Gospel is preached and the Faith is upheld. That wasn’t and I’m sure still isn’t the case at your own cathedral, but I would be wrong to judge you for going there, just as you are wrong here for judging others for going to ROCOR.

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        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

          By the way, Fr. Denis Bradley is still regularly communing the woman on the right in this embrace and telling people at St. Nicholas Cathedral that her sex life is none of their business.

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          • Deacon Patrick, I am so sorry. I know how hard you tried to help them. I’m glad you are safe now.

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            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

              Thanks, Helga, but I can’t claim too much credit. I learned some lessons the hard way. Fr. Denis may be the most arrogant priest I’ve ever met, but I expect I’m the most arrogant deacon he’s every met.

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              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:
                July 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm

                Fr. Denis may be the most arrogant priest I’ve ever met, but I expect I’m the most arrogant deacon he’s every met.

                Yeah, but you’re right and he’s wrong.

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              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:
                July 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm

                Fr. Denis may be the most arrogant priest I’ve ever met, but I expect I’m the most arrogant deacon he’s every met.

                But you’re right and he’s wrong.

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          • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

            Fr. Denis is gone for 6 months, first to Nova Scotia and then to some monastery in Finland, fwiw.

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            • Lola, do you know anything about how Met. Jonah and his family are doing?

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            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

              Thank you, Lola. I understand that Fr. Denis just recently retired from Georgetown University. So who is now communing the woman in the embrace? And what about the other woman, the one I turned away? Do you still see either of them at St. Nicholas, and do they still commune?

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              • badly behaving priest says:

                To answer your question, Fr. Denis communes them still.

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                • Notice how Bradley slipped away for six months just before all the shooting started. If you don’t think he was also in the know about Jonah, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya!

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                • Anna Rowe says:

                  Seriously? Perhaps a weekly list should be posted as to who was communed and by whom. What a bunch of yentas.

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                  • When people are talking up their gay marriages online and in the coffee hour, we really do need to be asking who communed whom.

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                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                    If you truly understood what Holy Communion is then we truly do need to be asking who communed who and why? Dn Mitchell did the right thing and more priests and bishops need to do the same. Unfortunately they are not. Hence the heresy we are fighting in the Church.

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                    • Anna Rowe says:

                      Peter,
                      I DO understand what Holy Communion is and that is why a public forum is not the proper place for such questions.

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                    • colette says:

                      Anna, communion IS public and it is why we CAN talk about it publicly, especially in this particular case which was public by the persons involved and because it caused so much confusion in the Church and people left because of it and or have been mislead because of it. No I don’t think you do know what communion is, I think you’ve bought into the secular agenda taught from the pulpit every week (practically) at St. Nicholas and do not know the real teaching of the Church. There is much for you to read to learn it if you want. Start with Scripture. If you have the time read about penances both in Byzantium and Russia-even here in America. The procedure is clear, it’s just that we have not been practicing it for many, many years (although most do) and it now seems strange to you.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      In his book Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction, the Very Rev. Thomas Hopko writes:

                      The only reason to break relations with the person, and even to exclude him or her from church gatherings, is if he or she is openly propagating teachings and practices contrary to Orthodoxy and, as such, may do harm to others in the community, especially younger people.

                      This is exactly what was happening at St. Nicholas, and the only thing that has changed is that the women are a little less open in propagating their immorality at church. One still even proclaims it online.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Please, point out to me the penitential practice or Tradition of the Church that instructs anyone other than a confessor or bishop to exclude someone from gatherings, let alone the Eucharist? Here, let me start you out with the Scripture: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40), “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (14:33). You describe – ad nauseum – a situation in Metropolitan Jonah’s own cathedral. Did he instruct anyone to provide a link to the identity of these individuals on the internet? Did the Metropolitan condone the deacon’s unilateral, disobedient decision to exclude the person from the Eucharist? Are you actually suggesting Fr. Hopko would condone a unilateral, disobedient decision to exclude someone from the Eucharist? Were not people in the parish equally confused and scandalized by the deacon’s unilateral, disobedient decision to exclude someone from the Eucharist?

                      And now you would scold Anna for objecting to your insistence on celebrating willful disobedience and the rule of order? I believe if you consult a parallel thread here, you will find Fr. Martin, a monk who took his grievance of misconduct on the part of his abbot to the bishop, according to the rule of order. And finding no relief, again according to the rule of order, he left. God will judge the worthiness of grievance, but not question the wisdom of his obedience.

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                    • M. Stankovich,

                      I’m way out of my league, but I Corinthians 5:1-8 seems relevant.

                      Wasn’t Paul the “bishop with jurisdiction” in that case?

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Mr. Stankovich writes:

                      Please, point out to me the penitential practice or Tradition of the Church that instructs anyone other than a confessor or bishop to exclude someone from gatherings, let alone the Eucharist?

                      Michael, please point out to us the penitential practice or Tradition of the Church instructing that NO ONE other than a “confessor” or bishop may exclude someone from the Eucharist? Who says that?

                      From the very beginning, our Lord delegated the Holy Apostles to “lose and bind,” and the Apostles in turn delegated bishops and presbyters (1 Cor. 5 — the whole chapter). And when bishops or presbyters hand chalices to deacons, they delegate those deacons to guard it with the same vigilance.

                      Where is the rule that presbyters or deacons holding the chalice must bestow the Holy Gifts on anyone who dares to approach, regardless of their standing vis-a-vis the Church?

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Deacon Mitchell,

                      While I’m reasonably certain you are not asking me to actually “school” you, allow me to make my point.

                      It seems fundamental to me that one of the significant instructions to Job was that the Lord needs no defense, and the simple admonition of St. Chrysostom that he or she who partakes “unworthily” does so to their own condemnation has, for centuries, seemed sufficient. Certainly it is true that some priests state before the Eucharist that it is intended only for Orthodox Christians – and no, “anyone” should not approach – but I believe it is a practice intended to prevent misunderstanding, embarrassment, or misinterpretation as “ill-will.” This, then, brings us back to the original point.

                      The issue here is decency, order, and peace. No where do you find the Lord embarrassing or humiliating even a known sinner. In fact, the rich man who quite obviously left humiliated and embarrassed when he realized he could not sell his riches certainly could not “blame” Jesus, who St Mark recounts, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” (Mk. 10:21) You would make “exclusion” and “excommunication” to be dogmatic decisions, when in fact, they are pastoral decisions that rely on dogma. A priest, first and foremost, looks upon them and loves them, and only then makes a pastoral decision to “exclude” them in the interest of their salvation, not in “defense” of Him who needs no defense.

                      If you are asking my opinion – and I strongly suspect you are not – the rules of order, of decency, and peace left you many options, while the rule of obedience forbid you from the choice you made. The outcome speaks for itself.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Obedience to what, Michael? What canons, what instruction, what tradition, what scripture?

                      You can pretend if you like that the rule is to commune everybody so as not to hurt someone’s feelings, but you’re just pretending. We turn people away whenever we know they are not Orthodox, and these women were definitely not Orthodox, not by Fr. Hopko’s standard.

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                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Anna, that is why priests need to be diligent in their eucharistic practices. It avoids the appearance of scandal.

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                    • Anna Rowe says:

                      Collette,
                      You must know me very well to judge me in such a manner. I do apologize if you didn’t comprehend my post.

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                    • Judge smudge Anne, I can only respond to what you write.

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          • M. Stankovich says:

            Mr. Michalopulos,

            I appreciate you have many things on your mind today, but in that Deacon Mitchell has set a precedent for exhibiting “actual sinners” and revealing them by name, I thought it would be at least courteous to consult you before I strung up (or would “skewered” be more appropriate?) a few myself. Will there be an actual “rogue’s gallery” or did you intend more of a “public lynching” style? Need I catch the rascals “redhanded,” as it were, or is a “I’ve got a pretty good notion” sufficient? And if you are accepting sponsors, allow me the honor: the Deacon Mitchell “I fell into the trap I laid for others” (Ps. 35:8) honorary sideshow. Come one, come all.

            A true innovation, Mr. Michalopulos, and one I’m sure for which you will be fondly remembered.

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            • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says:

              M. Stankovich, Glad you’re continuing to stoke the flames while telling everyone to stay calm! Speaking of rogue’s gallery, how are you doing on trying to get the facts on the resignation scene from your friend the Chancellor? Or maybe you can help with ghost-writing the account in Chancellor’s Diary, since he’s probably busier than George today?

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              • V.Rev. Andrei Alexiev says:

                Hello,Hellooooo! They POSTED their same-sex marriage publicly.If they were honest and wanted to live as a married couple,they needed to find a church where that sort of thing is permitted.
                If I, a widower of six years,decide to marry a woman in a civil ceremony,I would by this action,remove myself from serving at the Holy Altar.I couldn’t change my mind afterwards,go back to a celibate life,and return to serving.I might be a”priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek”,but once I step over the line,I forfeit the right to serve.

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                • Thank you!
                  The Orthodox Church must be the Church.
                  No one forces you to become Orthodox.
                  No one forces priests to take vows.
                  No one forces me to agree. It doesn’t even matter what I think, feel, or do or how I stumble and fail.
                  But the Church at least, must remain itself, an example to all of its tradition and beliefs.
                  I can’t come to church and say, Change it so I can do my own thing.

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          • This is just unbelievably outrageous! How in the world do they think we can be so stupid as to believe that Metropolitan Jonah was removed for some vague “administrative” failure on his part while men like this are dared allowed to continue as priests? I can not believe that it’s come to this in the Orthodox Church. Sodomites and perverts of all sorts are permitted unrepentant access to the sacraments? Have they no fear of God? I find it hard to believe these men even believe the Faith they claim to profess.

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      • @Ken Miller:

        If you don’t think +Jonah has also been up to his eyeballs with the MP (and FSB), you are very naive.

        You might want to ask WHY Moscow so long though +Jonah was a worthwhile investment for them, and why they have ditched him now.

        Stop playing counterspy, you’re an amateur. The KGB may have controlled ROCOR totally but their hold on the OCA wasn’t much less at times, as KGB files have revealed as well as a few espionage cases, so cut out the “OCA good, ROCOR bad” nonsense. Real life ain’t that simple.

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        • ProPravoslavie says:

          As long as American Orthodox know nothing else but how to spit at their Mother Church they will not grow.

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          • Rod Dreher says:

            Fearless Leader says we must get Fazzer Moose and Subdeacon Squirrel!

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            • Rod “Muzhik” Dreher now explaining his knowledge of counterintelligence … good one!

              When you’ve failed Tradecraft 101 yet have the moxie …. oh wait, it’s Dreher – no normal standards apply since he’s, ahem, “special”.

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              • Geo Michalopulos says:

                Beck, maybe you can hold Diogenes’ when he turns out the lights for the last time at Syosset.

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      • Geo Michalopulos says:

        Ken, while I agree with your assessment about Jonah’s many talents, I am somewhat taken aback by your portrayal as ROCOR being under the thumb of the FSB. We must also ask if ROCOR is still upholding the Gospel. If the answer to both is “yes,” then does this not call for some introspection on our part? Specifically, why are the various agencies of our federal government so hell-bent on pushing an anti-Christian agenda throughout the world, up to and including allowing Christians to be slaughtered in their ancient homelands?

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  10. Isa Almisry says:

    http://www.facebook.com/events/255032637941815/?notif_t=plan_user_invited
    Let us pray for Metropolitan Jonah
    Public Event · By Hyperdox Herman

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  11. Diogenes says:

    I applaud the OCA Synod. They have acted as they should. Who said that a Metropolitan or any leader of a church is elected for life? In fact, I believe, the OCA statutes need to be revised that a Metropolitan is elected for a 4 year term to be re-elected or not every 4 years. If not, whoever from the Synod becomes Met., the former Met. can take their position; unless there be good reason for him to be released.

    As far as you “doomsayers” are concerned, the OCA is not doomed. Going under Moscow is destruction. The Antiochians are learning that being connected to Syria or Lebanon isn’t wise either. The Greeks are wallowing in their own destruction from overseas. The OCA will have another Met and the Truth will continue to be proclaimed. The strength of the OCA lies in it’s parishes and priests. Russian church, nope. We are an American Church with our own identity. Converts be aware; leave your baggage at your previous church. (Dreyer, et al)

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    • Geo Michalopulos says:

      Again, Diogenes, I continue to ask like your namesake did in ancient Athens: what exactly is an “American Church”?

      I could ask you if you see the complete incongruity of your next remark. You extoll the fact that we are “an American Church” yet you hate the very Americans who are in it. Or am I the only one who sees this?

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      • Diogenes says:

        George,

        Not true. The OCA is not a Russian church. We are not a Greek church. We are not an Arab church or anything else. You ask, “What is an American Church?” It is a church comprised of all Americans without proclivities toward any one ethnic domination, but a pan-Orthodox perspective where the Orthodox faith is dominant. Is that too hard to grasp? All of the Orthodox churches in America should be pan-Orthodox, but many still want their ethnic perspective. All must be administered to. Even in Byzantium, there were many different people from all over the Mediterranean world. The common language was Greek just as English is our common language. Look at the Patriarchs and bishops; they were of many nationalities, but they all gathered in common around the Orthodox faith. Ethnocentrism is a 19th century phenomenon developed as nationalism.

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    • colette says:

      I applaud the OCA Synod. They have acted as they should. Who said that a Metropolitan or any leader of a church is elected for life? In fact, I believe, the OCA statutes need to be revised that a Metropolitan is elected for a 4 year term to be re-elected or not every 4 years. If not, whoever from the Synod becomes Met., the former Met. can take their position; unless there be good reason for him to be released.

      And priests for only 2! Seriously, let’s just make up our traditions-just like our Protestant friends!

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      • Jim of Olym says:

        Then we could be just like the Methodists, who move their clergy around like chess pieces every few years!
        I remember a protestant preacher telling me that he had only 40 or so sermons, and didn’t like to preach twice to the same bunch of people!
        Whoopie!

        Yours for an expanded Sunday lectionary. Ought to keep the people interested after the Gadarene swine appear for the third time in a year….

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    • Just Guessing says:

      If the fruit of all this “truth” Diogenes is pushing is an ever-shrinking base, diminishing resources, and focusing on legal matters instead of the growth of the church, then yippee for the OCA. Keep on doing what you’re doing gentlemen, because it’s really working!

      I will say that if posted reactions on Facebook is any barometer of the acceptance by the clergy and laity of this forced resignation, the bishops would do well to keep their doors locked and stay inside for a while.

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    • Diogenes says:
      July 9, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Converts be aware; leave your baggage at your previous church.

      Is that your motto for mission outreach, Diogenes?
      Sounds like xenophobic cradle Orthodox baggage to me.

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  12. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    WHAT IS THIS! METROPOLITAN JONAH RESIGNS!

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-american-orthodox-church-leader-resigns-unexpectedly-20120709,0,6075497.story?track=rss

    Did you guys already hear about this? What!?

    Peter

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  13. Heracleides says:

    Yet another satirical image, dedicated this time to my pal Benny. Entitled “Boozer” it may be viewed here: http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff436/Heracleides/

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  14. StephenD says:

    I find it just repulsive that the Synod knows that Met.Jonah is taking care of his parents and sister and they want to deny him his paycheck? Are these men Christians?

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  15. Let’s be clear about all this. The OCA synod acted in a totally uncanonical manner in disposing of +Jonah. Every action they have taken is being watched carefully by Moscow and Constantinople. Both are giving the OCA enough rope to hand themselves.

    +Jonah is finished. By resigning as Primate, he also gave up his See of Washington. He is, in fact, another in a ever-growing list of retired OCA bishops.

    The only question now is if the synod will extend to him some fiscal life-line and show some mercy. His best bet is that he will receive a blessing from the synod, at some point, to be an Abbot of his monastery of Holy Trinity established and incorporated in DC. Other than that, he has been clean-cut off.

    As for the OCA, its recklessness is being documented and will serve to further isolate it in the USA and in world Orthodoxy. But, they got what they wanted and now Jillions will go down in history as the Judas to the Christ-like figure of +Jonah.

    “As a sheep led to the slaughter, so he opened not his mouth.” Isaiah.

    Stay strong, stick together. Christ has not abandoned his faithful people. God forgive me a sinner.

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    • anonymous says:

      That monastary is now closed; Jonah cannot go there.

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      • Not only is the monastery closed the good and beneficent members of the synod, are you ready for this

        HAVE BANNED JONAH FROM STEPPING FOOT IN ST. NICHOLAS CATHEDRAL IN DC

        Yep. Confirmed. Banned from entering his former Cathedral as if he is some sort of leper. One can only wonder which church they will let him attend? What a disgusting unchristian bunch. Anaxios, anaxios, anaxios to every one of them..

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        • anonymous says:

          I think you are being silly Nikos. It is very common for employers to not allow former employees who have been asked to leave to return to the workplace. It is called ‘risk management’. This situation is the same. Jonah is free to worship at any other church and for his sake, let’s hope he does so. To put some spin on it is silly.

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          • Anonymous, if that were the case, they would have barred him from setting foot in the Syosset chancery. (Maybe they did that, too?)

            St. Nicholas is not a “workplace” for Metropolitan Jonah, it’s the altar he is currently attached to, and where there is a community that loves and cares for him. (Surprise, people still love and care for Metropolitan Jonah!)

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            • Geo Michalopuls says:

              I wonder how long the cathedral in DC will remain open. Knowing what I know, I exp=ect a massive exodus from their to St John’s.

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              • That would be a great thing for St. John’s, although I’m sure it would be heartbreaking for those who built St. Nicholas to see it fall away.

                By the way, George, I posted to Ronda below about Met. Jonah’s mailing address no longer being on the website. I know his mailing address used to be the same as the cathedral, but since he has apparently been barred from setting foot there, is there another address where we could write to him?

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            • anonymous2 says:

              Helga, technically it IS a workplace from the employers point of view. All over the USA, people who are attached to their jobs, well liked, competent etc are asked to leave (for a variety of reasons, many of them not fair, and in a varitey of ways i.e. RIF’s, forced retirements, wrongful terminations etc.) and are not able to return. This IS reality….it is not pretty but it is reality. And it is not fair.

              Anonymous never said that Jonah was not liked–that is YOUR spin on things via negative assumption. Anonymous was only pointing out the fact that this is commonplace and falls under HR guidelines for ‘risk management’.

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              • Anonymous2, in the context of the church, it’s not a mere workplace, it’s the cathedral that he has served and loved. It smacks of pure pettiness to deprive him of their fellowship in his time of need.

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                • anonymous2 says:

                  His fellowship can still rally around him even if he cannot return to that church. Nobody can stop people from praying for him, sending him letters, taking up collections for him etc.

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              • So, from the perspective of the Synod, Orthodoxy is merely a “business”?

                Thanks. That’s good to know.

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                • anonymous2 says:

                  Not from the perspective of the Synod, but from the perspective of the rest of the world–churches are businesses even if they are places of worship. They are not immune to the law, to the IRS etc.

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                  • It is not “the rest of the world” that has forbidden an Orthodox Bishop to enter an Orthodox temple.

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          • The then Bishop Benjamin long ago told Bishop Nikolai he could visit St. Paul Church in Las Vegas once, but never again.
            If the Holy Synod, working together so closely as some now claim, as if that means anything (members of any Communist cell or parasynagogue “work well together”), if it has in fact forbidden Metropolitan Jonah access to prayers at St. Nicholas Cathedral, is not acting like any Orthodox entity whatsoever.
            EVEN a Jew, an atheistic pederast, a MUSLIM can attend services at St. Nicholas Church, but an Orthodox hierarch found guilty of no heresies or ecclesiastical crimes, and who has, in obedience to the Chancellor and the Synod signed a letter of resignation may NOT?
            I say such a ban is plainly Not Christian, and the act of men who appear to not believe in God or know what a Church is.

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            • Mark from the DOS says:

              A hierarch in obedience to a chancellor! Lord have mercy!!!!

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          • “Risk management” ?! [ LOL ]

            I suppose somebody might commit the mortal sin of asking his blessing.

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        • Nikos, the fact that Met. Jonah has been barred from St. Nicholas Cathedral is pretty awful. I think that should remove any doubt that the Synod is acting in good faith. They have to attach him to an altar somewhere. I also would hope the Synod would allow him to celebrate services in his own home.

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          • Arnoldus Magnus says:

            How do we know this is true, that HB was banned from his cathedral? I’m only asking to separate rumor from fact. It is sad but true that so many things that started out as rumor later turn out to be true…

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            • Please pray for all of us who have to paddle our way as well as we know how, relying on each other and on God’s guidance, through the rocks and rapids of the administrative responsibilities of church life. Pray for Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop Michael, Bishop Alexander, all the bishops, the Metropolitan Council, the OCA’s officers and staff. Most of the faithful people of the Orthodox Church in America will be oblivious to the changes now occurring. They simply want to go to church, say their prayers, lead a Christian life and bear their own burdens. But for those who do follow with interest the OCA’s developments, please make it more than gossip from the sidelines.

              Indeed, John Jillions we always pray for our leaders. So I guess now you are asking us to simply, “Move along. Nothing for you to see here.” We now are asked to bend over and ask for another one, sir. Please.”

              What the OCA has become, John Jillions and your part in the awful and disgraceful take down of HIS BEATITUDE, Metropolitan Jonah is a mark on your priesthood, a mark on your Christian soul and no about of putting lipstick on this pig will change the facts.

              You know, John Jillions that HIS BEATITUDE, resigned under duress, as well as his “admission” and taking all blame for everything bad in the OCA at the Seattle Council, also under duress.

              You know, John Jillions that a gun was pointed at HIS BEATITUDE’S head as surely as if a real revolver was there when you went to DC, standing over him in his office.

              You know, John Jillions that this was coming down, you and Tosi were a part of it and now, the question to be asked of you and your other co-conspiritors is

              WHAT DID YOU KNOW? AND, WHEN DID YOU KNOW IT?

              You know, John Jillions that you and the synod were conspiring behind HIS BEATITUDE’S back, having calls, back and forth emails, all the while keeping HIS BEATITUDE in the dark.

              How do you expect anyone, anymore, to trust anything that comes out of Syosset? You and the others have kicked a man to the side of the road, and now you expect us to just carry on and not question you? You asked for input from people on your Chancellor’s Diary well here is input, we don’t accept your under-handed ways any longer. We do not except the ill-treatment of another Metropolitan. We do not accept your feeble attempts to reassure us. You and the others have broken HIS BEATITUDE and broken our trust in you.

              You, John Jillions know that you were hired to do the deed you did last week.

              You know, John Jillions that you got the job Chancellor swearing in so many words that you would be loyal to the Metropolitan Council that hired you and the synod who confirmed you.

              You know, John Jillions that you worked from day one to undermine HIS BEATITUDE and to make his tenure as short as possible. Your loyalties are not the Church but to the band of cut-throats who gave you cover.

              At this point, the only honorable thing for you to do, for the sake of your soul and salvation is to resign as Chancellor. Go back to your teaching at a Uniate institution in Canada.

              As for me, the OCA died last week when the last man who had a vision for spreading the Gospel here in North America was kicked out. I no longer recognize you all as the legitimate heirs of the Russian Orthodox Church. You have broken trust with me for the last time. ANATHEMA. ANATHEMA. ANATHEMA.

              Please be assured of my continued prayers for all of you. Does that sound empty? No more empty than your words asking us to do the same. Enough is enough.

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              • Since when does one person get to declare another or others anathema?

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    • james sode says:

      Well, its obvious your not a cannonical scholar. The Holy Synod acted in complete accord with the cannons of the church. They simply asked Jonah to resign and he bowed to his wishes, like he should. There’s no need for all these hysterics who think the sky is falling just because Jonah resigned.

      The Synod acted for the good of the church and Metropolitan Jonah as well. Instead of crying about the changes why not support the Church (which really did exist before Jonah and will long after he’s gone) and the retired Metropolitan in his new life?

      The Church will do well and I’m sure Jonah will do so as well as long as he is given the care and support he needs.

      Whining and belly aching like little children does no one any good.

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      • James sode! You say, “They simply asked Jonah to resign and he bowed to their wishes, like (sic) he should.”
        James. Metropolitan Jonah’s letter was written and signed in the presence of the Chancellor on FRIDAY. When, James, had the Holy Synod met and asked Metropolitan Jonah to resign? By the way, your prejudice against Metropolitan Jonah is demonstrated by your referring to him as Jonah.
        In fact, the Holy Synod never “met”, but a telephone poll was conducted by someone on SATURDAY, which they now label “a meeting.”

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    • Diogenes says:

      Amos,

      + Jonah was clear in the past when he said publicly, “I don’t need this. I can just go back to my little monastery and be happy.” So be it!

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  16. Ashley Nevins says:

    The ash remains of Scott F. Nevins were received by his family today (7/9/12). The end result of 19 years of his life being spent with his family can be observed in his obituary. The end result of his being with the GOA for 7 years is obvious in the box received today. Scott did not drive into his family of origin driveway and commit this act. He drove into the driveway of the GOA and committed this act. That is the difference between his outcome with his Christian family and the GOA that claims to be Gods only alone right and one true church, salvation and Christianity.

    Ashley Nevins

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  17. Heracleides says:

    Another image, this one entitled “Move Along!” may be viewed here: http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff436/Heracleides/

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  18. Carl Kraeff says:

    “”I know that you have many sorrows and much…unpleasantness. But tell and enlighten yourself with the remembrance that in hell it is much worse, more wearying and doleful, and there is no hope of deliverance from it. If a person endures sorrows with submission to God’s will, confessing his sins, then he will through this be delivered from eternal torments. Therefore we had better endure unpleasantries here, no matter how difficult they are, turning our grief over to God and praying to Him with humility that He deliver us from faintheartedness and despair, which are the worst of all sins.” ~Elder Ambrose of Optina

    Hat’s tip to Matushka Elizabeth Perdomo

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    • I thought it was supposed to be “locum tenens of the Metropolitan See”, not “locum tenens of the Orthodox Church in America”.

      Oh, and look who’s movin’ on up, it’s Bishop Alexander Golitzin! Now he’s locum tenens of Washington! I’ll bet certain people in St. Nicholas Cathedral will be so very happy.

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      • Correct, Helga, or almost. A locum tenens in the Orthodox polity is a locum tenens of a SEE, or CATHEDRA.
        There is no SEE of the Orthodox Church in America and no CATHEDRA of the Orthodox Church in America. The Orthodox Church is diocesan in its essence. One cannot be a First Hierarch without a cathedra/throne or , a see.
        Helga, this just points out how disappointingly, even disgustingly, lacking in institutional memory are the functionaries in the administration of the OCA.
        Whoever decided the Metropolia had reached a stage of maturity where it could function as an autocephalous ORTHODOX Church is now shown to be greatly mistaken. A Hierarch with an MDiv and MTh from a prestigious (!) theological institution cannot compose even a letter of resignation which has any religious, let alone Orthodox Christian content, but who (in fact, a vaunted MONASTIC) makes no reference to God whatsoever, in any form or Incarnation…. A whole synod of hierarchs appoints someone a locum tenens of their LOCAL CHURCH!
        I can not imagine how this could happen.
        One knows of how much joy abounds in the hearts of an Orthodox clergyman, deacon, priest, or bishop, who is granted the great blessing of dying at Pascha! It is always proclaimed a sign of God’s great favor.
        Contrariwise, when one of the same undergoes the dread ‘Sudden Death” which all the Fathers and Teachers of the Church cite as the most dreaded ending to our life, and to prevent which one prays often, and especially to Saint Barbara. How appalling it was when Ever-Memorable Archbishop Job was found dead in a parked car in a motel parking lot! No Father or Teacher of the Church ever cited such a death as God-pleasing or a sign of any Divine favor. Now, it’s looking very much like a Church may undergo a Sudden Death, or at least the autocephaly of a Church may be found to have died before anyone noticed it!
        It is, I fear, a crisis of faith and of The Faith. Somehow, the Lord is not central in the polity of the OCA and its leadership, rather, Institutional Management has become the new Sacred Calf!! Everyone, including those of us in the OCA who post comments here are in danger of total obsession with that particular Sacred Calf.

        When Israel was wandering in the wilderness and their divinely appointed leader, Moses, left them to go up the mountain and be with God, Israel, too, abandoned God for their particular Sacred Calf, in a burst of anti-hierarchical “conciliarity.”
        Those that have ears to hear, let them hear!

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        • Your Grace, thank you for confirming my suspicion about the error in the commemoration. I would email them to correct it, but this is really small potatoes compared to the other errors they have made lately.

          Please don’t think too badly of Met. Jonah about the letter. It was written under duress; maybe leaving mentions of God out of the letter was his way of showing he was not himself.

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          • The letter was written under duress at the AAC and the same for the letter of resignation. Take it
            from one who knows.

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            • Madam, it’s good to see you again, although I am extremely sorry about the circumstances.

              If you would, please give him a hug for me.

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    • These appointments make sense. The most senior hierarch is always appointed Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See, as Archbishop Dmitri was after the retirement of Metropolitan Herman. Bishop Michael is closest is physical proximity to DC and Syosset. (You know all this, of course, but I point this out for the benefit of the other readers.)

      I can’t see publishing the metropolitan’s letter of resignation unedited and then acknowledging his requests in today’s posting unless there were a real desire to act on them.

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  19. Your Grace, thank you for your observations regarding the use of canons in the OCA.

    I didn’t ask because I expect the canons to be applied, of course. I asked to confirm my own suspicions, and I knew you would know more than I do.

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  20. Nathaniel & Michael run the OCA, the new guy takes DC. Jonah? His letter was written by a beaten and whipped man who has lost hope. He will be given the DOS or be permanently retired; likely retired.

    http://oca.org/news/headline-news/holy-synod-appoints-archbishop-nathaniel-locum-tenens-bishop-michael-tempor

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    • sub-deacon gregory varney says:

      A sad Day. Kishkovsky is triumphant. He got rid of the traditionalist for a kid from his own parish when he was growing up. Take a good look at this bishop. do not be fooled by all the college letters after his name. I met him over 40 years ago. All I have to say now is buy a bag of popcorn. get in your lazyboys because this is going to be a real show. my heart is heavy. its up to the people to put a stop to this show that never seems to end.

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  21. Ambrose says:

    Alaska needs a Bishop. How can we request Metropolitain Jonah to become the Bishop of Alaska.

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  22. Man–they wasted no time in moving +Jonah directly to the “Retired” section of the website!!!
    http://oca.org/holy-synod/retired

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    • The next to be shuffled off into retirement will be the OCA itself, by world Orthodoxy.
      And it will take SVOTS and STOTS with it.

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  23. Also Anonymous says:

    From what I’ve heard, Moscow did not know about this in advance and was not happy.

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  24. SO…does an All American Council happen in 90 days??? (not 2014)

    According to the statute, it appears the Synod first has to have a vote to declare a vacancy.
    From the OCA statute
    “When a vacancy has occurred in the office of Metropolitan, the bishop senior by rank and date of consecration shall convene the Holy Synod. After the formal vote declaring the vacancy, the Holy Synod will proceed with the election of a locum tenens. Within a period not exceeding three months (unless some unavoidable necessity forces a prolongment of this period), the locum tenens will convene an All-American Council at which a successor shall be elected. If not already a bishop, a candidate for the office of Metropolitan must fulfill the canonical, moral, and educational requirements stated in Article VI, Section 9. The election shall take place according to the following order:”

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    • Oops. Maybe we can have an AAC by conference call. Seems to work just fine for the synod.

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  25. Ivan Vasiliev says:

    So, how long will it take everyone to “get it”? The wonderful dream (and it was wonderful in its intentions and potential) of the OCA is fast evaporating. There is only one Orthodox Church on the planet large enough, strong enough, tested enough (in spite of all its failings) to help us pick up the pieces. And it sure isn’t a teeny tiny village in the midst of a Turkish sea.

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  26. Catherine says:

    What a wonderful day! Despite all of the detractors, the OCA finally got its act together. The Holy Synod acted with purpose and finally canned the former Metropolitan Jonah. Sorry, but I for one never drank the kool-aid that Jonah was the great saviour of the OCA. He is a nice enough person but his actions over the past few years have shown him to be completely inept at administration. He shot from the hip too many times and followed through with almost nothing. I was there in Pittsburgh when he was elected and to his credit he spoke quite eloquently. But that is not how to elect a metropolitan.

    What is the OCA Holy Synod today? Come on folks, look at the roster: Bishop Michael did a great job with St. Tikhon’s seminary. Is he the enemy? What about Bishop Melchizedek or Bishop Matthias? Are they the enemies? I don’t think so. They are intelligent, rational men who finally had enough of the shenanigans of the man in white. Let’s see, new Holy Synod, new Chancellor and new Metropolitan Council members. Where does the conspiracy theory end? They all had it in for Jonah? Come on, get real.

    And how about that resignation letter, huh? For the record, Jonah was the head of a small monastery in California. Would that same monastery be responsible for supporting Jonah’s parents and his sister? I don’t think so. The same could be said for every priest and bishop in the OCA. Perhaps it’s because Jonah cost the OCA so much money having to pay out settlements to the likes of Kondratick and Garklavs that he feels he should put his hand out. By the way folks, not to be a sourpuss but Jonah’s father had a real-estate business by Jonah’s own admission. You mean to say that his father made no provisions for retirement and now it’s the OCA’s responsibility? Just asking the hard questions. And what about his unemployed legal secretary sister (You remember her don’t you? She’s the one he tried to get a job in Syosset when he was first elected). Is she not capable of working? By the way, he brought her into this not me. I personally would have have left her out of the public.

    Jonah is clearly positioning himself to be the next bishop of Dallas. He wants to go where everyone knows him and loves him.And of course, since he was the bishop of Fr. Worth for what 10 days, everyone knows exactly what they would be getting with him. Unfortunately, I think that he has destroyed his relationship with the Holy Synod to such a point that being a diocesan bishop seems out of the question. Well if it comes to pass that he gets the chance to be bishop of Dallas and the South, you heard it here first, “We told you so.”

    The OCA is going to survive, and quite honestly it’s going to come out of this stronger. It has a number of great men who have assumed the role of bishop in the last few years. It has cleaned house of crooks like Kondratick and removed bishops like Swaiko and Nicholai. In fact, the financial position of the OCA hasn’t been this strong in years. Sorry to all you naysayers, the OCA is here to stay. The OCA Holy Synod acted with a bit of heavy hand this past week but they did the right thing.

    Glory to God for all things!

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    • M. Stankovich says:

      Wow. A voice crying in the wilderness, and with hope.

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      • So the OCA is a wilderness and hope comes from opposing Jonah?

        I fail to understand why the Metropolitan even needs sophisticated administrative skills with all the full time administrators in church headquarters.

        I’m suspicious of your joy for this very reason and fail to understand your hope.

        Yes, your comments seem profoundly disingenuous to me, unless you are office staff. Just to make my skepticism concrete for you, I’ll share a personal story: I know of a Catholic parish near my house with an inept administrator for a pastor. Good pastor, incompetent administrator. The only ones who care about his administrative short-comings are the office staff. There have been some comings and goings among office staff because of the struggles, but as long as the staff are competent enough to do their jobs, the parishioners are essentially none-the-wiser. Would it be ideal if the pastor was also a good administrator? Sure, but even the staff will tell you it is better for the parish to have a bad administrator than a bad pastor. And even the most aggrieved staff member would quit and find another job before trying to end or hinder the ministry of a good pastor. Maybe these Catholics are just healthier people than the anti-Jonah factions in the OCA. Maybe they are just stronger, more focused on what matters, and less egotistical. Or maybe you have an agenda that Jonah did not support. Or maybe you just need new staff members to get whatever it is you aren’t getting done now done in the future. Would also be really curious to know what those things are that Jonah didn’t get done because of his administrative short comings.

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    • Catherine, where exactly do you get off attacking the Paffhausen family? What business is it of yours if or why Metropolitan Jonah has to take care of his family? Like it or not, a lot of people and families are dealing with unemployment and caring for elderly parents. It is not strange or shameful for Metropolitan Jonah, who was gainfully employed until four days ago, to have been helping his family and need to continue to do so.

      You have no grounds to make these hurtful accusations, like saying Mr. and Mrs. Paffhausen didn’t save for retirement. I have known many retirees who have gotten into dire financial straits because of unexpected illness, or a sour investment, or just plain outliving their nest egg. I remember a man whose retirement was wiped out by Bernie Madoff, who therefore had to work a $10/hour job at the age of 90.

      As for his sister working in Syosset, I guess now we know they couldn’t allow her to work there unless she would have been willing to stab her own brother in the back – how very Christian!

      Catherine, the bottom line here is that none of the Paffhausens owe you any explanations about their situation, because it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

      I hope George leaves your post up, as hurtful as it is. It’s a museum-quality example of the galling hatred and hypocrisy that feeds the anti-Jonah hysteria.

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      • Daniel E. Fall says:

        Actually, Helga, I think Catherine’s post was mostly enlightening because she was sort of taking the other side all the way compared to the anti-Synod, anti-MC rhetoric from others.

        It was not a kind way to speak, for sure, but you are cherry picking. Plenty of others attacked the Synod and that was okay, for example.

        Helga, you are wrong at the end. That kind of speech does just the opposite of feeding any anti-Jonah hysteria. I have never been a fan of Jonah and while his resignation letter wasn’t superbly written, I wouldn’t expect a man kicked and down to be superb. The last thing his resignation letter needed was a technical review for Christian virtue. I found Catherine’s post to be in very poor taste.

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      • Catherine says:

        Helga,

        You absolutely correct!!! Jonah’s family is none of my business nor your business! Mentioning his family in a letter that would clearly go out to all the faithful was disgusting. His lack of follow-through with Archbishop Seraphim when he knew about the allegations at the time of his election was disgusting. His removal of Archpriest Garklavs without any consultation and authority was disgusting. His meddling into the Kondratick matter was disgusting. His insulting comments to the ecumenical patriarch were disgusting. His handling of the situation at the podvorie in Moscow was disgusting.

        You may not believe it but while I didn’t think he was the right candidate for metropolitan at his election I was truly willing to give it a shot like most everyone else. It is not personal that I and the holy synod of the OCA and its administration think he needed to go. However, he alone is the one who is making it personal.

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    • +Jonah was elected Primate within twelve days of being consecrated a Bishop. Then the very Bishops who elected him, who claimed that +Jonah’s election seemed “good to the Holy Spirit and to us,” began to gnaw at him and plot his demise. Where in the animal kingdom can we find a parallel? Where can we find a beast so cold hearted as to eat her young as he emerges from her womb? What mongrel bitch does not show more love and compassion than our blessed hierarchs?

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    • Diogenes says:

      Here, here, Catherine!

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  27. Daniel E. Fall says:

    I think the entire thing is sad.

    I think the OCA needs to recognize one thing at this point and that is if Jonah was their experiment; he ought to be compensated for it. I don’t know if that means checkbook or just getting him back to where he was pre-experiment, if you will. I found it sort of strange that he was elevated in the first place and not any other bishop. The OCA certainly asked a lot of Jonah; he could have made it simple, sort of chose a different route.

    I personally think Jonah’s biggest issues were his insistence on offending the gays, friends of the gays, friends of the priests of gays, women who use contraception, husbands of women who use contraception, Democrats, and anyone afraid of returning to rule under Moscow-did I mention the gays? The Garklavs matter wasn’t any of those, but it was certainly offensive and at the heart of it was this sexual misconduct crud the church has had crammed down it’s throat by a handful of bums. I don’t even know anything about the ‘significant personal baggage’ too wild to share in a public forum. Saying that, by the way, is worse than factual statements.

    I don’t expect he’ll be able to be an OCA bishop, which is sad, because that would have been a fairer first step for him.

    I haven’t agreed with him and all the conservative political expression so I wasn’t too fired up about him, but I didn’t care if he stayed on. I expect others closer to him in the administration of the church had other notions.

    Again, it would be best if the church worked hard to help him return to a place he was before, or a place well suited for him-whatever it may be..it’d make it lot less sad.. my 2 cents worth

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    • Well the Chicago Trib article sure confirmed that Stokoe was in on this. The guy just couldn’t resist being back in the limelight again. If he wanted to say nothing, he could have said, NO COMMENT.

      Sooner or later the email trail will surface of all the collusion that took place in Jonah’s ouster. Someone will hand them over, someone will have a conscience. Someone will do the right thing.

      Maybe that someone is reading this post right now?

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  28. Isa Almisry says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-orthodox-metropolitan-resigns-20120710,0,6513464.story

    “What we are witnessing now in my opinion is the result of the disconnectedness of the Orthodox Church in America from the rest of the Orthodox world,” Arey said. “Its internal politics have almost become cannibalistic in my opinion.”

    Fr. Arey seems not to have been to the rest of the Orthodox world, in addition to not noticing that he lives in America.

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    • Isa, you know Fr. Mark Arey is abundantly familiar with Byzantine intrigue. That he would look at the OCA with disgust is a devastating indictment of just how bad things have gotten here.

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      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

        There is something to be said for accountability to the rest of the Church, and the OCA now seems to be acting as if the rest of the Church hardly matters.

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        • lexcaritas says:

          Indeed, Fr. Dcn. Patrick, and we’re only a tiny, tiny part of it–the Church–with a few thousand members, a handfull of dioceses, a few hundred parishes, most with one priest and no deacon–with too few active (arch)bishops and too many “retired” but living and inactive ones–while vast fields are ripe for harvest . . . Where is the vision, the urgency, the zeal and hunger and thirst after righteousness and the single-minded thirst for God, for holiness, humility and the Kingdom of Heaven?

          Lord, have mercy.
          lxc

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    • Diogenes says:

      Arey is a Bart toady. This fellow wouldn’t know what an American church was if his life depended on it. This fellow is one of the worst appointments the GOA ever made.

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  29. Diogenes says:

    Episcopal Church To Offer a New Blessing for Gay Marriage

    AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

    The Episcopal Church has approved a new liturgy that allows priests and bishops to provide official blessings for same-sex marriages. The new rites were proposed and approved at the Church’s General Convention this week and could go into effect by the end of the year. Some local dioceses have allowed their priests to officiate at or bless same sex marriages in states where they are legal, but the new proposal offers official guidelines for Church members to follow.

    To be clear, the new blessing does not mean that gay couples can be officially married within the Church, though several bishops voted against the measure because of concerns that it would be interpreted as such. It also includes an amendment stating that officials who object to or refuse to administer the rites cannot be punished or coerced into doing so. However, the move is still being hailed as a major step forward for gay rights and a move for inclusion in a church that (like many denominations in America) has seen a big decline in attendance and membership. The House of Bishops also approved an anti-discrimination measure that would allow transgendered people to become Church ministers or lay leaders.

    The U.S. Episcopal Church is already the largest Christian denomination to ordain gay priests and bishops and was among the first to promote the ordination of women as bishops. The promotion of its first gay man to bishop in 2003 caused a rift within the larger worldwide Anglican Church, which has led several congregations to “breakaway” from other Episcopalians in the United States.

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  30. George,

    I think that Monomahkos can be a clearinghouse for those who wish to help HIS BEATITUDE, Metropolitan Jonah care for his family. If we can organize a central deposit center so that funds can go directly to Jonah, maybe his sister can assist with this, then once he is kicked to the curb when he is told to get out of his current domicle, he will be able to make a respectable relocation.

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    • Lydia Paraskevas says:

      He can come to Dallas! He and his family will be taken care of and loved here!

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Excellen idea Nikos. We’ll keep you posted on developements in this regard very soon I hope.

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    • Antiochian Friend (Formerly Prospective Nomad) says:

      My sincerest condolences to all members of the OCA who are grieving the loss of their Metropolitan.

      I apologize in advance if the following question appears vulture-like, as I do not offer it in that spirit; I just think +Jonah is too young and too filled with the Holy Spirit to be put out to pasture. If the Synod refuses to give +Jonah another episcopal assignment, and given that he appears to have lost his support in Moscow, would he consider requesting a canonical transfer to the Antiochian Archdiocese? Our only vacant see is in Eagle River, Alaska, but that assignment could be reviewed as circumstances change.

      I look forward to contributing to the fund for +Jonah and his family.

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  31. The latest from Father Judas Jillions: http://oca.org/reflections/fr.-john-jillions/july-10-2012

    Apparently, the “personnel” issues are supposed to stay under wraps, but we who “follow the OCA’s developments with interest” are supposed to do more than gossip from the sidelines. Well, we are going to do more than gossip. We’re going to make sure Metropolitan Jonah is safe and cared for, and we’re going to expose every one of the sins committed against him to the world.

    If you want to “paddle [your] way as well as we know how”, I have an idea for what you can do with your paddle, stop hitting Metropolitan Jonah with it and start rowing in the water instead!

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  32. Arnoldus Magnus says:

    John Jillions wrote, “But for those who do follow with interest the OCA’s developments, please make it more than gossip from the sidelines.”

    This is rich! Yes, there is a lot of gossip, and yes, it is hard to separate the gossip from the real information. The reason that there is so much speculation is because the Synod and its internal politics have been so vicious and mafia-like. This is not idle speculation. We KNOW this from things that have been revealed (documents, etc) over the whole struggle between HB and the Synod. There is a natural tendency among Orthodox Christians to seek peace at any price. Jonah in my opinion was guilty of this too. He thought (naively) he was dealing with straightforward Christians on the Synod, and from what I can tell he has always been the kind of man who thinks the best of people, and who wants to avoid any kind of conflict. I agree that we ought to seek peace, but not at any price! I get sick and tired of Orthodox who act like our role as Christians is to shut up, focus on our own sins, be “humble,” etc. There has to be balance in all things. If evil is being done to someone in the Church by people in the Church, be the victim an altar boy, a lowly layman or laywoman, a deacon, a priest, or even a metropolitan, we have NO RIGHT to be silent!

    I don’t want to get involved with gossip, but I refuse to stop thinking and talking about all these things, and trying to understand what’s going on, just because it makes the lives of the Synod and Syosset easier, and because there are people in the churches who would rather not have to think about it, but who want to stuff their fingers in their ears.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Could be the basis of a class action lawsuit, don’t you think?

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  33. The anti-+Jonah faction now posting here are suffering from a deficient memory. They seem to believe that the big problems of the OCA began with the election of +Jonah as Metropolitan, and will now come to an end with his ouster. What they fail to remember and so overlook is that those problems began long before the ’08 AAC and will continue into the future as long as the same ‘good old boy’ secular corporate culture, with its ‘not invented here’ mentality and homosexual lobby, continue to control the Metropolitan Council and Central Administration, and have an influence on the decisions of the Holy Synod. They also have a serious blind spot in their ‘big picture’ thinking by failing to realize/acknowledge that the Holy Synods ‘solution’ to the ‘+Jonah problem’ effects how the OCA and its’ touted ‘American Orthodoxy’ is now negatively perceived, not only by our Mother Churches, but also by other Christian churches who formally looked to it for moral alliance. And so the Pollyanna, cockeyed, ‘nothing but blue sky from now on’ optimism of that anti-+Jonah faction is fooling no one but themselves.

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      The anti-+Jonah faction now posting here are suffering from a deficient memory. They seem to believe that the big problems of the OCA began with the election of +Jonah as Metropolitan, and will now come to an end with his ouster.

      That is because the mentality of the OCA, in my outsider’s opinion, is that of a pre-Chrisitan cult looking for a scapegoat to dump all the sins on and drive from the coummunity so the community will now be ‘pure’ and ‘safe’.

      Well folks, that never did work, it works even less in a supposedly Christian organization, even less in The Church.

      They ravenous wolves will keep coming (make sure you are not one of them in a different pack) and they will never be sated in their blood lust. Who is next? All the priests in the DOS who supported that “arch-heretic’ Fr. Gerasim? All monastics? All converts (after all everybody knows they are just crazy and want to stir up trouble). Everyone who ever had a kind thought about Christ the Savior Brotherhood or the Holy Order of Mans (let alone was in them), those who remember Fr. Herman with kindness and sadness or where touched by the life and teachings of Fr. Seraphim Rose?

      Gotta purge those folks they are sooooooooooooooooooo dangerous. Pretty soon it will come down to it’s just me and you bro (with Jesus) and I’m not so sure about you (or Jesus). Unless it really does come down to a pack of drunken homosexuals who can’t even stand themselves let alone anyone else and the antiquarians who long for an OCA that never existed except in their own vain imaginings.

      If the OCA is of God, it will stand, if it is of man (Schme-man) it will fall. Of course, the irony is that seeking to get rid of anyone once the scapegoating demon has taken over, just feeds his lust. As odd as it sounds, forgiveness (especially for those who don’t ‘deserve it’), repentance and working hard at building up your own parish in thanksgiving and joy are the most likely actions to suceed. Give with genorosity. Only then will you purge the bitterness.

      Until that is done those that flee such a mess tend to take the attitude with them and begin to criticize and pull down where ever they next land.

      ‘Standing up to evil’ is not as easy as it sounds because it has to start with and continue with a purging of our own hearts as we do the standing. Otherwise we tend to become that which we fight. Exactly why Jesus tell us to “resist not evil, but do good”. The trouble with spitting in the devil’s face is that he usually has a good strong wind at his back.

      Been through this kind of crap before I was received into the Church, it took me years of repentance and forgiveness before I could be free of it, but the scars still linger nonetheless and I am still far to susceptible to it. God help me.

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  34. For Fr. John Morris: I made a swipe at the bizarre ecclesiological situation the Antiochian Archdiocese found itself in after 2009. Metropolitan Philip is a great man and a pillar of Orthodoxy in America in a lot of ways, but he made a monumental mistake, and it tarnishes his legacy.

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  35. Fr. Yousuf, if such were the case, I think that making him “Eminence” instead of “Beatitude” should have taken place only upon his election to another see.

    Standing on the presumption that this “resignation” is valid, he is former Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada. I believe this means he should still be styled as His Beatitude.

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  36. Rostislav says:

    The FAITHFUL and not HOMOSEXUAL, Renovationist Bishops ELECTED METROPOLITAN JONAH, and without their say in this “removal” without a spiritual court or canonical charge this act is illicit and heterodox. It is non binding on Orthodox Christians and since it contradicts the Holy Canons, Orthodox Christians not only have no obligation to obedience, they HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO RESISTANCE AND REINSTITUTION OF THEIR CANONICALLY ELECTED HIERARCH!

    What Canons did Metropolitan Jonah transgress? What Spiritual Court was held? What witnesses were called?! This is indeed Eastern Rite, Renovationist Protestantism and this removal of a canonical hierarch CONSTITUTES A USURPATION and an assault against the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church.

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  37. fatherpep@gmail.com says:

    An “outsider’s” point of view: If any of the assemblies are actually held as scheduled, after the opening prayers, the delegates should stand up and start chanting “Christ is Risen” repeatedly and without end. Drown out the bureaucratic nonsense. Think about the martyrs who were hanged from gates, thrown down mine shafts, decapitated, starved, tortured and all who witnessed for Christ. Then turn your backs on the dais and walk out en masse. And, as per an earlier suggestion/question, don’t give them a single penny. Feed the poor, visit the sick, take care of your priest and his family. Don’t subsidize foreign trips so that one may receive earthy honors. Remember Archbishop Iakovos-he may had his failings-who doesn’t- but there he was walking with Dr. Martin Luther King when it counted. Think about Patriarch Tikhon-trying his best as the bolsheviks killed bishops and priests and destroyed churches. Think about Patriarch Pavel-no limousines for him. That may cause the apparats to think about what kind of work they have been out of for some time. Or not. But the, who will care when they have to start asking “would you like fries with that” when the gravy train runs out.

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  38. Ronda Wintheiser says:

    I’m all for that.

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  39. Ronda Wintheiser says:

    The readings for today are instructive. Here they are, pasted in from the OCA website:

    :)

    Romans 16:17-24 (Epistle)

    17
    Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
    18
    For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
    19
    For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.
    20
    And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
    21
    Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you.
    22
    I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord.
    23
    Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother.
    24
    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

    Matthew 13:10-23 (Gospel)

    10
    And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
    11
    He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
    12
    For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
    13
    Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
    14
    And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;
    15
    For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.
    16
    But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
    17
    for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
    18
    Therefore hear the parable of the sower:
    19
    When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
    20
    But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
    21
    yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
    22
    Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
    23
    But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

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