Removing Metropolitan Jonah Hurt the American Orthodox Church

We’re now into Week Eight of our national, ecclesial nightmare. When this injustice first broke, I entitled several posts “This Is Far from Over.” I still believe this.

The collateral damage continues unabated. Please take the time to read this excellent essay from Fr Hans Jacobse, an Orthodox priest in the Antiochian jurisdiction. He runs the American Orthodox Institute which is probably one of the best and most well-known electronic fora for public policy in the Orthodox blogosphere.

Fr Hans sees things clearly and I fervently believe that he has written the narrative that will forever crystallize what happened and what is at stake.

Source: AOI Observer | By Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse

When the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) axed Metropolitan Jonah they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Mediocrity was the watchword. In the jurisdiction that has been steadily losing ground for twenty years, they rejected the man who displayed the necessary gifts to bring the Gospel as it is understood and comprehended within our Orthodox faith to America.

His Beatitude wasn’t a suitable administrator his detractors said. The claim might have some merit but since when has administrative capabilities been the high water mark of ecclesiological competence? Why weren’t accommodations made to employ his prodigious gifts and make up for the weaknesses?

Met. Jonah is an evangelist first and an administrator maybe third, but evangelization is what the American Orthodox Church needs to do.

Look at the results of Fr. Peter Guillquist and his colleagues. Were there missteps along the way? Of course there were, but no one believes that Fr. Guillquist and the work of the Evangelical Orthodox (as they were called for many years) have been anything but a great gain for the American Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Philip had the foresight to see the hand of God when the Evangelicals came knocking. When an opportunity presents itself you take it, even if you have to make adjustments down the road. It’s a pity that the OCA leadership doesn’t have the same expanse of vision.

Met. Jonah’s great strength is his ability to reach Christian audiences outside of the Orthodox Church. They are searching for a deeper communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, and the dogmatic and theological coherence he offered clarified how to find Him.

His audience comprehended Met. Jonah’s words because he understood that the critical questions of the age and the ones his listeners held were anthropological in nature. They already knew that answers could not be found outside of reference to God and in that sense they are proto-Orthodox and brethren. Moreover, in answering their questions Met. Jonah also defined for them how their questions should ultimately be framed.

Reaching audiences in this way requires discernment. A man cannot understand the interior life of another person without doing his own interior work first. There is no way we can understand the needs of neighbor without repentance and the striving against temptation and sin that the Christian life requires. Without it our words will ring hollow – noisy gongs and clanging symbols.

If our Orthodox leadership does not comprehend this point, then it suggests that the discernment necessary to penetrate the moral and theological relativism of the age does not exist and the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not be preached. The best we will see are hollow substitutes.

Unfortunately, in some quarters of the Church Met. Jonah’s words were received with suspicion and even alarm. There is a tendency for the Orthodox to become self-referential — to see the Church as a private possession or to conflate notions of the “True Church” with Christ who is Truth. When this happens the Church becomes an echo chamber that can make discerning the truth even more difficult.

For example, consider the egregious charge that Met. Jonah covered up a rape. This charge has been proven false but not before major media outlets reported it worldwide and delivered a crushing blow to his reputation.

The media is not to blame here. The Holy Synod carries this responsibility since the charge went out under their imprimatur. They need to deliver a formal apology to His Beatitude in order to clear the record and restore his reputation. This is the truth.

Orthodox Christianity was brought to America for Americans, not just the Orthodox faithful. It is coming of age at a time when the dominant communions that guided American culture are suffering grievous internal fracturing that leaves many faithful Christians homeless.

This timing is not an accident of history. It defines our mission, one that Met. Jonah took on to show us a more excellent way. We should listen.

See: Met. Jonah: Asceticism and the Consumer Society

Also see: Metropolitan Jonah at the American Enterprise Institute, December 6, 2011 [Video]

Comments

  1. Archimandrite Gregory says:

    Very enlightening observations. Tends to confirm my suspicions that some in the OCA are stuck on stupid. What a pity.

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    • Hilber Nelson says:

      When the muddied waters of bad leadership travels downstream, what is the mechanism by which laity cleans house? Corruption, of any sort, thrives in secrecy and unaccountabilty. Yet, beyond this blog, I am not aware of how laity goes about making their collective voices heard, much less enact change. Without a place at the table, what leverage does laity have for holding their leaders accountable or enacting reforms? There is a time for complaining, and there is a time for taking action. At what point should laity put their collective hand to the plow, and what does appropriate and effective action look like?

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    • lexcaritas says:

      Fr Hans, bless. A most excellent essay. Thank you.

      lxc

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  2. Hieromonk Ambrose (Young) says:

    Hear, hear!! –Fr. Ambrose

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  3. Indeed and Amen.

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  4. Father Hans has a good idea of some of the best qualities for someone applying to be a diocesan bishop, or even a parish Priest.
    Further, if anyone remembers the wonderfully communicative and even evangelical Bishop Fulton J Sheen, one can see the epitome of what Father Hans (mistakenly, to my mind0) sees as the necessary qualities of the First Heirarch or Chairman of an Orthodox Holy Synod of Bishops.
    The Orthodox Church in America needs a LEADER more than it needs a charismatic spokesman.
    It doesn’t take an administrative genius to LEAD the Holy Synod. Metropolitan Theophilus (described by Metropolitan Evlogy as a “typical country batiushka”), Metropolitan Leonty, Metropolitan ireney, Metropolitan Theodosius, and Metropolitan Herman ALL LED the Holy Synod, and through it, the entire Orthodox Church in America. Neither Archbishop Iakovos nor Metropolitan Antony Bashir had the qualities of a Fulton J. Sheen as Father Hans outlines them Neither does Metropolitan Philip! In fact, if a Bishop Jonah Paffhausen had been appointed to be Metropolitan here during the time of the parallel Toledo Archdiocese here, I doubt we’d have seen the results that Metropolitan Philip got! And since then…..one shudders to think.
    Clearly, Metropolitan Jonah has wonderful gifts, but NONE of them is the gift of leading men. Instead of a Sex Czar, the OCA’s Holy Synod would do well to look for something like a Hierarch to head up a non-geographic Missionary Diocese, and its first ruling Hierarch should be Metropolitan Jonah, our Orthodox Fulton J. Sheen. I founded in the Diocese of the West a special, non-geographic Deanery still flourishing, the “Missionary Deanery” which is a HOMOGENEOUS grouping of young parishes all facing the same mechanical and administrative and financial problems. Their pastors/rectors meet together and work together marvellously.
    And whenever or wherever they have their meetings or conferences, the neighboring and established parishes that are dealing with problems of geriatric parishioners, leaking roofs and crumbling parking lots and running-down neighborhoods, and camps, and so on, also benefit. And before someone feels he has to state the obvious, the given, that ‘every Orthodox Christian and every Orthodox parish is a missionary,’ I’ll say , “Is that meant to be a revelation?” I’m just pointing out the obvious: parishes that are new and small have more in common with other parishes that are new and small than they do with parishes that are mature or old.
    Father Hans wrote: “…since when has (SIC) administrative capabilities been the high water mark (oh boy) of ecclesiological competence ” That’s as obscure as “Since when have evangelical skills been the sine-qua-non of building the Church.”
    He asked:”Why weren’t accommodations made to employ his prodigious gifts and make up for the weaknesses? Does Father Hans think the Statute should be revised to ‘accommodate” the gifts of each succeeding First Hierarch?”
    I say, frankly and unashamedly: the election of Metropolitan Jonah by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America was a totally irrational act. The resignation of Metropolitan Jonah was an irrational act committed by Metropolitan Jonah, that requires extraordinary help from God to surmount. There’ll be no back-tracking from it at all, nor should there be. Whatever the motivation of force involved, face it, His Beatitude “LOOKED BACK FROM THE PLOUGH.”
    We need to look forward. The personal wrongs and indignities perpetrated on Metropolitan Jonah must be addressee, and the Holy Synod should come up with a plan for that yesterday, if not sooner.
    I’m not a member of that Synod, but they could come up with a Miissionary Exarchate or the like with Metropolitan Jonah as the Exarch of the new Metropolitan. None of his gifts (“prodigious” or not) would be wasted in such an enterprise, and none of his weaknesses would be exploited or defeat the purposes of the Exarchate, or whatever. I think, too, that a Missionary Exarchate would be of benefit to all the Orthodox Churches and would be supported by them. There should be no question of difficulty in financing such a venture.
    Just sayin’.

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    • How would this not muddy the jurisdictional watters even more?
      I like the idea, expecally since missions are so important in america,
      But how would this work?

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    • That’s a very interesting and imaginative solution, Your Grace. One that looks forward rather than backwards, and allows for something very good to come out of these tough times.

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    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

      Your Grace:

      Every diocese should be concerned with evangelism. Your idea would create a Church within the Church. No matter how your explain it, this incident has hurt all Orthodoxy in North America. Even Christianity Today ran an article that made American Orthodoxy look bad. When the OCA gets the kind of bad publicity that it has been getting it hurts all American Orthodox. Every thing that Fr. Hans wrote is right. The Metropolitan should control the administration, not allow the administration to control him. The Diocesan Bishops should not act like local Popes, but should work together and recognize the legitimate authority of the Metropolitan to act as the Primate.

      Fr. John W. Morris

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      • In my diocese, Archpriest, the Missionary Deanery did not create a diocese within a diocese, and it did not diminish the evangelical functions and aims of the existing geographic deaneries at all: On The Contrary!. Ask any of the Diocese of the West deans how your fears match up with real experience.

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    • Master, bless,

      Look at Metropolitan Jonah’s life:

      1) At first, he went to the Valaam monastery to learn Orthodoxy. Your Grace, would you tell us, please, who else, among contemporary monastics, went to Russia in late 80s, early 90s to learn Orthodoxy? It was a very special time in Russia, because people who endured the time of the communist’s persecution were still alive.

      2) He built a strong monastic community in California. Your Grace, please, reveal to your readers, who else, among the present bishops of the Holy Synod, founded a strong monastic community? The Monastery of St. John had a vegetable garden, a farm, and a bee farm for wax and honey. They served all services without abbreviations, and the All-night Vigil at midnight before each of the Twelve great feasts. Every time, after the liturgy, Father Jonah would go to the monastery kitchen, and with his own hands cook and serve us lunch to eat! He didn’t mind that he was the one who served, and the one who needed to rest the most. No, he really took care of his flock.
      Their periodical magazine “The Divine Ascend” was a place to publish their latest translations of the spiritual literature. They did spiritual retreats for pilgrims, who came from all over the country. The latest retreat of 2005 was recorded on 5 CD’s. It’s a magnificent teaching of Metropolitan Jonah, when he was still an Abbot of the Monastery of St. John. The summer novice program, one of the latest projects, allowed young men to work with senior monks before they decide for themselves, what path to choose to follow Christ. The monastery had a big library of 3,000 volumes, the donation of Father Stavros, who had a special delight in navigating readers.

      3) They suffered from the poor conditions of the brotherhood house and from the humidity of their location near the Pacific Ocean. At first, Father Jonah wanted to build the new cells and to expand the church, but he was never able to obtain permission from Marin County. The monastery was on the territory of a National Reserve. The last drop, which leaded to a decision to relocate the monastery, was a serious illness of one of the brothers. It is impossible to describe here, how much time and labor Father Jonah spent to find a good location for the monastery, and how many possibilities were rejected before they actually moved to Manton. For someone it might take a whole life-time, but by God’s grace it took about two years for Father Jonah. (25.) “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.”

      4) After relocation of the monastery in Manton, they started a candle factory, a farm with birds and goats, a vegetable garden, and continue their work on translation of the spiritual literature. However, above all and most of all, the prayer, evening and morning services, liturgy four times a week, and confessions almost on the daily basis. They used mostly Valaam chants for their services, but Father Martin, who was a choir master, composed a few really prayerful liturgical hymns.

      His Grace, bishop Tikhon said, that Metropolitan Jonah is not a leader. It means, that if he is not a leader of the Holy Synod, he is not a leader of men. I strongly disagree with this statment.

      First of all, Christ was not a leader for the pharisees.They had their own separated circle, and Christ said about them, (26.) ” But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.” Even Pilate was positive, that pharisees betrayed Him, because of jealousy. There is no way to make peace with people, who want to betray you, to gain your power, and the white klobuk.

      Secondly, one of my friends said: “By the way how Metropolitan Jonah handles his time of suffering, after the resignation, he still LEADS US to Christ. In other words, Metropolitan Jonah is not only a leader when he speaks, but also, and to a greater extent, when he remains silent.

      And finally, we receive our faith from hearing. We are intelligent sheep of Christ’s pasture. All your spiritual goodness concentrates in voice and a simple unique way to deliver a sermon. Your voice can either attract people’s spiritual attention, or not, and nothing could be done about this. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” The voice of Metropolitan Jonah is a gift of God, which still has to project the truth of Orthodoxy to America. God needs him to have this elevated position, and He gave it to him. All other members of the OCA, including the Holy Synod have to support him, and through this support obtain salvation.

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      • Heracleides says:

        Wonderfully stated Veronica.

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      • Speaking as an Orthodox Bishop, I tell you, Veronica, that your ststement: ” God needs him to have this elevated position, and He gave it to him,” is theologically incorrect. God does not need anyone or anything. God is entirely without needs. I’d elaborate on this, but George won’t allow me to be heard.

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        • “Our Father, Who art in heavens, hallowed be Thy name.
          Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

          God provides all needful things for His missionary, so His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

          Mark 16, 20: “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”

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      • Isaac Crabtree says:

        Why do I never seem to see the really good teaching of Met. Jonah? How does this Valaam-trained monk not immediately see through Webber, but instead give over his monastery to him, put the lives of the monks into the hands of someone he apparently did not know?

        Why do converts in the OCA who become bishops turn out like Met. Jonah (overweight, says “actualize” every other word, won’t criticize the weirdness up at New Skete), but convert bishops in ROCOR turn out like Bishop Jerome of Manhattan and Bishop George of Mayfield (ascetics, saintly, real spiritual teachers)?

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        • You never seem to see his teaching, because you never searched for it. As I said, there is a wonderful recording of his teaching during retreat of 2005 From Psychology To Spirituality. It’s a set of four CD. He wrote a book Reflections on a Spiritual Journey published by SVS press.

          But if your point is just plain mockery, we had enough of it already. All ROCOR church supports Metropolitan Jonah, and share our pain in this disaster.

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      In fact, if a Bishop Jonah Paffhausen had been appointed to be Metropolitan here during the time of the parallel Toledo Archdiocese here, I doubt we’d have seen the results that Metropolitan Philip got!

      Your Grace, while Met. Philip does deserve credit for helping to reverse the Antiochian schism, let us not forget AB Michael Shaheen. On his repose several years ago, he was eulogized as “The man who said yes”. He agreed to take second place. IMO, it was his humility that allowed the solutin to be reached. I suspect that in the same situation, Met. Jonah would have done the same as AB Michael. Trouble is there appears to be a dearth of leaders in the OCA as you point out.

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      • Well, yes, Michael. It does “take two to tango.” But even in a tango, ONE
        person leads. Metropolitan Philip Saliba led that unification. Patriarch Pavle, too LED the unification of the Serbian Church and it could not have been done without the supine submission of Metropolitan irinej.
        My point? Metropolitan Philip (celibate and all) LED. Archbishop Michael Shaheen FOLLOWED. Patriarch Pavle LED; Metropolitan Irinej followed.f I’ll stick by my statement. I’m surprised you’d liken Metropolitan Jonah to to a feeble oldster!

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    • Good Bishop, I have grown to respect you in many ways after reading your posts here. In fact, I would dearly love to meet you some day. I hope you will take this critique as the kind of constructive encouragement it is intended to be.

      You suggested naïveté as the possible reason two bishops on the synod actively participated in the fraud against Jonah and the OCA. Ironically, this post of yours, though well meaning, exhibits this same naïveté that you hypothesize in others. Or is it wishful thinking and grasping at straws?

      You are capable of better leadership than this, even in retirement. I am confident of it. The metropolitan as construed in the OCA constitution (and as interpreted by the lower-case ‘t’ tradition of the current MC and synod) is exactly the kind of bishop (church-wide spiritual leader with no administrative power) you propose. Is he not? And precisely what are the odds of true repentance by this synod? How would you advise your own daughter or sister to go forward if she were in the OCA?

      I think it is over for the OCA but I’m still watching and on some level hoping I am wrong. But right now I can tell you as a matter of fact there are more Christians among the bishops of the Episcopal Church than among the bishops of the OCA. As a matter of opinion, right now there is greater hope of the Episcopal Church repenting and some day even finding its way to full union with Orthodoxy than there is of the current OCA synod giving up its sins and working together with anyone in good faith to heal the damage the current bishops have done.

      This is a critical time for the OCA. As I’ve said, I think it is over, but I’m open to being proved wrong. I would encourage you to pray and contemplate the way forward for the OCA, then put forward a proposal for the consideration of the whole church. But in your consideration do not presume any critical steps that you know to be difficult or unlikely (in other words, make sure it is not a naive proposal). Instead, if there are difficult or unlikely steps that are essential to moving forward, please spell these out clearly. If possible it would be beneficial to explain what the consequences will be if these essential steps are not taken.

      Someone needs to do this if there is to be any real path forward for the OCA. Very few individuals are capable of offering such a service to the OCA right now. By virtue of your experience, intellectual abilities, and retirement status, you are in a unique position to do this.

      Just to be fair, from my own position (admittedly outside Orthodoxy), I would sum up my own advice to folks within the OCA at this moment as follows: Run, don’t walk, to ROCOR or Antioch. Take your parish or diocese with you if possible, but do not stop running even if it means leaving these (and grandma’s remains, the building where you were married, artwork that you made or paid for, holy relics, cherished friends, etc.) behind. That’s really the best advice I personally could offer given what I see from my perspective. But I do not have your perspective or your spiritual authority. Once a bishop always a bishop, correct? I encourage you to take it as your calling to offer the OCA, if it is part of the Church, your wisest and most solemn guidance now. The time to speak is quickly running out.

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      • UM, you are wrong in writing this: “The metropolitan as construed in the OCA constitution (and as interpreted by the lower-case ‘t’ tradition of the current MC and synod) is exactly the kind of bishop (church-wide spiritual leader with no administrative power) you propose. Is he not?”
        The Metropolitan’s functions are not “construed” by the OCA constitution as interpreted by anyone. The functions of every First Hierarch in the world and in history are constituted first of all (as is the “OCA constitution” or Statute) by the Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church. He has all the power and grace to lead and administer that any Bishop has; moreover, he is the ruling Bishop of a DIOCESE, the fundamental unit of the Church. Nothing in the OCA statute limits or expands the authority and responsibility of a First Hierarch.
        A Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, i repeat, did what Metropolitan Jonah does, the only thing he does well. NO First Hierarch of any Local Church is tasked to be a Fulton J. Sheen. A First Hierarch may be an AWFUL public speaker with little or no persuasive or informative skills.
        And I’ll repeat, although this may cause George to censor or block this message, Metropolitan Jonah resigned, under pressure, to be sure, but he had a choice. he resigned.

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        • Your Grace, I seem to recall that St. Gregory the Theologian resigned his see during the Second Ecumenical Council. The circumstances were extremely unfair to St. Gregory, but he resigned in order to forestall further division in the Church.

          Furthermore, we Christians are in a unique position to understand how something can be both forced from outside, and suffered voluntarily.

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      • I forgot to thank you for expressing your respect. Thank you. Your reply in itself shows respect, just as the failure to allow me to express my opinion to Veronica has shown disrespect, “in spades.”

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    • Lil Ole Housewife says:

      Dear Vladika Tikhon,

      Why would you wish to make an Exarchate within the OCA and put Metropolitan Jonah in it?

      We don’t need a leader of the Synod.

      We need the leader of the OCA back.

      http://www.mospat.ru/ru/2012/08/30/news69586/

      especially click on the photos

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      • Is it true they’ll make him Bishop of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery?

        ROCOR has a great Holy Synod and with a generous heart, even though they’re all celibates.

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        • Your Grace, what do you mean when you keep saying “they’re all celibates”? All Orthodox Bishops are expected, according to the Holy Cannons, to be celibate. Even those bishops such as Nicholas Ono of Japan who were previously married, were separated from their wives and took on Monastic habit.

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    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
      August 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      I say, frankly and unashamedly: the election of Metropolitan Jonah by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America was a totally irrational act. The resignation of Metropolitan Jonah was an irrational act committed by Metropolitan Jonah, that requires extraordinary help from God to surmount.

      Did I or did I not read somewhere in Holy Scripture (or maybe the writings of The Fathers) something to the effect that “the irrationality of God is greater than the rationality of men”?

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      • No, PdnNJ, you made it up.

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        • Vladyka:
          I would not dare to make up or surmise anything about God’s ways.
          So I’m sure that I ascertained it from somethings I’ve read in Holy Scripture and/or the writings of our Saints, theologians, or great authors that at least express or imply the same meaning.
          When I again come across an example of that in the near future, I’ll pass it on to you, but only if you wish, of course.

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      • Priest Justin Frederick says:

        No, PdnNJ, you didn’t make it up–but you didn’t quote it quite right either. “”Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” I Corinthians 1:25.

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        • Thank you, Fr. Justin;
          In the same line of thought I remember:
          “Your ways are not My ways, your thoughts are not My thoughts” (or visa versa).
          But I’m sure that i picked up the thought “the irrationality of God is greater than the rationality of men” from some of the sources in my my Orthodox library. (Right now it reminds me of St. Job, The Longsuffering.)

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          • PdnNJ
            If you have Eerdmans, I think you will find you can read it from cover to cover and never find a Saint of the Orthodox Church even USING the words irrationality and ratonality. Don’t waste your time looking for something that’s not there. If St. Job the Long-Suffering used the word it would be in any bible concordance, and it isn’t.
            You should now re-exxamine all the things you utter with certainty.

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            • Fine, your Grace.
              But I’ll not take your advice as the last word on it.
              From my 80 years of experience in this temporal life I’ve learned to trust my intuition and my own memory as much or even more than those persons with “encyclopedic” minds who can’t “read between the lines.”
              So, as of now I’ll simply offer
              “Your ways are not My ways, your thoughts are not My thoughts,” and
              “the irrationality of God is greater than the rationality of men”
              as pretty much revealing the same thing, the truth of which is revealed in Holy Scripture, the passion of our Lord being the prime example, and I utter that with certainty and without the need for reexamination.

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    • DC Indexman says:

      Bishop Tikhon,

      I think you have provided a very good analysis and conclusion here. I find myself agreeing with your perspective. However, from a practical point of view this is post facto analysis. Or simply put, this is trying to close the barn door after all the horses have galloped away.

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  5. M. Stankovich says:

    This was response to Fr. Ioannes:

    It is interesting that you would draw the analogy of Met. Philip Saliba, in that he has demonstrated himself, undeniably, to be a leader tested by time and “trials,” but has never been particularly known for a “charism” as an evangelist. Nevertheless, Met. Philip seems to exercise an unique gift characteristic of successful leaders: a fearless ability to utilize the gifts of others to fulfill “charismatic” responsibilities he does not possess in himself. Fr. Jon Braun told me that Met. Philip instructed them, “Bring America to Orthodoxy,” quite the opposite of what we ordinarily hear. Of course he was insightful to receive the Evangelicals when the OCA was not interested! In hindsight, heaven only knows the different outcome. Sadly, this fearless ability to utilize the gifts of others was lacking in former Met. Jonah.

    You have confused the concept of “administration” for “leadership.” I have seen no criticism or complaint from the Synod of Bishops that former Met. Jonah was an inadequate “administrator,” for whatever that might have entailed. However, they were quite explicit as to the deficiency in his capacity for leadership. To confuse these two concepts is to trivialize the seriousness of their resolution, in the end, that he seek help or resign. It is the difference between keeping a calender and checkbook, and providing a direction and collegiality for the entire Synod, and thereby the Church.

    There is something surrealistic about a socially awkward – truthfully, “inept” and uncomfortable – young man who was of a directionless type who could afford to make a sort of vague “career” of SVS; who having had a, truthfully, inadequate – by any Russian or Athonite tradition – monastic discipline, going on to lead a monastery (and some have said he spent more time out lecturing about monasticism, than actually living as a monastic); is consecrated as the youngest OCA bishop, and after only eighteen days as a bishop, is elected Metropolitan. I repeated what I have always held: he is a spiritual, sober-minded, pastoral, kind, naturally humorous, and intelligent man. He is not, nor he has ever been, a leader, personally setting his own direction, or otherwise. And after four years as Metropolitan, he stood before the assembled All American Council (and broadcast live internationally) and declared a “disaster” of his own responsibility. You cannot provide direction when you have none; you cannot draw upon experience when you have none; and you cannot lead when you are not a leader.

    The idea that the OCA, having wandered in the desert for forty years, would rise or fall because of one man, is repugnant and shameful. Former Met. Jonah was and remains incapable of impacting forty years of history, and it seems to me that the “answer” is to re-question the issue of autocephaly anew. The Russian Orthodox Church was in no position to make demands or to set rules in defining an American Church forty years previous, but they are certainly capable now. Bring America to the Orthodox Church.

    And if you go there, be sure to read Mr. Bauman’s insightful response to me.

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    • Gailina Sheppard says:

      A “leader” doesn’t unilaterally make all decisions. That’s a “dictator.” Let’s not confuse the two.

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    • Dr. Stankovich, when you describe the young seminarian Metropolitan Jonah as inept and socially-awkward, did you notice that he was a 21-year-old kid when he started seminary, who had been Orthodox not even for three years at that point? He had just moved across the country, very far away from friends and family, to go to a tiny school full of people who had been Orthodox their whole lives. Poor kid probably thought he was in the Slavic diaspora version of the Twilight Zone. He still did two degrees there, though, and graduated with honors, not because he’s super smart but because he worked his butt off.

      Gee, I wonder what Mikhail Stankovich’s SVS classmates might say about him. Maybe he had a few eccentric moments himself.

      As for doing more talking about monasticism than actually living it, giving talks was how Metropolitan Jonah earned money to support the brotherhood. He put some ridiculous number of miles on a car in a year, I can’t remember what, but it was huge. He also helped foster several missions in Northern California and one in Hawaii.

      As for his supposed lack of formation, he did spend a solid period of time as the abbot’s assistant at Valaam, and for many years has maintained a spiritual father relationship with the abbot of Valaam.

      As for supposed deficits in leadership, he did successfully re-start the brotherhood at Point Reyes, and managed to raise enough money to buy a monastery property and move the brotherhood when the time came. And, you know, the monastery was doing extremely well when he handed the keys over.

      He scratched that monastery out of nothing. Nothing. Maybe that’s not too bad for a clumsy weirdo with no monastic formation and bad leadership skills.

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    • adam smirnik says:

      be careful michael. There are some here who remember why you didn’t exactly cut it at SVS at first and why you had to take refuge in NEPA.

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      • M. Stankovich says:

        adam smirnik,

        I am presuming your “cryptic” comment is addressed to me? I have no idea as to who you might be, but your comment would suggest you are something of a punk. As to whether you are a “punk-assed punk” remains to be seen. “Careful,” you say? “Didn’t exactly cut it at first.” You proud of those new Airs you got on your feet? Be careful to double-knot the laces ’cause I just might take ‘em… Silly white people.

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        • Heracleides says:

          What a mature response, “Dr.” Stankovich. Adam isn’t the only one who has knowledge of your escapades (for lack of a more succinct term) while you occupied space SVS. Glass houses, stones, etc. Deal with it.

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          • M. Stankovich says:

            The point is this, pal: adam does not know a tenth of what he thinks he knows; “escapades,” I might add, that would undoubtedly wipe the stupid smirk off your face. It is wisely said, “You are only as sick as your secrets,” and I’ve let that go a long, long time ago. If your point is to intimidate or shame me, Herecleides, you are the silliest of geese! You somehow imagine I got security clearance for “supermax” institutions without a few “questions” from the FBI: “We heard you had an issue with naloxone?” “Well, I can explain…” What do you punk-ass punks want to know?

            “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. For great is Your love toward me; for You have delivered me from the depths of the grave.” (Ps. 85:12-13)

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            • M. Stankovich says:

              Mr. Michalopulos,

              Mr. Coin has rightfully pointed out your new subtle form of “censorship by extended moderation,” and let me be on record as finding it as more offensive than censorship outright. I am personally disappointed for expecting a higher standard of you.

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              • George Michalopulos says:

                How so?

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              • Dr. Stankovich, are you and Harry Coin out to outdo each other for bizarre accusations against George today?

                We are all guests here. I wish it were not necessary to keep comment moderation turned on, but George has the right to protect himself and Monomakhos in these litigious times. By the logic you gentlemen are using, I myself have been “censored” many times as well. It’s not my fault, it’s not George’s fault, it’s the asphalt.

                Both of you can grow up and deal with it, or find another venue.

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                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Helga, thank you for your defense of me. While I’m at it, I’ll be more than happy to reply to Dr Stankovich and Harry. When I’m at work or away from my desk, the only access I have to the internet is on my Android. It’s very clumsy for me and I only use it when work is slow or I’m waiting around at some office, restaurant, etc. I hit “approve” on 90% of the comments during this time. About the other 10% are usually addressed to me personally and/or are thought-provoking and deserve a more considered response from me. For those, I wait til I get home to my desk and type my response and hit the “approve” button then.

                  There is no censorship of content at all. However, as I’ve said time and again, I try to be very diligent about comments that I think are defamatory or are not provable. Things that are in the public record I allow even if they are distasteful.

                  I hope that answers everybody’s questions.

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            • You sound more and more like Stan the Tran with each new comment and a mean queen too. You can dish it out but you can’t take it.

              Supermax clearance. Like they really care about your SVS days. Just because they didn’t look in that closet doesn’t mean there is nothing there.

              “Insert pious scripture quote here.”

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              • M. Stankovich says:

                ZMan,

                I believe you have have made the point explicitly: who cares about my SVS days or “escapades?” It was intended to be intimidating & embarrassing , and it is not. What does it have to do with anything? It doesn’t. Deal with it?

                I am a genuinely good person – unlike some of my /b/’s – and “anonymity” is an exceptionally precarious state. To be doxed on the Pastebin is unpleasant. We are legion. We don’t forget. Expect us. Tell your friends.

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                • Norman Wood says:

                  M. Stankovich, ZMan and some others as well. If you want to carry on private feuds, write in obscure language, make use of abbreviations that even my 14 year old son probably doesn’t know, make references to events that most of us know nothing about and have no interest in or way of finding out, why don’t you do it elsewhere? You are just clouding the discussion and taking up space in what otherwise is a useful forum for sharing information and discussion of opinions. “Doxed on the Pastebin” (whatever that may mean) may indeed be unpleasant, but is it really contributing anything to the discussion? Thank you George M. for letting me vent.

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                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    Mr. Wood,

                    I appreciate your venting and certainly had no intention of bring this annoyance to the discussion. For some reason it was brought to me. Like anyone else, I have my opinions, I share them, and I own them by name. I am responsible. I have never made claim that any opinion I have expressed is more significant, more insightful, or more worthy than any other opinion expressed here. You agree with me or you do not pretty much sums it up in my mind. As to what possible reason anyone should be addressing my education, my background, my “escapades,” my friendships & associations, sexual orientation, the length of my hair, or derivation of my last name is your guess, Mr. Wood. Seriously, it bores the living hell out of me.

                    But the internet affords a false sense of “courage”; false because ignorant individuals assume by using a “nom de plume,” if you will, they can’t be found out. I absolutely defend the right to privacy, but I do not tolerate threats and attempts at silly intimidation in “real life,” so why on the internet? To be “doxed” is to have your personal “documentation” (identity) revealed and Pastebin is an anonymous site where that sort of information is typically posted. One “sniffs” an IP address coming into, say, a blog site, and then, say, the same address is “sniffed” on a “photo collection” site and things, as they say, come together… But the word of the day was simply caution. Careful, glass houses, stones, etc.

                    Tuesday’s word of the day – and it’s another long night of waiting on the cops – is peace. Tango, out.

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                    • Ronda Wintheiser says:

                      Gee, Mr. Stankovich. Perhaps you might try tolerating “threats and attempts at silly intimidation” sometime. Just for something new… ?

                      :)

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Ms. Wintheiser,

                      The irony is that I did not choose the thug life. The thug life chose me.

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                    • Heracleides says:

                      “One “sniffs” an IP address coming into, say, a blog site, and then, say, the same address is “sniffed” on a “photo collection” site and things, as they say, come together… But the word of the day was simply caution. Careful, glass houses, stones, etc. “

                      Unless of course one is using a TOR browser, then you are SOL with your traffic analysis… but hey, knock yourself out.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Holy cow! A man who underestimates the pathos of /b/.

                      Here’s the deal: TOR will protect you from random analysis, but if I really want you, we’ll play “man in the middle” – a “pre-sniff”, if you will – and you’re mine.

                      My point to you is this: your sense of security behind the monicker is tenuous at best, but more importantly, what do I care? But what is fair is fair. If you believe it is appropriate to discuss and share someone’s personal life & “escapades,” you must be comfortable participating yourself. And I am happy to help.

                      Good lord man, are you actually issuing a challenge? Does it include getting the social security number or no?

                      Free security #1: If you’re using TOR, don’t tell people you’re using TOR.

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                    • Heracleides says:

                      Oh please. I’ve conducted extensive background checks as part of my profession for a number of years and you’re simply blowing smoke. (Not a huge surprise here, considering some of your escapades.) I can’t believe I’m trading barbs with a washed-up prison social worker, but in any event – yes, “Dr.” Stankovich, I do use TOR and several other nifty tools and like I stated earlier – knock yourself out and let’s see what you fail to find.

                      P.S. None of this is intended to dispute your claim to fame of being an excellent, ah, “sniffer.” Amazing the jargon you prison skells come up with to describe your proclivities.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Holy cow, the smoke in here! Well, Hercules, I shall not belabour the point because 1) you are, surprisingly, much less a smarty-pants than I had imagined, and 2) I am bored. But, suddenly I see dancing popcorn, hot dogs, and candy, and it can only mean one thing! YES! A movie!

                      Are you back? Good. Do you have any sense of what transpired in that 2 minutes? Using a little piece of precise black-hat coding – in this case multi-platform intercepter-NG – someone “intruded” between nodes of Tor as an undetected MiTM (“man-in-the-middle”) and stole all the data! Imagine, Hercules comes home to find his screen-saver replaced with a full-frontal of Richard Simmons. Cracks me up. And by all means, file a police report; but sadly, your perp shall remain anonymous having wisely chosen a Tor-browser…”

                      The last sarcastic word, as always, is yours. I’ve got skelling to attend to.

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                    • Heracleides says:

                      Lol. Like I’d actually click on any link you provided? Must be amateur hour. Next you’ll be telling me how you’re phreaking my system via 8″ floppies and your 300 baud dial-in modem. By-the-way, still waiting on that SSN… Anyway – you have fun in your little black-hat (or lavender-hat as the case may be) fantasy land.

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  6. Simplygermain says:

    Vladyka, this is a wonderful suggestion. While I have been quietly lurking and often disagreeing with your posts, we agree on this type of approach. With the RESIGNATION of Met. JONAH, there is no going back and I do not believe he would accept even if the offer was present. Let us move forward and with the grace of God.

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    • Simplygermane, it is certainly true that many refuse to call Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation an honorable deed; rather, they say he acted duplicitously out of weakness before the might of the Chancellor and the Holy Synod, those mighty, charismatic men!
      I’d never call metropolitan Jonah a coward: many, however, are determined to do so!

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      • Your Grace et. al,

        Lest we forget and as Your Grace has rightly reminded us, +Jonah never had his own staff around him. He was saddled with a staff hired by the Metropolitan Council and a staff that quickly were more interested in hearing from their mentors like the dali lama of protopresbyters that “the Holy Spirit was not present in Pittsburgh”, that “Jonah is mentally ill”, that +Jonah was a strange student at SVS.”

        And lest we forget +Jonah was undermined by a chancellor, Fr. Garklavs, who actively worked against his Metropolitan, OUR Metropolitan, and spud a web of half-truths and some outright mistruths, to paint +Jonah in the worse possible light as the first attempt at taking him out was planned for Santa Fe.

        Then +Jonah was given a new chancellor, again hired by the Metropolitan Council, a chancellor who swore his allegiance to the Metropolitan Council and those bishops on the synod who were still hell-bent to rid Jonah as Metropolitan.

        So what do we have today? A “former” Metropolitan (you can’t be a former Metropolitan, he is a Metropolitan even if the bright lights on the OCA synod now see him as a “demoted” Archbishop) who nevertheless is given a rightful place of respect and honor, not by the OCA but by the Russian Orthodox Church and the ROCOR. Sadly another example of how far the OCA has fallen, the MP and ROCOR telling the OCA that Metropolitan Jonah, no matter what his former synod members think, is respected and not some sort of crazy person.

        It is important for us to never forget that the OCA was once an example to other Orthodox jurisdictions in North America. The OCA was fully engaged with other Orthodox churches here in the USA and around the world. We were a Church, albeit tiny, did a great job of leveraging our history and the close ties that were developed over many decades to place the OCA at the table when important decisions were discussed and decided, whether it be the old SCOBA or with Constantinople, Moscow or other Orthodox Churches. Today?

        The OCA has descended from a tiny hardworking cooperative Orthodox Church into an afterthought on the local Orthodox scene and a total embarrassment to Moscow. What a cold slap in the kisser did the OCA get in Kiev recently when Pat. Kirill told our illustrious ambassadors +Alexander and Kishkovsky that they should be ashamed of themselves for treating +Jonah in such an underhanded and disrespectful way. Moscow was telling the OCA that their day is over and although Moscow won’t interfere in the internal life of the OCA Moscow and through her surrogate the ROCOR is planting scores of new churches on the territory of the OCA thus in practice abrogating the Tomos of Autocephaly. WIll the OCA protest? How? With what leverage? Based on what credibility?

        In the new OCA it appears that if you don’t like the view in the mirror, you just break the mirror! Well, good for them if that is how they choose to lead, but does that mean we all have another 7 years bad luck to pay for such callous and stupid mistakes?

        You know, old crazy Stan has been chanting the mantra that it is time for us to return to the Mother Church. At one time, as little as 8 years ago such an idea seemed ludicrous and was unnecessary, but today it doesn’t sound that crazy. Maybe it is time to break up the OCA. Let the Romanians go back to Bucharest, Albanians to Tirana, Bulgarians to Sofia, and the old Metropolia to Moscow. It certainly doesn’t seem that we could do any worse than we are now.

        Lord, have mercy and save us.

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    • Lord Save says:

      Yes Met. Jonah would. But several on the Synod and in Syosset would have to retire or be fired, and he would have to be allowed to pick his own staff. Personally, I think we should repent of all the events that have arisen as a consequence of trying to oust Met. Jonah. As well as do whatever need done to restore him. Since it is apparent that hell should freeze over first, this is not a likely out come. We have been acting against the Holy Spirit. I know, bold statement. But I believe it to be true. And if we don’t repent, the Lord will chastise.

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    • He resigned because every last one of the bishops demanded it from him (or so he was told, presumably after prayer and somber reflection they rendered this momentous decision and then sent the true chief among them to inform, no?). Not a single bishop would stand to recognize the authority of the Holy Spirit in Jonah, not one brother would honor his leadership. Not a single one. Not one. None. Think about that again: Not even one stood by him.

      Had even one asked him to stay, he might have resisted the will of the synod. But it was unanimous, how could he rebel against the unanimous will of the body that called him?

      They had already made it clear by mocking him publicly. They laughed at him corporately in Holy meetings. They yelled at him. They punded tables in Holy anger. They ridiculed his size out of Holy concern his diabetes might be contagious to the faithful. They tried to force him into a mental hospital for an intensity of treatment only appropriate for a man both violent and insane, because Holy Arkham Asylum Batman, this stuff just makes a crazy good story line for a comic book some day! When he came to them and expressed his grievances and needs, they ignored him (except for a few meaningless measures taken for public show), then gave him an apology script and demanded that he publicly accept all blame while they acknowledge none of their own. Do you know what this kind of abuse does to stress levels and normal hormone levels? He would have been treated far more humanely if he had stopped in for a meeting of the local chapter of GLAAD or PFLAG. Even the Church of Scientology would have been more humane — at least they would have assumed Arkham Asylum was the sadistic and perverse torture of the soul it was intended to be.

      Even if he wanted to resist, in the context of the synod’s unanimous decision, such resistance would require a pride that no monk should ever want to nurture. He never sought the position or any position of honor or authority outside the monastery he founded. He served as a leader because he was asked by God through God’s People to serve as their leader. God’s People then decided God made a terrible mistake, or maybe they were tired of being God’s People. Either way, he was called and served until those who called him informed him they could not see the Holy Spirit in his leadership and literally did not want him to lead anymore.

      Move forward?! Even if the OCA was a secular club for video game enthusiasts, there would be no way forward without repentance.

      Repentance, by definition, means going back.

      Christian or not. Orthodox or not. Church or not. Autocephalous or not. As a matter of fact, there is no way forward for this organization without repentance. Even the last of the uncontacted tribes of the Amazon, if they heard this story, they would brush the dust from their feet and flee with their children leaving every other possession behind. Even heathens would have nothing to do with such evil men.

      How do you even begin to imagine a way forward without repentance?

      How can you have God’s grace without a change of heart?

      I would never abuse my worst enemy or even an animal the way the OCA has abused Jonah. Does the Church exist purely in a spiritual realm we cannot see? Does it get a pass, because of its Holiness, to “go forward” like this?

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      • lexcaritas says:

        According to the Chancelloer’s keynote address to the DOS meeting in Miami, the Lesser Synod’s request for ++JONAH’s regnation came after they all had a nice dinner together (after a productive meeting at which a number of things were accomplished). The decision was made after JONAH left. The Chancellor made not mention in his account of prayer and somber reflection before the decision was made.

        lxc

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        • Lex, if the “unanimous request” came out of a meeting of the Lesser Synod minus Met. Jonah, it makes one wonder how, by the next day, Met. Jonah was given the impression that the entire Synod had voted to ask him to resign. The resignation letter very explicitly refers to such a decision.

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          • I can see only one possible explanation. He was made to believe that it was the entire Synode. Or, in plain language, he was lied to.

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            • “Repentance, by definition, means going back.”
              Whose definition is that, please, Um?

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              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
                September 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm

                “Repentance, by definition, means going back.

                I think this is a much, much better definition:

                Repentance is the renewal of baptism.
                Repentance is a contract with God for a second life.
                A penitent is a buyer of humility.
                Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair.
                Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins.
                Repentance is purification of conscience.
                Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions.
                – St. John Climacus

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                • PdnNJ, strictly speaking I’d consider this an explication of repentance rather than a definition. Certainly the dictionary definition and this explication provide complementary information, each more useful than the other in specific contexts.

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                • PdnNJ!!! Please correct your message of September 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm. I objected to the puerile and made-up definition of repentance which I quoted. I did NOT affirm or say it myself, as you now try to make it look. It’s a ridiculous thing to say, I only quoted if because I was demanding to know where it came from, because it has no basis in Orthodox teaching and the person that posted it should be made aware of that.
                  Was it YOU, PdnNJ?

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              • You can look it up in any English dictionary. The concept is always meaningless without reference to the past.

                For a more detailed definition, you could consider Wikipedia’s entry which introduces the topic as follows:

                Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs.[1] It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God in order to gain forgiveness or absolution. It typically includes an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.
                In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow).
                —————————————————–
                [1] Oxford English Dictionary: To repent, v “To review one’s actions and feel contrition or regret for something one has done or omitted to do; (esp. in religious contexts) to acknowledge the sinfulness of one’s past action or conduct by showing sincere remorse and undertaking to reform in the future.”

                The Greek word most commonly translated as “repentance” in the New Testament books (‘metanioa’) is probably more accurately translated as “transformation of the mind” or “conversion”. It means to think about something after the fact and have a reversal or profound change in opinion about it. But again it is a concept that loses all weight or meaning without some ability to look back on the past and make a decision or take action with reference to something in the past that was done or perceived wrongly.

                The Latin root of the English word ‘repent’ has the same meaning as the Hebrew concept: “to look back or return and to feel regret”.

                I’m a bit puzzled why this is at all controversial in any Christian group, but maybe I am about to learn something new about Orthodoxy.

                Getting out of the ivory towers and back to the topic at hand, it certainly sounds to me like many in the OCA would love to move forward to a bright new tomorrow without the unsavory business of repentance.

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                • Oh my, oh my, oh my!
                  When dictionary definitions are more important than St. John Climacus’ counsel, we’re lost.

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                  • Thank you for posting the St. John Climacus text.

                    I still have a hard time believing there is any disagreement here. St. John’s counsel relies on the denotative meanings of words throughout, including the meaning of “repentance”. I’m 100% certain St. John would agree, and I’m also certain you agree.

                    But if I’m wrong and you have doubts: Try replacing “repentance” with “goodness” or “laziness” or “splarwafer” (a made up word) in the text you have quoted and you’ll get an illustration of how important dictionary definitions are, even to the work of saints.

                    If you want to give counsel or inspiration to an English speaker, use St. John’s text. If you are teaching an immigrant (or an English speaker with a gap in knowledge) what the English word “repent” means, use the dictionary definition so that they can function in society and also some day appreciate the meaning of St. John’s text. But even more importantly, if you’ve done something wrong, especially if you have purposely harmed someone else, repent the best you can and don’t let the English language hold you back.

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                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    Strong argues a distinction between the verbs μεταμέλομαι (meta meaning “change” and melo “interest”) [e.g. 2 Cor. 7:8, Heb. 7:21] as a “looking back, generally for the better,” or a “regret,” or “changing of interest or concern,” its intention is specifically to imply a more “superficial, emotional change of particulars”; while μετανοέω (meta “change” and nous meaning “mind”) [e.g. Matt. 3:2, Matt. 4:17, Lk. 10:13] is a “fuller and nobler term, expressive of moral action and issues.”

                    In my mind, Vladyka Tikhon is the winner, and still champion, IF one is concerned with a fuller and more noble, expressive and moral definition. I was fully prepared to award Um “Honorable Mention,” until he said “probably more accurately translated.” Confidence, my friend! Chin up. There is a paucity of viable candidates and few men of confidence in the wings. Use me as a reference. On second thought, don’t…

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Dr S, I’m Greek and I’m envious of your knowledge of Classical Greek. Speaking of regrets, I very much regret that Greek and Latin weren’t offered in my youth.

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                    • Dr S. is discussing Koine Greek, George, the lingua franca of the post-Alexandrian East and the language of the New Testament, which is not the same as Classical Greek. Although it is derived largely from Attic it is quite a different beast. A course in “NT Greek” can be taken through any seminary or theological college – the Evangelical colleges actually have the best Biblical language teachers these days and there should certainly be one of those near you in Oklahoma (I seem to recall that’s where you live?) – it should be a breeze for you if you grew up speaking modern Greek, which ultimately derives from Koine.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      I realize the distinctions between Koine and Attic, but Dr S’s references to certain words are to the Attic original unless I’m mistaken.

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                    • John Christopher says:

                      George: Dr S was talking about definitions found in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, a lexical tool from an era when men were men and women were men too, as one former professor of mine used to say. One needs no special knowledge of the Hebrew or Greek of any era to use Strong’s. Its copyright is expired and the whole thing is available online.

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                    • I think you are mistaken, George. Both words exist in Classical Greek, where their import is somewhat more ambiguous than in Koine, but in any case Dr S is referring to NT usage.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      As, I believe, we are of a similar age, it does not seem inappropriate to suggest you consider a “late vocation.” Breathing the noxious vapors of those phamaceuticals can’t have been good for the hairline, though, as you might have heard, I have retained enough for the both of us. Extended study of both the Biblical Greek and Hebrew languages within the context of an Orthodox theological seminary just might be what the Dr. ordered. – and appreciate the brilliance of the segue in requesting the dropping of the title, “Dr.,” please; reserve it for Brian Jackson, a Board Certified physician. I would note, importantly, that Mr. Papoutsis is the New Testament Greek scholar here, and the thunder is rightfully his.

                      Fr. Schmemann always emphasized that our theology is contained entirely in our liturgy: “If we believe it, we sing it.” The clarifications of nuances and subtleties of intention in the Scripture are often revealed by the Fathers in liturgy. Acrostics. Who would have thought!

                      I am positive Vladyka Tikhon will write you a glowing recommendation to the seminary of your choice! English, Russian, German… yes, Mr. Michalopulos, get it in German! Holy cow, you’ll get a scholarship! But remind him: now you realize that Ouzo & first-daughter Amy Carter don’t mix! That’s why you became a Republican.

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                    • I’m not sure the Septuagint is in ‘koine’ Greek, but the New Testament is written in it, to be sure. “koine” Greek is an extremely debased Greek. It is a Pidjin, or Pidgeon Languare, used as a lingua franca by non Greeks in late Biblical times. Roman Soldiers and Persian merchants, etc., used it. There are no “monuments’ of the Koine Greek language. Those who value the beautiful Greek language consider Koine Greek to be wretched Greek, but the writers of the New Testament were not connoisseurs of Greek or even particularly interested in it except as something that even ignorant types could get.
                      Even modern demotic (or “the people’s” Greek, or demoitiki) is the preferred language of many modern Greek poets and it has literary and estheic value. Katharevousa, likewise is ‘good Greek.” Koine Greek is crude, but it gets the job done. Before PdnNJ says anything, it should be pointed out that neither the word “Greek” nor the word ‘Hellenic” exists IN the Greek language, which is called, Elleniki (there are no h’s at all in Greek), just as “German” does not exist int he German language, or “Swedish” in the Swedish language. Get it, PdnNJ? No word with an ‘h” in it is Greek.

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      • Metropolitan Jonah IS our leader!

        Even at this sad time in his service to the OCA he suffers through his humiliation with joy, takes up his cross with obedience giving us a powerful spiritual lesson — “Do not Resent. Do not React. Keep Inner Stillness”…
        He practices what he preaches. He refuses to judge those who have judged him so cruelly, saying “Thy will be done” and that “we hurt ourselves by refusing to forgive”

        It is almost 2 months since our beloved Metropolitan was forced to resign. However, we still do not have any definitive explanation why he can’t conduct services at any OCA church, including St.Nicholas Cathedral even though he lives just a minute away. Why is left in “limbo”?
        It causes great emotional distress to those of us who consider him our spiritual leader and I feel that we, the church laity, are among the biggest casualties of this disgraceful treatment of Metropolitan Jonah.
        We Need Him Back!!!

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        • Priest Justin Frederick says:

          And when he was in Dallas recently, he was not permitted to attend any of the OCA churches. He had to go the St. Nicholas, the local ROCOR parish for Communion.

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          • That Metropolitan Jonah is not allowed to commune in the OCA sounds strangely like being excommunicated.

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            • To clarify, from what I know of Metropolitan Jonah’s situation, he can commune in the OCA, but is only permitted to set foot in one OCA church: St. Mark’s in Bethesda, Maryland. So when he’s out of town, he would need to go to a non-OCA church.

              Once Vladyka Dmitri’s earthly remains are moved to the Dallas OCA cathedral, I hope that they would at least allow Met. Jonah to pay his respects to his departed mentor there.

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              • That would seem to me to be an absolute abuse of synodical authority (is such power rested in synod in the OCA statutes?). This is presumably why ROCOR are being so kind and hospitable to Metropolitan Jonah, undoubtedly with the knowledge and approval of Patriarch of Moscow. For the sake of justice for the man, could someone not raise this at the Ohio Sobor? I suspect Jonah is too humble to speak on his own behalf. This is all too much! The Holy Synod of the OCA should be ashamed of themselves.

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            • M. Vasiliou and Fr Justin,

              The longer the OCA bishops keep Jonah on a short leash and even from communing in the OCA except at St. Mark’s in Bethesda, it shows to the world how utterly petty and in fact afraid the bishops are of Jonah. They are scared to death that he will have clergy and faithful rallying around him. His reception by the MP and ROCOR in California proves that he is not the boogyman that the little men of the OCA have portrayed him. But they have painted themselves into such a corner that if they free him they will look bad, but if they don’t they do look bad. So what are they to do? You see it has nothing to do with what is right but rather it is all about the members of the synod and the syosset hirelings. Their private agendas.

              Folks at the FOCA convention in Myrtle Beach were treated to Bp. Michael parading around there saying such things as “I called Met. Jonah and asked him why he resigned?” What utter nonsense. That is like calling Mrs. Murphy after her cow started the great Chicago fire. Give me a break. Why didn’t he insist that the synod not take the actions of forcing Jonah out of office? That would have been the right thing to do.

              Now we will be subjected to a quick AAC in Parma so that the bishops can put distance between themselves and their unholy actions against Jonah. Now the OCA tells us that it will be a “penitential” Sobor yet the synod will not repent. Now parishes have to spend precious funds that were unnecessary since we had a duly nominated and elected Metropolitan. So now we get to choose from the 21st century “Robber Council” to choose his successor? Does any of this make sense? Do they think we are just going to forget what they did. Do they think that we can just flip the OCA switch and forget what they did?

              A NO CONFIDENCE vote at Parma when the first ballot is passed around is one way that we can voice are objection to what this synod has done to the OCA. A NO CONFIDENCE vote will demonstrate that we are not pleased with our leadership. A NO CONFIDENCE vote will tell the world that we may have bishops but that we do not approve of the way they treated Jonah.

              A new Metropolitan will be “elected” in Parma but it will be the same old OCA with its dysfunctional administration of the church. It will do little to convince Moscow or Constantinople or the other Orthodox Churches that the OCA is autocephlous on paper only. And while all this is going on Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky is traveling on the OCA dime to Greece for the WCC meetings. Again they ignore the repeated cries of the church membership that we want out of the WCC. But they appear to know best and we are suppose to give them cover by going to Parma. Why don’t the bishops just elect who they want. It makes little difference to me. If they can remove Jonah with a conference call, let them elect the next metropolitan the same way. Enough all ready. You have no credibility. It is time to put the OCA on a leave of absence and declare it vacant.

              And finally, the great OCA synod has now placed the wolf in the henhouse with Bp. Mark (Maymon) living off our assessments in Syosset. An admitted thief is rewarded with a high-paying syosset job. Yep, Maymon in Syosset. The proverbial cherry on the top. Who approved that move? His buddies on the synod and the syosset administration.

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              • Well, that does sound like the best idea. Now you just need “voters”. As I remember, those seem to be mostly, the silent priests and a lot of time their wives. Although this AAC will probably not be attractive as a mini-break vacation, it would offer the chance of getting some representatives of the laity on board.
                Now you just need a cyber gathering spot.

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              • The AAC in Parma is being carefully scripted and the background of all delegates and alternates is being rigorously checked by the OCA hierarchy.

                Observe the warning on all the application forms.

                http://oca.org/news/headline-news/registration-hotel-information-for-17th-all-american-council-now-available
                http://files.oca.org/aacs/2012-0903-17th-aac-reg-packet.pdf

                You might have seen this warning before, but this time it has teeth.

                This document must be mailed by October 15, 2012 to:

                Orthodox Church in America
                Preconciliar Commission
                PO Box 675
                Syosset, NY 11791-0675

                The Commission will forward this document to the diocesan hierarch for his approval and signature. If approval should be in question or denied, you will be notified.

                DATE

                REMARKS

                Soviet Syosset does not want any dissidents. Although there will be a brief gathering in the hall for the continental breakfast, any picket signs placed there will probably be promptly removed. As Monomakhos posters have noticed, the nominating and voting will take place in church obviously to prevent any signs of dissent.

                Will there be any opportunity to vote NO CONFIDENCE? Are the ballots secret?

                Meanwhile, the OCA continues to engage in modernism and ecumenism. No wonder the OCA hierarchy remain stubbornly compromised as Pharaoh did of old, while the faithful in the pews pray for their salvation.

                If today you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

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                • M.Vasiliou,

                  The “vote” for Metropolitan will be by secret ballot. That should not change. If it does then the OCA is totally going against its own rules (not that that would be a surprise.)

                  It would be difficult to stop dissidents so that should not prevent people from speaking their minds. They are trying to keep things to the point in that they have stated that the only order of business is the “election” of a new Metropolitan, but anyone can step up to the mike for a Point of Order, a Question of the Chair. If such questions are ruled out of order, then you know that the bishops and syosset hireling only want the Sobor to be a cover for their actions.

                  The Sobor only nominates, the synod elects but in that nomination process I would hope that many people will speak up and challenge why Jonah was removed. Also, there is nothing stoping anyone from voting NO CONFIDENCE or voting for Jonah himself. The synod can throw out those votes but in doing so they expose their naked aggression against Jonah and contempt for those gathered in Parma. The synod wants to elect one of their own, that does not mean that we have to go away quietly. Remember the Orthodox world will be watching and they will see what is of God and what is of man.

                  I wonder what Hopko will say about this Sobor. Will he declare it void of the Holy Spirit like he did when Jonah was elected or will be give it his spirit of blessing since Jonah is not involved? Either way the good ship OCA has already hit the iceberg and changing the captain now won’t change the inevitable outcome.

                  Speak up and fear not for if God is with us who can be against us?

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                  • Who will preside, and who will be included in the Vote Count Verification Committee? It could be completely Putin-style election. You will put “NO CONFIDENCE” on your vote, but people in charge will still count votes to please the HS.

                    My husband, who is from anti-Putin movement, says: “Our goal is to make this election void. The number of spoiled ballots should significantly outnumber the quorum, whatever quorum suppose to be. We need maximum spoiled ballots, and honest Vote Count Verification Committee. Independent observers must be included in the counting process.”

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                    • The spoiled ballots will reduce the number of countable ballots to less than quorum, and void the election.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      I agree with you Veronica (even though I’m not anti-Putin myself). And anyway, Putin’s former KGB, even he acknowledges that. What excuse does our “American” Synod have for engaging in such shenanigans?

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                    • Veronica, even without ANY one putting forth any names, the Synod BY ITSELF can and will elect a met.
                      The only way to actually stop this election is with some legal maneuver that proves it is an illegal election. As they are holding the Met. Jonah’s resignation, that is going to be difficult, and first you would need to verify that +Met Jonah really want’s that fight. It would have to be him leading the charge.
                      Have you checked with him? Is he ready to do that?
                      I would like to see every one of this Synod and administration who has collaborated in this FRAME up out of there. Not one of them should be left to do more damage. The question is how.? The truth doesn’t seem to do anything.

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                    • Veronica, there is no election to spoil, lay and priest delegates only get to vote as a nomination. They will simply count the valid votes towards the nomination. A vote of “no confidence” will be disregarded, and there is no point in casting an invalid vote.

                      I believe the best way to throw a wrench into this is to vote for Metropolitan Jonah for the nomination. A vote for Metropolitan Jonah IS a vote of no confidence in the rest of the Synod.

                      The point is not really to get Metropolitan Jonah nominated: while that would be nice, I don’t think there is much of a chance that the Synod would actually carry through with electing him. No, the real point is to show the Synod that they could not destroy Metropolitan Jonah completely. Even if Metropolitan Jonah only receives a paltry number of votes, every single one is a dagger in the Synod’s credibility. Even if they refuse to include Met. Jonah in the vote tally, THEY WILL KNOW.

                      I feel like the best thing to do for non-delegates would be to stick with the plan to picket this travesty.

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                  • Lil Ole Housewife says:

                    Why are parishes sending their priests and lay delegates at all to Parma? Why be part of an enterprise of this nature?

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                  • Nikos (and George and Fr Hans, for that matter):
                    Which would be better in your opinion: to vote “Metropolitan JONAH,” or to vote “No Confidence”?
                    I would rather vote for Metropolitan JONAH, but I think that those reading this site who are going to Parma and are willing to make this mild “protest” vote need to know which vote (Jonah or N.C.), so our votes are united.

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                    • Vote for Metropolitan Jonah, because “no confidence” would not be counted as a valid vote.

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                    • I’m an outsider, but it seems simple to me. Your task is to vote for the best candidate. If that is Jonah, then vote Jonah.

                      If he wins but is rejected by the synod, you have to select two. I would vote Jonah, then Tikhon (Fitzgerald) in that case. Maybe Bishop T (not to be confused with Mr. T) can come in and throw some chairs off the deck in a short period rather than just rearranging them. He could be the fixer and clean things up for a new primate in a couple years time. But personally I could not make the case for Tikhon over Jonah in the first round. Jonah is still a viable leader for decades to come, Tikhon may surprise everyone but to listen to him tell it, his spring chicken is nearing the end of the summer (or something like that).

                      As a purely political matter, voting for anyone other than Jonah would divide votes and make the necessary plurality unlikely. Also, if Jonah returns, he will have the political capital to do what he was not allowed to do the first time. But ultimately, you have to ask yourself that very focused question: Who is the best candidate? I think the bishops will do something dishonest behind the scenes before allowing Jonah to return, but you will have done your part and that’s what you are asked to do. Do your part, leave the rest in God’s hands. Something unexpectedly good might happen if you are faithful, who knows!

                      I’d say you only vote N.C., if you cannot in good conscience vote for anyone. A vote of N.C. is quite literally a non-vote. I would see it as a vote of no confidence in the OCA, which has pretty serious theological implications, or at least ecclesiological implications. I think I probably think about these larger implications more than some of you who are inside the OCA do. But if I was inside and professed what you do, I would not walk away before fulfilling my responsibilities. If you have a vote, that means voting for the man you believe God has called.

                      Maybe it isn’t that simple, and I’m open to correction, but that’s how I see it from the outside.

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                    • Priest Justin Frederick says:

                      Voting for the person will send the message. But for whom to vote on the second ballot?

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                    • Heracleides says:

                      Simple. On the second ballot, vote/write-in “None of the Above”. (I’ve never been a fan of voting for the lesser of two evils.)

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                    • Dear Fr. Justin,

                      As you know, there will be a second ballot only if no candidate gathers 2/3 in the first round. On the second ballot, you just write in TWO of the names of ANY candidates you like – the two with the largest number of votes get forwarded to the Synod. Thus, on the second ballot you can still write in Met. Jonah AND another candidate (could be Bp. Basil of Wichita, Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk or Hilarion of NY; or the OCA Bp whom you think as least tainted by this recent fiasco). The names of the two with the largest amount will get forwarded to the Synod – if Met J’s name will get into the 3rd (Synodal) ballot, it WILL send a message.

                      Meanwhile, I think the people/clergy in the South should be talking to e.o. in order to make a chance of Met Jonah’s election for the see of Dallas and the South (whenever these elections will take place) be a real possibility, not just a pie in the sky.

                      It is very unlikely the July decisions could be reversed in November – but there is a chance that we could still keep MJ working for the good of the Church, in particular the OCA.

                      I don’t presume to give you any advice or recommendation – you as a priest of God know more what to do than a layman like myself; but I just wanted to correct you on what impressed me as a misunderstanding of the electoral procedure.

                      PS. I also wanted to DISCOURAGE everyone from voting “None of the Above” or “No Confidence” on the first or second ballot. People, any ballot on which _anything else_ but the candidates’ names (one in the first ballot, two in the second) is written will be counted as INVALID. You will throw your vote away.

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                • Syosset may be able to reject certain delegates, but they can’t pick who shows up to protest, either.

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                  • Helga,

                    Considering that they will be lucky to have 500 total attendees, I am not sure they are going to disqualify too many delegates. If they do, I am sure we will hear about it and this site will report it. I can think of a few bishops who should be disqualified!!!

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                • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says:

                  As I’m sure Nikos knows but forgot to mention, the signature of the Diocesan hierarch is not new. Look at the form for the last (16th) All American Council:

                  http://oca.org/PDF/16thAAC/16AAC.registration.delegate.pdf

                  which includes the following:

                  “Mailing Instructions:
                  This document must be mailed by August 1, 2011 to:
                  Orthodox Church in America
                  Preconciliar Commission
                  PO Box 675
                  Syosset, NY 11791-0675
                  The Commission will forward this document to the diocesan hierarch for his approval and signature.
                  If approval should be in question or denied, you will be notified.”

                  It’s like “where’s Waldo?” finding the conspiracies, “major” snubs, and hidden statements.

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                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Yeah, I can hardly wait til Parma. We’re all gonna be so “penitent” there. Before you know it we’ll all be washing each other’s feet. Then the Revered Protopresbyters will go back to Syosset where they’ll continue to do the Lord’s work.

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                  • Not sure why you are addressing me with your comment, Fr Yousef? did I say something about the Sobor registration forms?

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                  • Father Yousuf is, of course, correct. I remember that one of the tedious things that we had to do when we arrived at an All American Council was to take all the parish certificates for our Diocese, sit down and read each one and then sign on the certificate, accrediting each delegate personally….or not.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      In that sense, are these “parish certificates” available for viewing by all sitting bishops? This would seem to be the case, else how would a sitting synod make an informed choice on a candidate for bishop?

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                  • Ronda Wintheiser says:

                    Whose signature will appear on the application of those delegates whose hierarch is Bishop MATTHIAS… ?

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          • That’s disgusting, to say the least.

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          • That is unconscionable. What is the precedent for prohibiting an Orthodox Christian from communing in his own jurisdiction but not others? What sort of warped ecclesiology is that? Either Metropolitan Jonah is deprived of communion or he is not. Despite any of the metropolitan’s failings, as long as such a bizarre order stands, each and every member of the synod is guilty of a grave sin. What unspeakable meanness! And I’m supposed to entrust my spiritual welfare and that of my family to this band of hyenas? If they will do it to him, they will do it to anyone. No one is safe in the OCA. NO ONE.

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            • JamesP says (September 4, 2012 at 8:20 am)

              ‘That is unconscionable. What is the precedent for prohibiting an Orthodox Christian from communing in his own jurisdiction but not others? What sort of warped ecclesiology is that? Either Metropolitan Jonah is deprived of communion or he is not. Despite any of the metropolitan’s failings, as long as such a bizarre order stands, each and every member of the synod is guilty of a grave sin. What unspeakable meanness! And I’m supposed to entrust my spiritual welfare and that of my family to this band of hyenas? If they will do it to him, they will do it to anyone. No one is safe in the OCA. NO ONE.’

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              Funny you should ask.

              Actually, Yours Truly is the precedent.

              When Met. Herman broke his word to me and went after Fr Robert Kondratick with lawyers, I then made public statements calling MetH out for his (and our OCA’s) financial mismanagement and for his false accusations against FrRK.

              For that, he ‘released’ me from our OCA (it didn’t really happen, even though he put it in a letter and published it in the paper) and forbade me to participate in the life of our OCA parishes in the New Jersey deanery, excluding me from Holy Communion here.

              It was then pointed out to him that he had no authority to tell me to do or not to do anything at all, because he had already ‘released’ me from the OCA and from my obedience to him as my canonical superior .(Previously, I had been ‘attached’ to St Sergius Chapel at the chancery under direct obedience to our first hierarch. That is my situation again, although MetJ has given me no obediences.)

              So MetH then told the chancellor of the NY/NJ eparchy to inform the dean of NJ that no priest or parish in NJ was to allow me to participate in parish life or in the Eucharist itself, and the dean passed on the ukaz to all the local clergy.

              Until this oddly personal (on MetH’s part) punishment was lifted, I was humbly privileged to make my confession and receive Holy Communion in ROCOR and MP and GOA parishes and monasteries — and in every place I was commended for standing up to MetH. ‘A prophet is not dishonored except in his own country.’

              Not thinking clearly and not at all considering canonical principles or even the canons themselves and even the commandments of God has been a sort of subtext in OCA institutional/episcopal behavior for these last several years, especially since FrRK was unjustly dismissed from his position as chancellor and wrongly deprived of his priesthood.

              It’s been said by others, but I’ll say it again here: None of this craziness swirling around Met. Jonah would have happened if FrRK were still chancellor.

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              • OccidentalGuido says:

                If RK were still chancellor Met Herman would still be at the helm and more and more money would be misappropriated.

                If only the Czar were still in power, all our troubles would be solved!

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                • Poor OccidentalGuido, you still believe the Stokoe stories? You believe a OCA special investigative process? You think that the corrupt way Jonah was taken out just started with him? Really?

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                • OccidentalGuido! If Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick were still the Chancellor, a case against Archimandrite Zacchaeus might not have been stopped in its tracks. and the extent of the Metropolitan’s cooperation with him and Archbishop Job might have been brought to light.
                  Just sayin’.

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          • lexcaritas says:

            If true, and coming from Fr. Justin I have not doubt it is, IT IS OUTRAGEOUS and shocking and unjustifiable as a dictate from ANYONE who claims the name of Christ and to act as a successor of the Apostles. Is this a diktat from +Nikon, then? Or +Nathaniel? I have rarely been so disappointed, but will continue to pray in complete faith that what one reaps one sows and it is the measure one gives that one gets. While the Great and Divine Mercy is ever pourin itself out, there are ways to refuse it and find that the gears of Divine Justice grind slowly, but inexorably.

            Meanwhile, such godless instructions are abuses of authority and not worthy of obedience.

            lxc

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            • We need to send our disgust outside the OCA. We need to let the Metropolitans of ROCOR and Russia hear directly from us individually. We need to push. Talk to your priests and friends, spread the real story. This is wrong and it must be corrected. The time is short. Organise.

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          • Mark from the DOS says:

            That is unmitigated cruelty. Shame on the Holy Synod, each and every one of them.

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            • Mark from the DOS says:
              September 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm
              That is unmitigated cruelty. Shame on the Holy Synod, each and every one of them.

              But vote for one of them? Really? I think not.

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        • There was no chorus of indignation when Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) who has been found guilty of NOTHING and who has not been subjected to any canonical disciplining has been forbidden to even PRAY in the Church he founded on our Lord Jesus Christ, dedicated to St. Paul in Las Vegas—-walking distance from his residence, even as he was undergoing exhaustive and exhausting cancer therapies! This has gone on for years. It must be one of the Diocesan Hierarchs more illustrious and edifying deeds, leading to his promotion to Archbishop! There
          ARE Churches/Dioceses with a more Christian ethic:Both the San Francisco ROCOR diocese and the Western American Serbian Diocese welcome Bishop Nikolai to serve hierarchical Liturgies in their temples for the glory of God and the salvation of the Fatihful. The most recent instance of such comparative Christian virtue was on August 27-28, when Bishop Nikolai and Protodeacon Panteleimon served the Vigil and Liturgy on the Dormition Feast. I was happy to join them with Mitred Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff in the afternoon after the feast for a hearty luncheon.
          So, the treatment given to Metropolitan Jonah is seen to be, NOW, typical of the sort of thing the hierarchy of the OCA permits itself. At least they allow Metropolitan Jonah to enter and serve in ONE temple. Or maybe that’s just temporary until the AAC is over.
          Yes, Novel Skete does treat its dogs better than the OCA hierarchy treats its brother bishops, providing them food and refuge and medical care!
          No doubt, their places in Heaven have now been assured by what they have endured. But we must worry about the other OCA hierarchs…they are on a very slippery slope as far as an afterlfe goes.

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          • Your Grace,

            You are correct. The hatchet job done on Bp. Nikolai by the same crew that took out Jonah makes less secure the ground under the OCA. The continued cruelty leveled against Bp. Nikolai by +Benjamin locking him out of any parish in the DOW has its marks all over the cruelty being shown to +Jonah. Anybody wonder where the bishops got the lockout idea?

            This synod, these men who have acted so uncharitably toward their own does little to give me confidence that they care about any of us.

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            • I definitely have sympathy for +Nikolai after reading his letter +Benjamin found here:

              http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/nikolai-soraich-speaks-on-homosexual-clergy-serving-on-the-altar-and-the-further-adventures-of-benjamin-peterson/

              I know that the source is everyone’s favorite blogger (after George of course), so maybe those more in the know can attest to the letter’s authenticity.

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              • TM that link leads us to that eunuch’s blog, and the blogger is notorious for drifting in and out of reality and in and out of the truth. For example, the eunuch refers to Bishop Nikolai’s letter but says that he was deposed. He’s never been suspended or deposed from anything, and still serves the Divine Liturgy as a Bishop here and in Serbia and in ROCOR/ However the letter is authentic, one hundred per cent authentic.
                Tragically, it was the ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri, old and enfeebled, who was pressured by the Hierarchs Nathaniel and Nikon, tod lift the suspension from Archdeacon Gregory Burke, while it was ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri, Metropolitan Jonah, and all the rest of the hierarchs of the Holy Synod who failed to activate the OCA’s policy on sexual offenses and open an investigation into not only the Archdeacon, but his long time companion, mentor, and protector, Bishop Mark Forsberg. Of course, the Bishop and the Archdeacon never got married, as far as I am able to determine!

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  7. phil r. upp says:

    Sorry, Met. Jonah being dismissed is a good thing. I realize that to many of you converts he was your champion, but the man had issues. Maybe as the Bishop of Dallas he would have been alright, but he really wasn’t seasoned to be the head of the OCA. It’s wonderful to see that of all the Orthodox Churches in America, the OCA seems to be the only one that works properly. The OCA cleanses itself via the conciliar approach by the OCA Synod. Too bad that among the Greeks, ROCOR and others, many issues may develop with their hierarchs and are covered up and/or tolerated. Yep, it’s a good thing that gives real hope for the Orthodox Church in North America.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      What “issues” Phil?

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    • Ok Phil, you keep living in that rapidly shrinking bubble of all things OCA are “brightness and light.” At this rate the “righteous remnant” will include you and Bishop Benjamin. I am sure that the upcoming AAC in Parma will be another shining example of how far the OCA has progressed in the past 8 years. I can’t wait to hear the spin by the OCA powers brokers try and turn manure into gold.

      Yep, Phil, you just keep on believing and do turn off the lights when it is all over.

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      • phil r. upp says:

        Nikos,

        I don’t think a “spin” is necessary. The OCA admits it’s issues and faults unlike the other Orthodox jurisdictions. The problems began with RSK and Met. Theodosius and continued under Met. Herman. Everyone thought Met. Jonah was the untainted answer to lead the OCA. We were wrong. Now, the OCA gets another chance to correct itself. This is all good. Going under any foreign bishops is not the answer to Orthodoxy in North America. Certainly not Moscow where the church is nothing but a political arm of the Russian govt. As a patriotic American, going under Moscow would be akin to participating in espionage and treason with Russian operatives dressed as priests & bishops. The Greeks have their own set of internal scandals and forced Hellenism. The Antiochians are or will be infiltrated by hundreds to thousands of refugees from the Mideast and they will not be able to reflect the American church any time soon. The only hope for American Orthodoxy is the OCA that is again, purifying itself from the top down.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          Phil, I can guarantee you that based on my conversation last week with Fr Eric, that the OCA is nowhere near cleaning up its own act or acknowledging its mistakes. Far from it.

          What I fear instead is a continued devotion to the official story. Inevitably this will result in the continued death-spiral which is unfolding before our very eyes.

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          • I think someone gave phil r. upp some powerful Kool-Aid and he’s become addicted. “Russian operatives dressed as priests.”….Antiochians…infiltrated by thousands of refugees.”
            Oh, my! The days are WAY too short!!!!!….And the cream, the absolute cherry atop the sundae: “..the OCA that is again (sic) purifying itself from the top down.” No, phil, things don’t purify themselves from the top down. You KNOW that it is rotting that starts from the head, i.e., from the top down!!!!

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    • You seems as disconnected as our Bishops from the present OCA generation and the one to come. People participating in this discussion are not all converts and anyway isn’t the point to bring in converts?! Think Man!

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      The Church does not have the right or the authority of ‘cleanse itself”. That only leads in the opposite direction of your nom de guerre, i.e, emt r out.

      The Church has the reponsibility to proclaim the truth, live the truth and apply the truth with mercy.

      Let me ask you phil, in your mind when does a convert become a brother/sister Orthodox in Christ instead of an unwelcome intrusion?

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      • phil r. upp says:

        The “Church” on earth has no right to cleanse itself? Are you crazy? Any cleric not living up to their calling can and should be returned to the laos. This is Orthodox Canon Law. An Orthodox cleric is only that as long as they meet their higher calling.

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    • “phil r. upp” as in “pass the jug” Stan/BM Drezhlo (get it? phil r. upp ’cause it’s gettin’ empty…lol)

      BTW Stan, you might wanna consider changing your profile picture on your blog…cause it’s just plain…I can’t find a word to describe it.

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    • “you converts”? I hope you’re not implying an “us v.s. them” version of Orthodoxy as you later go on to criticize other jurisdictions’ faults in matters of Orthodox unity in America. In the mean time, read Galatians 5:22. Also, judging members of the clergy is a sin. Before you start crucifying His Beatitude, examine yourself. I’m sorry if His Beatitude and us converts have defiled you. See St. John of Kronstadt’s Preparation for Confession.

      the sinful servant of God,
      Haralambos

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      • ALL “CRADLE” ORTHODOX MUST BECOME “CONVERTS,” TOO!!!
        All those who don’t are in danger of remaining in ignorance and darkness until their end.
        The following is a conversion experience that “cradle” Orthodox go through if it is authentic.
        I know its truth by personal experience.
        From “The Struggle With God” by Paul Evdokimov, Paulist Press, 1966:

        With rare exceptions, the spiritual life comes into being in an event called “conversion.” Its precise content is of little importance; it is a notable occasion, … . The beginning of an untried promise … . Even those who have inherited the faith in their childhood pass sooner or later through this by a conscious discovery of their faith, and by appropriating it to themselves personally; this is always an overwhelming experience. … . It is a religious springtime full of joyousness and enthusiasm. … the human being finds himself dilated by a surprising joy and spontaneous sympathy for everything. This is an unforgettable time. … . … it makes one see in God the smiling countenance of the Father coming to meet his child.
        This time is of short duration. The face of the Father takes on the face of the Son, and his cross casts its shadow within us. … there is no possible return to the simple and childlike faith of former days.
        God is watching us at the decisive moment. … . He asks us to assume it freely. The cross is made of our weaknesses and our failings; it is constructed by our enthusiastic impulses and especially by the dark depths of our heart where a secret resistance and shameful ugliness lurk.
        “Love your neighbor as yourself” allows a certain love of self. It is a call to love our cross. It means perhaps the most difficult act of all—to accept ourselves as we are. …
        “He who see himself as he is, is greater than the one who raises the dead,… . (St. Issac the Syrian, Sentences.)

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        • Dorothy Allen says:

          Thank you, PdnNJ. I agree and appreciate this truth through personal experience, also. Although there are some persons who, perhaps living somewhat isolated lives, can and do maintain the innocent faith of their childhood, most persons reach a stage of intellectual/mental and emotional growth that prompts them to examine who they are and on what their core values are based. When one passes through this period of self-examination and realizes the truth of Orthodoxy, one enters a different (more mature?) embrace of the Faith and seeks not only to know more, intellectually, but to unite oneself spiritually with Christ “in the heart.” Bless you for posting this explanation of the spiritual “conversion” that many of us cradle Orthodox have experienced.

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  8. Patrick Henry Reardon says:

    I appreciate the insights of Father Hans.

    Metropolitan Jonah made the Orthodox Church seem plausible.

    His abrupt dismissal looks very much like a return to implausibility.

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    • Isaac Crabtree says:

      Fr. Patrick, could you give me your email or email me? I have a couple questions I’d like to ask you. mine is isaaccrabtree AT gmail dot com.

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    • Patrick Henry wrote:
      “Metropolitan Jonah made the Orthodox Church seem plausible.”

      You mean you thought you were in an implausible Church until Metropolitan Jonah came along and changed its semblance?

      And now the Church is implausible again? What keeps you in it, then, inertia?

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      • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

        Bishop Tokhon presumes to inquire: “You mean you thought you were in an implausible Church until Metropolitan Jonah came along and changed its semblance? And now the Church is implausible again? What keeps you in it, then, inertia?”

        This is the second time Bishop Tikhon, for reasons best known to himself, has publicly questioned why I remain in the Orthodox Church.

        The query is an insult, which the bishop knows very well. For now, however, I once again turn the other cheek.

        I am in this Church—and, by God’s grace, I will die in this Church—because I believe it to be the Church founded by God’s Son as the path to eternal salvation.

        If you ever again raise this question, Bishop, I will probably succumb to the temptation to say exactly what I think of you.

        I have several times raised the question of plausibility, however, as a concern of evangelism. Particularly evangelism here in the United States.

        Constant emphasis on Questiones disputatae and incessant preoccupation with canons give the American population—particularly those who are searching for the truth and salvation—a picture of the Orthodox Church that confers on its claims a powerful semblance of implausibility.

        I regret that Bishop Tikhon does not understand this, but I am not surprised.

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        • Patrick Henry Reardon wrote these two sentences:
          “Metropolitan Jonah made the Orthodox Church seem plausible.
          His abrupt dismissal looks very much like a return to implausibility.”

          Did Patrick henry Reardon, then, going solely by what he clearly wrote, find the Orthodox Church implausible until Metropolitan Jonah made it “SEEM” plausible? And what was it before Metropolitan Jonah came along? Read what Patrick Henry Reardon wrote: he wrote of “THE Orthodox Church.”

          One wonders if the Orthodox of Homs or Beirut or Alexandria agree that Metropolitan Jonah made the Orthodox Church SEEM plausible.
          Patrick Henry Reardon writes like a Priest in the Diocese of the West wrote two years ago. He introduced a resolution to thank Archbishop Benjamin and the SIC for “restoring transparency to Christ’s Holy Church.”
          YOU, Patrick Henry Reardon, it is who spoke of ‘seeming” plausible.
          Lest you get all indignant and scandalized again. I want to inform you that I am often deliberately facetious. If you don’t know what that means look it up. If I ask how you or anyone could remain in a church which sometimes seems plausible and sometimes does not, I am not doing what you indignantly accuse me of; rather, I am being facetious. I’m surprised you couldn’t discern that.
          Sensitive?

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      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
        September 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

        Patrick Henry wrote:

        I don’t recall ever seeing posts on this blogsite from someone with a moniker like that.

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  9. Gregg Gerasimon says:

    Great post, Father Hans. So true and captures the thoughts of so many of us.

    At this point, I think the OCA at heart really only has 2 choices:

    (1) If the Parma, Ohio, AAC does indeed happen, the clergy and laity in attendance there should demand that the Holy Synod formally apologize to Met. Jonah for electing him as their First Hierarch, for how he was treated while in office and then thrown under the bus and out of office. It should be up to Met. Jonah if he wishes to return as First Hierarch of the OCA, and if so, he should be able to lead the Synod according to his style, as a First Hierarch does.

    (2) Petition the Holy Synod that the OCA request to be taken into the ROCOR American dioceses.

    Since (1) is about as likely to happen as snow in the tropics, I truly think that (2) is the only option at this point. Trust for the OCA leadership is gone, the number of retired or suspended bishops now outnumbers the number of active bishops, entire dioceses have been left without a bishop for years with no end in sight, many parishes have gone years without any episcopal visit, ever. What kind of model or example is this for the evangelization of Orthodoxy in North America, which is our mission here?

    I love the OCA, and it is so sad to see it implode like it is doing. I used to be a huge proponent of autocephaly, but now I realize that isn’t most important. The OCA needs real leadership, and these games need to come to an end.

    Blessed ecclesiastical New Year,
    Gregg

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    • Yes, Gregg. The Metropolia and ROCOR were united from the middle 30s until the end of WWII. All the ROCOR Bishops (as, for example, Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) of Jersey City and Jordanville, sat on the Greater Sobor of Bishops of the Metropolia under the First Hierarch, Metropolitan Theophilus.
      I mention this to show that the OCA and ROCOR have a great deal in common and it’s not all ethnic. What broke the relationship is somewhat indicative of the problems facing the OCA today. At an All-American Council, answering representations of the MP, the AAC voted in favor of “spiritual’ reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate of Patriarch Alexi I. This meant there would be no administrative activity by the MP in the governance of the Metropolia: only that the Patriarch’s name would be elevated first in all the services of the Church. The parish delegates were overwhelmingly “yes.” In the Greater Sobor of Bishops, however, the MAJORITY did not approve the overtures of Moscow. However, Metropolitan Theophilus and those with him decided to approve the vote of the parishes. With that, the ROCOR hierarchs marched out of the Greater Sobor of Bishops, on canonical grounds, i.e., that the minority does not express the will of a holy synod.
      That’s all in the past, but the days of unification, the so’callled “Temporary Agreement” showed that, with good faith, a lot could be done in service of the Heavenly Kingdom by the Metropolia and ROCOR working together.

      Now, with the entirely new situation of ROCOR being an organic part of the Church of Russia whose First Hierarch is the Patriarch of Moscow; two paths are open. One would be the incorporation of the Orthodox Church in America into the ROCOR and the dissolution of the OCA’s Holy Synod, with its members added to the ROCOR Holy Synod…The other path would be for the OCA Holy Synod to petition the MP to accept them into the ROCOR admnistration with the understanding that the new united (or reunited) body would succeed as The Orthodox Church in America, the establshed Local American Church. Of course, everyone, I admit this is flawed, but such skilled leaders and administrators as exist in ROCOR and in the MP itself, especiallly Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion and others should be able to see the possibilities of great good coming to the Orthodox world through it.

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      • Gregg Gerasimon says:

        Vladika Tikhon,

        I honestly do think that this is the best solution to the myriad of problems that the OCA is now facing. The thought and push for reunification with ROCOR needs to be disseminated and get mass grassroots support, if at all possible. Otherwise, the OCA clergy and laity will simply go through the motions and elect yet another Metropolitan at Parma in a few months, with more scandals and problems coming forth in the near future, with an episcopate that cannot lead. People simply do not trust the OCA leadership anymore. Individual parishes may be strong, yes, but beyond that, at the episcopal level, we simply do not have anything like the solid episcopate that works together in true conciliarity that they have in ROCOR.

        I love American Orthodox history, and I’ve been rereading “Orthodox America, 1794-1976,” specifically the part that details the history and course to OCA autocephaly. I do believe that the Metropolia at the time chose the best possible option, that is, pursuing autocephaly in negotiations with Moscow. She was told to go to Moscow by the Patriarch of Constantinople, and she was facing isolation from the rest of world Orthodoxy due to her irregular status, with potential breaks in communion. The only other possible option would have been rapprochement with ROCOR, but at the time, ROCOR was isolated from world Orthodoxy herself as well.

        It was a bad time, but an OCA-ROCOR reunification now would be such a fantastic way to turn this complete sorrow of the OCA’s sad state of affairs into complete joy — in much the same way that we transform our own sorrow of Holy Friday into the joy of Pascha every spring.

        I’m not naive — I think that an OCA-ROCOR reunification is a long shot right now, but it is possible. There may be many who wouldn’t want to sacrifice the OCA’s autocephaly for sanity in church leadership and governance. But in my opinion, it’s worth it. A unified OCA-ROCOR church in North America would be an even a stronger witness to our evangelical mission in America, and the unified church could be an autonomous body under the MP, like ROCOR is now. In due time, yes, autocephaly would come, but now I think we need sanity more than anything right now, even if it requires sacrificing the pride that can come with autocephaly.

        In Christ,
        Gregg

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        • Gailina Sheppard says:

          And what would that mean in terms of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops? Would they conclude we were too immature to have autonomy at this point? Because this is what I fear.

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        • While I agree that OCA-ROCOR reunification is desirable, right now ROCOR’s synod is too small to outnumber and overpower the OCA bishops. If the OCA were to overpower ROCOR, the “cure” would be worse than the disease. Most of us are counting on ROCOR as a place to fall back on when the OCA inevitably fails.

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          • Plus, Gregg, Archbishop Kyril of San Francisco is an American, and a graduate of SVS. Bishop Jerome (Shaw) of Manhattan is a very senior convert; he was once secretary to Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky” and a long-time parish priest in Chicago. Bishop George of Manville is also TOTALLY American. Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) is more American than Archbishop Nathaniel or Archbishop Nikon. Archbishop Gabriel is a Carpatho-Russian American. Bishop Peter of Chicago is, among other things, a “good guy” of the first water, and so on. But there’s some truth in what Helga says here. if however, Metropolitan Jonah would accept to be Bishop of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery, this would put an almost eternal monkey wrench into OCA-ROCOR relations until the Jillionses and the Garklavses and the Kiskhkovskys and the Berzonskys and Nescotts and Tkachuks are long in their graves!
            Not only all that, but if some people of the Banescu/Heracleides/Stokoe/Wheeler/Diogenes sort learn that I was or am for anything at all, there’d be such a clatter of arthritic knees jerking against it all that they’d probably try to create a separate Libertarian Orthodox Church for regular whites only.

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            • Your Grace, is that a serious possibility? I hope and pray that what you say is true, that our Metropolitan Jonah could be accepted into ROCOR!

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              • Heracleides says:

                Why sacrifice a good bishop to the OCA? Let the OCA feed on their own.

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                • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says:

                  What about clergy addicted to nicotine? Or alcohol? I won’t even get into sex with mulitple partners,whether gay or not.I guess I’m a bit sensitive because I had a wife a two sons who were trashed by “helpful parishoners” because of their weight.In fact,I’m surprised my two sons even have any faith left,all things considered.
                  Bottom line,you have to eat to live,but you don’t have to booze or use tobacco to live.

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                • Exactly.

                  If Bishop Michael were to be elected as the next OCA Metropolitan, he most likely would be the next scapegoat judging from Phil er Upp’s posts.

                  By the way, Phil er Upp sounds like an alcoholic or glutton asking for one more drink or piece of pie before hitting the road. Yes, that could be the secret account of Bishop Benjamin.

                  Electing a Metropolitan from the current batch of bishops in the OCA Synod would keep the contamination from spreading, and let them implode on themselves. It’s bound to happen sooner or later.

                  Let the dead bury the dead and flee from such abomination. I have already walked.

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            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says:

              Master,Bless!
              Sorry to contradict Your Grace,but Archbishop Gabriel is NOT Carpathorussian.He is an Australian of Great Russian descent.In fact,he was named in monasticism for his grandfather,I believe,the New-Martyr Priest Gabriel.He was my bishop briefly as Vicar to Metropolitan Laurus,when I served St.Juliana of Lazarevo Church in Santa Fe,NM,and later,when I served Holy Trinity Church in Windsor,Ontario as Administrator of Canada for ROCOR,before becoming ruling bishop.

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              • Thank you. What was his family name?

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                • Chemodakov.
                  He is one of two Australians in the ROCOR ruling episcopacy, the other being Bishop John (Berzins) of Caracas, who is of Latvian parentage. I believe Metropolitan Hilarion, who is of course Canadian by birth from Ukrainian immigrant parents, has Australian permanent residency or citizenship as well. Interestingly, Metropolitan Hilarion is the second bishop from the Australian & NZ archdiocese to be elected primate of ROCOR, the first being Metropolitan Philaret, of blessed memory, who was an auxilliary bishop in Brisbane when he was elected in 1965. But I digress…

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                  • Australia also produced Archbishop Spyridon “of America,” who was ousted through Greek Orthodox political stratagems, and for failing to worship the Golden Calf of “the Way We’ve Been Doing it in America.” The process was much more professional than anything occurring in the OCA. The Greek’s hierarchy and support group could be compared to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the OCA’s to an East Los Angeles gang of thuglings..

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Your Grace, thank you for pointing out the differences. I told a priest friend of mine that the difference between the OCA and the GOA is that when the GOA bludgeons somebody they have the good sense to close the door.

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                    • Your Grace, I believe Archbishop Spyridon was American-born.

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                    • Your Grace,

                      Master Bless.

                      I don’t dispute Your reasoning as to the why Archbishop was removed, but as to where He was born…Ohio. That was part of the reason of His being elected as I recall. Of Hellenic descent but American born….it was important at that time for the GOA.

                      http://www.spyridon.org/spyridon_biosketch.html

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                    • Archbishop Spyridon came to America from Australia, as did, I believe, Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral). Hence I refer to them as gifts from Australia, being produced by Australia which lost them to America, no?
                      Was Spyridon a bishop someplace else before being a bishop in Australia?
                      But I do see the point that those who turned against Spyridon had assumed it was most important to have a “real” American, rather than a foreigner… For some people here, being from another country is almost as horrid as being monastic!!!! No Foreigners Running Our Exceptional American Church!!! it’s a form of the Chosen People complex.

                      It’s as if one were to tell a biologist that it’s impossible for anybody to understand ants except ants.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      In regards to Archbishop Syridon it would seem that Bishop Tikhon gets it, and gets it right. Be careful of speaking too much truth we here in America cannot handle it.

                      Peter

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Amen to that Peter. I’m still trying to come to some coherent narrative regarding the aborted archpastorate of Spyridon.

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                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
                      September 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm

                      Archbishop Spyridon came to America from Australia

                      His biosketch link above doesn’t say anything about his coming from Australia, but form Italy.

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                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) said:

                      Australia also produced Archbishop Spyridon “of America,” who was ousted through Greek Orthodox political stratagems, and for failing to worship the Golden Calf of “the Way We’ve Been Doing it in America.”

                      nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, eh, eh? ok…I got it now… thanks Vladika!

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          • Gregg Gerasimon says:

            Helga,

            I don’t think this is true. If you look at the ROCOR bishops from their website (http://www.synod.com/synod/engrocor/enbishops.html), there are 8 bishops who are active in North America — Met. Hilarion (New York), Abp. Kyrill (San Francisco), Abp. Alypy (Chicago), Abp. Gabriel (Montreal), Bishop Peter (Cleveland), Bishop Theodosius (Seattle), Bishop George (Mayfield), and Bishop Jerome (New York).

            Plus, there are 4 additional ROCOR bishops who are not in North America (Abp. Mark (Berlin), Abp. Michael (Geneva), Bishop John (Caracas), and Bishop Agapit (Stuttgart)).

            Compare this with the OCA’s active episcopate, numbering 12 (Abp. Nathaniel, Abp. Nikon, Abp. Tikhon, Abp. Benjamin, Abp. Alejo, Bishop Melchisedek, Bishop Michael, Bishop Matthias, Bishop Alexander, Bishop Irineu, Bishop Mark, and Bishop Irénée).

            So that’s 12 bishops on ROCOR’s synod and 12 on the OCA’s synod. It’s an even split. ROCOR’s synod would not be outnumbered by the OCA’s synod. I’m not sure where to count Met. Jonah (I’m not sure of his status — is he still on the OCA synod? According to http://www.oca.org, he is not listed among the bishops of the OCA synod.).

            I still believe that the OCA clergy and laity should request to be merged with ROCOR this fall in Parma. Not only would it help the OCA’s myriad of problems, but it would undoutedly strengthen Orthodox administrative unity in America and would strengthen our evangelical mission here. The time is now!

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            • Why would anyone want to poison Roccor’s well by moving the Oca’s corrupt bishops and administration over to it. Please pass another solution. These guys are not going to change and suddenly become all ethical and Christian.

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            • Not quite, Gregg. While all of your information is correct, you have to notice that many of ROCOR’s active bishops are auxiliary bishops. Auxiliary bishops are not included in a Synod and do not get a vote. ROCOR’s synod is also much more spread out geographically. The overseas bishops may not have enough influence here. We are better off separate than having OCA bishops running ROCOR!

              I feel that for such a plan to work, ROCOR’s auxiliary bishops in the US will need to be elevated to diocesan bishops, and they will need to add 3-4 more diocesan bishops to that in the US. Either that, or there will need to be several resignations from OCA bishops.

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              • Can you imagine the outpouring of unholy rage if AB Benjamin retains the Diocese of San Francisco and the West and displaces the current ROCOR Bishop of San Francisco?

                The boundaries of the current dioceses would have to be redrawn so that there would only be one ROCOR/OCA bishop in each diocese.

                The people and clergy should be allowed to decide who will be their bishop. If no one wants a particular bishop, let him be sent to a monastery for repentance/rehabilitation if they will have him.

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  “Outpouring of unholy rage?” Are you serious, pal? Get a grip.

                  You are aware, chief, that these two men – Boris & Vincent – basically lived next door to one another at St. Vladimir’s Seminary and were friends? Holy cow, I was discussing with an old friend, “Can you believe our schoolmates are now bishops of the church?” and you are proclaiming holy war and anarchy. I hope neither of these hierarchs follow this lunacy.

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                  • Any experienced intelligent person knows that much has probably changed with those two pals since their seminary days, maybe even their relationship, as often happens. As time goes by the faults and failures of old college friends becomes very apparent. The ROCOR Bishop may be appalled with the present OCA “leaders” and with Bp.Benjamin “at the helm,” and want no part of any “joint venture.”

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Hopefully, few silently following your comments are as disappointed as me to read a deacon of the church, who received his office at the hand of such a bishop, becoming known, not for his appointed ministry of service, but for cynicism posing as an “intelligent person.” Shame on you for not first finding it in your heart to speak of fraternity and love among the hierarchs, particularly when history sadly tore them apart for decades, and now they are, again, able to stand at the same altar as brothers.

                      I was a student with both of these men and they are both good, decent men. It is much more likely they would be appalled with your and M.Vasiliou’s comments than with each other.

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                    • Well, Stankovich, you assumed, judged, and proclaimed a number of things about me and my diaconate in you post above, and all wrong (as is the usual case with your opinions).

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                  • The good deacon is correct, Stankovich, people do change over time.

                    Bishop Benjamin has lost a lot of friends over the years. He repaid the charity shown to him by Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Nicolai with ungodly spitefulness. Likewise, he greatly embarrassed and upset his faithful friends, Father Gregory Safchuk and his Matuska Sasha, by refusing to allow Father to serve at St. Innocent in Tarzana when their eldest son was preparing to celebrate his Holy Crowning at St. Nicholas in Northridge.

                    I fondly remember the days when Bishop Benjamin was a humble deacon, but apparently he has turned into a bully due to his association with Syosset and/or the OCA Synod.

                    Frankly, with all the bullying, ecumenism, and modernism in the OCA and at Syosset, I think the good faithful people of the OCA should look elsewhere for a jurisdiction that has correct worship and true beliefs without compromise, as the ROCOR and the MP are in bed with the ecumenists.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      MV, I likewise heard many good things about Abp Benjamin while he was a deacon. If the current characterization of him as a “bully” is merited, might we ask what is it about our Synod that encourages such an awful transformation? Going down this line of reasoning, I’m led to believe that the reason Jonah was thrown out was because he remained a humble monk and that the entire OCA Apparat couldn’t tolerate it.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Seriously, Vasiliou, who goes on a public forum and speaks about another man’s private business? What sort of person takes it upon himself to discuss and interpret what goes on between friends in the private dynamics of their personal relationships? Is there some Scripture or Partristic reference you could offer me to help me distinguish this from, say, what the Fathers refer to as murderous gossip?

                      I spent a lot of time supervizing structural family therapy students, and I will tell you exactly what I told them on the first day, and every day thereafter: if you reach a conclusion without information from every side and every party, 1) you are a moron and will be revealed as such, and 2) you will cause harm. You didn’t hear this in the “lab?”

                      What exactly compels you to publish obviously private information that is none of your business as if it is your right and obligation to do so?

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        • If a reunification would result in a good many of the OCA bishops facing canonical charges and spiritual court, then I’d be all for it. It would be great if someone finally took out the trash.

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          • JamesP,

            I wonder if Jonah will be allowed to come to the Parma Sobor? I would say, no, but retired bishops have come in the past. I think this will be a measure of who these bishops really are or not by extending him an invitation or not.

            Clown car enters from stage left………and who will be driving it off stage?

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  10. M. Stankovich says:

    Please, it was not my intention to “dog,” the former Metropolitan, and I do not disparage him personally in the least. Read my comments going back to the All American Council and you will see I said exactly what I have said above: he is an intelligent, deeply spiritual, introspective, humorous, pleasant, and likeable man. I respect the man and have no quarrel with him. Nevertheless, he is not qualified in the capacity of leadership. And those who studied at SVS in my “era” knows exactly the type of which I have described, whose “career” and “direction” was SVS; who, if allowed (as some did), would have stayed forever in the insular, protected environment provided. The “world” was difficult and a struggle before SVS, and its difficulty was exacerbated upon leaving.

    Fr. Ioannes has declared the former Metropolitan an “evangelist,” and I have no particular argument with this observation. But the OCA had and has no Met. Philip Saliba – whatever you may conclude about him personally – a decisive, profound, directive, and visionary leader with the respect and foresight to gather around him men of character and strength (and when necessary, loaning them his own strength) to maintain his vision with him. However you analyze it, Met. Philip, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, has been a remarkable leader, and the fraternity commonly expressed among the clergy of the Archdiocese does not strike me as the least bit contrived. No matter how you write the story or assign the blame – Stokoe, Metropolitan Council, Synod of Bishops – you cannot account for this catastrophic failure except for a fundamental lack of leadership. Met. Philip gathered in the Evangelicals because he actually had something to offer, while the OCA does not. Yet.

    My comments are not pejorative or derogatory of the man. I have no issue with the man. But he is not a leader.

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      Mr. Stankovich, Met. Jonah is not the same type of leader as Met. Philip and his type of leadership was not wanted by the OCA Synod and others. That is a shame.

      It is not because Met. Jonah lacked leadership that he failed. It is because the soil in which he was placed was hard and unfertile unable to accept what was offered.

      Met. Philip never had to deal with an entrenched and hostle bureauracy. He might have made it through such a challenge by sheer force of will, but it would not have been easy or as productive as it has become. Had Bishop Michael Shaheen not had the wisdom and humility to ‘take second place’ , things would be quite different.

      So with the OCA, if the Synod had had the wisdom and humility to be led by Met. Jonah, things would be quite different.

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      • Gailina Sheppard says:

        I would agree Metropolitan Jonah is not the same type of leader as Metropolitan Philip, which is why the laity wanted him. They don’t want a metopolitan who will lead by “sheer force of will.” – If Metropolitan Philip is such an outstanding “leader,” why did he feel the need to subjugate our bishops to follow him?

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          Gailina, Met. Philip did what he did because he felt it was necessary and proper. You may disagree, but leaders do that sort of thing, i.e, act when and how they feel it is best within the scope of their authority and are willing to take the heat for their decision.

          I have many difficulties with Met. Philip but I’ve begun to learn that he is not the devil incarnate. I prefer a softer, more pastoral type of leadership and yet his style has allowed such leadership to develop and mature in at least some of the other bishops, Bp Basil most notably.

          IMO, when Met. Philip does pass from the scene, there will be a much stronger, more united episcopate to take over than if he had not done what he did. I was quite upset at the time and said many things I have since come to regret, especially since there has been no obvious change in anything in the diocese in which I live. It continues to be a vibrant, growing expression of the Orthodox Christian faith.

          It may be different elsewhere, I don’t know, but I simply ran out of energy and found it to be too great a distraction to continue in any sort of protest mode against Met. Philip.

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          • Gailina Sheppard says:

            Well, Mr. Bauman, we have that in common; we have both run out of steam with respect to fighting Metropolitan Philip and now, sadly, it seems we are fighting each other. While I do not believe he is the “devil incarnate,” I also do not believe his leadership style should be emmulated. A metropolitan is first and foremost a bishop, who should be able to work in concert with his brother bishops. It is not about doing what HE thinks is necessary and proper. – If I wanted a pope, I would be RC.

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            • Follow the money as they said during Watergate…follow the money!

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            • Michael Bauman says:

              Gailina, I hope I did not give the impression that I was fighting you. I understand what you are saying and can’t disagree with it. I’m just sharing my thoughts and some of the prespective I’ve gained. I find it more fruitful to ignore Met. Philip and celebrate what we do have full well knowing that there will be a mess to clean up after Met. Philip reposes. Hopefully, it won’t be too big a mess and our other bishops will be able to work through it together and that AB Joseph is up to the task of being the (likely) Met. Certainly none of them will have the same type of authority as Met. Philip has had.

              I don’t like Met. Philip personally nor any illusions about how he likes to wield power. Time will tell how easy it is to be thankful for his tenure. We face difficult times especially if we receive a new influx of Arab refugees. I pray that we don’t get forced back into the ethnic enterpise mode and become anti-convert.

              There will continue to be tensions between the folks in the center of the country and those on both coasts and it will take a lot of work wisdom and prayer to hold things together to prevent a recurrence of a schsim within the Archdiocese.

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          • Brian Jackson says:

            Yes. I agree 100%.

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          Thank God for Metropolitan Philip. As I watch the OCA Bishops fight. I am thankful that we have a Metropolitan who has the authority to put an end to such nonsense. His Eminence was right to fight to preserve the unity of his archdiocese. From my observations, nothing really has changed except the title of our diocesan bishops. Everything else goes on as it did before, except that if problems arise the Metropolitan can intervene to resolve them. I always thought that he had that power before, but since there seems to have been some misunderstanding, he had to act to prevent the kind of anarchy among bishops that is destroying the OCA. I feel for the OCA. It makes me sad to see any Orthodox jurisdiction suffer the kind of dysfunction that is taking place within the OCA. I want to see the OCA grow and prosper because despite our jurisdictional differences we are all Orthodox in one Church. If one part of the Body of Christ such as the OCA suffers, we all suffer.

          Fr. John W. Morris

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          • Clare Voyant says:

            Gag…..

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          • That Archdiocese is just a very big diocese with deaneries headed by Bishops. It’s like the Archdiocese of Athens, but I don’t think the Archbishop of Athens has a bunch of subordinate Bishops, which is what Metropoltan Philip has and which Archpriest John W. Morris considers to be admirable.
            Metropolitan Philip is an admirable man and admirable archbishop, but he doesn’t have a Synod of Bishops of which he only the chair: he has a bunch of subordinate bishops/deans. The Antiochians Archdiocese is one of several archdiocese subordinate to the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch, whose chairman is the Patriarch. if the Archdiocese calls itself “self-governing” any diocese of the Orthodox Church in America, of the Chruch o Greece, of the Church of SErbia, of the Church of Russia is “self-governing’ in exactly the same sense: it’s ruling hierarch is responsible to a synod of hierarchs no less self-governing than he. It’s not rocket science, but there’s a lot of artful spinning about it.

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      • M. Stankovich says:

        Mr. Bauman,

        The point I was attempting to make was not to account for a distinction in “leadership style,” but rather to account for a fundamental lack of leadership! There is a world of difference. I do not hear the murmuring of rancor of the “directionless” heirarchs and clergy of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Subjugation? Where does it it exist? Fr. Patrick is outspoken here; let him declare if my impression of the generalized good will and fraternity I observe among and hear among the Antiochian clergy is madness. And please, I am not foolish enough to imagine “paradise” and agreement on every issue by every person. But for heaven’s sake, Fr. Peter Gillquist called it “coming home,” even when the OCA would not have the Evagelicals! Whose arms were open? And likewise, on this very site, the only bishop to experience “problems” in the Antiochian Archdiocese in recent memory sleeps now in the fire – that would be Syossett – scorned by every regular poster here!

        For four years the former Met. Jonah tried and failed to exercise a talent he does not possess, the assessment of which rested on his own lips: “a disaster.” Please, I refer you directly to St. Chrysostom’s On the Priesthood: The shepherd cannot blame the flock! The wolves are within and without and always! In the world, rulers may rule by the sword, but the shepherd has only his voice. This former shepherd, Mr. Bauman, unfortunately had no voice.

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        • Gailina Sheppard says:

          Where does “subjugation exist?” Our bishops WERE DEMOTED! They work for Metropolitan Philip now. They are his servants. Yes, there is good will and faternity among the priests if you want to overlook the shouting and shoving at conventions.

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            I have been to every Archdiocesan convention since 1981 and have not seen any shouting and shoving at any one of them. I will take our system. It works and we do not have one scandal after another. I would rather have a Metropolitan who serves with distinction for decades than going through as a new Metropolitan every few years. I do not believe that each local Bishop should act like a local Pope but believe that we need a national leader who is more than a figure head and who has some authority to prevent anarchy among the local Bishops. We have a staff at the Archdiocesan headquarters who work for the Metropolitan, not an entrenched bureaucracy which thinks that it should run the Archdiocese and treats the Metropolitan as if he worked or them.

            Fr. John W. Morris

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            • What Archpriest John W. Morris “would rather have,” is somewhat interesting but not GERMANE. Here is what St. Justin Popovich wrote in our lifetime:
              “…the Orthodox Church, in its nature and its dogmatically unchanging constitution is episcopal and centered in the bishops. For the bishop and the faithful gathered around him are the expression and manifestation of the Church as the Body of Christ, especially in the Holy Liturgy; the Church is Apostolic and Catholic only by virtue of its bishops, insofar as they are the heads of true ecclesiastical units, the dioceses. At the same time, the other, historically later and variable forms of church organization of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses, patriarchates:, pentarchies, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, they may constitute an obstacle in the correct functioning of the conciliar principle if they obstruct and reject the episcopal character and structure of the Church and of the Churches. Here, undoubtedly, is to be found the primary difference between Orthodox and papal ecclesiology.”

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              • Priest Justin Frederick says:

                St. Justin speaks true. Archbishop Peter of blessed memory was also most clear in our canon law classes at seminary about the proper canonical form and structure of the Church, however muddled many others are in theory and in practice.

                Archbishop Dmitri, much to the annoyance and disdain of many back East, firmly upheld the diocese as sovereign, as the essential unit of the fullness of the Church, and worked to protect his diocese from interference from chancery officials who fancied themselves directors of a supposed ‘national church’. He properly resented the appeals issued by the ‘national church’ that bypassed his office to go directly to the parishes. He never made us take up those national special offerings. (He didn’t forbid it, but he didn’t encourage it. He mostly ignored it. Once I asked him if my new mission was required to pay the national assessment for the All-American Council in Orlando, presented to me in a letter from the ‘national church’. He asked me, “What does the letter say, “parishes and missions” or ‘parishes’ only?” I said, “It says ‘parishes.'” He said, “You’re a mission, so it apparently does not apply to you.” Our most recent assessment for the AAC was run through the diocese, not directly from the ‘national church’. Our diocesan treasurer informed us of the assessment schedule and collected the money in proper form.) Abp. Dmitri did not mean ‘sovereign’ in an absolute sense to the point of each bishop doing as he pleases, but he used the word to affirm what St. Justin and the canons express about the essential locus of the Church’s fullness, and that the locus of authority in the diocese is the ruling bishop.

                I’ve encountered Orthodox faithful from various jurisdictions who believe that if a local church is not directly under the authority of one of the five patriarchates (the Pentarchy to which St. Justin refers), it is not canonical. Nonsense! But somebody in the Orthodox world keeps dispensing such nonsense to the faithful…

                Much of our recent trouble in the OCA seems to be about ecclesiology.

                What is the role of a bishop? Is he an employee of the primate, his proper superior and boss? Is he in obedience to the primate in everything? Is he the head of his diocese which he rules, while being in communion with and submitting to the local synod in affairs the concern them all?

                What is the role of the Metropolitan, the Primate? Is he the subservient figurehead of the Synod, the Metropolitan Council, the chancery employees, and the lawyers whose advice he is obligated to follow and directives he is obliged to enact? Is he the sovereign head to whom the other bishops are in submission? Or is he first among equals, one who rules his own diocese as the others do, but having special prerogatives and authority to carry out the primatial function of representing the local Church to the Churches around the world and presiding at the canonically prescribed biannual meetings of the Synod of Bishops?

                What is the proper function of the chancery office? Is it the national office of a centralized, national church? Or is it the office of the Metropolitan which helps him carry out the duties particular to his office? Do employees of the chancery office answer to the Metropolitan as they help him carry out his special ministry above that of diocesan bishop, or are they somehow employees also of the Synod and the Metropolitan Council, (meaning they answer to more than 40 people which, as others have pointed it, means they answer effectively to no one). Notice how our use of the term “central administration” presumes an answer to that question about the chancery’s function.

                Some of these questions were to be asked and answered by a committee appointed following the last All-American Council. That committee was also to ask what sorts of functions should be done by the chancery office (or ‘the national level’ as it was usually referred to) and what should be done at the diocesan level. I haven’t heard any press releases about that committee’s work recently, nor from the committee working on carrying out the mandate of the council to switch from the national head tax to a system of proportional giving. The silence is telling.

                Properly, based on our true ecclesiology, it seems each bishop is responsible for the clergy misconduct in his own diocese, not the Metropolitan, not the other bishops, not the metropolitan council. He’d be wise to take council from his brothers in handling cases, but the responsibility is ultimately his. In this light, how many of the cases in the SIC report really were the responsibility of the Metropolitan?

                We won’t get our mess cleaned up until we get clear on some of these questions. One more question begs to be answered: just what the heck does ‘conciliarity’ mean? Let’s get a clear, robust theologically and canonically based description of what it looks like and what it does and if it is truly justified by the historical and canonical data of the Church instead of throwing it around as word that evokes a positive emotional response (much like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ do from the mouths of politicians) while it is used to justify dubious actions. For example, how is it more conciliar to have a half-day council to ‘elect’ a metropolitan than just to let the Synod elect him themselves, which is what happens anyway? And could a lynch mob be considered conciliar? Hence the need for clearer thinking on the matter…

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            • So you were in Palm Desert in July 2009? You must have been in the bathroom when people handing out pamphlets were pushed and shoved; one to the ground from what I understand. If you want to hear the shouting and booing, it’s on the podcast provided by Ancient Faith Radio. This was all “front page news” in our Archdiocese so I can’t imagine how you missed it! Makes me wonder what else you’re missing . . . like the MOTHER of all scandals!!! But forget for the moment that our metropolitan took our dioceses away from their rightful bishops, what about the fact that we have convicted felons on our Board of Trustees? Are you not scandalized by that? I am. Or that documents purportedly coming from our Patriarch remained on our website even AFTER they were proven to be forgeries? Are you not scandalized by that? I am. Or that one of our priests was fired for wearing his priestly garb outside of Church? Are you not scandalized by that? I am. Or that Metropolitan Philip pulled our seminary students out of SVS, days before their classes began, and shipped them off to Holy Cross because the OCA Administration wouldn’t shut down Mark Stokoe’s website? Are you not scandalized by that? I am. And what about what happened to me? You know, when my home was vandalized after Metropolitan Philip called Deacon Tom Braun to verify my address? (Feel free to email me for the FBI and police reports.) Are you not scandalized by that? Well, you should be. – Please do not pretend it is all “sweetness and light” in our Archdiocese, while saying “tisk tisk” to the OCA. We have no reason to be smug.

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              • I remember all that in Palm Desert.. Father Morris prefers Potemkin Village.I remember how you were treated Gail.
                Nothing to see here. Move on…Keep giving generously but do not ask what is done with it..We know better and you don’t ..

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              • Jane Rachel says:

                Thanks to Gailina, who wrote:

                Well, you should be. – Please do not pretend it is all “sweetness and light” in our Archdiocese, while saying “tisk tisk” to the OCA. We have no reason to be smug.

                You’re right. I know it. I wanted to write more but thought, “WHY?” They Can’t Be Wrong.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                Actually I was shocked at the boorish behavior of the Metropolitan’s critics. I found the attacks on His Eminence and our Board of Trustees very offensive. We have a constitution that gives authority over the finances to the Board of Trustees, not a group of malcontents at the General Assembly.
                I will defend Bishop Demetri. He is a good and pious man who has a disease. He knows it and controls it. It is not your place to judge him. Alcoholism is a disease just like the hypoglycemia that I suffer from. He served the Archdiocese for many years and deserves a retirement income. Leave him alone.He is a good man.
                Metropolitan Philip is not a dictator. He has led the Antiochian Archdiocese with distinction and is responsible for growth and great progress. Do not criticize him just because he acted to prevent the kind of anarchy that is destroying the OCA.
                My parish council discussed the financial reports and is satisfied with them. They tell where every penny comes from and how it is spent. My council was also strongly against spending over $100,000 for an outside audit of the finances of the Archdiocese.

                Fr. John W. Morris

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                • You just shot yourself in the foot in the credibility department.

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                • With deepest and very sincere respect, Fr. John, you must believe me when I say (as I have said here many times in the past) that nothing I wrote was intended to judge or express unforgiveness toward His Grace, Bp. Demetri. I loved him when he was my bishop, and I love him now – I tell you the truth. His particular situation was incidental to my comment.

                  The simple fact is that the Local Synod twice insisted on his retirement which, according to what was reported on Antiochian.org, included his being paid by the archdiocese for non-pastoral work. This was a good thing, as we Christians do not shoot our wounded. We love them, thank God.

                  Forgiveness and love, however, are not to be confused with fitness for pastoral work. Our bishops understood this distinction – all too often lost in the confusion and utter stupidity of our culture – when they unanimously agreed that he should remain retired. As they would not knowingly consecrate an alcoholic to the episcopate regardless of how well he controlled his disease, so they understood the folly and potential danger of reinstating such a one. Our bishops understood the wisdom of both the Scriptural and canonical admonitions against such a reinstatement (which, by the way, gives me great hope for the future), and they wisely refused to bend on the pretense of misplaced ‘love’ or a distortion of the meaning of forgiveness. They did what was best for the salvation of the Church and the bishop.

                  Personally, I am with you on the issue of audits. The whole concept of ‘transparency and accountability’ is harmful – equally as harmful as the breeches of trust that breed the atmosphere for such calls. The Apostle Paul would seem to be the model in the way he handled the gifts of the churches for the relief of those in Jerusalem, doing what was right not only in the sight of God, but of all men. Calls for accountability and motions about secret financial support of bishops are already a sign of defeat, an indication that the apostle’s holy example is not being followed, and the powerful, simple trust that previously existed has been breeched.

                  I had a great deal of respect for the Metropolitan, but his response to Ms. Hodges and in particular his insinuation that her motion was a sign of unforgiveness was extremely troubling. It did nothing to restore trust, and how we do long to trust!

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                  • “equally as harmful as the breeches of trust?”

                    Would those breeches be made of spandex?

                    Surely you meant breaches of trust?

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                    • Thank you for the correction, Your Grace. It reminds me of the many humiliations I suffered in the course of elementary school spelling bees. Nevertheless, the thought of “breeches of trust” is rather comforting to my manhood.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      I’ve always liked that word “britches.” In English it’s “breeches.” In Greek it’s bhrahkes. If memory serves, it comes from an ancient Celtic tribe in what is now Belgium who were called the Brachae. Julius Caesar commented on their outlandish attire, before then all men wore skirts.

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                    • I think you’ll find, George, that the plural of breech, namely, breeches, is to be pronounced “brich-es” or “britches.” In other words, breeches is an American and British English word, pronounced like britches is pronounced. Too big for one’s breeches.
                      Reminds me of “chitterlings”, which is pronounced “Chitlins,” and “victuals” which is pronounced “vittles.”

                      [Oh, and today's young men wear shorts that stop just below the knee. That's what breeches are. (Actually, they are nothing but men's culottes or even "pedal-pushers", but today's guys wouldn't stand for that...doesn't sound cool.]

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          • Remember how Sarah Hodges was treated at the Convention when she stood up and asked about audits?

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            • Did you not intend rather to refer to Ms. Hodges’s principled (in the Biblical and canonical sense of the word) motion that the archdiocese cease its financial support of a bishop who had been (rightly) removed from pastoral duty after being convicted of groping a woman in a casino…who (also rightly) had been forgiven his indiscretion and not left without financial support…who the local synod of North American bishops twice insisted remain retired…who was nonetheless quietly restored to active episcopal ministry in the archdiocese of Mexico and whose expenses in this pastoral capacity were widely rumored to be paid by the archdiocese of North America?

              Did you not intend rather to refer to the manner in which Ms. Hodges’s was shouted down by many in the assembly until His Eminence insisted that she be allowed to speak so her concerns could be thoroughly rebuffed by means of a prepared statement that indicated full knowledge of both the reinstatement and the secret financial support being provided…and then by a speech designed to make her concern for the Church appear unforgiving, un-Christian, and contrary to the wishes of the Patriarch… to the fact that her duly seconded motion was unilaterally quashed?

              If this is the matter to which you intended to refer, then yes. Many of us are still attempting to wash the foul taste of this intentional humiliation and gross distortion from our mouths. Many also wonder whether the Patriarch was even aware of this bishop’s indiscretions, given the fact that his name strangely appeared on a list of bishops to be enthroned as diocesans well after everyone in this country was fully aware of his ostensibly permanent retirement.

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              • Jane Rachel says:

                I read the minutes when they were posted here several months ago. It’s still going on here on this blog by priests, and it’s called con·de·scend·ing/ˌkändəˈsendiNG/
                Adjective:
                Acting in a way that betrays a feeling of patronizing superiority.
                (of an action) Demonstrating such an attitude.

                “My dear… “

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                • Jane Rachel,

                  Sister in Christ Jesus, Member of One body which CAN NOT be divided, a clearly intelligent, articulate, obviously well educated individual – I would like to give Bishop Tikhon the benefit of the doubt. I believe that His Grace addresses everyone this way. This is the way of all older people towards younger people, and not meant as a means of condescension but is a style of speech used even by the elderly between themselves. I had the great blessing to meet the Elder Seraphim (of Essex) before His repose. It was also His habit to address people as “dear.” I know other Spiritual Elders and elderly bishops who refer to correspondents (even adult ones) as “my dear child” – not to demean them but as a sign of tender care. I suggest that we accept Bishop Tikhon’s fatherly chastisements with grateful appreciation. We have the right to respectfully disagree with His Grace. Although I would respectfully suggest not making attacks against His personality, His status or service as a Bishop or the office of the Bishop itself since that is an attack against Christ and distasteful to boot.

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          • Michael Bauman says:

            Gailina, yes, our diocesan bishops were demoted, but some took the demotion rather differently than one might expect. There is very little difference, if any, with the manner in which my bishop governs his diocese now and the manner in which he governed it prior to the demotion. He is not free to ordain or assign priests solely on his own authority, but that authority was not there before the demotion.

            Met. Philip is a shrewed politicitian. He knows that he must allow wide latitude to those bishops who have the love and support of the people in their diocese. The pastoral, humble servant bishops therefore have more leeway than the arrogant ones. Frankly, I think that was the point of the whole thing.

            There still exists a class of clergy within the archdiocese who are FOPs (Friends of Philip) who are favored over others. They are not all Arab. I am sure that causes less that fillial feelings from time to time.

            I find it interesting, but do not know what to make of it exactly that Met. Philip but another non-Arabic speaking bishop in Toledo (he is learning Arabic at Met. Philip’s direction). I believe all of our other bishops speak at least some Arabic.

            Just wondering?

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        • M. Stankovich. You made a statement that gibes with the popular wisdom about the entrance of the EOC into the Antiochian Archdiocese. Here it is : “But for heaven’s sake, Fr. Peter Gillquist called it “coming home,” even when the OCA would not have the Evagelicals!”
          Ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri would have you taken out behind the woodshed for that one! Archbishop Dmitri and others had been negotiating with the leaders of the EOC and developing a plan, a teaching plan, to prepare the clergy and the people of the EOC to become Orthodox. Metropolitan Philip got wind of this and offered a fabulous deal: “Come into the Antiochian Archdiocese and you won’t have to change a thing or learn a thing unless you decide to do so.” It was, and I’m quoting Archbishop Dmitri, an outright GRAB by Metropolitan Philip.
          He was in such a hurry that he broke centuries of tradition to effect MULTIPLE ordinations at one Liturgy in one Church on one day. Instant gratification.
          An OCA Priest’s wife, formerly in the EOC and Antiochian Archdiocese told me when she met me, “Your Grace, I have to confess to you, even if it harms my husband, that I’m still not sure about this Orthodox business. One day we were all told to stand in a row and stick out our hands. Nobody knew what was coming or what happened when it did: A priest came down the line and dabbed some oil on each hand as he passed by, and that was it. Nothing changed that we could observe, but we had some oil on our hands.” This Priest’s wife had once been a well-educated Roman Catholic nun, a teacher.
          Just sayin’.

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          • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

            Of the EOC Bishop Tikhon declares, “Metropolitan Philip got wind of this and offered a fabulous deal: ‘Come into the Antiochian Archdiocese and you won’t have to change a thing or learn a thing unless you decide to do so.’”

            I want to thank all of you who have been praying for my resolve; So far I have not succumbed to the temptation to say exactly what I think of Bishop Tikhon.

            Bishop Tikhon, nonetheless, often raises a proper point of conscience: When should we follow Proverbs .26:4, and when should we follow Proverbs 26:5?

            One of these verses is invariably pertinent, but it is sometimes difficult to know which.

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            • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

              By the way, while we are on the subject of retired bishops on the West Coast, check out these comments:

              http://spartiongeometrias.blogspot.com/2011/09/depths-of-bishop-tikhon-fitzgerald-just.html

              Bishop Tikhon is apparently consistent. When he denies the Seal of Confession, he evidently follows through on it.

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              • George Michalopulos says:

                Fr Patrick, Your Grace, for peace in the Church, I ask that you both ask forgiveness of one another. For myself, I ask both of you to forgive me for any wrongs or slights.

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                • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

                  George Michalopoulos requests, “Fr Patrick, Your Grace, for peace in the Church, I ask that you both ask forgiveness of one another. For myself, I ask both of you to forgive me for any wrongs or slights.”

                  I sincerely apologize to—and seek forgiveness of—Bishop Tikhon and anyone else offended by my intemperate comments.

                  Because it was ascribed to Archbishop Dimitri of blessed memory, I have made no objection to Bishop Tikhon’s use of the word “grab” with respect to the entrance of the EOC into the Antiochian Archdiocese.

                  I did not express my censure with sufficient clarity. I objected only to the sentiment ascribed to Metropolitan PHILIP on that occasion: “Come into the Antiochian Archdiocese and you won’t have to change a thing or learn a thing unless you decide to do so.”

                  Although this attribution was completely false, it was not proper for me to describe it as mendacious on Bishop Tikhon’s part; it is more likely the case that the misunderstanding came from something the Bishop was told.

                  Inasmuch as Metropolitan PHILIP was maligned on this blog site, however, let me join Father John Morris’s attempt to set the record straight. Far from permitting us converts to believe or do whatever we wanted, Metropolitan PHILIP and others in the Orthodox hierarchy went to great lengths to provide for our proper instruction in Orthodox faith and practice. Special teachers were inserted into the process; one of them was the devout and learned Father Lazarus Moore.

                  In my case, I was mentored by Father Paul Suda, Father John Chakos, the late Father Vladimir Soroka, and the faculty of St. Tikhon’s Seminary. I took two semesters of liturgical training from (then) Bishop Herman. (I do hope no one will blame any of these men for my numerous shortcomings. Indeed, Bishop Herman gave me only a B, which itself was a kindness on his part.)

                  With respect to the Seal of the Confession:

                  First, I completely believe and appreciate Bishop Tikhon’s avowal that he has never violated the obligation to sacramental secrecy.

                  Second, I am aware that the pre-ordination certificate, which is based on information conveyed in the Sacrament of Confession, is given to the bishop. Indeed, this Confession is made for the bishop’s own sake, to guarantee that no canonical irregularity is inserted into the ordination. I made that Confession myself, and I have signed the identical certificate for others whom I prepared for ordination. As it involves an oath, it is probably the most solemn form of a sacramental confession.

                  When a man makes that particular confession, he knows full well that this solemn certificate is intended for the bishop’s eyes. Far from being an exception to the rule of the confessional secrecy, it is simply an extension of it. The bishop becomes, in fact, a second confessor. This has long been the practice and understanding of the Church.

                  It is not true that just anyone may read and divulge the information in that certificate. The material in the certificate, when it was confessed, was intended for the bishop’s eyes only. Indeed, it is marked that way when it is sent to the bishop.

                  The moral case is identical for anyone who accidentally overhears a sacramental confession. Such a person is bound by the same rule of secrecy as the Father Confessor.

                  Here in Chicago nineteen years ago, when I spent three and a half hours listening to the First Confessions of the new converts who would be absolved, chrismated, and communicated the next morning as the first members of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church, I was slightly distressed that many of them wrote down their sins so they would not forget them. Although I appreciate the intent of this, I have never thought of it as a good practice. I instructed them to burn those lists as soon as possible.

                  Some of my parishioners still write down their sins, notwithstanding my distress on the point. There is too much danger, in my opoion, that the written record of those sins may fall under someone else’s gaze. For this reason, I keep a candle burning near the place where the Confessions are made; the lists are burned immediately.

                  I appreciate, George, this opportunity to make peace with Bishop Tikhon and to apologize for my intemperance of expression. If it may be of further comfort for anyone to know it, I have been praying the Rosary for Bishop Tikhon during this entire time of our altercation. I have never wished him anything but good, and I am grateful for this occasion to say so.

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                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Your quite welcome. If nothing else, the back-and-forth has been an educational experience. If I may add one thing on the Arb Dmitri/EOC front. Several years ago when he was mentoring our founding mission members, he told us that he was the first point of contact between the EOC and the canonical Orthodoxy. (It’s been six years or so so I may have some of the detail wrong.) What I remember is him stating to them that it wasn’t important what they believed or thought they believed about Orthodoxy but what they believed about Christ. He said “get that right, and all else follows.”

                    For some reason no one asked the follow-up question about why then the OCA didn’t make more inroads. I for one choose to believe that the blame cannot be laid at Dmitri’s doorstep but at the still-regnant ethnophyletism that reigned on the East Coast. (If anybody has any information on this matter, please feel free to post what you know.)

                    Anyway, as a proud Greek I am ashamed at the way the EOC was treated by the Phanar and was (and still am) overjoyed that they were received into Antioch.

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              • George, I ask Patrick Henry Reardon to forgive me, and I point out that he accurately copied my report on the contents of the ordination certificate (a public document OF RECORD) which read: “I have heard the confession of X and he has repented of all canonical impediments to ordination.”
                I have NEVER revealed contents of a confession, nor did I do in this case. Anyone, for example, Melanie Sakoda, may read the ordination certificate of any ordained person in the OCA. The certificate is NOT confidential. However, to say that someone confessed to sins in his confession is not to betray any seal of the confessional. I hereby announce that every Orthodox Christians who has EVER come to me for Confession has confessed real sins. Read that again. I have revealed no one’s sins. As for Father Thaddeus Wojcik’s foolish, incredibly foolish remark: “he has repented of all canonical impediments”, HE is the one that made this a PUBLIC, required statement, not I.
                If you think, George, that i and Patrick Henry Reardon are equally culpable in something, I disagree. However, i am glad to ask for anyone’s and everyone’s forgiveness at any time, day or not, summer, winter, spring and fall.
                George, Patrick wrote, “While we are on the subject o retired bishops on the West Coast..” This is not one of the subjects on Monomakhos, is it? What do you mean, “for the sake of peace in the Church?” I just had about an hour’s conversation with Metropolitan Jonah. And then I read this!
                I also apologize for quoting ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri about the “grab” of the EOC. However, George, I’m not going to apologize for Archbishop Dmitri.

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                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Your Grace, no one should ever apologize for Arb Dmitri! Thank you for clearing up the misunderstanding regarding parish certificates. I didn’t think that they were privileged in the way that Confessions are but now we know that they are part of the public record.

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            • Jane Rachel says:

              I want to thank all of you who have been praying for my resolve; So far I have not succumbed to the temptation to say exactly what I think of Bishop Tikhon.

              Oh yes you have.

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          • Jane Rachel says:

            Father Patrick, it was Bishop Dmitri who said it was a GRAB by Metropolitan Philip.

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          • Jesse Cone says:

            I came into the Orthodox Church by way of an EOC parish. When I talked to Vladyka Dmitri about them he told me of his frustration over how Met. Phillip embraced the EOC wholesale.

            However, our beloved Vladyka was very happy that the EOC changed and conformed to Church traditions more and more under the guidance of their bishops after they were brought into the Church. He was also happy that time has shown that acceptance of the EOC was not a mistake, but a rather a wonderful testimony to how the Orthodox Church changes people.

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            • Jane Rachel says:

              Jesse, what do you think about the wisdom of the instant chrismation of thousands, and the instant making of Protestant “bishops” into Orthodox priests? It’s so overwhelming if you don’t know what you are getting yourself into. Even with instruction, I think less than a year of being a catecumen isn’t enough time. The instant chrismation of everyone in one day, the fact that those leaders of the EOC were ex-self-proclaimed bishops and “Apostles” with a long history, and not a little conflict, and more than one lawsuit. So much history, and not all good. So much adherence to the ways and thoughts of things not truly Orthodox, and suddenly they are Orthodox priests and their followers are Orthodox Christians. Even now, no one is allowed to question anything they did, nor are we allowed to question Metropolitan Philip, lest we be cut down mercilessly.Well, I know personally many who split away from those EOC leaders even before it became the EOC. Hard to write about it, so many things come to mind. I believe the troubling aspects of what was going on behind the scenes is not hard to discern in the statement Bishop Tikhon heard from the priest’s wife:

              An OCA Priest’s wife, formerly in the EOC and Antiochian Archdiocese told me when she met me, “Your Grace, I have to confess to you, even if it harms my husband, that I’m still not sure about this Orthodox business. One day we were all told to stand in a row and stick out our hands. Nobody knew what was coming or what happened when it did: A priest came down the line and dabbed some oil on each hand as he passed by, and that was it. Nothing changed that we could observe, but we had some oil on our hands.” This Priest’s wife had once been a well-educated Roman Catholic nun, a teacher.

              Of course much good came from all this, it’s God’s way, making things right. But that doesn’t make what the leaders of the EOC or the AOC did all right, perfect, and beyond question. Must we say it did or get shot down? What I’m getting at that those EOC leaders are well-known for closing ranks when questioned or when they felt threatened in any way, and this history goes back to the seventies when they were stars with Campus Crusade for Christ. If we take away the personal side and look at the pattern it becomes even more serious. Religious leaders hiding behind their “skins,” so to speak, whatever they may be. Sadly, it’s not an uncommon tactic with many religious leaders. It’s still going on today. The leaders should stop doing that. It hurts the little people.

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              • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

                With respect to the reception of the EOC into the Antiochian Archdiocese, Jane Rachel objects to the “instant chrismation of everyone in one day.”

                Another view of the matter:

                “And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.”

                “Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”

                Philip and Peter evidently left out some essential stuff: the monastic beard, the proper height and configuration of the iconostas, the eight tones, the importance of egg tempra in iconography, the prayer rope, the number of metanoias required at Great Compline, the distribution of the eleven Eothonia, and several other sensitive particulars.

                No wonder Jane Rachel is amazed. She explains: “I think less than a year of being a catecumen isn’t enough time.”

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                • I think that Jane Rachel might have meant, rather, to refer to instant ordinations of everyone on one day and on one altar. After all, think of the “Baptism of Russias!” for heaven’s sake!

                  However, despite what Archpriest John W. Morris wrote, I have the personal testimony of a priest’s intelligent wife who testified to me that in her parish, the faithful were lined up with no explanation of what was to take place, and told to “stick out” their hands. When they complied, a Priest came down the line and daubed oil on their hands one after another until the process was finished.

                  These were not the populace of ancient Russia. These were adult, educated Christians leaving a heretical faith community to enter the Church.
                  It’s my conviction that the reception of laity and the ordination of clergy was done with unseemly, though practically convenient, haste.
                  It’s done, finished, over with. They entered the Orthodox Church their ministers became and are Priests.
                  It’s just too bad that the rich and well-developed traditions of our Church were treated like chopped liver in the interest of a somewhat prideful impatience with those rich and well-developed traditions that prevented the rush of instant (relatively speaking) gratification.
                  Many of the previous generation of Orthodox leaders in the Levant were given their Christian education in the schools of western missionaries, both Roman Catholic and Protestant. In th case of the Presbyterians, one may imagine that their innate Cromwellism, which decries vestments and liturgies and hierarchies, informed consciously or unconsciously their instructions, just as the education of the Greek clergy in the seminaries of Germany and England for generations had its effects of confessionalism and scholasticism in the Greek priesthood for generations.

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                  • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

                    Bishop Tikhon testifies, “I have the personal testimony of a priest’s intelligent wife who testified to me that in her parish, the faithful were lined up with no explanation of what was to take place, and told to “stick out” their hands. When they complied, a Priest came down the line and daubed oil on their hands one after another until the process was finished.”

                    Yes, I think I know the parish he means.

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                • Chris Banescu says:

                  Fr. Pat, don’t forget the mandatory 40 Lord Have Mercys, can’t leave that out!

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                  • Dear Chris!
                    There are no 40 Lord, have mercys in a Chrismation. There it is again. As if our services were not already somewhat complicated, requiring average intelligence to do them competently, without these imaginary embelllishments you use to give some kind of substance to your unhappiness with what i write.

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              • M. Stankovich says:

                What you seem not to grasp, Jane Rachel, is that 1) these issues were “fought” from SVS to Englewood and back ad nauseum back in the day – fait accompli and nobody cares anymore; and 2) “these people” are not EOC, but fully, completely, and totally Orthodox Christians, in no way differing from the rest of us, perhaps with the exception of the decades-long “journey,” as is so movingly detailed in Fr. Peter Gillquist’s Coming Home. These “leaders” – and what’s up with the pejorative “closing ranks,” hiding behind “skins,” “stars” of Campus Crusade? – were world-renowned Patristical scholars, authors, and translators. Unlike so many other “empty” scholars, they studied the Fathers, they believed the Fathers, and they followed the Fathers. And now, all these years later, you would like to “reboil” this issue?

                Personally, I cannot, in my wildest imagination, believe that someone, in hindsight, could actually think that the OCA could be better off without those Envagelical Christians and their “leaders,” but hold that the OCA cannot heal until the convicted Robert Kondratick is restored to the priesthood. I have not had a drink of alcohol since July 20, 1980, but it somehow seems reasonable to request that someone pass the damn jug to me.

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                • phil r. upp says:

                  The real M. Stankovich would never make this statement. Impostor.

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                • Stankovich, I hereby bequeath the jug to you. I love those EOC people.

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                  • I like them, too, Helga,and always have, the hasty and ad hoc and unorthodox (as Unorthodox) way they were received is indeed a sad chapter in the past. I first met their leaders at a Diocesan Assembly of ours when Bishop Basil was our bishop. it was held at San Luis Obispo. We understood from Bishop Dimitri that they were in the process of coming into the Orthodox Church. However, a while after that we heard how Metropolitan Philip in a great and most flamboyant example of conquering red tape and ritualistic nonsense had just taken over the whole process.
                    M. Stankovic says they were “world-renowned Patristical scholars.’ That’s the first I’ve ever heard such a thing. Are they cited in Patristic courses at our seminaries now? in ANY seminaries teaching Patristics? What are some of the titles in this Antiochian “Patristic” literature, M. Stankovich?
                    It doesn’t help anyone to exaggerate their virtues any more than it does to exaggerate their vices. Whether it’s the ‘suits’ of the EOC or our resigned Metropolitan, hyperbole is not flattering.

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            Of the EOC Bishop Tikhon declares, “Metropolitan Philip got wind of this and offered a fabulous deal: ‘Come into the Antiochian Archdiocese and you won’t have to change a thing or learn a thing unless you decide to do so.’
            I always try to treat an Othodox Bishop with respect, but I cannot let Bishop’s Tikhon’s latest attack at the Antiochian Archdiocese go without correcting the misinformation that he is guilty of spreading against our Metropolitan and our Archdiocese.
            What Bishop Tikhon wrote is simply not true. I was one of the clergy assigned to work with the Evangelical Orthodox to prepare them for their conversion to Orthodoxy. They had to accept the Orthodox Faith without reservation and follow correct Orthodox liturgical practices. Metropolitan Philip gave them some freedom concerning music, since the Orthodox Church allows for different musical traditions. I worked very hard to prepare the clergy of the EOC in Gary, Indiana, Milwaukee and Lansing and know that what Bishop Tikhon wrote is not true.

            Archpriest John W. Morris

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            • Heracleides says:

              Ah, but the Bishop misstated his “facts” with great courage… which seems to cover a multitude of shortcomings in some quarters.

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            • It’s true, what I wrote. Telling them they “had to accept the Orthodox Faith without reservation,” is not teaching them ANYTHING.. Telling them they had to follow correct Orthodox liturgical practices, is not teaching them anything” They were mainly “taught” that the Orthodox Church NEEDED them, and that they had AS MUCH or more to teach us as we had to teach them.” Who wouldn’t take a “deal’ like that?

              Neither the EP nor the OCA spread out a red carpet like that! On top of it, that process was vaunted as showing more love than the others and, amazingly it still is, according to Very Rev. Archpriest John
              W Morris’s fulsome praise of Metropolitan Philip’s speed in winning what turned out, surprisingly, to be a competition.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                Your Grace:
                There was no competition. Yes we welcome converts in the Antiochian Archdiocese. When people come to us and ask to become Orthodox, we should welcome them and not expect them to craw over broken glass on their knees to be let into the Church.
                I was one of the priests put in charge of preparing the Evangelical Orthodox for reception into Orthodoxy. I know what happened and how it was done. I know how hard I worked to prepare them to be received into the Church. I also know how much effort it took to prepare the clergy to serve Orthodox services.
                If other Orthodox jurisdictions did not receive them, that is not the fault of our Patriarch and Metropolitan. They had sent a delegation to the Istanbul to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch. He refused to meet with them. After they returned one of our priests, invited them to meet with our Patriarch who happened to be in Los Angeles. They met with His Beatitude and Metropolitan Philip. His Beatitude blessed Metropolitan Philip to began the dialogue that led to their entrance into the Orthodox Church. It was made clear to them that they had to accept the Orthodox Faith without reservation and that their liturgical practices must conform to the liturgical usage of the Antiochian Archdiocese. I am quite sure that the people of the EOC received more instruction in Orthodoxy than the thousands Baptized at the command of St. Vladimir in 988. I am thankful that our Patriarch and Metropolitan had the vision and courage to receive such a large number of converts into the Orthodox Church.
                Once again I must ask that you cease criticizing our Antiochian Bishops. Your comments only offend Antiochian Orthodox and do great harm to the cause of Orthodox cooperation and unity in the United States. Take care of your own jurisdiction and its problems before you presume to judge other Bishops and their jurisdictions.

                Archpreist John W. Morris

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                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Fr John, the ultimate sin is what the Phanar perpetrated in this matter. Everything else is incidental.

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                • Are you a candidate for the episcopacy, Archpriest John W. Morris? If so, i understand and apologize for being so frank.

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    You know that I am an Archpriest. That means that I am married. Thus, I am not a candidate for the episcopate. Even if I were celibate, the Antiochians are not stupid enough to make me a Bishop. What does that have to do with anything? Even a Bishop is not above the principles of Christian courtesy. when dealing with anyone, even a mere priest. A Bishop does not have a right to treat a mere priest in an uncharitable manner, especially when that priest defends his Bishop from untrue accusations.
                    The priests ordained in the multiple ordinations have been accepted by every canonical jurisdiction of Orthodoxy including the OCA. I have served in the local OCA parish with the Rector, the Greek Orthodox priest, and one of the priests ordained in the multiple ordinations. Even if you can find a canon that mandates single ordinations, which I doubt you can, there is always the principle of economy that allows a Bishop to depart from a legalistic and literal interpretation of the canons for good reason.
                    Besides, why are you making such a big deal over something that took place 25 years ago?

                    Fr. John W. Morris

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                    • You know, Archpriest John W. Morris, I was an archpriest, too, and I’ve never married. Father David Brum and several other never married clergy are also archpriests. I didn’t know you were married until I read this current message.

                      You asked me why i am “making such a big deal over something that took place 25 years ago.” That’s a no-brainer. I’m not at all the one that made a big deal of something that happened 25 years ago. it was Antiochian clergy still swelling with pride over it and expressing that pride these days here on Monomakhos that is the cause of my posts, that are RESPONSES on the topic.

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                    • OccidentalGuido says:

                      Dear Archpriest John:

                      Father bless!

                      Perhaps one day the Church will return to the practice considering all qualified men for election and consecration to the Sacred Episcopate.
                      Imagine smaller dioceses where the Arch-Pastor actually knows the majority of his people by face and name! Imagine bishops who know the struggles of family life! (Yes I know there are several widowers currently serving as bishops.)

                      Perhaps we will then have less cranky old celibate men suppressing their sex drives. If abstention and purity is the issue, those of us married over fifteen years, and over forty-five can attest that the frequency of coitus is considerably diminished by our age.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              I probably should not mention this but in response to Biship Tikhon’s comment on multiple ordinations, I have to point out that a certain Bishop who is now a Bishop in the OCA was consecrated at a multiple consecration by His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV.

              Fr. John W. Morris

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              • And that Bishop’s consecration is “valid” as are the ordinations of all those Priests on the same altar on the same day, contrary to the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.
                I refuse to feel bad about there being an OCA Bishop who was consecrated by one of Patriarch Ignatius’s multiple consecrations. The Patriarch. like Metropolitan Philip Saliba is a wonderful man and a Christian of the highest virtues. I love and respect Metropolitan Philip Saliba, especially for the obviously first priority he assigns to Charity. But, you know what, he’s not perfect, even if one is an ambitious cleric in his Archdiocese, and Metropolitan Philip is not short of such Q.E.D.
                When the Patriarch was but a student at, I believe, the Russian Orthodox Saint Sergius Theological Institute in Paris, he sometimes baby-sat for Father John & Mrs. Meyendorff. You’ve gotta like a guy like that. Some seminarians nowadays would be too lofty to babysit. I believe I may know Metropolitan Philip longer than Archpriest John W. Morris. He doesn’t need to be defended by ANYONE, and it seems a little overweening for Archpriest John W. Morris to “defend” him as if he were some kind of vulnerable milquetoast!

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  Your Grace:

                  I have never heard of an Archpreist who is not married. That is not our tradition. If the Bishop wants to reward a celibate priest he makes him an Archimandrite. Therefore in Antiochian, and I though all other traditions, an Archpriest is married that unless he is a widower.
                  That is unless you mean that in some traditions a priest says to the Bishop. “Thine Archpriesthood may the Lord Remember in His Heavenly Kingdom, Always Now and ever and unto ages.” We say “Thine Episcopate…”

                  Archpriest John W. Morris

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  The reception of the Evangelical Orthodox was one of the greatest moments in the history of American Orthodoxy. It was the work of the Holy Spirit who led a courageous Metropolitan Philip to take a great risk for the sake of spreading the truth of Orthodoxy to the American people.
                  I will always thank God that He allowed me to play a small role in this great event.

                  The Very Rev. John W. Morris

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              • Friendly Catholic says:

                Fr. John,

                Could you comment on the charge that Patriarch Ignatius IV did not even lay his hands on the bishops (including Bishop Mark) he consecrated? The video is here:

                http://orthodox-caveman.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-and-how-not-to-consecrate-bishop.html

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  I am too busy to look at the video. I have full faith that His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV knows what he is doing and how to properly consecrate a Bishop.

                  Fr. John W. Morris

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    Actually the comments on the page are offensive enough to convince me that this person is anti-Antochian. Once again, I have no doubt that His Beatitude knows what he is doing.
                    He may not like it but ROCOR is in full communion with the Patriarch of Antioch and its North American Archdiocese.
                    Our parishes in West Virginia have very close relations with Holy Cross Hermitage. I believe that Bishop Thomas, one of those consecrated with Bishops Mark and Alexander, has served there on more than one occasion.
                    When ROCOR set up its mission in Huntington, I was the Priest at Holy Spirit Church there. The police came to my office one day and asked me what I knew about “a group of communists setting up a Church in Huntington.” I assured the police that ROCOR is the last group on earth to have pro-communist sympathies.
                    Actually, I had the privilege of meeting and having a very good discussion with the then Father Laurus who was visiting the mission from Jordanville. He was a very impressive man.

                    Archpriest John W. Morris

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        • M. Stankovich says:

          Is there anyone here who can phone the OCA chancery on Tuesday morning to get a count of the number of transfer applications from Antiochian Archdiocese clergy awaiting approval?

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      • Met. Philip never had to deal with an entrenched and hostle bureauracy.

        Correct. But a leader would have replaced them with his own people. Bishop Jonah had been Bishop for only a few days prior to becoming Metropolitan, he had not yet developed his own staff whose advice and actions he could trust to reflect his leadership. He came to the job with no alternatives in hand and thus was not ready for the job.

        No-one in the secular world would put their brightest young star immediately into the role of CEO. We give them time and experience to prepare for the burden. It’s not unusual for someone being groomed for such a position to ultimately find themself in some other position, as strengths and weaknesses became apparent over time.

        The Holy Synod did a very popular but unfair thing in handing the reigns of the OCA to their youngest and least experienced member. To be sure they were hoping to unite the OCA, and for a time they succeeded, but the dangers in such a gamble were always apparent and were not successfully avoided.

        The Board of Directors of HP might be more incompetent at their job than the Holy Synod of the OCA is at theirs, but just barely.

        We have the Bishops we have, all of whom were elevated with hearty cries of “Axios.” We can and should hold them accountable, but also need to pray for them all, especially the ones who “make temptation for us.”

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          CQ, I very much doubt that any future cries of “AXIOS!” are going to be as full-throated or hearty as they were in the past.

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          • We would all do well to remember that the acclamation “Axios” has nothing to do with the individual worthiness of a candidate prior to ordination. It is for this reason that it comes *after* the laying on of hands. No one is worthy to exercise this great and sacred ministry, but the Grace Divine, healing the infirm and completing all that is lacking, makes each candidate worthy.

            This is why one fears to say that any man in Sacred Orders ought not to have been ordained, lest one blaspheme against the All-Holy Spirit. It is the All-Holy Spirit who elevated Metropolitan Jonah to the Primacy, and the All-Holy Spirit who has removed him. It is the All-Holy Spirit who bestowed the Grace of the Episcopacy on Metropolitan Theodosius, Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop Seraphim, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop Benjamin, Bishop Tikhon, Bishop Mark, and Bishop Matthias. It is the same All-Holy Spirit who raised up Pharaoh to demonstrate His saving power, and who raised up Moses to deliver His people from bondage.

            The Lord gave us Metropolitan Theodosius. The Lord gave us Metropolitan Herman. The Lord gave us Metropolitan Jonah. And the merciful Lord, who works all things for the salvation of those who love Him, will give us our next Primate. May He be merciful to our weakness, and not give us the due reward of our sins!

            The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              That’s an extremely roseate view of the situation. I seriously doubt that the Lord removed Jonah from the primatial see. He may have allowed it to happen given our free will and he may use it for His purposes, but it was sinful men who engineered it. If, like the sees of Carthage, Hippo, Laodicea, etc., the OCA becomes extinct, it will be because of our sins, not the Lord’s doing.

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            • Liam is exactly right about the meaning of the exclamations: “Axios.” But it’s a stretch to identify the Holy Spirit as the one who caused the resignation of a Bishop from being First Hierarch of a Synod. If a Hierarch were to be deposed from the hierarchy by a council of hierarchs who in holy assembly in the presence of the Cross and Holy Gospels and after invoking the Holy Spirit in prayer, then one might attribute that deposition to the Holy Spirit.

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          • I must’ve missed in the Canons where a muted “Axios” has a different effect on a Bishop’s authority than a loud one.

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    • Metropolitan Jonah Is Our Leader!

      He is true to our faith and is a clear voice for the traditional values of the Orthodox church.
      He does not silence his voice to ” go along with the crowd ” or seek political correctness. He proclaims the word of our Lord as it is stated in the scriptures and is commanded by the Orthodox church. These values are ageless. Metropolitan Jonah is not afraid to acknowledge them, even when they might not be publicly popular.

      He was denied support for his work and the right to select his own administrative staff — he was not on easy street… he was not allowed to become who he could have been if he had the full support and love of his brothers bishops…as the bible says “and a man’s foes will be those of his own household”…

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  11. Yana Porter says:

    Father Hans, thanks ever so much for your succinct and adroit comments; they express all I carry in my heart about the whole mess, but could not express as well as you have done.

    I am deeply saddened by all that’s occurred with Met. Jonah and the synod. I am only one parishioner up here in Canada, but seems to me the synod is not in touch with their people in any meaningful way. I get the sense the OCA is falling apart and being purged. Maybe that’s for the best because in due time something holy and more solid can come of it. I don’t remember who said this, but it’s stuck with me that, “we turn to God when our foundations are shaking only to find it is God who is shaking them.”

    Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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  12. V. Rev. James Bernstein, Dean says:

    I also am thankful for Fr Hans’ insights and courage in presenting this article. I have noticed that very few OCA clergy post on the blogs that discuss Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation. My sense is that it is not because they don’t support him but because of fear of their diocesan bishops who forced his resignation. There is no doubt in my mind as one who has known Metropolitan Jonah for many years that he has God given evangelistic charisma that out shines the other bishops (gifted as they are). In this I agree with Fr Reardon. He is also morally pure of heart and humble (a rare quality among hierarchs). It was obvious as new Metropolitan that he needed to choose his own staff – much as would a new president choose his own cabinet or a CEO his own administrative assistants. The “toxic culture” within the administration of the OCA that he referred to when newly elevated was real and more than a difference of views, perspective or vision. He was not silent about it. The conflict included many substantial issues including a certain favorable attitude towards homosexuality. The existence of this deep conflict and hostility in part forced his down fall. Additionally he had his own learning curve and issues to deal with. Mistakes were made which could have been worked out in a more favorable climate. He needed time and moral support in which to learn to be bishop and Metropolitan. Both of which if given time and adequate support I believe he would have served as excellently. From the get go he was under attack.1) From a staff that did not connect with him. 2) From very powerful persons in the OCA whose adherence to preserving OCA autocephaly was unshakeable. Additionally many believe that his being under pressure to not ignore any report of hierarchical sexual misconduct resulted in his pursuing investigations that resulted in extreme hostility towards him. Hostility that continues to the present. My family and I were received into Orthodoxy via the OCA and were part of the St. Vladimir Seminary community for 5 years during which time I received my M Div. It is most sorrowful to witness these upheavals – as I consider Orthodoxy in America as having a single common witness. Though I am Antiochian – when the OCA suffers we all suffer. Regardless of what direction the OCA takes I do believe that Metropolitan Jonah is God blessed and will continue to make major contributions to Orthodoxy in America – one way or the other. Really – it is a matter of Grace. Something no one can take away from him. He is down but not out and we haven’t heard the end of this saga.

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    • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

      Thank you, Fr. James, for your kind words. And BTW, thank you for your book! A friend has borrowed it, and is sharing it with her Jewish neighbor, who at an advanced age still has an inquisitive mind.

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    • Thank you very much for this witness, Father. I really appreciated reading your autobiographical testimony a few years ago as well. It is always encouraging to read about the Holy Spirit’s work in a person’s life and journey to Orthodox faith. Your background in being received via the OCA and training at SVS along with your personal acquaintance with Met. Jonah gives you a valuable perspective in the current crisis. I believe my own OCA Priests would agree with your perspective. I wish more of these would speak out. I know that might–at least temporarily–cost them their career in the OCA and their retirement as well, but I’m more worried about the spiritual cost of their not speaking out.

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    • If I understood my priest corrrectly, he said that his bishop (+Matthias) has told them not to comment on blogs or get involved in these types of online discussions. I get the feeling that my priest is none too happy that I read at Monomakhos. I read here to find out what’s going on within the OCA because I don’t like feeling ignorant of what’s going on. George may be a bit biased, but he is not a liar nor does he deliberately post lies. The lack of transparency within the OCA is appalling but I am feeling pretty much stuck. I am not interested in joining the Greek parish that wouldn’t allow me to become Orthodox unless my non-converting Roman Catholic husband would agree to marry me in the Greek church. I already drive almost half an hour to get to my OCA parish and to go elsewhere would put me closer to 45 minutes-hour +. I will be going to Liturgy alone with 4 small children so long car rides coupled with long services is not feasible. Any advice (including sucking it up!) would be welcome. Do it here or email me at generalsparky at gmail dot com.

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      • Ask Rod Dreher for advice. His drive is as long as yours, and, because “we can’t participate fully in the normal Orthodox liturgical and communal prayer life, given the distance,” he and some friends have “permission from ROCOR, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to start a mission here.” Details, Rod?

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        • Kelly and Rod
          i would suggest also talking with the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church http://www.acrod.org
          No major problems in DECADES!

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          • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

            the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church . . . No major problems in DECADES!

            No surprise. They had an outstanding Metropolitan, Lord rest his dear soul.

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            • OccidentalGuido says:

              Well, that may all be about to change. They have had a Greek forced upon them as their new bishop. Though I hear they were given their choice of which Greek they preferred. How kind of the GOA and EP!
              Bishop-elect Grigorios Tatsis was only ordained a priest in 2007.
              Poor Metropolitan Nicholas is rolling over in his grave. May his memory be eternal!

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              • Also Anonymous says:

                Forced on them? That’s not my impression at all. Do you have anything to support that?

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              • Baloney!

                1. ACROD spent a year looking for a bishop–he was not “forced” on them.

                2. ACROD couldve asked +Matthias or +Michael–they both came from ACROD–but they didnt ask either (that should tell you something right off the bat about those two!).

                3. in my book, Orthodox is Orthodox–sure, we may have different customs, languages, ethnic foods, etc. but we are still ALL ORTHODOX.

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                • OccidentalGuido says:

                  1. The search was a farce. The were told which candidates would be electable in the eyes of the holy synod.

                  2. The fact that they are on the OCA Synod tells me all I need to know about them

                  3. ACROD is a puppet of the EP, tolerated by the GOA. Give it another 20 make it 10, years and all the ACROD parishes will either be integrated into the GOA or jump out of the pan and into the fire that is the OCA

                  In your book Orthodox is Orthodox. I agree 100%. But to more Greeks (note that I say most not all) being Greek is most important. If you are not Greek, that is okay if you WISH you are.

                  The ACROD, just the like Ukrainians in South Boundbrook, are second class citizens in the EP.

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                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Guido, this may all be true. As for the Ukrainians and ACROD however being “second-class citizens” within the EP, they have no one but themselves to blame. For one thing, I was told that when they were being brought under the omorphor of the EP, they were asked to be fully-integrated sitting bishops of the GOA. But because of their own ethno-phyletism (or perhaps an inferiorty complex?) they chose to remain segregated.

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                    • George,

                      Your comment about the “ethno-phyletism” of the Ukrainians and ACROD is interesting; but that is exactly one of the major reasons why the old EOC didn’t come into the OCA. The OCA Synod insisted that the EOC parishes come into Orthodoxy and be assimilated into the respective OCA dioceses where their parishes across the USA were located.

                      The EOC did not want that rather they wanted to be a “segregated” group. Met. Philip had no problem with that arrangement and so they went to Antioch. It is interesting to note that it was only a few years later that the AOCA did exactly what the OCA expected and assimilated former EOC parishes into AOCA dioceses. +Philip also made them call their parishes Antiochian Orthodox not EOC parishes.

                      I offer this not as a judgment but an observation that “ethno-phyletism” can also be with “white folk.”

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                    • OccidentalGuido says:

                      George, not that I am a “mover and shaker” in any jurisdiction, I just read a tremendous amount of material; history, commentaries, blogs, interviews, etc. I had never heard that the respective hierarchs were offered full seats on the GOA synod. That speaks well of the Archbishop at the time. I supposed that does make sense as the EP has his great claim over all the Orthodox in the heathen lands.

                      I suppose we Slavs (even second and third generation) are just as protective of our old world heritage as the Greeks. But, I have read that a current trend among ethnic youth is a lack of interest in many of the old world ways. The future of Orthodoxy (our youth) may just force a united American Church in the not too distant future.

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                  • John Christopher says:

                    Guido is dead wrong on fact and analysis. Think, man, think! These Slavic dioceses are treasured feathers in the EP’s cap. Keeping them as is not only proves haters like you wrong (no small thing), it also demonstrates the ecumenical nature of the Patriarchate. Expect no change in policy, except perhaps an even greater role and representation.

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                  • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                    These are odd statements, Guido and George. Neither I nor anyone else in the ACROD (so I would like to believe) feel “second-class,” “inferior,” “ethno-phyletist,” or “puppet-ish.”

                    Although, Guido, you raise an interesting philosophical question: can a puppet be aware of the puppeteer on the other end of the strings?

                    Probably not, and this goes for anyone and everyone who believes in the freedom of their own actions — especially actions like commenting on us poor Carpathians, or on the qualities of my departed spiritual father, whose genial dignity was a quality that is much rarer today.

                    So if +Metropolitan Nicholas and his people were/are “second-class puppets,” then I’ll raise a glass to their respective Puppeteer, and say “String me up too.”

                    It’s better than these other alternatives.

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                  • that is just a flat out LIE for number 1.
                    If they were told which candidates to choose–then WHY DID IT TAKE A YEAR.

                    2. we let them go–that should tell you enough

                    3. They have their own tomos that gives them independence–they will not be integrated into the GAO

                    i dont know where you get your “information”–but it is incorrect (or just wishful thinking on your part)

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              • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                Forced? What proof do you have that he was forced? The GOA and the EP did NOT force anything on the ACORD. If you have facts to back it up then by all means show it to us otherwise please do not spread false rumors.

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                • OccidentalGuido says:

                  The EP and the GOA have a long history of forcing themselves on the rest of us.
                  Want proof of that?
                  When SCOBA existed what was there never a non Greek president?
                  As to the new episcopal assembly, who is the president?
                  Oh! Surprise! Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese!

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                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                    First off that’s not proof so your comments are unsupported and irrelevant. Second your not from the ACROD but OCA unless I am mistaken on that, which makes your comments just good old fashion OCA EP and GOA bashing which again are meaningless and irrelevant.

                    However, if there are people on this blog from ACROD let’s hear from them. Which by the way we have heared from some of them already and they directly contradict you OccidentalGuido so your credibility so far is completely lacking.

                    Finally, the ACROD is strong, unified and vibrant whereas the OCA is not. Take care of your own church before you start casting aspertions on another church.

                    I find it fasinating that while the OCA is going through all this its members still think they are OK and all other Orthodox Juridictions (Greek, Antiochian, ROCOR, Etc.) are just evil. Wow! If the OCA was a real person I would not be surprised if a physican prescribed at least 6 months to a year of intense psychological observation and therapy.

                    Peter

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                    • Mark from the DOS says:

                      Peter –

                      Don’t paint all us OCA members with the same brush. Many of us know their is rot from the head down and wouldn’t think of bashing another jurisdiction out of shame of our own!

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      Thank you Peter for your helpful remarks.

                      If it isn’t obvious already, I am an ACROD priest, and rather happy to be one at that.

                      On this and other internet discussions, I have read many fervent reports about Constantinople (or New York) imposing a Greek bishop upon us.

                      As I have stated before, I am in a position to know rather confidently whether such coercion occurred or not. Unfortunately, the only proof that I have is the “take my word for it” stuff.

                      And that kind of stuff doesn’t play well here or anywhere.

                      Even after my claims, I still am met with shaking of heads, with probably world-weary smirks, and a look that says for all the world to see, “I know better.”

                      As in, “I know better that my favorite foe that fits in with my particular conspiracy theory is behind this.”

                      On another forum, a youngish adolescent, even, took me to task for daring to suggest a narrative other than the inexorable hegemony of the EP. In this neophyte’s view, which was developed from attending to blogs and forums and lots of other data, we Carpathians were told to just grin and bear it, whilst a Greek bishop would preside over our absorption into the Borg continuum.

                      Add to that the equally distressing view that we are just a second-class phyletist ghetto — never mind the fact that for a small diocese, we possess an extraordinary proportion of convertski clergy and laity.

                      I wish, Peter (and robert — what’s with the lowercase, anyways? do you like e. e. cummings?), and any other friends of the ACROD out there, that folks would take our word for it, that we are okay with being under the radar.

                      Because frankly, being ON the radar is kind of crappy. Putting oneself on the radar, and doing things to guarantee that the radar notices you, is bound to get you precisely where you are.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      I want to go on record as saying that the perception that “Greeks are trying to take over everything” is something that has been debated over the years in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and in the halls of the Ecumenical Patriarcate. The GOA and EP do try to combat this image as well as reality, but to no avail.

                      Now I will not defend some of the practices of the EP and its Archons, which IMHO are not proper nor necessarily correct. However, we must be aware that Propaganda, NOT truth, is at play here. Moscow and Constantinople have been playing their own propaganda war for the better part of 50 years.

                      Constantinople DOES interfere in the affairs of Moscow, via the Ukranian Orthodox Church, but its because the Ukranians want the EP in and Moscow out. This plays out religiously when in fact its a cultural and political division between Russians and Ukranians with the EP all to willing to help.

                      Moscow shows its disrespect for the EP by not addressing the Ecumenical Patriarch as “Ecumenical.” a dangerous game that Moscow is playing especially as this can be and has been turned around on Partiarch Kirill by Ukranians and Georgians NOT recognizing his authority.

                      There is also the ligering problem that the MP could very well still be infected with communisim, which the ROCOR is still to this day, even after reunification, justifiably cautious about.

                      So all of us have to realize that in Modern Orthodoxy our Church has been and continues to be assaulted by Political and Cultural events that many of us here in America either know nothing or very little about and we fall for OUR church’s propaganda.

                      In the Greek Church the propaganda against the Macedonian Orthodox Church is the most palpable. I can have my cultural disagreements with Macedonians, but why not recognize their church? Its a canonical Orthodox Church, and yet the EP, Church of Greece, Church of Crete, Cyprus and GOA refuse to recognize the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Why?

                      If she taught heresy that’s one thing, but to simply deny recognition because of a cultural and political fight and disagreement? No, that’s wrong.

                      So all of us need to stop with our agenda’s, propagandas and memes because this internal disruption of all American Orthodox Christians is simply dividing us and does NOTHING to unify us.

                      Finally, if the price of OCA autocephalacy has not only caused and contributed to disunity and the forced retirement of a metropolitan that did nothing to violate the faith and canons of our Church then why still have it? To me the Gospel and living the words of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ “That we all may be one” are more important to me, and it should be more important to all of us.

                      The Communists did their job and did their job well (1970 Tomos IMHO), but now its time for a different direction that ALL American Orthodox can agree upon. The past was division. The future is the evangalization of America with the Gospel of Christ who’s fullness is only found in Orthodoxy. Unti we realize that and comit ourselves to that we will remain divided. I refuse to be divided, and I refuse to let souls that have not known the Gospel to just be left in the darkness.

                      Its time that ALL of us turned on the light – The Light of Christ. Stop the fratracide and lets get on with it.

                      Peter

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                    • Fr. Jonathan, here is a question for you:

                      1) When the EP, Archbishop Demetrios of any other greek hierarch uses the word omogenia, do you think the omogenia includes you and the members of the ACROD?

                      No, and for this reason alone the ACROD will most likely be in upheaval within two years

                      The ACROD has bet its entire future and the future of its children on an ethnically greek bishop with limited pastoral experience who was trained in an envrionment where omogenia comes before Orthodoxy. This person is expected to succeed a universally adored Metropolitan and respect long standing traditions that his superiors consider second class.

                      There is no Greek bishop in America who is capable of setting aside the omogenia before Orthodoxy mindset while simultaneously crossing cultures and creating a diocese where converts are warmly welcome. My bet is that as the aging clergy in the ACROD retire you will seen more Greek clergy who are not assigned in the GOA staff ACROD parishes and relegate unique ACROD traditions to the dustbin and replace them with the more robust practices of the “omogenia”.

                      Also, you have to wonder if an aging ACROD diocese will be able to support the financial and material needs of an “elevated” greek bishop in a manner that reflects the “dignity” of his office? Are the faithful of the ACROD on the hook for this hierarch’s salary for life if things do not work out?

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Mark from the DOS. I know and my heart goes out to you for what is currently going on.

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      This is in response to Andrew. We are at so many sublevels and indentations of the outline now, that I’ve think we’ve passed from roman numerals to caps to arablic numbers to small caps and now we’ve reached the torrid zone of small cap roman numerals.

                      What’s next? The Angerthas? (only a certain kind of nerd would recognize that)

                      I am not worried about your projections, Andrew. We have nine full time seminarians, who will be more than sufficient to staff our parishes.

                      Let me tell you a secret: our people (and I am one of them by osmosis) are singularly adept at making a priest with impious, anti-ethos agenda feel profoundly uncomfortable.

                      Thus, there will be no Greeks running amok in our Diocese: they may be of Greek extraction (and heck, I’m a mongrel myself), but to survive and thrive in the hieratic ACROD, you will be converted to the old ways (not necessarily the old tongues), and you will love it.

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                    • Thank you Fr Tobias for responding (as I was about to).

                      ACROD will NOT be “Greeked up” by the new bishop and it wont happen “in two years”. Yes ACROD has plenty of seminarians to fill any vacancies, unfortunately ACROD does not have enough churches for them to go to.

                      OccidentalGuido and Phil R. UPP are way off base. The search for the new bishop lasted a year. No one was “forced” on ACROD (or it wouldve been done in the first few months). ACROD didnt have many candidates to choose from in their own Diocese as there are many priests that are married and few that are not–of the few, some actually refused to be considered–the rest? maybe one viable candidate.

                      From what Ive heard, Bishop-elect Grigorius has promised to keep the customs and traditions of the Carpatho people–i trust him, most of the priests (70 of 90?) trust him also. Only time will tell–but i doubt you will be hearing Greek anytime soon.

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                    • Fr. Jonathan, it must make you a little uncomfortale that your new bishop has only had two parish assignments and has held both for less than one year. There is simply no empirical evidence that the new head of the ACROD has the skillset to help the diocese flourish. Do we see any of his written words posted online?

                      My bet is your new bishop will need to raise parish assessments and tax hard working parishoners to pay for his suburban lifestyle. The number of seminarians will be reduced by half in a year and some parishes will wonder if the UOC-USA is a more appropriate home for them. People will question why the new Bishop lives so robustly in contrast to Metropolitan Nicholas. (Does he have a list of demands already?) Clergy who grumble will be excessively disciplined so that your new bishop can show he is a tough guy and in charge. Morale will decrease.

                      I even bet you will get an earful about how Carpatho-Russians are just Greeks in some other type of form. Remember the omogenia narrative is always “We are better than you!”

                      And btw, your hard working parish that struggles to pay the bills should get used to writing nice size checks….ooooops I mean tax free “Gifts of Love” for despota’s special events.

                      I would love to see a bishop at his installation donate every single check he gets to the OCMC or IOCC….Alas the chance of that happening are nearly impossible. Bishops are to be rich after all or else its beneath the “dignity” of the office.

                      I admire your indealism Fr. Jonathan but the past behavior of many hierarchs suggest you are going to get mugged by reality.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Andrew, I suppose only time will tell. Personally, I wish Bp Gregory all the best but in times of economic peril, people tend to retreat “into the tribe.” I’m afraid that for all the talk of the EP’s “universalism” (which I believe the luminaries –Chryssavgis, Lambrianides, etc. actually do believe), when the rubber hits the road it’s only Phanariotes who really “understand how things are done.” The fact that the Phanariotes are Greek is just a coincidence.

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      Andrew, you must be possessed of superior knowledge, and are thus irrefutable. My “idealism,” present experience and information are no match for your ouija board.

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                    • Father Jonathan, your sarcasm cannot hide the fact that you have not addressed any of the specific and very reasonable concerns that are raised in my comments. These questions include:

                      1) When the EP, Archbishop Demetrios of any other greek hierarch uses the word omogenia, do you think the omogenia includes you and the members of the ACROD?

                      2) Can a nearly ordained celibate man who was made an Archimandrite the same day of his ordination and has held no parish assignment for more than one year lead a diocese?

                      3)Can a inexperienced pastor trained in a system that values Omogenia before Orthodoxy cross-cultural minister to a flock that is not of his own ethnicity? How has the new bishop demonstrated that he can minister cross culturally?

                      Would you like to take a shot at answering these questions? Everyone wants to project there hopes and dreams for the Church on a new bishop when he is ordained and installed but as time goes on reality of often a harsh teacher.

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      Andrew, it is enough for me to hear Archimandrite Grigorios say that he wants to be our Archpastor, according to Holy Tradition and our own Carpatho-American rescension.

                      Never once has he mentioned the word “omogenia.” Never once has he given any hint of such an impious agenda, which would be patently impious for our people.

                      Here is where our expectations diverge, radically. You are convinced, without meeting him, but having been injured by real and oppressive domination in your own clerical-family history, that the omogenia programme will obtain.

                      Suffice to say that I do not. I happen to like Grigorios, having met him, having listened to him, having read more than a few abstracts of his monographs on the use of lasers in cardiac procedures, having talked to more than a few of his friends and peers.

                      I will proceed now to your three questions. No, I do not think that the EP, Archbishop Demetrios or anyone else include us with facility in the category or meaning of omogenia: I do not know precisely how you mean for that term to be used, whether in the categorical or lexical sense. But, prima facie, I suspect that any use of this term does not immediately connote us Carpathians.

                      Which is okay. I grew up a hill-rod. I may as well be an ecclesial hill-rod. The hellenes have always fancied everyone else as barbarian. It matters little to me.

                      Your second question has a whole slew of historical precedents to answer both for and against your position. Take your pick. I’ll defer, mainly as I do not think that parochial or any prior experience is necessarily a good predictor for episcopal value.

                      Your third question: I am personally satisfied, by Grigorios’ own testimony, that he can “cross-cultural minister to a flock that is not of his own ethnicity.”

                      Gee whiz, Andrew. I grew up as a revivalist, pietistic fundamentalist sectarian, more the type of Oral Roberts that His Grace, +Bishop Tikhon, is rightly wary of. I still say “Slava Isusu Christu” with an Oklahoman accent that everyone laughs at: and I know I love my Carpathian/Polish/Italian/Irish/African-American/AA/Hispanic parishioners.

                      The old ethnicities have a positive meaning only insofar as they enrich the contemporary anti-cultural and anti-Christian present. America has no positive ethnicity to guide modern Americans in life. I learned a little ornamental Church Slavonic from my mother-in-law and Metropolitan Nicholas — both of blessed memory — just to give an organic linguistic link to the fathers and mothers of our faith.

                      Archimandrite Grigorios said that he wants to do likewise: who the hell am I to doubt his word?

                      Besides, Andrew, a Greek bishop won’t be able to dun any money from us. There won’t be any upcharges to the bishop from any gifts to the priest. Do you know how much I am paid? Do you know that I get, maybe, $5 for every anniversary liturgy?

                      I live hand-to-mouth, just like your dad did. There is no money to enrich a bishop in the ACROD cult of meekness. I credit Archimandrite Grigorios for his willingness to minister in a diocese that will never, ever enrich him. There is nothing there to profit — it’s all water from a rock.

                      And still he comes. And I honor him for that vow of poverty, which every ACROD priest and hierarch ends up making, whether he wants to or not.

                      I beg your pardon for my sarcasm in my earlier post. That sort of tone comes too quickly out of my passion, and I am sorry for it.

                      But the only omogenia that I care about is Apostolic Theoria, and the Holy Tradition that espouses it. And, in my case, the Carpatho-American culture that makes it alive to me and my family and friends.

                      Let it alone, Andrew. There be true monsters in the deep: and my Greek/adopted-Carpathian bishop-elect is not one of them.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Very eloquent, Fr. Although like Andrew I take a “wait-and-see” approach (hopefully being proved wrong), I think you hit the nail right on the head: “There be true monsters in the deep.” All Orthodox are navigating into the deep now and I’m glad to see that you are one priest who understands that. It’s a pity that our Revered Protosbyters do not.

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                    • Father, its classless and immature to bring my family situation into this argument especially when you refer to a parent who is deceased. No doubt I have strong and well informed opinions that I feel very comfortable defending. You on the other hand ….well lets just say my clergy father would have serious frowned against bring family issues into an argument on Church adminstration. So if you want to talk about church adminstration issues show a little maturity and leave my family out of it.

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      My apologies, Andrew. You had spoken of your earlier experiences before in the context of ecclesial issues, as I have often done myself.

                      Clearly, I took too much liberty.

                      So I am sorry for both my sarcasm and my too-familiar references.

                      I will let you continue your contention about my diocese without further response, since I am not able to offer one that does not aggravate.

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                    • Thank you its best this discussion just comes to an end. In the end Father, I hope things turn out well for you.

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            • I would go further and say ACROD has had three outstanding Metropolitans. Each one has built upon the foundation laid by his predecessor. Given the Carpatho-Russian origins of many OCA parishes in the north-eastern USA, it would seem to be the most obvious port in which to seek refuge from the storm of corruption which currently assails the OCA. Yes, Virginia, sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.

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            • Patrick Henry Reardon must be writing of Ever-memorable Metropolitan Orestes Chornock.
              As for ever-memorable Metropolitan Nicholas, is there anyone posting here who was in the Diocese of the South in Florida when there was that brouhaha relative to the question about a mission there that involved some discussions between Metropolitan Nicholas and Archbishop Dmitri? I used to ask Vladyka Dmitri whenever Metropolitan Nicholas’s name came up if he had changed his opinion of that hierarch. He always told us, “No!”

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              • Bishop Tikhon, please elaborate. What exactly was the brouhaha?

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                • Oh, I’m sure that the dispute between Archbishop Dmitri and Metropolitan Nicholas can be more accurately characterized by DOS Floridians than by me. I call any dispute that ends up with one hierarch saying the other is a liar, and repeating it perennially at every opportunity merits being called a brouhaha.

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                • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                  Both parties to this contretemps are now face to face. No one can attest to their relationship now.

                  Eternity is most fearful, and potentially blessed, to the episcopacy. They have so much more of which to give account. I think the Epistle to the Hebrews might make that clear. Dante must be a frightening read, in particular.

                  It must be tough to be a bishop, what with the crushing weight of binding and loosing on earth, watching lest the little ones stumble, and worrying about the demands of apostolic succession.

                  Vladyka thought and prayed much about this: I pray that he feels today the cool waters of mercy in the bosom of Abraham.

                  I think all the better of him, and all the better of +Archbishop Dmitri. Simultaneously. Without any diminution of either.

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                  • One does not stop writing history when the principals are dead. And the testimony of witnesses cannot be ruled out if the witnesses are dead.
                    It’s not for me to hold either hierarch to account, but to testify what went on. There are a few OCA bishops today who have never heard ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri say at Synod meetings or at meals indignantly, ‘Metropolitan X isa liar, a liar!” Other bishops would smile and maybe shake their heads, as if to say, ‘There goes Dmitri again!”

                    I don’t feel I’m interrupting any heavenly processes involving either man by writing this today.

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      Your Grace, I am sure that you are aware that heavenly processes cannot be interrupted.

                      You are aware, also, that history is comprised of our words, every jot and tittle, that will be revealed in full.

                      And finally, history is a little like Holy Tradition. No one writes history on his own: it is confirmed and discerned, reflected upon in meekness and surrendered to divine wisdom. The sheer making of claims about the past does not history make. Reminiscences and memoirs and the many intricate footnotes and critiques of other people’s narratives — these, too, are only part of the data, from which history emerges.

                      Your pardon for this short excursus. I admit that I should be more direct, as you have directed others.

                      Only this, then: history is not any man’s object to make, append, amend or excise.

                      Your testimony can never be ruled out, Your Grace. You are a bishop, by God, and every single one of your words has weight in this interregnum between the now and not-yet.

                      No, there can be no interruption. Only the inexorable approach of eternity, and the terrible abyss. And on that Day, then, we will all give account, for every word.

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                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

                      Fr. Tobias, what exists of “history” except the narrative?

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      Surely, more than personal reminiscence.

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                    • Harry Coin says:

                      Fr. Hans: What measures the quality of a narrative? Narratives purport to be as true as clocks, both are things that move in one direction. Narratives have the freedom to linger in detail and accelerate in gloss at the narrator’s discretion, making them different than a daily diary of events.

                      I’ve come to value narratives where summaries of unstated detail are later seen to be as fair to the detail as a photograph seen at a distance is when later examined up close. And second I need to be confident that decisions to focus or to gloss are not a guilty child’s excuse for material omissions. Nor to arrange the focus so as to create an inference in the reader’s mind that the text seems to say, but for which the narrator seeks not to be accountable.

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            • That would be Ever-Memorable Metropolitan Orestes Chornyock, no?

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          • phil r. upp says:

            “Kelly and Rod
            i would suggest also talking with the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church http://www.acrod.org
            No major problems in DECADES!”

            Nothing you know about. There is plenty.

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            • It sparkles next to the OCA

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            • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

              Well, Mr. Upp, perhaps you know more about ACROD than Colette.

              I don’t know about you, but I think I am in a position to know more than a little. There have been problems to be sure, and they may even be called “plenty.”

              Such is to be expected in the angry world in which we live, and of its nincompoop inhabitants. “The sparks fly upward” and all that.

              But they pale by comparison to the sort of difficulties that have been discussed on this site — problems that give new meaning to the qualifier “major.”

              So under that particular qualification, I can say, confidently, that there are no “major problems” of the sort that get called “major” here.

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              • phil r. upp says:

                ACROD should be proud. They let + Bart select a Greek from N.C. to lead them. That’s the ticket, couldn’t find even ONE candidate of Carpatho background to lead them. How truly sad. Now, aren’t you glad you sold your souls to foreign bishops?

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                • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

                  couldn’t find even ONE candidate of Carpatho background to lead them. How truly sad.

                  I don’t think so. The Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese is small and relatively young. It is not particularly “sad” that they could not find a proper bishop within their own ranks at this moment. I don’t see any disgrace in that.

                  The situation puts me in mind of St. Theodore of Tarsus, the 7th Archbishop of Canterbury. At the time England had numerous monasteries full of potential bishops. But a Greek was chosen for the primatial see. Was that so bad? Theodore is generally reckoned among the greatest of the Archbishops of Canterbury.

                  We worry about ethnicity too much. I suspect this new bishop of the Carpatho-Russians will be just fine.

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                  • phil r. upp says:

                    The Carpatho’s are virtually the same people found in the “traditional” OCA. They should have joined with the OCA long ago and certainly after + Nicholas’ repose. The Carps were always small in size, but now, very small. So why didn’t they join the Metropolia years ago? The majority of the Carps were Uniates and the RC influence was very strong. The papal decree of 1929 forced celibacy on the Uniate clergy. Led by Fr. Orestes Chornock of Bridgeport, CT., they turned to Istanbul by a desire to have an ecclesiastical sanction unquestioned with agreement that the Greeks would leave them practice and continue their own ways. The Metropolia at this time was considered to be in “limbo” due to developments in Russia yet, the majority of the Metropolia were Carps. With the current development of having + Bart force a Greek bishop on these people, should be due cause for ACROD to further shrink and disappear. What a crying shame; not one candidate of Carpatho-Russian heritage to be chosen. All the more reason ACROD should revolt and come to the OCA were all their relatives are.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Got it! You have an agenda, an axe to grind and full of (well you know). Now I know what to make of your comments. Nothing! Good bye.

                      Peter

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis: It’s my opinion that phil r. upp is just “a plant” (self-appointed, maybe) for the “good ole boys” of the OCA (and possibly even one of them) who, by continuously posting here the view and “logic” of their side of the story hopes to eventually convince us of it. But I think that calling Carpatho-Rus Christins “Carps” reveals a mentality that turns people “off” rather than “on.”

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      I would think, Mr. Upp, the reverse of your conclusion is the more reasonable suggestion.

                      Your insistence on the word “force” says more about your perception than it does about fact.

                      Pity.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Interesting. See I didn’t pick up on that. Thanks for that PdnNJ. Take care buddy and have a good night.

                      Peter

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                    • Yup, you definitely are an OCA priest.

                      To be truthful, the Carpathos find the OCA funny–really–with all the OCAs supposed wisdom, intellect, autonomy, etc. the OCA cant keep one bishop from causing some scandal–plus THREE METROPOLITANS removed in 10 years–and you think the Carpathos would come to the OCA?? Im pretty sure they would all “convert” to Greek (as you suggest) before coming to the OCA.

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                • Priest Justin Frederick says:

                  “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek…” Isn’t the quality of the man’s faith and life far more important than whether he is Greek Or Rusyn? Do you mean to equate foreign bishops with the devil?

                  Phil r. upp, if you represent the spirit of an American church, you’ll not succeed in selling it, I think.

                  Better to have godly foreign bishops than ungodly ones grown at home. Better to grow to maturity under the wise tutelage of those who know better than to rush off into folly for the sake of independence like the Prodigal Son.

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                  • phil r. upp says:

                    Here’s the skinny if you haven’t figured it out yet. Met. Philip has allowed SCOBA to become a Greek controlled entity where Istanbul is using the “Episcopal Assembly” with ALL GREEKS to run and control all the Orthodox in America. It isn’t about Orthodox unity under an independent, autocephalic church, but under Istanbul. The ACROD issue is just the beginning. And if the Orthodox in North America are so stupid they can’t see this, then maybe they should be dominated by foreign bishops. The Russians are trying to do the same. Domination by foreign bishops stealing all the monies and property of American Orthodox to do as they wish. The poor Carps are the first to fall. They were ignorant to go under Istanbul in the first place. The MP wants his share. Well, the OCA isn’t going there. The rape by foreign bishops is upon us. Enjoy it.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Yup he’s an Internet troll.

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                    • The only one ignorant is you, phil. The Carpatho people have been under Istanbul for 70 years–lovin every minute of it!

                      My guess is you are some OCA priest, realizing that all the bishops on the Synod appear to be corrupt, trying to salvage some dignity by taking it out on other Orthodox jurisdictions, so as to scare some of the OCA people from not leaving in droves. I myself go to an OCA cathedral, but it is probably time for me to leave–too much scandal, too many coverups, not enough repentance.

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                  • Fr. Justin, “its about the quality of a man’s faith” except in the GOA which would never tolerate a hiearch who is not of the omogenia. They preach one thing but practice another.

                    You know this.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      The GOA, AOA, ACROD and the ROCOR now seem to be the future of Orthodoxy in America unless and until the OCA cleans up its act. and in the GOA and ACROD it IS about the quality of a man’s faith. You know nothing about the ACROD Bishop and yet you are ready to assault and insult his faith. I guess you and GOD know people’s hearts. Good to know.

                      Oh by the way “is it about the quality of a man’s faith” in the OCA? If so where is Metropolitan Jonah going? Hmmm?

                      Peter

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                • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                  Once in a while, one finds indubitable proof that in a few places, thought can proceed on an inverse correlation with reality.

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                  • OccidentalGuido says:

                    Father Jonathan,

                    Your blessing please!

                    The selection process in the ACROD did not seem all that transparent. I spent some time scrolling through the website last night and found very little. I saw a press release stating that Archimandrite Grigorios was put forth as the candidate with a note that others could be nominated as well. Nothing about the others nominated locally. Also noted was that the Holy synod added two names for consideration, presumably this is a canonical requirement (????) because the vote was unanimous.

                    Father you have an excellent reputation, and if you say that the ACROD was not forced to pick a Greek bishop, that should be good enough for all, and certainly is for me. My apologies for casting aspersions and repeating second and third hand chatter.

                    Guido

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                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says:

                      All things ecclesial should be more transparent, and there we agree.

                      Your words are like the balm of Gilead: no, nothing was forced.

                      Thank you, and pax.

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                • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                  Oh brother! Are you an Internet troll? Meaning just a rabble-rouser, or just a guy pushing an agenda? Either way it’s bad.

                  Peter

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                • Archpriest John Morris says:

                  Don’t you think that is who is Bishop of the Carpatho Russian Archdiocese is none of your business? It is a matter between them and the Ecumenical Patriarch. Others should mind their own business and take care of their own problems in their branch of the Orthodox Church. I have had Carpatho Russians in one of my parishes. They are good and pious people who take their faith seriously.

                  Fr. John W. Morris

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      • Kelly, I think it’s generally wise for OCA clergy not to comment at blogs like this, but I’m speaking of guidance to their own parishioners via statements made in parish announcements or in parish council meetings or even in a posting on their own blog as might be appropriate. At least then they would be the ones allowing and moderating comments and be able to give feedback to questions. Of course, this presupposes that they would be willing to say whatever they might want to say to their parishioners or other OCA members in front of their own Bishop(s) and/or that they would have their Bishop’s blessing to do such things.

        (Perhaps a member of the clergy reading here can comment on how clergy can discern when it is time “to obey God rather than men” in the case of an errant Bishop or Synod of Bishops?)

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        Whoever told you that if you were Chrismated you have to be remarried in the Orthodox Church was not very well informed on Orthodox theology. When you were Chrismated, whatever was lacking including a marriage outside of the Church was perfected.

        Fr. John W. Morris

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        • Not in Greece… There’s a pretty big gap between Greek and Russian/ modern Antiochian approaches to marriage and conversion. Presumably that’s one of the big issues that the Assembly of Bishops’ pastoral practice committee was created to work out.

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            Every Orthodox jurisdiction in North America allows the reception of converts through Chrismation. Even the statement of the Bishops of ROCOR on the reception of converts allows a local Bishop to receive a convert through Chrismation. No one who knows anything on the history of the reception of converts into the Orthodox Church denies that converts may be received through Chrismation.

            Fr. John W. Morris

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            • But some American Antiochian parish priests require that a married couple that converts must be crowned in the Orthodox Church, re-married, after their reception.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                If they do they are wrong. Chrismation perfects whatever is imperfect. That is the theology of the Orthodox Church.

                Fr. John W. Morris

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                • Also Anonymous says:

                  Father, I would be careful about being quite so absolute on this issue. Our (Antiochian) archdiocese now requires that all converts who are then ordained be crowned before ordination. Also, we are directed to crown any converts who ask to be crowned.

                  Overall, we seem to be moving in the direction of crowning.

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                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                    A convert may have their marriage blessed if they wish. But I was taught in seminary that it is not required for Chrismation perfects whatever is imperfect. My wife and I had our Marriagblessed in the Orthodox Church on our 5th anniversary.

                    Fr. John W. Morris

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                    • What’s taught in one seminary might not be what’s taught in a seminary a couple states (or an ocean) away. There is a great deal of variety of pastoral practices in North America that is to some degree a microcosm of the diversity of practice in the Orthodox world. For those of us who are not bishops, all we can do is accept this reality and be accepting of those who have other practices and the theological justifications for these practices, whether or not we necessarily agree. After all, it’s entirely possible that the Episcopal Assembly might some day agree upon a set of uniform practices for the reception of converts according to Greek practice, requiring crowning…

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                • Bless, Father!

                  There is a case made that chrismation does “fill in the gaps” from a baptism performed outside of the Church. This can be logical, in that chrismation and baptism are interrelated rites. It is, however, rather a stretch to think that chrismation also affects the unrelated sacrament of marriage. I never before have heard anybody claim this relationship, so would be interested in other posters’ experiences.

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            • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

              Father John Morris says, “Every Orthodox jurisdiction in North America allows the reception of converts through Chrismation. Even the statement of the Bishops of ROCOR on the reception of converts allows a local Bishop to receive a convert through Chrismation. No one who knows anything on the history of the reception of converts into the Orthodox Church denies that converts may be received through Chrismation.”

              I suspect this is true with regard to “jurisdictions.”

              It is not true with respect to parishes. Here in Chicago I can name at least one Greek parish, a parish heavily under the influence of Elder Ephrem, where no one is received by Chrismation.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                If a priest of the Greek Archdiocese is refusing to receive converts by Chrismation, he is guilty of disobeying the regulations of his Archdiocese, which clearly state that a convert baptized with water “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” is to be received by Chrismation.
                The problem is that those who argue that all converts must be received by Baptism make a very good and reasonable case, but they forget the most important thing. We do not do what seems reasonable to us, we do what the Church does and has done through the centuries. There can be no doubt that the prevailing practice and the official practice of the Greek Archdiocese is to receive baptized converts by Chrismation. That position is so strong that Metropolitan Maximos threatened to suspend any priest who Baptized someone who according to his instructions should be received by Chrismation.
                Just because someone has a long beard, long hair, wears a cassock and is a monk, does not mean that they are better informed on Orthodox theology than a priest who graduated from an Orthodox seminary.

                Archpriest John W. Morris

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris wrote:
                  “Just because someone has a long beard, long hair, wears a cassock and is a monk, does not mean that they are better informed on Orthodox theology than a priest who graduated from an Orthodox seminary.” (Anybody know why he inserted that mantra of his and many others under this topic?

                  Both sets of features are totally irrelevant as they are stated.
                  The”Straw Man” with beard, hair, wearing a cassock and monastic, may have adopted that style because of his Orthodox seminary education: there are many such. Almost every graduate of the superb Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville wears the uniform which identifies a man as unashamedly Orthodox and a cleric, while a seminary diploma or degree is no guarantee or automatic indication that the holder is “better informed” in Orthodox theology than anyone else. Please don’t ask me to name MDivs whose theological information is highly problematic. Don’t think of the seminary faculty members who prayed and crossed their fingers when this or that instance appeared to accept his certificate/degree!

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                  • phil r. upp says:

                    “superb Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville” – not quite. Maybe one step above Sunday School following archaic 18th century Russian teaching. Hardly superb.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      I take umbrage with that assessment. Although SVS is a fine school, some of its graduates in Syosset clearly don’t know canon law.

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                    • George, no need to take umbrage. It’s phil r. upp and you must recognize that SVS-backer syndrome. They think a once illustrious faculty is everything. But no school can surmount the limitations of the students who enroll in it. The Moonies, the Scientologists, the Oral Roberts grads, etc., all talk exactly like phil r. upp. Phil r. upp wouldn’t know an 18th century Russian teaching if it stared him in the face.
                      Sometimes I enjoy being taken to lunch at the Los Angeles Yale Club by mitred Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff, a graduate of Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville. I was likewise a good friend of ever-memorable Bishop Alexander Mileant, likewise a graduate of Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville. Father A. Lebedeff has an avocation as a computer programmer. Bishp Alexander worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena as an engineer, which he was, almost until the day he died, after publishing a series of educational pamphlets a little better written than the “RAinbow” books of T. Hopko, in which the latter discusses Orthodox teaching “objectively”.
                      Archbishop Dmitri, like me, spent one year at SVS. Can SVS take any credit for his writings? I don’t think so. Father V. Berzonsky writes, though, too, doesn’t he. Everything he writes is consistent with what knowledge was dispensed at SVS, but it’s couched in the style and at the level of a Time magazine “stringer,” in other words, at 8th grade reading level. Many Sunday Schools in America produce material of as high an intellectual or stylistic content as Father’s :Orthodox Church” articles.
                      Does phil r. upp imagine that Fr john. Erickson is a scholar of loftier repute than Fr. Pomazansky? Has Fr. Erickson produced anything on the level of “Dogmatic Theology” by Father Pomazansky? I admit, no one on the Jordanville seminary staff has been able to regurgitate Juan Mateos or “Archimandrite’ Robert Taft as SVS faculty and students can. I feel that it is not SVS, but Mateos, Taft, Wybrew, etc., etc., that deserve the encomia many deliver on behalf of SVS. These encomia were more well-deserved in the pre-Hopko, pre-Lazor era. Neither one of them was on the faculty the full academic year I matriculated there. That era is long gone. It takes mirrors of the past to make any “case’ that SVS is what it was.
                      Jordanville graduates (if this is important to anyone) also know how to serve the Church’s services, which, to Liturgical Theologians should be very basic. Now, I’ll get ready for “sour grapes”-like comments relative to serving…

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                    • How do you know?

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                • So what about those priests who never aattended an Orthodox Seminary…how many of the EOC converts were really educated?..

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                  • Recommendation: As an indication of what the “level of education” of EOC converts might be, see: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/livingfaith#
                    I don’t know what Fr. Stephens’ formal Orthodox education might be, but his homilies are some of the best I’ve ever heard (and I’m an 80 yr. old “cradle” Orthodox), especially lately. I’ve recorded them on my IPod and revisit them frequently. I think he indicated in one of them that he is what I would call a “son of the Appalachians.” I hope that I’m not too inaccurate is saying that, and that he wouldn’t mind me wording it that way. Anyway, highly recommended.

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                • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

                  Father John Morris says, “There can be no doubt that the prevailing practice and the official practice of the Greek Archdiocese is to receive baptized converts by Chrismation. That position is so strong that Metropolitan Maximos threatened to suspend any priest who Baptized someone who according to his instructions should be received by Chrismation.”

                  Quite true.

                  There was a reason Metropolitan Maximos made that threat. He was dealing with a problem.

                  In spite of the clarity of its position, the Greek Archdiocese still has that problem . And that problem has a personal name.

                  I say no more. I have already apologized enough for one day.

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                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                    I know the name. Everybody knows the name. Now you get to see the growing split in the GOA. I do pray for our Bishops, and my Bishop, Bishop Demetrios of Mokkisos. How he does his job is truly beyond me. I wish him many years as he has and continues to serve us well here in Chicago, but how he will deal with “NAME” is beyond me.

                    Modernists and fundamentalists, but very few Orthodox Christians. How sad.

                    Peter

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      And I still enjoy going to “NAME” ‘s monastery in Wisconsin, but some very strange things are coming out from there that we as Orthodox Christians need to address while not turning anti-monastic. I still firmly believe that America needs good and proper Orthodox Monasteries, but even monasteries can go bad if not properly supervised by a Bishop.

                      Peter

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                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                      When I was in a mission in Sugerland near Houston every time the Orthodox clergy got together the conversation eventually turned to the problems caused by a certain monastery not too far away. The monks would visit our people without our knowledge, especially to solicit donations. They would baptize children from our parishes without informing us or asking for our blessing as their spiritual father. They would hear the confessions of our people and ask extremely personal questions about intimate relations between a husband and wife. Thy taught that using birth control is a sin. From other priests I have heard all sorts of stories about the problems caused by the monks and nuns. They would make teen age boys afraid to look at girls. In one place a nun told a woman that she should have a sheet between her and her husband during sex. Then there is the whole problem caused by monks and nuns who tell converts that they are not really Orthodox if they were received by Chrismation. Some of them tell converts to undergo a “corrective baptism” at the monastery and not to tell their priest about it. The practice of “corrective baptism” is heretical and is a denial of the grace received by Chrismation. I did not go to St. Vladimir’s, I went to Holy Cross, but I once gave Fr. Alexander Schmemann a ride to a state park in Kentucky to conduct a retreat. I got to spend several hours with him alone. During the ride, I asked him about “corrective baptism.” He told me that “corrective baptism” is” blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, a sin that will not be forgiven even at the last judgment.”
                      The major problem with some monks and nuns is that they do not have proper respect for the local Orthodox clergy. They act as if we do not exist. Some of them actually tell people not to listen to their priest because he is a modernist.
                      Then there is the whole issue of toll houses, which sounds too much like Purgatory for me. At best it is a theologoumenon that is a metaphor for the particular judgment not an actual doctrine of the Church. If someone is told that they cannot get through the toll houses without the prayers of a monk or nun, it is an heresy.
                      The problem is that some monastics are not under proper supervision by their bishop and do not recognize that the pastor of a parish is the spiritual father of his flock and that they have no business interfering in the pastoral relationship. They need to recognize that we are not competition, but that we are part of the same team and learn to work with us not against us.

                      Archpriest John Morris

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Fr John:

                      Alot of the problem comes into play when we have many people that use the monastery as their parish church. Also, many local priest have lost much of their Orthopraxis. A big controversy that erupted here in Chicao was that a certain local GOA church the Parish priest actively and knowingly communed a practicing homosexual for years. Well, when that priest retired and the new priest came in and prior to holy communion discover that this guy was an unrepentant practicing homosexual he very publicly denied him communion on Sunday.

                      This scandalized that community to discover that this man was communed for years without any correction. So went the priest did his job but this revealed the rot growing in our local GOA church. Many just left that church and ran to the monastery and never went back. So those people lost their faith in their parish clergy and hooked on to an “Elder.”

                      It’s a very complex picture, with fault lying on both sides. The bishops just need to step up and exercise alot more supervision over monasteries AND parishes to enforce a true and authentic Orthopraxis and Orthodoxy.

                      Peter

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                    • http://www.monomakhos.com/removing-metropolitan-jonah-hurt-the-american-orthodox-church/#comment-33287

                      Fr. John Morris

                      Your blessing-

                      That’s just messed up and distressing! No wonder so many people are suspicious of monastics and monastic communities.

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              • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                Would that be St. John’s in Des Plaines, IL?

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              • Converts from Roman Catholicism, IF already anointed (as, for example, Uniates),were NOT to be chrismated.

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  That is indeed the Russian practice, however, what does the OCA do with a Latin Rite Roman Catholic who has been confirmed and anointed? At least in Russia a Latin Rite Roman Catholic has historically been received through a Profession of Faith. In 1484 the Council of Constantinople that rejected the Council of Florence ruled that Roman Catholics would be received by Chrismation. It is interesting that the prayer mandated by the council was not the prayer used when Chrismation follows Baptism, but a prayer reconciling them to the Orthodox Church the way that someone who had been Orthodox was received back into the Church.

                  Fr. John W. Morris

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                  • In some OCA parishes, I have seen Roman Catholics received by a less elaborate Chrismation than that reserved for others– only one cross on the forehead, not the larger assortment on the hands, feet, ears, chin, etc. It seems a kind of “middle” position.

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            • Samn! was referring to the need to be crowned in the Church if one was married outside of the Church, regardless of whether one was received into the Church by baptism or chrismation. Greek practice is to crown an already married, convert couple after their reception into the Orthodox Church. Russian practice and theology on this matter is as you state regarding whether a couple should be crowned following their conversion.

              Personally, I see post-chrismation marriage as offering an extra blessing, a sacramental blessing on top of the initiation Mysteries of the Church (baptism, chrismation, communion). Marriage is normally done after one’s inititation anyway so this practice is quite different than is the practice of some traditionalists to baptize converts who have already been chrismated into the Church and communed as this is an attempt to turn back the clock on an economia and ‘filling what is lacking’ that was already received in chrismation and communion. Abp Peter of NY actually said the same is true, canonically, or communing: it fills all, it is a sign one has been accepted into the Church fully already, regardless of whether one has been baptized or chrismated (which are the normal, regular ways one should be received). Post-chrismation, post-communion crowning would not seem to upend that order terribly, though it is the communion argument going back to the early practice of the Church prior to an established form of marriage that is the basis of not requiring post-reception crowning. That is, the Church has accepted the person/couple as they are, as ‘worthy’ of communion, so no additional action/Mystery is required. However, that it is not required is not necessarily the same as it not being beneficial. If we bless and bless and bless again normally, why not offer yet more blessing, a sacramental blessing on a convert couple thus identifying them and their already accepted marriage as something more, as a sacrament, as a Mystery?

              But, the reality is that Orthodox practice and theology on this matter is divided between Russians and Greeks – as it is historically (and more confusedly today) regarding the proper manner of receiving converts. So, as a simple layman, I accept both practices as valid (even if I have my own preference and opinion as to which is correct or more correct).

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        • phil r. upp says:

          Fr. John,

          Not quite. A marriage outside the Orthodox Church is just that. When one comes to the Orthodox Church and is Chrismated, the fullness of the Holy Spirit is conferred upon the person. This has nothing to do with their marriage. There is a civil marriage and then there is a church marriage. Marriage outside the Orthodox Church falls within the category of a civil marriage where the “state” fully recognizes the union. The Orthodox Church can’t ignore this union nor the children from this union. However, the Church, needs to fully recognize this union. This is why an abbreviated Wedding Service with crowning may be done which is “registered” in the church records as an Orthodox marriage. Many priests may refer to this as having the wedding “blessed” in the Church, but this isn’t exactly correct. Fr. John, check with Bishop Basil regarding this issue.

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            There is no requirement for a married couple to have their marriage blessed when they convert. The Chrismation perfects whatever is lacking, including a marriage. A couple can have their marriage blessed as my wife and I did on the 5th anniversary of our marriage long after our Chrismation. However, according to the principles of Orthodox canon law a Bishop may instruct his clergy that they must bless the marriages of all converts. However, it is not a requirement that converts have their marriage blessed if they are received by Chrismation.

            Fr. John W. Morris

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            • phil r. upp says:

              Fr. John,

              You clearly do not understand Orthodox Sacramental Theology. Chrismation does fulfill that which is lacking regarding Baptism, but not regarding everything. With your understanding, then any cleric coming to the Orthodox Church from any Protestant church could be Chrismated and then, according to you, their ordination would have to be recognized and accepted; not true. Again, please check your understanding of this issue with Bishop Basil and read, “Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective” by the late Protopresbyter John Meyendorff.

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              • phil r. upp says:
                September 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

                Chrismation does fulfill that which is lacking regarding Baptism,

                Something “lacking” regarding Baptism”?
                Perhaps you should explain yourself on that.

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              • Archpriest John Morris says:

                I can find no rule in our Antiochian Priest’s Guide requiring that convert couples undergo an Othodox marriage service. I also spoke with the local OCA Priest who told me that the OCA does not require that converts have their marriages blessed. I did not have to when I converted. I have read the guidelines of every jurisdiction that I could find concerning the reception of converts and done a great deal of study on matter of the reception of converts and have found nothing indicating that they must also have their marriage blessed. . I was on the committee that wrote the guidelines for the reception of converts for the Antiochian Archdiocese and have never seen any credible or authoritative work on the subject that requires married converts to have their marriage blessed in the Orthodox Church.
                Usually Orthodox theologians do not recognize Mysteries administered outside of the Orthodox Church as equal to Mysteries administered in the Orthodox Church. Therefore, they are lacking fullness.
                The most accepted view justifying the reception of a convert through Chrismation is that the reception of a convert through Chrismation is an act of economy that provides whatever is lacking in a Baptism received outside of the Church. If you study the canons you will find that the Church received most heretics into the Church through Chrismation or in the case of Monophysites and Nestorians a Profession of the Orthodox Faith. The church only required Baptism in a very few cases of people coming from sects that rejected the doctrine of the Trinity such as the Montanists. There were even exceptions to that standard. The canons allow the reception of Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ through Chrismation.
                There are, of course, others such as Met. Kallistos Ware who argue that the historical practice of the Church to receive converts through Chrismation means that the Church recognizes as valid the Baptism performed outside of the Church because they argue that even economy cannot make something valid that is invalid. That was also the conclusion of the North American Orthodox Roman Catholic dialogue.

                Fr. John W. Morris

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris-

          Father, Bless.

          Years ago, concerning the issue of receiving converts through chrismation I also recall reading that if a person was baptized in water in the name of the Holy Trinity that the person could be received through chrismation alone. The Church of Greece even today (I am not referring to the GOA two entirely separate ecclesiastical entities as I am sure you know btw) it is common practice to receive people who ask for baptism – even though they have received baptism through another Christian denomination – through the sacrament of baptism. My understanding ( I have not seen or read any articles concerning this matter this is only my opinion through informal conversations with people who have converted) the individual often chooses to ask to be received through baptism because they realize that the understanding and expression of Who and What the Holy Trinity is and how it was and is currently expressed in the faith that they are converting from is utterly false, therefore, there was no saving grace in the “sacrament” they received and nothing to complete in reality. Therefore, the common practice in Greece to also crown marriages as well which I have also witnessed in my travels around Greece throughout my many years of residence.

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            There is no uniform practice in the Church regarding the reception of converts. Canon 95 of the Council In Trullo allows for converts to be received by one of three ways, Profession of Faith, Chrismation or Baptism.
            The practice of the Church allows for two ways to apply canon low. One is strictness. The other is economy. The traditional practice of the Church allows each Bishop, following the policies established by the Holy Synod under which he serves to use strictness when receiving converts. According to strictness all must be baptized. However, the Holy Synod may also decide to apply the principle of economy which means that a person baptized with water “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” is received through Chrismation. The Chrismation makes up for whatever was lacking in the baptism outside of the Church. The same principle would apply to married converts. A Bishop may apply strictness and require the marriage to be blessed or economy and recognize that whatever was lacking in the marriage is perfected through the reception of the Holy Spirit through Chrismation.
            As far as I know no Orthodox authority receives Protestants through Confession of Faith. However, in the past it has been the Russian custom to receive Catholics through Confession of Faith.
            There are some ways that these two approaches create problems. For example, our Bishop will not ordain a divorced and remarried man, even if the divorce and remarriage took place before he converted to Orthodoxy. Other bishops will ignore the divorce and remarriage before conversion and will ordain a man our Bishops will not ordain.

            Fr. John W. Morris

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      • fr. ambrose says:

        Asking the faithful not to read Monomakhos or other blogs only feeds the toxic culture of secrecy in the OCA or any other jurisdiction and defeats the need for transparency. (We have all seen what the ongoing culture of secrecy in the Church of Rome has done to the confidence of the average Catholic in the pew.) If we lived a hundred years ago we probably would know little or nothing about any of these goings-on, church politics not being as widely known as they can be today because of social networking, etc. But the fact is that we DO have this ability today to know, almost instantly, what is going on in the Church (or anywhere else), and that has to be taken into consideration by church authorities, including parish priests. Discouraging the faithful from reading about these things actually creates a temptation to do so! –Fr. Ambrose

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        • clueless catholic says:

          “…ongoing culture of secrecy in the Church of Rome….”

          Yeah, right. Ongoing culture of secrecy. That’s why, when someone in our diocesan chancery spotted an Internet post by a guy claiming to have been abused by one of our elderly retired diocesan priests, he immediately reported it to the diocese, and the diocese immediately reported it to the police, whereupon the priest was arrested.

          IOW: The diocese was the first to spot the allegation, and the diocese immediately reported it to the authorities. The very next week there was an article about it in the diocesan newspaper. It was announced at Sunday Masses, etc. etc. etc. And every time there was a new development in the case, it was reported in the diocesan newspaper.

          When was the last time that happened in the OCA?

          Please, Father. C’mon. When will you people stop thinking this is 2002? The Catholic Church has come a long, lonnnnng way in the area of transparency and aggressive prosecution of clerical abuse. Instead of continuing to calumniate us, you might try following our example.

          And BTW, as a member of a thriving parish in a growing diocese, I don’t feel particularly dispirited or demoralized.

          Thank you!

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        • I don’t understand how such a prohibition works. The faithful sheep must be warned about participating or even reading ONLY a blog that discusses problems in the Orthodox Church(es), without warning them of hundreds of web sites, not to mention books and magazines, that have not been examined by anyone, that may advertise abortions, easy marriages for gays, and so on?
          It sounds to me, rather, like a command like this” Don’t go near any site that discusses me or my actions unless I’ve approved it.” Or?
          Frankly, Monomakhos presents no more dangers to the souls of the faithful sheep than that STINKBOMB of a Statement attributed to the Holy Synod. ( I repeat that, knowing that no matter how many people piously obey their shepherd’s command relative to this site, at least IT will get out!)

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          • Rev Fr Vasile Susan says:

            Dear Vladyka Tikhon,

            Master Bless!

            Vladyka … sorry to disturb Your Grace with the upcoming posting, but please give fatherly consideration and express your opinion freely.

            Thank you in advance,Vladyka!

            Dear Vladyka,

            1 – Are the following charges (posted below) … against the ROEA Archbishop (dated June 23, 2005) familiar to you, as one of the OCA Synod members who received it in June 2005?

            2 – Did the following charges warned you and the OCA Synod of the serious consequences involving a guilty homosexual / sodomite OCA / ROEA priest and the ROEA Archbishop, (according to the documents of the ROEA Spiritual Consistory dated June 28, 2000, where the ROEA notorious homosexual admited his homosexuality according to the Interview given to the ROEA Spiritual Consistory members in Canton, OH, in September 1999) …?

            3 – How dangerous is the OCA / ROEA homosexual priest to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church community, where he is serving as Sunday School teacher and choir Director, without being reported by the OCA / ROEA bishops to the local police and law inforcement agency about his behavior and how liable would be the OCA and ROEA in a long run?

            4 – Why the OCA and Ukrainian hierarchs are turning a blind eye to the issue brought to their attention many years ago (refusing to defrock / depose the OCA / ROEA notorious homosexual priest), and how can the Ukrainian hierarchs protect from any liability?

            5 – Can you (Vladyka) deny the fact that you have been informed (and received) about those charges mentioned herewith (against the ROEA Archbishop), based on the http://www.pokrov.com postings and the most recent materials you have received from Rev Fr Adrian Fetea and dated as June 1, 2012 and August 9, 2012?

            6 – Is it anything wrong to associate the ROEA Archbishop and the OCA Synod, to the presentations of our Lord Jesus Christ from the Gospel of St Matthew Chapter 23, and to see the Lord Jesus Christ comparison as very feasible to the current OCA crisis key players, as the OCA Chancellor Rev Fr J. J. did comment on August 14, 2012 in his … Diary …?

            7 – How is it possible for a priest “who is not under any canonical sanction” (… Rev Fr Vasile Susan … as per letter and words of the ROEA Archbisop writen on February 13, 2005 … to His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae Condrea) … to be deprived from ministry as a parish priest since March 1, 2004, … and in the mean time to have an OCA / ROEA notorious homosexual priest … not deposed … but as a fugitive from the OCA Clergy Listing / OCA Directory, (at the directives of his former boss and current OCA Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See … ROEA Archbishop N.W.P) … partaking Holy Communion as a priest in the Holy Altar of the Ukrainian Church … under the very eyes of God and Ukrainian Orthodox faithful?

            8 – If the Monomakhos presents no more danger to the souls of the faithful than that STINKBOMB of a Statement attributed to the OCA Synod, … then … is the OCA / ROEA notorious homosexual priest presenting any danger to the body and soul of the faithful people of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church community where he is active as Sunday School teacher and Choir Director …?

            9 – Is that true that the OCA Synod and the ROEA Archbisop is going to revenge agaist Rev Fr Vasile Susan for speaking up truthfully about the issue at stake.

            10 – Why the SMPAC Report (9 pages) … presented by the former OCA Chancellor (V Rev Fr Alexander Garklavs and SMPAC members) did not have my complaint, name, case, OCA / ROEA notorious homosexual priest pointed out to the OCA Synof of Bishops while getting to discuss the issues in the beginning of May 2011 in Chicago, IL?

            11 – Is it possible that the SMPAC Report (the SMPAC offered more than 650 pages of supporting evidence, including more than a hundred and forty footnotes, and a 51 page timeline outlining who actually said and did what, when, and to whom, backed up by emails, letters, and other documents … as per the … http://www.ocanews.org/news/JonahsSantaFeSpeech5.20.11.html) … to have my name, case, etc, including the name of the OCA / ROEA notorious homosexual priest in it …?

            Let’s take a look:

            The charges against His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel Popp … (as sent to the OCA Synod of Bishops by Rev Fr Vasile Susan (as complainant) on June 23, 2005) … still in the Syosset’s file … but not resolved …

            His Eminence during the last 15 years has consistently and deliberately violated the following provisions … listed below under letters … a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h:

            a – the Holy Scripture provisions,

            Created to know God’s divinity and power through creation, human beings have refused to acknowledge God, to honor and thank Him, and to obey his divine teachings. Through their rebellion “they became futile in their thinking and their senseless hearts were darkened” (Romans 1: 21). Therefore, as the apostle Paul continues to teach, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1: 26 – 27).

            Homosexual acts, like adulterous and incestuous behavior, are condemned in the Law of Moses. Those who do these things, both men and women, are, according to God’s law of the old covenant, to be put to death (Leviticus 18 :6 – 23; 20: 10 – 21).

            According to the apostle Paul, those engaging in homosexual acts, with fornicators, adulterers, idolaters, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers and robbers, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Christians come from all these categories of evil doers who have, voluntarily and involuntarily, been caught up in the sin of the world. They are those who through their personal repentance and faith in Christ, their Baptism and Chrismation, and their participation in Holy Communion, have been “washed…sanctified…and made righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6: 9 – 11;

            …………………………………..

            b – The Canons of the Holy Orthodox Church provisions,

            Adultery is sanction by the following Canons: canon 5, 26 and canon 51 of the Holy Apostles; canon 14 of the 4th Ecumenical Council; canons 3, 6, 13, 21, 30 of the Quinisext Council; canon 20 of Ancyra; 1st canon, of the 2nd Local Council of Neo Caesarea; canon 16 of Carthage; canons 32 and 69 of St Basil the Great; canon 4 of St Gregory of Nyssa; canon 3 & 9 of St Theophilus of Alexandria; canon 18 of St John of Constantinople; canon 36 of St Nichephor the Confessor; etc…

            Sodomy is sanctioned by the following Canons: canon 7 & 62 of St Basil the Great; canon 29 of St John of Constantinople; and all canons from Adultery, and many more canons’ provisions.

            ………………………………….

            c – the basic dogma of the Orthodox Church provisions, by allowing Rev Fr Xxxxxxy Xxxxxr enter into illicit and deceptive relationships with so many men over a period of time longer than 12 years, probably up to nowadays. He violated his priesthood and marriage commitments by committing not only adultery, but sodomy, not demonstrating any remorse or repentance for any of his actions towards his presbytera, his family, and Your Eminence as his hierarch.

            ………………………………….

            d – the ROEA Constitution and By – Laws provisions, ART. XV

            ………………………………….

            e – the OCA Statute provisions,

            ART. I – The OCA’s doctrine, discipline, and worship are those of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as taught by the Holy Scriptures, Holy Tradition, the Ecumenical and Provincial Councils, and the Holy Fathers. The Orthodox Church in America is referred to in this Statute as “the Church.”
            ART VI – The Diocese
            Section 4 The Diocesan Bishop

            a) Shall expound Orthodox Faith and morals and guide his flock in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and will issue pastoral letters to the clergy and laity;

            ART X – The Parish
            Section 5 Parishioners

            a) No one can be a member of the parish if he openly betrays the teaching of the Orthodox Church, or if he leads a life or acts in a manner condemned by the Holy Canons as incompatible with the name of Orthodox Christian.

            …………………………………….

            f) – the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops 1994 Guidelines for responding to sexual misconduct allegations, provisions, enclosed herewith (see the TEXT below).

            The HOLY SYNOD of the ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA,

            Holy Synod reaffirms 1994 Guidelines for responding to sexual misconduct allegations

            SYOSSET, NY During their spring session April 1 – 4, 2003, members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America reaffirmed guidelines for initial response to allegations or charges of sexual misconduct they initially had issued in 1994.

            “In light of current media reports involving sexual abuse, the hierarchs felt the need and duty to reaffirm their position, as initially stated in 1994,” according to the Very Rev. John Matusiak, OCA Communications Director. “The hierarchs also stated that they will not tolerate ‘the horrible sin of sexual abuse at any age by any person.”

            The 1994 guidelines offer detailed procedures for making an initial response to allegations and charges of sexual misconduct. The full text of the 1994 guidelines appears below.

            Take seriously all allegations or charges of sexual misconduct. The Office of the Metropolitan will designate one or more persons as trained investigators to deal with cases of alleged sexual misconduct, and the services of Legal Counsel will be made available as circumstances may require.

            The recipient of a complaint lodged against a clergyman, Church worker, or Church member must immediately notify the diocesan bishop. The diocesan bishop will immediately inform the Office of the Metropolitan that such an allegation or charge has been made. It is important that the Church administration be involved in this process since in the case of litigation the Church as a whole, rather than any specific person, parish, or diocese, is exposed to liability.

            At this point, if deemed necessary the Metropolitan will appoint a trained investigator to the case. The investigator will be skilled in issues surrounding sexual misconduct, and particularly sexual addiction. The investigator’s duties will be to:

            a.] conduct a thorough investigation of the case resulting in a comprehensive written report addressed to the Metropolitan and the diocesan bishop; and

            b.] serve as advisor to the Metropolitan and the diocesan bishop in regard to issues surrounding the matter.

            The investigator will obtain a written, signed and dated report as soon as possible from the allegations or charges. This should include permission to approach the accused, if the accused is not yet aware of the allegations or charges being made.

            After reviewing the written allegations with legal counsel, the Office of the Metropolitan and the diocesan bishop shall determine whether to proceed with steps 6, 7, 8, and 9, and whether the relevant insurance carrier should be notified. If the complaint involves specifically criminal activities, then the police must be notified. Particularly strict regulations exist concerning the reporting of incidents involving children and other vulnerable people.

            Reducing the risk of child sexual abuse: Guidelines for Parishes

            If so instructed, the investigator will then approach the accused person, and make that person which has been made. The diocesan bishop will relieve the accused person of their duties, without suspending pay, pending investigation of the matter. (This is a particularly controversial step, however it is better to err on the side of discretion.) At this time, the diocesan bishop will recommend that the accused seek private legal counsel (i.e., counsel not associated with the parish, diocese, or territorial church). He will also make pastoral resources available to the accused and his/her family through people not involved in the investigation.

            The diocesan bishop will then contact the alleged victim[s] and their family [ies]. He will make pastoral resources available to them through people not involved in the investigation. This step is a pastoral, rather than investigative, initiative.

            If an arrest or formal charge has been made, the diocesan bishop will, in consultation with the Office of the Metropolitan, the investigator, and legal counsel, promptly prepare and have read to the parish family a written statement informing them that this arrest or charge has occurred and that the person charged has been relieved of their duties until the investigation has been completed. Keep a copy of this written statement. Say no more about the alleged incident at that time. The parish will need to be led through a process of healing, but only once the outcome of the investigation is known.

            Once the above steps have been completed the investigator will proceed with his/her formal investigation into the matter in the manner in which he/she has been trained. The investigator’s report will be reviewed by the Office of the Metropolitan, the diocesan bishop, and legal counsel to determine what additional action (if any) should be taken.

            Note: Do not be tempted to do more than what is specified above, such as take sides or extend financial assistance to one or another of the parties, even if at the time pastoral concerns seem to indicate otherwise. The above guidelines are designed to keep the Church involved, but not entangled or enmeshed, in situations involving sexual misconduct. Such an approach will allow for a fair investigation, meet the immediate pastoral needs of those involved, and prepare the ground for long term healing and eventual closure.

            The above quotations are from AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT OF THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA APPROVED FOR DISTRIBUTION, MARCH 31, 1994

            ………………………………..

            g – the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops statement on sexual abuse provisions, issued … during its Spring session of April 1- 4, 2003, … in the OCA newspaper April issue, 2003 … enclosed herewith (see the TEXT below).

            April 4, 2003
            OCA Chancery Syosset, New York

            In recent weeks the news media have daily reported the sexual abuse of children, especially misconduct by certain clergy and others in positions of authority and trust. The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America once again affirms the policy of the Orthodox Church in America relating to the appropriate response to allegations of sexual misconduct as outlined in the Guidelines for Initial Response to Allegations or Charges of Sexual Misconduct promulgated by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on March 28, 1994. We lament the horrible sin of sexual abuse at any age by any person and will not tolerate it.

            In addition to restating and reaffirming these guidelines, we also acknowledge that the Orthodox Church in America, its dioceses, institutions, and parishes are directed to respond promptly and in accordance with these Guidelines to any allegations of sexual abuse when a reasonable credibility of the allegations may be assumed. Further, the Orthodox Church in America will comply with the civil laws of the jurisdiction in which any allegation is made in regard to reporting any incident and cooperate in any subsequent investigation. The Orthodox Church in America, as the Holy Church of Christ, will also reach out to the victims and their families to provide for their spiritual well being and healing, according to these guidelines and pastoral concern.

            …………………………………….

            h – the Policies, Standards, and Procedures of the Orthodox Church in America on Sexual Misconduct provisions,

            3.01. Page 8; 3.02. Page 8; 3.03. Page 9; 3.04. Page 9;

            4.02. (a) & (b) Page 10;

            5.01. Page 10; 5.02. Page 10; 5.03. Page 10; 5.04. Page 11; 5.05. Page 11; 5.06. Page 11;

            7.01. (a) & (b) Page 12; 7.03. (a) & (b) Page 13;

            8.01. (a), (b) & © Page 15; 8.03. (a), (b) & (c) Page 15, 16; 8.05. (b), (c), (d), (e) Page 17;

            8.06. Page 18;

            9.01. (a) Page 18; 9.02. (a), (c) Page 19; 9.03. (a) Page 20; 9.04. (a) Page 21; 9.05. (a), (b) Page 21;

            9.06. (a) Page 22;

            10.01. (a) 2 – 9 Page 23, 24; 10.01. (b) Page 24; 10.02. (a) 1 – 4 Page 24; 10.03. (a) 1 – 3, 5 – 6 Page 25;

            10.03. (b) Page 26; 10.06. (a), (b) and (c) 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Page 26, 27;

            These charges, which can be fully substantiated, are sufficient in scope and magnitude to warrant the dismissal of Archbishop Nathaniel as head of the ROEA. It is in the interest of the Orthodox Church as a whole, and in the interest of the OCA and in the interest of the ROEA that these allegations of abuse by a hierarch are addressed in a timely and transparent manner.

            ………………………….
            Note at the present time:

            The charges against His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel Popp … as sent to the OCA Synod of Bishops by Rev Fr Vasile Susan (complainant) June 23, 2005, are printed above. The ROEA homosexual priest disappeared from the OCA clergy list, due to the ROEA Archbishop’s maneuvers. The ROEA Archbishop (OCA Locum Tenens of Metropolitan See) … believes … he is intelligent playing such a game. He is sneaky. His months in office are numbered.

            But, please pay attention to the materials sent out / posted by the Rev Fr Adrian Fetea on the Internet and dated June 1, 2012, and August 9, 2012, and follow the documentation presented at that time.

            Just wait for the upcoming materials that will be posted on the Internet in the near future on http://www.pokrov.org, by the complainant mentioned above. That materials will bring a lot of waives into the OCA’s field.
            ………………………………………….
            Respectfully sent for posting by Rev Fr Vasile Susan.

            September 04, 2012.

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            • I’ve read all that. I’ve seen it all in the past. The consensus of the Holy Synod was that Archbishop Nathaniel should address problems in his diocese.. No member of the Holy Synod interfered in Archbishop Nathaniel’s diocese. If the Metropolitan had told us, or if the consensus of the other bishops indicated, that the Affair of the Presbyter Vasile Susan should be addressed by the Holy Synod, we would have done so. I don’t recall that Archbishop Nathaniel ever asked us to decide on or assist in ANYTHING going on within his diocese, the Romanian Episcopate. Archbishop Job, Bishop Seraphim, Archbishop Kiril, Archbishop Dmitri, and the others listened to Archbishop Nathaniel’s report and accepted it.
              The materials I received from Father Adrian Felea are alarming. He needs some good professional legal help to organize and make CONCISE the exact charge and specification of wrong-doing he is making against Archbishop Nathaniel. Your materials need a great deal of editing and condensing before any busy expert can be expected to react to them dear Father.

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            • In July of this year I commented:

              Am I shocked that there is some degree of ‘institutional rot’? Not at all. I’ve suspected as much for years before I ever found people discussing it openly on the internet. I’ve seen too many situations where a bishop clearly ‘looked the other way,’ allowing clergy to continue openly in behavior that begs for an explanation other than that someone is compromised.

              I do not claim to have any evidence. However, first-hand experience with the outrageous behavior of a priest named in Fr. Susan’s post above was one of the instances I had in mind. Having listened to many a completely incoherent homily from this priest (who is now quite rightfully defrocked, as I understand it), it is not surprising to me that he’s having difficulty stating his charges with clarity. Nor is it surprising that, given his own record, few would take his charges seriously. Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder how it is that this twice divorced and thrice married priest – to name but the least egregious of his escapades – was allowed to continue as long as he did.

              “Institutional rot” is no myth.

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            • Ronda Wintheiser says:

              Oh my goodness. Here you are, Fr. Vasile! I’ve been looking for you! :)

              I haven’t been able to spend much time reading the blog lately, so I wasn’t aware that you had joined the conversation.

              Nevertheless, your case has been on my mind and heart and I wondered what happened to you. I was able to find your case on POKROV, and I also found some documentation of the civil suit you apparently have filed against… I don’t remember — the OCA? The Archbishop himself?

              Anyway, because it is so VEXING to see the Synod come down on Metropolitan JONAH and now Bishop MATTHIAS knowing that your case was NOT addressed, I went to the OCA website yesterday and wrote a note. Here is what I wrote:

              Father, bless.

              What has happened to Fr. Vasile Susan?

              Has he been given a new assignment?

              Also, is there a suit against Archbishop NATHANIEL from Fr. Vasile?

              Thank you.

              In XC,

              Ronda Wintheiser

              Fr. John Matusiak responded:

              Dear Rhonda,

              Inasmuch as Father Susan is in the Romanian Episcopate, I would recommend that you contact that diocese for the most recent information. You will find contact info at http://www.roea.org/contact.html.

              In Christ,
              Father John Matusiak, OCA Q&As

              Just a few minutes ago, I wrote back to him:

              Fr. John, I am confused.

              Fr. Vasile is not listed on the Romanian website.

              He is, however, listed on the OCA website as “attached” at St. Sergius of Radonezh Chapel in Oyster Bay Cove, New York; “Most Blessed JONAH” listed as his bishop; the “V. Rev. John A Jillions” as the rector. This is an OCA parish, isn’t it?

              I apologise for my ignorance, but I do not understand the term “attached”; however, inasmuch as it appears that he is indeed somehow affiliated with the OCA, I can only repeat my questions.

              What happened to him? I understand that he was removed from his parish some years ago by Archbishop NATHANIEL, and that he brought a case to the Synod against the Archbishop that had something to do with the alleged sexual misconduct of one of his priests.

              Was he ever reassigned to a parish by the Synod?

              Did the Synod ever formally respond to and investigate the case that he brought against the Archbishop relative to his refusal to investigate a formal complaint that was filed against a priest whose presbytera had personally reported her husband to the Archbishop as an active homosexual?

              Thank you.

              Ronda Wintheiser

              I have a feeling I won’t get any satisfaction from him.

              Now I’ll go read what you have written and maybe I will find my answer.

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    • Thank you Father James for your accurate assessment of Metropolitan Jonah’s good points. Thank you for not making things up, “gilding the lily” as it were with soccer-mom like protestations of perfection, and thus diminishing him as a human being!
      You use your real name. Perhaps the OCA clergy to whose justifiable fear of their bishops you referred as motivation for not posting do not realize that they don’t have to be held accountable AT ALL. George Michalopolos, just like Mark Stokoe, allows pseudonyms. They need never be held accountasble in this life by anybody for what they might like to post here. Please, let all the OCA clergy you know that have something substantial to contribute in this forum of this factor! You are well-remembered by many in the Diocese of the West, although i’m not sure I’ve met you. Father Basil Rhodes, Father Vadim Pogrebniak and many others (as, I’m sure Bishop Alexander Golitzin of the Bulgarians) have spoken well of you from time to time.
      As for content restrictions, three of the most venerable lists: orthodox jurisdictions, orthodos traditions and the Orthodox (Indiana) lists all have their very specific guidelines distributed to all contributors when they begin to participate
      Here there are no guidelines, just one Arbitrator.
      I don’t know what Vladyka Dmitri would think, although I knew him longer than anyone posting here I believe.

      Bishop
      Tikhon

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      • V. Rev. James Bernstein, Dean says:

        Vladyka Bless! Thank you for your kind words. We actually met when the Church of the Annunciation in Milwaukie, Oregon was received by your grace into Canonical Orthodoxy. I had been involved in the preliminary process of providing for them thoughts on why they needed to become canonical. I was fortunate to be there ( along with a number of other priests) when you brought them in. It was a glorious day! May the Lord bless your post retirement ministry. In Christ.

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  13. What I am about to suggest is intended rhetorically, but would that it were to really happen. This is rhetorical because I realize that it’s really not ur business.

    Remember back when America was insisting on Mit Romney open up his finances, particularly tax returns, to see if he were on task. The idea being that if he was to become president we should know if he acts like an average American, even if a millionare.

    In the same vein, the members of the Synod could be open books, as our leaders. Would that they were willing to put us at ease by revealing what their private prayer life is. Do they have a rule of prayer that they follow morning and evening? Okay, so they drop the ball when it comes to being leaders, and perhaps even morally. Perhaps they at least have this as a redeeming quality. In the midst of negative sentiment and suspision, wouldn’t it be relieving to know that Archbishop Benjamin prays 1000 Jesus Prayers with prostrations, morning and evening? Or that Archbishop Nikon would never retire without saying Compline in his prayer corner. Or that Bishop Melchizedek reads the morning and evening prayers every night and day? Or that Fr. Kishkovsky has daily confession?

    You understand my point? I realize these things are private. But who has the “career clergy” mindset, and who the “ministry as self-sacrifice for Christ.” My point is that it would be nice to know of some redeeming qualities, rather than simply being our princely “bishops.” Perhaps in the Dioceses their spirituality is known. The problem is that one can fall into judgement when the Synod simply remains silent and one only hears spin, or conjecture and negativity. We are led into temptation when the record is not set straight. To at least know that all this chaos is born purely from trying to discern and follow the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, as it stands it does not seem that prayer factors in much at all.

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  14. Michael Bauman says:

    The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath:
    it is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
    ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown;
    His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
    The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
    But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
    It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God’s When mercy seasons justice.
    Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
    That,in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
    And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy.

    I have spoke thus much To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
    Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.
    William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene 1

    As long as justice is sought in the OCA (accountablity for wrongs), mercy will be absent and the full weight of the law will come down on the OCA and, like Shylock when he ignored Portia’s plea, the OCA will be crushed.

    IMO, it may well take a miracle for mercy to reign in the OCA rather that justice, but miracles can happen. If one seeks mercy and truth rather than rightness and justice, real justice will be revealed and those who will not accept it will move on.

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  15. Your Grace et. al,

    Lest we forget and as Your Grace has rightly reminded us, +Jonah never had his own staff around him. He was saddled with a staff hired by the Metropolitan Council and a staff that quickly were more interested in hearing from their mentors like the dali lama of protopresbyters that “the Holy Spirit was not present in Pittsburgh”, that “Jonah is mentally ill”, that +Jonah was a strange student at SVS.”

    And lest we forget +Jonah was undermined by a chancellor, Fr. Garklavs, who actively worked against his Metropolitan, OUR Metropolitan, and spun a web of half-truths and some outright mistruths, to paint +Jonah in the worse possible light as the first attempt at taking him out was planned for Santa Fe.

    Then +Jonah was given a new chancellor, again hired by the Metropolitan Council, a chancellor who swore his allegiance to the Metropolitan Council and those bishops on the synod who were still hell-bent to rid Jonah as Metropolitan.

    So what do we have today? A “former” Metropolitan (you can’t be a former Metropolitan, he is a Metropolitan even if the bright lights on the OCA synod now see him as a “demoted” Archbishop) who nevertheless is given a rightful place of respect and honor, not by the OCA but by the Russian Orthodox Church and the ROCOR. Sadly another example of how far the OCA has fallen, the MP and ROCOR telling the OCA that Metropolitan Jonah, no matter what his former synod members think, is respected and not some sort of crazy person.

    It is important for us to never forget that the OCA was once an example to other Orthodox jurisdictions in North America. The OCA was fully engaged with other Orthodox churches here in the USA and around the world. We were a Church, albeit tiny, that did great job of leveraging our history and the close ties with other Churches and Head of Churches over many decades to place the OCA at the table when important decisions were discussed and decided, whether it be the old SCOBA or with Constantinople, Moscow or other Orthodox Churches. Today?

    The OCA has descended from a tiny hardworking cooperative Orthodox Church into an afterthought on the local Orthodox scene and a total embarrassment to Moscow. What a cold slap in the kisser did the OCA get in Kiev recently when Pat. Kirill told our illustrious ambassadors +Alexander and Kishkovsky that they should be ashamed of themselves for treating +Jonah in such an underhanded and disrespectful way. Moscow was telling the OCA that their day is over and although Moscow won’t interfere in the internal life of the OCA Moscow but through her surrogate the ROCOR is planting scores of new churches on the territory of the OCA thus in practice abrogating the Tomos of Autocephaly. WIll the OCA protest? How? With what leverage? Based on what credibility?

    In the new OCA it appears that if you don’t like the reflection in the mirror, you just break the mirror! Well, good for them if that is how they choose to lead, but does that mean we all have another 7 years bad luck to pay for such callous and stupid mistakes? The OCA doesn’t have 7 months let alone 7 years.

    You know, old crazy Stan has been chanting the mantra that it is time for us to return to the Mother Church. At one time, as little as 8 years ago, such an idea seemed ludicrous and was unnecessary, it was a silly appeal to a nostalgic return to the past, but today it doesn’t sound that crazy. Maybe it is time to break up the OCA. Let the Romanians go back to Bucharest, Albanians to Tirana, Bulgarians to Sofia, and the old Metropolia to Moscow. It certainly doesn’t seem that we could do any worse than we are now. The OCA has flunked as a local Church. Her leaders have failed the hardworking priests and faithful laity. We have been throwing good money after bad to prop up a failed experience for too long. And now, another bishop going down in flames with other bishops with skeletons in their closets to be exposed? Enough already, please. Enough distractions, enough dishonor, enough playing church. It’s over for the OCA but not for Orthodoxy in this land. Let us do our job free from bishops who dishonor Christ and us.

    Is it time to sue for peace and get back to growing Orthodoxy here without being hamstrung by dishonorable leadership? Is it time to reorganize under legitimate leadership as a part of recognized Orthodox Churches so that we can stop having to spend our precious time, talent and resources in trying to explain away our failed leadership and jurisdictional dysfunction? We can do better, we must do better but the OCA is not the answer, it has become the stumbling block.

    If I was a delegate in Parma, this is what I would say.

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  16. Question. Metropolitan Jonah resigned as First Hierarch (Primate) of the OCA, i.e., as Metropolitan of All America and Canada. Did he also resign as Archbishop of Washington? i mean, those are two canonically SEPARATE entities/responsibilities. When Metropolitan Theophilus was elected he was ARchbishop of San Francisco, and in the first period after his election, he was “His Eminence, Very Most Reverend Theophilus, Archbishop of San Francisco and Metropolitan of All America and Canada.” He was persuaded with great difficulty to move to New York, later, being relieved of responsibility for the San Francisco diocese and heading up the New York/New Jersey Diocese. His successor, Metropolitan Leonty, had been Archbishop of Chicago when he was elected. After election, he remained, for a time, His Eminence, Very Most Reverend Leonty, Archbishop of Chicago and Metropolitan of All America and Canada.
    That’s why i asked if Metropolitan Jonah ALSO resigned from the Diocese of Washington or did someone uncanonically (they’re not that thoughtful or knowedgeable in today’s Holy Synod or Chancery) and arbitrarily ASSUME the second resignation followed from the first?

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    • INTERESTING–+MJ’s letter only said he resigned from being Primate of the OCA. The Synod then appointed a locum tenens on July 9th for DC–the OCA website says +Jonah was in on the Synods meeting/call but it never says he resigned from DC.

      George, you have some checking up to do.

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      • The OCA Synod may do whatever they like, no exceptions. They are divine despots according to their own interpretation of the canons. What they do becomes God’s will properly enacted simply because they say it is so.

        The only thing that remains unclear is whether the Doctrine of Synodal Infallibility relies on a simple majority, a plurality, or unanimity (minus the whipping boy of the moment of course).

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    • Lil Ole Housewife says:

      Dear Vladika,

      Thank you first for your lovely reminiscence of how, at one time, there was less jurisdictionalism rather than more, a fact that until eight weeks ago, we were able to enjoy the light of again with brothers and sisters living in unity and communing with one another across former barriers. I, too, recall a lot of love between various parishes, and a lot of inclusion, too, in the old days in which cultural heritages were practiced but less nationalism was rampant between individuals. This is not to say that Lemkos, Rusyni and Ukrainians were not encouraged to call themselves Russians and that Orthodox Albanians, Chams and Macedonians were not encouraged to call themselves Greeks or Bulgarians, and then, of course, there were those nationalities never ever mentioned at all because it might be upsetting, as even today, i.e. the Montenegrins and the Vlachs.

      I also remember some of the lovely publications of the past. One of my favorites while home schooling the brood was The Tlingit Herald. You have such a wealth of historic knowledge of our American Orthodox people that I, like Helga, do wish you could be a presently active bishop and not retired.

      This is the second time you bring up the Metropolitan of Washington question. Of course, I remember a time, not too long ago, when we had an Archbishop of Washington and Baltimore and suchlike, but why quibble about details. I was lazy the first time you brought up the possibility that Metropolitan Jonah did not totally divest himself of titles, and did not go to the Pdf file of the typed resignation letter, located four pages in on the website of the OCA website and then only if you click on seeing the Pdf File within the wording of the notice of resignation:

      http://oca.org/PDF/NEWS/2012/2012-0708-metropolitan-resignation.pdf

      Ok, let’s allow ourselves the opportunity to analyze, mothers and fathers being adept at decoding clues on scraps of papers that miraculously make it home from school.

      Jonah signs himself,

      Metropolitan Jonah
      Archbishop of Washington

      He only resigned as “Primate” but significantly asked for

      another Episcopal assignment.

      without suggesting which assignment that might be despite retaining his title.

      To date, unless I missed something, the original

      request

      mentioned in Jonah’s resignation from being Primate designates the request

      as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr John Jillions

      , has never been evidenced by a contemporary document proving the contention of Father John Jillions that this was a synodal decision. The Synod is not mentioned by name in the obvious fax, only

      Brothers

      which could designate an unknown number of the same. As I have seen no other fax by Metropolitan Jonah or other metropolitans of the OCA, I would not know how inclusive and definitive the greeting

      Brothers

      might be. Does the lack of period after the abbreviation for Father before the words John Jillion signify anything but lack of a secretary to spell check the document?

      I cannot imagine someone like our Metropolitan Jonah playing duplicitous games to juridically hang on to one or another title. I think it more on the line of calling brother even those who hate us and forgiving all by the Resurrection while in shock and realizing that he did, indeed, have no other choice than giving Caesar his due. Or a pound of flesh, or however you wish to characterize last minute emotional decision under extreme duress while caring about loved ones? All of the related documents concerning this tragedy form the Holy Synod remain unsigned excepting the Jonah fax, uniquely.

      In the past, this Diocese has been Washington and New York, Washington and Baltimore and I cannot recall when even the Metropolitan of America, Canada and South America lost everything south of Texas. Nor are many of us sure what would happen if the “primatial” cathedral were to be the bishopric of other than her Primate, if its Bishop has so designated himself as no longer being, er, Primate.

      The stationary of Metropolitan Jonah’s letter indicates a fax machine, setting imprinted

      Metropolitan Jonah, Primate

      . The fax sent from is not visible on the original Pdf but the stationary lists Syosset address and contact info. Was the Metropolitan ever allowed to use a Washington, D.C. address for his mail? Does anyone have the image of a letter or an actual letter from the Metropolitan with other than a Syosset address?

      If the chancery is not in Washington, and the difficulty with Metropolitan Jonah being Archbishop of Washington , former Metropolitan of America and Canada is only that St. Nicholas cathedral in Washington is presumed to be primatial, why not make official what the Synod apparently wants. Let’s let the

      primatial

      church be the chapel on Long Island and let the cathedral in Washington, D.C. be the seat of the bishopric of Washington. A chapel does not need a Metropolitan and the Metropolitan does not need to live where the Synod meets. Would the OCa Chancellor, the current head of the OCA, be willing to give up his fay job and move to the goldcoast of Long Island without a guaranteed contract?

      btw, I remain as shocked as you are that he….simply…signed. Can he unsign? The Synod did, why not him? How can this be so? Compare the original allegations against the Metropolitan, trumpeted almost immediately to sundry national news services, and the backtracking that has occurred since.

      Almost all of these members of the Synod are unfamiliar to me. From what I can see, we have a locums tenens for the Diocese of Washington, the Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Archdiocese. His only mention on the OCA website besides his current bishopric is serving as a visiting priest for a mission parish in the mid eighties. Has he retired from his day job? He was consecrated by Jonah only on May 5th, 2012.

      The guy calling the shots, the head of the OCA, the Chancellor to whom Metropolitan Jonah was encouraged to do his and unnamed other Brothers’ bidding, has not been in the OCA very long, either, recently. According to http://orthodoxwiki.org/John_A._Jillions he was raised in OCA Canada until age 8, moved to the US, attended McGill , was tonsured Reader the same year he graduated with a BA in 1977 by Archbishop Sylvester Haruns, went to St. Vlad’s, graduated three years later, was married a year before graduation, ordained priest in 1981, given the tiny chapel at the retirement home on Staten Island, a kind of hobby of St. Vlad’s, and then, astoundingly, was given (or took) a three year assignment in Australia in the ROCOR! He returned to the US in 1987, and was a reserve USAF chaplain for two years during the seven years he was a priest in Rahway, NJ.in the OCA. He went to get a Phd in Greece in 1994 in Thessalonika in at the theology faculty there where he was attached to St. George Church in Thessalonika, according to the bio. This cannot be Agios Gerogios Rotunda because that famous church was deconsecrated in the late 70s and turned into a museum. So there must be another St George church that he served in the jurisdiction of the EP as part of the “New Lands”, specifically http://patriarchate.org/patriarchate/jurisdiction/administration/dioceses/new-lands/thessalonica . At any rate, he was awarded his degree in 2002. Father Jillions then returned to, not the OCA, but went to England where he remained under the EP in the Diocese of Sourozh. He returned on the job to the OCA cathedral in Ottowa and to an academic position various colleges part time. He then took a job in the Greek Archdiocese for a couple of years before being made effective boss of the OCA as chancellor. Jurisdictional hopping and touring has been a prominent feature of his interesting academic and pastoral career. One wonders if all his releases are in order and to whom he owes his allegiance. His ecclesiastical allegiances are even more varied than Bishop Melchizidek. Anyone read his blog ?

      It could be interesting to see how many bishops of the Synod were consecrated by Metropolitan Herman, how many by Metropolitan Jonah and how many remain from Metropolitan Theodosius. Is there a pattern? I cannot fathom why they do not love the Metropolitan. I saw Bishop Melchizidek at Jonah’s entronement. What happened since then?

      I am very slowly learning the dynamics of this organization I have so long taken for granted as holy. Where is our Metropolitan serving today? Inquiring souls want to know. Even if he was willing to be Archbishop of Washington, essentially a deanery today, would that Diocese persist or be changed or renamed something else entirely?

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      • I thought that asking for “another Episcopal assignment” means that once the resignation was accepted, Met. Jonah would not have one. On the other hand, I found it interesting that Met. Jonah wrote “Archbishop of Washington” beneath his letter. What does that mean to say that without following with “Metropolitan of All-America and Canada”?

        On the other hand, Met. Jonah’s letter was addressed “To the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America”. That is, all other diocesan bishops of the OCA.

        Met. Jonah says that per THEIR UNANIMOUS REQUEST, he was resigning.

        Except THEY had not requested a damn thing.

        Only THREE BISHOPS AT MOST, those on the Lesser Synod, made that request. Somehow, Fr. John Jillions represented this as the entire Synod.

        And now, Bishop Michael says he later asked Met. Jonah why he resigned. Hmm. Really, Bishop Michael? You don’t know why? Even though you supposedly requested that resignation along with the rest of the Synod? Puzzling, puzzling…

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        • I”m all fogged up on Jonah’s situation right now.
          If he only resigned as the Primate and requested a new hierarchic assignment but not retirement, can/did the Synod retire him anyway without his permission?
          That wouldn’t be “legal,” would it?
          And if they did, was it announced formally?
          But if they didn’t, and he is just “in limbo,” can they shackle him by putting limits on where, when, and under what circumstances he can serve?
          Will that all be resolved justly for the OCA and Jonah before the Nov. AAC to elect a new Metropolitan?
          It all seems so very, very “muddy,” stupid, and disgusting!
          “Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites.”

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        • Helga,

          Excellent observations. As you say, ++JONAH never explicitly resigned as Bishop of Washington DC. The resignation he tendered at the “unanimous” request of the (Lesser) Synod–clearly thinking it was the whole Synod–and pretty obviously on statments made and imprressions conveyed to him by the Chancellor–was limited to a resignation as Metorpolitan and accompanied by a a request for another episcopal assignment. The resignation was signed–in a somwehat shakey hand–by JONAH, not indivvidually, but as Bishop of Washington.

          Presumably he believed/es that Washntingon is and ought to be the Metropolitan See so he was indicating his wllingness to step out of that see for another. Clearly this was something not to be considered by the Chancellor and his cronies.

          Now you state that Bishop Michael asked JONAH why he resigned. Where did you get this most interesting and telling information? Which begs a question from +Michael: “Why didn’t you refuse to accept the resignation until the answer was forthcoming? And why do you not put a stop to the public charade of “unanimity.” Spind and deception weave tangled webs that ulttimately entraps those who fly too close.

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          • Lex and colette, I must apologize for not putting huge lights and sirens around that information regarding Bishop Michael. It’s from Stan’s blog, but I give it credence, conditionally, because Stan hates Bishop Michael and Met. Jonah, and presumably would not lie to make either of them look better.

            Bishop Michael (allegedly) said this at the FOCA convention that is concluding today. Apparently there was a Q&A session with him, Fr. Eric Tosi, and the guy they have running the Youth Department now.

            Stan, as we can see, thinks Bishop Michael is lying, but what he says Bishop Michael said jibes with what Nikos and others reported from Moscow about Patriarch Kirill being upset. It also jibes with what Fr. Jillions told the DOS assembly: it was the Lesser Synod behind this, there was no full Synod meeting until Saturday, AFTER the resignation letter was signed. That would explain why Bishop Michael, not being on the Lesser Synod, would be in the dark soon after, and asking Met. Jonah why.

            The source is what it is, but like Stan’s bit from the other day about the OCA bishops refusing to meet with an emissary from Moscow, if these are authentic pieces of the puzzle, they do help complete the picture.

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            • I think we need the Coordination Committee for people who support Metropolitan Jonah.
              We need someone’s help, preferably one with previous experience to begin such a committee.
              BTW, there are 253 members on Facebook site “We Want Metropolitan Jonah Back”.
              Not all of them are from the OCA though, but a significant number of them.
              These people might like to participate.

              We need to talk to Bishop Michael of New York.
              According to Helga, he had no clue of +MJ resignation.
              Maybe Bishop Michael would like to support the group.

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              • Veronica, Bishop Michael didn’t know immediately after it happened. He would later endorse the Synod’s statement about Met. Jonah.

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                • Priest Justin Frederick says:

                  And my question remains, on the basis of what information did Bishop Michael or any of the bishops make or endorse the decision? Who was feeding the bishops the data on which they based their decisions? And was that data accurate and complete? At present, the data publicly available show that some major premises for actions taken were false.

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                • Sorry Helga,

                  you are very wrong about your comments about Bishop Michael, I was at the FOCA this past weekend when Bishop Michael was asked about the MJ incident. He stated he was on the call when this happened and he asked MJ not to step down and MJ stated he was going to on his own will and no one elses, Bishop Michael stated he practically begged him not to step down but he did anyway. Just like most of the comments on this site, yours is again false.

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                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    NJ, I wasn’t there, but your recollection of this event is suspect to me. I for one think that the actual call was far more complicated than that.

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        • Helga,

          Where did you get this bit of info . . . .??

          And now, Bishop Michael says he later asked Met. Jonah why he resigned. Hmm. Really, Bishop Michael? You don’t know why? Even though you supposedly requested that resignation along with the rest of the Synod? Puzzling, puzzling…

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        • lil Ole Housewife says:

          Dear Helga,

          First let me apologize to you, whoever you are, and to everyone for not being able to figure out the quoting mechanism. I ended up boldfacing half a paragraph when I only wanted to boldface jurisdictional names as pertains the the extremely cross jurisdictionally accomplished boss of our Metropolitan, Father Jillions, whose proper current title I do not know and to whom I mean no disrespect.

          If the resignation was not based on a true and real unanimous request and was, indeed, misrepresented as the same, that renders the resignation as originally couched, null, because it was “per your unanimous request”.

          I would also like to also point out that, to our knowledge, the Metropolitan has not RETIRED, and he has only resigned, conditional to the

          per your unanimous request

          , one title, as Primate, a title mentioned twice, first in terms of his conditional resignation as the same, and second in his 2d paragraph self assessment claiming to have a

          temperament

          unsuited to the position, a matter of personal judgement and humility.

          There are four references to future work as a bishop in the OCA in the single initial fax, the only one I know about, of the Metropolitan:

          1. greeting: to

          Brothers

          of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America

          , i.e. he is a bishop, too.

          2. 2d sentence 1st paragraph: I…humbly request another Episcopal assignment.”

          3. 1st sentence 3dparagraph: He asks for due..[financial consideration}…

          in any interim and in consideration for any future post

          , stating his filial and parental dependent financial obligations.

          4. end of lat paragraph and closing signature: He remains

          Metropolitan

          , and so signs himself, and says, to the entire Synod,

          I remain faithfully yours

          .

          The Protodeacon from New Jersey [I don't know for sure that's what his acronym stands for] is correct when he says

          That wouldn’t be “legal,” would it?

          As to the Protodeacon’s question as to how men can possibly mistreat other men and act contrary to their own and our best interest, it is hard for me to fathom, but this is the world and not all aspire to godliness

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          • LOH,

            Are you in the DC area? If so, I would like to get a hold of you. . . .

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          • M.Vasiliou says:

            Today, nine days after the Fort Ross gathering which occurred on August 25, 2012, the OCA finally decided to post a news article in which they now address Met. Jonah properly. Notice also how Archbishop Benjamin’s name is not preceded with “His Eminence.” Perhaps the “fraternal discussion” between His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and AB Benjamin during the past week has borne some good fruit, and the OCA Hierarchs have been humbled a little.

            http://oca.org/news/headline-news/200th-anniversary-of-the-founding-of-fort-ross-celebrated

            Two days later, on August 27 and 28, Archbishop Benjamin served at San Francisco’s Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral, the Joy of All Who Sorrow (ROCOR) on Geary Ave. for the Great Feast of Dormition (Old Calendar). Also serving at the Vigil were His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion (ROCOR); His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah (OCA); His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill (ROCOR); His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian (MP); and His Grace, Bishop Theodosius (ROCOR). The next day His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk (MP) served at the Liturgy as well.

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            • Thanks for the link, M. Vasiliou. It would only have been nicer if they had referred to Met. Jonah by the honorific they used for him in San Francisco… HIS BEATITUDE.

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              • Dear Helga,
                Earlier today, the DOW site posted the information about the services last week at Holy Virgin Cathedral in SF. It refers to Metropolitan Jonah as “His Beatitude”! (Yes, they also elevated ROCOR’s Met. Hilarion to “His Beatitude.)

                http://dowoca.org/news_120903_1.html

                And here it is, copied and pasted, in case someone “catches” it and changes it:

                On August 27/28, Archbishop Benjamin served at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral, the Joy of All Who Sorrow (ROCOR) on Geary Ave for the feast of Dormition (Old Calendar). Also serving at the vigil were His Beatitude, Metropolitan Hilarion (ROCOR), His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah (OCA), His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill (ROCOR), His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian (MP), and His Grace, Bishop Theodosius (ROCOR). The next day His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk (MP) served at the liturgy as well.

                Afterwards a formal banquet was served to all the hierarchs, clergy, and VIPs on the cathedral grounds.

                Dormition (Julian Calendar)

                (4 images)

                view slideshow >

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            • It was indeed a surprise to see His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah representing OCA at the historic Feastday Divine Liturgy at Holy Virgin Cathedral. He was in a place of honor beside Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Moscow, along with Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral)(ROCOR).
              Holy Virgin Cathedral of SF Facebook has an extensive slide show of the Liturgy and Met Jonah can be seen in a number of the pictures.

              It’s a mystery what the Holy Synod has in mind with having him represent the OCA at this historic event given recent history.

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      • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

        Wow . . . that’s quite a bit of information you’ve dug up . . .

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      • lil Ole Housewife says:

        Dear All,

        I had a hard time with eyesight and trying to use the quoting mechanism in Mr. blog and having things ending up in boldface, including half a paragraph. I did not intend an entire paragraph almost in boldface. I did not spell check or grammar check. And most of my points were buried in unnecessary tedium. Please forgive me. I shouldn’t have selfishly posted late at night. Or perhaps at all.

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      • For the sake of accuracy – Fr John Jillions never served a ROCOR parish in Australia, Lil Ole Housewife. Your source is incorrect or you have misconstrued it. The parish he served in Australia was at the time one of three OCA parishes in Australia under the omophor of Metropolitan Theodosius. How that situation came to be relates to a dispute a priest had with the local ROCOR bishop in the 1970s. That particular parish has indeed since joined ROCOR, although that move would have happened at least two decades after Fr Jillions had left. I don’t think there is anything necessarily untoward in his peregrinations between jurisdictions and continents – his wife is of Greek ethnicity and his father was English, which may explain his time in those countries – he has just made an interesting career out of the priesthood which has culminated in him becoming chancellor of the OCA. But he has always been OCA, SVS and Schmemannite at heart.

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        • lil Ole Housewife says:

          Dear Basil and Pistevo,

          Thank you for your correction. I was going between the various data on http://orthodoxwiki.org/John_A._Jillions and the websites of various of the places mentioned. But I never imagined a jurisdictional change in the one cases, although I should have checked, and haven’t visited the Diocese of Sourozh webpages since their lawsuit.

          I also see nothing

          necessarily untoward in his peregrinations between jurisdictions and continents

          and take advantage of being Orthodox in numerous jurisdictions myself, joyously. I imagine he can produce hard copy releases to am from each and every jurisdiction in which he served roving or assigned, similar to the large number of the same that Abbess Aemiliane produced at one time on the Eisotheia website, now only visible by invitation. I wish I had copied their lovely article on the beekeeping. :( They are very dear.

          When we are members of a jurisdiction, however, and mine is currently the OCA, I think it good to see who our leaders are. The hierarchy in the Metropolia and OCA used to be local priest, Father confessor (who could be in another jurisdiction), spending a bit of time with the bishop when he visited, and having the rare opportunity to see a Metropolitan or a Patriarch. Personal life might include a little visiting to monasteries for rest and repair from daily wear and tear on the soul. We used to be able to easily trust all that. Now the OCA is headed by a Chancellor, who tells the Metropolitan what to do, I am living in an area where the Metropolitan was also the bishop, is through some machination not even able to serve in his beloved cathedral, and the monastery I am still looking forward to being able to visit somewhat locally someday has been torn from us, given over to the ROCOR with whom we are in communion, and now torn away from them and even offline. These are beautiful sisters with a great mission! I feel our Synod is treating the whole of the OCA as “knowing better” than us and telling us to shut up and wait until decisions are made on our behalf.

          I feel that a new era of cooperation between the Church of Greece and us and the Greek and Antiochian Archdioceses is also somewhat damaged, although I can’t figure out why I feel this way. There is a certain amount of shame associated with the ongoing scandals and misrepresentations. I used to feel that the Synod occasionally meeting at the estate on Long Island was “ok” and not distancing bishops from their bishoprics, but now I feel that it is a way of not only distancing laity from life in the Church but distancing bishops from their dioceses. Feelings are not reality.

          I do not even like the way that only certain select individuals seem to be able to find out what is going on in our Church which seems an innuendo and rumor central. I have an almost visceral dislike now of going to the OCA website inclusive of when I have to find something only found there. And yes, even though all historic synodal decisions are not published online and made visible on a regular basis on the OCA website, we are told that all updates of any kind are to be found there. I wait for someone here on the blog to mention it first.

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          • M. Stankovich says:

            lil Ole Housewife,

            Might you kindly allow me to add to the cardboard caricature you are developing of Fr. Chancellor Jillions, who has been my personal friend for nearly thirty years and was my classmate at St. Vladimir’s Seminary? Somehow, it strikes me as exceptionally rude and cold of you to ignore the heart of a living man for whom I, rightfully and justifiably, hold in esteem, and who I assume you have never exchanged a word.

            Fr. John is an exceptionally gifted, astute, and learned man. He is well educated, but is neither pretentious nor presumptuous. He is as approachable, warm, and as genuine today as the day I met him. He is thoughtful, surprisingly open as to his deficiencies, and unassuming as to his strengths. He is honest, sober, direct, and trustworthy. It is no coincidence that God has blessed him him with a wonderful singing voice that is reflective of his heart, and beautifully gives praise. He is an Orthodox husband and father.

            You might well consider that derivatives of wikis and blogs can be extraordinarily skewed, and in fact can in reality bear little resemblance to the heart of a living, breathing Orthodox priest, should you take the actual opportunity to contact him yourself. Perhaps you would wish me to “read between the lines” of the notes from school to draw some conclusions of you personally? Perhaps rummage around a bit to see what I might “drum up,” surreptitiously or otherwise, from some wiki or Google? The very thought should be offensive. As it is to me in regard to the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America. He is due the same respect.

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              And yet as saintly (and accurate) a picture that you paint of Fr Jillions, the fact remains that he perpetrated a grievous harm on an innocent man and helped set in motion the implosion of our Church.

              I pray he “comes to himself” and repents of this atrocity. It is never too late.

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            • Lil Ole Housewife says:

              Dear M. Stankovic,

              Thank you for correcting me, a sinner.

              I am glad and comforted that someone obviously learned and reasoned as yourself holds Father Chancellor Jillions in great esteem. I already apologized for mistaking a present day ROCOR parish in a foreign country for his previously OCA one and thus coming to the conclusion that Father Chancellor Jillions had spent a great deal of time, rather than a small amount of time, in other jurisdictions besides the OCA. Are you a member of the clergy in the OCA?

              It seems that Father Jillions, who I have never had the pleasure of meeting, has spent time in Greek jurisdictions on account of having a Greek spouse, according to one regular blogger here. And he has an English parent, which explains his time in an English jurisdiction under the Greeks. It is only to the benefit of both jurisdictions that the Greek Archdiocese and the OCA love each other, and that, indeed, all jurisdictions in this hemisphere come together.

              As a Washington, D.C. area Orthodox lil ole ordinary nobody, I too have been blessed by the associations of my pastors with the Church of Greece. The Church of Greece lent us the sisters and their monastery, for a short while, and it is indeed beautiful to be in the presence of monastics, especially multi-jurisdictionally oriented sisters and brothers. Sister Igumena Aemiliane has an especially beautiful and strong singing and chanting voice, btw. The Greeks also gave us the gift of Bishop Melchizedek, who returned back to the OCA with his wisdom after his own sojourn away from the OCA. Did your years and his at St. Vladimir’s coincide?

              As an anti-jurisdictionalist dreaming of a Patriarchate of the Americas, I actually find the Chancellor’s personal interaction with other jurisdictions to his credit, not his deficit, as I find Metropolitan Jonah’s association with the MP to similarly to have enhanced his effectiveness and outlook. I hope I have not unwittingly created a cardboard caricature of the head of the OCA, rather I just went online to see who is the boss of my Vladika. Before this blog, I had a vague idea that someone had replaced Father Robert as Chancellor, but i am so stupid and read the http://www.oca.org website so infrequently that I had forgotten his name. I am aware that the web is not absolutely trustworthy and sought info on the Chancellor from the Orthodox wiki, not the regular wiki, and links to actual parishes he had served.

              I would love to hear the Chancellor’s chanting voice as I am fond of church music. But the most astoundingly wonderful priest (ROCOR) I ever heard was a man who could barely speak above a whisper because of what had happened to him in WWII. Fortunately, he had one of the strongest deacons in the US backing him up.

              It is a dream to think of Metropolitan Jonah backed up by a strong voiced intelligent Chancellor Father John. I can imagine the responses to the same being the clear loving tones of an Igumena Aemiliane. Alas, it seems interactions have temporarily gone awry. Hopefully, God willing, the situation will change back to the past. I know that I, personally, took the Metropolitan and the sisters for granted. No longer!

              Praying hard. Writing on my first blogosphere. Still dreaming. Listening to music files

              http://www.sv-luka.org/chants/Voskresenije_Tvoje.ram

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      • A few clarifications…
        1. Fr John Jillions was assigned to be the rector of Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church. While this parish is now an English-language parish of ROCOR, at the time it was an OCA parish.
        2. The Diocese of Sourozh, England, is (and was) under the Moscow Patriarchate.
        3. I have no way of knowing, but he may not have transferred each time – he was on loan in the GOA, if memory serves, and may have been similarly ‘on loan’ when serving in various jurisdictions.

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    • Vladika Tikhon, bless!
      Evidently Metr. Jonah was told on his ‘reirement’ that he could not serve in his cathedral in Washington DC.
      and I think (problematically, if not unjustly) that he could not retire to his former monastery in Manton, or even visit there (well there were proabably two exceptions to that prohibition.) . I thought that bit somewhat unkind, if not worse.

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  17. Speak Your Mind

    Well… if you insist… :-)

    I think he is a great man, and a good Christian, but not cut out to be a bishop. For once, he is extremely shy and introverted. He’s also rather young.

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    • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

      As young as Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev)?

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      • There’s a reason they’re called elders or presbyters. And Alfeyev is neither shy nor introverted. Father Cleopa was also a saintly monk, but he declined becoming Patriarch when he was approached.

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      • fr. ambrose says:

        Yes, “youth” has nothing to do with it (although I think that one must be at least 36–according to the canons–to be consecrated bishop, no?). Met. Hilarion Alfeyev is in his forties and is certainly the “wunderkind” of the Russian Church (sorry, could only think of the German word, not the Russian) in more ways than one. He is rather exceptional among Orthodox bishops world wide these days. –Fr. Ambrose

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    • Jane Rachel says:

      Saint Peter? Saint Timothy? Saint Paul? King David? Moses? Meeker than anyone? To name but a few… then there’s St. John of Shanghai, who was difficult to understand when he spoke because of a speech impediment, I think…

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    • Lucian, must beg to differ. There is the matter of the spiritual son of the Apostle Paul in the NT, Timothy, who I believe had to be encouraged not to be intimidated before his elders. There is also the holy Patriarch Moses, the “meekest” man in the world, according to the testimony of Scripture who three times out of his own shyness and sense of inadequacy over a speech impediment tried to refuse God’s command to go before Pharoah and lead the Israelites to freedom, and who became the most revered and greatest spiritual leader of the OT ecclesia. A naturally extraverted temperament and strong, decisive leadership style is the world’s idea of a “leader.” The testimony of the Scriptures shows over and over that God doesn’t need such “leaders,” but that He uses those whose hearts truly belong to Him, and these are often those who are “least” among their brothers by worldly standards.

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    • You’re wrong.

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  18. phil r. upp says:

    Some people here have their history wrong. The Russian Orthodox American Diocese, the Metropolia, was established long before the Russian Revolution. After the Russian Revolution, a group of bishops who abandoned their dioceses in Russia, formulated themselves “outside” of Russia awaiting the collapse of Communism. Calling themselves, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). They tried to organize themselves as the legitimate ROC causing many problems for the hierarchs who remained inside Russia. This group was kicked out of Istanbul where they tried to organize themselves and then formulated themselves in Serbia. All the Russian dioceses were given authority to run themselves (1920) after the collapse of the central church administration in Russia and the Metropolia, did exactly that.(1924) The Karlovtsy “Synod in Exile” (ROCOR), believed they were the legitimate leaders of the ROC and tried to usurp authority wherever the ROC had diocese, including North America. CHAOS ENSUED! To try and end the chaos, a “temporary arrangement” of 1935 was made to see if the ROCOR bishops and Metropolia bishops could work together and eventually, unite. The “temporary arrangement” had serious issues. The ROCOR bishops began to usurp authority over the Metropolia which clearly wasn’t theirs. In 1946, the Metropolia Sobor in Cleveland considered the “temporary arrangement” of 1935 not to be in effect any more. The Metropolia continued it’s self-governing ways eventually ending in autocephaly in 1970 while ROCOR continued in a sectarian downward spiral.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Couple of mistakes there Phil. You say they were formed “long before the Russian Revolution.” Do you mean long before the Revolution was completed? That’d be more correct. As for being “kicked out of Istanbul,” you fail to mention that the EP was in the process of recognizing the “Living Church,” a Bolshevist front group dedicated to destroying the authentic patriarchate of Moscow. (That C’pole was even contemplating this action is a travesty in and of itself for which it must publicly apologize.)

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    • Lil Ole Housewife says:

      Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov’ Zagranitsey is actually Russian Orthodox Church Outside the Walls. Zarubezhni is its other nick which is, more or less, foreign. The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America (approximate title) recognized some of the difficulties inherent in Russia having been taken over by communists and the position of the church within it, especially after 1920 when the Church there was discouraged from having Episcopal authority and shortly thereafter clerics were supposed to join the communist Living Church. While things were happening abroad, like the Karlovtsy Synod of the ROCOR and various Orhtodox individuals being hosted by the Serbian Orthodox Church, we still had a canonical Orthodox Church in America that was inclusive of Greeks, Antiochians, Russians, Ukrainians, Albanians and others.

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    • The “Metropolia” dates from 1924, Phil. Prior to that it was a diocese of the Russian church, from whence it derived most of its financial support until the Revolution. And, btw, Metropolitan Platon, its first hierarch, was one of those Russian bishops who had “abandoned his diocese”, Kherson, Odessa to be exact. Platon was also present at the founding synod of ROCOR in Karlovtsy in 1926, where he was asked by his brother bishops in exile (and if he didn’t recognise them, why attend?) to renounce the autonomy of the North American diocese and submit to the synod, something he refused to do. Three years later, Archbishop Aftimios, whom Platon had appointed head of an American Orthodox Church formed specifically for mission to English-speakers and chartered by the Metropolia, wrote that as Platon’s relation with the Russian church was abnormal, he had no authority in the USA. By this time Platon and the Metropolia were under interdict from both Moscow and ROCOR. Where does that leave the Metropolia? I suggest we can’t be too dogmatic about our judgments re the Russian church in those tumultuous times. Oh, and if ROCOR is in a “downward spiral”, the OCA must surely be in a kamikaze dive.

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        It is interesting to note that Metropolitan Platon and the Russian Bishops withdrew their support from Archbishop Aftimios’ efforts due to pressure from the Episcopal Church after the Archbishop began to make converts from Episcopal clergy. At one point, Met. Platon stated that there is no difference between Orthodoxy and the Episcopal Church and ordered Archbishop Aftimios to cease converting Episcopalians to Orthodoxy. At that time the Episcopalians had a Committee for the Americanization of the Foreign Born which tried to convince small communities of Orthodox that they did not need to begin an Orthodox Church, but could be both Orthodox and Episcopalian. Unfortunately, some Orthodox Bishops cooperated with them in this effort. That is why one finds Episcopalians all over the country whose roots are Orthodox in places where we should have had Orthodox Churches.

        Fr. John W. Morris

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        • Ever-memorable Aftimios! Sometimes he’s called the “Ancestor of all American schisms”. He did have a proclivity for receiving Protestant Episcopalians indiscriminately and arbitrarily in their orders and without catechesis and this did get him in trouble with Metropolitan Platon and the rest of the clergy and faithful in the Metropolia. For decades and decades EVERY non-canonical “American Orthodox” denomination, sometimes headed by Patriarchs and Catholicoses and so on traced its “Apostolic Succession” to the overly generous hands of Aftimios Ofeish. But he meant well. Thank God for St. Raphael (Hawaweeny), just the opposite sort of Hierarch whose work is immortal in a good sense, unlike that of Aftimios for whom we should all pray.

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          • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

            I still wonder what on earth made him decide to just marry. Yes, indeed, we should pray for him – a truly troubled soul. And pray for his descendants as well . . .

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          • Archpriest John Morris says:

            I know about this subject because I did research with materials from the archives of the Antiochian Arcdiocese and sources that I found in the library of the Harvard Divinity School for a biography of Archbishop Aftimios that was published in two installments in The Word in 1981. I also interviewed Fr. Michael Gelsinger, .who worked on the translation of the red service book still used in the Antiochian Archdiocese and published some of the first Orthodox music in English.
            The case of Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh is one of the most sordid affairs in history of American Orthodox. In 1927 with the support of Metropolitan Platon the other Bishops of Metropolia Archbishop Aftimios who was the successor to St. Raphael attempted to establish an English speaking American Orthodox Church independent of foreign control which they called the American Orthodox Catholic Church. After Metropolitan Platon withdrew his support, the Archbishop who was also discouraged by the sexual immorality of one of his priest , married in 1933, thereby ending his archepiscopate. After that the whole thing fell apart. Most of the parishes eventually wound up in one fo the two Antiochian Archdiocese established in 1936. However, before his marriage in 1932 Archbsihop Aftimios consecrated William Albert Nicholas as Bishop of Washington.. After the other Bishops deposed him after he married in 1933, Nicholas became a “episcopi vagant” calling Himself Bishop Ignatius. Today several uncanonical groups claim Apostolic Succession through him. Thus it was not Archbishop Aftimios who was “the ancestor of all American schisms,” it was Nicholas. Archbisop Aftimios was a progressively think man who realized that Orthodoxy must use English and accept American converts.
            Bishop Tikhon can spin it however he wants, but the truth is that after Archbishop Aftimios began to convert Episcopalians to Orthodoxy, the Episcopalians pressured Metropolitan Platon to withdraw his support from Archbishop Aftimios. Metropolitan Platon wrote the Archbishop a letter ordering him to cease converting Episcopalians and stating that the Russian Orthodox Church in America could not exist without the help of the Episcopalians. Then he withdrew his support from Archbishop Aftimios’ efforts to build an English speaking American Orthodox Church. At this time Metropolitan Platon publicly declared somewhere in Connecticut, [the materials are in the library at Harvard] that the Orthodox and Episcopal Churches were the united.
            The Metropolitan was influenced by the Episcopalians because they gave him a church to use as a cathedral after the Metropolia lost St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York to the Living Church in 1926. The Living church was a faction of the Russian Orthodox Church that had the support of the Soviets. Claiming to have authority over the Russian Church and by extension the Church in America, they sent a Bishop, John Kedrovsky to claim leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in America. He successfully sued to gain control of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York. Kdrovsky’s law suites helped cause one of the problems that still haunts American Orthodoxy, trustee-ism. In order to prevent Kedrovsky from gaining control of the property of the local parishes, the Bishops encouraged each parish to incorporate itself as a separate entity. That led to the control of the parish by a Board of Trustees and the idea of the priest as a hired hand of the parish.
            As far back as the days of St. Raphael, the Episcopalians had actively sought to convince Orthodox that there was no need for them to form an Orthodox mission where they lived because they could be Orthodox and Episcopalian at the same time. That was the occasion of St. Rahael’s famous letter warning his flock that not to attend or receive the Sacraments of the the Episcopal Church because they are Protestants and not Orthodox. The Episcopalians established a Committee for the Americanization of the Foreign Born with the explicit purpose of convincing Orthodox that they did not need to establish an Orthodox mission because the Episcopal Church and the Orthodox Church were united. As a result there are groups of Episcopalians all over the country whose ancestors joined the Episcopal Church instead of forming an Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, the Episcopalians successfully convinced Metropolitan Platon to withdraw his support from Archbishop Aftimios.

            Fr. John W. Morris

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            I did a lot of research on Archbishop Aftimios and never read an account that he ever received an Episcopal priest in his orders. I frankly doubt that is true because some of them served under Metropolitan Anthony Bashir, and I seriously doubt that he would have accepted a man who was not ordained in the Orthodox Church.
            The truth is that Metropolitan Platon sold out to the Episcopalians.

            Fr. John W. Morris

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        • “At one point, Met. Platon stated that there is no difference between Orthodoxy and the Episcopal Church”.
          One might almost call his words prophetic, Fr John. The Metropolia started life as the Russian Orthodox version of Episcopalianism and seems destined to end as such as well. Truly, as TS Eliot wrote, “In my beginning is my end. ..In my end is my beginning.”

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        • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

          Father John Morris writes, “That is why one finds Episcopalians all over the country whose roots are Orthodox in places where we should have had Orthodox Churches.”

          Anyone with much first-hand experience of the Episcopal Church knows this to be a fact.

          Nearly four decades ago, when I was Senior Canon of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida, the largest “ethnic” group in the parish was made up of Lebanese and Syrians from Orthodox roots. When I inquired of them how this came to be, they told me that their own Orthodox clergy had instructed them to join the Episcopal Church when they got to the States.

          And they did.

          When Bishop Antoun preached at Father Bill Olnhausen’s ordination in Wisconsin a couple of decades ago, he mentioned the irony of his receiving a congregation of Episcopalians into the Orthodox Church. For a century or so, the Episcopalians had been receiving Orthodox Christians into their own congregations.

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          • No wonder the ‘zealots’ so loathe the OCA and “other” likeminded jurisdictions. Sending Orthodox to the Episcopal Church was a travesty, that while may have been a logocal fix to a hard priblem, has led to confusion. When we should have been striving to establish Orthodox missions (like St. Raphael’s vision,) we rather began a subtle shift the looks like compromise. We ultimately co-signed a mentaility that has led to the secularisation, and frequently the compromise, of traditional Orthodox ecclesiology and morality. We see the fruit years later in the OCA and also other American Orthodox jurisdictions.

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              LS, as I was researching my book on American Orthodoxy, I came across two different (admittedly secular) sources that stated quite emphatically that before the Great War broke out, the Orthodox churches and the Anglican Communion were very close to working out a union. Admittedly, some of this was spearheaded by Meletius Metaxakis of sorrowful memory but even the ROC was looking favorably on such a prospect.

              As such, it made sense in a way for Orthodox immigrants (particularly Arabs) to find themselves in ECUSA churches. I actually know of first-generation Greeks in the Midwest who attended ECUSA services (although I do not know whether they partook of Communion).

              Looking back it’s regrettable but sometimes even hindsight isn’t 20/20.

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              • LS,
                Anglicanism, or rather Anglo-Catholicism, since it was that faction within Anglicanism that was interested union with the Orthodox, was at the time at least orthodox in its basic theological and moral teachings, enough so to recognise as heterodox Christians at any rate, especially as they -or at least the Russophiles among them – were probably willing to give up the filioque. The Anglo-Catholics believed in the “branch theory” of the church, whereby the Curch of England, the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox were the three “branches” of the one, holy catholic and apostolic church. The Russian Church, which for cultural reasons had the closest relations with the English of all the Orthodox churches, rejected this pretentious theory, but then, as now, some Russian Orthodox coveted close ecclesial relations with the Anglicans, perhaps hoping that some of the κῦδος of the Anglicans, who were a rich and genteel church in England and America, might rub off on them, poor non-Anglo immigrants that they were.
                However, the seeds of later Anglo-Catholic corruption had been sown with the publication of Lux Mundi in 1889, a collection of essays espousing “moderately liberal” theological positions in the attempt to accomodate the results of German Protestant biblical scholarship, which the authors felt presented a challenge to orthodox Christianity that had to be synthesised rather than rejected outright. From there it was all downhill, as they say; the account of that decline over the last 100 years is too depressing to recount here, but at the end of it you get the synagogue of Satan that is the “The Episcopal Church” of today, which by consecrating an open and practicing homosexual who forsook his wife and his marriage vows for a male lover, has provoked a situation whereby a large part of the Anglican Communion in the “global south” (and bear in mind there are more Anglicans in church on any given Sunday in Nigeria than there are in merry old England) is in de facto schism with the Archbishop of Canterbury, theoretically the primus inter pares (or, as we would say, Πρῶτος μεταξὺ ἴσων) among all Anglican bishops.
                Mind you, I gather most, if not all of the faculty at SVS, still hanker after Anglican κῦδος – why, they even bestowed an honour upon said Archbishop of Canterbury not that long ago. Reflect on that as you survey the OCA today.

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  You are right the publication of Lux Mundi showed a shift of the High Church Anglicans or Anglo-Catholics away from doctrine towards ceremony for the sake of ceremony. That is why the Orthodox were fooled. They saw the Anglicans wearing vestments using incense and chanting and assumed that they held Orthodox beliefs because their services looked Orthodox. I also think that Orthodox have been very naive when dealing with Anglicans and other Protestants. More often than not we have been taken advantage of by them. I do not know how to say this diplomatically but some Orthodox were too friendly with the Episcopalians because they wanted to be accepted by what they thought was the religious establishment in America.
                  It is very interesting to note that once American Anglicans decided that doctrine is important, they very quickly discovered that they really had very little doctrine in common. That and the personal ambition of men to wear a mitre has led to the division of continuing Anglicanism into over 30 different groups. Even the effort to unite them in the North American Anglican Church has not achieved doctrinal unity. Some bishops ordain women, others do not. Now many continuing Anglicans are falling under the influence of Calvinism, which is tragic.
                  I get the distinct impression that they are afraid of Orthodoxy. Anglicans love Orthodoxy if we speak with a foreign accent and pray in a foreign language, but when we speak American English, have names like Morris, Ferguson and O’Callaghan and pray in English they are threatened because our existence as an American Church filled with American converts threatens their self image as the Orthodox Church of the West or the Catholic Church of the British people. When you compare the artificial non-papal Catholicism of Anglicanism with the real non-papal Catholicism of Orthodoxy the Anglicans don’t look so authentic.

                  Fr. John W. Morris

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                  • “I do not know how to say this diplomatically but some Orthodox were too friendly with the Episcopalians because they wanted to be accepted by what they thought was the religious establishment in America.”
                    In Australia they call it “cultural cringe”, Father.
                    One despises one’s own culture as inferior and fawns over one regarded as self-evidently superior. American Anglophilism is a good example. My impression is that many of the upwardly mobile Orthodox of Russian descent in the NE USA suffer from this affliction. SVS exudes it in spades. The visceral reaction against anything to do with “St Tikhon’s” or, worse, “Jordanville”, on the part of the OCA intelligentsia is a symptom of the contagion. It really is a form of self-hatred which is quite common among the 2nd-3rd generations of immigrant communities.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              It is not totally the fault of the Orthodox Bishops. The Episcopalians falsely presented themselves as Orthodox when talking with Orthodox officials. Even St. Raphael was fooled and told his people to go to the Episcopal Church if they lived where there was no Orthodox Church. Then St. Raphael did the research necessary to discover that he had been deceived and that Episcopalians are really Protestants, and he wrote his famous letter telling his people to stay away from the Episcopal Church. During the 1920s, the Anglicans were trying to get Orthodox to recognize their orders and Apostolic Succession were valid since Rome issued a decree in 1896 declaring Anglican ordinations “null and void.” They were either self-deceived or they were not honest when they presented themselves to Orthodox as the Orthodox Church of the West. Anglicans can do a service that looks and sounds Orthodox, but not really believe what they are saying or interpret the words in some very un Orthodox ways. Anglican texts are very carefully crafted to allow as many different interpretation as possible, because from the time of Elizabeth I Anglicanism was designed as a compromise with vague doctrine designed to accommodate as many different interpretations as possible to create an English National Church that would offend almost no one. Some Orthodox were fooled and issued statements recognizing Anglican orders. However, I do not think that any Anglican clergy were received by any Orthodox Bishop in their orders. The reality is that Anglicanism is a form of Protestantism that tolerates a great deal of doctrinal diversity. A Greek Bishop once said dealing with Anglicans is like trying to grab a jelly fish, you cannot get a hold of it, but you always get stinged.

              Fr. John W. Morris

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              • George Michalopulos says:

                TThank you Fr John for hitting the nail right on the head. As much as I love the Anglicans, I think they will have to come to a place in which they admit that “X” means “X” and not possibly “Y” if they wish to avoid the primrose path of apostasy which is ECUSA. That is why I fear for the future of the OCA: with a compromised Synod that is all ga-ga for “tolerance,” they will be given a way into Orthodoxy through the compromised branch of Orthodoxy that I fear the OCA will become.

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                • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                  That I doubt. The OCA has its problems, but it is still Orthodox. If it gets too far out of line, the rest of the Church will step in and make them correct any departures from true Orthodox theology or morality or will break communion with them, thereby casting them out of the Orthodox Church. However, I do not believe that will ever happen. I have met enough OCA people and read enough literature produced by OCA theologians to know that the OCA is theologically sound, despite its administrative problems. If some of its leaders go too far from the path of faithful Orthodoxy, the good priests and laity will rise up and right things.
                  However, the members of the OCA need to recognize that any real union must include all Orthodox and cannot be brought about by one jurisdiction imposing its will on the rest of the American Orthodox Church. I also believe that until we have achieved real unity any talk of autocephaly is premature. America is not yet ready for an autocephalous Church.

                  Fr. John W. Morris

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              • Stinged? Try stung.

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  19. Dear Bishop Tikhon and Fr. Reardon,

    Could you please explain what this prayer means and how we should apply it to our daily lives?

    Prayer of St. Ephraim
    Lord and Master of my life.
    give me not a spirit of idleness, meddling, love of power and idle talk.

    But grant me, your servant,
    a spirit of soberness, humility, patience and love.

    Yes, Lord and King,
    grant me to see my own faults, and not condemn my brother;
    for blessed are You, to the ages of ages. Amen

    Into Your hands, Lord, I commend my soul and body.
    Bless me, have mercy on me, and grant me eternal life. Amen.

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  20. Question for language experts:
    When is “repentance” a verb or a noun?

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  21. Who in their right mind would ever believe that the leadership of ROCOR (or any jurisdiction in the USA for that matter) would want, now or in the foreseeable future, to enter into a “joint agreement” with the present leadership of the OCA. Right now, and the way things are going in the “upper echelons” of the OCA, it is in the same situation as the ship in “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.” Its only hope for the future is if one of the Old World Patriarchates would agree to subsume it with the agreement of absolute obedience to the leadership thereof. (Of course, there are some (many?) “cockeyed optimist” in the OCA who see it as, rather that the ship of the Ancient Mariner, the Good Ship Lollypop.)

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      PdnNJ, you said it best. Taking your analogy further, what would be the “albatross” around the neck of the OCA? Modernism? “Tolerance”? Sodomy? I think it’s Self-idolatry.

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      • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

        A new word has recently been coined, George.

        Although it has not yet made its way into the English dictionary, it does deserve such admission, in my opinion.

        The word is sodogamy and speaks for itself.

        By the by, I am on record (for more than a half-century) as opposed to the word “homosexual.” This alleged word is what grammarians call a bastard progeny, because it conjoins alien etymological roots.

        In this case, the Greek root homo and the Latin root sexus were combined to form “homosexual,” the malformed progeny of a truly unnatural union.

        That is to say, “homosexual” came of joining things in a way they were never intended to be joined.

        Sort of makes you think.

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        • Isa Almisry says:

          “In this case, the Greek root homo and the Latin root sexus were combined to form “homosexual,” the malformed progeny of a truly unnatural union.”

          Sounds more like a mixed marriage, Father. Nothing unnatural about that, unless it involves a goat or some such thing.

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  22. phil r. upp says:

    Many people here wish to bash the OCA and even paint it as a “sinking ship.” Not at all true. You people must also be Republicans who think a right-wing, money-grubbing Mormon has a shot at the Presidency. How does it feel to be delusional? The OCA has “cleansed itself” which the Greeks, Antiochians, ROCOR/MP, etc. have serious problems doing. The OCA is very public & open regarding it’s activities and for this, you people wish to condemn it? Fools. The OCA is clearly the only Orthodox Church in North America that works properly. It isn’t controlled by foreign bishops who impose their will on Americans. The OCA Synod runs the OCA in an open, conciliar manner. Exactly how the organization of any local church, according to Orthodox Canon Law, should work.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Phil, if you think the OCA is “cleansing” itself, you are gravely mistaken. All it’s doing right now is trying to cover their tracks and hope that there are no more bombs getting ready to explode.

      I didn’t want to make this political, but the Apparat that runs the OCA is in many ways like the modern Democratic Party. They don’t care that after another four years the debt will increase to $25 trillion. As long as they got their plush jobs in DC and live in Silver Spring, the worker bees can go hang themselves. If they have to dole out moolah to the drones in order to keep them pliant that’s a small price to pay. Either way, the Reset Button is going to be hit and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

      As for Syosset, as long as the jokers there keep getting their $130,000 paychecks, they don’t care who’s Metropolitan. Sure, there’s some panic that the bench is thinning out and the last man standing will be corrupt but that’s a small price to pay as long as they don’t have to get some measely parish assignment. Like the Democrats, they honestly don’t understand that the OCA is going to collapse. They can’t wrap their heads around such a concept. Even Hopko (who used to know better) has chosen to ignore his own words. Why? Because there’s a new doctrine being preached: Jonah is, was, and always will be insane. It’s more important to believe the Lie than to confront the Truth.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      Cleansing, like dysentery?

      If a socialist black supremist with no job experience can win the presidency, why can’t someone proud of America and a track record of success win it?

      “How does it feel to be delusional?” You tell us.

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      • Isa Almisry! No socialist black supremacist with no job experience has yet won the presidency. I think you’ve been listening to crackpots!

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          I must disagree with you on two counts Your Grace. Isa is right: the church that Obama attended was a black supremacist cult and he’s definately a socialist as the term is commonly understood. Just because he’s working hand-in-glove with Goldman Sachs means nothing to me. The great industrialists and financieers of the early twenthieth century (think Armand Hammer, Joseph Kennedy, the Rockefellers, etc.) worked with Lenin, Hitler, and others.

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            In reference to your last statement Lenin, Stalin or one of the early communist leaders said that the capitalists will sell them the rope that they will use to hang them.
            It was quite apparent during the Democratic Convention that the Democrats believe that more government is the answer to all our problems. They obviously do not have much respect for the American people or the free enterprise system. We have heard it all before. We have tried it before and their ideas do not work. I remember how bad the 70s were after the excesses of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. We tried a war on poverty and only created a whole group of people who are dependent on welfare not as temporary help but as a way of life. We have created a system where 15 year old girls get pregnant so they can go on welfare.
            The that Obama attended is part of the United Church of Christ, which is the most radically liberal of all groups calling themselves Christians. I once met one of their national leaders. I asked him if I was correct in my impression that the UCC has substituted a political orthodoxy for a theological orthodoxy. He replied that I was right that the UCC emphasizes the social gospel and political action over doctrinal orthodoxy. Some people have defined UCC as Unitarians considering Christ. They have bought into liberal theology completely and actually treat Christ as an inspired man, not God incarnate. Their latest fad is so called inclusive language. They avoid referring to God as Father, using such terms as Creator or even Father/Mother. Rev. Wright’s radical black liberation theology fits right in to the culture of the UCC. For that reason, I really doubt that Obama is really a Christian, at least as we would define a Christian. Certainly the constant expressions for support abortion and gay marriage during the speeches at the Democratic Convention that ended yesterday are contrary to the teachings of our Church. I know that I do not believe that I can be faithful to my Orthodox beliefs as well as common sense and vote for him.

            Fr. John W. Morris

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            • Fr. John said

              I really doubt that Obama is really a Christian, at least as we would define a Christian. Certainly the constant expressions for support abortion and gay marriage during the speeches at the Democratic Convention that ended yesterday are contrary to the teachings of our Church. I know that I do not believe that I can be faithful to my Orthodox beliefs as well as common sense and vote for him.

              Then you should not vote for Obama. If I apply Orthodox beliefs to Romney, then he is not really a Christian either? Does your conscience prevent you from voting for him as well? Should we pick our secular leaders based solely on our perception of their religious beliefs?

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              • Isa Almisry says:

                I’ll take the Mormon over the Moron any day.

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              • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

                I know that Romney is not a Christian. But, I think that anyone would be a better president than Obama who is a study in incompetence. A the Democratic convention one speaker after another attacked Orthodox Christian moral beliefs. It was a festival celebrating free birth control pills, abortion at the government’s expense, gay rights and same sex marriages built on a platform of outright lies about the Romney and the Republicans supported by a set of promises that no president could possibly keep. There is an old saying “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” Obama has fooled the American people once, we should not allow him to fool us twice.

                Fr. John W. Morris

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          • George Michalopulos says:
            I must disagree with you on two counts Your Grace. Isa is right: the church that Obama attended was a black supremacist cult

            And then you would have to agree until recently American Christianity could be similarly characterized as white supremacist churches? (I know from previous discussions that pointing out the failings of the other viewpoint carries weight with you :))

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              Yes, some were white supremacist.

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            • Isa Almisry says:

              “And then you would have to agree until recently American Christianity could be similarly characterized as white supremacist churches?”

              I’m not worried about American Christianity. I’m concerned with American Orthodoxy/Orthodoxy in America. And no, I woud not have to agree.

              I’m going with the Ethiopian Churches and others representing “Black Christianity” over whatever Wright represents.

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          • Nevertheless, George, President Obama is not a black supremacist, and saying what Church he attended is not necessarily relevant. What if someone had said, “Oh, I can’t vote for Dukakis, for heaven’s sake, he’s one of those Greek Orthodox Christians!!! Dukakis, however, was far more a Greek Orthodox than President Obama, Mrs. Obama, or the children are socialist black supremacists..
            It’s slanderous to make such an allegation based on church attendance. How many good Catholics attended Father Coughlin’s Shrine of the Little Flower, but were Roosevelt Democrats who loathed Hitler and Henry Ford equally. it would be grossly unfair, and, may i say it, “unAmerican” to accuse them of being Nazi sympathizers or even rightists/illiberals!
            Many Americans, as you know, go to the Church which is closest to where they live, and if they move, they change churches like they change their sox. I might say, rather, that the Obamas seem to be not necessarily religious, but insofar as they are religious, they are Christians as much as most of my neighbors wherever I’ve lived.a Perhaps they’re like so many American couples that decide that it’s a good thing” for the children” to be brought up going to sunday school and church, so we’ll go until they’re grown up. Then they can make up their own minds….
            Socialist Black Supremacists! Get serious!

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            • Isa Almisry says:

              Your grace, as Dukakis was married to a Jewess by a Unitarian Minister, and sired only unbaptized children, he wasn’t Orthodox.

              As for Hussain, according to Muslim law he’s Muslim, the same way Dukakis was in any way Greek Orthodox.

              He was “baptised” by Rev. Wright, but into what I don’t know. Not the Most Holy, Constubstantial, and Undivided Trinity of the Orthodox Church. He gave Rev. Wright his daughters to baptize into his creed.

              UCC, “Unitarians Considering Christ”? More like “Co-opting.”

              And no, it wasn’t the “church” next door. They had to go quite aways to get there. And they chose to go there.

              I also, Your Grace, don’t need “crackpots” to tell me a thing about Dear Leader: he lived up the street from me in Hyde Park, while I was at my Alma Mater, and I’ve been aware of State Senator “Present” from way back. As for his lack of job experience, that’s a self evident fact, increasingly distressingly so.

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  23. Breaking news on the OCA website:

    http://files.oca.org/aacs/2012-0906-v2-DELEGATE-HANDBOOK-17th.pdf

    suggests that Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation was, according to this document, “an unplanned development” (see 2. Introduction, page 5)

    This is in contraction to the resignation letter itself. Electing a new Metropolitan is apparently the only work of the council.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      LOH, these people are so full of themselves (I was going to use an expletive) that it’s impossible for them to ever get anything right.

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      • If Bishop Michael (and possibly others) REALLY didn’t know (or request) Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation, why didn’t they reject it when they received it? Didn’t they have the canonical right and authority to do that? Fr. Jillions very presence while there makes it appear (to me at least) that he was sent to do the will of the entire synod. So, what is so “unplanned” about the resignation? Maybe what was unplanned was the reaction of the general population?

        Also, and I am surprised that no one else has mentioned this in terms of double standards yet…why was Bishop Mathias allowed to make a statement on His own behalf but Metropolitan Jonah not?

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    • phil r. upp says:

      Let’s hope the photos never come out.

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    • They keep lying because it is a culture of deception that is so ingrained in the OCA that “black is white and white is black.”

      The fact that Bp. Michael went around the FOCA Convention in Myrtle Beach and told people that “I had no idea that Met. Jonah was going to resign” is just another sad example of that culture. He knew full well what was going on. The bishops all agreed to call of his resignation. The message delivered by Jillions was, remember it……….”it was the unanimous will of the synod that +Jonah resign.” So is +Michael a part of the synod or not? He can’t have it both ways although he would like it as he maneuvers to wear the white hat.

      All the OCA wants to do is sweep another of its stinky deeds under the rug and tell us to “move along there is nothing for you to see here.”

      Does it really matter who the synod elects as Metropolitan? They can have him I sure don’t have to kiss his hand.

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      • George Michalopulos says:

        Niko, for what it’s worth, I’m not so sure that Bp Michael “went around telling people” that he “had no idea that Met Jonah was going to resign.” The only person we’ve heard this from is somebody named “NJ” who claims to have been at Myrtle Beach and that he actually heard Michael say that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible that Michael said it but I’d like to hear more concrete confirmation from other sources.

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  24. Archpriest John W. Morris says:

    The Antiohcian Archdiocese is not controlled by foreign bishops who impose their will on us. We have self-rule status and control our own internal affairs. We elect our bishops here in America. Only the Metropolitan is elected by the Holy Synod of Antioch, even then we submit the names of the candidates we approve for the office. We have some Bishops who are immigrants, but America is a nation of immigrants. We are all descended from immigrants no matter how long our family has been here. Even the Native Americans originally came from Asia. I have never felt discriminated against by our Metropolitan or any other Antiochian bishop because I was born and raised in Oklahoma. There is no place for American or Anglo-Saxon chauvinism in the Church. I find the anti-foreigner attitude in some of the posts that I read on this blog very disturbing.

    Fr. John W. Morris

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    • Clare Voyant says:

      No. You have ONE immigrant bishop who imposes his will on you.

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    • Fr. Ambrose says:

      Hear, hear!

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        Your anti immigrant attitude is un Christian. What difference does it make where a Bishop is born? Despite what you may think, Metropolitan Philip is not a tyrant. The problem is that his critics do not really know him or have had the privilege of having a personal one on one conversation with him. I have never spoken with anyone who has his ability to make you feel that he listens to every word you say and that he values your opinion like Metropolitan Philip. He is decisive, but an effective leader must be decisive.

        Fr. John W. Morris

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    • phil r. upp says:

      Fr. John,

      Your defense of the Antiochian Archdiocese is admirable and clearly shows you have truly drank the kool-aid. Behind closed doors in Englewood, those priests from the old country or of Arab background have first place status. Please don’t think different. Consider the Nassar family and Joe Antypas in Detroit as example. All converts are relegated to 2nd place. Now, there is a need for priests to be in primo parishes and then there is a need for priests in a secondary or third place parish. With more & more Arabs coming to the U.S. now, this will continue. + Joseph will be the next Met. and self-ruled, shmelf-ruled, all bishops are consecrated by the old country patriarch and synod in the Mideast. Yes, Met. Philip has control over them with his money, but he has virtually set himself up as “Godfather of the Arabs.” At least any cleric serving in the OCA for 20 years can be assured of a pension set by objective standards. With the Antiochians, if + Philip doesn’t like you, you may not get a pension or one severely reduced. Hey, ask + Philip why he supported Saddam 100% or Assad. Could it be because he emulated them in their dictatorial, all-powerful, autocratic style?

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      • Priest Justin Frederick says:

        Probably he supported Saddam and Assad because they protected the Christians in their lands, unlike our interfering American government, which has allowed Christians to be purged from their native lands in the name of bringing democracy and freedom to the Middle East.

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      • ” Self -ruled” means self ruled by Met. Phillip..everyone knows that..your denial frightens me..come to St.George Antiohian Church here in Jacksonville and see how they treat non-Arabs…the parish is known as “Ramallah West”..the GOA parish uses more english thats saying something knowing the curse of hellenism in the GOA

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

          Why should not a parish made up mostly of immigrants whose native language is Arabic not use Arabic? The tradition of the Orthodox Church is to use the language of the people. In some parishes in America that language is not English. That means that the priest in such a parish must use the language of his people. Using a foreign language is only wrong if a bishop instructs a priest to use a foreign language for the sake of preserving an ethnic culture in a parish of English speaking people. That does not happen in the Antiochian Archdiocese. The purpose of the Church is to save people not Americanize them. I once served at St. Nicholas OCA Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Liturgy was at least 1/2 in Old Church Slavonic, so even the OCA has to meet the needs of immigrants.

          Fr. John W. Morris

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          • George Michalopulos says:

            But Fr, that’s usually the case. I’ve been in too many GOA parishes in which 98% of the people speak no Greek but because there are two grannies that show up the flow of Matins is stopped midstream to swith to Greek. The sentiment is right but the intent is self-serving.

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            • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              I thought that I made it clear that although I recognize the necessity of using a foreign language to meet the needs of Immigrants, I do not approve with using a foreign language solely for the purpose of preserving a foreign ethnic heritage. We do not do that in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Even His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV lectured the clergy on the importance of using English. He told us, “we are not her to preserve Arabism, we are here to be Orthodox Christians.” I have seen two Patriarch of Antioch serve in English. I wonder how many other Orthodox Patriarchs serve in English when they come to the United States?

              Fr. John W. Morris

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      • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

        Do not kid yourself, I have seen plenty of converts in the OCA who try to be more Russian than the Russians. You can use all English and still have your heart in 19th century Russia. The fact is that many of the largest parishes have many immigrants and require an Arabic speaking priest. They are changing the pension system to more modern standards. It was originally set up so that those receiving it would not have to pay taxes on the income. As far as income, I have seen plenty of OCA priests who receive almost no salary or benefits. I would rather be under the jurisdiction of a distant Patriarch who does not involve himself in the internal administration of our archdiocese than what appears to be an entrenched self-serving group of over paid bureaucrats. ears, Given what has happened in the OCA during the past few years, if I were OCA, I would be very reluctant to criticize the administration of any other Orthodox jurisdiction in America. Most Christians in Syria support Assad because he prevented the Muslim majority from persecuting Christians. Majority rule is not democratic if the majority believes in a legal system like Sharia that treats the minority as second class citizens. Islam is a brutal religion that believes Muslims have a God given right to persecute non-Muslims.

        Fr. John Morris

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        • Archpriest John W. Morris says, “Islam is a brutal religion that believes Muslims have a God given right to persecute non-Muslims.” I’m tempted to say that this applies equally to Judaism as practiced on the West Bank. But i’d rather point out that Archpriest John W. Morris’s declaration is true not only of Islam and Judaism, but also of Christianity. The armies of a Christian “nation” or state can be every bit as brutal as any Islamic armies. One may search all over Spain to find any remnants of Islam there in that once Islamic-ruled land, in which Jews and Christians prospered and flourished alongside Muslims, while when the Christian hordes of Western Europe overran the lands in what they called reconquista, Jews and Muslims were brutally given the choice of be baptized or choose between death and deportation.
          On the other hand, the Jewish community in Iran, rather, the Islamic Republic of Iran, that has existed there for thousands of years is still there. There are still, I believe, thirteen synagogues in Tehran and they have their own elected representative in the Majlis or parliament of the Islamic republic. The ancient Assyrian as well as the Armenian communities as well, exist since Roman and Sassanid times–the Assyrian Christians concentrated mainly in the northwest, and the Armenians mostly in the larger cities. Zoroastrian communities as well survive, even though they are not “peoples of the book.,” but they have the priviileges of the same. By the end of the twentieth century, there were still eleven million Coptic Christians and around a million Greek Christians in Egypt surviving for as long as the Church of Rome in Italy. in modern times, the greatest blow to the Greek Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire was the Fall of the Islamic Sultan and theDISestablishment of the MUSLIM religious establishment there, resulting in the closure of countless monasteries and the main seminary. For centuries after the Islamic (i.e., Arabic) conquests in Egypt and Asia Minor, the main merchants, bankers and government bureaucrats were often Melkites or Orthodox, Maronites, Copts, Maronites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Jacobites… One may quote this or that Muslim fanatic or this or that verse of the Qur’an, but, as a Campbellite Christian might say, “It is deeds, not creeds that are important.” Where are the Muslims of Spain and Sicily? Does Archpriest John W. Morris wish to inform the Arabic Christians in Dearborn, Michigan, and elsewhere that President Assad is an adherent of a brutal religion that persecutes Christians? Are they petitioning the U.S. Government to get rid of that Muslim president in Syria? As far as “God-given rights” go, did God give the Christian United States the right to invade and conquer Iraq in retaliation for the Saudi-Arabs’attack on the World Trade Center towers?

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          • George Michalopulos says:

            Your Grace, Fr Morris’ point is true re Islam (and Judaism) qua Islam (and Talmudic Judaism). The “infidels” or the goyim have no intrinsic rights within these respective religions. Islam is actually better in this regard because when an infidel professes the Shahada (confession of faith) he is no longer an infidel, whereas a gentile will always be a gentile. )The only way out of a gentile is to marry a Jewish woman and sire Jewish children on her.) I’m guessing here but this type of behavior towards “out” groups seems to be an evolutionary characteristic of the Semitic peoples.

            So, while Christian armies can and have been brutal, it was not driven by a Christian or theological imperative.

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            • I’ll stick by the evidence i provided above to support my viewpoint until or unless I find evidence contrary to it. Infidels have prospered mightily in the Emirates, Caliphates, Sultanates, and even the islamic Republic of Iran, for centuries. The Armenians and the Copts and the jews acquired their well-deserved reputations for the accumulation of immense wealth under Muslim, not Christian rule.
              Anyone who bases their estimation of religions by their books, even a book-dominated religion like islam or Protestant Christianity down South, is missing an awful lot. All these quotations!!!
              All my examples were of what actually went on and goes on, while the only replies so far have been to oppose the facts by quoting Islamic scripture, as if Western enemies of Islam take the Qor’an more seriously than Muslims do, and as if the interpretation of Scripture for Muslims is one iota less fraught than the interpretation of Scripture for Muslims.

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              • George Michalopulos says:

                Yes, Your Grace, but only under the “sufference” of the Muslims. Once “infidels” get too rich, they get kicked out. My grandmother was raised in Alexandria after her native island was given to the Turks in 1923. She was sent to be raised by her uncles and her grandmother. They lived in the Greek colony in Alexandria and were prosperous brewers. That all ended when Gamel Abdel Nasser took over and kicked all the “foreigners” out and confiscated their properties.

                This is happening all over the Islamic world. Sixty years ago, Baghdad was at least 30% Jewish and had a world-renowned symphony orchestra. Now there are just eight (8) Jews left in Baghdad. Of course most hied to Israel but the point remains.

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                • Muslims and Jews were not allowed to EXIST in Christian Spain, and the Christians didn’t have any Qor’an” to guide them, only the Bible.
                  Please explain why Christian control of Spain differed so fundamentally and dramatically from Muslim control of Spain which preceded it, ESPECIALLY since the Muslims of Spain had the same “Qor’an” as Assad, Nasser, and Khomeini.had.

                  Of course, you don’t HAVE to address this. I mean if one is going to attribute the centuries-long prosperity of some Greeks in Alexandria to some kind of anomaly, only corrected by that great islamist and Muslim Imam, Nassar, finally putting the Qor’an into effect!

                  Do you not know that the extremely devout Sha Muslims consider the Sunni Muslims to be infidels, and vice versa? A devout Iranian Shia Muslim considers t