Just what do we know? What can be proven? Let’s enumerate them one by one:
1. Mark Stokoe generated an e-mail to several possible conspirators describing a plan of action to entrap +Jonah and get rid of him. Four of the recipients of this e-mail were bishops.
2. This e-mail was sent before the Holy Synod met in Santa Fe.
3. Romfea.gr reported before the end of the meeting in Santa Fe that +Jonah had “resigned” as Primate of the OCA. This was even before the OCA put out its own press release, which indicated only that +Jonah had requested a “leave of absence” or a “retreat.”
4. This e-mail was leaked by one of the recipients to retired Bishop +Tikhon FitzGerald, who subsequently leaked it to the Blogosphere.
1. HB shut down the servers and/or some personal computers in Syosset upon hearing about the plot against him.
2. Fr Alexander Garklavs, the Chancellor of the OCA, was in some way part of this conspiracy. +Jonah fired him, but he fought back, stating that he reported only to the Holy Synod. In the interim, the Holy Synod upheld Garklav’s firing and “accepted his resignation,” then informed him two days later that they had done so.
3. Incriminating information about the conspirators came to Fr Joseph Fester’s possession, which he described the outlines of in a long letter posted on www.ocatruth.com. Since then, several of his points have been confirmed. (For example, Fester made an allegation about possible criminality on Garklav’s part which has subsequently been borne out [see point #7 below]).
4. A ferocious counter-assault against the conspirators has come to fruition, led by ocatruth.com, which brings forward new allegations of possible criminality and/or actionable actions, almost on a daily basis.
5. Fr Ted Bobosh, a luminary on the Metropolitan Council has clearly stated that he does not believe in traditional morality as described by the Orthodox Church.
6. Mark Stokoe, the apparent ringleader of this conspiracy, is extremely problematic on several fronts:
a. as a blogger, his position on the Metropolitan Council presents a clear conflict of interest.
b. he is serving on the Metropolitan Council and has been for several years, all the while living in contradiction to the moral teachings of the Orthodox Church.
c. In a recent internet posting on his blog he has admitted that he has intimidated previous Metropolitans in the past and he has no intention of stopping. He went on to further explain that he was in a unique position to continue his intimadation because his knowledge is directly threatening to several powerful people.
d. Stokoe has admitted that he disdains +Jonah’s “unilateral” way of doing things on the cultural front, especially on those issues which are in contrast to his own stated positions and/or lifestyle.
7. In another leaked e-mail (also by retired Bishop +Tikhon), Faith Skordinski, a civil service worker who also serves on the Metropolitan Council, got a legal opinion from government attorneys in her office regarding the actions of Fr Garklavs. The upshot of this opinion is that Garklavs (the recently fired Chancellor of the OCA) ran a very real risk of legal action because it looked like he was tampering with official documents, specifically the SMPAC report, which deals with sexual misconduct. It was alleged by Skordinski that Garklavs did so in order to make +Jonah look worse than the facts as actually reported. (Interestingly enough, it appears that the conspirators are attempting to throw Skordinski under the bus, by leaking out information about her own canonical standing and whether she is fit to serve on the Metropolitan Council [of which more later].)
8. Fr Thomas Hopko, a respected clergyman, released a letter in which he stated that +Jonah was “gravely troubled,” and that Stokoe’s website was completely correct in all the particulars.
1. Upon the suggestion of one or more of the parties involved, the Russian Orthodox Church sent its head of the Department of External Relations, Metropolitan +Hilarion Alfeyev, to counsel and advise the Holy Synod. According to reports from both sides, he made it clear that there was nothing actionable against +Jonah which warranted his removal but that HB should seek to operate in a more conciliar fashion.
2. According to reliable reports, Moscow has made it clear that the autocephaly of the OCA is not in issue here. However the canonical standing of any bishop who acts to removed +Jonah will be called into question. This would include their dioceses and any parishes that chose to align themselves with any clearly uncanonical act.
None of the above is speculation. All have been documented as fact. What can be deduced from all this is that several people who are antagonistic to HB are acting in complete bad faith and in a conspiratorial way.