Today marks the one week anniversary of the Jonah ambush. A week ago today, His Beatitude was blind-sided by his loving brothers who dispensed their brotherly concern by telling him to quit or face suspension and deposition and that his pay will be stopped that same day.
Suspended for what? Deposed for what? Cut off from pay for what? Well we don’t know because we are not suppose to know, its too secret. Under the cover of synod conference calls, executive session MC meetings we are told to just accept their word that all is well. Those in the OCA administration have it all under control. Move along now, nothing to see here. That the events of one week ago today were nothing more than a spontaneous combustion at the lesser synod which just happened to consume only one member, His Beatitude.
What Do We Know?
Since then we do know a few things for sure. The OCA Chancellor went to DC on last Friday and Sunday. On Friday he stood over His Beatitude, a broken and dazed human being, making sure that the pen in his wavering hand hit the resignation paper to seal his fate.
Since then we know that the synod fanned out to inform the clergy of their respective dioceses with a boiler-plate letter explaining neither why they did what they did nor the nature of the accusations against Jonah. All we know is that they did it to “protect the Church.” We can only conclude that we needed to be protected from Jonah.
Since then we know that the OCA Crisis Management Team was activated to control the message and damage resulting from the “voluntary” resignation of His Beatitude. We also know that he is no longer to be called, His Beatitude, but only His Eminence. We also know that he is barred from stepping foot inside his own (former) Cathedral. One can conclude that if he did, he would be embraced by his flock in a sign of support and love. No, no, we can’t have any of that going on in the OCA, can we?
Since then we know that His Beatitude will only be paid through or until October. No provisions are made for where he will live, nor how he will care for his family. It’s pathetic; the exact opposite of a Christian witness. Who in their right mind would want to join a “Christian” Church that treated one of its own this way? His subscription expires in October and that’s that. The OCA owes him nothing else. All he gets from the OCA is the title Former Archbishop of Washington and Former Metropolitan of All America and Canada. Basically under house arrest on Edmunds Avenue in the District.
Since then we also know that the Metropolitan Council met on Tuesday eveving to finally the plans. That is about all we know. Can’t really know for sure because the doings of the Metropolitan Council are too important for the little people. Did the party line, the prearranged story the MC was expected to rubber stamp not go down so easily? No one really knows, only they know, and they are sworn to secrecy in the new open, transparent and accountable OCA. Probably because of “legal concerns.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. But we will trust them that they do so for the good of the Church, at least the financial good of the Church and for their collective legal assets.
Starting the Spin
Since then we know from those who have gone on the record: Mark Stokoe to the Chicago Tribune, Jonah was removed because he did not follow proper procedures. From Leonid Kishkovsky: Jonah, ruined our relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, the proof being that Jonah was never invited to Constantinople, even though Kishkovsky worked “tirelessly” to arrange a meeting. Ever since Dallas, we are told by Kishkovsky, it was impossible and although most of us have long forgotten that event, Kishkovsky never did and I am sure he reminded people from here to Moscow and all points around the world about that speech.
But we also know that as late as two weeks ago Jonah travelled to England, with the blessing of Constantinople, visited the EP monastery in Essex and then Met. Kallistos Ware came to the USA and concelebrated with Jonah in his Primatial Cathedral in DC. That sure sounds like bad blood between Bartholomew and Jonah if you ask me [cough, cough]. Maybe our relations were not as bad as reported by Kishkovsky. Maybe Constantinople was sending a signal of an olive branch to the OCA with their gracious and generous gesture. Maybe that gesture was too much for those desiring to keep frozen the relations of the OCA and Constantinople since the Dallas speech.
We can conclude that since Jonah went to England and Met. Kallilstos came to DC, events unfolded quickly. The cancellation of the nominations for a new bishop in the South was our first real indication that something big was about to happen followed in short order by the scheduled Lesser Synod meeting, one week ago today.
What We Still Don’t Know
Our Metropolitan was unceremoniously shown the door a week ago today and we still don’t know why. We still don’t know the nature of the accusations surrounding his departure. We do know that a one-sided story from the OCA has been given to us, but not the real story. Not the Executive Session Story. One week out there may be other stories, other facts, opposing facts to the official story. We also know that the “official” story has not gone down well with the faithful. It certainly doesn’t add up, pass the “smell test” as the modern colloquialism would have it. We know that Jonah can say nothing nor should he. But, others will, they always do.
And, as much as the bishops and the MC in secrecy try to clamp down, the truth always comes out. It’s inevitable. The harder one tries to cover up the real story, the more people will push for the truth. The more a story is spun to justify an action, the more that spin is challenged. The more they go after the messengers, the more you can be assured that people are getting closer to the truth.
Fr. John Jillions reassures us that there was no conspiracy. Sometimes it is very difficult to see things clearly, especially when you are inside the Syosset echo-chamber. To this point, all the information we have received from inside the Apparat has been for those inside it and not outside it. It has been designed to inform without informing and placate not educate. On July 11 Fr. Jillions message to us was titled, “The Hidden Kingdom”, on July 6 “Dealing with Difficult People.”
And today, we are greeted with a glancing mention to the events one week ago today,“In the midst of changes at the top in the OCA, and all the administrative and communication ripples (waves?) that is causing, “normal” life continues as conferences are being planned and announced.” Yes, we must discern what is the wheat and what are the weeds as Fr. Jillions suggests using Christ as the barometer, that is nothing new, but what is new to us is that we are to be reassured that events go in the wake of the resignation of His Beatitude and as that event slowly descends off the front page of the OCA website, as if hardly anything happened, one week ago, today.