A Break in the Dam?

lavendar-pries-forbiddentOne of the fears of your host is that the OCA (and eventually much of American Orthodoxy) would succumb in some way to homosexualism. It could be done by the way that the hostile elites of the secular world have done it –that is by forcing it down our collective throats; or it could be by a gradual decadence among the clergy and laity. The latter is far more pernicious to root out because its acceptance would be by a more organic method and therefore harder to root out.

In the Episcopal Church, both methods were at play. First the feminization of the priesthood, then the attack of intellectual elites who preached “tolerance” and “inclusiveness,” then finally the grudging acceptance of the remaining laity, many of whom had given up fighting long ago.

It’s too early to say which paradigm will work in Orthodoxy. Some of course will say that it can’t work –the Orthodox Church will never become desensitized to sodomy. I’m not so sure. Anyway, time will tell. In the meantime, it has long been known that some priests in the OCA have been active homosexuals. Interestingly, not a few of these were previously married so I guess we can dispense with the canard that “enforced celibacy” is the root cause of clerical misconduct. More alarming is that some have been publicly lauded by revered protopresbyters for various and sundry reasons.

Such public acclamation could not last forever. Nor could the winks and the nods extended to them by a grateful laity sustain them indefinitely. Facebook postings by archimandrites condemning Russia because of its “draconian” laws concerning homosexual propaganda are not enough. In time, some one would come forward and announce to the world that he was gay and could not agree with the Church’s position that homosexuality was a “passion” and that it had to be “overcome.” The dam would finally break.

But what of the other side? The Orthodox side (as it were)?

Is it possible that the dam would break the other way? That the growing normalization and fawning that are becoming attendant upon priests who announce their open embrace of sodomy would be too much for the traditionalists to take? Just as we found in the secular culture when the homofascists tried to shut down Duck Dynasty and Chik-fil-A, the majority of people found their voice. The magical gay talisman which when waived by the secularist would cause the masses to shrink in fear had suddenly lost its power. It’s too soon to tell whether the OCA got the memo.

It appears that we may be reaching that point.

The other day, Monomakhos received a treasure-trove of screen shots from the Facebook postings of a certain priest who announced to the world that he is leaving the monastic priesthood and his Navy chaplaincy. The reason is because he has decided to “marry” his lover whom he met while both attended St Vladimir’s Seminary. We do not want to publish his confession because it is the belief of many good people that he is in the grips of a vile delusion and that repentance is still possible for him. Not only that, but the Barbara Cartland-style of emotive confession he displays is frankly, embarrassing. That is why we are not printing his name. Suffice it to say that the reasons he gives are self-serving at best and heretical–if not blasphemous–at worst. In any event, he has taken down his Facebook account.

We grieve when a priest of the Church stumbles to such an extent. As we all know, every priest has a target on his back. The evil one focuses his scope accordingly. Prayers are called for. But the damage is not confined to this priest or his actions. What is worrisome is the great number of congratulations (“likes” in Facebook-speak) that he received. Most were from laymen who see nothing wrong with sodomy. A few however were from priests and priest wives. Here is one:

facebook-tkachuk

Here is another:

gianulis-new

So what is the point? After all, this is just two priests who are openly congratulating their fallen brother. Are we making more of this than is called for? Let me ask this question in another way: what if a priest had said that it was the duty of all Orthodox Christians to vote Republican, would he have received even one plaudit? The point I fear is that the acceptance of homosexuality is more widespread. The priest in question received dozens of likes from various and sundry laymen. He and his lover pursued their love affair in the open, surrounded by classmates. Presumably they had spiritual fathers whom they confessed to. Was their no thought of intervention?

How long will the OCA continue to take on water in this regard? I suppose it depends on what transpires from this point. Will the Holy Synod stand up and take notice, do the right thing and depose him or will it merely go on as before, winking and nodding so long as those living immoral lives don’t draw too much attention to themselves? If the latter is the case, then we are in for choppy waters. Silence is no longer an option. The narcissism that is at the root of this passion no longer allows quietude. Like the priest who announced his decision on Facebook, the gay movement is no longer willing to hide in the shadows but demands open celebration by everybody else.

The question is will Syosset give it to them? Time will tell.

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Comments

  1. Nathaniel B says:

    Isn't Fr. Tkachuk (the one who asks The Lord to bless Fr. Killian and his husband in the screenshot above) the brother of the infamous Nina Dimas?

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  2. Ladder of Divine Ascent says:

    Interesting times ahead.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/pope-travel-holy-land-24-26-21425167

    Francis told thousands gathered in the rain for his weekly Sunday blessing that he would visit Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem on May 24-26.

    ...

    Francis will be joined in Jerusalem by the current ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew, who became the first ecumenical leader to attend a papal installation since the schism when he traveled to Rome for Francis' inaugural Mass in March. They will celebrate Mass together at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the faithful believe Jesus was crucified and buried.

    FIRST WITHOUT EQUALS:

    http://www.patriarchate.org/documents/first-without-equals-elpidophoros-lambriniadis

    In a recent synodal decision,[1] the Church of Russia seems once again[2] to choose its isolation from both the theological dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and the communion of the Orthodox Churches. Two points are worth noting from the outset, which are indicative of the intent of the Church of Russia’s Synod: First, its desire to undermine the text of Ravenna,[3] by invoking seemingly theological reasons in order to justify the absence of its delegation from the plenary meeting of the joint commission (an absence dictated, as everyone knows, by other reasons[4]

    [4] As for what exactly occurred in Ravenna in 2007, and the painful impressions recorded by Roman Catholic observers, see the analysis of Fr. Aidan Nichols in his book Rome and the Eastern Churches, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2nd edition, 2010, pp. 368-9: In October 2006 [sic], the commission resumed its discussions at Ravenna, though the event was marred by a ‘walkout’ on the part of the Moscow patriarchate’s representative. Bishop Hilarion’s protest was caused not for once by the wrongdoings, real or imagined, of the Catholic Church but by the presence of a delegation from the Estonian Orthodox church, whose autocephaly (sic), underwritten by Constantinople, is still denied in Russia. His action demonstrated, of course, the need precisely for a strong universal primacy so as to balance synodality in the Church.” And he continues: “[t]he decision of the Moscow patriarchate in October 2007 to withdraw its representatives from the Ravenna meeting… was not only an irritating impediment to that dialogue; it was precisely the sort of happening that makes Catholics think the orthodox need the pope as much as the pope needs them.” (p. 369).

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    • LODA,

      My guess is that one will celebrate and the other will attend, possibly participate in some way, but there will not be a concelebration or intercommunion. If I'm wrong, we'll see.

      Constantinople does not consider such celebrations to be wrong. Athos and Moscow both do. So you will likely hear more from Athos if it transpires. Those old boys up there keep a list, check it twice and don't hesitate to point out who's naughty and who's nice.

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    • How can the Patriarch celebrate "Mass" "together" with the Pope when the two churches are not in communion?
      That could provoke a schism within Orthodoxy.
      I suspect this is poor reporting. I suspect the Patriarch may attend a Mass celebrated by the Pope.

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  3. Michael Kinsey says:

    Will the Syosset receive the gift of eternal life, and those that follow them? It is irrefutable that the Holy Trinity will not applaud the celebration of sodomy. It is a clear, obvious choice, not confusing. We will all receive perfect divine justice, and if the Syosset favors sodomy, that what they should fear. The Holy Trinity can cast into eternal fire in divine justice, The Syosset better be afraid if it,

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    • Pere LaChaise says:

      What the heck are you blabbering about? I cursory check of oca.org, using the 'directories' link and searching the name "Sprecher" will give you no results. The man was off the list of OCA clergy within a day of his fb posting, if not earlier.

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      • Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

        Pere,

        The suspended Monk Priest is not the real issue. He made his choice and gave up his priesthood. The real question is those clergy who are gay, live a gay life and continue to serve as priests and deacons in the OCA being protected by their bishops and or brother clergy who are too afraid, indifferent, or worse, see nothing wrong with their lifestyle.

        The monk priest is just the tip of the iceberg but do keep this in mind, his lover/partner/husband is 10 years his junior and was only an Orthodox for a little over one year.

        Now we get into the whole sexual misconduct realm that the OCA has spent so much time and effort to produce. A priest "grooming" a young seminary student? What happens if this "match made in heaven" as some OCA clergy and seminary professors have declared, goes bad? Much to consider here and much more still to be revealed.

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      • www.stnicholasdc.org/files/Newsletter/aug-newsletter-PDF.pdf‎

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  4. George, his name shows up on the second screen shot. Oooops.

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  5. Ooops. George, the second screen shot shows this young man's name.

    As for intervention, I find it nearly impossible to believe that Bp. Michael said nothing to him if, in fact, they lived "openly" so I am sure there were conversations, prayers and 'intervention' as you put it.

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    • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

      I think it's too late. The name was out there with that comment that was posted in another thread. In addition, I was alerted to that comment through email and at first I thought it was a joke and some other priest, and then I did a google (I make heavy usage of googling as part of my daily job) and saw that this person was real, especially with photos that I was able to uncover and match up with my memories of having seen him at St. Nicholas.

      I guess my point is . . . it's out there now. The barn door is open and the horses have all left.

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      • Beside the point says:

        All of that is beside the point. In his post, Mr. Michalopoulos says he is not publishing the priest's name, yet there it is three times in the screen capture. If he's going to say in the post that he's not publishing the name, then he should redact the image, don't you think?

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  6. Just saying. says:

    If you're not going to post his name, I suggest you alter your screenshot, which prominently displays it.

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  7. Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

    George,

    In this case the fact that the Monk-priest came out, married his lover and therefore deposed himself, was suspended by his bishop, etc. all done in the open, is not the real dilemma, as wrong as it is. No, the real dilemma is clergy who are gay, live a gay life and continue to pretend that they are bishops, priests and deacons in the Orthodox Church. The culture of mutual embarrassment that protects them and cultivates a lowering of the morality bar is what is eating away at the Orthodox Church, and in particular the OCA.

    When a man who has lived a gay life is now being considered as an Auxiliary bishop in the DOW, when a bishop on the current Synod was barred for decades from being considered as a bishop because of his homosexual life when a student at SVS, when an Archbishop on the Synod was caught with hundreds of hours of gay porn on his computer, when Archbishops protect their Florida friends, a retired OCA bishop and his lover/partner Archdeacon, who himself continues to serve in good standing even though he deposed himself by marrying another man in California. How about the gay retired priest, the mentor to the OCA Chancellor, this icon of the priesthood who divorced his wife and has lived an open gay life with his partner for decades, on open secret in his parish, yet, the OCA and Syosset turns a blind eye with a wink and the Chancellor holds this man up as the priest he modeled his priesthood after?

    The OCA will do nothing to censure Fr. John Tkachuk, he by marriage and part of the OCA First Family. I know of at least one letter of protest sent to Canada and SVS by an OCA priest, a convert, who is sick of what he is starting to see in the OCA because it resembles what he left his former confession over. It is difficult to preach the missionary imperative of the Church when your own jurisdiction is decaying. What will SVS do with one of its Professors openly congratulated the former Monk-priest and his SVS student husband on that FB page? Will he be censured? So if the Synod and the premier theological school of the OCA do nothing, what does that say?

    For those who still post here and say there is no "gay cabal" in the OCA, you are not fooling anyone anymore. There has been, there continues to be and it is not going away anytime soon because it is being protected. What is going away are laity who are sick of the hypocrisy. For every Leonova, "We are their Legacy" pro-gay'ers in the OCA, there are twice as many who are sick of the OCA and are leaving. The OCA census numbers don't lie. Rapid decline in membership continues and finances are getting weaker.

    But, it looks like the OCA has made its choice to placate the progressive intellectual elites, sell this episode as an "isolated incident" and do nothing to address the gay clergy crisis, especially in the OCA Diocese of NY/NJ but certainly not limited to it. This gay couple did the OCA a favor, or so it is being suggested inside the Syosset Beltway because they "came out" publicly. This case is easy to dispose of without much risk and thus the deeper issue can be ignored. This approach might be good enough to fool the OCA leadership but it is not fooling the rest of us who don't live in the Syosset bubble of delusion.

    And the OCA wonders why it has become irrelevant?

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    • Alexander says:

      Publish the names. All of them. Why hide? And if there are pictures, publish them too.

      Decorum involving the cabal long since left the room.

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      • Disgusted With This Hatred says:

        This is poisonous bullying, Alexander. I am ashamed of your hateful post. The man in question was not part of the Cabal. He realized he was homosexual, wanted to marry a man according to state law, didn't want to lead a double life, and realized he had to give up the monastic life he could no longer live. He has integrity: unlike the many OCA priests who choose to live a double life, this man gave it all up for the sake of his passion. I disagree with his decision, but the least you can say is that he is NOT a part of the Cabal.

        Is he now leading a life of sin opposed to the Church's teachings on human sexuality? Yes. You could help him by praying for him. Your words, and the words of so many here, will only hurt him, were he to read them.

        The former priest in question here is someone I have known for years. I hope he will repent, but this is a despicable attack on him which will not, in any way, move him to repent. Shame on you, and on George for posting these particular sentences in his above post:

        "The other day, Monomakhos received a treasure-trove of screen shots from the Facebook postings of a certain priest who announced to the world that he is leaving the monastic priesthood and his Navy chaplaincy. The reason is because he has decided to “marry” his lover whom he met while both attended St Vladimir’s Seminary. We do not want to publish his confession because it is the belief of many good people that he is in the grips of a vile delusion and that repentance is still possible for him. Not only that, but the Barbara Cartland-style of emotive confession he displays is frankly, embarrassing. That is why we are not printing his name. Suffice it to say that the reasons he gives are self-serving at best and heretical–if not blasphemous–at worst. In any event, he has taken down his Facebook account."

        Shame on you, George.

        For every minute you spend writing on this subject, you lose sixty seconds of prayer. Opportunity for your own repentance. Think on that.

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        • geo michalopulos says:

          DWIT, I too, pray that he will repent. I'm not sure why you're criticizing me though. You state yourself that he did not want to "lead a double life" and that I "received a treasure-trove of screen shots from [his] Facebook postings..." This means that he "outed" himself.

          We all need prayers.

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        • Alexander says:

          Stop already.

          Anyone who dares to call out the hypocrisy and demand facts rather than innuendo is a "bully"? Well, of course, that ad hominem counterstatement is among the first line of offensive defenses from individuals and organizations that support the normalization of sodomites, their behaviour, and their supposed "struggle." (They "struggle" with nothing beyond those who condemn their deviancy. They embrace their "lifestyle" -- something no longer even "alternative.")

          What's at issue is the integrity of the Orthodox Church and its temporal leadership. The evil is propogated in the social, political, and inappropriately monikered theological "debate" that are seeking to take us away from Christ and His Church.

          Pray, pity, hide, obfuscate, sentimentalize, rationalize, justify, explain, publicize, announce, pontificate, debate, emote, sympathize, empathize however you want. Go for it. The bottom line is that the historical One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church expressly, unambiguously, categorically, and without hesitation condemns and forbids this behaviour. And those who have been obviously mis-entrusted to momentarily lead, administer and teach at Orthodox institutions and who support this deviancy in any manner are to be held accountable.

          The sinner is indeed called to repentence -- you, me, George, Fr. Hans, -- all of humanity. However, this sinner is not called to "marry" his sodomite partner according "to state law" (UGH!) -- just as the abortionist is not called to abort children according "to state law."

          Get a grip.

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          • I agree with Alexander says:

            I have to agree with you, Alexander. Any immoral in action clergy should have his name published for he is in the care of sensitive souls. The chaplain in question and that of his consort should be known, for there is a military and command trust involved as well as the nurturing of souls. When a consort is also a seminarian, we should worry about what influence either has had on classmates at seminary and the future of our seminaries.

            Members of the Holy Synod? Name them. Spiritual lives are at stake. The upbringing of children within the Church is at stake.

            Sometimes I feel that reading here I am in the midst of a secrecy cabal that is hiding knowledge between and among themselves that could be used for transparency for the sake of the future of our Church . And yet, I see little beyond innuendo happening, for all that the occasional fact is brought to light.

            How many people actually showed up to denounce what was happening in Parma a year+ ago? I know that George was texted a lot. For all the inaction on this forum, y'all deserve everyone you've got ruling you, whatever their morals.

            Tired of pussyfooters. My opinion is that we have lost a person with considerable linguistic skills that could still be put to good service to the Church. I pray he repents and adjusts his lifestyle.

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        • lexcaritas says:

          Dear to Christ “Disgusted with this Hatred” when you say that the former hieromonk, Mr. S., “REALIZED he was ‘homosexual,’ WANTED TO ‘marry’ a man according to state law, DIDN’T WANT to lead a double life, and REALIZED he HAD TO give up the monastic life he ‘could’ no longer live. He has ‘integrity’” [emphases added], your language bespeaks a way a thinking wholly given over to the “Modern Project.” It accepts as a given the ontological category of “homosexual” that can be realized; when it is a human construct and a delusion. You say he “could no longer live” the monastic life and he “had to” give it up, when the truth is that he could well could have but has chosen not to. It took no choice to remain as he was and submit to and depend upon the grace of God. But this is the way we moderns think—and customarily excuse our actions. This is not “integrity,” but the antithesis of it. Contra mundo, integrity, does not involve sexual disorder and fragmentation and gnomic willfulness, but submission to the will of God, chastity and conformity with Christ, and Him crucified by acceptance of death to one’s own self.

          You further assert that George’s words “and the words of so many here, will only hurt [Mr. S], were he to read them.” How can you be so sure of that? Can you prove it? Have you tried the opposite since you have known him for ten years? Perhaps they would bring him to his senses? What kind of “hurt” do you have in mind?

          Finally, you contend that, while you “hope he will repent . . .”this is a despicable attack on him . . . will not, in any way, move him” to do so. I fail to see how the alleged “attack” was “despicable, though his own conduct is treading, as it were, the blood of Christ underfoot notwithstanding St. Paul’s admonition in his Pros Hebraios. Finally, if attacd there was it was directed not at Mr. S. but at the priests who have congratulated him and seem to lend support to his march down the way that leads to destruction.

          By coincidence (?), this was appointed to be read this morning in the old Benedictine Office of Matins. By the way, a man cannot marry another man, any more than a man may have his father’s wife—both being antithetical to the purposes of marriage and the paradigm to be reflected: the fruitful union between Christ and His Bride, the Church):

          1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Brethren, it is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Pascha is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

          Now, how are we to treat those who would lend encouragement to the very vices which should not be found in our midst lest they spread and infect the whole Body, which is to be without spot or blemish or any such thing?

          There is no hatred or gnashing of teeth here by the way, only weeping over the wounds being inflicted on Christ’s Body and He Who suffers with her.

          Christ is in our midst,
          lxc

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          • Jackson Downs says:

            There is no such thing as a "former" monk who has once taken up the schema. The schema cannot be removed. One should refer to him in prayer as "the Apostate...." (insert name given at schema vows here).

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          A man "marrying" a man is simply not Christian, let alone Orthodox. That there should ever be any question that those who enter into homosexual faux marriage should be allowed to commune without full repentance and a change in their way of life show how far we are from even being Christian, let alone "the pillar and ground of the truth."

          For those who are troubled with homosexual desire and wish to be faithful to Jesus Christ, it is a struggle that should and can be dealt with pastorally as with any other passion. Like all passions, indulgence leads to separation from other people, shame and the perception that one is leading a double life.

          There are two ways of resolving the conflict: 1. enter more deeply into repentance, forgiveness--embracing one's Cross; or 2. Give into the passion (whatever it is) and ignore one's conscience. Satan will no longer trouble you and the illusion of peace will prevail for awhile at least.

          The only 'double life' is pretending to follow God while immersing oneself in mammon. Following God means that we have to embrace the Cross no matter what passions may rule us: lust, anger, etc., etc.

          It is just that the concupiscence of homosexuality has now become a 'right' which cannot be infringed. That is insane.

          There are many troubled with homosexual desires who do struggle to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church and the demands of the Gospel. They do not lead 'double lives' because they are striving to be whole, even holy.

          I am grateful for them. The Orthodox Church is their natural home. Those who don't want to engage in the struggle to lead a life or repentance, forgiveness, charity and chastity in the communal worship of the Holy Trinity, have no home in the Church no matter what their particular passions or how exalted their academic credentials. One has to become Orthodox, not just think about it to rationalize one's favorite sins.

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        • Michael Kinsey says:

          Shame on you, was spoken a few times to Jesus Christ, after He healed the man who had faith to be nealed at the well where the angel of God would sir the waters The Christ walked away from many sick people. while other critized him for not healing more. It is similar to George not being reuired to focus on this fallen, hardy a surprise, priest Deep touchy feely concern for the effeinate feelings of someone who celebrates abomination and rejects God's Truth This is what George is supposed to be ashamed of? Your a twisty worm tongued spiritual moron, who acts like he has moral preemence over people who are guinely faithful ABSURD CRITTER< HOLD YOUR BREATH AHHH, don't take a breath I expect that will be the only way you ever stop being disgusted with hatred,

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      • Alex, George and Dbth,
        The names are already published. It is not private info. He announced it on his fb page. Yes it is very sad, many people are very upset about this. I expect we will hear more about it in the future. But truly what is most telling is the congratulations from priests and laity.

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        • FB posts are to those you have "friended" on FB. The person who took the screenshot and forwarded it to George is a weasel who also needs to repent. How is that different than +BM forwarding Fr. JF's emails to MS?

          I wish George was not so quick to publish material that was basically attained in a larcenous way. We can't rail about the NSA invading our privacy at the same time we invade our neighbor's.

          The discussion could have gone on without the screen shot and revelation of the hieromonk's name. The ends do not justify the means.

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          • Tim R. Mortiss says:

            The big difference is that FB is a public posting, available to hundreds of people presumably. It cannot be private under such circumstances. E-mails sent from private accounts are private.

            As for the NSA invading our privacy, it bears keeping in mind that what the NSA has done is mine information that people have voluntarily turned over to third parties. For example, it has been the law for decades that the phone numbers one calls are not private, because they are recorded by the phones company. The content of the calls is private.

            The government has not taken our privacy in the cyber-age. We have freely given it away. Facebook is only one of the countless examples. To have an expectation of privacy with regard to FB postings is very foolish.

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          • Facebook is public space, you can't compare that to a private email .

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          • SVS grad -

            You level of intellectual analysis and logic is shocking, if this is what passes for SVS education, that's reason enough to close the place down, even without the professors who spout heresy.

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          • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

            Here's how Facebook works:

            There are extensive privacy settings. You can set it so only friends see your posts. Or, friends of friends can see your post. In addition, you can set your profile to be visible to everybody who isn't your friend (I'm not comfortable with that, so I have my profile locked down so that my status posts are only visible to those who are my friends).

            And, even if you've locked down your profile, once you comment on a friend's wall that is open to the public, anybody can see that you've done so on the right ticker. And yes, I do check out that ticker quite a bit.

            In other words, Facebook depends on open publicity, so one has to work really, really hard to keep on top of the privacy setting.

            So, no I don't think whoever took the screenshot is to blame.

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            • There are things you CAN do. And there are things thats as a decent human being you should NOT do. Showing your brother's shame to the world would fall into the latter category in my mind.

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        • Maybe, maybe not says:

          Colette,

          I am not sure one of those posts is a congratulation. A married senior officer, Father Milton, reminds him he is a priest forever, that he has support (but that does not necessarily mean for his actions and decisions) and that he can come talk to him about options. What these options might be, and one can assume they are for the good of the Church, is only speculation.

          His most recent translation is here:
          Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:41 PM

          Title: Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses: An Introduction to the Ascetic Tradition of the Orthodox Church

          Author: Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet, translated from the fourth French edition by Fr. Kilian Sprecher

          Publisher: Alexander Press, Montreal, 2012

          ISBN: 1-896800-39-4

          Pages: 833 pages in 3 volume boxed set

          Price: $100

          Links: http://www.alexander...lness blurb.pdf

          Description (from the Introduction):

          A vast synthesis of patristic and ascetic oriental teachings from the 1st to 14th centuries, this study presents a renewed vision of the Christian doctrine of salvation and constitutes a veritable treaty, both theoretical and practical, of spiritual psychology and medicine, as well as a summation of Orthodox spirituality that has no equivalent. The notion of human health held by Orthodox anthropology is inseparable from that of the ideal human nature possessed by the original Adam. Before being led astray, this nature was a synergy of Adam’s free will and of divine grace unto his perfection, i.e. deification. That is to say, human nature has a direction found in its different components: it is naturally oriented towards God and is destined to find fulfilment in Him. Dr Larchet shows how, according to Orthodox ascetical anthropology, man is in a healthful state when he achieves his destiny and when his faculties exert themselves in accordance with this natural aim. He shows, also, how sin, thought of as separation from being with God, establishes in man a manifold state of illness by turning him away from his essential goal . . . One sees from this how theanthropic asceticism, by which man is ontologically converted,constitutes a true therapy, in that such asceticism permits man to turn away from this pathological and unnatural state and to recover the health of his original nature by turning towards God. If Christ appears as a physician and the salvation He brings appears as healing, it is because humanity is ill. Beholding mankind’s healthfulness in the primordial state of Adam, the Fathers and all of Tradition see the state of sin, which characterizes fallen mankind after the original sin, as a state of manifold illness affecting man in his whole being. This notion of mankind as sick from sin finds scriptural support, which the Fathers did not fail to use. In the example of the Prophets, the Fathers call to mind the inability of the men of the Old Covenant to find a remedy for their ailments, however serious these were, and their calling to God throughout the generations. God’s favourable response to this call was the Incarnation of the Word, Who alone could effect the awaited healing because He was God.
          — From the Introduction

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          • Let's hope and pray it's not congratulatory that he continues to speak with him and draw him to repentance. Would it not bring glory to God and all if he returned as the prodigal son?

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          • And truly this translation by the former Fr. Kilian is a wonderful gift to the Church.

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          • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

            We're Orthodox. We don't believe in the indelibility of the sacraments, which means priests are not necessarily priests forever. They can be deposed. They can be laicized. They can be excommunicated. They can do this themselves by their apostasy, and when they do it they are priests no more.

            Fr. Milton should know this, so when he says Sprecher is a "priest forever" he must be taken to mean that Sprecher has done nothing deserving of being deposed.

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            • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says:

              Fr. Deacon,
              Some would argue that the concept of a priest being "laicized" is a Latin one, at least that's what one Greek bishop told me almost seven years ago, when I was considering dropping out of the priesthood to marry for a second time, one year after my wife's death. Of course, that's only the opinion of one bishop, and a Greek Old Calendar bishop at that, so some would argue that that particular bishop is "outside the church".
              I have a problem with an ecclesiology which would put that bishop outside the church, but include Monophysites, Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, and possibly Episcopalians WITHIN the church! That aside, I thank God that the bishop told me what I needed to hear, even if I didn't want to hear it at the time. I thank God for the Greek priestmonk who heard my confession in 1973(I believe he's now a retired Metropolitan of the Greek Archdiocese); he warned me not to do anything with my fiancé which might jeopardize my ordination. I thank God for the Bulgarian priest who urged me to put aside the foolish thought of a second marriage. I also thank God for the Serbian priest and his wife who steered me towards the Serbian parish, which I now serve. I had no parish at the time, and the parish had no priest, so perhaps the hand of God was at work.
              I agree with George M., something was wrong if spiritual fathers let practicing homosexuals slip through the cracks and accept ordination. It was impressed upon me by my own Vicar Bishop +Peter of Cleveland, that while a priest may not reveal a confession, he does have the right to approach the bishop to tell him that there is a canonical impediment which precludes a candidate from Holy Orders. It's seems that our society can't say "no" to anyone or anything anymore.

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              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                Dear Fr. Andrei,

                I thank God that you were rightly advised not to forsake your ordination, both for your sake and for ours. It is indeed a great sin to refuse to be what God has made us -- whether as priests or as men or women. In that sense, yes, the idea that a priest can be merely returned to the laity as an administrative matter is foreign to Orthodoxy, although the OCA, and perhaps some other jurisdictions, do use the term for those who have given up the priesthood without being formally deposed. But priests can be deposed and also excommunicated, and those who are, are to us no longer priests. The Romans, however, teach indelibility -- once a priest, always a priest, even if laicized, arguably even if damned, for, "The spiritual character cannot be lost due to mortal sin, even though the state of sanctifying grace can."

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                • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says:

                  I will say, however, that Fr. Kilian is a monk forever. I pray that he may repent, having in mind that the evil one attacks all of us clergy. He has certainly trying to pull me down since I am struggling to reamain a priest, unworthy as I am.

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                  • Trudge at SmartVote says:

                    Father Alexiev,

                    Be strong in the faith Father!

                    One way that Satan tries to pull us down is with confused thinking, so that we can be at cross-purposes with ourselves and with the eternal standards of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

                    Sprecher is no longer Father Kilian nor a monk. He has renounced Christ and his calling and insulted the Spirit of Grace. That is like saying Judas is an apostle forever.

                    In a number of comments here, wanting to be humble and forgiving, we have instead become friendly with evil, betrayal and hypocrisy.

                    The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. Matthew 26

                    And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven. Luke 12

                    From the Epistle of Jude:
                    Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

                    But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

                    But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

                    And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

                    As for the instructions of Jude, we do not know how to do this anymore. We do not know how to risk ourselves and are not willing to step in to conflict and against evil with spiritual and moral fortitude, believing that we are to be "nice" to everyone no matter what they do, unlike the example of Christ and the apostles and fathers.

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    • NYC OCA alum says:

      "How about the gay retired priest, the mentor to the OCA Chancellor, this icon of the priesthood who divorced his wife and has lived an open gay life with his partner for decades, on open secret in his parish, yet, the OCA and Syosset turns a blind eye with a wink and the Chancellor holds this man up as the priest he modeled his priesthood after?"

      SOTH, can you say any more about this situation? I think I'd heard this gentleman is now gay-married. True or not? And is he still being communed?

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      • Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

        NYC OCA alum,

        The name of this priest was made public by the OCA Chancellor last year. He has lived with his "husband", "life partner" or whatever you wish to call it for decades, divorcing his wife to do so. Knowing people in his former parish and seeing the couple in person on a few parish and other church occasions, a parishioner would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to know that their priest was gay. The priest in question has never hid his way of life from his children, his parishioners, area clergy and bishops know. It is known by clergy and laity inside and outside the OCA. However neither Metropolitan Theodosius, Archbishop Peter, Bishop Michael or John Jillions OCA Chancellor, do anything to confront this man and ask him to make the obvious choice, "choose the Priesthood or your gay lover, but you can't have both." At least the monk-priest and his partner from SVS had enough integrity to make that choice and now to live with it.

        The lack of integrity by those leaders has created layer upon layer of OCA accommodation which now is understood certainly by this priest, but other clergy as tacit consent for the way they live their double lives. Advice like, "don't be obvious, don't flaunt it, be discreet."

        To the degree that this retired priest in NJ is the mentor and role model for the current OCA Chancellor, by his own glowing admission, one must wonder at the depth of OCA stupidity if not out right sexual corruption. I mean an OCA Archbishop is convicted of child abuse in Canada and the best the OCA can do is write a lawyer response to protect itself? What has the OCA become?

        The OCA is sick from the inside and is dying as a jurisdiction. I hope that when it does finally reach the point of no return it will be sensible and pastoral by providing an escape plan for clergy and parish properties that won't be buggered up by lawyers picking at the bones of what is left for their billable hours. All of that to say that when you ignore priests like what you have in NJ and NY, in Florida, Arizona and Texas you get what the OCA is now. Impotent.

        P.S.
        This blog is read by those in OCA leadership.

        SVS Grad says:
        January 16, 2014 at 10:45 am
        You are absolutley correct about his character. While I lament that he did not go about this more quietly (Theopany for goodness sake!) and lessen the scandal to the Church, at least he had the decency to leave the priesthood and monastic tonsure (to the degree that you ever can “leave” it) and not live a doubel secret life. For that I am grateful.

        Day of Reckoning says:
        January 16, 2014 at 10:45 am
        You’re right, the OCA took down the article and the link to Kilian Sprecher’s article. It appears many of the posters here were right. Syosset, the OCA leadership, and many SVS folks do follow this blog very closely. We are making a difference!

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        • M. Stankovich says:

          Sick of the Hypocrisy,

          This must be the fourth or fifth time I have read about this priest who flaunts his homosexuality before the hierarchy and laity of the OCA in the "secret everyone knows" except me. Yet, despite the blatantly outrageous character of this display - you would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to know - anonymous creeps like yourself exempt yourself from a lack of integrity, providing "tacit consent," and are impotent by taking no action by dogging the hierarchs! And you have the cojones to call yourself "sick of the hypocrisy?" Tell me you're practicing your stand-up routine on an Orthodox Christian blog. Explain why you do not go to a Deanery meeting, or Diocesan Assembly and take action if you are so sick of the hypocrisy? Tell me why you do not organize the other anonymous creeps who accuse inaction, corruption, lack of integrity, and sexual corruption and man up; show your faces and make your accusations know as the Scripture and Fathers demand.

          You and I both know that that you lack the fundamental courage to face whatever consequence might arise from taking responsibility for your bitching - and it just that, empty, fruitless, dark, gossiping, bitching, and complaining. You are not making a difference, "for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14) The OCA is overwhelmingly laity, and if they are "sick from the inside," take some responsibility for sowing your own seeds of inaction and fear of taking action, as you strike me as impotent as anyone you flame.

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          • Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

            Mr Stankovich,

            The OCA ADMINISTRATION, ITS HIERARCHY and SOME clergy, are sick from the inside and to the degree that people like you aid in its demise.

            Your "righteous" indignation only proves how far gone protectors of the dying OCA will go to deflect attention away from the real inner rot that is killing a once proud jurisdiction.

            I appreciate your pain and misdirected anger since you have spent your life lauding the pillars of the OCA that was, but look around, that OCA does not exist today.

            God give you peace as He gives me strength to at least prick the conscience of those who can repent as I do for my sins.

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            • M. Stankovich says:

              Sick of the Hypocrisy,

              Your response to me is as predictable as the sun rising, and it is my fault you are an anonymous crank with nothing - read it again, nothing - by way of integrity to offer but empty bitching and complaining. I have never, not once, supported anyone or any position that was unjust, immoral, unethical, or irresponsible - in fact, I damaged my career and earning ability by whistleblowing someone influential and it will never be undone, so you will not lecture me about aiding in "demise."

              And now you would somehow frame your actions as courageous efforts to "prick the conscience of those who can repent?" Are you serious? From what I see, rather than acting in some honourable way - confronting the "hypocrisy" as the Scripture and the Fathers direct or leaving - you seem to relish the purveyance of filth and gossip, stories and tales of this man's fall and this man's sin, all the while to do what? Discourage and dishearten as many others as possible? My anger is hardly misdirected as your position has been stated here many, many times - you would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to know. If you are incapable of manning up and taking action or leaving, then exercise discernment and shut up.

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              • Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

                Mr Stankovich,

                Yes you have stated your POV here about anonymous posters ad nauseam, but what you predictably are ignorant of is that folks here don't care about your opinion.

                You defend your Syosset friends even in their corruption and if you were so righteous, why don't you advise them they should stop protecting gay clergy and bishops?

                Your world view is so distorted that you accuse me as one who "relishes the purveyance of filth and gossip, stories and tales of this man’s fall and this man’s sin, all the while to do what? Discourage and dishearten as many others as possible?" Is that really what you believe?

                You won't directly speak to the protection of your gay clergy in the OCA so you shoot the messenger? Go on, keep shooting your predictable blanks and while you are at it, please do wake up because I will say again, the OCA of your memories no longer exists today. It died of self-inflicted wounds the latest on display only a couple of days ago when your OCA lawyers writing statements for the Church on the Storheim conviction called the abused boys/men, "accused" until enough outraged people reminded them that they were VICTIMS and they were forced to rewrite their hollow last paragraph.

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  Sick of the Hypocrisy,

                  I am done with you because I will not allow you to misdirect your fundamental lack of integrity onto me. I stand by my integrity. I defend no one - NO ONE - who acts, teaches, or preaches that which is contrary to the Holy Scripture, the Fathers, and the Holy Tradition. I never have and I never will. What you need to do is look through my posts on this site and read about my history of speaking very directly to the protection of gay clergy. You are a purveyor of filth to suggest otherwise, employing me as a foil for your attempted justification for a lack of courage in following the direction of the Scripture and the Fathers.

                  Last week, Lexcartis brilliantly summed up the anonymous "call to action": "Who will do it?" "But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business..(Mt.22:5) Oh, my, not one bite! So he stepped it up: Exode de Saint Vladimir en masse, but... no Moses! Didn't you say this blog is read by the "OCA leadership?" "Many SVS folks do follow this blog very closely. We are making a difference!" And you would suggest that my world view is distorted! I am no way responsible for the cowards that you and your partners have turned out to be.

                  As I see it, pal, the Scriptures and the Fathers leave you only three honourable choices: man up and accept the consequences of confronting the "hypocrisy," moving to another jurisdiction, or shutting up.

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                  • Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

                    Mr. Stankovich,

                    I am glad to hear from you that

                    I defend no one – NO ONE – who acts, teaches, or preaches that which is contrary to the Holy Scripture, the Fathers, and the Holy Tradition. I never have and I never will.

                    Bravo. So are you telling us that you have confronted your friends in the OCA leadership who do nothing about active and retired clergy who are living openly gay lives? Have you asked your friend the Chancellor why he is not pursuing the case against Archdeacon Gregory Burke and Bishop Mark Forsberg? Why he will not pursue the evidence against his model mentor priest growing up? Why he supports and defends the abuse of canonical order by the Synod he works for as they deny people due process in spiritual courts?

                    Can you explain how a bishop who for 25 years was not to be considered for the OCA episcopacy suddenly was validated for consecration even though he carried on a homosexual relationship with an Orthodox priest, documented, not just rumor or whatever you call it?

                    I am sure, from your own testimony here that you are against these things, but are you? Where is your concern for your once-proud jurisdiction now mired in mediocrity and decline. You lament and say, "you are done with me" but I too wish to be done with all of this but your friends do nothing. If this obvious level of spiritual abuse is not being rooted out, what makes you think that the OCA leadership will "man up" when other abuses take place?

                    But because they are not "manning up" people are leaving the OCA. The census and financial numbers don't lie. If that were not true, why is the Synod and the Metropolitan Council going to be seriously considering a further reduction in full time chancery staff as a means just to stay financially afloat?

                    Your friends did a job on tearing down what they thought was wrong in the OCA, and there was much wrong, but they have shown the complete inability to rebuild what they torn down. Sadly, many are taking your advice to find another jurisdiction and leaving the OCA. But I won't be one of them. I will stay where I am, and fight the corruption.

                    As much as you would like people like me to shut up, wouldn't that be exactly the same tactic used by Herman, Theodosius, etc. advising us to "move on", "get over it". How was that bad advice then when your cohort Mark Stokoe rejected that advice but now it is ok? Maybe because as Stokoe gloated a few days ago to his close internet friends when Mark Maymon was nominated as a diocesan bishop in the OCA, he cheered, "WE WON!" Maybe you share that conclusion? Maybe you think now that your generation is running the OCA that all is fine.

                    Oh, and thanks for your eloquent dictate for me to "shut up." I will do so when the OCA finally comes clean, then I will be more than happy to be quiet.

                    I don't expect you to response since you are "done with me" so I guess I will have the final word.

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        • NYC OCA alum says:

          Heavens, SOTH, I think we're speaking of two different former priests. I haven't a clue whom yours is, but mine isn't in New Jersey and is no longer a priest in any capacity; my understanding is that he'd been defrocked. Otherwise, similar situations and within Bishop Michael's diocese.

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  8. To: Sick...,

    You really are nuts. You're all over the place with accusations. The "TRUTH" is that there are more homosexual clergy with the ROCOR/ Moscow ranks than anywhere else. You make up some interesting stories, but that's just it, they're made up. A growing cabal in the OCA of your ilk? OCA first family? You know, you would do better to announce that you have an axe to grind and openly state names, dates and places, but your false accusations and innuendo only points to a very "Sick..." person.

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    • Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

      Tom Jones,

      Thank you for your arm-chair psychoanalysis. I guess I don't have to see my shrink this week! ;)

      False accusations? Please tell me, with names where I have falsely accused?

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    • Sean Richardson says:

      Tom Jones:
      I have struggled with responding to this article, mainly because it is so miopic and focused only on the OCA. Grnated, there is a problem here. However, I have known ROCOR priests who were active, practicing homosexuals, and somehow they are given a free pass as if it never happens in their ranks. I would imagine that it is also true of the Greeks, Serbians, and every group, but I have no knowledge or specifics.

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      • "I have known ROCOR priests who were active, practicing homosexuals, and somehow they are given a free pass as if it never happens in their ranks. "

        Are they still priests?

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      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

        I doubt that Sean Richardson is telling the truth. No ROCOR priests have ever been "active,practicing homosexuals and....have been given a pass" by those who knew of it. I seems to me like a lie.

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      • Sean's comment is likely untrue. I recall discussing the priesthood with a ROCOR priest at one point. He told me that if a man is not married that before his ordination he will have to make the choice between getting married and being ordained or taking monastic vows and entering that life. The danger in the world is just too great, hetero or homo.

        As you may note from the news, homosexuality is not nearly as accepted in Russian or (Christian) Arab culture as it is in American or Greek. I do not suggest that there are not ROCOR priests who suffer from this affliction, nonetheless, I do think that any overt activitiy would be dealt with. Anecdotal evidence is not welcome on this subject. If you have web posts by out of the closet ROCOR priests or news stories, that's all fine and well but "I heard" or "it is well known" is not evidence. In the case above, we are talking about open announcements and endorsements.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          I have to agree with you. when it comes to anecdotal evidence, the word on the street is that ROCOR doesn't put up with this nonsense and that they have a track record proving it.

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          • Exactly, I asked my question above because any story I have ever heard with ROCOR on the topic that person or persons are not ignored but dealt with maybe not swiftly but still.

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          • Sean Richardson says:

            Okay, now that what I said has been labeled as both "untrue" and a "lie" let me clarify some things. Yes, it is true that I know a ROCOR priest who is a homosexual and practices homosexuality. When I said he was "given a free pass" I did not mean by the leadership of ROCOR, but rather by this article that seems focused on only the OCA. Since this is something I know first hand, I am open to apologies. Don't say it never happens or does not exist, it does. I know it, first hand. Just because you don't know of it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

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            • Ladder of Divine Ascent says:

              "Yes, it is true that I know a ROCOR priest who is a homosexual and practices homosexuality. When I said he was 'given a free pass' I did not mean by the leadership of ROCOR, but rather by this article that seems focused on only the OCA."

              For the same reason most parents discipline their children when they are caught red handed or openly rebel, rather than punishing them for something they might not even suspect the children were doing, or if they suspect have no actual proof.

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            • Does his bishop know this or his community?

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            • Sick of the Hypocrisy says:

              Sean,

              If you know "first hand" that a ROCOR priest is an active homosexual, what have you done about it? Have you spoken to his bishop? Do you think this priest should be given a free pass BY YOU? If the ROCOR leadership does not know about him, as you say, and you have this personal knowledge, are you going to protect him by your indifference? Doesn't that make you an accomplice and make you part of the problem and not part of the solution?

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            • So, "priests" becomes "priest"...from many to one.
              Best to get your story straight from the start, lest you give people a reason to question whether you tell the truth.

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            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

              Sean, you spoke of ROCOR PriestS, deilberately, implying a multitude. Now you say you were not lying because you know ONE homosexual priest. You spoke of being given a "pass" as if giving homosexual priests a pass was a ROCOR commonplace known to you. Now you aver that your "pass" referred only to this site. Tell us why you have not born false witness...

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      • Fr. John Whiteford says:

        Name the names.

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      • Mr. Richardson,

        Why do you have to bring our Holy Serbian Orthodox Church into this discussion. If you knew anything about Serbs and Serbian Culture you would know that homosexuality is not tolerated at all. As a matter of fact the attempts to have "Gay Pride" parades in Beograd have resulted in there cancellation to protect the lives of those that would participate. If there is a gay Serbian priest out there he has to be very good at hiding. To further drive this point home one of our bishops that chose to engage in this sin was removed from his diocese and removed from active ministry by the Holy Assembly of Bishops in May. There is no tolerance for homosexual behavior by the Serbian people. Think before you write next time

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        • anonymus per Scorilo says:

          one of our bishops that chose to engage in this sin was removed from his diocese and removed from active ministry by the Holy Assembly of Bishops in May

          wow, amazingly rapid response, about 10 years after the first info surfaced !!!

          They only removed him when the scandal could not be contained any longer. If the scandal had not been blown out by the press he would still be happily in his position and the Holy Serbian Orthodox faithful would still be happily kissing his right hand and singing him "Eis pola eti despota."

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        • Alexander says:

          Fr. Milan,

          You are naive or ever so grossly misinformed. The allegations -- and proof -- of deviant behaviour by bishops of the SOC are long known and very well established. Here's three right off the top that the SOC has tolerated this abhorrant activities for decades.

          Basil of Tuzla -- a pedarast, raging and open sodomist -- and there's video to prove it
          Pahomije of Vranje -- in a politically rigged trial acquitted of sodomizing numerous boys -- and their testimony against him is publically available
          George of Canada -- long known to have a "wife" and "family" and seemingly now the subject of yet another synodal enquiry.

          Its not limited to the episcopacy, by any means. The deacon of Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago leaves and then divorces his wife. He flees to Serbia to be with the child he fathered with another woman without any canonical impediment from bishop Longinus. So this deacon regularly serves with the Patriarch -- his new putative bishop -- at the Patriarchical Cathedral in Belgrade. Need proof, just look at the SOC website for Christmas pictures and pretty much any other big Belgrade service that winds up on their website..

          That's just the "low hanging fruit" on the clear, open, notorious offenders. Good God, the generally accepted, not exactly hushed up, understanding of what other bishops and priests are up to -- heterosexual and homosexual -- would take another five pages to write.

          And then there's all the financial impropriety.

          Constantine of Central Europe was finally removed for his shennanigans.
          Artemis of Kosovo and whatever it was that he was doing with money and politics.
          And then there's the whole set of scandals of what bishops were doing during the Balkan Wars in the 1990's.

          And what, pray tell, has the Patriarch done with hundreds of thousands of dollars that used to be in the accounts of his recently and conveniently designated "stavropegial" St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville?

          The SOC has a lot of rotten apples in the highest eschelons of temporal power. It needs disinfectant of the most potent type. And you father, need to get your head out of the sand.

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  9. Day of Reckoning says:

    As early as Dec. of 2013 Fr. Kilian Sprecher was being published on OCA Wonder. Same venue where Inga Leonova and other Orthodox progressives and pro-gay liberals are invited to post their writings. God help us!

    In Behalf of All, and For All: Thoughts of a Orthodox Priest-monk & Navy Chaplain
    http://ocawonder.com/2013/12/15/in-behalf-of-all-and-for-all-thoughts-of-a-orthodox-priest-monk-and-navy-chaplain/

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    • Sad about the loss of this monk says:

      Your link did not work. But this one does

      http://svotssynaxis.wordpress.com/tag/fr-kilian-sprecher/

      Shortly after he was awarded the schema i and on his way to seminary, he stopped by a Maryland parish. We got to know him. He sang in the choir with us with his great voice, baritone. After the service, he showed his schema to us and explained it, for some people sitting at the coffee table did not understand one. He discussed a little about the strangeness between seminary and military. He seemed focused on the true path and light of faith. The chaplaincy was something that would afford him the ability to attend seminary but he came from a military family and the chaplaincy made sense.

      I am very sad at the loss of this person to the priesthood. He had much to give the Church and much love for the Church from what I saw. I called on him to help someone a year and a half ago. Although he probably did not remember me, he responded and was able to help. Something does not compute.

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      • You are absolutley correct about his character. While I lament that he did not go about this more quietly (Theopany for goodness sake!) and lessen the scandal to the Church, at least he had the decency to leave the priesthood and monastic tonsure (to the degree that you ever can "leave" it) and not live a doubel secret life. For that I am grateful.

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      • Day of Reckoning says:

        You're right, the OCA took down the article and the link to Kilian Sprecher's article. It appears many of the posters here were right. Syosset, the OCA leadership, and many SVS folks do follow this blog very closely. We are making a difference!

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  10. Engaged observer says:

    Thanks, George, for making the rest of us aware of this situation. I pray for the former priestmonk/chaplain -- it looks like he's probably in his early 30s, and for a normal young man it's no easy task to live a celibate life in militantly secular America -- especially if you're not part of a real monastic community. He (and his bishops) should have realized long ago that the priesthood was not right for him -- so many people did a disservice to him by ordaining him when he has been struggling with such difficult issues for apparently a very long time.

    Less than a month ago, on Dec. 15, 2013, this former priestmonk and Naval chaplain posted a piece on the "OCA Wonder Blog" -- directed toward OCA youth. Did anyone in Syosset know of his struggles only a month ago? Probably! Nothing against him -- I pray for him and hope he finds peace. Yet the OCA gave him an open forum to American Orthodox youth on behalf of the church less than a month ago!

    This problem of normalization of homosexuality is not isolated to the OCA. If you look at your screenshot, the priest who writes to him "A priest forever. I commend and support you. Would love to talk soon about some options" is in the Greek Archdiocese and is a Command Chaplain and a Captain in the US Navy at Marine Corps Base Lejeune in North Carolina, apparently (just do a google search). For those who are military-naive, a Captain in the Navy is the same rank as a Colonel in the Army -- one rank below a one-star General or Admiral. CAPT (Ch) Gianulis is a senior ranking officer to the former priestmonk and is now very pleased that one of his own Orthodox Naval Chaplains is leaving the Church and is getting married to another man?!

    Even if you tried, you couldn't make this stuff up.

    Father Milton Gianulis's and Fr John Tkachuk's blatant disregard (as George posted above) for church tradition and church teaching is nauseating. It makes you wonder if either of them has offered to serve at the former priestmonk's gay wedding? Fr John Tkachuk is a retired US Air Force chaplain. I am career military (still in) -- how could I go to either of these priests for counsel or for confession?

    I don't fault the former priestmonk/chaplain -- he's a confused young guy who probably had no business being a priest/chaplain in the first place. The problem is with his many advisors, professors at SVOTS, and bishops who let him get to this point. And now some of these people applaud him "coming out" and leaving the Orthodox Church altogether! Amazing!

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    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

      Why, Engaged Observer! Archpriest J. Tkachuk was a leading member of the Special Investigating Commitee to which he was appointed by Archbishop Benjamin. This highly ethical Archpriest participated in the condemnation of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, who has never retaliated against the calumnies perpetrated by that Committee by revealing the record of Fr. J. Tkachuk. We should give Fr. Tkachuk the benefit of the doubt and consider that he has been so shamed by the Christian response of Protopresbyter R.S. Kondratick to the calumnies perpetrated against him that he has decided never again to label anyone guilty.

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      • SIC (sic) says:

        For all of you who gave His Grace Bishop Tikhon a "thumbs down" for his comment to Engaged Observer, if you only knew how spot on he is about "Fr." Tkachuk, your thumbs down would be thumbs up. An entire website could be devoted to this man's confessional escapades!

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      • Bishop Tikhon (retired);

        RSK, Kondratick, was guilty as sin. He stole thousands at Syosset and now has stolen at least $50,000 from the parish in Florida. What false accusations? He should have been tared, feather and hung up by his cahones. Why do you insist he is innocent? The guy should have been fully prosecuted in NY State.

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      • Dear BT, Confession is the Answer says:

        Dear Love +BT,

        Some folks here are asking why the father confessor knew nothing about Mr. Sprecher's homo inclinations. Allow me to explain.

        First[...]Robert Kondratick. Neither does it have to do with Archpriest John Tkachuk or Mr. Sprecher. It has to do with a sickness affecting the major orders of the clergy. The problem is that clerics are in a very different, and difficult, situation when it comes to confession. When a layman goes to confession about adultery or fornication, rarely would he suffer the consequence of losing his job. However, when a bishop learns of a cleric's major sins at confession, he may choose to instantly end a career, or tuck away the information for future use.

        The fear of being publicly "outted" for a defrockable offense may prevent some clergy from coming clean in confession. (I'm specifically referring to adulterous sexual acts involving adults, whether hetero or homo.) That very real fear is reinforced when a retired Bishop alludes to, or provokes another into, "revealing the record" of a priest.

        So what is a cleric to do? Perhaps, all too often a cleric (Bishop, Priest, or Deacon) who has committed a major sin, fails to confess it out of fear of the financial or other career-ending repercussions. That sin then builds, and eventually leads to spiritual and physical ailments, up to and including death.

        The answer is for clergy to have 100% confidence in their father confessors and Bishops, and be able to confess EVERYTHING.

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        • Jim of Olym says:

          One reason clergy might 'come clean' in confession regarding sexual sins (homo or hetero) might be that they are somewhat burned out by parish ministry and don't get real mentoring or support from their peers or superiors until they are in real trouble. simply because no one asks them what they are facing until it is too late. I know of such one, who now has left Christianity altogether, and he was one of the 'real good priests'. Sad. I don't think anyone except perhaps his family knew what he was going through. Now he has a different life altogether and seems happy, but is not in the church.

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    • Fr. Milton Gianulis says:

      I don't typically reply on blogs, yet I think I must since both my meaning and intent were misunderstood. My first mistake was posting on social media what should have been a private conversation. My second mistake was to imply in saying "a priest forever" that I believe his priesthood should be held inviolate. I do not. I expect and would want the OCA to depose him. I was speaking to his heart because I wish to speak to him on matters that are of concern to no one else. I am sorry if I scandalized anyone.
      However, I am not sorry I said "I support" him, because I do. God loves the sinner; not the sin. I try to follow our Lord in that, just as he did the woman caught in adultery. And, I am not sorry I said "I commend him", just like we say in the liturgy, I commend him (and all of us) to Christ our Lord. He will judge, not I.
      I will not be engaging anyone in further discussion on this or any blog. I will be happy to discuss this or other spiritual issues of concern with anyone. Email me your phone number and we can talk.
      In XP's love, Fr. Milton Gianulis

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      • George Michalopulos says:

        Thank you Fr for setting the record straight. As far a I'm concerned, the matter regarding what you meant are no longer open for discussion. We too love Christopher and pray he comes to repentance.

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      • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says:

        Thank you, Fr. Milton, for your reply and clarification.

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      • Thank you, Father Milton!

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      • Thank you for speaking up and clearing the air. I wish more would.

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      • Engaged observer says:

        Father,

        Thank you for the reply. It's disenheartening to Orthodox military members, when we Orthodox are so few and far between, to see things like this happening with Orthodox military chaplains.

        With Father Kilian leaving Orthodoxy and the priesthood, this is the 4th Orthodox military chaplain that I know of who has left Orthodoxy while a military chaplain. Two of them I met while I was deployed. All military chaplains need to be endorsed by some sort of recognized religious body, thus chaplains in this situation try to get picked up by a protestant group or get recognized by some fly-by-night religious accrediting organization so that they can remain military chaplains. Two of these chaplains became Anglican/Episcopalian, and the other one got accredited by some fly-by-night religious organization so that he could remain in the military. No idea what the former priest Fr Kilian is going to do -- get out of the Navy, get accredited by some other religious body so he can stay a Navy chaplain? Who knows.

        With this many Orthodox military chaplains leaving Orthodoxy, I think we need a stronger vetting process before we let our priests become military chaplains. Fortunately, many of the Orthodox military chaplains whom I know are outstanding.

        It's quality, not quantity.

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        • ..this is the 4th Orthodox military chaplain that I know of who has left Orthodoxy while a military chaplain.

          Maybe it's a sign.

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          • Fr. Peter Dubinin says:

            A sign of what? What are you suggesting about military chaplains? Quit with the innuendo and state your concern. Do you think we sat back and said nothing in anticipation of the repeal of DADT? Do you think some didn't pay a price professionally for reflecting the clear and forthright teaching of the Holy Orthodox Church concerning what is moral versus what is immoral; at the same time continuing to treat all with dignity and respect, consideration and compassion? Military service as a priest presents a conundrum; you don't want to be so old you can't "hang" and at the same time you don't want to be so young you lack the strength to resist compromise of the Gospel for the sake of acceptance by the powers that be. Pray for the Orthodox clergy serving in uniform. Encourage your hierarchs, especially ecclesiastical endorsers, to have regular contact with the military chaplains to strengthen them in their ministry. Encourage your hierarchs to provide clear and concrete direction to stand for Christian morality and put the powers that be on notice that they are being observed to see how our clergy are being treated. For as long as the Church has had chaplains serving in the US armed forces there has not been IMO the necessary contact and relationship between the Church at-large and those who serve. So, quit with the innuendo and realize there are some standing in the particular gap that is the military because not everyone can...

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            • Jim of Olym says:

              Fr. Peter, you have it right! I live near a large base (Lewis-McChord) and have known several Orthodox chaplains there. We don't have one right now.) A number of current and retired Orthodox service people attend our parish. Yet the status of the chaplains is always problematic since their ministry is to the military population rather than to the surrounding community, including retured military and their families. I know of several army widows who can relate more to the chaplains rather than to the normal parish clergy.

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      • aka Maybe, Maybe Not says:

        Dear Father Milton,

        Thank you for the braveness of your clarification and thank you for pointing out the proper love for a brother in Christ. I hope you continue to provide moral support and guidance to Killian, formerly Christopher in the world, and that he continues to know that many of his brothers and sisters in Christ love him and care about him, whatever his sin or temporary failings. He is still a precious soul.

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  11. Is this creeping movement towards acceptance of sexual perversions really limited to OCA? As one can see from your screenshot, George, the other priest who congratulated the couple is Fr. Milton Gianulis. Is not he in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese?

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  12. Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

    Why try to Episcopalianize the Orthodox Church? Why not become Episcopalian instead?

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    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      Or join the Presbyterians, from whose sinking ship I have been swimming, but I suppose if you are used to priests and bishops, you might want an apostate church with priests and bishops! But I certainly agree; just leave, then make your "announcements".

      I keep thinking of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". One's friends and neighbors (and fellow congregants) start turning into pod people.

      My (least) favorite quote is that of our then-Governor, Christine Gregoire, when she signed the Washington legislature's "gay-marriage" bill into law a year-and-a-half back: "As a Catholic, I oppose same-sex marriage, but as a human being, I support it."

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    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says:

      Fr. Hans, perhaps one of the reasons such extremely avant-garde Orthodox Christians stay in the Church is the same cynical expedience that a well-known Roman Catholic feminist theologian offered for her remaining in the same church as the pope of Rome: that is where the "power" and the "property" are concentrated.

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    • Protopappas says:

      This is because of the illness known as "mychurch." The symptoms of "mychurch" include thinking that because of some accident of birth or some inclinations of the past that it belongs to us. It doesn't, it belongs to Christ, and at best (Lord willing), we belong to it because it belongs to Him. But the Church is solely His possession, with the Father and Holy Spirit. We don't have the right to corrupt it by altering the Lord's basic commandments and precepts that He put upon it and gave to us through it.

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  13. It's easy to miss, perhaps, but the Hieromonk K case shows that a homosexual priest-monk and his SVOTS alum partner do not feel comfortable enough after getting married to remain in either Orthodoxy or the OCA. Same with the former priest in NV - he joined the ECUSA rather than remain as he was, under cover within the OCA. Whatever one thinks about the nature of homosexual acceptance in certain circles of the OCA or Orthodoxy, there is obviously not as powerful a 'lavender mafia' as some would have us believe. Whether there is a slippery slope or a slouching toward Gomorrah at play a la what took place in the ECUSA and other mainline denominations is another question altogether. Whether there are clergy who are or have struggled with SSA is also different question than whether there is a 'lavender mafia' or a wink-and-nod culture of homosexual acceptance in the OCA. (I would argue there is a wink-and-nod culture regarding a host of sins and passions because every church - and blog - is built of sinful human beings. We need someone in the altar and a few in the pews, and not only is no one worthy, no one is sufficiently penitent or reformed enough to be allowed. Not sure why homosexuality is so often chose to be the unforgivable sin over inveterate and public liars, gluttons, fornicators, thieves, etc.)

    It's also worth remembering the primary difference between an Orthodox jurisdiction like the OCA and the ECUSA, the UMC, the UCC, etc. While they may be termed Christians in some ways, no Protestant denomination is or ever has been part of the Church. That is no small difference.

    Finally, part of what's going on here is mirrored in the way Pope Francis has been speaking about homosexuality and abortion. There is a difference between changing doctrine and change the way one communicates the full message of the Faith. We cannot expect the Law of Christ from those without Christ. There is no need to adopt the Protestant Law/Gospel distinction whereby we preach them to hell before offering the balm of faith. That's the tactic of the God described in Kalomiros' "River of Fire". Not taking up the Right's standard in the culture wars is not the same as taking up the Left's. Homosexuality is not the primary message of Christ or the Church, and it's only after one has spent time with that message that the Church's understanding of sexuality and celibacy makes any sense at all.

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    • Engaged observer says:

      What boggles my mind is that, at least in the case of former priest Aaron Oliver, there seems to have been a myriad of clues suggesting that he was homosexual, and he was quite public about this. His blog is replete with references to homosexuality: http://aaronoliver.blogspot.com

      He was yet another OCA military chaplain and a former priest in Las Vegas who then abandoned Orthodoxy to the ECUSA becase he suddenly discovers that Orthodoxy is oppressive to his sexual orientation? Come on -- anyone with half a brain could have seen this coming from a mile away, yet he is still ordained an Orthodox clergyman? Who is in charge? Who's running the show? Will they ordain anyone who shows up?

      Fr Tom Hopko in his podcasts often mentions how in the 1950s the line at the fledgling SVOTS about seminarians was that "few are called and all are chosen," because there were so few seminarians in a very small church. Seems like that is still the case.

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      • Who to blame says:

        You said "anyone with half a brain could have seen this coming from a mile away" and you asked "Who is in charge? Who’s running the show?" Well, guess who ordained this man a deacon: Metropolitan Jonah. http://www.svots.edu/headlines/one-priest-four-deacons-ordained-during-commencement-week.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          How can you blame a bishop for ordaining one bad apple? Are you sure you want to go down that trail and dredge up all the other bishops who ordained known homosexuals to the priesthood some 30-40 years ago? Some of whom married women and then divorced them to live with their catamites while still being in the priesthood? Some of whom are lauded by the Syosset Set?

          Instead, let's consider this possibility: the last 3+ years Jonah has been out of commission. What has transpired in his absence?

          1. For his first internal exile he wanted to go back to Manton but Arb Benjamin wouldn't let him. Hmmmm...why is that? Maybe because while he was gone Manton became a source of scandal? Luckily, that blew up in everybody's face when Fr Martin led a justifiable exodus from there and into the pastoral embrace of the Serbian Church --things being so bad that they were received without getting a formal release.

          2, In the South, the locum tenancy was taken from Jonah and we still have the problem in Miami which our locum tenens still refuses to address.

          3. In the Midwest, a bishop who published the false accusations against Jonah was later caught texting a young lady.

          4. St Luke's Institute, the "institute" of choice for the Syosset Set was exposed as a racket whose sole purpose is to rake in the big bucks. And oh yeah, it's director was forced to resign because he was caught with his priestly pants down.

          5. St Nick's cathedral in DC has turned into a ghost town.

          6. Philly is getting ready to have Bp Mark Maymon forced down their throats and I'm already hearing rumblings among the Carps there.

          7. The DOW is fitting out a priest who has unanswered questions for episcopal vestments.

          8. SVS has been exposed as a place with a high degree of "tolerance" and "inclusiveness." How many straight, Orthodox young men are going to go there now? Four years ago SVS was thrown into financial turmoil because Metropolitan Philip abruptly withdrew three (3!) seminarians from there to send them to Holy Cross instead (to punish the OCA for giving Mark Stokoe such a free reign). Have we forgotten that?

          What I am seeing in my mail is a very real fear by the Syosset Set that the jig is finally up and they're scrambling to find somebody to blame for this priest's actions. It's not going to work, Jonah is no more responsible for this man's spiritual malformation than the man on the moon. Instead what is becoming more apparent is that his formation took a decided turn for the worse while at SVS. And as we can see from the hundreds of kudos, the field was very fertile on the East Coast for such a shift in attitudes.

          Irony of ironies: while Jonah was willing to "reimagine autocephaly," people at SVS were willing to "reimagine matrimony."

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          • Tom Jones says:

            George: You say,

            "8. SVS has been exposed as a place with a high degree of “tolerance” and “inclusiveness.” How many straight, Orthodox young men are going to go there now? Four years ago SVS was thrown into financial turmoil because Metropolitan Philip abruptly withdrew three (3!) seminarians from there to send them to Holy Cross instead (to punish the OCA for giving Mark Stokoe such a free reign). Have we forgotten that?"

            SVS has always been a graduate school of Orthodox Theology where men & women are welcome to study. Not only Orthodox, but RC's, Protestants and even Jews. Regarding ordination; not everyone who has ever attended SVS has been ordained; many never had any intention of ordination. Those MALES wishing ordination would discuss this with their bishop and this is where responsibility lies. SVS wasn't put into any turmoil by Met. Philip for sending seminarians to Holy Cross nor had this anything to do with Stokoe. Met. Philip wanted students to be "exposed" to Byzantine Chant & practice, but at Holy Cross, the cost was high and in general, students didn't learn as much nor want to be there. At SVS, Met. Philip gets twice as much for the money he spends; it is economic. Now, all of the Antiochian students go to SVS. Regarding Boutenoff and homosexuals; if you ask students they will tell you that he doesn't support gay marriage. I believe his position is that the Church must have a pastoral approach to these people rather than dogmatic. Yes, homosexuality is sinful and so is heterosex outside of marriage and yet, the church glosses over the latter.Throughout the history of the Church, there have always been priests and bishops with homosexual tendencies, however, the temptation is one thing, acting on these temptations is another.

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          • Who to blame says:

            My, my, so many words to deflect from the point. It's not just "one bad apple", George, it's much more if you pay attention to those who keeps around. Another example, Fr. Nektarios, aka Michael Rymer, the defrocked Greek priest.

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            • Jim of Olym says:

              What was then Fr. Jonah to do with Michael? Send him out to live in the community and possibly infect another developmentally disabled man? He was much safer at Manton where the other guys could keep an eye on him. When I visited there I was never told who he was.

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          • Brian Van Dunn says:

            With regard to your comment about St Nicholas in Washington D.C. - I am not exactly sure what a ghost town looks like, but this doesn't seem to be it

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            • Brian Van Dunn,

              Take out all the Russians who use the Cathedral as their Baptism and Wedding factory and consider the deep financial crisis you all are in and consider how many people have left St. Nicholas in the last couple of years and you have a "ghost town" when it comes to serious members. I had to laugh when I saw the Russian New Year's Children's Party recently held, complete with "Father Frost". A total and feeble attempt to pander to the Russians in the District.

              The OCA Primatial Cathedral is a Potemkin Village.

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              • St. Nicholas Cathedral parishioner says:

                I did not know that my church is a ghost town. Perhaps, this is a new definition of the term? About a 100 people receiving communion at each of the two liturgies every Sunday. As for the point of view expressed here that Russians don't count - well, it used to be a recurrent motif among some of the the vocal and politically minded parishioners here. Luckily, now most of the racists (xenophobes, nationalists, exceptionalists - pick your favorite term) have gone to other places or just keep quiet. Or, perhaps, they finally got the point of that passage in St. Paul's epistle to the Galatians? One more thing - we come to church to worship God, not to meet a particular bishop or discuss his achievements or failings, or to argue about church politics. That is done, too, of course, but not by everyone (not even majority), and it is definitely not the primary reason for going to church. And, surely, we miss Metropolitan Jonah...

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                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                  I agree: and the video supports us with all those kids at the Yolka in the church basement.

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                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                    And that's all it supports. I, of course, haven't been back for a long while, but the photos I've seen since show sparse attendance at major feasts like Christmas on the new calendar. And since they commune literally everybody who comes to the chalice, 100 is not a lot for a cathedral.

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                • That's interesting what you write, too often I run into people who's stayed at St. Nick's and some tell me it's often empty, it's not the same and they want to leave or they are disillusioned now. There are those however that just ignored the whole affair and we never talk about what's going on there or about what had happened and they will stay forever.

                  As for Xenephobs, racists or what not's, I had never been a part of any Church that was so divided over race. I realize St. Nicholas has a long history of fighting over this topic, but to step into it was not fun. Every other Church I had ever been a part of embraced all the different ethnicities that attended. They did so in music, language and food and respect for the differences. St. Nicholas finally started to recognise the Georgians a little in their midst after the first several years I was there with the Bazaars. That was nice. Good food, but I never heard Georgian music or language-oh maybe once when the bishop visited. I also think people constantly misunderstood each other and instead of trying to understand one another they just drew a line and labeled them racist or whatever-although I think a few were, but I think it went both ways. I remember a conversation I had with someone about another someone and I could see the one didn't understand in the least where this other person was coming from and they totally misjudged them. I never saw them try to understand the other. That was disappointing.

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                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    The fact that there was "the other" is the problem. "The other " will always be excluded.
                    That is the nature of things in this world.

                    Now we have a group of folks whose identity is wrapped up in their sexual desire. And those who don't accept that identity as they define it and perceive it and reject Holy Tradition are "the other" and have to change or be silenced because of our "hate".

                    That is the beauty of the Church. We are all sinners in different ways. We don't have to understand "the other", we only have to submit our own sins to God's grace and bear one another's burden. There is no "other".

                    Only those who refuse to repent and submit to God's grace in the Church have declared themselves "other" --outside God's mercy. The hardness of my own heart keeps me from knowing God. Where is the "other" in that?

                    "And Jesus wept"

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                    • Semantics. I was telling a story and the difference between the 2 people in my story was race-whatever that means. There is one human race last time I checked. But yes otherwise I'd agree. There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . .

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          • Facts Schmacts says:

            "Who to blame" neglects a few facts in an effort to place false blame on Metropolitan Jonah.

            "OLIVER, Deacon Aaron was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on July 31, 2011 by Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco at St. Paul the Apostle Church, Las Vegas, NV. He is under the omophorion of Bishop Benjamin and attached to the Diocese of the West."

            "(SPRECHER), Hieromonk Kilian is released from his duties at St Nicholas Cathedral and from the Diocese of Washington and the omophorion of Metropolitan Jonah. He is transferred to the omophorion of Bishop Michael of New York, effective September 4, 2011. He awaits assignment. (Diocese of New York/New Jersey)"

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      • I also recall Fr Thomas Hopko reminiscing somewhere that when he arrived at the old St Vladimir's seminary in the 1950s the students were told anyone engaging in homosexual acts would be expelled.

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    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      Homosexuality is not "chosen" as the "unforgivable sin" over other sins-- homosexuality is "choosing itself" as non-sinful.

      This is how it differs from other sexual sins in particular, as we all recognize: we do not excuse adulteries because of the powerful opposite-sex attraction that can drive them.

      What is the "rite" that someone professes to be a Christian employs when he "marries" another man? We know what Jesus said: "have you not read that he who created them in the beginning created them male and female, and so a man leaves his mother and father and is joined unto his wife, and they become one flesh. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

      Quite apart from St. Paul's writing on the subject, how does a Christian overcome these words of Christ? How could one dare to fashion a "Christian" ceremony that would tamper with those words? The prospect is deeply disturbing.

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      • We often accept adulterers who remarried, though, as well as those who were fornicators in their youth. And yes, we do excuse them as understandable sins of youth, or boys, or of those in difficult marriages, who married young, etc.

        By definition, sin is all about choosing itself as non-sin, excusing it. That's no different for homosexuality than it is for judging one's neighbor, coveting, hardheartedness, not keeping the sabbath holy, not honoring one's parents, stealing from others by not giving when they are in need, etc.

        And no one is talking about changing the marriage service in Orthodoxy.

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        • We accept them because they have repented (changed). They are not currently living in their sin-and if they are they should not be taking communion.
          With remarriage (MO) where there is adultery we have been too soft. However if it is something in their past and they have repented and gone through penance and all have remarried so the situation would involve interfering with several others lives-that's when you exercise economia. It should be something rare not the norm as it's become.
          If one of these persons we are currently talking about repents in the future they are accepted back into the Church, but not the Priesthood -as I understand it- that's a one time shot.

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  14. Wondering says:

    Which professor from SVS congratulated the couple on their marriage?

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    • Anon SVS Seminarian says:

      Boutneff Is the professor. Two current students (James Weigel and Tim Dooley) also praised the marriage. One former student did not bless it

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      • lexcaritas says:

        The professor and two students must be corrected and brought to repentance. Who's going to do it?

        lxc

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        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

          Who, indeed? Bouteneff should be fired and the two students expelled, or St. Vlad's will lose whatever respect it still has. It will become known as the Crestwood School for Gays.

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          • Current SVS Student says:

            There is no need for the students to be expelled. They withdrew from their program.

            These two former students are not at all representative of our student body and I invite any of you commenters to come and visit and get to know our school.

            I encourage people to look at the very good works our alumni are doing.

            SVS and her current students should not be judged by these two who have fallen away from the church.

            please!

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      • Seriously? says:

        How cowardly of you to point fingers at your fellow seminarians, yet post anonymously yourself. It'd have been nice to know who on campus is selling people out on gossip websites.

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        • SVS Student says:

          Same would be asked of you.

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          • Seriously? says:

            Why on earth would I want to reveal my identity when someone here is eager to ruin the clerical careers that we have all sacrificed so much for? Public lynching will not lead to honest discussion; be aware that you are driving many of those who may support you into silence for fear of being connected to this whole scandal (in any way) by name.

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            • This is weird. Are you showing your authority over this student by letting him know you' re a priest?
              The student is trying to have honest discussion. He/she named names that are on FB-correct? So they are already public and known.
              Why would anyone be scared into silence if they are connected to this if they support the Churches teachings? Just speak up, make yourself clear. No one wants to lynch anyone, but people do want to get to the bottom of what's going on and make sure that the Church (OCA-et all) is not going down the rabbit hole. Surely that is of concern to you too?

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              • Seriously? says:

                I'm not sure why you've assumed I'm a priest; I am at seminary to study and discern whether a clerical career is where I'm supposed to be, just like most of my brother seminarians here. However, with names, rumours and incorrect information being bandied about, I'm not particularly eager to have my name come up in Google searches connected to this specific scandal.

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                • Understandable-

                  I assumed you were a priest because of how you stated,

                  "Why on earth would I want to reveal my identity when someone here is eager to ruin the clerical careers that we have all sacrificed so much for".

                  Please correct any incorrect information, I'm not interested in that either.

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        • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

          I'm sorely tempted to say say something about fingers automatically rotating back to the owner(s), but I'll refrain.

          Like(0)Dislike(0)
      • Tim Dooley says:

        I am proud to support my brothers in Christ, and I do not "praise" any marriages, gay or straight. I was taught at SVS to respect the text and not eisegete. I support people, and I love both of these men, who have shown bravery and integrity. They are both devoted to the Church and I am blessed to know them.

        My private comments on FB are not reflective of the student body or the faculty of SVS. They are reflective of my personal views and experiences. Those who are inclined to do so can go ahead and ask the seminary to expel me for expressing love and support to a gay man who I know personally. Stalin would be proud. Or perhaps we should mind our own business and get on with our task of becoming Christ-like.

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        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          I think marriage is praiseworthy, indeed.

          As Jesus said: "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and therefore a man leaves his mother and his father and is joined to his wife, and they become one flesh? Therefore what God has joined has joined together, let not man put asunder." This is "the text".

          And of course, Jesus attended the wedding feast at Cana and performed his first public miracle there. So I think it is Christ-like to praise marriage, and to do so is indeed one of our tasks. To mind marriage is to "mind our own business."

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        • Peter Papoutsis says:

          Wow! To actually see the fufillment of II Thess. 2 is awe-inspiring and scary all at the same time.

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        • DogoCanario says:

          Son, choose the red pill next time.

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        • "Those who are inclined to do so can go ahead and ask the seminary to expel me for expressing love and support to a gay man who I know personally. Stalin would be proud."

          Do the personal views of a priest matter? Should he believe in God? Should he hold the Orthodox faith? Should he have a conscience formed by Holy Tradition? And should he compare some potential effort of the Church to protect the priesthood from infiltration by apostates to the despicable acts of a mass murderer?

          It is not possible to become Christ-like while endorsing filthy, sick, evil behavior condemned by the Apostles and Church Fathers. The above quote is from a servant of the evil one.

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          • Tim Dooley says:

            Misha,

            I am not a priest, so your comments in that regard are inappropriate. But I would agree that Christians in general, not only priests, should answer your rhetorical questions with a "yes, of course", except for the last one. That question describes something that I have not done, and is therefor irrelevant. My allusion to Stalin had to do with naming "enemies of the state" and not the alleged "infiltration by apostates" that you referenced. The person in question left, he didn't "infiltrate" anything. He wasn't an apostate when in the Church, as far as we know.

            You said: "It is not possible to become Christ-like while endorsing filthy, sick, evil behavior condemned by the Apostles and Church Fathers."

            Who has done so? You imply that I have. How have I? What were my words? If you cannot answer this, then you are simply guilty of slander, which is hardly an admirable trait. Your characterization of trying to get me expelled as protecting the priesthood is baseless. If it is based on something, then what is it?

            You seem to think that there is a perception out there that one can be gay and a priest. The person in question didn't think that, I don't think that, and I don't anybody else who thinks that. So what on earth are you talking about?

            You went on to say: "The above quote is from a servant of the evil one."

            On what basis can you say this besides your own insecurity? What exactly are you railing against?

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            • Tim,

              I did not suggest you were a priest. I stated that SVS has an interest in screening its students who may end up as priests. I thought I made that clear with my comment about "protecting the priesthood". As to what I am talking about, congratulating two sodomites on making a mockery of Christian marriage is evil, not a recognition of their "bravery and integrity".

              My security or insecurity has nothing to do with it. Suggesting that they are "devoted to the Church" while rejecting its moral authority is quite a diabolical assertion. So, yes, you are serving the evil one.

              "Those who are inclined to do so can go ahead and ask the seminary to expel me for expressing love and support to a gay man who I know personally. Stalin would be proud. Or perhaps we should mind our own business and get on with our task of becoming Christ-like."

              As I wrote above, it is despicable to drag Stalin into this and if we are all to get on with becoming Christ like then you might start by accepting the teaching of His Church on the nature of homosexual relationships.

              But you knew exactly what i was talking about anyway.

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              • Tim Dooley says:

                "As to what I am talking about, congratulating two sodomites on making a mockery of Christian marriage is evil, not a recognition of their “bravery and integrity”."

                This seems like a rather daring lie on your part. Can you back this up with any sort of evidence?

                "Suggesting that they are “devoted to the Church” while rejecting its moral authority is quite a diabolical assertion."

                Have they rejected its moral authority? I see no indication that they have. Resigning from the priesthood, monasticism, and seminary seems to indicate that they recognize the moral authority of the Church. Has there been one peep about changing the Church's policies from them? Not that I know of. Quite the opposite, in fact. So it seems that they both accept the Church's moral authority and admit that they are struggling with following that authority. At least they have the integrity to not play games and fake it. Their choices are their own, though, and I never praised anything that stands opposed to the Church's beliefs.

                "if we are all to get on with becoming Christ like then you might start by accepting the teaching of His Church on the nature of homosexual relationships."

                Yeah, that happened quite a few years ago. Why would you suggest otherwise? Oh, right, because you seem to think that you can say whatever you want with no regard for truth. Very commendable and intellectually sound.

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            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              Really, Mr. Dooley, what is one to think? "I do not 'praise' any marriages, gay or straight". So there are 'gay marriages'?

              And what in the world is a 'straight marriage'? "Have you not read that he who made them in the beginning made them male and female, and therefore a man leaves his mother and his father and enters into straight marriage with his wife"??

              If you enter the fray, don't get all disingenuous about it. No gay priests, you say. How about "brave" gay couples "devoted to the Church"? Yes to those?

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              • Tim Dooley says:

                Yes, Tim, there are "gay" marriages just like there are secular marriages. I was accused (wrongly) of praising a gay marriage. If you disagree with the terminology, take it up with the brave anonymous SVS poster. They introduced that nomenclature.

                As for straight marriage, it is between straight couples. The marriage that is at issue here is neither straight, nor is it blessed by the Church. I affirm the value of marriage, particularly the type of marriage blessed by the Church.

                As I've said before, I didn't praise any marriage. Nobody here seems to have the foggiest notion of what I said. Nobody has quoted my FB comment. They have simply assumed that the anonymous source is correct. Rather lazy, don't you think?

                "No gay priests, you say. How about “brave” gay couples “devoted to the Church”? Yes to those?"

                Did I ever say "yes" to them? Did I ever describe them as a gay couple? My comments were about two people, and my experience of them is certainly not as a gay couple.

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                • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                  Ok, fine, Mr. Dooley, but beating around the bush accomplishes nothing, does it? Why not just address the issues, instead of closely parsing the words of the exchange? If we were talking, we'd presumably readily get to the point.

                  So get to the point. You know my point, I think.

                  Or don't, if you prefer.

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                  • Tim Dooley says:

                    I was addressing the issues. The salient one is that people here are speaking about something they have no knowledge of. For example, what I said on FB. Nobody knows what I said, it seems. That should be troubling to you, shouldn't it?

                    So here is my point: I have nothing to be ashamed of. If you assert that I do, then show the wrongdoing. And I mean actually showing something rather than simply complaining about being disingenuous and beating around the bush. That is kids' stuff. You haven't given any actual reason for venting your righteous anger. All you have done is misinterpreted some statements in a fairly obvious way, and completely ignored the comment that led to my name being mentioned here.

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        • Christ was silent as a sheep before its shearers. You might feel like you have a bull's eye on your back, but don't get sucked into it and it'll blow over. I'm saying this as someone who finds your comments above ridiculous.

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        • Trudge at SmartVote says:

          Mr. Dooley,

          We need to listen to the manner of the Scriptures and Chrysostom on this matter below.

          Chrysostom, Homily XII.
          1 Timothy iv. 1–3
          “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."

          As those who adhere to the faith are fixed on a safe anchor, so those who fall from the faith can nowhere rest; but after many wanderings to and fro, they are borne at last into the very gulf of perdition. And this he had shown before, saying, that some had “already made shipwreck concerning the faith,” and now he says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits.”

          ....There will be a time, when even those who have partaken of the faith will fall into a worse error, not only with respect to meats, but to marriages, and other such things, introducing the most pernicious notions.... And he calls them very justly, “seducing spirits,” since it was by these they were actuated in speaking such things. “Speaking lies in hypocrisy.” This implies that they utter not these falsehoods through ignorance and unknowingly, but as acting a part, knowing the truth, but “having their conscience seared,” that is, being men of evil lives.

          You have said:

          I am proud to support my brothers in Christ...They are both devoted to the Church and I am blessed to know them.

          My private comments on FB are not reflective of the student body or the faculty of SVS. They are reflective of my personal views and experiences. Those who are inclined to do so can go ahead and ask the seminary to expel me for expressing love and support to a gay man who I know personally. Stalin would be proud. Or perhaps we should mind our own business and get on with our task of becoming Christ-like.

          Yes, Stalin, the constant re-writer of fact and meaning on which Orwell modeled his works on modern tyranny, would be proud of you if he were still about. Fortunately, he was mortal.

          There are a number of untruths in what you say. Sprecher and the man in the Anti-Christ marriage are not brothers and have slandered Christ and the Church. Nor are they "Gay" in an ontological sense. "Gay" is a nihilistic/Sadist concept not a part of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

          The "love" and "support" that you speak of is a worldly, demonic "love." It is not the Christian love of the Holy Spirit.

          If you do not care for your own soul, how can you, a seminary student, care for the souls of others? Would that you threw yourself at the feet of Sprecher and this other man and begged them not to do this filthy and perverted thing, and told them of the torments they will face for eternity for their abuses. That would have been true Christian love.

          You should immediately tell the faculty at St. Vladimir's of your unorthodox opinions and resign. Those in authority in the Church, at St. Vladimir's, the representatives of Christ and the Apostles need to command in these cases, and in the case of the general atmosphere of evil affecting the American public and the Church of Christ.

          Sprecher and the other man's actions should be condemned in the strongest possible terms and St. Vladimir's should feel a sense of shame for having produced such men, committing an act unprecedented in the history of the Church, and should review their approach to instilling faith to those in their charge and in their duty to produce men of faith and holiness to lead Christ's Church.

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    • Dr. Bouteneff's comment was simply this: "God love you, now and always." That isn't a congratulation on the marriage, and it isn't an affirmation of anything except God's love. Isn't that something all of us would affirm? I do hope so.

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      • Thank you for that clarification. A couple of students might support this union, but SVS does not support this in the administration or faculty. Bouteneff's comment should be affirmed by us all.

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      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

        So, a man forsakes his monastic vows and his priestly ordination, betrays the Church he was trusted to represent, and publicly embarks upon an abominable course of life that destines him for damnation — and just like an Episcopalian, a doctor of the Church sends him off publicly with a simple "God love you, now and always"? How do you think the renegade priestmonk understood this pretentious little pat on the back? What are the odds he got the wrong message?

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        • I think one of the biggest problems today in the Church is bravery and clarity. Ok maybe the Professor didn't mean it the way it's being understood here, but as you say what's the message-especially to the person in delusion?

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        • M. Stankovich says:

          Heaven help me, but I could not stay away from the return of the Fléau et Némésis de faggotry (Barker, get in here and translate!), Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell.

          How do you think the renegade priestmonk understood this pretentious little pat on the back? What are the odds he got the wrong message?

          Are you purposely trying to trick me BPM? I ran this through SPSS for hours and I kept getting the same exact error: "Shame on a brotha' what try to run game on a brotha'" - See da Wu Tang." Wu Tang?

          See, here's what I'm thinking, BPM: you demonstrated to me long ago that very few things that disgust you more than homosexuality and anyone who demonstrates anything that smells of pastoral concern for anyone who struggles with same-sex attraction. You mock the "notion of repentance" and demand they change into heterosexuals or be gone. And the insufficiency of the "pretentious little pat on the back": were you thinking he needed to be punched square in the face like a "man" to really get the message? I have argued that, not only is your opinion paranoiac and no better than a coin-flip, but on this site I have argued that it likewise destroys the fundamental necessity for non-sexualized, loving, and fraternal relationships between men because you would attempt to project your own ego conflicts onto others.

          ἦν δὲ ἀνακείμενος εἷς ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ κόλπῳ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, ὃν ἠγάπα ὁ Ἰησοῦς· (Jn. 13:23)

          What are the odds he got the wrong message?

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          • Thomas Barker says:

            Fléau et Némésis de faggotry (Barker, get in here and translate!)

            Scourge and nemesis of all things gay, or alternatively, Torquemada of the twinks and bears.

            I was trying to be good and you had to go and tempt me.

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  15. Thomas Barker says:

    The enemy of mankind knows that a Trojan horse filled with sodomites is a more powerful weapon for attacking the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church than any number of overt campaigns. How disgusting to read "I support and commend you" coming from a GOA priest who is also a U.S military officer.

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    • lexcaritas says:

      Exactly right, dear to Christ Thomas. We like to console ourselves with our Lord's promise that the "gate of Hell" will not "prevail" against His Church, but conveniently forgot that this promise came in response to a condition that it be founded upon "this Rock". Built upon the Rock the House stands; built on sand, it falls. And what comes before the Fall? Pride cometh before the Fall and a haughty spirit before destruction. Did He not also warn: "When the Son of Man comes, will He find the Faith on the earth?"

      Christ is in our midst and His Kindgom at hand. Knowing that we who judge "do the same things," shall we each and all repent while it is still Day?
      lxc

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      • Thomas Barker says:

        lexcaritas,

        Your words came to mind several times today and I pondered them. They remind me that my own life has been a continuous stream of grievous sins. I am humbled.

        With Thanks,
        Thomas

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  16. Who to blame says:

    So who is to blame for having made this man a monk? The same person who made him a priest: Metropolitan Jonah

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  17. Anon SVS Seminarian says:

    Not every student at SVS agrees or blesses what Christopher did. Nor do we agree with Bouteneff who blesses this "marriage". If there is any hope, know that there are some against this atrocity.

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  18. geo michalopulos says:

    For what it's worth, I'd talked to more than a few people who are close to the situation. They were shocked to find out that the priest in question was homosexual. They literally had no idea. This is probably the major reason why this story is so shocking. As opposed to the old story about the archdeacon who had run off to California to "marry" a man.

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    • I think most of us who were at school with him were aware of his struggle. He is a very forthright honest man, nothing duplicitous about him. Some people just are not very observant, even in the ranks of the clergy.

      Two things are disturbing about this: #1 that he gave up his struggle (although I pray for repentance, obviously his priesthood is over), but #2 and more serious: the rah-rah section composed of those who should know better: A son in law of Schmeman, a GOA Chaplain (Capt. at that!), an SVS prof, at least one priest’s wife among others. My question to them is, how would you react to a heterosexual monk doing the same thing? Leaving his priesthood, abandoning his tonsure (A very serious thing!) and hurting many people (including spiritual children) for the sake of “getting married.” How about a married priest? Would you cheer him on in leaving his priesthood, abandoning his marriage (analogous to a “tonsure”) and hurting his children (both spiritual and biological)?

      Shame on you all.

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    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

      "Kilian" seemed as gay as they come. Nice guy, but extremely effeminate. Nothing military about him. It made no sense to make him a chaplain. He seemed even to lack the manliness to be a priest.

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      • Should there be some sort of "macho" guage so we can judge who can be a priest or not? Maybe we should require them to hunt, watch Chuck Norris movies, drink Budweiser and Folger's coffee (black!)? Certainly we would exclude anyone who watches Downton Abby!

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        • Another SVS Grad says:

          Good idea SVS Grad.

          No need for Chuck Norris movies though. Just put on the application:

          "Anyone who thinks the anal canal is a vagina need not apply."

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          • Yeah, maybe that would help. ;)

            But I don't want my point to be lost: I would rather have a repentant homosexual as a pastor than a non-repentant heterosexual, even if his look and bearing as that of Clint Eastwood. Holiness is what we are after, not mannerisms. If we are to judge who is worthy of the priesthood, let it be by their actions, whether they are sinful or not.

            Not to quote a pop star but we don't get to choose our struggles; our temptation. We are "born this way." I come from a long line of hot-heads. We all struggle with anger. Does it somehow make me better that I don't struggle with homosexuality?

            Again, to judge someone by how macho they is is pretty silly. I know effeminate men who are fine husbands and fathers, and some "manly" men who are indeed gay. My guess is the good deacon needs to get out once in a while.

            OK, off to make a pot of Lemon Zinger tea. Please don't tell the boys on my rugby team!

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            • DogoCanario says:

              There is no shame in pouring Lemon Ginger, if done so with work-hardened, calloused hands.

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              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                A Rugby player, then. What position? I was second row for some years, myself. As founder of the local Rugby club, still going strong after 40 years (the club, that is), I get bought a glass when I run into players now and then at the local pubs.

                I drink tea, too. Don't know about that Lemon Z stuff, though.....

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                • Chief Cook and Bottle Washer says:

                  OK, dudes, Lemon Zinger doesn't have to be bought by Celetial Seasoning in tea bags with added unnecessary ingredients.

                  The Zinger par is simply Hibiscus tea. You crush a couple dried hibiscus sepals and boil them in water. Alternately, you can let the crushe pieces sit in the sun in water, a kind of sun tea. See beverage section of

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roselle_%28plant%29

                  After you have your basic tea, bottle it up after sieving. Drink hot or cold. Add lemon if you like

                  Caffeine free. It take a man to do the job without downing a ton of caffeine

                  In case you want to go crazy with this, hibiscus sabdariffa only grows in zone 6 south without dying over the winter.. Easy to harvest, dry, save for your shot of Vitimin C over the winter

                  PS. Enjoying Season 4 of Downton with the spouse. Great plot twists, slices of human nature, spots of traditional morality, reminders that the good don't always win, struggle with lot in life stuff, etc.

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        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

          Perhaps you haven't heard, but manliness is actually a requirement for the priesthood: A priest must be a man, and being a man obliges one to act like a man and not like a woman. Maybe you can't tell the difference, but most people can.

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      • Why should there be anything military about a chaplain? He is there to minister to the soldiers, not to fight. And the officer rank is an aberration caused by the local (US) secular law and established protestant practice. See Canon 85 of the Holy Apostles (If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon is engaged in military matters, and wishes to hold both a Roman (i.e., civil) and a sacerdotal office, let him be deposed. For (render) "unto Caesar the things which are Caesars; and unto God the things that are God’s" (Matt. 22:21)).

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        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

          I'm speaking here as a veteran, an ex-paratrooper, and former infantry officer and platoon leader: It means a lot to the troops that their spiritual guide is also a soldier, displaying manly virtues and military bearing. Nancy-boys don't get much respect. That may have had a lot to do with Sprecher's spiritual failure. Good chance.

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          • Dear Fr. Dcn., thank you for your service.

            I beleive there is some truth to what you are saying. I just think you paint with a broad brush. A real man lays down his life for others. (besides having the Y chromosome and the accompanying genitalia). Someone can be a real man even if they speak with a lisp. Even if the last syllable of the sentence rises instead of falls. Even if he prefers lattes to strong black Maxwell House. Even if he drinks strawberry marghareta's as opposed to neat bourbon. A real man may actually like Masterpiece theatre. A real man may tire of movies with lots of car chases and predictable plots. I could go on.

            Your diaconal ministry can only be enhanced if you set aside your prejudices and sterotyping.

            Oh, real men eat quiche and don't care who knows it!

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              Effeminency is not a bar to salvation. However according to St Paul it is a bar to the eldership. As is two X chromosomes, multiple marriages, and so on. Let us be real, even within homosexual circles effeminate men are relegated to subservient status. That's all Paul was talking about. Women and men look up to men who are prototypically "alpha male," what in the military is called "command presence."

              And (contra Dr Stankovich) I'm not talking about men who have same-sex attraction, some of them are as masculine as they come. As long as they keep their passions under control, I have no problem with ordaining them to the priesthood.

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              • I can see the wisdom in that approach. But you must forgive me for my peturbation at the good deacon's smearing of my friend; that he was/is not masculine enough. With comments like that we move beyond discussing the issues to making things personal. And masculinity in the sense the deacon is talking, is a rather subjective thing. No?

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                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                  SVS Grad, you've already admitted that Sprecher might not have been masculine enough for the military, so what's your point? That there's no such thing as masculinity or femininity? That's a rather queer view. You might even say the queer view.

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                • Another SVS Grad says:

                  Obviously Sprecher was not manly or he would not have run off and married another man. Manly men don't have sex with other men. Men tempted in that direction but abstain recover their masculinity.

                  Your friendship with Sprecher has no bearing on his masculinity. Even if you didn't know him the condition still holds.

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              • M. Stankovich says:

                Mr. Michalopulos,

                What is being proposed here is a purely subjective assessive quotient that apparently Dn. Mitchell possesses, but more importantly, the confidence in the concept as to apply to himself above as "an ex-paratrooper, and former infantry officer and platoon leader." I submit we make this a learning exercise for those expressing - how shall I put it - reluctance to accept his theories couched in terminology with no qualitative value such as "nancy-boy" and what it is to "display manly virtues and military bearing." Perhaps you could invite the Dn. to submit some photos of himself for our inspection - perhaps juxtaposed with the former Fr. "Kilian" (though I an unsure why this in quotations) - and understanding.

                As for your comments, Mr. Michalopulos, how about I travel to your fair city before Great Lent where I will challenge you to that old game of masculine & manly stamina: take a shot, slap the other across the face; return the favor, until one falls from his seat.

                Mighty, I respect men who step up to the plate...

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                • Thomas Barker says:

                  Monsieur Stankovich,

                  You have pot shots for many today. First lexcaritas...who never has a cross word for any of us, then Father John Whiteford, an uncompromising Orthodox priest, and now - our venerable host. But my amusing fellow, how you betray your tenuous grasp of what is manly with a few words! Where did you learn that real men exchange slaps? Social worker school? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Training your Teddy Bear? Or perhaps your stained DVD of Brokeback Mountain? Let me break it down for you, junior: real men exchange punches. Closed fists, bare knuckles, punches. Then they shake hands and the loser buys the beer. No slaps. Slaps are for B movie actresses and outraged mothers. That's all for now. You may resume your Prancercise.

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                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    Mr. Barker,

                    I had never been in a fight in my life, and now I've been in three in the past six years. All attempting to defend someone else. I have a replacement shoulder & knee, take two meds for seizures, one for fine-motor tremor of my hands, and one med to help alleviate two symptoms of PTSD, "scanning" and startle reaction. One man bit me so man times on the arms, hands, necks & face that I was placed on anti-retrovirals to prevent infection with HIV, and was tested for HIV/Hep C for a year. You familiar with the net meme, "I didn't choose the thug life, it chose me?" I didn't even think or hesitate before reacting to cops being beaten down alone, or a floridly psychotic man attacking a female therapist. AND, Mr. Barker, I also managed to kick some felon ass despite a fractured skull and a brain bleed. How do like that grasp of masculinity?

                    I weep with the angels at the fall of these two misguided men; that all of their accumulated knowledge within and about the Church could not prevent them, and the love and concern of their friends could not dissuade them. But it is unimaginable to me that so many here are able to produce and sustain such rage. I am uncompromising, Mr. Barker, so belly-up for breakfast.

                    Ladder of Divine Ascent, "Automatic Prelest" is the name of my next album. Kindly make pancakes for that comedian cum rodent Barker.

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                  • The slap is an extremely effective strike if applied correctly, which is no secret to practitioners of Russian and Chinese martial arts.

                    Real Men do not exchange slaps.

                    A Real Man puts down his foe with one blow, and thus should a man fight, not as one beating the air.

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                • Ladder of Divine Ascent says:

                  "Mr. Michalopulos, how about I travel to your fair city before Great Lent where I will challenge you to that old game of masculine & manly stamina: take a shot, slap the other across the face; return the favor, until one falls from his seat.

                  "Mighty, I respect men who step up to the plate"

                  Mr. Stankovich,

                  Anyone who believes they've worked some new understanding of something, like say homosexuality, according to the saints is automatically suffering from prelest, even if they've got "game."

                  http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/e748yj/chappelle-s-show-true-hollywood-stories---prince

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                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    It is finished. The results have been filmed (Michalopulos on the left) and the better man has won. An honourable man would allowed two-out-of-three, but who am I to complain, post-fact. From bended-knee, I offer fillet...

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            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

              You're dealing in sophomoric caricatures, SVS Grad -- hardly the level of thinking I'd expect from someone with your academic credentials.

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            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              I agreed up to the strawberry margaritas part!

              As for Masterpiece Theater, my wife and I were inveterate fans through the '80s. The very first Masterpiece Theater in about 1972, and still my favorite, was The First Churchills, the story of John Churchill, the Restoration court, and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. As for John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough as he became: now there was a soldier!

              And I've been crazy about Susan Hampshire from that day to this.....

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          • Fr. Deacon, I think you are confusing 'manly' and 'military.' The two notions overlap but not to the point of being equivalent.

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          • Engaged observer says:

            Definitely agree. Having been in the military for a long time now, I've known several Orthodox military chaplains. Listen to Fr David Alexander's podcasts from when he was a chaplain in Afghanistan: http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/valleyoftheshadow

            These give you an idea of what being a military chaplain is. It's not being a camp counselor.

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          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

            Dear Deacon Patrick. One of the most effeminate men I've encountered in my 81 years was a Master Sergeant, allegedly the most decorated soldier in the Far East, who visited the Far East Command/ United Nations Command Comm Center at Camp Zama in 1956. At the time I was ncoic of the Toll Network Control office of Company A Japan Signal Battalion, which was just outside the UNC/FEC Comm Center. This Master Sergeant in his dress uniform of the time, had stripes up and down both sleeves and chest plastered with ribbons. He was, I was told by an old-timer civilian there, one of the leftovers from the MacArthur days. General MacArthur's staffs were notorious for the heavy "gay" clique that hung around and supported that General throughout his career.
            I, frankly, was flabbergasted to observe what was an industrial strength "old queen," sashaying around the office and speaking loudly about himself. He bragged that he maintained a fourteen room apartment in Manhattan, and each room was decorated according to the style of a country or theater where he had served. "I have a German room, a Filipino room, an Auatralian room, and, of course, my favorite, the Japanese room." Even our Nippon T&T civilians were looking at one another nervously.
            I never served in the infantry. in the army I was always in the Signal Corps. In the Air Force I started out as an Air Police (Security Police) officer and served as Squadron Operations Officer at Goose Bay Air Base, Labrador, later as a duty officer at a classified ordinance site (Defense Atomic Support Agency) in Louisiana, then as Squadron Commander and Base Deputy Commander for Security and Law Enforcement ("BDCSL") at a SAC base in Mississippi, and finally for five years on the Air Staff in the Pentagon. That Master Sergeant was certainly not the ONLY effeminate leader I encountered in the Army and Air Force, but he was the most outrageous. i'm sure you realize, Deacon Patrick, that soldiers don't vote on their superiors.

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            • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says:

              Your Grace:
              Master, Bless! One has to wonder how even a high-ranking enlisted man could have the means to maintain a fourteen room appartment in Manhatten! I wouldn't care to speculate......

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              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                Not so unheard-of for the time, Father Andrei! I'm afraid many higher-ranking officers AND NCOs ;may have made a fortune in the post WWIi days, in Europe and also in the Far East, especially at MacArthur's Supreme (means Imperial) Headquarters. In general, everyone criminally minded had better chances of success back in those days. The Information Revolution with its vast transformation of available news not only brought about the downfall of the Soviet system, the USSR, and the uncovering and dissemination of evidence of child molestation by many RC clergy, it also made it very hard for any senior NCOs to flaunt their wealth and limit the flaunting to a small area. Nowadays, "what happens in Vegas" is discussed in Singapore and Timbuktu!.

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        • Hmmm, all that may be so with the Church, but I would think a man out in combat needs someone who understands what he's going through and needs to understand the military and how it operates.

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          • Well, the fact is all of us are probably ministered to best by people that understand us. I would assume Fr. Dcn. would have as hard a ministry in a Greenich Village or Seattle Washington Church as seeminly Fr. Kilian did with the blue collar "man's man" deacon.

            How many white boys have struggled in parishes in rural native Alaska? How many of the wonderful village priests on the Kuskokwim Delta would struggle with an Antiochian suburban Detroit parish?

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            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

              Blue collar? Is that what the word manly means to you?

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              • Nate Trost says:

                Personally, my list of manly qualities certainly excludes "pejoratively labeling another man who isn't present in the discussion as effeminate over the Internet".

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            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              A strange statement, that about Seattle. I know little of Greenwich Village.

              While I first attended an Orthodox service at the local Greek church in about 1979, most of my ocassional attendance at orthodx services thereafter were at Holy Trinity, in the hamlet of Wilkeson in the foothills of the Washington Cascades. This church was one of those founded by Carpatho-Russian miners.

              In those days, the priest from St. Spiridon's in Seattle would come down twice a month on Saturdays for liturgy at Holy Trinity (which is about 40 miles or so from Seattle). This was Fr. Vadim Pogrebniak, a very fine priest indeed. Eventually, with his tireless work, Fr. John Pierce became the full-time priest at Holy Trinity/Holy Resurrection parish, where he continues to serve after at least 25 years. Another very fine man, indeed.

              I'm in Tacoma, not Seattle, but I have a hard time following your point about "a Seattle Washington church".

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              • I wondered about that too. And yep Holy Trinity has fond memories for me.

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              • Provoslavnie says:

                I don't completely follow it, but SVS Grad is making an analogy to support his argument about sending in the right man for the job. Seattle is basically the San Francisco of the Northwest. It ranks second in the USA behind SFO in total LGBT population.

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      • ChristineFevronia says:

        "He seemed as gay as they come." What the...? Dn Brian, does your gaydar have ranges between "meek and mild", "lowly of heart", "flaming queer", and "as gay as they come"? I, too, thank you for your service to the Church and to our country, but come on now.

        One day, God willing, Fr. Killian will return to the Church. We should be focusing on how glorious that day will be, and how we will welcome him with open hearts. Right?

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        • Damage Control says:

          ChristineFevronia,

          I don't wish to take exception to your post except to say, what makes you think that the former Fr. Killian has any intention of leaving the Orthodox Church? For sure he will be stripped of his ability to be a sacramental cleric but I know that he and his husband have every intention of remaining Orthodox Christians and presenting themselves as such to any number of parishes and their sympathetic pastors who will embrace them as full members of their community. Are you shocked? How is this any different at this point then an openly gay member of the OCA who along with his husband presented themselves to their parish priest in Dayton, OH?

          You see, there are priests and bishops in the OCA who privately see nothing wrong with men or women of the same sex living together, loving together and quite frankly taking their "rightful" place amongst the laity (and some clergy) of the Orthodox Church in America.

          One has to regard their actions as sinful before repentance can even be considered. The ever-widening circle that does not consider the actions of the former SVS student and his former monk-priest husband as wrong is what is eating away at the very fabric of the OCA.

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    • Ryan Hunter says:

      I was completely shocked by this announcement. I saw it on Facebook, and gaped "Father _____ came out? And. . . married a man?". The man in question struck me as an exceptionally gifted, pastoral (in the true sense of the word) and energetic young priest-monk. He has an extraordinary gift for languages, and, I remember during his time singing in the choir at St. Nicholas Cathedral, a fine singing voice. I admired his self-sacrifice in his duty to the military chaplaincy and his obvious pastoral care for the flock he served for a time in New Jersey.

      It was a joy to sing 'Axios' at the overflowing Cathedral that summer day when Metropolitan Jonah ordained him. That afternoon, the Metropolitan invited me to the newly ordained priest's celebratory lunch, and over the course of this meal got to know Fr. and several of his fellow priest-monks from SVS and St Tikhon's. I recall that experience with great fondness. We were all filled with such joy for this young man, such hope for the promising ministry ahead of him.

      I'm deeply saddened by this. I sincerely hope he finds repentance, and, in the meantime, at least attends the Liturgy to stay connected to the healing and salvific liturgical life of the Church. May God move him to repent. He would have been such a wonderful priest. . .

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      • Been There says:

        This man should not have been a priest. Ask anyone from the parish he was assigned to for the last 2 years. He single handily almost took down the parish. The verbal and emotional abuse that he delivered to most of the members was unbelievable. Storming from the Altar to yell at the choir director and members for making a mistake in the middle of Liturgy, telling people they made terrible confessions, visiting the sick and homebound??? Maybe once every two months. Getting paid a full time priest’s salary and showing up for Saturday night vespers and leaving immediately after coffee hour after Liturgy on Sunday. The list goes on and on. It wasn’t his homosexuality that has devastated that parish; it was his cruel, ruthless treatment of it

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  19. Trudge at SmartVote says:

    George,

    I think the commenters here are not grasping the full dimension of what is happening by these events and the approvals from priests and seminarians of Sprecher's actions.

    We must think in the spiritual categories of the Scriptures and the Fathers. The root of it is not liberal, progressive, or leftist thinking, but heresy and apostasy, and the infiltration of the evil one in our lives and within modern Orthodoxy. These people are anti-Christs and there is no "integrity" in being an anti-Christ.

    And if we do nothing about it, then we too are apostates and anti-Christs.

    Second, it also points to the failure of the western seminary, a Roman Catholic innovation that came into being as part of the Counter Reformation.

    The seminaries such as Notre Dame, Georgetown, St. Vladimir's, and Holy Cross are weakened by this western academic approach, which by its very nature has as it logical conclusion apostasy, not being within the tradition of Orthodoxy and the Scriptures where ascetic practice is the way to understanding theology and preparing for leadership in the Church.

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    • Alexander says:

      Amen.

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    • I agree there is a problem with seminary being the only way we prepare our clergy. Seminary is important, it is important that the Church have well-educated clerics. At the same time, it is more important to have stable, proven Orthodox Christians as clerics. Whatever gain is had by all our clergy having seminary educations can quickly be undone if so many of them wash out, burn out, leave, are deposed. Perhaps what is needed is a ranking of priests and what they are allowed to do, as is found in the Greek church. That allows us the opportunity to ordain men in small parishes who will do little more than major services. Others may be allowed to confess people regularly. Others will be given responsibility for deaneries or be made chancellors. Why ordain any new convert with an MDiv from SVS or STS while refusing to ordain a pious, well-educated, knowledgeable and lifelong Orthodox Christian in a small parish in the sticks because they can't afford to take three years off and the cost of seminary? Enough with ordaining new converts. I say 10 years minimum as a chrismated layman before ordination - preferably 10 years before even starting seminary (or monasticism). Something very similar should also be in place for clergy from other churches. People have to let their eyes adjust to the light before converting, much less before going to seminary, a monastery, or accepting ordination.

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  20. How interesting.

    There will be more disillusionment to come. Wheat and chaffe are being separated within the Church. Where will it all lead?

    Hopefully to a smaller Church with greater integrity regarding Traditional discipline. These are the wages of modernism. It is an occasion to rejoice rather than lament though. When the rot or rust is finally exposed, it has been there for a long, long time. Better it is known and excised. Then this smaller Church can grow more aggressively.

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  21. A thought experiment. Someone you know who is baptized Orthodox, leaves the Church, and is married in a Southern Baptist or Assemblies of God church. Do you congratulate them? Do you welcome them and the spouse who "lured" them away from the True Church into apostasy into your house when them are in town?

    The answer in both situations is yes, and all of us can think of situations where we have done just that - even to apostates and non-Christians and the immoral with whom we disagree deeply. We can also think of situations where a family member effectively shunned someone for leaving one church for another - and we always find it awful, whether it is someone shunned for becoming Orthodox or for leaving Orthodoxy. On its own, this is all Prof. Bouteneff did in the FB comment shown above.

    More stunning is the comment by Fr. Milton Gianulis because it ignores not only the rather clear tradition of the Church regarding active homosexuality and the priesthood, but also the undisputed canons regarding the marriage of a deacon or priest after ordination and the renunciation of the Great Schema for marriage. The latter two are clear examples where a priest is rightly deposed and no longer, much less forever, a priest. Anyone can be received back in repentance, of course, but such a person would not be recognized as or received back as a priest in such a situation.

    The real question in how to deal with such situations is how we are to best position ourselves and others for repentance? are we dealing fairly with all those who come to the Church for healing, or are we expecting perfection from some while winking at others? Why is it ok to wink at the glutton, or the tight-fisted rich layman, the gossip, etc. and not the homosexual? Why do we see the church and the chalice as a hospital and medicine for one who is struggling and obviously, chronically losing while requiring complete obedience for the other? All sin is unnatural. What level of spiritual achievement do we expect of an Orthodox Christian who was baptized as a child? when the seek to reengage with the Church as an adult? what about an inquirer? a catechumen? what do we require prior to adult baptism/chrismation? How we deal with people on the way out, so to speak, needs to be intimately related to the way we expect, hope, pray to accept them back in - and it needs to be related to the way we handle all sins, not just the ones we really don't like.

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    • "You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil." —St Seraphim of Sarov

      Except when it comes to the gays, and Democrats.

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      • Boo, St. Seraphim! Boo!

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      • No, not "when it comes to the gays" but when it comes to gay propaganda and corruption in the Church.

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      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        Wrong. What is being "condemned" is not only the sin, rather than the sinner, it is a particular sin that in an explosive, cataclysmic way in our contemporary world is being proclaimed to be no sin at all.

        Instead, all around us it is being exalted. The pressures to conform to this lie in the surrounding society are growing at a shocking, expotential rate. It is wholly unprecedented.

        We are helpless to oppose it except from within the Church.

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      • Unfortunately it's when people take quotes like this and use them to silence discussion and in turn judge-that I am reminded of how some think religion is used to control the masses. This conversation -in fact this blog is concerned with the Church not loosing it's saltiness, not loosing Christ. Unfortunately the examples of this loss are real people, we can't ignore that fact and it's not just homosexuals but that is the particular sin in the Church that the OCA (and others?) are not being honest about and no longer seeing as sin. That is why it is being discussed. If there were several priest's having extra marital affairs and the church was ignoring it, I'm sure there would be outrage here too 123.

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      • guess you must have been to a "Gay Pride" parade where its about SEX SEX AND MORE SEX..

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      • Michael Bauman says:

        Most assuredly St. Seraphim battled the same spiritual darkness that threatens to engulf us. The remedy of St. John of Kronstadt as the Bolshevik madness was dawning was call of all to repent. We certainly have much of which to repent. However I seriously doubt either of them would have countenanced the blasphemy that is upon us. The is a time to stand and say NO MORE!

        No more of praising the image shattered by desire and concupiscence. No more of those who countence the wanton killing of babes and the souls of their mother's. No more of the licentous greed passing for capitalism. No more silence because silence means consent.

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    • You are right, a sin is a sin, whether it is sodomy or gluttony. That is so from the standpoint of our personal path to salvation. Yet the Church prescribes specific remedial actions when certain sins are committed by clergymen, and fornication should lead to deposition (Canon 25 of the Apostols). Gluttony does not lead to deposition. Excessive drinking does, but with an option to give it up and remain a clergyman (Canon 42 of the Apostols). Etc. Here we are concerned not with the failings of individual men - and we should pray for those who fall, as we fall, too, although probably through other actions - but with the crimes against the Church. Working towards general acceptance of sodomy among clergy or laity is a crime against the Church as it subverts the Church's teachings. Restrain from judging an individual does not mean that we should never point out that some types of action are wrong, and that necessarily leads us to pointing out that these actions are performed by individuals.

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    • Anon SVS Seminarian says:

      Except that Bouteneff is very vocal in his support of gay marriage and thinks this is the direction the church should be going.

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      • Then the dear professor needs to lose his professorship.

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      • an svs grad says:

        Shame on him.

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      • Day of Reckoning says:

        Bouteneff is an embarrassment to the OCA and SVS. That such a worldly, superficial and lukewarm "academic" was entrusted with teaching and guiding seminarians shows how deep the spiritual and moral corruption goes. Bouteneff no longer represents "salt and true light", but "sugar and fluorescent (fake, worldly, manufactured) light." He is an impostor and betrayer of the moral tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church and the teaching of Christ and witness of Scriptures.

        I weep seeing the destruction Bouteneff and so many other Orthodox progressives and homosexual apologists have wrought via their compromised and worldly ideology. They have drifted so far away from the rock of Christ and the teaching of the Church they are literally anti-Christs. What an abomination!

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      • Whether gay marriage can or should be allowed in society is one thing, whether can or should be allowed within the Orthodox church another.

        There is a comparison to be made here with female ordination. While the Orthodox Tradition is clear that women have never been ordained to Holy Orders, the canons and way change happens in Orthodoxy doesn't necessarily rule out the possibility that a change could happen. Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) pointed this fact out in the past. We don't have an infallible Pope and we don't believe in sola Scriptura, so there is no Archimedean point to which we can refer in such new situations. It doesn't mean the Church is incapable of making that change, but as to whether such a decision would go down in history like a true Ecumencial Council decision or as a Robber Council... In fact, Metropolitan Kallistos has even speculated about how monogamous gay people may live together and love each, in a podcast on AFR. There is a real pastoral question here that has not been addressed by the canons in as clear and comprehensive a way as many would have it. That isn't the same as saying anything can, should or will change.

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        • Metropolitan Kallistos has been of great help to many converts, but his intellectualism is undisciplined by the Mind of the Church/Holy Tradition. He has no idea what he is talking about when he speaks on these matters.

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        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          Oh, good Lord.

          Except-- you do think it "can, should, or will change", correct?

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          • Not at all, actually. I just need or want the US to be an accidental, lukewarm theocracy; I don't need government and law to reinforce my own religious values; and I don't expect the law of Christ from those without Christ. Besides, none of the blowhards online spouting about how awful liberals are talk like this when face to face with real, flesh and blood people - unless they are total jerks. Acting in such a way merely increases the same behavior back from the ones you have been attacking - at least once they have enough power and influence to make the government reinforce their beliefs and values the way you are advocating for a different set of beliefs and values.

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        • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

          Ware has been criticized for these comments, with many Bishops, especially among the monastics, just calling him outright wrong on these issues. Do not take comfort in this. Ware is wrong on these matters.

          Peter

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        • There are certain Orthodox personalities that have "come out" on this or that issue with decidedly unorthodox views. Met. Kalistos is one, Fr. Thomas Hopko is another. You really shouldn't pay any attention to what they say. It does not reflect the mind of the Church at all on certain points.

          Orthodox morality does not change. It is impossible to ordain a woman. You can imitate the rite but the grace passeth not.

          Homosexual sexual activity is not just another sin but a sin on par with pedophilia, bestiality and incest. Certainly, if someone were to have any of these inclinations, rejected these passions within himself and refused to engage in any of the activities to which he is tempted, then he should certainly be accepted by the Church. Of course, how would anyone but his confessor and therapist know?

          However, for example, if someone refused to keep these other sins to themselves (pedophilia, bestiality or incest), defined themselves by their temptation to sin, and practiced these sins in the open or endorsed their practice or normalization, we would suggest that they were deranged and could not accept them without repentance. We certainly wouldn't be congratulating them on their marriage to Lassie or their own daughter.

          Same with homosexuality.

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          • ChristineFevronia says:

            Dear Misha, what is your source for saying "Homosexual sexual activity is not just another sin but a sin on par with pedophilia, bestiality and incest"? Is that your conclusion you've reached on your own, or can you point me to sources within the words of Christ, St. Paul, and the Holy Fathers? I would very much like to know. The only "levels" of sin that I've ever read about have been in reading the words of Theodora to Gregory in describing her vision of the aerial tollhouses. Thank you for your time.

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            • ChristineFevronia,

              Christ Himself spoke of the "weightier matters of the law", St. John of "sins unto death" and "sins not unto death":

              http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/exo_sintypes.aspx

              Any number of Orthodox authorities have written about the difference and which is which. The above article gives a nice rundown. Especially the notes which go into even more detail with the opinions of Fathers on the words of St. John and their classifications and rationales.

              Hope this helps.

              Misha

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              • Protopappas says:

                Well Misha,

                You and I agree wholeheartedly, without reserve, and completely. You beat me to it but thank you for posting this. There are the weightier matters of the law, and it is a grievous sin to deny them based on filial feelings. We all have homosexual friends, but we cannot change God's ordinances to fit our feelings. All sin is unrighteousness, but not every sin is equal. This is clear in Philokalia, the writings of Sts. Nikodemos, Makarios, and Paisij Velichovsky (in order of writing, not of importance).

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              • ChristineFevronia says:

                Thank you, Misha! I do appreciate that link very much. Orthodoxinfo.com is an amazing website, and I have been reading the articles on that site for many years.

                I have always been taught that the Eastern Orthodox faith is very different than the Roman Catholic faith in this regard of defining and categorizing. So, while the Roman Catholics have tried hard to pinpoint exactly when, where, and how the offerings are transformed/transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ, the Eastern Orthodox simply say, "It's a Divine Mystery." I have been taught that same philosophy in regards to sin--there are no levels of sin, just as there are no levels of hell/purgatory/limbo, etc. And so I am very grateful that you responded to my inquiry, and I will definitely read the literature referenced in the notes to learn more.

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          123 your approach is one which subjects Holy Tradition to the mind of the world. Bp Kallistos, book the Orthodox Church was instructive to me 30 years ago but is latest stuff is troubling to say the least.

          The English academics I take with a grain of salt

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  22. To be fair, St. Seraphim didn't have to deal with proudly confident homosexuals or American Democrats in his day.

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    • That's true, I read that quote above thinking I wonder what St. Seraphim would say in this situation. All we really know is what 123 wants him to say.

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    • Yes, he had to deal with the likes of Peter I and Catherine the Great, all the brightest stars of the Enlightenment, as well as a Church that was made a department of state a la Lutheran state churches, and court culture that would make any prude blush, not to mention the violence and abject poverty the rich kept most of Russia in. He dealt with plenty.

      It's always dangerous to assume Christ's place driving the money changers out of the Temple. Best to focus on the Nymphos.

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  23. Abbouna Michel says:

    I'm curious: what was this young man's monastic formation? Why was a VERY young monastic priest allowed not only to live outside a monastery, but in an environment where spiritual support systems are thin on the ground indeed?

    Those charged with responsibility for his spiritual development, it seems to me, lamentably failed in their duty to him and to the Church. I can only pray for their repentance prior to their appearance before the awesome judgment seat of Christ.

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  24. ChristineFevronia says:

    Dear 123, I hope and pray that we do not stray from our Savior's commandment to love our brothers and sisters who struggle with this issue while at the same time realistically addressing the cause and effect of it.

    You commented: "How we deal with people on the way out, so to speak, needs to be intimately related to the way we expect, hope, pray to accept them back in." I can't help but be reminded of Leo Tolstoy and his relationship with the Orthodox Church. Leo Tolstoy removed himself from the Church, and yet the Church was always there to welcome him back. Even 100 years after his death, a movement arose in Russia to try to mend the broken relationship between Tolstoy and the Russian Orthodox Church. To many, the Russian Orthodox Church's stance on Tolstoy, even after a century, seems harsh and lacking "compassion". Can't they just bend? Can't they just be a little more "tolerant" even just this once?

    To me, the Russian Orthodox Church's response to this pressure is the embodiment of the love and compassion we should endeavor and strive towards in our words and actions on the topic of sinners who leave the Church to follow their own passions--whatever they be. The True Church does indeed Love, but does not deviate from its moral obligations to protect the Faith. This beautiful response, below, is the only possible answer to what you asked. I pray that we all are able to emulate the love demonstrated in Fr. Tikhon Shevkunov's letter.

    (Letter from President of the Russian Book Union:)
    To Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

    Allow me, as President of the Russian Book Union, to express these sincere words to Your Holiness, for your unfailing spiritual instruction and support in matters of spiritual and moral literary endeavors in our country. The Russian Book Union considers it their duty to develop fruitful cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church.

    In this context, I would like to draw your attention to a question which disturbs many Russian citizens, including the Orthodox. This delicate theme is unavoidable on the eve of November 20, which marks the one hundred year anniversary of the death of the great Russian writer, Leo Nicholaevich Tolstoy.

    Taking into consideration the particular sensitivity of this subject, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church's inability to reconsider its decision to excommunicate Leo Tolstoy, I would ask you, Your Holiness, to show the compassion which precisely the Church can show towards this doubting person today, especially since Leo Tolstoy, as we know, was on his way to Optina Hermitage [when he died].

    It is the Book Union's opinion that Orthodox society, and society as a whole, would appreciate an explanation of the Church's position on this matter, and a show of one or another form of compassionate feeling for this great writer on the eve of that sorrowful date.

    I greatly count on Your Holiness' wise decision on this very delicate question.

    Allow me to express my heartfelt wish, Your Holiness, for further success in your much laboring service in bearing the holy Patriarchal cross.

    With deep respect,
    S. V. Stepashin, President of the Russian Book Union

    ***
    (Response from Fr. Tikhon Shevkunov:)

    Respected Sergei Vadimovich!

    At the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, I am answering your letter in which you, as the president of the Russian Book Union, on the eve of the centennial celebration of the day Leo Tolstoy died, have asked about the relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church toward this writer.

    Throughout the history of Russian literature there has never been a more tragic personality than Lev Nicholaevich Tolstoy, the ”great writer of the Russian land,” in the words of Ivan Turgenev. His literary works reach the heights not only of Russian, but world literature. Therefore, the pain and perplexity of many people who respect his works are understandable; these include Orthodox Christians, for whom the reason for the decision on February 20, 1901 by the Holy Governing Synod to excommunicate him may still be unclear.

    The Holy Synod simply cited by its decision a fact that had already taken place—Count Leo Tolstoy excommunicated himself from the Church and completely broke off ties with it. This is something that he not only did not deny, but even resolutely emphasized at every convenient opportunity: ”It is perfectly justifiable that I have renounced the Church that calls itself Orthodox… I renounce all the sacraments… I have truly renounced the Church, I have stopped fulfilling its rites, and I have written in my will to my close ones that they should not allow any clergymen from the Church near me when I will be dying…” These are just a few of the great writer's numerous proclamations in this regard.

    Furthermore, when Leo Tolstoy was twenty-seven years old, he nurtured the idea of creating a new faith, which his diary entries of the time witness. In his old age, when he felt that his aim was nearly accomplished, the writer created a small sect of his fans and wrote ”The Gospel according to Tolstoy.” The main object of Tolstoy's attacks became the Orthodox Church. His words and actions directed against the Church were horrifying to the Orthodox consciousness. Furthermore, Leo Tolstoy's activities during the final ten years of his life were, unfortunately, truly destructive for Russia, which he loved. They brought misfortune to the people whom he so badly wanted to serve. It is no accident that the leader of the Bolsheviks extremely valued the aim of Leo' Tolstoy's activity, and called the writer ”the mirror of the Russian revolution.”

    Great ascetics of the Russian Orthodox Church—St. John of Kronstadt, St. Theophan the Recluse, and many others, admitted with regret that Count Tolstoy purposefully used his great talent to destroy Russia's traditional spiritual and social order.

    The writer's final days speak to us about the torturous struggle that went on in his soul. He fled his family nest, Yasnaya Polyana—not to his like-minded friends, the ”Tolstoyans,” but to the most famous Russian monastery, Optina Hermitage, where ascetic elders were living. He wanted to meet with them, but at the last minute he lost his resolve, about which he regretfully told his sister, a nun of Shamordino Convent near Optina. When at Ostapovo station he felt his approaching death, he asked that a telegram be sent to Optina Hermitage with the request that they send him Elder Joseph. However, when two priests arrived in Astapovo, the writer's followers would not allow them to meet…

    The Church related to the writer's spiritual fate with enormous compassion. There were no ”anathemas or curses” pronounced either before or after his death, as some unconscionable historians and polemicists insisted 100 years ago and still do today. Orthodox people still respect Leo Tolstoy's literary talent, but still do not accept his anti-Christian ideas.

    Several generations of Orthodox readers in our country and abroad highly appreciate Leo Tolstoy's literary creations. They are thankful to him for such unforgettable, beautiful works as Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, Hadji-Murat, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilych. Nevertheless, because the writer himself never made peace with the Church (Leo Tolstoy never publicly renounced his tragic spiritual error), the excommunication by which he separated himself from the Church cannot be removed. This means that canonically he cannot be commemorated in the Church.

    But the compassionate heart of any Christian who holds the literary works of this great writer in high regard cannot be closed to sincere, humble prayer for his soul.

    With sincere respect, Archimandrite Tikhon, (Shevkunov)
    Secretary of the Patriarchal Cultural Council,
    Superior of Sretensky Monastery, Moscow

    (11/22/10, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/42983.htm)

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  25. ChristineFevronia says:

    (part two… Have mercy on me, a luddite…)

    Homosexuality is just one sin in a plethora of fallen man’s activities. St. Paul classifies it with gossip and slander. I don’t believe it is more of a “sin” than any other willful activity that takes us away from God’s Presence. I will bet you that if you stand in any given church on any given Sunday among the pious, you find yourself standing next to people addicted to pornography who spend hours feeding their sexual desires, men and women who have engaged in premarital sexual relations, people who have bizarre fetishes, men and women who are lusting after those of their own sex, married couples who do all manner of things in and out of their blessed bedrooms, and perhaps your priest wears pink lace panties under his cassock. And that, brothers and sisters, would be none of your business.

    We believe in the unwarranted grace that comes through confession. We are washed clean and clothed in white garments every time we come to confession and participate of the Sacrament, and we are all equal adopted children of the Light. We believe in the relationships we have with our spiritual fathers and mothers to guide our feet through these dark ages.

    In reading the statements of people who are sharing their reactions to this situation, I am not sensing any singling-out of homosexuality as a sin above other sins, nor do I read that anyone is judging their brethren in this matter. There is frustration with the stamp of approval given to that sin and with the lauds and congratulations given to those who participate in it. There is sadness that human beings feel the need to identify themselves based on their sexual desires. Most of all, there is a lack of understanding why representatives of the Church approve of a marriage between two men. There is no hatred, but there is sorrow.

    I knew Brother Christopher (now Fr. Killian) during his St. John’s days, and I dare anyone reading this to find a more outstanding human being. His mind is incredible, touched with brilliance that is second to none. I personally will not stand for anyone on this site demeaning this gifted soul, who has a very long life ahead of him. I love him like a brother and always will—no matter what. I won't ask God's blessings on his marriage, but I know God will watch over him always.

    The story of Leo Tolstoy has always haunted me—especially those near encounters during his last days. The Church sought out Leo, even after multiple rejections, and they were turned away. So, too, the True Church will always seek out those who are called—not the righteous—but sinners, to repentance. No one knows when or how that repentance takes place, because again, it is none of our business. All we know is that one day we may hopefully find ourselves at the Throne of the Father standing in line next to the thieves, sluts, and publicans we knew during our time on earth, singing the triumphant hymn, shouting, proclaiming, and saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord!”

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    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      Fine and true words. When I looked this gentlemen up on his linkedin page (I had never heard of him), and saw his many languages, I saw that he must be a person of strong intellect.

      But what is the force behind these public declarations, these "marriages", these justifications for homosexuality-- fully deployed in many Christian churches, present even within the Orthodox church? Why does my 6-year-old grandson ask his father if it's true that two men can be married? (I have lots of grandchildren, by the way, some in their twenties...) Why are people of mature judgment all around us falling all over themselves to fall in line with public opinion, abandoning beliefs they have held all their lives?

      Why are some clergymen, old in the Faith, going along with this? And on and on: why? I can say and believe what I want; I'm old, an affectionately-tolerated curmudgeon. But my children, in their middle years and in the midst of business and the world's affairs, cannot be casual about this; there will be real-world consequences for going against this tide. And as for the children; well, this is now legitimate in my state, legal, and will be taught in the schools along with all other accepted social matters. And as for my former church-- in Sunday school they learn that there are all sorts of different families, some with two mommies or two daddies, and this is all good.....

      So is homosexuality the same as other sins? Maybe. Perhaps this is the price that we cannot avoid for the complete laxity on matters of sexual sin that we have exhibited in this, our woeful generation.

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      • ChristineFevronia says:

        Hi, Tim! How is your process as a catechumen coming along? I hope all is well. Good points, one and all. I am on the same page with you entirely.

        There are two topics of conversation here. First there is the issue of a person's struggle with homosexuality. Our brethren who struggle with this should be able to go to Church and receive skilled pastoral counseling from their priests and receive loving guidance from the elders of their parish. They shouldn't be singled-out or ostracized as if their sins were of a different nature than the sins of others around them. Most of the Orthodox Christians that I know believe this, too, and strive to be non-judgmental and critical of a person’s inner struggle with that sin. (Your sin is your sin--not my sin--and it’s between you, your spiritual father, and the Almighty.) However, it becomes another issue altogether when you take your pattern of sinful actions and behavior and force others to not only adapt to that behavior but encourage that behavior in others (and even to cause others to fall into that sin). That is the issue you outline above and it is what George is calling our attention to at the seminaries.

        I absolutely hate what is happening in our world today regarding the activism of this powerful lobby group, especially from the media and within our school systems. Case in point: the Olympics. We are being bombarded with news about how oppressive Russia is because they will not stand for homosexual behavior in public. American Olympians are “coming out” to the media in order to make some sort of an act of defiance against Russia’s moral, social, and civic standards. But what if the Olympics were being held in a Muslim country like Saudi Arabia? Would Brian Boitano be “coming out” to protest Muslim standards of behavior? Would he bring his partner to Saudi Arabia and expect to be able to hold hands and kiss him in front of a mosque? Or is it just Orthodox Christian standards and beliefs that are being objected to? American journalists go to Muslim countries and willingly abide by strict guidelines of what those cultures tolerate as acceptable behavior, even draping themselves with headcoverings and hijab on camera for American audiences. They would never dream of standing on a street corner and kissing a member of the opposite sex. And yet when an Orthodox Christian country asks that visitors to their country not engage in open displays of homosexual behavior, there is loud outrage and protest.

        Another case in point: the government-approved payment of sex change operations through the Affordable Health Care Act. If you are a woman and want to become a man, sure, by all means, it is your democratic right to inject yourself with hormones from pigs, swine, and horses, and pay a doctor to attach genitalia hacked off of a cadaver onto you, a la Frankenstein. I see that as sinful behavior, but it's between that human being and the Creator. I don't judge, I stay calm and carry on. But activists are forcing hard-working people who believe sex-change operations are sinful to actually pay for those same surgeries. Likewise, abortions.

        That is the way of the world. It is to be expected. The Evil One is constantly on the prowl, spreading deceitful lies. He reigns in the hearts of many in today's age. “Thou shalt not surely die” was spoken once in the Garden long ago, and is still shouted from the rooftops today. We fight the culture wars accordingly. But what we don’t expect is that our church—our sanctuary and refuge from the world--should also normalize and approve this sin. To read that various professors at an Orthodox Seminary are actually congratulating a marriage of two men is very troubling. It causes a degree of panic and fear in our hearts. We would hope that our children and our brethren who are dealing with homosexuality can turn to these future priests and leaders of the church and be guided correctly—not encouraged to legalize their sin and get married. We expect them to uphold the standards of the faith.

        I agree with the poster named Alexander, who advised the seminarians (and their sponsors) who attend SVS and STS to talk with the administration, and if the administration is not willing or able to immediately address this issue, to withdraw and transfer to another seminary. We can rage all we want about the culture wars in the world outside our church, but now these forces have stormed the door of our Church and apparently have been invited inside. To call attention to this and act accordingly does not make us "haters" or "lacking compassion." On the contrary.

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        • Current SVS Student says:

          Ms Fevronia (or is this +Jonah, or maybe Ms Marilyn),

          Anyway, what issue is it that I and my fellow students should ask the administration to address?

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          • ChristineFevronia says:

            The issues directly raised by other posters with whom I agree:
            lexcaritas: http://www.monomakhos.com/now-we-see-why-jonah-had-to-be-removed/#comment-68288
            Philippa: http://www.monomakhos.com/now-we-see-why-jonah-had-to-be-removed/#comment-68312
            svs grad: http://www.monomakhos.com/now-we-see-why-jonah-had-to-be-removed/#comment-68251
            day of reckoning: http://www.monomakhos.com/now-we-see-why-jonah-had-to-be-removed/#comment-68341
            (etc...)

            While I know who beloved Vladyka Jonah is (not me), I don't know who Ms. Marilyn is... but that's also not me...

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          • Tom Jones says:

            Why is a monastic a member of the music teachers at SVS? Where is his monastery? Doesn't canon law insist a real monastic be attached to his monastery. This is a farce. SVS isn't a monastery nor should it ever become that.

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            • Monastic clergy are not always or necessarily attached to a monastery. Besides, what good would a nominal attachment to a monastery really provide a hieromonk who has been assigned to a parish, or a chancery, or a seminary?

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          • I know her -it's not +Jonah or Marilyn.

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          • ChristineFevronia says:

            Current SVS student, you must be new to this site. I'm definitely not Vladyka Jonah, nor am I Marilyn. And many posters have given specific recommendations about talking points. Read back through this thread and you'll find them. I wish you well in your journey through seminary, and thank you for your service to the Church.

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        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          Hello, Christine, thanks for asking!

          It goes well. We are looking to Holy Week for chrismation and reception. My youngest son and I are well-known to the church here, inasmuch as we are called up every week after the Gospel reading for the prayers for the catechumens!

          A lot of very nice folks ask when it's going to happen- they'd like to hurry the process along, bless them.

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          • ChristineFevronia says:

            That's awesome, Tim! There is nothing more amazing than receiving communion at Pascha. Good wishes to you as you continue your journey!

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            • M. Stankovich says:

              ChristineFevronia,

              εὐλόγειte ὁ κύριος!

              It is always wonderful to see your name arise again. Consider leaving your email address at my site [ http://www.mstankovich.com ] in a comment - no one will see it but me. I wanted to tell you that Gorecki’s Symphony 3, Opus 36 is sent from heaven! Now I must add "be careful accepting a musical referral from a woman" because it was a roller-coaster of emotion - and in the context of this thread, it may be a dangerous admission for a "man" to make!

              Your comments regarding Tolstoi above are fascinating, in that I recall visiting the tiny bookstore adjacent to the ROCOR Holy Virgin Cathedral ("Joy of All Who Sorrow") in San Francisco - where so little was printed in English at the time - and seeing such things as "An Orthodox Position on School Busing" (i.e. for racial integration), and then, "Why Orthodox Christians May Not Pray for the Soul of L. Tolstoy." Holy Cow! Really? It was more focused on his refusal to allow the admission of priests onto the train and train station as he neared death.

              Secondly, regardless of the cat-calls of the usual suspects & antagonists, I assure you that this entire episode is a source of great sadness for the Faculty and student body of St. Vladimir's Seminary, but that is where the significance ends, To this day, there continues to live in the collective memory the evening Dean Alexander Schmemann entered the auditorium wearing, not his cassock, but a clergy shirt, and also his eyeglasses (unheard of!) to deliver the never forgotten, "I will not be the Dean of a pot-smoking, homosexual joint" speech. This is simply to reiterate what the Fathers have long told us: wherever people gather to wage spiritual war, more will succumb than be victorious. And likewise, "That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecc. 1:9)

              That the first reaction to the fall of these two men is scorn, disgust, and rage rather than weeping at the state of our fallen humanity (cf. Jn.11:35) or our fundamental lack of faith that - forget moving mountains (Matt. 21:21) - we fail to facilitate healing is scandalously predictable. In fact, more and more, scorn & disgust is even defended as proper. Thank you, ChristineFevronia for not abandoning the man because of his sin. Like Tolstoi, and oddly enough, like Kalishnakov of late, as long as one is capable of drawing breath, one is capable of repentance, and the Church waits.

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              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                I'd agree with this, were it not for the times. Were it in another time and generation, this of course would be exactly right.

                But it's not. For one thing, in other times one did not make national (or even a local) announcement about such a matter.

                Maybe there's nothing new under the sun, but all of this feels like it. I would be genuinely interested in how you account for it.

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  Mr. Mortiss,

                  The manner by which I account for it is this: the Pharisees got wind of the gist of a story - not the facts - and sensing blood in the water, satiated themselves with self-righteousness chest-thumping: "O God, thank you for not making me queer." More than a few fired seminary faculty out of hand: lexcartis, apparently the high priest this year, and not wishing to defile himself in order to celebrate the sabbath, said "The professor and two students must be corrected and brought to repentance. Who’s going to do it?" And with no response, ordered: "Assemble those of whom you speak and see the Chancellor and Dean and demand action or withdraw en masse." Empty the joint. Philippa, I mean, really? Fr. John Whiteford - Texas, Ranger - issues two words: "Name names." Head over to my site because a few even got strung up... Are you holding your breath waiting for an apology to Fr. Gianulis? Don't. "Thank you Father for humiliating yourself explaining that you had nothing to explain to the creepshow." Well, there must be some justification in publishing all this on the internet, right? Sunlight. Disinfection?

                  Hear what Christ says. "If your brother has committed a fault against you, convince him of it," but he did not say "between him and the whole town," nor, "between you and the whole people," but "only between you and him." Let the accusation, he says, be unwitnessed, in order that the change to amendment may be made easy of digestion. A great good surely, the making of the advice unpublished. Sufficient is the conscience, sufficient that incorruptible judge. It is not so much that it is you who rebuked him who has done wrong, as is his own conscience (that accuser is the sharpest), nor do you do it with the more exact knowledge of the faults committed. Add therefore, you do not wound by exposing him who has done wrong; but administer for yourself the counsel unwitnessed. This therefore we are doing now— the very thing that Paul also did, framing the indictment against him who among the Corinthians had sinned without citing of witnesses. Hear how: "On this account," he says, "brethren, I have applied these figures of speech to myself and Apollos." And yet not he himself nor Apollos were they who had rent the people in schism and divided the Church; but all the same he concealed the accusation, and just as by some masks, by hiding the countenances of the defendants by his own and Apollos' names, he afforded them power to repent of that wickedness. And again, "Lest in some way after I have come God humbled me, and I may have to mourn many of those who have before sinned, and have not repented over the uncleanness and lasciviousness which they had committed." See here he also indefinitely mentions those who had sinned, in order that he might not, by openly bringing the accusation, render the soul of those who had sinned more shameless. Therefore, just as we administer our reproofs with so much sparing of your feelings, so do ye also with all seriousness receive the correction; and attend with carefulness to what is said.

                  St. Chrysostom, Homily Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren, 4.

                  You are new to Orthodoxy, Mr. Mortiss, and amongst our rich and glorious history is the stark reality of what I noted previously: whenever and wherever human beings gather, there you will find the worst human behaviour and indescribable sinfulness. Seminaries? You might search out the state of theological education in Russia in the fifty years prior to the revolution. The Metropolitan rector of the great Moscow Theological Academy (whose name escapes me) wrote that the corruption and heresy was so endemic to the faculty and students that simply closing the school would be insufficient; he believed the buildings needed to be razed to their very foundations, and rebuilt and everyone, including himself, replaced. And apparently, in hindsight, it was prophetic. Sure, there was no CNN, no Facebook, but Google the glorious buildings of the Moscow Theological Academy and imagine the grief that moved a bishop of the Church to speak such words. Only in the world of internet whining & bitching is this the "core of corruption at the center of the church" driving us to the brink of the catacombs, blah, blah, blah. The bottom line: two men have fallen into grievous sin and the angels weep. And rather than accept it for what it is - a tragedy of our fallen humanity - Mr. Michalopulos turned it into a feather - albeit censored - in his cap. Time, I am told, is as good as the sun, but nowhere near as effective as vancomyacin. And, Mr. Mortiss, I stand by the Scripture, for as Ecclesiastes begins, so it concludes: "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." (Ecc. 12:13-14)

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              • ChristineFevronia says:

                Greetings, Michael! Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it. I never thought I'd foray into a conversation online about homosexuality of all things! I especially appreciate that you have shared your thoughts about how this has affected those at SVS. I still do think, though, that if people have doubts that they should go to the administration and put forth those questions and be reassured. I was just reading through some of the comments by SVS "former grad"s and "current students" etc, and thought for a moment I was back in middle school.

                I will check out your blog, and thank you for the invitation to correspond with you.

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    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says:

      "I knew Brother Christopher (now Fr. Killian) during his St. John’s days, and I dare anyone reading this to find a more outstanding human being. His mind is incredible, touched with brilliance that is second to none. I personally will not stand for anyone on this site demeaning this gifted soul, who has a very long life ahead of him. I love him like a brother and always will—no matter what. I won’t ask God’s blessings on his marriage, but I know God will watch over him always."

      Everyone is unique and special and watched over, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira, Julian the Apostate, and the most unique and touched with brilliance of all created beings, Satan. Nobody has a very long life ahead of him, or rather no wise person assumes so, nobody is promised even another second of life.

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  26. I find it most ironic / gross / offensive that a priest would use the icon of the Wedding in Cana, which clearly teaches marriage between a man and a woman, as a congratulatory greeting to Chris and his "friend" including the words "crown them with glory."

    With no repercussions.

    I mean, really?

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  27. Michael Kinsey says:

    Saint Seraphim's prayer and guidance might seem a little out of context, if spoken to the Christ as He tosses out the money changers in the temple. There is a time and a seasin for very different acts of righteousness.I want the gay cleric shepareded into the laity, if they seek genuine repentance, not parading in sheeps clothing ruling the flock . We need thier integerity before they seek Holy Orders, not after

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  28. Denton Smith says:

    I'd expect it. The Greek and Antiochian Churches, maybe not officially but as a matter of parishioner belief, have already accepted abortion as acceptable. The rot continues... judgement perhaps as my grandfather said on the bishops' refusal to establish one church here lest the money going back to the old country stop.

    And I have a friend who moved from ROCOR to another jurisdiction, a young priest from the NE, who also swears that there were active homosexuals in both the monastery and church in the NE, and the problem is just ignored.

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    • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

      Will this priest be willing to go open with his experiences? We need the facts about what is or is not happening in ROCOR, and as long as we just get "I know someone who says so and so happened" stories, we'll still be in gossip mode.

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  29. A Federal judge in Oklahoma has struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. I think the time has come to start pondering an unpleasant reality. The ship is sinking.

    Five or six years ago, I wrote one of my first really controversial blog posts suggesting that public opinion was shifting on this subject and that too many of the laws then being passed limiting gay rights in everything from power of attorney to spousal rights in hospitals were going to create a backlash, especially in the courts. And I opined that the best course of action was to get the government out of the marriage business entirely. Strike the word "marriage" from the law books and replace it with "civil union" or something similar and require such things to be done before a duly empowered civil servant. Leave "marriage" as a purely religious matter.

    That was also the first, though definitely not the last time I discovered the value of asbestos underwear in blogdom. After being burned at the ethereal stake for my heresy, I sat back and waited to see where things were going. Long story made short, here we are. A solid majority of Americans now support homosexual marriage. Even in some fairly red states we are seeing the scale tipping in that direction. And there is a legal avalanche gaining steam to the point where it seems like a week does not pass without another state law defending natural marriage being struck down. Unfortunately, it is now waaaay too late to try the civil unions for everyone plan. The other side has the upper hand and they know it.

    So where are we and what's next?

    The answer is that we are defending a fort whose walls have been irretrievably breached. I expect that by the end of this year the Federal Courts at the appellate level will hold that SSM bans violate the 14th amendment and when said ruling is appealed to the Supreme Court, it will be affirmed, probably without comment or further argument. So the next question is what do we do?

    My advice is to divert what political resources are available and salvage what we can. Congress should be lobbied aggressively to pass the most strongly worded conscience protection bill that can be drafted to ensure that no one is forced to be a party to this against their religious convictions. If the price includes cutting a deal with liberals and granting Federal recognition of what everyone should by now realize is coming anyways, then so be it.

    This battle is over and we have lost. It's time to make the best terms we can, while we can.

    http://ad-orientem.blogspot.com/2014/01/and-dominoes-just-keep-falling.html

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  30. What many people here don't understand or get is that there is a difference between what the civil gov says and rules and what the church says and rules. The state may say abortion is ok, but the church, no. This has been common over the centuries. The state may say euthanasia is ok, but the church, no. The state may say homosexual marriage is ok, but the church, no. So it goes. The state is not the church; it is ruled by the people who can decide anything and this is where morality must come into play. The church must stand up and clearly say this is wrong or that is wrong, etc. Once the church becomes corrupt and agrees with non-Christian aspects of an immoral state, then the END is surely near. Once the devil is sitting where the bishop sits, RUN!

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  31. Michael Bauman says:

    collette, your story reminded me of my own and how easy it is to think in terms of "the other", at least for me. Your story reminded me of how disordered I am when I think that way and why I need to avoid it/repent of it. That is the meaning (semantics) which I received from your story.

    Forgive me, I was not intending to stomp on your story.

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  32. Francis Frost says:

    Dear George:

    So much Strum, Drang und Angst over one errant monk!

    I fear we may be paying the unfortunate Mr. Sprecher far more attention than he either needs, wants or deserves.

    Our Lord chose 12 disciples. One of them was Judas. St Paul speaks of the daily danger he endured from ‘false brethren’. In several of his letters, St Paul speaks of those who were “in love with this world” and abandoned the faith. If those who knew Our Lord and his disciples could fall away, why do we think it so strange that one of “our” converts might do so?

    There is nothing new under the son, according to Ecclesiastes. As my teacher used to say: “There are no new sins, only re-treads”. Homosexuality, promiscuity and eroticism were not invented by our generation. Even a cursory review of ancient Greco-Roman art demonstrates the ancient pedigree of these passions. What is more, in ancient times much of the promiscuous sexuality was coercive: masters gratifying their urges on the bodies of slaves and even children.

    If the Holy Apostles could succeed in their mission despite the highly sexualized society that they encountered, then so can we. What are needed are an honest faith, resolute purpose and courage. What we don’t need is the usual Chicken Little chant of “The dam is bursting’, “The sky is falling”.

    The church has survived despite challenges throughout history. It will continue on long after we are gone. We are not the only community in crisis, nor is immorality solely found in the “degenerate West”. For more on that read on:

    January 09, 2014
    Russian Orthodox Deacon Fears Defrocking After Outing Church's 'Gay Lobby'
    by Andrei Shary and Claire Bigg

    A prominent theologian who claims to have outed a powerful "gay lobby" within the Russian Orthodox Church says he now fears being defrocked over his allegations.

    The allegations by Deacon Andrei Kurayev, a firebrand missionary who taught at the Orthodox Moscow Theological Academy, are potentially damaging and expose the church to charges of double standards.

    Not only does the church consider homosexuality to be a grave sin, but it has also helped spearhead a Kremlin campaign targeting gays and lesbians -- most notably a law banning the propagation of "non-traditional sexual relations."

    Kurayev is known for his radical but eloquent tirades that have often put him at odds with the Moscow's Patriarchate's official line.

    He has made anti-Semitic remarks, spoken in support of recently pardoned former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and protested the jailing of Pussy Riot members for their iconoclastic performance in Moscow's largest Orthodox cathedral.

    But according to him, it is his decision to battle what he describes as a "gay metastasis" within the Russian Orthodox Church that caused his downfall.

    On December 31, Kurayev was dismissed from the academy, the church's top educational institution, which explained it was no longer willing to tolerate his "shocking statements" and his "scandalous and provocative" activities in the media and the blogosphere.

    Kurayev says he is bracing for more retaliation.

    "Anything could happen," he told RFE/RL. "I could even be defrocked."

    Kurayev is a protégé of previous Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexi II, who died in December 2008. He rejects speculation that the current head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, wants to silence him.

    Instead, he blames his sacking on the "gay lobby" that he so virulently denounces and that, he warns, is rapidly consolidating its influence within the church.

    "It's a very powerful group of people, some of whom hold important posts, including in the synod," he says. "What's really sad is that they influence the church's personnel policies. They appoint each other to vacant posts, and there are currently many vacancies."

    Surprised By Backlash

    His dismissal has only emboldened Kurayev, who now launches almost daily attacks against this alleged network of homosexual clerics.

    He has been using his blog to cite testimonials from men who recount their sexual encounters with Orthodox priests and bishops.

    Kurayev is a popular man. His LiveJournal blog is Russia's 37th most read and he has many supporters among churchgoers and clergymen.

    He admits having "no recipe" for battling homosexual influence but nonetheless believes that his efforts to clean up the Russian Orthodox Church are overwhelmingly backed by clerics.

    "I receive numerous letters and calls of support, mostly from priests but also from bishops. I understand that what I say reflects the opinion of the moral majority."

    Kurayev says what prompted him to launch his campaign against gay clerics was the patriarchate's recent decision to fire a teacher accused of molesting students at Tatarstan's Kazan Seminary.

    Despite the risk, he admits he never expected the campaign to seriously backlash against him:

    "I made a mistake," he says. "I assumed the fact that the patriarchate sent a commission to the Kazan seminary and that, based on the commission's findings, the rector who molested the seminarians was dismissed meant the patriarchate had finally decided to pay attention to this problem and wished to tackle it. But I seem to have overestimated the patriarchate's readiness to follow this path."

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty © 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-orthodox-church-kurayev-gay-lobby/25225311.html

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/fury-over-biographical-stalin-calendar-published-by-orthodox-church/492446.html#ixzz2poyVGIIP
    The Moscow Times

    Fury Over Biographical Stalin Calendar Published by Orthodox Church
    08 January 2014 | Issue 5286
    By Anna Dolgov

    A publishing house run by the Russian Orthodox Church has released a 2014 calendar devoted to Josef Stalin, unleashing a flurry of indignation among Russian bloggers and a discussion about the Church's ties to the former Soviet dictator.

    The calendar, published by the Moscow-based patriarchal printing house of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery, presents pictures of Stalin, accompanied by excerpts from his biography. The photographs show Stalin gradually ageing as the months roll on from a young man on the January page to a gray-haired Soviet leader in December.

    The calendar, on sale for 200 rubles ($6), "would be an excellent gift for veterans and history buffs," according to the website of Dostoinstvo publishing house.

    Public outcry was prompted after a historian who focuses on Russian Orthodox Church studies mentioned the calendar and posted additional pictures from it on his LiveJournal social network blog on Tuesday..

    One of the photographs posted by historian Mikhail Babkin showed the back page of the calendar, which carried a quote attributed to former French President Charles de Gaulle: "Stalin didn't walk away into the past, he dissolved into the future.”

    "The 'patriarchal-Stalinist' calendar once again demonstrates that the link between the Moscow Patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church and Stalin … has been and remains something close to a sacred one," Babkin said.

    "The priests are suffering from Stockholm syndrome," a reader commented on the Ekho Moskvy radio website, in an apparent reference to the Church's affinity for its Soviet-era persecutors.

    Stalin's relationship with the Orthodox Church was a complex and tumultuous one. Born in Georgia, Stalin attended a Georgian Orthodox seminary in his youth, but was expelled for reasons that are still debated by historians. Russians occasionally remark that his dismissal from the seminary, which stemmed his budding religious career, turned the course of Russia's history.

    The Russian Orthodox Church was heavily persecuted in the initial years Soviet rule, with many of its temples being razed to the ground while others were turned into warehouses. Stalin presided over the destruction by dynamite of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, having picked its site for the Palace of the Soviets monument to socialism. The cathedral was rebuilt after the 1991 Soviet collapse.

    But Stalin appeared to have had an about-face during World War II, supposedly cultivating closer ties with the Church in an apparent attempt to enlist its help in galvanizing Russians in the fight against the Nazis. After the war, he allowed the Church to operate under close government scrutiny.

    The Russian Orthodox Church's connection "to Stalin, as its founder, is a most direct one," another reader commented. "Only a connection to God is missing.”

    "Insulting the memory of the millions of victims of that ghoul and of his damned regime is quite like the" Russian Orthodox Church, another said. "Snitching and hypocrisy thrive there.”

    "I have no words, this is already a total [expletive]," another commentator said. "They would go so far as to include that executioner of millions in their prayers. Complete insanity."

    http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-orthodox-church-kurayev-gay-lobby/25225311.html

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      The "Sturm und Drang" comes not from the "novelty" of this "errant monk's" foolish and rash decision but from the massive amount of kudos he received from clergy and laity alike.

      We know that sexual sins are not new. Heck, they're catalogued all the way back in Genesis. What is new is our society's --and increasingly, our Church's--acceptance of them.

      This is a crucial distinction and one which will have far reaching consequences for us.

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  33. Thomas Barker says:

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    Thank you for the gentle redaction earlier. Appropriate and very much appreciated.

    Thomas

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  34. ARCHBISHOP SERAPHIM FOUND GUILTY

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-archbishop-guilty-of-sexually-assaulting-boy-1.2509748

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  35. Euthymios says:

    The problem with these homosexual minded clergy and laity, is that they don't believe in Holy Scripture. The New Testament teaching about homosexuality is CLEAR, and the Jewish rabbinical commentaries on the various passages in Leviticus (which condemn homosexuality) are clear, and refer to such action as vile, detestable and wicked. The ungodly and unchristian concepts of our era formed the souls and attitudes of these poor people. From: "The Communist Takeover Of America - 45 Declared Goals," (item number 26).

    " Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

    This demonic Communist delusion and agenda has permeated our pagan society.

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    A Break in the Dam? — Monomakhos

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