A New Day Dawning?

Credit: Heracleides

Credit: Heracleides

First of all, I want to thank everybody for the kind words regarding the recent passing of my father-in-law. The obituary I wrote didn’t do him justice. Fortunately, his eternal salvation is not dependent upon my foolish words. He stands before the True Judge who alone knows his faith and works. If I could prove to be one-half the man he was then I’ll be fortunate indeed.

This has been a busy month for me and my family. Before my father-in-law’s passing, my sons and I went on a much-needed vacation to the United Kingdom. I’m going to be writing my thoughts about the Sceptered Isle in due time (hopefully with pictures and commentary). For now, let me just say that it was a glorious time and I have a lifetime of memories.

Anyway, while I was away attending to personal business, we found out that the OCA has some real bishops. I truly believe that the tide has turned and the bullying that His Beatitude has been subjected is finally going to come to an end. The recent actions by Bishop +Matthias show us the way a real bishop acts when the Gospel in his diocese is threatened. It gives me hope at least for the future of the OCA.

Are there going to be repercussions? Probably. For one thing, I don’t think that true administrative unity is going to happen anytime soon. Why do I say this? Because His Grace lanced the boil of “tolerance” and put an end to game-playing. He acted like a real bishop, something we haven’t been used to for a long time. Let me be plain: I don’t think that real unity can happen with the current crop of GOA “metropolitans.” For this, we should be thankful. Instead, we shall probably see ROCOR, the MP parishes, and the Antiochians seek ways to unite with the OCA. They’ve never been subjected to the Tyranny of Tolerance and now we in the OCA don’t have to either. On a certain level it pains me to see unification delayed for another generation but that’s OK. Many of us have long suspected that the entire Episcopal Assembly regime was nothing but a ruse by Istanbul to bring the American Church under its stranglehold. And we know that the present Phanariote regime –since at least the time of Meletius IV Metaxakis–has made its peace with the world.

Of course this is unfortunate but the loss of genuine creativity, the spiritual lethargy, and continued gamesmanship that presently characterizes the GOA since the repose of +Iakovos Coucouzis is plain to see. Of this, we’ll write more later. For now, we can say that until the largest of the jurisdictions puts their house in order, any unity would be half-hearted and doomed to fail. After all, we cannot forget that the persecution that is going to be visited on our Church will come from those who despise Tradition and speak in the name of Tolerance. We cannot have a Holy Synod that upholds immorality on the one hand and Orthopraxy on the other. “Dialogue” will always result in the expulsion of the resolute as we can see in the example of the Episcopalian Church. For now we can be glad that the Traditionalist vision of +Jonah appears to be prevailing in the OCA. It’s a start for a true American Orthodoxy and for this we can be thankful. But much more needs to be done.

We must remember that what started this unpleasant turn of events was the genuinely criminal, unethical, and immoral actions that Stokoe’s conspirators took in their attempt to remove a genuinely good man as Primate of our Church. For this we can’t blame OCANews alone. The first e-mail which detailed this illicit coup was written by Stokoe to three priests who chose not to repudiate its sinful intent upon its exposure. They must now give an account of their actions. Then there was the Chancellor of the Church, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to undermine His Beatitude. In this he was enabled by the Bishop of Pittsburgh who surreptitiously took over as Acting Chancellor and continued to keep this priest in place even though he was fired by the Holy Synod. Indeed, the entire central Chancery seems to have been complicit in one way or another. In addition, one of the bishops broke synodal confidentiality when he leaked +Jonah’s speech to OCANews. He must be identified and made to answer for his unethical and uncanonical behavior. Nor can we forget Bp Mark Maymon, who hacked into a former employee’s private e-mail account and gave the entire contents to OCANews, divulging private confidences between Fr Joseph Fester and several of his spiritual children.

The above are all ethically compromised men. Perhaps by corporate standards some may even be guilty of crimes. We’ll leave that to the lawyers. But what of Frs. Hopko and Oleksa, both of whom upheld the supposed veracity of OCANews? Fr Hopko himself did far worse when he all but branded the Metropolitan as clinically insane. Nothing criminal here but certainly unChristian acts unbecoming priests of God. Then there were certain priests who took the side of OCANews on this website. What do they have to say now?

As for OCANews I don’t believe that it will go quietly into that good night. Far from it. Let me interject here one more time that I cared not a whit for the alleged personal life of Mark Stokoe. (Although I must say that I am genuinely surprised to the extent that he became the focus of this entire scandal rather than +Jonah.) I can’t judge him because I am the chief of sinners. What I could judge was the clear conflict of interest that Stokoe exhibited by being both an anti-+Jonah jihadist and an administrator of the Church as well as the personal wreckage that he perpetrated on people who ran afoul of him. It is quite possible that by his actions he has set in motion the demolition of the entire Metropolitan Council but that’s a story for another day. In any event, we can all be grateful to Fr Alexander Webster who in his detailed ethics complaint pointed out the glaringly obvious. I fervently believe that OCANews will now feel emboldened to continue its cause in pursuit of a liberal, Episcopalianized Orthodox Church. The difference is that now it will have all the cache and credibility of a certain other hysterical website propagated by a genuinely strange deviant.

Does Stokoe still have his partisans on the Metropolitan Council and dare I say it, the Holy Synod? To a certain extent yes; after all, he is not the only person in the Church who has pursued Tolerance. Frs Bobosh, Arida, and Vinogradsky have clearly accepted this apologetic and have written eloquently in its favor. And then of course there’s Inga Leonova’s strange little group of immature wannabes. That being said, I never really believed that there was an episcopal “Appaled Four” but I do think that there is a Deceitful Duo that continues to hate His Beatitude and will work at every turn against him. And if nothing else his claimed knowledge of the past (going all the way back to the early 1990s) certainly will make some people in Syosset sleep fitfully at night. Well, too bad for them. This is what happens when you lie down with dogs. (Again I ask: is it too much to ask that we have moral men in positions of leadership?)

As for +Jonah, he certainly made mistakes. He will probably continue to do so. After all, he’s a human being. But one thing he won’t do is seek revenge. I certainly don’t seek revenge, however justice is another thing altogether. The people who engaged in these unChristian, immoral, and unethical actions should be removed from office and allowed to work out their repentance after they have made restitution to the Church.


  1. igumen Gregory says

    Dear in Christ George,

    my deepest condolences on the falling asleep in Christ of your father in law. May his memory be eternal. i remembered him this morning at the Divine Liturgy. Glory to God who has raised up faithful stewards in His servants, Metropolitan Jonah, Bishop Michael, and Bishop Mathias. We are all in solidarity with them as they faithfully guide the Church of Christ through troubled waters. God bless you and others who support our Archpastors in service to Christ and His people.

    • George…very sorry for the loss of your father-in-law….May his memory be eternal..I hope your wife and family find comfort in the promise we have all be offered in Christ.

  2. Did you see that “letter from Orthodox young people”? It’s pathetic.

    • Helga,
      What “letter from Orthodox young people?”

      • It’s on the “Breaking the Silence” group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/listeningorthodox/doc/?id=256733684346483

        • The wife and I were discussing these issues yesterday in regards to what happened to the Episcopalians, ELCA Lutherans, & PCUSA…it always starts by “asking questions” which reminded me of the first one who “asked questions”: “Hasssss god TRULY ssssaid?”

      • Here’s the letter

        August 12, 2011 — Martyr Anicetus of Nicomedia

        To: Holy Synod of Bishops, Orthodox Church in America

        From: 15 Orthodox college students and young adults

        “Men and women with homosexual feelings and emotions are to be treated with the understanding, acceptance, love, justice and mercy due to all human beings.”

        — 1992 Synodal Affirmations On Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life, Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America

        Your Beatitude, Your Eminence, Your Graces,

        Though our Lord never condoned sin, He nonetheless ministered to the most vulnerable and marginal, reserving His public condemnations for those who victimized them. As Orthodox college students and young adults, we are writing to express our grave concerns about the state of public Orthodox discourse on a highly sensitive pastoral issue that especially affects young people in our Church. In the wake of a string of suicides by American students persecuted for their homosexuality — a tragic trend which has not left our Church untouched — our consciences do not permit us to ignore the language of revilement directed by some in the Church towards gay people.

        On public and easily accessible Internet postings, Orthodox clergymen — including OCA priests — repeat disgusting and discredited theories about the etiology of same-sex attraction ; liken gay people to “old perverted men who love little boys” ; tell Orthodox Christians that homosexuality “should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit” ; call for “spiritual warfare” against those in the Church who advocate a more restrained pastoral approach ; and accuse those who speak up for gay people of being “homosexual activists,” publicly expressing hope that they will leave the Orthodox faith .

        Words like this can inflict grave spiritual harm, as some of us know from personal experience. Fortunately, many Orthodox Christians who struggle to acknowledge, understand, and deal with homosexual feelings are blessed to encounter wise priests and laypeople who do not resort to abstract moral formulas but counsel them as individual persons. Such an approach was endorsed, we believe, by the Holy Synod’s 1992 affirmations. This is why we find the recent adoption by some in the Orthodox Church of overheated and destructive language from the current secular “culture wars” to be a dangerous departure from Orthodox pastoral tradition.

        We disagree with those who favor rhetorical scapegoating of gay people in order for the Church to be “relevant” in the face of recent social and legal changes. It is certainly not our purpose to advocate for “homosexual rights” (none of us has a “right” to salvation), to question Orthodox doctrine, or to justify sinful behavior. Nevertheless, we cannot accept that the only alternative is purging the Church of gay people who, like the rest of us, are endeavoring to live the most godly life they are able to under the guidance of a spiritual advisor. Many for whom these issues are a daily reality are also integral members of our parishes, and their absence would do injury to the Body of Christ.

        Modern society is replete with harmful ideologies and practices, including affirmations of debauchery and licentiousness as well as vilifications of virginity, marriage, and monogamy. In order for the Orthodox Church to be an effective voice calling the modern world to repentance, should we not speak first with love and moderation, and be willing to listen and learn as well as condemn? Absent this attitude, we fear that many young people will simply stop paying attention to Orthodox Christian moral witness at all.

        Our faith compels us to undertake an earnest search for what is true and right, under the guidance of our hierarchs, theologians, and pastors. We implore you to help nurture a spirit of respectful, loving discourse about this issue on the Internet and in our dioceses.

        In Christ,

        Philip Abrahamson

        Fordham University

        Hilary Baboukis

        Columbia University

        Joy Bartlett

        Creston, British Columbia

        Alexis Boyd

        George Washington University

        Maria Christodoulou

        Washington, D.C.

        Joseph Clarke

        Yale University

        Matthew Gates

        Cornell University

        Kyriaki Anna Green

        Columbia University

        Edward-Seraphim Lacarte

        Creston, British Columbia

        Kyra Powell

        Ryerson University

        Savannah Powell

        Oregon State University

        Natalie Sieglinde Stadnick

        Duke University

        Georgina Jones Suzuki

        Boston University

        Stephanie E. Wever

        Drexel University

        Nicholas Sivulka Wheeler

        University of Toronto

        • If I summarized this letter, the arguments would look something like this:
          Paragraph 1
          “Many homosexual college students kill themselves, and we imply that the reason is because the Church’s public discourse on the subject of homosexuality.”
          Paragraph 2
          “Bad things are said about homosexuals, here’s the proof.” (In the original, web site links are provided to the various comments.)
          Paragraph 3
          “These words cause spiritual damage.”
          Paragraph 4
          “The Church is using “rhetorical scapegoating” and is attempting to “purge(ing) the Church of gay people .”
          Paragraph 5
          “Heterosexuals do bad things too.”
          Paragraph 6
          “The Synod should support continuing respectful dialog with respect to this topic.”

          Attempting to apply some critical thinking to this letter, it seems that huge assumptions are made, and on that foundation, conclusions are constructed that are, at best, built upon sand, and at worst, built upon thin air.

          The first paragraph asserts that students commit suicide because they are “persecuted” for their homosexuality. The suicide and the homosexuality may be facts, but nothing here proves that persecution occurred in these cases, much less caused a suicide. Many other reasons, like alcoholism, drug use, and other high risk behaviors often accompany the lifestyle, and are well documented to be contributing factors to suicides. And what about the pressures exerted by the gay community on people who are struggling with this temptation? Think back on how many political figures that have been “outed”, humiliated, and forced into resignation……….by militant gay groups.

          On the assumption that these individuals were all persecuted and this persecution caused the suicides, we now build that assumption that the Church is doing the persecuting. Therefore, the Church is causing suicides and other spiritual damage. See how the assumptions build, one upon the other? And pulling quotes from a few individuals, the writer blankets the entire Church with the label of ‘persecutor’. See how slick that is? I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if the quotes, in context, actually prove that even these individuals are doing any persecuting.

          Now despite the 1992 Synodal document from which the writer quotes, then promptly ignores, we find the interesting straw man choice of either homosexual rights or the purging of gays from the Church. Those are not the only choices, and this has been thoroughly and eloquently discussed by the Metropolitan and the bishops in recent letters. Given those clear positions set forth by the hierarchs, what would the signers of this letter have the Synod do? Listen and learn? Speak with love and moderation? Both directives assert, disregarding evidence to the contrary, that the Church leadership is doing none of these things.

          Since none the the evidence presented as representing the Church implicates the Synod, it seems that the signers would like the Synod to get the offenders quoted in paragraph two to shut up. So how does that work? Is that part of listening and learning or part of speaking with love in moderation?

          Paragraph 5 is a classic ad hominem attack. The final line is most interesting. “If you do not open a dialog, young people will stop listening to the Orthodox faith’s moral witness.” So does this mean that the morality espoused by the Church needs change to match the popular culture/make it more palatable to sinners?

          The Church position on homosexual behavior is that is is sinful and requires repentance. Period. The Church’s policy, while a hard and narrow path, still illustrates compassion and exemplifies that the Church is a hospital treating those sick and wounded by sin.

          To me, the complicating issue is this: I am terribly sinful, but for me, sin is something I do, not something that I am. When I so identify myself with my sin, that I see no space between it and my soul, there I would find the seeds of despair. I am the sin, then, and there is no escape. So the only solution would be to quiet the cognitive dissonance in my head by rationalizing, justifying, in short, making my sin not a sin.

          I would assert, without proof, not being homosexual, that this total identification with the sin, coupled with the culture’s acceptance/celebration of the lifestyle creates a terrible conundrum for those finding themselves beguiled by this activity.

          Being “called out” regarding one’s sin is never pleasant. The sinner, not yet repentant, often reacts poorly, even violently, as the coming feast of St. John the Baptist reminds us. So I guess a letter from 15 young people is preferable to a head on a platter.

          • Give the students a break and let them have their idealism. Eventually, they’ll become older like the rest of us and learn to be cynical, judgmental, and sanctimonious like the rest of us.

            • I’m an OCA member under 35, so I fit their overt criteria for signing the letter. I hope people will actually bother to check those links, because not a single one of their accusations holds up to scrutiny. I’ve got a post in the moderation queue that goes into this in excruciating detail.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Logan, I hardly consider someone trying to upholding tradition to make one “cynical,” etc. I guess that’s your way of justifying their embrace of illogic: they’re young and idealist unlike icky rednecks like me.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Logan writes;

              “Give the students a break and let them have their idealism. Eventually, they’ll become older like the rest of us and learn to be cynical, judgmental, and sanctimonious like the rest of us.”

              I am not sure who “us” is, but I found the students’ letter cynical, judgmental, and sanctimonious.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                The real concern is that young Orthodox people actually wrote this. I also can tell you that at youth gatherings at my local church these attitudes abound and with much more force than what is present in this letter.

                The issue is not really homosexuality, but that religion is completely irrelevant to most young people, and if they have use for the Church it’s as a vehicle for social change and justice. In effect it’s the Fr. Phlager effect, Fr. Reardon did I spell his name right?

                Fr. Phlager is a Roman Catholic priest here in Chicago that is all about social justice and ending all forms of racism. Although in theory this sounds good, it’s just another social gospel being pushed with all deletion of Jesus Christ and the saving power of the Gospel. You never hear the Gospel coming from his mouth, just that justice must be had for all disadvantaged inner city people.

                However, when you hear the various Black Church preachers they protect and defend their flock, but I always hear the Gospel and the name of Jesus coming from them. Yet St. Sabina’s gets most of the media coverage and The New Apostolic Spirit Filled Church gets very little air time.

                So what is the Church? Is it just a vehicle to effect social change and justice, or is the Church the Ark of Salvation? The youth of today see the Church as the former not the latter. Prayer is definitely needed and needed in mass quantities along with a deeper understanding of the Divine Liturgy.

                PS Instead of Bible Study we should have The Study of the Divine Liturgy. Once we, and our young people realize that we are to be engaged in Worship of the One True God, and what means and what this require of us silly letters like the above will become the thing of the past, but that’s just my two cents.


                • Father Phlager is a liberation theology ideologue who was suspended in May of this year after refusing to leave St. Sabina’s in obedience to his archbishop. His message really has little to do with Christ, or the Gospels, as you say. He is much more invested in the politics of race in the mold of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton than in anything the Roman church teaches. His suspension prior to the one in May was over some inappropriate remarks about Hillary Clinton, of Park Ridge Illinois.

                  I pray this is not the alternative that will make Orthodoxy and Christianity relevant to young people. If you’ve ever actually read any liberation theology, the word heresy comes to mind.

                  The “social” Gospel has limited utility if it consists of “the Government ought to….” Rather we need be occupied with what we need to be doing. Rather than directing others, disciplining my own passions is rather a full time job.

                  But of course, I’m not idealistic like the 15 signers. I’ m old enough to be cynical, judgmental, and sanctimonious.

                  And sarcastic, I guess.

                • It was Joseph Clarke who put the letter together. And as Ben says elsewhere in this thread, I’d be really cautious about attributing those attitudes to Orthodox young adults other than the ones who signed it. I fit their definition of “young adult”, and I sure as heck don’t agree with what they said.

                  All of the letter signers are guilty of the blatantly false accusations in the letter. Will the Synod react accordingly?

                  • Helga,

                    Please note that I indicated the 15 signers, not young people in general. The solution of calling a sin not a sin to attract young people is the assertion in the letter and in Peter’s post. My dearest friends in Orthodoxy are under that age, but would be scandalized if approached to support the talking points of this letter.

                    As far as the Synod, I do think we have to be careful that we do not attempt to mount an Inquisition – souls, including those souls currently mired in sin, or just in youthful “young ‘n dumb” idealism, must be treated pastorally, and I think, privately. We cannot and should not use this tremendous forum to condemn the person, but rather to shed light on the weakness of the arguments.

                    The bishops of the Synod, or better yet the priests within the parishes where these people reside, have the responsibility to council, admonish, and turn them towards the light. When this is done well, those hordes of us on the Internet need never know.

                    And this is the fine line that Vladyka Jonah must walk as well at St. Nicholas – and the size of the peanut gallery, both at the Cathedral and here online, makes the delicate task all the harder.

        • I wonder how many of these signatories are not really youth/young adults but single professional students between the ages of 30-45 who are living out a prolonged adolescence while pursuing advanced degrees with no discernable vocation or purpose in life.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            probably most of them. I also wonder if they’ve ever had real jobs and responsibilities.

            • Please be careful when equating the views of the “youth” with the views of these 15 students. I am their age and I strongly disagree with everything that they stand for. Contrary to popular opinion by those in the older generations, people in my generation (Gen Y) are, IMHO actually quite respectful to the authority of the Church and tend to be much more attracted to true forms of Christianity than many give them credit for. To back this up let me cite my parish’s growth. In the last 20 years there has been a steady stream of converts coming into the church as a result of a deep search for authentic Christianity. The vast majority of those have been young people under the age of 30, mostly juniors and seniors from the local university. Right now we have a catechism class of 30 people, 12 of whom are inquirers, 3 of whom have already been made formal catechumens. God is adding to our numbers every week it seems. Praise be to His Holy Name!

              Sure, are we a cautious generation, due to the bombardment of ideas that we have heard since our birth thanks to the But those of us who actually use our brains have seen our parents generation (generally the Baby Boomers) move from the angsty rebellion of the 1960s-1970s to the pop-culture wealth-and-comfort-is-all-that-there-is-to-live-for megachurches of the 1990s-2000s. We have seen how decadent and depraved the world has become under these ideologies. So don’t count us entirely out yet, just because some geniuses claim to be speaking for us. They do not, nor will they ever!

        • I’m going to call the signers the “Freshman Fifteen”, referencing college freshmen and the fact that there’s fifteen of them. 🙂 Here’s the second paragraph with the links to the purported abuses:

          On public and easily accessible Internet postings, Orthodox clergymen — including OCA priests — repeat disgusting and discredited theories about the etiology of same-sex attraction; liken gay people to “old perverted men who love little boys”; tell Orthodox Christians that homosexuality “should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit”; call for “spiritual warfare” against those in the Church who advocate a more restrained pastoral approach; and accuse those who speak up for gay people of being “homosexual activists,” publicly expressing hope that they will leave the Orthodox faith.

          What the Freshman Fifteen failed to notice, however, is that every single one of these descriptions misrepresents what was actually said.

          Fr. Josiah Trenham is quoted twice. I have heard some negative characterizations of his ministry, especially as it relates to marriage and family life. I think it would be fair to describe him as somewhat abrasive. However, none of that excuses his treatment by the Freshman Fifteen.

          They claim Fr. Josiah “liken[ed] gay people to ‘old perverted men who love little boys'”. In context, Fr. Josiah’s actual point was that the same arguments that favor acceptance of homosexual activity can be used by “old perverted men who love little boys”, that is, accepting the premises of those arguments could lead towards the justification of other sinful sexualities. The Freshman Fifteen fail to see or answer this legitimate point that Fr. Josiah makes.

          They claim Fr. Josiah “[told] Orthodox Christians that homosexuality ‘should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit’. In context, Fr. Josiah was describing our desensitization to sin through its influence on culture. I believe he was describing attempts to normalize homosexuality and depict it in romantic and domestic contexts. I remember a photo spread on Yahoo! that highlighted same-sex couples, the photo galleries published after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, and glowing articles written about celebrities who commit these kinds of sins: I’m thinking of Portia de Rossi and Ellen Degeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Lynch, Chastity Bono’s lesbianism and eventual surgical mutilation… plus movies like If These Walls Could Talk 2, The Kids Are Alright, Brokeback Mountain… the list goes on and on. What Fr. Josiah was trying to remind people is that these relationships are not godly or acceptable, despite the romanticized depiction, and to be aware of the repulsiveness of homosexual sex. It does not mean cultivating revulsion towards any person in and of themselves.

          As for Fr. Mark Hodges’s comment on this website, which is characterized as “repeat[ing] disgusting and discredited theories about the etiology of same-sex attraction”, the main thrust of Fr. Mark’s post is that homosexuality is not inborn, and that the willingness to act on those sexual desires is something learned. As far as I know, this has not been conclusively disproven at all. The Freshman Fifteen appear to be making a false claim of scientific consensus on the subject of same-sex attraction. We do know, however, that sometimes victims of childhood sexual abuse will sometimes feel impulses towards similar sexual activity, and perhaps this is what Fr. Mark was getting at.

          Fr. Alexander F.C. Webster is accused of “call[ing] for ‘spiritual warfare’ against those in the Church who advocate a more restrained pastoral approach”. This is flagrant misrepresentation of both Fr. Alexander and Fr. Alexis Vinogradov. Fr. Alexander said “[Fr. Alexis Vinogradov] has thrown down a gauntlet for all the Orthodox world to see, a public challenge to abandon ancient Christian verities under the guise of a ‘conversation.’ I, for one, am ready—and, I hope, able—to retrieve that gauntlet, brush aside the pseudo-dialogue, and engage in spiritual combat.” In other words, Fr. Alexander is not calling for spiritual warfare, he’s saying the “combat” has been precipitated by the words of Fr. Alexis (and by extension, Fr. Robert Arida), and therefore must be fought against. Furthermore, Fr. Alexis Vinogradov and Fr. Robert Arida were not advocating “a more restrained pastoral approach”, they were blatantly advocating a toleration of same-sex sexual relationships under the guise of a “pastoral approach”. There is nothing pastoral about condoning serious, ongoing sexual sin, much less condoning a false marriage. That is a terrible sin for a priest to commit, to deliberately lead his flock astray! It’s a shame, then, that the Freshman Fifteen do not recognize the pastoral abuse Fr. Alexander was responding to, they only castigate Fr. Alexander for calling the sin what it is and declaring that it must be repelled.

          It is not completely clear who the final accusation is referring to because the link is inaccurate (I fixed it), but my guess is that it refers to this statement by Fr. Johannes Jacobse:

          There is no need for “dialogue” with homosexual activists. The moral legitimacy of homosexual behavior is a closed question. It would be better if the Facebook group and their fellow-travelers used the moral tradition as their baseline rather than attempt to Episcopalianize the Orthodox Church. They are dragging the culture wars into the Church and won’t rest until it contravenes the moral tradition regarding homosexual behavior just as the Episcopalians have. My question to them: If you feel that strongly, why not join the Episcopalian Church?

          If this is in fact what the Freshman Fifteen were referring to, they claim this is an accusation that “those who speak up for gay people of being ‘homosexual activists,’ publicly expressing hope that they will leave the Orthodox faith”. The “Breaking the Silence” group does not “speak up for gay people”. It certainly does not speak for the gay people who are faithful Orthodox Christians, and utterly reject the heresy and ungodly hatred advocated in that group. The “Breaking the Silence” group advocates the blessing of sin, rebellion against the Church, and contempt for godly archpastors like Metropolitan Jonah, accusing him of abuse for daring to set forth Orthodox teaching. Furthermore, it seems to have attracted the most manifestly ignorant people in American Orthodoxy.

          Fr. Johannes asked the question, if they do not believe in Orthodox teaching, why do they continue to belong to the Orthodox Church? This is a legitimate question. (Certainly, none of them came to the defense of Rod Dreher when some people, yes, even fellow Orthodox, contemptuously said he should go back to being Roman Catholic, that he should “move on” to Sufism, and a number of other horrendously hateful things questioning his sincerity as an Orthodox Christian.) I, too, have wondered what compels someone to remain Orthodox when they have abandoned even the pretense of accepting the Church’s moral teachings. If one can’t accept the Church’s teachings relating to day-to-day life as true and God-inspired, why on earth would you accept that it’s right about the heady metaphysics? By their logic, I could start calling myself an Appalachian snake-handler, except I choose to be an Appalachian snake-handler who doesn’t handle snakes.

          The Freshman Fifteen appear to have been culled from the most worldly-minded, poorly-catechized young people who attend Orthodox churches in America. Having signed the letter, they are all responsible for what it says, so they have collectively borne false witness against these writers. I hope the Synod will read this for what it is, a cry for help, and a reflection of the deplorable state of how Orthodox teaching is imparted in their parishes.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Helga, I posted it, lemme know if you don’t see it.


            • Thanks, George!

            • Heracleides says

              Helga, both you and Trey have each done an outstanding job in revealing the content of Joseph Clarke’s “open letter” for what it really is (i.e. not much). Thank you.

              P.S. Joseph – Remedial Eng 102 for you next semester young man (just joking).

          • Thank you, Helga, Fr. John, Trey and others, for setting this letter in its proper context and exposing its fallacies. I agree we need to welcome all with love and be sensitive and kind to our brothers and sisters struggling with SSA, but false reasoning doesn’t correct the challenges we face in this area in the Church: rather it exacerbates them.

            Deacon Brian, your report is profoundly saddening to me, but does help to validate where those who now feel betrayed by this Metropolitan get their ammunition from. My conviction is that those in the Church struggling with SSA (or lack of action on issues of sexual abuse by clergy) need something better than this–that just as the truth is distorted where there is no love, so also love ceases to have meaning if truth is compromised. I’m open to hearing other perspectives–especially from some perhaps who have been helped to turn from their sin by this approach? Such a policy can keep some coming into the Church who otherwise might not, but at what cost? Surely, we can continue to attract others to the love of Christ by seeking them out, welcoming them to services and to church, and offering friendship, acceptance, support, a listening ear, and, where invited, counsel, without also allowing them to come to the Chalice if they do not yet embrace the Church’s teaching and the struggle it entails?

            My discernment is hugely imperfect, but I don’t see how the situation with the woman at St. Nicholas can be construed as anything other than equivocation as regards upholding the fullness of the Tradition and a gross stumbling block to the salvation of the woman in question as well as all who know of the situation. It makes me suspect His Beatitude is in delusion. Do you mean to tell us that the Metropolitan believes the Orthodox Church has been routinely communing unrepentant homosexuals and tacitly approving same-sex “marriage” for the last 1,000 years? If such is the case, I have to wonder wouldn’t we sinners be better off out of those institutions of the Church if this is what those institutions are teaching by their practices? It seems to me this is a very dicey road to tread.

            As I look back over my own life, I would have been better served if others in their counsel to me had kindly and lovingly, but firmly, more fully upheld the moral tradition of the Church in several areas. It would have been painful at the time, but would have prevented worse pain and poor decisions later. Coupled with the fullness of the Tradition it could have propelled me much more surely on the road to sanctity. I can’t help but wonder, how on earth does this help anyone to come into a true communion with Christ? The Metropolitan believes it is right to continue to commune someone blatantly and unrepentantly sinning because of the weakness of their faith (don’t those two things always go hand in hand together, by definition)? Maybe this is not only an acknowledgement of the weakness of the faith of some of those coming to the Chalice, but of the Metropolitan himself. I cannot help but wonder if it is the faith of the Metropolitan that is weak and that he is having trouble believing that the Tradition means what it says as regards to the path to spiritual wholeness in this area. How then will members of the flock believe it, and believing it, find it experientially to be true?

        • I heard the students are putting together a “strongly worded” letter that the condemnation of Arius by the Church was just way too harsh and that their mistreatment should be reconsidered in light on Arius’ feelings being hurt. The students close by demanding a call for opening a dialogue with misunderstood folks like Arius, Apollinarius, and Marcion.

          • Yes, and they want St. Nicholas laicized again and openly condemned for how he treated the poor, misunderstood, Arius.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Well, that puts things into perspective.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Maybe we can have two Churches. One the way they want it, however they want it, no holds barred. Anything goes. The other, the Church.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Jane, I was hoping that ECUSA would be that Church, but as much as I’d like to invite all the Liberals in our Church to join it, they won’t take the hint and leave. Is it possible that even they see what a joke ECUSA has become? If so, wouldn’t some introspection on their part be called for?

              Nah, let’s just Micky Mouse up the Orthodox Church.

              • Jane Rachel says

                During the Sacrament of Confession, at the end, after he has given them absolution, what do these priests say to sexually active, unmarried people who have no intention of stopping their activity? “Go and keep sinning?” “Don’t worry about it… Oikonomia covers all?” “Wink, wink”? Taking that point further, I suppose Jesus should have said, “Go and keep sinning… wink, wink…” to Mary Magdalene. Sigh.

              • Jim of Olym says

                George, ECUSA, or as they call themselves now, TEC, doesn’t have the pretty hymns and vibrant traditional liturgy that the Orthodox Church espouses. If only there were an Eastern Rite Ecopalian Church nearby, I’d gladly investigate it, but it wouldn’t turn out to be the ‘real thing’.

              • Jim of Olym says

                George, obviously you have never been an Episcopalian! They don’t have iconostases, they don’t have our revered service books, and they have organs and pews! why would any liberal Orthodox want to join them? they obviously don’t know how to worship ‘correctly’.

                • Once upon a time the Episcopalians had the revered Book of Common Prayer until 1979 basically. then it got rewritten.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Jim, I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I was ever Episcopalian. I don’t remember saying anything about them having icon-screens and I do know that they have pews and organs. You find the beauty where it is my take on things. That being said, my concern was not their liturgy but their embrace of apostasy.

                  My fear is exactly this: having lost the battle for morality I thought that at least they could serve as a dumping ground for our liberals. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t take the bait and instead are hell-bent on demolishing our Church.

                  As much as I detest organs and pews, I treasure fidelity to the Gospel more. Although I strongly doubt that a rigorously liturgical, architecturally sound Orthodox temple would not be stained with the idiocy of ECUSA, we can’t take that chance anymore. Remember, I came from the GOA where liturgy is lax, pews and organs abound, Confession is non-existent, the bishops are weak, etc. Essentially the Traditionalists’ worst nightmare.
                  I came into the OCA because it was almost the total opposite. Yet the Bleeding Hearts of Syosset as typified by the ABV-Axis of Weasel are waiting breathlessly for the day when they can marry Sodomist Sam and Sodomite Steve in Orthodox churches from coast to coast.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Without opening up a hornets nest the Ephraimite monasteries are turning the ties of laxity in the GOA. Hence their utter hatred by the modernists in the GOA. I am blessed to have Two Father Ephraimite monasteries here in my area. They are a true blessing. The woman’s Monastery of St. John Chrysostom in Plesent Prairie, WI is wonderful to go to as a family and just spend most of the day up there is just amazing and incredibly peaceful.

                    In fact, so many GOA faithful are so done with the modernism in their local GOA Churches here in the Chicagoland area they are making the monasteries their churches. Bishop Demetrios of Mokkisos is concerned about this and issue a statement against people leaving their local churches for the monasteries, but what did they expect the faithful to do.
                    Btw when the people leave their local churches so does their money. I think that was the main reason behind the Bishop’s pronouncement, but that just me, and I could be wrong.


                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Peter, the best way to reverse the tide is for the parish priests to start offering and heraing regular confession don’t you think.

                      The Bp has a point however, monasteries are not supposed to be a gathering place for laity. Nor are they supposed to be the focal point of the giving of the laity.

                      Nothing wrong with having the monastic resource near to hand to help maintain balance and they should be in obedience to the local bishop, whomever that happens to be.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Peter, that is a honet’s nest, or can be. Personally, I take Michael’s admonition that the laity should not gather at the monasteries, but if the local parish is a den of modernism/secularism, what is one to do? I’m sure that there are priests who want to do the right thing but given the powers-that-be in some parishes, that’s easier said than done.

                      I’d say that if these monasteries get more people than the parishes, then it’ll force the secular ones to clean up their act.

                      Personally, I try to go once a year to Kendalia which is about 8 hrs a way, as do several of the people in my congregaton. My priest and his family go about twice a year if they can.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Michael & George:

                      I agree with what you both have said, and I do think parishes will clean up. I haven’t nor will I ever give up on my local parish. I baptized my kids there, and served on the parish council there. I definitely see a change coming. It just shouldn’t have gotten to this point. Also, we do have a lot of good young priests, like the one at my parish, who are bringing back a good solid Orthodoxy that the older generation somewhat abandoned for the sake of acceptance in American society at the time. Well, I was born here, and so were my kids. I don’t have to fit in as I am in. Now I and other young Greeks, Serbs, Arabs, etc., want to bring back the fulness of our Orthodox faith while balancing a modern American family life.

                      Funny story, I took my son for communion just recently for Panayia’s, and the lil guy tasted the sacrament with his tongue first saw that he liked it and proceeded to place his whole mouth over the communion spoon with a big grin on his face. My priest just laughed. His grand father later exclaimed “bravo Aleko!” Those are the moments I cherish. The kid has personality.


                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Peter, I just want to say thanks for that story. So much joy. I forget sometimes in all my personal struggles just how wonderful it is.

        • Michael Bauman says

          I find it instructive that the signatories identify themselves by the school they attend, not by their home parish. Perhaps that indicates they are expressing the views of the academic elite rather than any understanding of the Church and her teachings.

          BTW, the young adults that I know are not of this ilk.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Having some experience, unfortunately, with the temptations involved in suicide I can say with some certainty that suicide is always a demonic suggestion. It would be interesting to know if these young folk any longer believe in the unseen angelic and demonic beings who either guide and protect us or try to lure us to our destruction.

          For those who are most strongly afflicted with suicidical temptations, the voice that sounds so much like one’s own becomes a constant suserating presence: you’d be better off, those you love would be better off, the pain will end….you are worthless….

          As one accepts the Holy Spirit and the Life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, the voices quit. Repentance keeps them away. The love of Jesus Christ that affirms the ineffable value of each and every human being and wishes to restore us to who we really are. Just the opposite of what these folks propose.

          Human beings are made to live. His breath in us is that life. Satan desires our death.

          I would also point out to these young folk that Chrisitanity is never moderate. The Chrisitan faith is the most audacious and radical statement of life there is. Only the velvet darkness of narcissitic nihilism can lead one to the conclusion that Chrisitanity is moderate.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            RE: “Only the velvet darkness of narcissitic nihilism can lead one to the conclusion that Chrisitanity is moderate.”

            What an eloquent phrase, Michael! I intend to use it with, however, proper citation as befits a true scholar. You say you live in Wichita, Kansas?

            On the broader question of speculating about motives, the spiritual state of particular souls, or the personal sins of others by name on this website, I strongly urge everyone to take a breath and stick to the moral issues. Defending our Orthodox moral tradition from overt or more subtle assaults is challenge enough without sinking to the use of ad hominem arguments, crude name-calling, or carnival mind-reading.

            Further, it is imprudent, rash, and patently unfair for anyone to draw definitive conclusions about Metropolitan Jonah’s heart and intentions from one public meeting, particularly what may have been left unsaid. I continue to stand by my archbishop, whose two Pastoral Letters (one to the clergy of his Archdiocese and the other to the faithful of that Archdiocese) have drawn unmistakable lines in the sand concerning immoral lifestyles and communion in the Holy Mysteries. I can confidently predict that His Beatitude’s directives (not “suggestions”) to the clergy and appeal to the faithful will be enforced.

            The spiritual combat at St. Nicholas Cathedral (and the rest of the Archdiocese of Washington) is hardly over, much less lost. Now is certainly not the time to send up any white flags.

            • Micahel Bauman says

              Thank you Father. I do indeed live in Wichita, KS and am a parishoner at St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedal under Bp Basil (God Grant him many, many years).

            • CodeNameYvette says

              With all respect, Father Alexander, the deeds in this case speak for themselves. You say,

              On the broader question of speculating about motives, the spiritual state of particular souls, or the personal sins of others by name on this website, I strongly urge everyone to take a breath and stick to the moral issues. Defending our Orthodox moral tradition from overt or more subtle assaults is challenge enough without sinking to the use of ad hominem arguments, crude name-calling, or carnival mind-reading.

              Further, it is imprudent, rash, and patently unfair for anyone to draw definitive conclusions about Metropolitan Jonah’s heart and intentions from one public meeting, particularly what may have been left unsaid. I continue to stand by my archbishop, whose two Pastoral Letters (one to the clergy of his Archdiocese and the other to the faithful of that Archdiocese) have drawn unmistakable lines in the sand concerning immoral lifestyles and communion in the Holy Mysteries. I can confidently predict that His Beatitude’s directives (not “suggestions”) to the clergy and appeal to the faithful will be enforced.

              The spiritual combat at St. Nicholas Cathedral (and the rest of the Archdiocese of Washington) is hardly over, much less lost. Now is certainly not the time to send up any white flags.

              Sometimes leaving is the only way to make the point. It’s not as though the usual avenues were neglected by the Deacon or others. If His Beatitude has a plan to correct the problems, he is free to pursue it. Personally I will leave his heart and intentions to God. His deeds are another matter.

              You make no allowances for the helpless outrage of laity and lower clergy, forced to be unwilling spectators. People have a duty to themselves too, to preserve their own peace of soul, so that they can go to church and pray without distractions.

              “It is later than you think.”

              • The answer is, “get over your outrage.” The idea that someone else’s sin needs to be corrected by a daddy or mommy figure (however well intentioned) in order for you to pay attention to your own spiritual development is an act of ego.
                This sounds harsh, however +Met Jonah will throw you back on your own turf every time. He is not going to thrash another, publicly on your behalf.
                I have seen over the years, all sorts of insanity going on in church, from women in love with priests, to priests coming on to parishioners and any kind of crazy addictions, lying and almost delusional members.
                It is our job to pay attention to our salvation, not expecting others to hold to a certain set of rules they may not be anywhere ready to take on. The orthodox church is not a club, for the non sinners.
                As to a Deacon deciding to refuse someone at the challis, it is, in my opinion, a distorted way of dealing with grave errors by public humiliation. Hardly, a Christian act, and certainly an act of hostility and retaliation.
                Come on folks, You are not going to get +Met Jonah into a public witch hunt. He has got his salvation to worry about also and yours. Which I believe he is mindful of by not encouraging your weakness.
                Just saying.

                • CodeNameYvette says

                  Thank your for clarifying, Faceit. Here are the new rules: (1) Don’t expect the upper clergy to do their job. (2) Don’t complain when they live up to your non-expectations.

                  In other words, “‘Shut up,’ he explained.”

                  This might work if you take it upon yourself to decide that public humiliation of a sinner by declining the Chalice is worse than other alternatives. Like profaning the Sacrament. Or even scandalizing the faithful, including children and impressionable young people.

                  Otherwise it does not work at all.

            • Further, it is imprudent, rash, and patently unfair for anyone to draw definitive conclusions about Metropolitan Jonah’s heart and intentions from one public meeting, particularly what may have been left unsaid. I continue to stand by my archbishop, whose two Pastoral Letters (one to the clergy of his Archdiocese and the other to the faithful of that Archdiocese) have drawn unmistakable lines in the sand concerning immoral lifestyles and communion in the Holy Mysteries. I can confidently predict that His Beatitude’s directives (not “suggestions”) to the clergy and appeal to the faithful will be enforced.

              Thank you for saying this, Fr. Alexander. I also continue to stand behind Metropolitan Jonah.

              • George Michalopulos says

                As do I. We must remember, one tack which the Stokovites use is to accuse Orthodox Traditionalists of always being on a “witch hunt.” Yvette, I respect Dn Mitchell’s convictions but his actions appears rash and premature at this point. This is akin to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

                Let us take stock of where we are: Last Feb the Stokovites did everything they could to get rid of +Jonah. That they failed is immaterial, still +Jonah could have removed them from the HS, MC, and Syosset but he chose not to, probably out of mercy. This is not what I would have done but I’m not the Metropolitan, he is.

                I’ve said this many times: the Holy Spirit enlightened the AAC in 2008. The devil however is not going to take this lying down and for every defeat he suffers, he will fall back, regroup, and redouble his efforts. I for one will not give aid and comfort to the Adversary and will trust those who are appointed in power. In +Jonah, +Michael, and +Matthias, I feel confident that we have good men.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Thank you, Father. I will take your advice in reflection.

          • Nicole Troon says

            Mr. Bauman, beautifully put, thank you.

        • Start Googling some of the names attached to the letter. It isn’t far-fetched to assume that it is not converts from the Right but converts from the Left who are bringing the culture war into the Church.

          • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

            And how do we get such converts from the Left? By not speaking honestly from the ambo about what is right and what is wrong.

            A year and a half ago, I delivered a series of homilies at St. Nicholas. Most were very well received, but in one I made the mistake of mentioning sodomy in an unfavorable light. I was making a point about the “new morality” and said, “In today’s world, it’s OK to commit sodomy; you just can’t call it that.”

            Fr. Denis Bradley wasn’t there that day to hear my homily, but he heard about my homily, and the next time I saw him before Sunday liturgy, he blew up at me in the altar, telling me that deacons had no business preaching. He became so angry that he left the church and didn’t return for a week.

            And the result was that I was never asked to preach again.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Deacon Brian, we could use a good deacon here in Wichita.

            • Heracleides says

              Ah yes, Fr. Denis Bradley, the priest frequently cited by the pseudonymous Victor de Villa Lapidis of “The Homodox Confessions” blog infamy; a “same-sex marriage” advocate and parishioner at St. Nicholas Cathedral. Talk about same-sex birds with feathers that are easily ruffled. Hang in there Deacon.

            • Deacon Patrick, you may want to be careful about mentioning specific things going on at St. Nicholas. My ignorant suspicion is that there may be an attempt to Festerize you. I can tell that you’re very much needed at that cathedral.

              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                Thanks, Helga, but they’ve already played that card, and right now I myself don’t have much interest in going back there. Soldiers who don’t quit the battlefield after a decisive defeat only become prisoners or fatalities.

                • Deacon Patrick, can you elaborate a bit more on what you mean? Subtlety just kind of goes *whoosh* over my head. What are you up to these days?

              • CodeNameYvette says

                Helga, do you not see that silencing Deacon Patrick is the whole point of the exercise?

                If Deacon Patrick is silenced for upholding Orthodoxy, then Orthodoxy has been defeated in that cathedral. I’m sure Father Deacon is very much needed there, but he is very much needed elsewhere too, someplace where he can function as an Orthodox clergyman.

                You want him to stay there and be quiet to avoid trouble. I want him to leave and make more trouble safely.

                Helga, perhaps we should all just shut up and let them have their way. NOT.

                Father Deacon, please keep speaking up while packing your bags and loading up the car.

                This is about loyalties. I grieve to say that some in the OCA seem to have higher loyalties than to Christ. They revere autocephaly, open communion a la Schmemann, or some member of the heirarchy in whom they repose their trust. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but that’s what I think. Being Orthodox should matter more than being OCA. OK, I’m sorry again.

                Nuts to the Metropolitan if he allows all this under his very feet.

                I do not care if he is a kind and gentle man. What is required of a Metropolitan is to be Orthodox, and to be willing to defend Orthodoxy when it is attacked, not only on paper but in the real world — beginning in his own cathedral.

                How kind and gentle is he being to the souls of those left in their sins?

                I agree with the Deacon — if the clergy were preaching very clear doctrine from the ambo on a regular basis, the parish would not attract radical “reformers”.

                Silence in this case like other cases implies acceptance and consent. At that point, flight is the only option. Vote with your feet.

                If there is any hope for the OCA, battles like this will be fought all over the country. Best for those of traditional mind to band together, not be isolated targets.

                Please forgive me.

                • Heracleides says

                  Nothing to forgive as you’ve simply (and boldly) spoken the truth. Would that more would do so.

      • Dear George, I just posted a long epic comment with several links – can you please make sure it doesn’t get lost?

  3. Seraphimista says

    George, I’m very sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I haven’t read this blog in a month or so, so I wasn’t aware of the news. God bless you all, and God bless his memory.

    Now, I wish (oh how I wish!) I could join you in believing that the tide has been turned in this battle. But today comes news from St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, where His Beatitude held a town hall meeting to discuss the recent controversies in the parish. Much of it had to do with the fact that a deacon had refused communion to at least one lesbian who openly brags about her “marriage” to another woman. From what I’m told from someone who was there, Jonah said that the deacon ought not to have done that, and that while homosexuality is wrong, we should all get along.

    If Jonah won’t take a stand on a hard teaching of the Gospel in his own cathedral, he won’t be able to do it in the whole church. Jonah will say he believes something, and I think he’s being honest, but he won’t take the tough decisions his stated beliefs mandate. If the report I’m getting from St. Nicholas Cathedral is true — and I know you have several readers who are parishioners there, so I hope they will chime in — then the homosexualists have won the Metropolitan’s own parish.

    Draw your own conclusions from that, folks.

    • From what I’m told from someone who was there, Jonah said that the deacon ought not to have done that, and that while homosexuality is wrong, we should all get along.

      It’s possible Metropolitan Jonah felt this woman needed a chance to either repent and end her ‘marriage’, or withdraw from the chalice, and to make this choice on her own initiative, before taking the step of officially excommunicating her. In that case, the deacon might have jumped the gun without being aware of what was going on. That’s just a guess, though.

      Also, it’s important to remember that the Lesser Synod still has its bootheel on Metropolitan Jonah’s throat.

      • Jim of Olym says

        Did any clergy actually talk to the lady in question, privaterly, before she presented herself for communion? Did any clergy at St. Nicholas confront her at coffee hour when she was allegedly talking about her ‘marriage’? If
        they didn’t, then they also are somewhat lacking, I think.
        Even the old Episcopalian prayer book talked about confronting public and notorious sinners before they present themselves for communion. can the Orthodox do less?

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Not necessarily. And your reporters should have listened to Met. Jonah’s statement at the beginning of the meeting, before he proceeded to take questions and answers.

      • Seraphimista says

        So, what did HB actually say at that meeting? What is the policy at St. Nicholas Cathedral for communing gays and others living unrepentantly in sexual sin? I’m not trying to play “gotcha” here. It’s important, because it’s easy for bishops and priests to make strong, positive, unequivocal statements, but if they don’t intend to back them up with action, then those words are not only useless, but worse than useless, because they lead others to believe that the bishop (or priest) really means it when he actually doesn’t. If Jonah is saying one thing in his pastoral letter, and in his private letter of instruction to the priests of his diocese, but practicing something else within his own parish, what kind of lesson are other clergy, as well as priests and laypeople, supposed to draw from that?

        I wasn’t there for the meeting, and I don’t want to rely only on a single source. Please Lola, tell us what you heard and understood at that meeting.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          From what I understood in the meeting, he was reinforcing his pastoral letter as well as his private letter of instruction to the priests. You should probably talk to those who were present at the meeting, in person or on the phone.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Here’s basically what he said at Sunday’s parish meeting:

          After summarizing his fight with the Synod and the events leading up to Fr. Joseph Fester’s firing and talking briefly about the search for a new dean, he raised the issue of homosexuality and made the following points:

          1. He’s not interested in fighting any culture wars.
          2. We are obliged as Orthodox Christians to open our doors to everyone.
          3. Sexual relations are only appropriate within marriage; otherwise we are to remain celibate.
          4. Everybody struggles with their sexuality, so it doesn’t make any difference whether the temptation is homosexual or heterosexual.
          5. Homosexuality is a much smaller problem for the Church than heterosexual pornography, infidelity, and divorce.
          6. Our personal struggle is strictly a matter for confession.
          7. The bigger problem is people judging each other, gossiping about other people’s sins, and causing a lot of hurt. (A lot said on this.)
          8. We all just need to get along and accept each other despite our faults.

          He did not elaborate on the nature of marriage or condemn homosexuality per se.

          When a parishioner complained that someone had been turned away from the chalice, causing great pain to the parish, he said that turning away someone in that way was “inappropriate,” that deacons have no business turning people away, and that the matter should have been handled by a priest in confession. He did not draw a distinction between public and private sins. Neither did he mention that the woman was turned away for the very public sin of marrying another woman and telling everybody about it in coffee hour for many months. Nor did he mention that both he and every priest in charge had been told of what she had done and was doing, yet had made no effort to contact her and set her straight. He did admit that the OCA in general does not handle confession well and has disconnected confession from communion.

          One person asked if a period of excommunication was not appropriate for serious sexual sins, mentioning early Church practice. He said we haven’t done things like that for “a thousand years” and can’t do it now because faith is so weak. He said that disciplining people is a very delicate matter that must be handled only by confessors and always case by case, because what will turn one person toward repentance will turn another away.

          Another person asked whether he supported the parish’s five resolutions, including the Sanctity of Marriage resolution; he said he did but did not elaborate.

          • Seraphimista says

            Do any of you Monomakhos readers who were also at that meeting agree with Deacon Patrick’s summary? If what Deacon Patrick says is really how things went down, then the lesson I would draw from this is that HB’s going to talk the talk, but he’s not going to walk the walk, not even in his own parish.

            I hope I’m wrong. But if I were in his diocese, I wouldn’t find this reassuring in the least. Whether he wants to fight a culture war or not, he doesn’t have the choice — it is being forced on him, and on all of us.

            • I would say he is walking the walk, and in the right shoes as well.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Yes, this is basically what HB said.

              Remember . . . it took years to build up to this point, it will take years for change to occur. We can’t, however as we’d like to, just switch the flip and find everything changed 180 degrees the next day.

              • Seraphimista says

                Thanks for the confirmation, Lola, though I find it very depressing. The liberals have HB’s number, I’m afraid.

                I want to believe in HB, but I don’t need to believe in him so badly that I’m going to lie to myself about the reality of our situation. This is hard…

              • Also, how does Deacon Patrick know that the priests or the Metropolitan hasn’t contacted her about not taking Communion? Are they supposed to publish it in the bulletin? What is said in confession is private. Would we all want everyone else to know what went on during our confession and what our priest told us?

                Maybe the priests have told her to not come up for Communion. Maybe that is why she was in the deacon’s line, rather than the priest’s line. The deacon wouldn’t know what the priest told her if he told her that she isn’t allowed to receive. The fact is, the deacon doesn’t have the authority to make the decision about whether or not someone can receive.

                We don’t know what the priests have been telling her. I think +Metropolitan JONAH was correct about us being weak. I know that +Bishop ANTHONY of the Russian church saying in the early 1900’s that if the canons were being strictly applied, nobody would be receiving. Just about everyone would be under some kind of penance. If that was true then, what about now?

          • Metropolitan Jonah makes several good points. I agree that parishioners don’t have the authority to levy penances, no matter what anybody else is doing.

            However, I have a great sympathy for what the deacon did. Nobody has a right to go to communion, EVER. Clergy have a responsibility to try to make sure they do not commune someone unto their judgment and condemnation.

            And while Metropolitan Jonah is right that this should have been a private issue dealt with in confession, I think he should take into consideration that this was not unearthed by nosy parishioners, the woman herself made this a cause for public scandal. To retain his moral authority over his flock, Metropolitan Jonah needs to find a way to reassure people that he really does mean what he wrote in his encyclical, without sentencing this woman to the pillory to have rotten fruit hurled at her. That doesn’t sound like an easy task. I think he partially succeeded, but I think he should have validated the concerns of people who were scandalized by the “marriage” and the bragging. Because the woman herself made this a public scandal, I think the parishioners had every right to be offended by her actions, and anxious about the lack of overt action on the part of the cathedral clergy.

            For the people at St. Nicholas who are troubled by this, I would suggest that they pray for the woman and the cathedral clergy, for their guidance and wisdom. If this woman partakes unworthily, it’s unto her own judgment and condemnation, not anyone else’s. From what I know of Metropolitan Jonah, he has a great faith in the healing power of the sacraments, and possibly hopes that allowing her to commune will help her turn away from sin. However, I hope he is mindful of the fact that one can receive unto their condemnation, and that he and his clergy will be accountable for the Body of Christ when the Lord returns.

            And I would like to bring up the issue I mentioned in the other thread, that there’s no clear way for how we are supposed to deal with knowledge of someone else’s unrepentant sin. Lots of times, people who bring it up get slammed as judgmental. But when someone in authority finally cracks down on it, you find a lot of people knew something but said nothing, and that the whole thing could have been resolved much earlier and with much less pain, if people hadn’t been afraid to say something.

            • Seraphimista says

              That’s a big problem we have in Orthodoxy. The emphasis on humility is great, but in practice, it can be used as a passive-aggressive way to shut down criticism and enable priests and others in authority to avoid having to do things that make them uncomfortable. It’s like the playground taunt, “Who are you to judge?”, but filtered through the Philokalia.

              • I agree, Seraphimista.

                As much as I appreciate Bishop Matthias’s reaction to Stokoe, I cannot help but worry about another incident brought up, where a seminarian deacon was suspended by Bishop Matthias for six months, without warning, for relating concerns about another seminarian, one about to be ordained himself, to seminary authorities.

                Now, I don’t know the specifics of the situation, whether the suspended deacon’s concerns were justified or not, but bishops must be careful not to deter people from sharing honest concerns. Wouldn’t a bishop like to know if he was about to ordain a child molester or a crypto-Uniate?!

                There’s a reason these whistleblower protections had to be instituted in the OCA. Maybe there should be whistleblower protections for things that don’t involve money or criminal activity.

                We knew going into this that Metropolitan Jonah is not perfect. He avoids conflict, he sat on the Florida archdeacon situation for years, and I’m sure he has a whole host of other flaws in how he’s applied his preaching. But for me the bottom line is that he is at least willing to overtly defend Church teaching in stern and uncompromising language, something not a SINGLE member of the Appalled Four has managed to do!

                Even if the example Metropolitan Jonah sets in his pastoral decisions might be weak (and that’s still a big ‘if’ to me), he has raised the ire of people who are determined to marginalize and sidestep that teaching. For defending the faith, he has been horribly and unjustifiably abused. If there’s any hope of saving the OCA, it is imperative that we not divide against ourselves.

                • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                  Helga,some years back,2005 or 2006,I asked my ROCOR bishop what a priest should do if he learns something in confession that could prevent the penitant from being ordained.The response was,the priest should tell the man’s bishop that a canonical impediment exists,WITHOUT,revealing the confession.Then it is up to the bishop to investigate and decide for himself.It’s possible the deacon in question was repeating gossip,I don’t know.A six month suspension seems harsh,but there may be reasons we don’t know about.

                  • Fr. Andrei, I have been told the same regarding an ordination candidate’s confession. In this case, the person in question was not the spiritual father but only a deacon.

                    I could understand suspending the deacon for repeating gossip, or appearing to lie. However, if the deacon were giving an account of something disturbing that he had witnessed, and there were no indications that the deacon might be lying, I think his complaint should have been taken seriously.

              • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                Seraphimista writes:

                “That’s a big problem we have in Orthodoxy. The emphasis on humility is great, but in practice, it can be used as a passive-aggressive way to shut down criticism”

                I suspect this is THE big problem in the Church today.

                • While I share more of the outrage outlined by Seraphimista than is good for my soul, (Is any outrage good for my soul?), we who participate in the discourse on the Internet need remember that we do not have all the facts.

                  And it is not appropriate for us to have all the facts, all the time.

                  When Bp. Mark was busy stealing and reading emails, actions were taken by the cathedral parish and others involved in the issues. It was not appropriate to air all the dirty little details on the Internet, just to satisfy the curiosity of those readers of blogs. And the bulk of it was not shared. Those folks who needed the details were provided them.

                  Just because we are not convinced there is a problem doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem. And just because we believe that someone is innocent or guilty does not make them so. We do not have a right to know everything – and everyone has an opinion, but we must understand that our opinion is informed by limited data.

                  Criticism can take place in private, and at least for me, is much more palatable and easily heard if I don’t receive it in front of an audience. That is undoubtedly because I’m not all that humble a person.

                • Nicole Troon says

                  Sadly, I have seen His Eminence’s talk “Do not resent; do not react; keep inner stillness” used precisely this way. I pray always that His Eminence, our bishops and our priests will give us the second part of the lesson ~ how to act and speak constructively when the time is right in a Christ-like manner in the face of a challenge to the faith or to the well-being of another person made in the image of God.

                  • CodeNameYvette says

                    I recall that incident in the Korean War when the camp was overrun by the Reds and the cooks ended up shooting at the enemy.

                    It sometimes seems that our generals and captains are slain or have fled, leaving the battle to us cooks and latrine-cleaners with our mops and ladles. We are not trained, we are not equipped, yet we know that someone must put up a fight.

                    Now, to make matters worse, I will admit that were I present in a church where a self-declared practicing homosexual was admitted to Communion, I would leave and not come back until they got things back on track.

                    It’s a matter of trust. You can’t obey where you cannot trust.

            • Michael Bauman says

              I do not think it would take much of strech of the imagination to believe the woman wanted to be publically ‘humiliated’ etc. It is part of the whole attempt to destroy the credibility of the Church. Gross manipulation.

              While it is true that other sexual sins such as divorce, fornication, pornography, etc. are a threat to more people in the Church. That is not the real issue. The real issue is the promulgation of an anthropological and therefore Christological hersey that is far more significant than any particular sin.

              And wow! I must live in a time warp becuase in my worldly Orthodox jurisdiction, we do not practice the open communion that it seems Met. Jonah wants. My bishop actually uses liturgical discipline in acord with the canons of the Church for all kinds of things. Right here and now in 21st century America. There are several Slavic jurisdictions in which the link between repentance, confession and sharing the Eucharist is clear and percise. If one does not come to confession during the week, one does not receive the Eucharist that week. Period.

              Is the OCA really that confused? If they are, then the ‘culture wars’ are the least of their problems.

              The application of the penance of not approaching the cup is one of the most pastoral and healing acitivities in which a priest or bishop can engage.

              God keep the nihilistic, narrcisistic, eqalitarian sludge of this world from inundating us all. Sometimes I feel as if I’m in Boston when the molasses tank burst.

              God save us from being ‘nice’ . BTW the word nice and the word ignorant have the same root:
              late 13c., “foolish, stupid, senseless,” from O.Fr. nice “silly, foolish,” from L. nescius “ignorant,” lit. “not-knowing,” from ne- “not” (see un-) + stem of scire “to know.”

              I’d rather have the corrupt, power mad Met. I have, who offends almost everyone yet still defends the essential truth of the Church than one who is ‘nice’ to everybody. In a certain strange way, I can trust the intransigence and arrogance far more easily that the pusillanemous meaderings of the ‘nice’ guy. The ‘nice’ guy will sell everyone down the river on a whim and you won’t even see it coming.

            • CodeNameYvette says

              I’m operating here on the understanding that the previous reports are true. That said, this is why some of us have no faith in this Metropolitan or his jurisdiction, overall and with due regard for the few bright spots.

              In a case of open scandal in his own cathedral, the Metropolitan evidently finds it easier to accuse the scandalized of being judgmental, than to act in their defense.

              He evidently does not believe his own words on the subject of unrepentant homosexuality.

              He evidently finds no problem in betraying the trust of his lower clergy when they try to follow his own guidelines.

              And he fails to grasp that the choice of going to war, cultural or otherwise, is made by the aggressors, not the defenders. Which (the defenders) in this case is the Holy Orthodox Church in this part of the world.

              • Seraphimista says

                He evidently finds no problem in betraying the trust of his lower clergy when they try to follow his own guidelines.

                That’s a big concern of mine. You would think from the words HB put out in the pastoral letters that he was taking a hard line, and that’s what he expects from the priests of his diocese. What if one of them takes him at his word, and implements his policy … and a group of aggrieved parishioners approaches HB and says that Father is dividing the parish with his judgmentalism, etc.? They know that that kind of thing has worked in HB’s own cathedral, so why shouldn’t it work in a parish? If HB really did throw Deacon Patrick under the bus in his own cathedral, why wouldn’t he give a pastor in a parish the same treatment to get the complainers off his back?

                I don’t think it’s unfair or unwise to ask that question, especially considering how far some people have stuck their necks out to defend the Metropolitan.

              • He evidently finds no problem in betraying the trust of his lower clergy when they try to follow his own guidelines.

                I would really be careful about saying things like that. At the time, Met. Jonah had issued no such guidelines. And he was right in saying that this woman’s penance or lack thereof was not for the deacon to decide. Furthermore, we don’t know what may have been imposed on this woman in private. As horribly abused as the accusation of judgmentalism may be, falling into that actual sin remains all too easy to do. The best thing for those concerned with the situation is pray for everyone involved.

                • CodeNameYvette says

                  I would really be careful about saying things like that. At the time, Met. Jonah had issued no such guidelines. And he was right in saying that this woman’s penance or lack thereof was not for the deacon to decide. Furthermore, we don’t know what may have been imposed on this woman in private. As horribly abused as the accusation of judgmentalism may be, falling into that actual sin remains all too easy to do. The best thing for those concerned with the situation is pray for everyone involved.

                  I am sorry but please explain — I really must be missing something here.

                  It was my understanding that the Metropolitan issued one or more public statements in which he upheld the teachings of the Church about homosexuality and the need to repent and struggle like any sinner to abandon the sin before admission to Communion.

                  Further, it is my understanding that the openly “married” homosexual person in his Cathedral was denied the Cup by the Deacon, after (1) the scandal became public due to her own deliberate flaunting of it, not by keyhole peeking and gossip; and (2) the Deacon, the affronted parishioners, and the active and unrepentant homosexual were all acquainted with what the Metropolitan had said and published.

                  I will save time by suggesting that open flaunting of one’s homosexual relationships may be taken by fellow parishioners as an indicator of non-repentance, akin to driving around in a stolen car by a thief. It’s not a private matter when it involves public scandal.

                  And so, if it turns out the other way around and the Metropolitan published his remarks AFTER this incident, does he come out looking any better? Or just that much less reliable?

                  Finally, is it not true that the responsibility of giving Communion whether by a priest or a deacon, must also include the duty to prevent the unprepared from participation? Is there not a corollary duty to avoid scandalizing the faithful?

                  This little skirmish in the Cathedral is how wars are fought and won, or lost. If the Metropolitan or any bishop or any priest or any deacon is going to stand up for the Faith and insist on Orthodoxy in the matter of sexual conduct, particularly public conduct, you must expect challenges.

                  It’s similar to what happened a few years ago when there was a rash of public displays of affection by lesbians on airplanes and in other public places, to force the issue of their “rights” no matter how offensive to the people forced into the role of unwilling spectators.

                  You can’t fold like a cheap suit and expect anyone to believe that you take the rules seriously. And here, the rules mean more than civil regulations. There is something really appalling about allowing people who flaunt their sins in public, and demand acceptance of them, to receive at the Cup.

                  And, I do not see how such a grave and horrible event, with the parishioners as captive audience, falls on the person receiving alone. If the priest or deacon has the ability to prevent it, he ought to prevent it. Here, as the story goes, the deacon prevented it, and he has been betrayed by his bishop.

                  Again, if I am missing something here, I do apologize.

                  • Look, I don’t know the answer to everything. But I wasn’t at that meeting, and I don’t know the woman who is said to have done those things. Metropolitan Jonah does. And the whole reason I’ve been here all this time is because I believed in my heart, and still believe, that Metropolitan Jonah is a good Orthodox bishop, and a kind and decent man.

                    We don’t know what may have gone down between Metropolitan Jonah and his priests, and this lady and her spiritual father. What we do know is that Metropolitan Jonah has made a clear and overt statement about how homosexual sin is to be responded to. We also know God is not mocked. If you would like for Metropolitan Jonah to elaborate on his pastoral response to homosexuality, he does have an email address where you can write to him and ask. But I don’t think hashing it out on an internet forum is going to help things.

                    • CodeNameYvette says

                      At this point I am more interested in deeds than in words.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Yvette, at this point, I am withholding all comment on the recent “town hall” meeting at the Cathedral as I think the issue is far from settled. I appreciate Dn Patrick’s frustrations but in the Orthodox Church things take longer to sort themselves out. The sins we are talking about are not new to Orthodoxy and I am fully confident that HB is going to sort things out in the Lord’s time (which may be sooner rather than later).

                      Let’s not forget that St Nicholas as of yet still doesn’t have an official dean. It’s not the job of a prelate to insinuate himself into the day-to-day operations of a parish. The job of a bishop is to provide direction to his priests and laity. This HB did when he published both encyclicals recently. Proper enforcement cannot happen unless the position of the clergy in a parish is settled. That’s why in the DoS for example, we aren’t having any ordinations, we only have a locum tenens, not a diocesan ordinary as of yet.

                      I would therefore advise the good people of St Nicholas to pray and be patient. The tide of homosexualism in the Church has turned recently and for this we must be grateful.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            In every Greek Orthodox Church that I have been in a very clear statement is made before Holy Communion is given in that the Priest says that the Orthodox Church is here for all people and welcomes and loves all people, but that communion is reserved for only properly baptized and Chrismated Orthodox Christian who are in good standing with the Church. Some Priests actually list what good standing means, which includes not being a practicing homosexual.

            If you are not in good standing it is made very clear that you will be turned away. In my local Church I have seen both our older priest and younger priest turn people away from communion. People always murmur afterwards, but when it is discovered why, I.e. Non-Orthodox spouse, young people living together outside of marriage, people stop murmuring and understand.

            As for Met Jonah’s actions they are hard to decipher. Only time will tell. Until then let just wait and see.


            • Michael Bauman says

              IMO the only thing worse than a ‘nice’ bishop is an inscrutible one. The Scriptures say “Let your yes be yes and your no be no”.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Peter, I’m glad to hear that your GOA priest says this before Communion. In the GOA parishes I’ve visitied, there’s no mention made by the priest. In my OCA parish, my priest mentions “a recent Confession within the last month” as being necessary as well.

              • Pravoslavnie says

                I read with interest that Met. Jonah acknowledges that the OCA needs to improve the way it handles confession. This is one issue that caused us to leave OCA some years ago as our parish was extremely lax about confessions and its link to Holy Communion was very weak. We knew of some people who let years go by without confessiing and it made no difference to them as to whether they should take communion or not. On the other hand we were very impressed by the way that our ROCOR parish links the mystery of Confession to Communion.

                In our DC ROCOR cathedral, the protodeacon or the priests always announce from the Ambo that the Holy Mystery of Communion is reserved only for baptized and chrismated Orthodox Christians, and “those who dare to approach the chalice must have properly prepared themselves to receive it” through prayer and confession. This is also reinforced in the church bulliten. The general rule of the parish is that confession should be given each week if a parishoner wishes to partake of communion that same week, preferably at Saturday Vigil. Confessions are also heard by one or two priests before each service, and the lines are long. We are also instructed that none should let more than three Sunday’s go by without confessing and partaking of the Holy Gifts unless there are valid circumstances. As an example, I have learned that some women voluntarily forego receiving communion when they are biologically “indisposed” each month. We were and still are impressed with the reverence shown toward both Mysteries.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                I have to admit that this is something I have only started witnessing from the younger generation priests. The older ones never said it and I cannot even remember them saying it. Now the Old Calendar Greek Orthodox Church my family helped establish in Dundee, Florida, it was always said and confession had to be had earlier in the week and the final rite of forgiveness was given right before you took communion.

                I miss that little Church, but it’s still there and I still attend it when I go back home to Florida.


                • another one says

                  At my church, before communion, the announcement is made that:

                  “We ask that only those Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared themselves through prayer, fasting, and a recent confession approach the Chalice.”

                  It is made in three languages.

              • Nicole Troon says

                At St. Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas those present are kindly informed/reminded that being Orthodox with appropriate prayer, fasting, and a recent Confession are prerequisites for receiving Communion ~ in English, Slavonic (or Russian?), and Spanish…

          • Fr. Dcn. Patrick,

            I’m crestfallen over the report you bring from St. Nicholas and your apparent departure. Re your summary of Vladika Jonah’s remarks (apparently corraborated by Lola):

            “1. He’s not interested in fighting any culture wars.” As has been said by others, The blitz is already on. The choice of war is not ours–only the method in which to fight it–viz. by overcoming evil with good and recalling St. Paul’s words: “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God to the pupling down of strongholds and every high thing which exalts itself against the knowledge of God.”

            “2. We are obliged as Orthodox Christians to open our doors to everyone.” And what does this mean? it is unclear. Certainly, all Christians are called to hospitality, but there is also ample instruction not “even to eat” with certain unrepentant persons.

            “3. Sexual relations are only appropriate within marriage; otherwise we are to remain celibate.” No doubt; and why is this? Because Marriage was instituted by Christ in Eden itself as the means of Man’s being fruitful, multiplying, and filling the earth with human beings, together having gracious dominion over it and “sub-duing” it (i.e. as the race bearing Christ’s image and callled into His likeness causing all of creationto conform to Christ’s design and purpose for it and being as it ought to be) and, as a mystical and complementary joining of persons of opposite sexes in a self-donating, self-sacrificing and fruitul one-flesh union reflecting the love betwixt Christ and His Bride, the Church–which same sex, conjugal “unions” cannot do.

            “4. Everybody struggles with his sexuality, so it doesn’t make any difference whether the temptation is homosexual or heterosexual.” Unfortunately, for reasons you and Fr. Hans and Fr. Mark (and others here) have pointed, this is NOT as true as it seems. There is something more disordered about sexual gratification with oneself or with a person of one’s own sex than with a person of the opposite sex. The latter is natural but disordered; the former is both disordered and overtly contrary to nature and obvious biological design. In any event, it is bizarre to justify one sin on the basis of the widespread and growing practice of another, and we shold not fall into this trap.

            “5. Homosexuality is a much smaller problem for the Church than heterosexual pornography, infidelity, and divorce.” True, perhpas–if numbers and frequency are the measure–but what was HB’s point??

            “6. One’s personal struggle is strictly a matter for confession.” So, long as such struggle is private matter. But when sinful conduct becomes public and ceases to be portrayed as ongoing struggle, this statement cannot be true.

            “7. The bigger problem is people judging each other, gossiping about other people’s sins, and causing a lot of hurt.” No doubt gossip is not good; it is defamatory. However, it is NOT helpful to fall into this trap of saying that it is a “bigger” problem than other sins. Besides the antidote to gossip is the candid, open and transparent dessimination of the truth and heartfelt repentance.

            “8. We all just need to get along and accept each other despite our faults.” No, we need to be gently corrected by each other and, thus, helped to freed of the sin that so easily besets us so that we take p the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and bear each other’s burdens. Unlike Cain, we ARE our brother’s keepers. None is saved alone. Loving our brother’s as ouselves means a life of mutual repentance
            and submission. Besides a wise man seeks, apprciates and profits from correction.


  4. Very interesting points. Thanks!

    My site:
    dsl angebot http://www.dslvergleichdsl.com

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      “The job of a shepherd is not just to feed the sheep, but also to chase away the wolves.”

      Great line. I just wish more bishops and priests agreed.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Many thanks to Archpriest John Whiteford for his sober, good response to the moralizing letter of the Fifteen!

  5. Mark from the DOS says

    Like the moth to the proverbial flame, I am sucked into checking into the outrageous statements posted to the “Listening” FB page. Of course this letter is hot topic #1. I am going to repost a few of their comments here with the simple request of those seeking “dialogue” – – can you please stop pretending that you are not asking to change the fundamental teaching of the Church?

    From the “Listening” group:

    “I think it is maybe about time for serious theologians and other informed and concerned Christians, to indicate that any Church that excludes gay people from its normativity, operates with a false and thus unsustainable (in view of modern knowledge) anthropology, period.”

    “What if we concede that homosexuality is “less than the ideal”? Will most Orthodox Christians really conclude that it’s better to launch gay Christians into a never-ending cycle of “falls” and repentance — effectively to encourage promiscuity and self-loathing at the same time — than to accept the formation of stable, committed, loving relationships? I’m sure many do hold this view today, but eventually it is going to change.”

    “I am afraid that any concession to the effect that homosexuality is “less than the ideal,” although wisely modest, will not have an impact, end of the day, because it doesn’t compel conservatives to reconsider in terms of, say, demonstrated prior error. “

    • CodeNameYvette says

      Thank you, Mark. When war is declared, the aggressors set the terms of the conflict. Total capitulation is the goal. Different weapons and strategies than the Tartar hordes, and worse in a way, because the Tartars just wanted to burn down all the churches, not subvert them to tartarism.

      The agenda has always been crystal clear. Now, it’s like the day after Pearl Harbor. The only question is, have they roused a sleeping giant? Or does the OCA go the way of the Episcopal Church? Worth remembering: it was the “high” Anglo-Catholic pole of the church that attracted most of the homosexual activism, not the “low” evangelical pole.

      As Father Seraphim Rose used to say, “It’s later than you think.”

      • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

        Thank you for mentioning Fr.Seraphim Rose.He should be the example we look to.He had his own struggle with the affliction you mention.But that;s the point;he struggled.He didn’t become a militant advocate of alternate lifestyles.

        Likewise,I had a Spiritual Father who suffered this same affliction.I’ll pass over his name,he’s no longer among the living,Whether or not he had any falls,after his tonsure as a monk,I cannot say,but he helped me greatly and I’ll always pray for him..

        We all batlle daily with our passions.As a widower of over 5 years,I sometimes long for a woman.I suspect if I were 39 or 29,instead of 59,I might not be able to hold out.But I think of my wife of 30 years,who lived and died supporting my priesthood and I hope to perservere for the sake of the small flock entrusted to me.

    • Today, people are being encouraged to conceal sins in confession: “It depends on how much information you think your confessor needs to know about what happens amongst consenting adults in the privacy of the ‘domestic church’ which is the home.”

  6. Am I to understand that the majority here are willing to take the word of gossip and innuendo that this woman was “bragging” at coffee hour? Not first person accounts, mind you, but reports of others who allegedly overheard conversations and reported it back to… whoever this Deacon is, but not the priests? And that this Deacon took it upon himself to deny communion without knowing what the woman’s status was with regard to her Confession with her Father Confessor? Without knowing whether or not she was or wasn’t under penance? Whether or not God had absolved her of her sins? And that in doing so, he caused “great pain to the parish?” Does any of us know whether or not this woman might have married civilly for health benefits or other legal protections in addition to love? Does any of us know whether or not this couple are living together for the benefit of caring companionship, without a physical relationship? Does anyone know whether or not she was encouraged to receive communion by her Father Confessor for her own healing? Or is everyone (including me) just making assumptions? And now everyone is gossiping about this poor woman on the internet? None of us, literally NONE of us is worthy of communion. To be worthy, one priest would have to be baptizing us while the other standing right nearby and shoving the spoon into our mouths and even then we’d probably have an opportunity to commit some sin of judgment, complaint, or lack of gratitude. God forbid our communion access be limited by the gossip and assumptions of those around us, when it is already limited by our own unworthiness. Frankly, I’m sorry for saying this, but this Deacon sounds like a real jerk and it’s probably no wonder that the whisperers went to him and not to a priest. There’s something about talking these issues on the internet that makes me realize that I have to go to confession more often because it makes me feel sick to have to raise questions like this. Judging others. It’s a dirty shameful abomination.

    From Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, Confession and Communion, Report to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, February 17, 1972. “We must not,” writes St. John Cassian, “avoid communion because we deem ourselves to be sinful. We must approach it more often for the healing of the soul and the purification of the spirit, but with such humility and faith that considering ourselves unworthy . . . we would desire even more the medicine for our wounds. Otherwise it is impossible to receive communion once a year, as certain people do . . . considering the sanctification of heavenly Mysteries as available only to saints. It is better to think that by giving us grace, the sacrament makes us pure and holy. Such people manifest more pride than humility . . . for when they receive, they think of themselves as worthy. It is much better if, in humility of heart, knowing that we are never worthy of the Holy Mysteries we would receive them every Sunday for the healing of our diseases, rather than, blinded by pride, think that after one year we become worthy of receiving them.”

    Lord, have mercy.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Ioanna, the facts of the case are not disputed at St. Nicholas. There are two women at St. Nicholas who married other women last year. One has a website celebrating her marriage and often brought her partner to church. The parishioners who told me about her last September were her sponsors and had heard the news of her marriage from the woman herself. In April, a shocked visitor from the Virgin Islands told me she had just told him about her female partner after a Presanctified Liturgy. So you see, this was an ongoing thing continuing to scandalize the faithful.

      I tried for six months to get the priests to talk to these women, but none thought enough of the matter to do so. None of them admit to being these women’s confessor. I might have approached the women privately myself before turning them away, but when I asked the protodeacon at St. Nicholas what I should do, he told me if they came to his chalice he would turn them away. After all, they must know that what they’re doing is wrong. So that’s what I did, and it didn’t seem to make much difference to her. She was back in church, in the choir, and in line for communion in the following weeks, no doubt encouraged by the people more surprised and outraged that “He turned her away!” than that “She married another woman!”

      That said, it’s obvious from your questions that you aren’t really Orthodox. You don’t actually believe what the Church teaches on the nature of human existence, and you aren’t living up to your own condemnation of “gossip” and “judging others.” You’re judging all of us very harshly for simply speaking the truth of the matter. Can’t you see that?

      • Dn. I am so sorry I was not there. Please be strong for a little while longer. . . .

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          You had an excellent excuse, so it was God’s will that you weren’t there.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Dear Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell:

        I apologize in advance for my question, but why was this situation allowed to occur? Once the Woman or Women married other Women, and allowed to take communion, which presumable this occurred prior to this incident, why did the priest allow this to continue without pastoral correction? If this did occur I do not see how the deacon is at fault. Basically, the priest should have stepped in way before this incident transpired and talked to these women privately.

        If their Orthodoxy did not mean anything to them (otherwise why get married to a same sex partner) then why believe? I am getting confirmation everyday incident by incident that if we do not draw a very clear line in the sand, we will lose the Church.


        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          The reason given was and is that these things need to be done delicately within a confessor-confessee relationship. Otherwise the person is likely to be hurt or offended and react in the wrong way. One problem with that is that it only counts the possible harm to the person being corrected, as if the scandal to the faithful doesn’t matter. Another problem is that these women didn’t have a confessor-confessee relationship, and so there was no basis for action to begin with.

          Another reason I see for no one taking action is that they don’t see any real danger in partaking unworthily, and so there’s no urgency to stop people from doing so. Really, some people believe the Gifts are only good for you, contrary to what the Fathers teach. This is a major issue with me. I know how powerfully healing the Body and Blood can be when taken with repentance, and how hopeless of healing one is when one partakes without it. The Apostle says in 1 Cor. 11:

          27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
          28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
          29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
          30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

          Another reason might have been that the priests were more understanding of what an uproar this would cause within the parish. I expected more people to be shocked that “She married another woman!” and fewer people to be shocked that “He turned her away!”

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          The problem with this discussion is that it is taking place. It is not appropriate for others to presume to second guess a priest or deacon on such matters. Every priest or deacon who offers the Chalice is required by the teachings of our Church to deny the Mystery to anyone he honestly believes has excluded themselves from Communion for whatever reason. Certainly a person who is living in a gay relationship and refuses to repent should be excluded from Communion. When a bishop, priest or deacon must refuse to allow someone to partake of the Mystery, he is answerable to his bishop and his bishop alone. this takes place, no one except the Bishop has any business becoming involved in this matter. If a person believes that they have been wrongly refused they can appeal to the Bishop, who alone has the authority to make a decision of whether or not the clergyman acted correctly.
          It is also disturbing that some people think they can change the teaching of the Orthodox Church through what amounts to political agitation. In the Orthodox Church, the majority does not rule, God rules. Even if the vast majority of Orthodox Christians in the United States want to change the moral teachings of the Church, they lack the authority to do so. God has shown us His will through the Holy Tradition of the Church, which includes the Holy Scriptures, the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, the consensus of the Holy Fathers and the ages old teachings of the Church. Since there is no question that the Church has always taught that homosexual actions are sinful, there is no need for further discussions of this matter. No one can change the teachings of the Church no matter how much support they gather. The Orthodox Church has withstood persecution since the beginning from Jews, Romans, Muslims and Communists and has refused to compromise its Faith. The Orthodox Church must withstand persecution from secular American society and must not change its teachings to become more “politically correct.”

          Archpriest John W. Morris

      • Canonical questioner says

        I’m struggling to understand how this is in any way acceptable behavior on the part of a deacon.

        You tried for six months and failed to get approval to do what you wanted to do from the Metropolitan, your Rector (Fr. Fester) or any other priest. You never spoke with either woman privately about their situation.

        With Fr. Fester removed and the Metropolitan absent you took matters into your own hands on the authority of the protodeacon, but without the authority of any priest or bishop with whom you’d earlier shared your concerns.

        In what sense of the term were your actions within the good order of the Church? For the Metropolitan to say that you ought not to have done what you did seems a pastoral understatement of mercy towards you. You usurped his authority in his Cathedral…most other bishops would not be so forgiving.

        And Fr. Reardon, would you have refused the Chalice and made your speech to your congregation without having spoken privately to the individuals involved? Does Jesus’ clear instruction in Matthew 18:15-17 no longer apply within the OCA?

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          “And Fr. Reardon, would you have refused the Chalice and made your speech to your congregation without having spoken privately to the individuals involved?”

          Of course not.

          • Canonical questioner says

            Exactly. The deacon did what you would not.

            And I do appreciate that you would not have put a deacon in that position. I seriously doubt that the Metropolitan or Fr. Fester would put a deacon in that position, either.

            The fact remains the deacon took action that neither the Metropolitan nor Fr. Fester blessed, though St. Nicholas was the home parish of both of them. It’s not like they were in Syosset and the deacon was at a distant outpost, after all.

            Such actions seem to me to amount to the deacon calling into question the fitness of the Metropolitan and Fr. Fester for their respective offices.

            • Dear Canonical questioner:

              The presiding priest handed me the chalice. In doing so, he blessed me to distribute its contents in accordance with the canons of the Church. In taking the chalice, I accepted that responsibility and did indeed distribute the Gifts in accordance with the canons of the Church.

              If that priest now wants to say that I should have spoken privately to the individual beforehand, my response to him would be, “THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU DO SO AT MY URGING THESE PAST MANY MONTHS?”

              • Dn Brian…I do not know the canonical responsibilities of a Deacon in this matter. However, in hindsight, might you have asked her to join the line with the priest so he could deal with the matter? That would have fulfilled your concerns about her receiving from you and placed the responsibility in the hands of the priest who is in higher authority thanyYou. I cannot presume to know how this should be done, just wondering if in the future this other approach might be a successful one?

              • Canonical questioner says


                You declare your Metropolitan Jonah, your former Rector Fr. Fester and the presiding priest at the liturgy at which you took your action (and was that priest really there “SIX MONTHS” prior to your action?) to be Judases in vestments and therefore unfit for their offices. You have declared all of them to have failed to act as God requires with regards to His Sacred Mysteries, and your sole defense is that you did not fail where they failed.

                All schismatics claim God’s blessing for their action against the good order of the Church, all schismatics claim that they are in concert with a Higher Authority than their Hierarchs, all schismatics claim a sanctity greater than that of their peers and superiors. You have acted as all schismatics have acted down through the ages.

                Why would the Metropolitan say you “ought not have done that” if you were justified in your action? Either the Metropolitan is a Judas or you were wrong, it really is that simple.

                I find it utterly sad that you fault the priest who did not bless you to refuse the Chalice for failing to order you to follow the dictates of Matthew 18. I am used to hearing such excuses from children, not ordained deacons. George often claims that the OCA is a dumping ground for ne’er do wells, you seem to justify his view by requiring a priest to direct you to obey the Gospel while by placing your own conscience above the dictates of Christ.

                Your Metropolitan has showed you a mercy you are unwilling to acknowledge. Today’s Gospel was expressly to those who fail to see the mercy given them. You might take a read and consider it before you complete your schism from Christ’s Church.

                • CQ,

                  The clergy in question may indeed turn out to truly be (whether they fully intend it or not) Judases in Vestments! It truly seems here that they have acted the part. If so, let us pray fervently that they repent. The information from Fr. Patrick, Fr. James, and Fr. Tikhon in these threads surely put the Deacon’s following of his conscience in this matter in a much more sympathetic relief than you allow here.

                  Not all schism is caused by the sin of the one who disobeys official hierarchies. In this sense not all schism is sin. Did not the Lord say in Matthew 10, “34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[e] 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”?

                  All the Arian Bishops (not only schismatic, but heretical), who were the majority party at one time in the Eastern Church, were duly appointed hierarchs of the Church. Were those Orthodox hierarchs and laypersons that opposed them the schismatics? History has shown otherwise. Do you not believe there is something to be learned from that? Perhaps the Holy Spirit is guiding this Deacon. We obey God rather than men (where the two disagree).

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    Karen, I am humbled by your mention of the Holy Spirit because I know that I truly am a prideful, arrogant fool at times. But the simple side of me said that continuing to commune these women was very wrong for everybody and had to stop. We are not Nazis, after all, and will not get by on the Day of Judgment with the Nuremberg defense, saying, “I was only following orders.”

                    • Deacon Patrick, just out of curiosity, what kind of formal theological training do you have?

                    • Heracleides says

                      Obviously not enough to have been ruined by it (not joking).

                      Deacon, if you are able to relate the information, did you receive any positive support from any of the clergy – deacons, priests, bishop – at St. Nicholas Cathedral subsequent to this event?

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Helga: Very little. Six papers written for the OCA’s old Late Vocations Program. But I’m 53 years old, have been Orthodox over 20 years, and have written peer-reviewed works on politics and religion. I may not know much, but I like to think I know a thing or two.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Helga: In response to your second question, the protodeacon has been very supportive, and the Metropolitan has been very kind to me and not punished me for anything. Fr. Alexander Webster, who is attached to the Cathedral but is often elsewhere, has also been very encouraging. I believe he was out of the country through most of this, and I don’t blame him for anything. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to say this.

                    • Deacon Patrick, that was actually Heracleides’s question, but I wondered the same thing and am glad to know you are still on good terms with the Metropolitan. I know Metropolitan Jonah is a man of good faith, and wouldn’t find it difficult to believe the same of you.

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    The edit function has stopped working, so I didn’t get a chance to correct my mistake: I read Heracleides’s question as a second question from Helga.

                  • Canonical questioner says

                    Not long ago the case was being made across the internet (and here) that Metropolitan Jonah and Fr. Fester were the last bastions of True Orthodoxy unfairly attacked by enemies of the Church, and those enemies were condemned in clear, graphic and no uncertain terms.

                    Now the claim is that the Metropolitan and Fr. Fester and every priest at St. Nicholas are equals to Arius, and following the Metropolitan’s teaching would make one tantamount to a Nuremberg criminal.

                    The judgement and condemnation remain the same, only the targets have changed.

                    The Deacon reports that Jonah said:

                    7. The bigger problem is people judging each other, gossiping about other people’s sins, and causing a lot of hurt. (A lot said on this.)

                    Either the Metropolitan is correct, or all of you are correct. There is no middle ground.

                    But to be fair, Bishop Tikhon often opines against the “congregationalist” mentality within the OCA. This seems an example of that…obedience makes one a war criminal, only the individual conscience is to be followed. That’s very Protestant, not Orthodox.

                    • CQ,

                      My comment was not meant to construe HB and the priests at St. Nicholas as “equal to Arius,” but just to illustrate a reason for withholding judgment who might be ultimately the more responsible for potential “schism” in this incident. I did this, since you seemed not at all inclined to withhold judgment in your initial strident comment to which I was responding!

                      The back and forth on Met. Jonah and other hierarchs and priests in the jurisdiction just shows that there is a real tug of war going on here and people are trying to discern (without adequate information most of the time) what the heck is going on and respond appropriately according to their consciences. We are not trying to decide doctrine for the Church, nor to be our own hierarchs, but attempting to discern who within the Church is genuinely adhering to the Tradition so that we can continue to place ourselves in obedience to it. I am aware of nothing in the Tradition that controverts this responsibility on the part of each believer.

                      Deacon Brian Patrick, I am glad to know you are not under discipline for this, and I do think that also speaks volumes for our CQ.

                    • Canonical questioner says


                      You’ll notice a couple of messages back that I wrote this:

                      Your Metropolitan has showed you a mercy you are unwilling to acknowledge.

                      After which (but not in response to it) Deacon Patrick wrote this:

                      … the Metropolitan has been very kind to me and not punished me for anything.

                      I understand mercy.

                      I also understand that actions speak as loudly, and sometimes more loudly, than words. The deacon’s own commentaries here are clear, that he brought his concerns to those above him in the Church, that he never spoke to the women he was concerned about directly, that those above him in the Church (his Metropolitan, Fr. Fester, the other priests at St. Nicholas) did not move as quickly and decisively as he felt proper.

                      His actions and commentaries testify to a judgement not only of the women to whom he had not previously spoken, but also on those to whom he had previously spoken about his concerns. He is quite clear about this, sometimes so adamant he uses ALL CAPS to make his point.

                      I can understand why the Metropolitan, who has shown great mercy to the Deacon, would then speak to the lesson of refraining from gossip and judgement. Can’t you? The Metropolitan is preaching what he practices, mercy and a refrain from judgement. We all do well to emulate his long-suffering rather than being frustrated because he’s not in a rush to turn those we judge to be sinners away.

                  • CQ,

                    There isn’t a reply box to your comment below, so I hope you see this. Obviously, I have a selectively trained conscience and lot to learn about protocol and how to properly approach this type of situation without bungling it. My sympathies are totally with the very difficult position the Deacon was placed in, though technically I can see he may have made mistakes. Given this situation, what do you think would have been the proper course of action? If you could, give me a couple of hypotheticals with the woman responding a couple of different ways, for instance, had he approached her privately as you suggested would be proper.

                    Also, I’ll throw out this question for Bishops or Priests who may be reading. Please forgive me, for I speak as the foolish ignoramus I know myself to be! I know the story about Abba Moses (I think it was) who was asked to come judge a brother monk, and who took a sack with a hole in it and filled it with sand or water (depending on which version you read) and carried it to the place where the monks were waiting to hear his judgment. When asked about it, he said it represented his own sins which ran out behind him, so how could he judge a brother monk? Based on this illustration against judging another, in the case that someone who appears to be unrepentantly committing blatant sin such as this woman seems to have been, would a truly godly priest or bishop (following the example of Abba Moses) be within his authority to not deny such a person access to the Chalice (assuming he was her Confessor and knew the state of her convictions? What if the person is genuinely not aware or does not believe that their action is a sin according to the Tradition of the Church. Is it, therefore, to be considered not a deliberate sin and economy and access to the Chalice are appropriate? IOW, are they therefore, not to be held accountable in this way, until their own conscience becomes convinced they are sinning? Or is there not any one answer to this situation, depending on the real needs of the woman’s heart in terms of what will draw her to salvation?

                    • Just to be a bit more clear, my comment above should have read:


                      “There isn’t a reply box in your comment to me above . . . ”

                      and about 3/4 down in the last long paragraph:

                      “. . . (assuming he was her Confessor and knew the state of her convictions)? . . .”

                    • Canonical questioner says


                      It seems to me that the goal of a pastor is to shepherd those in his care to Theosis, and that in this effort there is no “one size fits all” solution. There is, of course, the clear ideal, and then there is the striving toward that ideal, each in our various conditions.

                      A good pastor understands each specific individual he’s dealing with and properly diagnoses their spiritual condition before prescribing a discipline for them. A penance that is proper for one soul may well crush another, a prod that would put one soul back on track may knock another further off track. One who is strong may be made stronger by fasting from communion in penance, one weaker in faith may be driven to despair by the same penance and so requires a different treatment.

                      Read again the deacon’s own account of the meeting at St. NIcholas. The Metropolitan is quite clear about right and wrong, there’s no waffling or blurring, no minimizing or redefining.

                      +Jonah would be within his authority to execute judgement on both the women and the deacon, but he sought a path toward the healing of the community and the individuals involved. In this way he reflects the life of Christ, who was clear and merciful, instead of the life of the Pharisees, who judged according to the law without mercy.

                      In this instance the pastoral question is not whether a person is worthy of approaching the cup. No-one is worthy to commune with God, we do so only because of God’s mercy. The pastoral issue is whether approaching the cup will lead to one’s healing or intensify one’s illness. Again, the Church has long history and guidance with this, but I’d think each individual decision rests with one’s confessor and is contingent not on “feeling” but rather on an informed assessment of what is best for the individual communicant.

                      Rather than fantasize about what might happen with someone I don’t know and speculate on what may or may not be the results if actions not taken were taken, I think it’s more profitable to focus on the teaching and example of the Metropolitan and to submit in to him in obedience and love.

                      Were I a deacon I would raise my concern with the priest, the rector or the bishop, asked his advice and followed that. Obedience is only the fourth step on the Ladder of Divine Ascent, and we skip it at our own peril.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Canonical Questioner, small point of clarification: I did not claim that the OCA was exclusively “the dumping ground” for misfits in the clergy. I stressed that in all immigrant-based churches –Catholic as well as Orthodox–there has been a mentality among a great section of the laity that the priesthood is the repository for men who for some reason or another cannot “make it in the real world.”

                  Of course I said that this was an unfair characterization but the perception is real and it extends in all jurisdictions, not merely the OCA. If anything, thanks to the rigors of education at SVS, the quality of most priests I have met is quite exemplary.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      This deacon is most certainly not a jerk.

      This woman SHOULD have been refused at the chalice.

      The deacon should not have been put in a position where he was obliged to make a decision that belongs properly to to the local parish priest. If he served with me, this deacon would never have been put in that impossible situation.

      I would not only have refused Holy Communion to this woman. I would have stopped the service and explained why to the congregation.

      Your quotation from Cassian (which I have cited numerous times over the years) pertains to sincerely repentant Christians, folks who sometimes “fall” into sin. He is not talking to people who “walk” in sin. This distinction—between falling into sin and walking in sin—is well established in Holy Scripture.

      St. John Cassian would bristle at your misuse of his quotation.

      • Jane Rachel says

        All I can think of to say is “Now we are cooking with gas.” This is right, Father Patrick. I was trying to sort it out and this makes it clear. Thank you.

      • Nicole Troon says

        Dear Fr Patrick or Deacon Brian:

        If appropriate, would either of you suggest (with the 20:20 vision of hindsight) an optimal way within Church order the deacon might have proceeded once his urgings to the priests were not heeded over time? Was there a “next step” or series of steps to take at the parish, diocesan, dean, Synodal, MC or Metropolitan level? Perhaps this information could help others in a similar situation.

        Thank you for considering.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Dear Nicole

          I have no idea what the “next step” would be.

          If I were a deacon, however, and faced what Deacon Brian Patrick faced, I would simply have moved out to some other parish and joined the ranks in the nave.

    • Ioanna,

      She spoke to me directly. Although I first heard it from a friend of mine who was distraught in not knowing where to go or who to tell about how disturbed she was. She told me in confidence and I took it to a (different) deacon. I don’t know what he did. But her talk at coffee hour continued. I went to this deacon again in which he seemed flustered that she was still at it. But this Dn. left and I never asked him what his actions were. My friend who struggles emotionally just to get through the day couldn’t handle it and eventually left St. Nicholas. I later heard the reason for yet another friend who left as well. I tried to handle it privately through the leaders of our church, but no one cared for the weak . . .

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Wow . . . this whole thing just makes me heartsick.

        • Yeah, and meanwhile people think I’m gay bashing, when I want responsibility and sensitivity for those struggling . . . because it’s not just gay people who are suicidal . . .

          • Collette: The concern was not that gay people are suicidal but that Orthodox adolescents and youth MIGHT become suicidal based on the vitriolic and public manner that HB Jonah had made his announcements about homosexuality. We ought all be concerned with the assistance of all to attempt to prevent physical or emotional injury to others. You mentioned that this individual has some emotional problems with the presumption that she needed support from the priest to prevent a third party from receiving communion or speaking of her civil marriage. You can see how improper that thinking is?

            If I am correct, and heaven knows I may not be, the Orthodox church doesn’t state or believe that such a same sex marriage exists, thus there is no issue if the two individuals are married civilly. They aren’t married in the eyes of the church, so there’s no spiritual compunction for her not to receive ONLY if she is engaging in sex with her married partner. I don’t want to pretend that there wasn’t sex occurring, but that you do not know if there was–excuse me, perhaps the woman told you the couple was having sex–is that the case? Even so, the matter is in the hands of the bishop, priest and God. Since the judgment comes to the person who receives the mysteries and not to you, then this entire problem can safely be lifted from your shoulders, and all the other laity, and your time and effort can be given to the distraught woman helping her to focus on her own salvation.

            • The only problem with this line of thought is that , according to the canons anyone (whether heterosexual or homosexual) who marries outside of the church has automatically excommunicated themselves and brings judgement upon themselves by partaking unworthily of the sacraments (These canons, unlike, for instance, the dropping of the “All Catechumens Depart” from the Liturgy, or the choice of some jurisdictions to allow some forms of non-abortive contraception in very specific situations, across the board are to be applied very strictly, and are not subject to jurisdictional episcopal oversight, but to the authority of the Ecumenical Councils, and therefore to Holy Tradition. These rules cannot be changed.)

              The person will have put herself into a state of de facto excommunication until the proper penance has been applied and performed and the marriage normalized by a Church blessing (or in the case of a civil marriage, Church Wedding). It is impossible for the church to bless same sex marriage as marriage, because the Church has always taught, and always will teach, that it is not a healthy or holy excercise of a person’s humanity, and hence, is inherently sinful. That person is called to repentence. It is then the perview of the spiritual director to determine whether this person is able and willing to repent enough to partake of the Holy Mysteries.

              Stephen, I do not know whether you are currently or in the past have been an Orthodox Christian, but I will be praying for you netherless. You are clearly trying to manipulate your way around the issue to justify these actions. The position that you have taken, though perhaps rooted in a genuine concern for those who struggle with SSA, is nonetheless delusional. To think that “We are modern enlightened people who know more than the Church Fathers” is, frankly nothing but pride. (History is constantly revealing to us how much our ancient ancesters knew, even scientifically that we have not given them credit for due to our mistaken notion of progress after the “dark ages in the West.”)

              Heaven knows that I struggle with this same sin (pride), so I understand. But, In this situation the choice is clear, we either submit our wills to that of the judgement of the Universal Church or we are placing ourselves in de facto schism. That is very serious.

              The judgement has been made. Homosexual unions, like other un-natural uses of human sexuality such as masturbation, abortion, envitro fertilization, etc. are not, nor can they ever be recognized as normal or good for the human person. They are self destructive and a delusion, and your stating that they are otherwise is not actually loving, but destructive to those who attempt to fight that part of their burden in the Original Sin (which is inherited ancestrally, not as a guilty verdict, but as degradation and warping of the icon of God in humanity.) I invite you to join me, a sinner, in searching your soul to see if your views really match up with the fathers and the scriptures, our salvation is at stake.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Stephen you are simply being hysterical. HB may have made many mistakes and have character flaws, but nobody in his mind could accuse him of ever being “vitriolic.” To even suggest this is nothing short of insane. On those few occasion in which he has talked or written about cultural issues he has been well within the bounds of Orthodox pastoral theology.

              The absurdity of your argument is shown further when we consider the encyclicals put out by the OCA back in 1992, SCOBA in 2003, and more recently +Michaels and +Matthias’ writings on the subject. If you are going to be consistent then you must immediately and publicly assert that all of the aforementioned men and groups are similarly “vitriolic.”

              You have as much time and space as you need to respond.

  7. V. Rev. A. James Bernstein, Dean, says

    If we as clergy don’t protect the Blessed Sacrament who will? See my booklet “Communion: A Family Affair.” – “Why the Orthodox Church Practices Closed Communion.” (Conciliar Press). When written I said, “this is a no brainer.” What a surprise to discover Orthodox including clergy who believe that the church should place the responsibility of deciding whether a communicant receives communion upon the communicant ALONE and not upon the cleric dispensing the communion. So it is in Protestantism and apparently now in the Roman Catholic Church. This is also common practice in large urban churches both here and in the Old World where the sacrament of confession has fallen upon hard times and there is little accountability. (Without Confession there is NO accountability). And also in churches where the rich and powerful must not be offended.
    Our Antiochian Clergy Guide asks: ”Who is eligible to be a communicant? Answer: Only an Orthodox Christian in good standing.” Our Liturgikon Service Book which is widely used in many Orthodox Jurisdictions has a quote at the beginning of the book – Commandments of St. Basil the Great to Priests. It says: “Do not ignore the Master’s commandment and those of the holy Apostles: Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw pearls before swine. See that you do not deliver the Son of God into the hands of the unworthy.” The Church must have boundaries and we as clergy are responsible to enforce those boundaries in love. Just as we do within our families. A family without boundaries is a madhouse. The Church without boundaries is – the world. If there were a situation of public scandal in my church or deanery, a situation of serious sin that is flaunted, and the individual comes to receive communion knowing full well that it is against the desire of the priest. I would commend my deacon or any deacon for withholding communion in order that there NOT be a scandal. Our enlightened church membership would be totally scandalized in the giving of the Blessed Sacrament to one who was openly – a rebel. If the parishioners are not scandalized – there is a more serious problem. This is true with regard to ANY serious sin in which the individual is openly unrepentant. The individual is excluded from communion – not in theory but in practice. For sure the pastor of the church should hopefully be proactive and address the situation directly in private so as to avert a public scene. If what is required has been done. Then the clergy has to do what is necessary. This is true for the 21st century as much as for the 1st. Hopefully until the second coming.

    • Thank you, Father. This was indeed a no brainer from the beginning — those were my very words to the Metropolitan. It’s obvious what should have been done but wasn’t done for months and months. For me, continuing to knowingly commune the women was nothing less than a profanation of the Eucharist, which I in good conscience could not continue to do. Communing her would have made me guilty of her condemnation.

  8. I told you many posts ago that Met.Jonah was conflicted about this issue…now you know…have you ever thought that maybe this particular woman donates very generously to the Cathedral? What is Met.Jonah going to do about gay clergy in his Church?now you know though…

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      And yet we have been consistently running halfway below our projected weekly collections for months. I wonder why . . .

    • it’s not about money . . . .

    • This is no better than Mark Stokoe accusing Met. Jonah of wanting to be locum tenens of the South for the money. Did you really have to go there?

  9. One thing is for sure, Jonah did little to refocus St. Nicholas Cathedral by his half-baked response to the situation. But the thing that really gets under my skin is the comment he allegedly said that he is not interested in fighting “culture wars” anymore. WHAT? Now you are not interested? Aren’t you the one who started fighting them and got everyone ginned up to weight into the deep waters of these real culture wars? Now you are saying “No Mas. No Mas!” He is like a general who says “CHARGE” and then when the bullets start flying says, “On second thought, lets turn around.” What a joke.

    If that is the case, then it might be best for Jonah to stay nice and toasty at home in January when it comes time for the March for Life in DC. If he is not interested in fighting any culture wars, then that one should be the first on his list to “x” out. This is EXACTLY what Mark Stokoe and the Stokovites have been waiting for, for Jonah to back off controversial issues. And when he backs off, they win. Back to the future kiddos. Another Theodosius, all fluff and no substance under the thumb of his handlers.

    But here is the good news, Jonah is safe. Moscow has sent out the word through all the appropriate channels that if the Synod or anyone else makes a move to oust Jonah, Moscow will pull the plug on the OCA. And they will do it. But here is the bad news, Jonah will be in Moscow’s back pocket and doing their bidding here in the USA. So, de facto, the OCA is no longer autocephalous. We can pretend we are but Jonah is a kept man, by his Synod, by the Stokovites and by Moscow.  

    So, Jonah no longer wants to upset people in his Cathedral. He just wants folks to get along. If that is true, then you can be sure that there will be more clergy casulties in his diocese, that no cleric is safe because the moment any of them steps out to defend the Gospel against the objections of the laity or other bishops, that cleric will be thrown under the bus. Deacon Patrick is the latest victim. And in so doing, Stokoe wins. The homosexual issue will go underground. Disorder grown out of weakness will bear very bitter fruit and Jonah will be to blame because he was and is not strong enough to lead.

    Sorry folks, he appears to be an Episcopalian at heart. How very sad. He’s all yours Stokoe. Have fun with him.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Ignatius, I think that your words are beyond unfair. Despairing in fact. Let’s not forget that the people in DC are still struggling with the fact that things are unsettled since the departure of the last dean. Things won’t come to normal until a formal one is put in place.

  10. Many of us at St. Nicholas Cathedral feel priviledged to have a man in our church as strong and principled as Dn Brian Patrick. Events have made clear that his fidelity to the Orthodox faith is something not common – even among the clergy. I was the first, I think, to notify him, many months ago, of an impending, improper marriage. I thought it my duty to the church and to the woman involved to let the clergy know. I had hopes that the clergy would counsel her and head off the marriage. I considered at the time that she was under the delusion that it was OK with the church. Perhaps I was the one in delusion. The Orthodox position in opposition to such arrangements has been stated again and again in various documents, but where a specific and public example in open challenge to that position occurred, nothing was done. I didn’t anticipate the clergy behaving like Episcopalians, ignoring the issue and isolating our deacon. It seems incomprehensible to me that such a misguided policy could have been followed in an Orthodox church. At least now I see more clearly with what I am dealing. Dn Brian Patrick should be applauded by the whole church for standing his ground in protecting the chalice in the face of so much opposition.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Steven, what you say is understandable in the given situation. To me, the elephant in the room in Rev. Deacon Patrick’s case is the flagrantly renovationist, reforming practice of many of the presbyters (and bishops) in The Orthodox Church in America in the Midwest and east of it, in practicing the indubitable innovation of blessing the Deacons to distribute the Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Faithful. What adds weight to the elephant is the withholding of the real responsibility for custody of the Chalice: deciding who may and may not be communed, from the Deacons so licensed.
      I believe that any Orthodox person who can read may learn that once, long, long ago in lands far far away, Deacons were given the custody of and responsibility for the Chalice. But they were never, ever, given the custody of the Lord’s Body, nor were they ever blessed to impart the precious, holy, and immortal Body to anyone at all. When, very early in the East, the custom of imparting Both the Body and Blood separately fell into disuse (around the same time the public confession of individual sins at the entrance doors to the temple ceased) the responsibility for the imparting of the Mysteries became solely a responsibility of the Honorable Presbytery.
      Another innovation in America preceded the licensing of Deacons to impart the Mysteries: the use of multiple Chalices at Divine Liturgy. Who has not seen the enormous chalices in use in the largest Churches and Cathedrals in Russia? Their existence testifies to a vanished piety which insisted that all in a parish partake from One Chalice, as they partake from One Bread, the Lamb (and not the memorial particles from the Proskomede)? If the current faddish OCA practice of using multiple chalices (not solely OCA, now, it’s done many other places as well, even in the post-revolutionary Russian Church itself. If a Priest hears a Confession and determines that the Mysteries may not be imparted to this or that person, such a person approaching him as he communes from the Chalice will not receive the Mysteries. The Deacon who has been tasked with the Presbyter’s responsibility for the Chalice is not given the discretion of such a Presbyter, nor are there any measures to insure that such a Deacon is informed of what he needs to know as custodian of the Mysteries. When I was ordained a Deacon at St. Nicholas on the parish feastday there in 1971, I became Deacon number three on the staff there. Neither I nor the protodeacon nor the other deacon ever communed the Faithful. I do not recall multiple chalices being used then either. I was, frankly, shocked when I returned to DC decades later, as a visiting Bishop. Many SCOBA Bishops prayed at Liturgy that day at St. Nicholas. Liturgy was served according to the rubrics for a Priestly service of the Liturgy: it was not a hierarchical service. It was a weekday and the Bishops in the nave far outnumbered the twenty or so Faithful attending. At the time for Communion of the Faithful, Father White intoned, “In the Fear of God with Faith and Love draw near!” However, no on at all was allowed to draw near: rather, three Priests sashayed out of the Altar and hurried to the West end of the temple, behind the Hierarchs, where they drew near to and communed approximately four or five people each before scuttling back into the Altar!
      This innovation or renovated or reformed practice complicates IMMENSELY the brouhaha over Rev. Deacon’s attempt to act responsibly relative to the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Priests in the OCA (at first mostly in the New England diocese in the 80s, then elsewhere) and, no doubt, the Fathers of the Novel Skete, just decided (in the case of New England with the cooperation of the Bishop-convert from Latin-Rite Roman Catholicism, incidentally) the matter: just told this or that Deacon, something like this: “Father Deacon, we all ****know***** that the Original Tradition in the Orthodox Church is that Deacons TOO impart the Holy Mysteries, so I want you to help me. I need this help because we have so many more communicants than we used to have in the dark ages before the 1960s! In our huge (sic) parish of 200 souls, we might have as many as 50 communicants on a given Sunday and the Liturgy will last FOREVER if I’m the only one comuning people!. What the Father did not consider was that even if 2000 communicants had come to the Chalice at a Liturgy where, e.g., St. John of Kronstadt served, they would ALL go to commune from one huge chalice with handles held by two Deacons. Of course, those were Old Country Orthodox, right? They had lots of time, those farmers without cell-phones or motorcycles, bullet trains, or jet aircraft…OK! Give the parish rector license to enable the innovation of the Deacon imparting the Mysteries of Christ. But where are these other questions addressed and settled, the ones that are being asked of Metropolitan Jonah and Deacon Patrick?
      And, let’s be clear on it, there can be no justification whatsoever for communing two women or two men who have become one flesh in a same-sex office of matrimony. To do that would be utterly, really, materially, philosophically, religiously, impiously to depart from the Tradition of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
      It is a behavior which scandalizes not only the Faithful, but the “Peoples” unto whom the Gospel is to be taught.
      I remember a sarcastic phrase used relative to some task completed in the Pentagon, where i served on the Air Staff for 5 years– ” Oh, don’t worry: that’s close enough for Government work!”
      That’s what we see in the OCA and elsewhere in the U.S. of A.: “Oh, don’t sweat it, that’s close enough for the Church—it’s not rocket science!”

      • Canonical questioner says

        Bishop Tikhon,

        One of the things I have learned is not to accept responsibility without being afforded authority. Here the deacon is given the responsibility to distribute the Sacred Mysteries without the authority of having confessed a single soul, thus without having knowledge of the state of those whom he is communing.

        He is, if you will, acting blindly.

        Given that equivocal condition, doesn’t responsibility rest with those who have authority? Or in such a situation should deacons judge first and apologize for errors later?

        • He could have sent the communicant to a line with a priest who would have the authority. You guys are always seeking the back door out of responsibility which if happened by someone on “the other side” would have you shrieking to yet another vladyka. These men need time away from our incursions on the time they need to work out the problems.

      • Thank you, Your Grace. I must say, this whole conversation about events in St. Nicholas Cathedral has been quite an eye opener. What is a concerned OCA parish member in a parish where this compromised administration of Communion prevails to do (prayer being a given)?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Vladyka, it is unimaginable to me that you would sanction a Deacon, serving in an albeit “renovative” capacity of distributing the Eucharist, to turn someone away, not as a “spontaneous defense” of the Mysteries – he did, after all, have more than six months to determine his course – without previously & directly informing you that “Today, if (whomever) approaches, I intend to turn (whomever) away.” If his “pure motivation” was to defend the Eucharist, why seek counsel of the Archdeacon? Obviously he was concerned as to the “correctness” of his decision. And it further stands to reason that he knew that the priests would prevent him, so he excluded them and acted as he would. And the rest, as they say, is rationalization. The end result of this act of righteousness indignation? “Whomever” was unfazed and apparently unrepentant, parishoners were scandalized that “Whomever” was turned away, and the Bishop of this cathedral was forced to mop up.

        Obviously there are many layers of “issues” here, but disobedience is the beginning of chaos and contradicts the instruction that things “be done decently and in order,” (1Cor 14:40) because “God is not a God of disoder but of peace.” (1Cor 14:33). Yet, despite the correction of his Bishop, he continues to vigorously defend a remarkable lack of insight & forethought as a “no brainer” and somehow heroic. As St. John Climacus writes, “To be a showoff is to be vainglorious… and indeed the first step in overcoming vainglory is to remain silent.”

  11. I certainly appreciate the further explanation of all of the other people who were so very concerned about the behavior and sins of everyone else around them. It’s been very enlightening. Dcn. Brian Patrick, it was totally unclear the way you had initially spoken about this, that this matter involved you. I hope you can forgive me for thinking that you sound like a jerk. As I said, there is so much about participating in these gossipy message board discussions that make me realize that I am profoundly in need of confession and counsel by my own Father Confessor (who I would hope would refuse to answer whether or not he was my confessor or not, so that no one could pressure and interrogate him about what I confess). In fact, my point about judgment was, in fact, self-directed, but I find it somewhat amusing that everyone would assume it was about them instead. Perhaps it takes one to know one. I wonder if I can find a Church Father who once said “takes one to know one” in a more articulate and pious manner.

    That said, perhaps you’re right. Perhaps I am not truly Orthodox … to *you*. And I guess that I’m lucky that you’re not God. Because if being Orthodox means that I am required to behave like a member of the Westboro Baptist “chuch” and chant and shout about the sins of fags living among us, while publicly humiliating someone who we know nothing about, and with a complete lack of compassion for what issues she might be struggling with, then it’s a good thing I don’t have to approach God with you standing between us in front of the communion line. Then again, I know nothing about your own personal struggles and your own profound and palpable interest in this matter either. Not knowing what you go through, or what this woman or women have gone through— that’s why it makes far more sense to preserve the status quo and tradition, and to keep this as a matter between personal confessors and penitents, rather than a matter for one deacon, the entire OCA, and the whole of message board gossip-land. I won’t leave the Church just because you tell me I’m not good enough. Ugh. What a shockingly cruel thing to say. It’s a good thing God is the one who decides salvation and not us.

    With that, I cannot continue to participate in this discussion. I’m afraid that the whole discussion is just… ugly. I wish others here could see this, but at this point, I have to be concerned with myself and my own behavior. With every new post of gossip, judgment, and speculation (my own included), it degenerates further. If the Metropolitan believes that “the bigger problem is people judging each other, gossiping about other people’s sins, and causing a lot of hurt,” on that, he and I completely agree. God bless you all. You all, the parish, the Metropolitan, and these poor besieged women, who too are children of God, are in my prayers. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us all. We need it right now.

    • Micahel Bauman says

      Since when did the Orthodox Church become a pietistic social club? Privacy does not really exist: “All things will be revealed” Privacy certainly does not exist when an unreptant sinner marches into the parish and proclaims loudly over an extended period of time: “Look at me! See what I’m doing! I’m so excited! I’ve gone and done something which (even if it were with a person of the oppposite gender) automatically excludes me from communion yet I’m still getting it. Wow! ”

      Did you get the part in Bp. Tikhon’s instruction that sins in the Church were originally confessed publically. Why do you think that was? Sin is not, nor can it ever by simply a private affair. My sin harms and distorts the lives of everyone around me even if the sin is unknown to them. If I were to publically flaunt my sins and adamantly refuse to repent, the harm is compounded and deepened. I should be cast out and trampled under for clearly I have lost the savor of salvation and can no longer be a part of the community.

      The canonical penance for those who marry outside the Church is exclusion from the Eucharist as long as the spouse is not part of the Church and the unlawful union lasts. Five years if the the unlawful union is terminated (even after the 5 years, the penitent may only commune on the Feast of the Nativity and Pascha). Get a copy of The Rudder and read for yourself.

      If the spouse subsequently enters the Church (at least in modern practice), the period of penance can be greatly shortened at the discretion of the bishop and full restoration to the Chalice is possible as a way of blessing an otherwise unlawful marriage.

      There is simply no reason this woman should have been communed by anyone as long as she was in this false union (whether sexually active or not). Her arrogance combined with the cowardice of the priests is a situation that has the potential to destroy the parish, put the salvation of many souls at risk and greatly weaken the prophetic witness of the Church to our culture.

      Those that continue to commune her violate the Church and each and everyone of us in communion. In essence, the Body of Christ has been joined to a harlot. True too if unrepentant fornicators and adulterers are communed

      Your comparison to the Westboro folks is so odious that it really does raise the question if you comprehend the nature of your calling as a member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and it recasts everything you have said (no matter how ‘theological and humble’) as an ideological polemic designed to bring into question the moral and spiritual teaching of the Church.

      • Michael–This is such an important opportunity to address the unchanging nature of Church teaching. First: I think it is blasphemous that the church has stopped the practice of open confession. But, they changed that practice. I am sure you can lead the way in starting up this practice again. You must truly lead by example.

        Then you say: “if the spouse subsequently enters the church (at least in modern practice)..” There’s modernism creeping into the Holy Orthodox Church…the church whose rules and decisions NEVER CHANGE. These decisions were made by Bishops, I suspect. With pressure from the laity–esp. those in power and wealthy.

        Underneath your Orthodox edifice you remain the penultamate (sp) Calvinist. It is apparent in what you say and how you say it. Are you the most Orthodox of all, reading the Rudder –memorizing it most likely. In the middle of which church is the champion of mercy–Jesus the Lord.

        All of this goes to prove my point again and again that 1) the church does change and 2) there’s much worse problems, according to Met. Jonah than homosexuality–what is that?..Heterosexual fornication, adultery and pornography. Pay attention to the Metropolitan, like I am supposed to according to you.

        BTW: LGBT sex and relationships ARE morally equivalent to heterosexual sex and relations, even to the point of church marriage.

        • “If I tell you, you will by no means believe.”

        • Mark from the DOS says

          Says the man who just lectured us on humility. The shamelessness knows no bounds.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Stephen, you are so far wrong it is unbelieveable. You obviously read very little of what I have written here or you simply could not say what you say.

          Nothing you mention as changes are changes in doctrine. The move to private confession was necessitated because of folks turning into swine when the pearls were placed before them. The manner in which sins are confessed has changed, but the necessity for confession has not.

          To reiterate: on a munbers level fornication, pornography and divorce are much worse than homosexuality more people are afllicted with those sins. However, I don’t see a movement to declassify those sins as sins. The arrogant, narcissitic and nihlist atttempt to have the Church deny the nature of the disease of homosexuality, who refuse to repent and demand that everyone else acquise in their sins is a big problem.

          The Rudder is called the Rudder because it guides. I have read in it but little and only concerning marriage because I wanted to understand the canonical foundation. Wan’t even thinking about homosexual sin at the time. The only reason I think about homosexual sinfulness at all is because it keeps getting stuff in my face by people like you who are obsessed with it.

          You are confusing adapation to circumstance and the hardness of our hearts with doctrinal change. Although I suspect you know that, you are just being intellectually dishonest in your bad-faith effort to force your will on the rest of us and upon the Church

          BTW, if I were a Calvinist, I would not be able to hope of the transformation in all of men’s hearts that I do. You would simply be pre-destined to hell. I don’t belive that. I would say, rather, that you position that homosexual sin is your identity and unchageable is far more Calvinistic than mine.

  12. A simple question of fact: does anyone on either side question that the public scandal/confrontation hinges on the women’s public declarations of their same-sex marriage?

    Is that fact acknowledged by all in this discussion?

  13. V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

    Yes,Tmatt,I agree with you.When someone publicly registers an insult against Christ and His Church(i.e.,a civil same-sex marriage),it does become a source of scandal.

    To answer Ioanna,I cannot imagine any sober-minded cleric or layperson ecouraging the actions of that unfortunate pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church or his followers.I doubt if he represents more than 1% of the Baptist position on the issue,let alone what any Orthodox cleric would teach.

    I think His Grace Bishop Tikhon hit the nail on the head,the Deacon should not have been put in the position he was in by disrtibuting the Eucharist.

    • Micahel Bauman says

      The so-called Westboro Baptist Church is a family cult of lawyers who are using the Constitutional provision of free exercise of religion to poke their fingers in the eyes of state and local governments. Before head of the clan, Fred Phelps, was disbarred he was an very succesful litigator. He knows the law well and he knows how to use it to destroy and control and profit himself. Several of his children and in-laws follow his example. In the process they are causing a great deal of pain.

      It has nothing to do with Christ, salvation or anything positive. It is a total sham, although a legal sham.

  14. Mark from the DOS says

    More from the Listening Group and then my comments:

    Stephen Montgomery: “There are people posting on the Monachahos{sp} blog that the Metropolitan wasn’t anti-gay enough for their tastes ”

    Inga: “Monomakhos is not OCANews.org and the postings there are not corroborated facts”

    First as to Inga, all I can say is thank goodness Monomakhos is not OCANews. Here people can participate without the editor deciding they don’t fit his editorial slant (and generally free from his self-justifying comments to anyone who dares question him).

    Now Stephen – who I believe posts here, as well as constantly slathering drivel over the OF list: Does it bother you in the least that you blatantly and intentionally misrepresented what has been posted here? Are you so ideologically driven or intellectually inept as to be unable to confess that there are people who have a theological issue with the Metropolitan’s actions? The irony is that you post to a list calling “dialogue” while resorting to demagoguery to arouse your sympathizers rather than engaging issues on the merits.

    My sympathies tend to be with the Metropolitan for the simple reason that I do not know, as you do not know, as the people criticizing him do not know, what pastoral efforts he may have been encouraging or undertaking parallel to the occurrence that has led to so much discussion here. Not knowing that, I will assume, unless shown otherwise, that the Metropolitan had good reason for the statement he made. I will not read it as a condemnation of the deacon, unless shown that it was. However, I completely understand that people, working with perhaps more knowledge than I, or with assumptions that I do not know or share, can reach a completely different opinion based on something other than a desire for “anti-gay” action.

    But regardless of who I agree with or don’t agree with, distortions and misrepresentations are inexcusable and you, sir, should be ashamed.

  15. From Good Guys Wear Black. What to do about a bad priest. http://goodguyswearblack.org/2011/08/18/what-to-do-about-a-bad-priest/

    Good advice for us all.

  16. I guess you will want to add a facebook icon to your website. I just marked down the site, although I had to make this manually. Just my suggestion.

    My site:
    rachat credits http://www.rachatdecredit.net

  17. Thoughts:

    I do not know what +Jonah’s motivation is in not pursuing the matter more energetically, but I’d like to mention one thing that no one else has mentioned: lawsuits. In our hearts, we know it is a matter of time until some aggrieved homosexual comes after the Orthodox Church. Perhaps +Jonah is picking his battles.

    Stephen: Clearly, you do not know the meaning of the word ‘vitriol.’

    Ioanna: Put away your violin. Apparently, you have been poorly catechized; else, you would realize that there is no correspondence whatever between the monstrous Fred Phelps and Orthodox theology. To make the comparison is manifest stupidity. Try the Episcopalians.

    • Is it OK to have a different perspective (without being labeled stupid or packed off to the Episcopalians?)

      • Not if you’re advocating heretical beliefs, no. Sorry.

        You can not discard the fundamental precept of the Church without killing it. If the Church abandons its foundational premise—because that is what is really at stake here— then there is literally no reason for Judaism/Christianity to exist. Do you realize that? It is spelled out in Genesis and Romans I. If man’s will is more important than God’s, and he feels free to do whatever he wants regardless of God’s will, then there’s no need for reconciliation. That’s the whole point of Judaism and Christianity; that’s why you attend liturgy, that’s why you fast, that’s why you pray, that’s why you pore over the scriptures. What else is the point?

        I am not trying to be unkind. I realize that the Church sometimes resembles nothing more than a social club, but it is not. Consider the saints who suffered—perished—standing up for these beliefs. I am not willing to cast away what they were so careful to preserve.

  18. Jonah just bungled it. Why? Well, that is the real question? Was he told to “cool it” by his “brothers on the Synod?” Was his listening to Fr Bradley who has a large investment in the outcome of this episode? Remember, Jonah turned things over to him after Fester was run out of town on a rail.

    Truth be told, with the active rehabilitation of Fr Garklavs underway (he is now assigned to St. Sergius Chapel so he can be a delegate at the AAC) and undoubtedly will be given a “standing ovation” by the masses for his courage, Jonah will even stand up and clap as a good spectator just going along for the ride.

    Lawsuits? Not a chance, at least not yet. I don’t think any court will entertain the idea that the reception of the Sacraments is a right, based on civil law. That may be the understanding and motivation of those involved but that dog won’t hunt.

    Jonah is now well in the hands of those who will “guide him” into making the “right” decisions. Mrs. Stokoe-Brown will make sure that the AAC is a grand expression of what the people want and he will expect the bishops to listen. And, they will.

    • I disagree with you that +Met Jonah blew it.
      1. As mentioned, it is not his job to step into a Parish life unless requested by the dean.
      2. He has made it quite clear what the teaching of the church is regarding homosexual relationships.
      3. I know for a fact that he has personally worked with many people suffering from SSA and helped them turn away from this sin. He did not have to advertise it on a billboard either.
      4. As I understand it if a Deacon is frustrated with any conflict of this serious nature, he should
      A. take it to his own confession
      B. take it to his priests.
      C All else fails then the Dean
      D. At last letter might be written to the Bishop.
      And as a matter of concern. I would like to suggest that if I was as soul sick at the situation as the Deacon has been,
      I would have written a letter clarifying my concerns and asking to be excused from performing communion duties until the issue has been resolved.
      E. Finally, because +Met Jonah said the Deacon shouldn’t have done that, it DIDN’T also mean he supported Gay relationships or the people involved communing. Because these are two different matters.
      F. As a Sainted Fr. once said to me. “You would not like to be judge without all the facts would you?”.
      That’s it for me on this subject. +The Met. is not going to market your hate. Find another way through this.
      This is a tragedy, for these poor sick women and their delusions.

      • Dear Faceit,

        You make some excellent points, but here are some things to consider:

        1. The Cathedral has no dean, thus and always, the bishop who is rector of the Cathedral (the ultimate boss) is there to give direction and make the final decision on important matters (this one qualifies.)

        2. I agree, he has made himself clear, in writing, but has he done this, in practice, in this situation?

        3. I am glad that he has talked people out of their same-sex attraction. One can only hope that he is actively working on this with willing people at his own Cathedral.

        4. In the case of this question and all its subsections, I believe the good deacon did on all counts. But you make your best point that he should have stepped out of distributing the Holy Gifts until the situation was resolved, assuming that he did ask for this and got a blessing from his bishop. Maybe his bishop told him to keep distributing the gifts.

        I totally agree with you that it is a tragedy but to let these women continue to commune brings an even greater spiritual tragedy. At the DC Cathedral there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Jonah must lead, take full responsibility in this situation and let the rest of the clergy “off the hook.” That is what a leader does. From what I know, it is still unclear and just as murky an issue because if the ladies in question continue to commune, what is the clear signal being sent?

        Communing of the Holy Gifts is not a right and certainly the clergy must be there to protect the faithful from “communing unto condemnation.”

        • Ignatius says,

          I totally agree with you that it is a tragedy but to let these women continue to commune brings an even greater spiritual tragedy.

          My question to you is, what makes you think these women are continuing to commune? Metropolitan Jonah didn’t say anything about that, because it’s not for public consumption. All Metropolitan Jonah said was that Deacon Patrick’s action was not the appropriate way to handle it, and that people should not obsess over what’s going on with these other people. I don’t think it’s sinful to simply observe someone doing something of concern and relating that experience to a trusted authority figure, but from the sound of things, Met. Jonah was concerned that some of the community reaction had turned into gossip and a failure to recognize one’s own sins.

          Note that Metropolitan Jonah did not say, “These women will be communed, and all of you are gonna sit there and like it.” If you attend St. Nicholas and you know who these women are, and you’ve watched them go to communion since Met. Jonah had the meeting, you may have a point. Otherwise, I think it’s time to let it go.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            very well said, Helga.

          • but from the sound of things, Met. Jonah was concerned that some of the community reaction had turned into gossip and a failure to recognize one’s own sins.

            Gossip means talking about people’s private affairs. It’s not gossip if it’s public: a sermon, communion, talking freely with a group at coffee hour. Nor is it gossip if it’s about yourself. The incident that I brought up with my friend happened almost 2 years ago. Nobody knew about it because I never told anyone except those in authority in the church, such as the deacon (there are 3 deacons mentioned in this total story-it’s confusing). But many people knew because of thier own observations.
            Actually, not everyone does know who these women are precisely because we are not a gossiping church, at least not in my crowd. The eruption that is happening at St. Nicholas is years and years of repression. There have always been problems there, but you could attend in the past and not know it, right now it’s hard not to notice. Met. J. inherited these problems, there is a lot to rearrange and clean up in this church.

            • Colette, I think gossip can be any kind of idle talk, not just revealing others’ secrets. Met. Jonah didn’t want people to become so fixated on these women that they stopped worrying about other sins in their own lives that are just as bad as what these women were accused of.

              BTW, I found out awhile back that they were taking up some kind of collection for Met. Jonah and his assistant at the cathedral. Do you know what that was for?

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                No . . . I don’t know what that was for. This collection is news to me.

                And yes, Colette is right about not knowing about the problems. At least, in my case, I can’t hear, so everything pretty much goes over my head unless someone explicitly tells me about something. Some of the items that was bought up was news to me; other items I already knew about because it was explicitly made clear to me (whether I wanted to know or not).

                • All I heard was that there was some kind of basket in the narthex with their names on the card.

        • George Michalopulos says

          The problem wtith point #1 is that it is unseemly for a bishop to be the dean of his cathedral. For the good order of the Church, the Holy Spirit provided a chain of command as evidenced in Acts, where the Apostles asked “is it meet for us to wait at tables?” The answer was provided in the election of seven “ministers” or deacons whose job it was to take care of secular affairs for the Apostles. Later, the apostolate appointed “elders” or presbyteroi to serve as the deputies of the “overseers.”

          There are clear distinctions. If you want to derail the ministry of a bishop, just get him involved in the minutiae of a parish, things like how many Altar-servers are needed on this particular Sunday, or should we buy the refreshments for the coffee hour from Safeway or Albertson’s, etc. These things are necessary but nonsensical for a bishop.

          To my mind this bespeaks for further evidence for the confusion of hierarchies that has been happening for the last fifty or so years in the West. Especially in regard to the confusion between the sexes, so that we now have “Mr Moms” on top of women who have been forced into the role of breadwinner for the family. The resultant confusion has only further destroyed the family.

          If I may get back on tangent: +Jonah’s earlier directive towards his priests who are father-confessors –and in which he assured them that they would be defended by their bishop–was not only a major step in the right direction, but set clear markers down regarding the office of priest and bishop in that as bishop he would not interfere in their own pastoral discretion. This is huge in and of itself but a master-stroke on an administrative level as well.

          Let me explain: one of the things that has exercized me (and probably every priest in the DOS as well) about the pilferage of Fester’s personal e-mail account by Bp Mark Maymon was the sheer terror that this meant for the future. The fact that Maymon sent these purloined e-mails to a miscreant like Mark Stokoe is beside the point –he could have sent them to me and it’d still be wrong. What this portended was that any priest could be importuned in the future by Maymon to give up information on any layman or penitent. This fear effectively destroys the trust within the entire presbytery. It also diminishes in the eyes of the laity the necessity for Confession. I’ll be real blunt here: it has taken decades for Confession to be rehabilitated and exercized within the OCA. It’s non-existent in the GOA for precisely this reason (among others): we Greeks don’t trust our priests because we don’t trust our bishops. We haven’t done so since the Turkocratia, in other words for about half a millennium. (I’ll leave it at that for now.)

          Anyway, getting back to the original point: if the bishop has trusted to transmit ordination to a man and then to elevate him to confessor rank, then he cannot and must not interfere in any relationship that that man has with his spiritual children. I would go on to say that he should be constrained from even asking his priests about the individual status of these penitents. Why? Because the appearance of impropriety is too great. It’s no different from a priest who goes into a brothel, he may very well be praying, ministering, preaching, asking for directions, or merely just getting a glass of water because he has to take his medicine, but the appearance of such is the cause for great scandal.

          Long story short: we have protocols within the Church and they’re there for a reason. +Jonah gave a clear directive to his priests and assured them that they would be protected by his omorphorion. If the priest in question has confessed this woman and feels that she has repented, that’s good enough for me. If on the other hand this priest is a coward or doesn’t care about any sin this woman has confessed (or not confessed) then he stands judged before God, not his bishop. Especially when he has been given clear assurances by his bishop that he will be protected in his ministry. (And I think any priest who doesn’t take advantage of this protection is a fool and will stand twice-condemned; I can assure you that within other jurisdictions no such protection exists for the priest, but that’s a whole other story.)

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I just feel bad for the deacon. I mean he was put in a position his priest should never have put him in. I cannot say that what he did was wrong because he had to make a decision without any guidance from his priest. Its the priest’s job not the deacon’s. To say that what he did was wrong is wrong itself. Now if a directive was specifically given to him OR a protocol was in place that he ignored then that’s different, but to placed on the spot like that is just not right.

            As a deacon he had to make a split decision. These types of decisions are not necessarily wrong because if there has been no guidance or no protocol in place then it is not wrong per se.

            as for: “It’s non-existent in the GOA for precisely this reason (among others): we Greeks don’t trust our priests because we don’t trust our bishops. We haven’t done so since the Turkocratia, in other words for about half a millennium. (I’ll leave it at that for now.).” This is sad but true.


            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              George (and Peter), I’d like to learn more about the role of confession in GOA. Looking forward to your post about this.

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Thank you, Peter. It was indeed a difficult and distressing position to be placed in. But I am confident I did the right thing: I was entrusted with a chalice, and I distributed its contents in accordance with the canons of the Church. No one has any right to do anything else. Even bishops are not authorized to commune apostates, and even soldiers are duty bound to disobey unlawful orders.

              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                By the way, the Metropolitan has in fact told members of the parish council very recently that I am not to blame for doing what I did.

                • CodeNameYvette says

                  I’m glad the Metropolitan said that on your behalf.

                  Here’s what I’d like to know. When is the last time anyone preached a sermon in the cathedral explaining clearly what the Orthodox Church teaches about homosexuality?

                  I seem to remember that it was you, Father Deacon, and that you were subsequently never invited to preach again. Am I remembering that incorrectly?

                  So the house is on fire, and people are pleased that there is a new interior decorator on the job?

                  George M., you have a fine theory about confession in the OCA. Does it explain what you see happening at the cathedral? Would you take your children there, to see and to hear open homosexuals admitted to the Chalice? If you saw such a thing yourself would you be back the following Sunday?

                  I’m not trying to be insulting or provocative. I’m just trying to figure out how some Orthodox Christians find reasons to put up with things, which to me are outrages. Please explain.

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Yvette, no offense taken. As I’ve never been to the cathedral I can’t say with certainty what’s going on. If the women in question were flagrant then I’d certainly be offended. I would not leave however unless the parish became overtly gay-friendly. You know, a GLAAD chapter, homo-singles’ nights, sermons preached on tolerance, and of course gay commitment ceremonies. By then it’d no longer be Orthodox.

                    As for homosexuals who are truly struggling and repentant, I have no problem with. And for elderly people of the same sex who are living together chastely I have no problem with either.

                    The preaching of heresy by clergy is more damnable than the involvement of actual sin. Secret sinner, fornicators, homosexuals, and adulterers, etc. are certainly drinking condemnation unto themselves but only unto themselves. A priest who preaches “tolerance” when he really means “it’s OK to be gay” is leading a flock astray.

                  • Well that’s just it isn’t it. Noone needs to be told we’re sinners, we get that, but for those of us who have children or teens or friends who are struggling . . . When nothing is done for years about open talk of one’s sins in front of all of these, followed up with communion, what exactly would you have us do? Other than leave. . . Things have been approached quietly for a long time. And then we get called gossipers?? Are you kidding me-how is it gossip or idle talk when noone talks! If it affects my kids, simply by observation, it is now my business. You can not tell me as a parent that I need to mind my own business.

                • Rod Dreher says

                  OK, let me see if I can figure this out.

                  Assuming you’re story is accurate, Deacon Patrick, these are the facts:

                  1. The Metropolitan believes you are not to blame for what you did.

                  2. But what you did was wrong.

                  3. Orthodox Christians living in unrepentant sexual sin — gay or straight — are not to receive communion, and clergy are not to give it to them, per written order of the Metropolitan.

                  4. Yet a deacon — you — in the Metropolitan’s own cathedral who acted in line with the Metropolitan’s own policy was wrong to have done so.

                  I guess it might be said, in the Metropolitan’s defense, that he doesn’t blame you for making the call that you did in that moment, but that really the call was to be made by the woman’s confessor.

                  A more reasonable interpretation, though, based on the Metropolitan’s record, is that he wants to be on the record as defending the Orthodox teaching, but in practice supports a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — because after all, nobody can come between a priest and a penitent. That’s what it looks like to me, anyway.

                  • CodeNameYvette says

                    It’s more like “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t teach” if the parishioners never hear a sermon that addresses the scandal taking place in their presence.

                    Do I remember correctly that most of these parishioners were more upset that the practicing “married” homosexual was denied the Chalice by the Deacon, than that she expected to receive in the usual manner?

                    This is the cathedral of the ruling heirarch of the jurisdiction. It’s the flagship. What happens there is a reflection on the whole OCA.

                    Please explain to me why any God-fearing Orthodox Christian would attend services there as long as this situation persists.

                  • No, Rod, I think what Metropolitan Jonah means is that Deacon Patrick was right in principle, but wrong in the execution. That is, it was right for Deacon Patrick to withhold communion from an ostensibly unrepentant sinner, but he’d overstepped his boundaries by doing this on his own initiative.

                    With that said, in keeping with our common acknowledgement that Metropolitan Jonah is not perfect, he could have done more to keep a handle on this. I would be curious to know what involvement Fr. Fester may have had before he was cashiered.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Guys that man was on the spot and hinsight is 20/20. It is a rare human being that can do, say or act perfectly for all when he is put on the spot like that. I mean what do all of you expect?

                      The real tragedy is not someone who was denied the Holy Communion, I mean I’ve seen my priests do that, and later on we understand that it was deserved EVEN IF people do not like it. Too bad so sad, move on with life and get over it.

                      The real tragedy is/was that this situation was allowed to fester and grow without the priest lancing the proverbial boil.

                      Further, why are you people shocked that this is going on in a catherdal? Did you actually think this rot was never going to hit us? ok keep dreaming why should I wake you up.

                      The reality is none of us were there and none of us had the info the deacon had. Being that this situation was not previously taken care of the deacon did not do anything wrong.

                      Stop and think for a moment WHAT and WHO is in that chalice. You think you’re going to take that responsibility lightly? There is alot of information missing so just relax.

                      Also we are dealing with men! The deacon is a man, the Metropolitan a man, and men act and sometimes they act rightly sometimes wrongly sometimes they just act because they have been put on the spot. Trust me when I tell you I know how that feels, and then to have your actions crtiqued every which way till Sunday, but unless you were there and you held that Chalice and you have to make that split decision, then no blame whatsoever should be flying around.

                      As for Met. Jonah he too is a man that has to do a herculean job of cleaning up as best he can an institutional mentality and rot that takes time, perserverance, and courage. Just support him and don’t join the people who want to tear him down.

                      Again, do we have all the facts? Were we there? NO! Just let the Metropolitan know that you stand with him but are concerned and allow him to do what he needs to do.
                      Enough of Orthodox tearing each other down. Just relax, take a breath and understand that things are not as simplictic as we all would like them to be.

                      Oh and by the way for those that thought the OCA was some mecca of Orthodox purity in America and the model for American Orthodoxy as opposed to the GOA or AOA or ROCOR, well what can I tell you? Welcome to the club. Have a seat. Now lets get to work fixing things.


                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Actually, his statement was much more positive. He agreed with my statement above that no one — not even a bishop — may commune apostates, and he admitted that he and the other priests should have acted sooner to do what I did. He also asked forgiveness for not acting sooner. So I have been vindicated.

                    • Dn. Patrick, that was my interpretation of how Met. Jonah felt based on what he was quoted as saying at the meeting, which was that what you did was “inappropriate”. My interpretation of that was that withholding communion wasn’t wrong on its face, just the fact that you did it on your own initiative, because that’s the only sense I could make of that statement.

                      I’m also glad Met. Jonah has acknowledged that he made a mistake in not acting sooner. As I said, I know he is not perfect, but I never lost faith that he would make things right.

                      BTW, how is the cathedral faring after the earthquake? I know the Episcopalian cathedral in DC lost some of the tips of its spires.

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      Oh, the cathedral is fine, even though the chandeliers and lambadas swung around quite a bit.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      All of us should read Dn Mitchell’s post on this thread. Those who have mentally thrown +Jonah overboard have I think acted too hastily. Even though I haven’t been to DC in over 6 years, I know something of HB’s schedule and he’s regularly not there on a consistent basis. In addition, they have no Dean so it’s administratively rudderless.

                      Please understand, I don’t blame HB at all. He just spent two Sundays in Dallas ministering to +Dmitri. Plus, he’s the first primate in a long time (ever?) to take his duties as Archbishop of Washington seriously.

                      Let’s also understand that there really is a Gay Mafia (or a “Gay, Inc” if you prefer) which have operatives that act as agents provocateur. Their job is to go about taking over institutions. They do this by insinuating themselves within them and if that doesn’t work, acting in a violent fashion. It’s possible that the women in the DC parish were purposely provoking a confrontation. Otherwise I can’t imagine why they would post a Facebook page describing their “wedding” and defiantly going to receive Communion.

                      If this is so, then it’s vital that the clergy (and by this I mean those who really believe the teachings of the Church) need to plan their strategy carefully. Jesus said “be ye as wise as serpents but as gentle as doves.” We should all realize the real possibility of homosexual agitation/provocation, which also includes the possibilty of lawsuits. Therefore no priest or bishop should go off half-cocked even if he is right.

                      I’m sorry to say this, but battles have to be picked wisely. It may very well turn out that HB has acted wisely if not precipitously.

                      (That being said, why don’t I extent the same advice to +Matthias who took out Stokoe like a clay pigeon? I have it on good authority that our own little Agent of Accountability and Transparency had been given multiple warnings by the new Bishop of Chicago. Instead, he chose to keep on being Syosset’s Stooge and publish their misinformation. He had his chance. +Matthias was right.)


            • What do you mean that he had to make the decision without the guidance of the priest? He asked the archdeacon. Why couldn’t he have asked the priest? All he would have had to do is say “excuse me a minute please” and go over to the priest and whisper in his ear about whether he should commune this person. Or as one person suggested, he could have just told the woman that she needed to go into the priest’s line instead of his. That way, the proper person to make that decision could have made it.

              Personally, I don’t think deacons should be giving the Eucharist except in certain situations–it should not be a regular thing. If there are numerous priests giving the Eucharist, then a person should have to get into the line of the priest that actually hears their confessions. That priest would obviously be the best person to make the decision of whether a person should be receiving or not.

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                Katherine, it’s been pointed in here over and over again, that the priests didn’t give Fr. Dcn. Patrick any guidance even though he’d been asking them for months about this issue.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Just a few suggestions. Presbyters/elders/priest were appointed by a Bishop to assist him in the administration of his parish. When a Bishop’s parish became unmanageably large there were two classic solutions. One solution, the Roman solution, was that the Bishop of Rome presided at the Eucharist in his cathedral, but blessed the erection of other temples where the Faithful could be communed with the Body of Christ divided up and transported by Deacons or Presbyters to those temples. Those presbyters who originally sat side by side of the Bishop at the cathedral Eucharist were usually men of responsibility in the parish of Rome–they were often the owners of cemeteries there. “Presbyter” by the way, evolved through presbyterus and presbyter and prester and priester into the modern English word Priest. In the other churches, i.e., in the East and elsewhere, the Bishop actually ordained some of his presbyters to go out and serve the Eucharist (not just transport it) in his stead, since he could not be in two places at once. All those parishes, however, were the Bishop’s parishes and when he visited one of his parishes, he (as we can see even today in the hierarchical order of the Liturgy) the presbyter had just about nothing to do at all: it was all a matter of Bishop-Deacon, as once was the only possibility. When the Bishop visits a parish HE is the rector of it, not his ordained substitute, the man ordained to substitute for him. As for large parishes, it is the respnsibility of the Bishop to ordain and appoint people to take care of the minutiae of parish administration.
            It is a general principle of leadership within and outside the Church that the man in charge may delegate as much authority as he cares to: however NONE of his responsibilities may be so delegated. No matter that he authorizes a man to serve at and preside at the Eucharist: the Bishop has surrendered NOTHING of his responsibility for that Eucharist. He is still answerable to God for it; while the Priest is responsible to him and may not delegate that responsibility to a deacon or other Priest.
            Finally, in the Russian Church and those observing the Holy Tradition the same way and to the same degree as the Russian Church does, there is a certificate of ordination/installation (“stavlennaya grammata”) of a Priest, signed by the ordaining Bishop and given the new Priest that day. It details all the duties of the Priest. From such a certificate, I excerpt the following:
            “…to bind and to loose with good judgment those confessing their consciences to him in accordance with the canons of the Holy Apostles, and the teachings of the God-bearing Fathers, according to the norms of the Holy Orthodox Church, and according to our admonition and injunction; to bring and lay before us greater and more complex faults…”

  19. Geo Michalopulos says

    Logan, one thing we CAN’T have in Orthodoxy is “dialogue.” I mean that. Dialogue is the camel’s nose in the tent. Once Dialogue becomes standard, then the Tolerant Tyrranists take over and before you know it, the Orthodox are on the outside looking in.

    • Recently, Touchstone ran an article recently about the legitimization process, which I sketch roughly:

      Step 1: Let’s have a ‘dialog.’
      Step 2: Let’s form an official interest group around this dialog.
      Step 3: Let’s meet yearly with similar international groups to discuss this ‘dialog’ .
      Step 4: Let’s write books and articles about this dialog.
      Step 5: Let’s start giving this dialog the force of law because it’s generated so much interest.

      = The end =

      There’s no dialog with heresy. None.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        qwfwq, you forgot the last step: Now that we control the levers of power let’s kick out the orthodox because they’re bigotsracistssexistshomophobes.

        • I’d go further: the last step is the gradual criminalization of Christianity. Just look at the UK.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        There is an Office for the Reception of Heretics.
        No dialogues with heretics precede that Reception?????
        Are they all converted by observing our good works????
        One step in my way to becoming Orthodox was reading the minutes of a long-ago Lambeth Conference at which many leading Orthodox ecclesiastics were present who presented the teaching of the Orthodox Church, they were mostly Greek: I believe the Alexandrian representative spoke for the Bulgarian Church because the Constantinopolitan Church considered it be outcast.
        Even the legendary Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) visited England in the 20s, and he was greeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom he addressed as “Dear Brother in Christ!”

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Let us amend our rhetoric then: There is no dialogue with depravity. That’s what we’re really talking about here, something a lot worse than mere heresy.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      I think we can have dialogue. We can have dialogue about the proper pastoral responses. But it has to start from the understanding that homosexual relations are sinful and the sinner must be called to repentance. How to deal with one struggling with the sin seems like a very worthy topic to discuss – – but as to the fundamentals, I agree with you 100% George. There is no need for dialogue because the teachings are not up for discussion.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        In my pastoral experience (I was a parish priest/Rector for 9/8 years before becoming a bishop) dialogue with depravity is a GIVEN, especially in the Mystery of Penance. And there are many kinds of depravity which are not sexual in nature. Tamerlane was depraved. Torquemada was depraved. Many of the leaders of the conquest of south america were depraved. Ukrainian Uniate Priests serving in the SS who served the Divine Liturgy with banners on which large swastikas were emblazoned and wearing Wehrmacht hats were examples of depravity. Espousing anonymity in the name of accountability is depravity to the max, especially when it parades as virtue.
        Two men living and acting in utter depravity are NOTHING compared to a heresy which leads millions to destruction.
        No matter how megalomaniac one may be relative to homosexuality and homosexual behavior, not even the president of an “LGBT” would claim that the majority of men and women could be “turned” to committing homosexual sin. The majority can be lead down the path to Arianism, for example. It took Julian the Apostate to install an Orthodox Patriarch in Constantinople, where Arians had reigned since the baptism and death of St. Constantine. In Los Angeles, our English choir director of long-standing is an elderly woman lawyer who, some years after converting to Orthodoxy and a few years directing Orthodox choirs married a Jewish lawyer. Is that depraved or what?
        Then there is the matter of the confused response by the Hierarchy of the OCA relative to the same-sex union of Bishop Mark Forsberg’s Archdeacon, Gregory Burke, contracted publicly in California, which ended up in a likewise public official divorce and the return of the Archdeacon to his Bishop. There is no question whatsoever that that Archdeacon deposed himself by those acts; no Bishop of Metropolitan can reverse that deposition which the Deacon HIMSELF effected! That is a no-brainer of colossal proportions! Of course he can be forgiven by repenting, but he cannot be re-ordained, as some gigantic spiritual intellects seem to have imagined! That Archdeacon Gregory Burke is still serving the Divine Liturgy as a Deacon is TOTAL DEPRAVITY
        When Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) correctly questioned His Beatitude and the H9ly Synod about this travestly, the response of some (Yes! Orthodox!) members of the Holy Synod was, “Oh, he repented.” Forgiveness of sins is accomplished through repentance: ordination is NOT. The Archdeacon deposed HIMSELF! The Hierarchy can only, rather MUST only, confirm the FACT of self-deposition in an announcement/decree/ukaz.
        English is not adequate to characterize any perpetrator of such a depravity: “Dummkopf!”

    • Jane Rachel says

      George wrote:

      Once Dialogue becomes standard, then the Tolerant Tyrranists take over and before you know it, the Orthodox are on the outside looking in.

      The Orthodox will be in good company. Your statement reminded me of what happened with the Holy Fire in Jerusalem in 1580.

      Before one enters the Church one can see on the left the middle pillar with a long crack in its lower part. According to tradition, in 1580, Murat III, having been bribed by the Armenians, granted them the right for the ceremony of the holy Light, the orthodox gathered in the holy courtyard where they waited for the outcome of the events. Despite the Armenian Patriarch’s hopeless attempt, the holy Light did not light up in the holy Aedicule or anywhere else within the Church. Instead, the marble pillar was torn and from the crack, the Orthodox received the holy Light. Emir Tounom, witnessing this miracle, was so impressed that he cried: “great is the faith of the Greeks”, an utterance that cost him his life. When the Sultan heard about this miracle, he issued a decree (firman) granting the Greek Orthodox Patriarch the exclusive right of receiving the holy Light. The Armenians of course, maintain their own explanation for the big tear on the pillar, according to which, some poor pilgrims, who could not afford the required “donation”, remained outside the Church. However, Divine Providence also provided for them, through the crack of the pillar.

  20. There’s a feeling I have if the public’s first encounter with Christ was this blog, I doubt they’d have much to do with him. I can say without equivocation of any kind that you are all judgmental of anyone who thinks or acts differently from you. I can see those fingers pointing after you’ve received the sacred mysteries. Of course, after you have gone to confession each week. For you have done your penance and you are deemed worthy of taking from the cup of unity. Yet you rip apart unity at every juncture.

    Of course, someone out there will say–we don’t have to listen to you because you are judgmental as well- judgmental of us! Jesus would say there’s a nation who cannot hear him becusue you are always invested in judging people. Yet, not only are you judgmental, you are hypocritical. Lets look at the case of Dn Brian formerly I guess of St. Nicholas’ Cathedral in Washington. Here’s a clear example of a clergy person who was disciplined openly by his bishop. You guys live for open disciplining of sinners! What is the response? It is mostly to side against the Metropolitan of whom you have been worshipful until this week. You are siding with a clergyman who has been instructed that what he did was not in his hands to do. That is reported clearly by those who state they were at the meeting with HB Jonah and his parishioners.

    Oh no, it seems that HB Jonah has gone off the fundamentalist right wing agenda and said some what I think are moderating words to calm the chaotic waters of his church. If you love him, if he is the Bishop of this clergyman, and the Metropolitan of all NA, then approach him with the respect that belongs to Jesus whom he represents to you in the church.

    This is your beliefs. This is your philosophy- the hierarchy not the laity are in charge of the leading the faithful to the promised crown. Yet. unless that clergyman speak like a puppet the words you demand, he is unacceptable. Some have said wait and see; this I know is wisdom.

    It is not wisdom, no matter if you are ordained or not, to fail to accept a correction that the Bishop provides another clergyman. It is people of this blog who are looking for this blind obedience–but only when the Bishop says and does what you say is right and true. Otherwise he has been “turned” by “his handlers.” For a number of weeks now I thought you guys were his handlers and fans. I guess that proved not to be true.

    Humility is lost in this group. Know yourself. Stop being obsequious and live the life of the Light of the World.

    • Rdr. Thomas says


      I beg you, for the sake of your own soul, to consider the point that qwfwq makes in this post:

      You can not discard the fundamental precept of the Church without killing it. If the Church abandons its foundational premise—because that is what is really at stake here— then there is literally no reason for Judaism/Christianity to exist. Do you realize that? It is spelled out in Genesis and Romans I. If man’s will is more important than God’s, and he feels free to do whatever he wants regardless of God’s will, then there’s no need for reconciliation. That’s the whole point of Judaism and Christianity; that’s why you attend liturgy, that’s why you fast, that’s why you pray, that’s why you pore over the scriptures. What else is the point?

      Can you not see that, no matter how badly you want it and no matter how badly you feel that this is “wrong”, you simply can not redefine what is a sin? Once you do, you’ve relegated it to “rules”, which the Church can then change at a whim. Sins are not rules. They’re a rupture between God and Man. There’s no redefining that.

      I’ve watched the debates here on Monomakhos with interest, and also a little sadness, being personally acquainted with Met. Jonah, Bishop Mark Maymon and Fr. Joseph Fester. (BTW: *ALL* of them are good men. I have hope that one day things will be set aright with humility and love.) I haven’t seen anything quite so heartbreaking as the theological gyrations of your posts, and the machinations of the Evil One behind them. To be clear: The Church DOES accept homosexuals, just as it accepts drunkards, liars, thieves and non-celibate single men and women. It accepts us as the repentant sinners that we are. It does NOT accept that we can say “there’s nothing wrong with me”. Like a wise priest told me: When confronted by something that you disagree with, your first reaction should be that *I* need to change, and not the Church.

      With sincere love, I ask you to please consider that you might not be right. Please consider that the faith “once delivered to the saints” is not wrong. Please meditate on what sin is, and why it can’t be redefined.

      I ask you this with love and humility.

      • Interesting point: what if everyone decided to insist their behavior was acceptable?.

        Drunkards: I can’t help myself; don’t you realize that I’ve got a disease?
        Addicts: I’m in thrall to my animal brain.
        Liars: It’s not my fault; I was brought up wrong.
        Adulterers: Pity me. I’m a sex addict.
        Thieves: As a child I was deprived.

        The Church is a healer; it’s in the business of curing ills, not enabling them. Sometimes the medicine doesn’t taste too good, but it eventually makes us whole.

    • Ah! The masterly guilt trips you are laying on us Stephen.

  21. I can say without equivocation of any kind that your knowledge of Orthodox Christian theology is seriously lacking.

    • DC Indexman says

      George, what is happening with Bishop Mark of Baltimore? Is he still in campaign mode moving towards becoming Bishop of Dallas?

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Not really “actively campaigning” per se because he knows that basically he’s toast but more like trying to put out feelers that “Just thought you’d like to know Fr X has withdrawn his nomination,” etc.

        It’s really sad because my sources tell me that he still doesn’t think he did anything wrong when he stole Fr Joe’s e-mails. He’s just one in a long line of casualties of the Rot of Stokovism.

        And for the record, back in Feb of this year, I wrote a letter to him (cc’d my priest and the treasurer of the DOS) stating that I thought he would make a good bishop for our diocese. This was before all this nonsense blew up and we found out to what extent he was under the influence of Stokoe. I have since repudiated that letter.

        The Resistance began in the South.

  22. Mark from the DOS says

    A small local paper outside Austin, Texas just published this column by the local Antiochian priest:

    FAITH: We all have to change


    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      The author of this article is taking a very wrong tack. The Church does not teach that we are all “equally messed up.” It in fact condemns sodomy in the strongest terms as an ultimate depravity.

      We need to be clear about what we’re dealing with, which is three problems and not just one:

      1. There is same-sex attraction, which is a psychological disorder, a sickness caused by a combination of factors that are largely experiential. (There is no gay gene.)

      2. There is homosexual sex, which is a grave sin, a deliberate, wrongful choice of the will that very easily becomes an addiction.

      3. There is the gay identity, often based on the self-justifying lie that “God made me that way,” which is a heresy and as a heresy, a rebellion against God and good sense.

      Now, one can suffer from 1, resist 2, reject 3, and be an Orthodox Christian — but a Christian who is greatly weakened by a serious disorder that should disqualify him or her from some roles in the Church, especially in this day when there is so much pressure on people to believe that same-sex attraction is perfectly normal.

      Or one can suffer from 1, commit 2 on occasion, reject 3, and be an Orthodox Christian, but a Christian whose weakness is so extreme that even greater limitations must be place on them.

      But one cannot suffer from 1, commit 2 regularly, embrace 3, and still be an Orthodox Christian. That is outright rebellion, and there is plenty of evidence to show that people who reach that point fall off the deep end into extreme irreason and dishonesty. We have seen evidence of it on this thread.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell:

        I believe you and the Fr.Aida are saying the same thing. However, Fr. Aida is offering a true Orthodox Pastoral response. Acceptance of Homosexuality can never be debated. That is set in stone in that it is rejected and called clearly an Abomination in the Eyes of God, and can never be changed.

        Yet, what can and must be discussed is the Church’s pastoral response. This can be debated and re-debated as we go through it, but it must remain private and personal with a view towards transformation in Christ. The pastoral aspects of this issue can be legitimately debated, but never its acceptance.


        • Michael Bauman says

          The only thing that needs debate is what to do with those who are adamaent in their sin, refuse to repent, wish to change the teaching of the Church in an heretical manner and still call themselves Orthodox while demeaning, insulting and causing scandal amongst the faithful.

          Even here there is really no need for debate, just the courage to apply the teaching of the Church.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          I’m afraid Fr. Aida and I are writing at cross-purposes. He’s writing to make gays and the general public think kindly of the Church; I’m writing to keep the Church from being taken over by gays and the general public. To accomplish his purpose, he misrepresents Church teaching and fuzzies up the issue; to accomplish my purpose, I have corrected his teaching and sharpened the necessary distinctions.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I have lived in Austin and I will tell you that it is a very liberal city, and a mecca for gays and lesbians. It would be plain foolish for father Aidan to have taken a stronger stance. Like my father used to say, you can be dead right.

          • CodeNameYvette says

            Or…. what? Preaching the truth to the people who most need to hear it?

            “Plain foolish.” Like Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg?

            I find all this talk about the need for Orthodox clergy in Washington DC or Austin or wherever to fear lawsuits and the mockery of men as a reason/excuse to avoid offending parishioners with the truth, disheartening.

            If you want to make an argument about the need to call people to repentance with sufficient gentleness not to drive them to despair, I’m with you. But tiptoeing around to avoid controversy and hostility, no.

          • Mark from the DOS says

            Austin may well be the liberal hippie capitol of Texas, but Cedar Park, where Fr. Aidan’s parish is located, is in a highly conservative suburb. His parish is very traditional and conservative to be sure as well.

      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:
        1. There is same-sex attraction, which is a psychological disorder, a sickness caused by a combination of factors that are largely experiential. (There is no gay gene.)

        Not arguing the other points you made, but this flies in the face of reason, science, anecdotal, or whatever means you may use to determine causality. I know gays who were raised in Christian homes, experienced no mental disorders, psychotic episodes, traumatic events, abuse (sexual, emotional, psychological, or otherwise), etc. Likewise, there’s insufficient evidence to prove gays are born that way, but it may be within the realm of possibility. (Yes, yes, I’m showing how little I know and I should move on to the Episcopalian forum).

        • Prospective Nomad says


          Although I agree entirely with Deacon Patrick’s categories and moral conclusions, it is possible to believe, as the deacon asserts, that “there is no gay gene” and also to believe that some “gays are born that way.” There is some preliminary evidence that predisposition to same-sex attraction may be gestational in some cases–a male fetus getting exposed to too much estrogen at the wrong time, or a female fetus getting exposed to too much testosterone at the wrong time. There also is some preliminary evidence that a man’s likelihood of experiencing same-sex attraction is positively correlated with the number of older brothers that he has, suggesting that some women who have a lot of sons may be “wired” to make the later ones less likely to pass on their genes. One can see how such a maternal trait would have conferred a primordial survival advantage by helping to prevent the gene pool from becoming excessively narrowed through the dominance of a particular line, particularly when tribes were geographically isolated. If some people experience same-sex attraction for reasons related to their gestation, those causes would be “experiential,” as Deacon Patrick asserts, but the people would nonetheless have been “born that way.”

          None of this matters from the standpoint of morality. Predisposition to alcoholism almost certainly has a genetic component in many cases. That fact is irrelevant to the morality of drunkenness. People with that predisposition often have to be teetotalers. People without that predisposition don’t. That predisposition is a heavy cross, for which those carrying it should be given every means of moral and pastoral support. But no one who loved a person with that predisposition would say, “Go ahead and drink, because you were born that way.”

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I agree in the sense that you may be born with tendencies that if acted upon by and through environment that certain behaviors will arise, but the opposite is true as well. Reduce or negate those outside factors or socialization and temptation and the so-called “wired” syndrome ceases to exist. Now this is obviously easier said than done, but this is where the struggle comes into play and if its worth the struggle.

            Alcoholics and drug addicts are encouraged by society, families and their our faith communities to “Kick the Habit.” Yet, this same attitude does not exist for Homosexuals. I believe that this is because not PHYSICAL harm is notice or experienced. Spiritual and/or Mental harm is rarely seen or experienced to the point that society says “Hey, you have to stop living this wahy or your going to die!” Spiritual death? Yes! Emotional and Mental Death? Yes! But if society does not see physicial harm, it will not care.

            Historically, we as a society do not care about such harm. That’s why its effects are ignored or downplayed if acknowledged at all.


            • Prospective Nomad says

              Mr. Papoutsis,

              Thank you for this excellent reply/supplement to my post. I agree wholeheartedly with you and am grateful that you gave the matter of social reinforcement the emphasis that it deserves. Thanks as well for your many fascinating genetic insights. I gained valuable knowledge, for which I am in your debt.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Nomad, the gestational link may very well be a valid one from a scientific perspective. From a purely evolutionary level, there is compelling reason why natural selection would cause a gene to form as it’s reproductively destrucive.

            • Prospective Nomad says

              Mr. Michalopulos,

              You have mentioned in the past that you are a health professional, so I hope that you can educate me on this admittedly tangential point: Is it possible for natural selection to cause a gene to form because it promotes herd survival (in this case by discouraging inbreeding), even if it diminishes the reproductive potential of a small minority of individuals?

              Many thanks in advance for your expertise.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Yes, regarding mutations, all things are on the table. Unfortunately, most mutations (97%?) are deleterious. As much as Gay, Inc would like for us to believe, that there is some genetic predisposition (i.e. a “gay gene”) that causes some individuals to “be” gay, no study has ever turned up such a gene. (I readily concede that a cascade of estrogen/testosterone during pregnancy can cause a effeminency/masculinity in a boy or girl respectively but that is not a genetic argument but a consequence of gestational phenomena.)

                However, there may very well be a reason that certain individuals in certain mammalian and avian species (both of which are warm-blooded) engage in same-sex genital contact. It gets a little complicated so bear with me here. Animals excrete pheromones which are like hormones and these act to attract mates of the opposite sex. Interestingly, they can also repel sexual interaction. An example: girls who live with their biological fathers have a delayed onset of menarche, in other words they stay sexually immature for longer than a girl who is living without her biological father (i.e. a step-father or her mother’s boyfriend). It appears that the biological father excretes pheromones which suppress estrogen from forming in their daughters. Therefore there is a biological imperative for the younger girl to come to maturity quicker so she can be receptive to her step-father’s sperm. This is good from a group-survival aspect –the more females a man can inseminate, the better for the survival of his genes.

                OK, so how does same-sex genital contact play in this? From a purely hierarchical perspective, an alpha male who mounts a younger, rogue male runs the risk of wasting his genetic contribution to the future (but only if he ejaculates). By performing that act however (even if he does ejaculate), he incapacitates the rogue male from acquiring a mate at least temporarily. The pheromones that he disperses onto the receptive male repulse any female from approaching him. There may also be a psychological trauma which further incapacitates the violated male.

                I’ve seen this with my own eyes. We have a little Boston Terrier who is very alpha-dog. Whenever one of the Pugs from next door would come over to visit he would mount them both. One was female the other male. I don’t know if he ejaculated per se but this was a constant with him (even though he’s neutered). Once he finished he played with them but he was clearly in a dominant role. Whenever we would interject ourselves into their relationship and favor one of the pugs (like giving them a treat first) he took it as a serious affront and would try to take the treat away from them. Same thing with petty, if we tried to pet one, he would get mad. Anyway, left to their devices, there was a clear hierarchy.

                Usually the mounting of the guest-dog would take place at various times during the visit. Sometimes when one of them would come over or sometimes after 15 minutes or so. Depending on if the Boston felt that the guest was getting out of line.

                In pre-Christian human societies, the problem of rogue males was taken care of by exile, castration, or sodomy. Even today in tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, lower-caste males with no prospects are regularly sodomized. Sometimes elaborate quasi-Islamic wedding rituals are performed in which these males are forced to dress as brides and act very effeminate. My guess is that their sodomization causes enough psychic trauma that they acquire the “sissy” persona permanently. Needless to say, none of these boy-brides will be viewed as marriage material by single females (or as potential lovers by lonely married women, which is an important thing in and of itself in polygamous cultures).

                At any rate, the incidence of same-sex genital activity is more preponderant in polygynous cultures because of the dearth of available females. The same phenomenon obtains in most prisons, with the additional prospect that sodomy reinforces class hierarchies.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  You and “Gay. Inc.” have built identical arguments that rise or fall on the presumption that there would exist a single, known, intransient DNA sequence on a specific chromosome – a “genetic marker.” This would be appropriate if you were arguing earlobe attachment, tongue rolling, Duchenne/Becker Muscular Dystrophy, Fragile-X Syndrome, or Sickle Cell Anemia (and the existence of approximately 6,000 other known conditions), as their existence rely solely on a single gene – thus said to be “phenotypic.” This is simple, classic Mendelian Inheritance. The problem, however, is that the more complex the phenotype, or trait, becomes, the less likely its association with a single gene – thus said to be “polygenic” – and in contrast to Mendelian Inheritance. I have written (above, below, who knows!) that it is my opinion that a single gene specific to homosexuality will never be found, but that is significantly different than saying there is no “heritability” to homosexuality.

                  To offer some perspective, the technology to decode the genome has, to this point, raised more questions than provide answers. Genetic markers have been located, but there is no clue as to their function, if at all. Perhaps I don’t understand your choice of the word “deleterious,” as “mutations” are generally considered innocuous; described by some as “junk” (e.g. transcription errors, self-correction errors, deletions, etc.) and may compromise as much as 99% of the genome. Nevertheless, prior to this technology, we were very successfully capable of determining what is “heritable” by sequentially utilizing family studies, twin studies, and adoption studies to determine “pedigree.” What the technology has begun to tell us is that the inability to “locate” a specific genetic marker does not preclude “inheritance,” but that complexity in the phenotype suggests a “polygenic” source;
                  two or more specific genes alone, in concert with environmental events, or both, may result in the heritable characteristic. Given the complexity of possible “concert,” it seems safe to say that the specific genes may never be identified. As a side-note, quantitative inheritance may explain why a useless or otherwise “deleterious” trait has been bypassed in an evolution process.

                  This raises the point of the significance of “what” is inherited and to what affect. The language of genetic inheritance is anything but determinate; it speaks of “vulnerability” and “risk” rather than “predisposition” or “inevitability.” We may inherit numerous genetic variants that increase our vulnerability or “risk” for certain conditions, yet without a specific “concert” of the interactions of genes – derived from my father and his history and my mother and her history – and the exposure to specific environmental (including the psychological and the spiritual), the “vulnerability” is meaningless and insignificant; a medical curiosity.

                  What do I believe this might say in regard to homosexuality? It seems reasonable to conclude that any claim to a genetic “variation” or “mutation” as “from God” (“God made me this way”) would obligate us to further conclude that Familial Adenomatous Polyposis – a condition that results in an absolutely startling and virulent form of colon cancer with a known “absolute risk” of 90% by age 45 in individuals who carry the mutated gene – is likewise from God. Absurd. Practically speaking, however, both FAP and homosexuality exist in our fallen, broken world. This is simply to say that, admitting the possibility of heritable genetic characteristics does not obviate the Holy Scripture, Patristical foundation, or Tradition of the Church as to “same-sex” sexual activity, if only because homosexuality is not necessarily synonymous with same-sex activity. Rather, it speaks to what is eternal, and what is consequential to our sinfulness.

                  I read your statement on another topic stating you would gladly publish genetic information regarding homosexuality, and I encourage you to do so.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    But can we necessarily equate behavior with a genetic condition thar causes a disease? Further mutation are different that human traits that have gone through and have been sifted by natural selection for the successful survival of a species.

                    Further, the genetic markers that lead to certain condition are directly impacted by the behavior and lifestyle choices that we make. This of course a general statement because their are people who live extremely healthy lives and yet their genes predispose them to having high bad cholesterol. However, even in those cases a change to a more healthy lifestyle would slow the progression of the disease whereas if you were not living a healthy lifestyle the diseas process would not slow, but run it’s natural course killing the person sooner rather than later.

                    An interplay between genetics and lifestyle choices always leads to most if not all of humanities maladies. However, how this is necessarily translated to immutable behavior from a purely genetic point of view in terms of a human trait as opposed to a human mutation that natural selection would have allowed over the eons is problematic to say the least.

                    Finally, if it is postulated that genetics does make certain human behavior immutable the free will and choice are simply myths as is any kind of morality which is predicated upon free will? God’s moral code is in effect rendered useless.

                    As Met. Maxims stated in George’s most recent blog entry God would not have created amoral rejection that would violate his law right from the get go, or in genetic terms right down to it’s very core.


                  • Dear M. Stankovich,

                    Thank you for your post. interesting. Can you clarify for me how polygenics works in twins, where one is gay and the other not yet raised in the same environment?

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      I am assuming that when you say “twins,” you are referring to monozygotic, “identical twins,” raised in the same environment – please correct me if I assume incorrectly.

                      Twin studies have served as the most common method of distinguishing genetic from environmental characteristics: compare monozygotic twins (who share an identical genome) with dizigotic, “fraternal twins” (who share half of their segregating genes) – both raised together in a similar environment – and if you determine that the MZ twins are more similar for a given trait than DZ twins, you have evidence that genetic factors influence the trait. So, how to explain “discordance,” or a lack of a common characteristic in MZ twins who share an identical genome?

                      To start with the “long answer,” there is an excellent journal article, (among the approximately 140+ pages of citations found in the National Library of Medicine when searching “discordance in MZ twins”) The Epigenetic Basis of Twin Discordance in Age-Related Diseases by P. Poulsen, et al. (abstract) that very succinctly and meticulously delineates the “polygenic,” source of non-Mendelian inherited traits in MZ twins.

                      The short answer to your question is that, contrary to how you might define “identical,” significant “discordance” occurs in MZ twins. As Poulsen et al. discuss, these differences are attributable to significant “epigenetic” factors. Examples:

                      – Events that are not genetic, but are biological (i.e. post-zygotic – after the division of the zygote into two distinct embryos – but pre-natal. Someone (Mr. Michalopulos?) above or below mentioned (in so many words) pre-natally occurring “hormonal cascades,”; or the recent discovery of DNA methylation and its diverse impact on gene expression. Likewise, other researchers refer to “hostile” or “adverse” fetal environments that affect normal development.

                      Environmental experiences (psychological, social, and spiritual) are crucial to polygenic inheritance. It is easier, in reverse, to eliminate which environmental experiences are significant. Two examples: MZ twins whose parents make an effort to extenuate their commonalities – emphasizing their “individuality” – are no more likely to share behaviour than MZ twins whose parents purposely dressed them alike, etc. emphasizing their similarity. Further, if you were to hypothesize that, say, factors such as “cold, uninvolved, distant fathers,” or “overly-clingy, or inappropriately emotional-boundary-violating mothers” are causal psychological factors in homosexuality, you would expect to see concordance. But less than 50% of homosexual MZ twins have a twin homosexual sibling.

                      I hope this is adequate clarification.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says


          You are not showing how little you know you are just being honest, and that is praiseworthy. The real science behind the Homosexual issue is most, if not exclusively, presented through the lense of the Media and the LGBT community. Now neither of these communities are scientific nor are they genetic scientists. What I can tell you is that REAL scientists and REAL genetic research does not in any way, shape or form Predestine or Predetermine any sexual behavior, except for Heterosexuality.

          Why is this? Well, without getting into a debate with the Creationists on this board, Human Evolution is predicated upon successful sexual reproduction that is based upon natural selection – i.e. survival of the fittest. Now what does this mean? Basically, its favorable and utilitarial genes that are successfully passed on to the next generation.

          Currently within Human Evolution circles there is a much more ragging debate as to WHY homosexuality exists in the Human Species IF its genetic. Remember in pre-IVF times Genes were passed on the old fashion way – i.e. Heterosexual sex! In fact, Human Evolution, prior to the rise of the Gay Agenda, put such a premium, and still does, on natural selection via successful sexual reproduction, that many believed and still believe that Heterosexuality is hardwired into us. This is a fact, the argument goes on to say, because of the Heterosexual make up of the Human Species being a sexualy dymorphic species (meaning we need both a man and a woman to reproduce hence Heterosexuality is the natural hardwired course for natural selection).

          Now, if Homosexuality is genetic how did it survive natural selection? Gays do not procreate and reproduce themselves. Further, if Homosexuality was purely genetic how did it survive before the advent of Human Culture that may have forced Gay People to marry and procreate? Several theories abound to explain the survival of a so-called Homosexual gene such as Homosexuality is a recessive gene. Well the problem with that is that recessive genes served and still serve a purpose when they pop up.

          Homosexuality could be “Junk DNA” left over and mutated into its current form. Again, natural selection would have weeded this gene out of existence a long time ago. Another theory states that Homosexuality is alternate or mutated DNA on the level of Downs Syndrom, Cubbed Feet, etc. However, all of these genetic abnormalities are just that abnormalities that affect the whole genetic code, and could clearly be identified and just like in the same of Downs other abnormalities would follow – i.e. mental developmental problems, motor skills being affected, etc. This means when one part of the Genetic code is effected the WHOLE code is affected. That does not occur with Gay people. Physically and mentally there is nothing wrong with them from a purly physical and medical point of view.

          Another theory that is put forward to allow a Gay Gene to get passed the barrier of natual selection is the appeal to ALTRUISM. The argument goes something like this: In large families where many kids would be born male uncles were needed to help their sisters raise their kids. This meant that nature had to divert their sex drive away from women and towards men so that these men could never reproduce and never abandon their sisters and nephwes and nices. Thus, for the good of the whole Homosexuality was selective bread into certain men and not others for this noble altruistic cause.

          Now, being that this theory is limited only to Male Homosexuality and NOT female homosexuality is a real problem right off the bat, but to say that Gay Men have been historically altruistic in this manner and fashion is to go against recorded human history even up to the present. Furthermore, one is building into natural selection a moral component that seems to be applied only to Homosexuality and not to any other altruistic areas of life. If one is so intelligent that he helps the various needs of his family and community then that persons brain should have evolved to the size and capacity of a supercomputer. Sadly for us this never happend for the Human Supercomputer.

          I can go on and on, but the same road block keeps coming up that if Homosexuality was genetic it cannot overcome – NATURAL SELECTION! There is no useful nor desireable need for this gene or set of genes. So how did it survive and get past natural selection? Remember, we are not talking about genetic disorder that occur randomly and manifest themselves with phyiscal and mental problems, but a so-called natural trail that survived within the human species.

          Further, genetics are, like most things, based on cause and effect. If a gay gene or group of gay genes survived and got past natural selection and successful sexual reproduction occurred it would be occurring on a regular and consistent pattern within the Human Genome and made manifest within the Human Species. If that is the case, then why do Gay men need sperm? Why do Lesbians need ovaries?

          According not only to the principles of Human Evolution predicated upon natural selection, but the very laws of Genetics if a species has no genetic use for something it is gradually over time minimized, shut down and/or dispensed with. The human appendix is one of these vestigial organs or structures. Thus, why do Gay men’s genetals still contain and produce sperms? the priciples of vestigiality tell us that this function is completely useless to a Gay man as he would have no contact with women. They should have shut down centuries ago, but have not. The same with a Lesbians ovaries. They still function to this day, why?

          So there are alot of Genetic and Human Evolutionary problems with Homosexuality existing as a Genetic trait that has survived to this day within the Human Species that somehow overcame natural selection and was passed on through successful sexual reproduction. There are alot of hurdles for that Gay Gene to get over just to have a chance to be given a chance to be passed on sexually WITH A WOMAN!

          Now the even bigger problem is the whole confusion between predisposition and predetermination. A classic study on this is with the XYY Chromosome. As most people know that this finding has been tengentally links to people that display criminal and violent behavior. The problem with this is that there are many, myself included by the way, that have this genetic makeup and DO NOT have a criminal or violent behavior, at least I like to think that I am not violent or a criminal.

          Another linkage with people like myself that have the XYY chomosome is a delay in speech and mental development. However, until recently, this was never quantified, meaning what excatly were its effects. Now in my case I had delayed speech and I had delayed reading and conceptual understanding, but I, like many other XYY’ers, eventually learned to speak and real and comprehend on the same level as Neuroally and Genetically normal people.

          Now in the later half of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century very interesting studies came out dealing with a concept called “Epigenetic Syndrome.” What this means is that, and what was scienticfically observed in lab mice is that behavior linked to certain genetic deficiencies were overcome by lab mice. However, they were not just overcome by learning one’s way around the mental deficiency, but that NEW genes were actually created to replace the missing genes or to replace the damaged genes. Hence the name “Epi” – “on top of” “Genetic” – “the Gene.” Corrolaries that developed from this is that one’s socialization and one’s own acceptance of what one’s behavior SHOULD BE directly affected the make up of one’s genetic code. Now various caveates needed to be mentioned that this affected established human traits not genetic abnormalities due to mutation, but as to TRAITS the traits were affected by a direct chane in one’s socialization and environment.

          Finally, being that everybodies eyes have now glossed over I will just end by saying that the science behind this notion that Homosexuality is Genetic and “in-Born” is just not there, and, in fact, is to the very exact contrary of what Science and Genetics tell us about Human Traits and their impact on Human behavior. Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell’s statement that: “There is same-sex attraction, which is a psychological disorder, a sickness caused by a combination of factors that are largely experiential. (There is no gay gene.) sums up not only Science’s and Genetic’s position on the matter, but also tyhat on The Holy Orthodox Church.

          Sorry for being so long winded.

          Peter A. Papoutsis

          • Pravoslavnie says

            I find it interesting that the logical outcome of natural selection, a theory put forth by Charles Darwin, ends up supporting traditional Orthodox teaching on the subject at hand. It also exposes the junk science supporting the GLBT position for what it is, namely, junk. I’ve raised a similar argument in the past, and even the rabidly pro-Gay American Psychiatric Association which delisted Homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder in 1973 keeps its distance from the “born gay” theory by stating that the cause of homosexuality is as yet undetermined.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              A further interesting note is children with Autism. Through the application of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), Floortime and teachable behavior techniques, many children with Autism, albeit on the moderate to mild side of the ASD, can recover and become almost or completely indistinguishable from their neuro-normal peers. One can see that even in children with Autism that directly affects their behavior, speech and mental development, ABA and floor time can help an Autistic child learn and cultivate behavior that is normal to you or I, but difficult for them to develop and process.

              Aside from the science, the genetics and all the rest it comes down to this – Man is NOT a slave to his genetics when it comes to his behavior. If this were truly the case the mental and psychological aspect of humanity would have been disregarded centuries ago. To say that its all Genes and no environment is purely psuedo-science and downright stupidity.

              From the moment a human baby developing in its mother’s womb has an enviroment that baby interacts with it AND IS DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY IT! If there is no interaction, no compassion, no love, no tenderness shown to your baby even from the time it is in the womb it will be affected. A 1998 study demonstrated that five to six months after gestation, the fetus will first respond to sounds. Researchers can detect these responses through changes in the baby’s heart rate. At this point, sounds of medium intensity provoke a change in the heart rate. Other studies have indicated that a fetus can hear a tone of 500 Hz as early as the 19th week.

              Others studies done in 1996 and 2001 used tiny microphones placed in the uterus near the fetus’ head to describe the sound environment there. These studies found that the usual sound level in the womb is about 75 decibels. This is what you would hear if you were listening to outside sounds while driving in the car with the windows rolled down. The fetus also hears the sounds of air going through the mother’s stomach and her heartbeat. a fetus hears its mother’s voice better than all these sounds because her voice is transmitted through vibrations in her body. Developmental researchers have conducted several interesting experiments on fetuses and the effect of their mothers voices. In 1995, for instance, Fifer and Moon demonstrated that newborns not only prefer the sound of their mothers’ voices, they prefer the voices passed through a noise filter designed to make them sound like they would in the womb over their mothers’ normal voices.

              In another famous study, DeCasper and Spence used a sucking apparatus to detect changes in a baby’s sucking rates while listening to different sounds. The researchers had 16 pregnant women read a passage from “The Cat in the Hat” out loud for a total of 3.5 hours while they were pregnant. When their babies were two to three days old, they responded more favorably (sucked at a higher rate) to “The Cat in the Hat” than to other stories. This demonstrates that a fetus not only has highly developed hearing in the womb, but already demonstrates auditory preference.

              as one can see a child is influenced and affected by his or her environment right from the get go. There is this incredibly beautiful and complex world out there that we interact with and are influenced by and all the psuedo-scientific crap from the Pro-Gay and LGBT community destroys all that and we base our laws and our policies on puedo-science and attempt to reform our faith on this garbage. How insulting.


              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Peter, this is fascinating. I’ve definately learned a lot here, much to chew on. One quibble however, so-called Junk DNA is quietly being relegated to the dustbin of of Darwinian relics –the peppered moths, Haeckl’s embryos, and the finch-beak divergence.

                That means that if Gay, Inc. is pinning their hopes on junk DNA, then they’re going to be sadly disillusioned. When all is said and done, the evidence suggests on an overwhelming basis that homosexuality is passed on by sexual abuse. As to why the abuse arose in the first place, I’d say that some men are driven to sodomize a younger male as a subconscious way of taking him out of the gene pool. (And possibly because the sodomizer has no other sexual outlet because of his own inadequacies.)

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I agree, but would add that alot of abuse can also the kind we do not see or readily identify as abuse. I am primarily taking about psychological abuse and trauma that do not necessarily need a physical or sexual component. In the end the damage is the same if not worse and can lead to much of the problems we have been discussing.

                • Geo Michalopulos said:

                  When all is said and done, the evidence suggests on an overwhelming basis that homosexuality is passed on by sexual abuse. As to why the abuse arose in the first place, I’d say that some men are driven to sodomize a younger male as a subconscious way of taking him out of the gene pool. (And possibly because the sodomizer has no other sexual outlet because of his own inadequacies.)

                  That’s a rather speculative, perhaps specious statement, don’t you think? I understand why that conclusion is attractive–something that is evil originating from something else that ‘s evil? I have some familiarity with Catholicism’s view of sin, ranging from mild to evil? Is Orthodox similar? I was thinking of the other post that cited homosexuality is worse than murder.

                  • Michael Bauman says


                    Evil always comes from evil. It is the acceptance of death over life.

                    The Orthodox view of sin is that it is any act or belief that cuts us off from the presence of God–that severs our natual communion with Him and destorts His image within us and leads us into death. Etymologically the word ‘sin’ is an archery term for missing the mark.

                    All sin is of the evil one. All sin of which we do not repent leads to damnation, some more quickly than others (those actions or beliefs furthest removed from the mark). However, God’s Grace is sufficient to overcome all sin and the death which is the fruit of sin.

                    We are able to partake of His Grace because He “…came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man….”

                    He still is fully God and fully man. He restored the commuion which Adam/Eve’s sin in the Garden damaged. Romans 1 is a succinct summary of the state of the fall and the consequences.

                    We can participate in the restored communion and the sanctification it allows or not. Even if we participate in that communion, we can always go more deeply into it by deeper and deeper repentance and by living a life of virtue that results The virtue is a fruit of the the repentance and acceptance of God’s grace not salvific in and of itself.

                    Recovery from sin is a life long process and in most people involves a lot of relapse. That is why the word struggle is frequently applied to our life in this world, the term unseen warfare used often. Although the ultimate victory has already been won for us by Jesus, we still have to make the continuing choice to partake in that victory.

                    The prelude to Baptism in the Orthodox Church requires that the catecuman deny Satan and all his works (three times) spitting on him in the process. It also requires that the catecuman accept the teaching of the Church and reject all heresy “ancient and modern”. As faithful members of the Church, we must always be aware of those committments and allow our minds and hearts to be transformed into and by Truth rather than seeking to impose the lies of the world on the Church and upon one another.

                    One sure way to not partake of salvation is to deny one’s own sin and/or the seriousness of sin in general–what St. Paul describes as “…worshipping the created thing more than the Creator…”

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Mr Stankovich, in our fallen state, the need for desire and love in all people is what drives the passions. I believe that the difference between Orthodox East and Latin/Protestant West regarding sin is best summed up by the late Fr John Romanides in his critique of St Augustine (who, btw, I greatly admire as a saint and Father of our Church): “we don’t die because we sin, we sin because we die.”

      • M. Stankovich says

        Let me say that I completely agree with your second point, and I believe that it is stated accurately and succinctly. I would appreciate your clarification on points 1 & 3.

        I fully agree that there is no “gay gene,” and I believe it reasonable to suspect that a single genetic determinant wil never be found for most “disorders.” But perhaps you could explain why there is no “height gene,” “skin color gene,” or “body mass gene?” Or why my maternal-grandmother succumbed to an adenocarcinoma of the colon, my mother survived an adenocarcinoma of the colon, and I myself survived an adenocarcinoma of the colon; I do not carry any of the known genetic errors, yet, I am considered to have a “heritable” cancer?

        And as you raise the issues of “experiential” factors as determinants of same-sex attraction and “gay identity” based on an heretical self-justification, perhaps you would speak to the embryologic processes that accomplish gender differentiation and how they might affect sexual preference? What would explain the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database of the National Library of Medicine listing 72 separate genes thought to impact gender differentiation, 18 for sexual orientation, 12 for gender preference, and 4 for sexual preference? Can you venture any estimate as to the incidence of reliance on this “self-justifying lie” used as a determination of sexual preference? Or perhaps clarify which specific aspects of same-sex preference are “largely experiential,” and which “factors” fall outside this parameter?

        In full consideration of this fallen world, and how tragically far we are from “as it was in the beginning,” perhaps you could comment as to how you view the “concert” of environmental events, human genetics, psychology, and the Faith, and how it might impact human “disorders” and behaviour? And are genes “determinant” and pre-disposing, or influential and contributory?

        Yours are emphatic, even dogmatic statements, and I would appreciate your clarification.

        I believe that to be pastoral is not to dissociatively argue about “what we are dealing with,” but rather to focus on with “whom” we are dealing.

        • I think it’s clear, at least to me, that we don’t know what specific factors, if any, causes one to have same-sex attraction. What I was reacting to earlier was the inference that it is a physiological or psychological illness/disorder that possibly could be treated or cured. I don’t recall making a choice to be heterosexual and I suspect neither do homosexuals. Treating it as spiritual sickness, as you would any other sin, would seem more appropriate?

          I don’t think I’m advocating that the Church change its position on homosexually, but I think it’s incumbent on one to realize that a gay orthodox person has an incredibly difficult challenge that deserves one’s support and compassion, rather than a hostile and condemning environment.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I agree with much of what you have to say. However, treatment is possible so is a cure, but like all thinks in life if you want it it will happen. If its worth having its worth fighting for. None of this is easy, and nobody said it would be. Yet, you are correct that compassion must be shown, but compassion must never be confused with acceptance.

            This is where the guidance of priests, bishops and metropolitans plays a huge role. Direction and focus is needed because without it we will just end up wandering the wilderness not being any damn good to anybody, especially the spiritually sick, which you and I truly are, and in need of a Savior.


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          First Issue: “I fully agree that there is no “gay gene,” and I believe it reasonable to suspect that a single genetic determinant wil never be found for most “disorders.” But perhaps you could explain why there is no “height gene,” “skin color gene,” or “body mass gene?” Or why my maternal-grandmother succumbed to an adenocarcinoma of the colon, my mother survived an adenocarcinoma of the colon, and I myself survived an adenocarcinoma of the colon; I do not carry any of the known genetic errors, yet, I am considered to have a “heritable” cancer?

          Response: There is actually a gene that controls skin color, but a gene that directly determines skin color. I think you are refering The KIT ligand (KITLG) gene which is involved in the permenant survival, proliferation and migration of melanocytes (i.e. degree of Melanin). This is perfectly in keeping with the priciples of Human Evolution and natural selection as this gene would be needed to regulate the skin color of humans for their protection to sunlight, heat, and the absorbtion of (or lack of absorbtion) of certain environmentally necessary vitamins and minirals. Human Evolution concluded that roughly five million years ago, the common ancestors of all humans had light skin that was covered by dark hair. Over time the hair disappeared to allow better heat dissipation through sweating and the skin tone grew darker to protect from folate depletion due to the increased exposure to sunlight. Yet remember that this was due to environmental factors directly affecting us and a genetic change occured to protect us when we went hairless by giving us darker skin.

          Around 100,000 years ago, according to the Genetic Journey of Man by Prof. Spencer Wells, Anthropologist and Genetisist, Humans started to migrate out of Africa and into the less sun filled (i.e. less tropic areas) of the world. Man’s darker skin was less and less needed and under these conditions there was less photodestruction of folate and so the evolutionary pressure stopping lighter-skinned gene variants from surviving was reduced. Hence lighter skinned people of today. Also, lighter skin absolbes much more vitamin D the so-called sunshine vitamin. So again evolutionaly adaptability was in perfect keeping with our Human physical needs.

          Also, there is a Gene for Height, weight and eye color, but remember these gene traits were born out of necessity and utility. No direct corrolation can be made between these types of genes and Human Behavior per se as being Predetermined. Even these genes are not predetermined as they constantly change as the environment and human need arises.

          As for inherited Genetic conditions I can tell you I am a dirtect genetic carrier for Diabetes Mellitus, yet I do not have, and do not plan to have God willing, diabetes. From a very young age I saw the ravages of diabetes on my grandmother, mother and my uncle. So I do not eat sugary foods, I exercise to keep my weight down, and do not drink or smoke as all of these are contributing factors, environmental and habitual facts, that play in concert with the genetic base of diabetes to give me diabetes. If these genes are never acted upon, never given cause to allow the so-called genetic pressure to build I will not develop diabetes or develop a very managable and controlable form of the diesease later in life as my body naturally breaks down. My mother in law is 70 years old and all of her siblings and her father had diabetes. She does not have it because of her diet and exercise. Again, its a predisposition NOT a predetermination.

          Second Issue: “And as you raise the issues of “experiential” factors as determinants of same-sex attraction and “gay identity” based on an heretical self-justification, perhaps you would speak to the embryologic processes that accomplish gender differentiation and how they might affect sexual preference? What would explain the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database of the National Library of Medicine listing 72 separate genes thought to impact gender differentiation, 18 for sexual orientation, 12 for gender preference, and 4 for sexual preference? Can you venture any estimate as to the incidence of reliance on this “self-justifying lie” used as a determination of sexual preference? Or perhaps clarify which specific aspects of same-sex preference are “largely experiential,” and which factors fall outside this parameter?”

          RESPONSE: Again, we have to be very careful here as he end up mixing apples and oranges. First, understand that Human Being are physically and genetically built for one another and to reproduce through sexual reproduction. How do you get sexual reproduction? Through sexual stimulation. Yet, what stimulates one human being will not stimulate another human being so within Heterosexual reproduction you will have a wide variety of sexual stimulation just as you have a wide variety of human beings. But again its for sexual reproduction, for suceessful sexual reproduction. This is the very engin for Human Evolution. Without this engin there can be NO Human Evolution short of widespread mutation, but even then the mutation exists within genetic variation that comes about by sexual reproduction. In effect, no sexual reproduction no human evolution. Evolution, as well as our spieces, ceases to exist!

          The so-called sexual preference and sexual orientation genes again may, and I stress may as it is still unclear as to their direct function, offer a basis for sexual preference, but how does we define preference or that matter orientation that direct conflicts with natural selection? Within heterosexuality you will have preference and orientation, but outside of it? Sure, but only if there are enviromental stimuli and/or hormonal influences on you to “alter” one’s Evolutionary and natural perogitive for successful sexual reproduction, which can only occur through heterosexual activity. Again, for the Gay gene or genes to have survived natural selection a direct and tangible benefit to Humanity overall and to heterosexuals in particular has to exist, and it has to be a sustained and long term benefit otherwise its bred out of existence!

          Also, notice something very interesting. In evolutionary science there are scores of humand and animal trails that have disappeared over the centuries and millenia – the proverbial short beaked noise of a bird disappears in preference of the long narrow beak of a bird that can get the worm at the bottom of the soil, etc. Yet science is bending over backwards and jumping through hoops to fingure out why the so-called Gay-Gene(s) made it through natural selection, when other much more important and explicitly useful genetic traits did not. For example, our tails, our elongated palms, our sharp canine teeth, etc. These genetic traits disappeared because we did not need them any longer, why do we or did we need Homosexuality. Every other genetic trait we do not use or need any longer has disappeared, but not homosexuality? We must start to just admit that there is no DIRECT gay gene(s) that predetermines our sexual behavior!

          Third Issue: “In full consideration of this fallen world, and how tragically far we are from “as it was in the beginning,” perhaps you could conclude your remarks by sharing as to how you view the “concert” of environmental events, human genetics, psychology, and the Faith, and what it might say about same-gender preference?”

          RESPONSE: Everything is interconnected. Why are some people addicted to drugs, alcohol, certain foods, eating certain laundry soaps, etc.? Because it always, ALWAYS comes down to fulfilling a basic human need to be loved, to have love shown to you, to be accepted and not shunned, to know that you belong.

          Think about it for a moment. We come into this world alone, and if not cared for we die. We have a natural need to connect to other and to forms bonds. Bonds of family, bonds or friendship, bonds of church and community. These natural human longings and desires are perfectly natural. However, when these basic needs are not met WE go out looking to have these needs met and these bonds formed in any way WE can. Do we know how to form them? Do we look for these connections in all the proper places? Do we end up being selfish? We do. When the love and compassion of Almighty God is not shown to the lest of our brethern or brethern perish and die. WE ARE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER! We are to be there for one another, and that it is NOT all men for themselves.

          This is why we come together as a community, as a family as a married couple before the Chalice of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is why he pray and fast together. This is why we bury our dead together, this is why we sing, laugh and cry together all in the love of Christ.

          Sadly, many our outside of this community THE CHURCH! How many of us will forsake the 99 sheep to go get the one lost sheep. To sacrifice, by telling the truth, to call sin a sin, and to truly give people hope? As Dn Mitchell says is correct we cannot gives them lies just to spare their feelings. To love them is to fulfill 1 Cor. Ch.13, but to lie to them and betray them is a violation of Romans Ch. 1. Thus, love all sinners, but not the sin. It may very well be a quaint over used saying, but it is the truth.


          • M. Stankovich says

            With all due respect, Mr. Papoutis, I was addressing Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell and the statements he so emphatically made regarding the nature of with “what we are dealing.” If he is, in fact, defending a takeover of the Church “by gays,” he is either confident because he speaks the truth, or confident “blowing smoke.” I did not learn human genetics via Google, and in this case, you will have trust that I didn’t pose questions I cannot answer.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Sorry in the cascade it looked like you were addressing me. However if you are asking questions you do not answering then why are you asking?



            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Oh by the way I didn’t learn genetics or Autism or diabetes or any of that via Google. I learned it because I unfortunately HAD to learn it, and study it. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

              Good Night


              • Geo Micha.lopulos says

                Peter, regarding autism, all I can say is I had to learn about it myself so I’m with you brother.

                Further up though, I very much enjoyed your “cascade” on natural selection. If I may, there is a possible reason that homosexuality continues to exist outside of the rules of natural selection. This is controversial and won’t be accepted easily by the “gay genome” crowd, but here it is: a mutation in some genes that initiate certain genetically-destructive behaviors may be caused by a viral infection.

                Here me out: we like to say that we get 50% of our genome from father, 50% from mother –that’s true as far as it goes. But some mutations occur because of exogenous factors, things like disease, malnutrition, and (possibly) trauma. I know this is veering dangerously close to Lamarckianism but we’re not talking morphology here but differences in the races and tribes due to environmental factors.

                For instance, non-whites tend to be 98% lactose-intolerant but the Ibo of Nigeria, who are cattle-herders–are the single black-African tribe that can digest milk post-infancy. The question that is being seriously asked by evolutionary biologists is do the Ibo engage in cattle-driving because they have a need for milk or did the cattle themselves impart some vector long ago into an ancestral population, causing mutations that allowed them to continue drinking milk into maturity?

                This is not always beneficial. Caucasians have a predisposition to alcoholism because our bodies manufacture Aldehyde Dehydrogenase, an enzyme which breaks down Aldehyde (a congener or toxic metabolite of Ethanol) into Acetjc Acid. The ability to break down Aldehyde allows certain groups to have a higher tolerance to Alcohol. Mongoloids and Africans for the most part do not have this enzyme to the same extent than Caucasians therefore when they drink immoderately, they suffer the effects of Aldehyde toxicity (i.e. “hangover”) more readily and for longer than Caucasians.

                We know that the Ibo are cattle-drivers but what benefit does Alcohol provide to Caucasians so that they developed a tolerance to it? In the colder climes of northern Europe, the manufacture of fermented drinks from whatever source (like mead from honey) was necessary to sustain isolated groups during brutal winters. Plus it’s easier to transport gallons of liquid than pounds of oats, hops, barleys, corns, etc. Also, Alcohol as a food product had a longer shelf-life than the meat and vegetables in the cupboard, which usually spoiled after a day or two. Plus Alcohol was more bacteria-free than water, etc.

                Same thing with Africans and sickle-cell. The partial sickling of the red blood cell prevents Hemoglobin (Hg) from being a receptor to the bacteria which causes malaria (which is carried by the female Anopheles mosquito. In its recessive form, it has no impact on the carrier. If however two people who are carriers mate, then their children develop full-blown Sickle Cell Anemia which is deadly. The question is, did the infection by the Anopheles mosquito cause a mutation at the same time as it was delivering the bacterium that causes malaria?

                The question of course is what evolutionary benefit would a virus that depresses heterosexual behavior have? Possibly two-fold: 1) to control the population and 2) to create a subservient male who is able to help women care for infants while the more virile males go off on the hunt (which could take days if not weeks). In the ancient civilizations this was carried out by castrating rogue males, especially conquered popuations which we subjected to slavery.

                This line of inquiry is very explosive however and for this reason I dont’ expect to see a bevy of grant money being allocated to study it (and refute it if need be). Much like the research that has been shut down on Kennewick Man, a skeleton of a Caucasoid found in Washington State that is about 10,000 years old. This really pissed off the professional American Indian agitators who hold to a “pristine” view of ancient America in which there were no non-Mongoloids before Columbus. To accept this however would mean that homosexuality is the result of a disease state (infection) rather than a heritable one (the so-called gay gene).

                Regardless, if you’re looking for a materialist explanation for constant existence of homoerotic behavior in the absence of a genetic mechanism, then this is the only one that makes sense at present.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Hi George:

                  Thanks for that breakdown and analysis. Alot of what you said I knew, but alot of it I did not know. It’s actually quite fascinating. The trick is how to understand the data, and see how it can be reconciled to observable human behavior. Personally, the indications of homosexual behavior are more akin to addiction and other habitual behavior that requires rehabilitative services. However, that’s not even a considered option under our current modernistic/liberal climate and culture.


      • Orthodox & Psychiatrist says

        Dear Dn:

        The science of the brain (and my field itself) is primitive — I would encourage you not to be mired in the issue of whether or not homosexuality is entirely or even partially “genetic” and/or “a chemical state” induced by different hormones during development in the womb and/or learned behavior. Because our genetic codes and body chemistries are “after the fall”, many unhealthy conditions may be caused or exacerbated by a disturbance in pre-Fall design.

        The real question is what we do with whatever our fallen make-up may be. And the Orthodox Church, blessedly and beautifully, is the hospital for all that ails us whether through our distorted brains or distorted experiences or both. The key point is that we identify health and help all know what it is and help them achieve it by whatever healthy means possible. I am a very weak person in key areas that my Orthodox spiritual father/confessor addresses at my request and with my appreciative acceptance as do my Orthodox friends and faith community. I rely on them to keep me real about my spiritual illness versus health and to pray and support me in healing as a person they love too much to lie to and love in spite of my weaknesses, sins, and areas of ignorance. I do not happen to have a homosexual struggle but I work with people who do. I admire their struggle for health. Therefore I truly admire those who speak on the blogs with love and compassion for the individual to shield them from public scorn but to be sure to urge them to real healing on earth and ultimately in eternal salvation. I know what it means to those whose mannerisms may “give them away” but whose intent is to heal from their temptation and to live chastely. Please continue to give all in your midst the benefit of the doubt until such doubt is removed by them. And when that happens, then please find the least public, kindest, most respectful way to help them on the path to healing as their fellow struggler in Christ. Likely they can help you in your area of struggle, different from their own perhaps. In addition, those with the homosexual challenge may struggle with the urge to self-harm due to rejection by their family or church community. Please let them see your love for them as people at the same time they see your grief at what you know is wounding them and your desire to help them conquer this destructive temptation. Please let them help you with yours.

        By the way, the reason I do not post my name is because of the kind of therapy I employ, which depends on relative anonymity to be effective for my patients. I respect the process and the results it brings in helping persons recover from their long-standing wounds which are often considerable, enough healing so they may then pursue and benefit from the true spiritual healing which is beyond my purview.

        As a member of the American Psychiatric Association, I also know how secular and political an organization it is, and how the decision was made to change Homosexuality from a disorder to an accepted condition, so I wouldn’t quote them too often as sources. The Orthodox Fathers know the truth about human nature and respect science whenever it is accurate, so I have never found a conflict because I always observe the Orthodox Fathers as my first authority.

        Hopefully many of you have or will read Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos’ books Orthodox Psychotherapy and his newly translated sequel The Science of Spiritual Medicine. The Fathers clearly are our trustworthy guides. They always used the best of medical knowledge to accomplish their good ends, to let Christ the Healer of Mankind work in each of us. And they, above all others, know what “love” truly means.

      • Canonical questioner says


        I believe the Orthodox Church views murder as more depraved than sodomy.

        My suggestion is that you print and show your post to which I’m replying to the Metropolitan. Ask his guidance, and follow it.

        • Eliot Ryan says

          St. John Chrysostom: “A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these (sodomites) destroy the soul inside the body”

          • Canonical questioner says

            Interesting quote. As deployed here it makes male homosexuals worse than abortionists, but says nothing of female homosexuals.

            I find the whole thing fascinating.

            • Not necessarily so strange as your comment seems to make it sound, CQ–

              if, as one might well conclude, there is actually something more disordered and unnatural about sodomy than lesbianism

              and if one considers that biologcal life is but a dim and passing reflection of real and eternal Life, so that the former pales by comparision withe loss of the Latter.


  23. I’m going to love all my brothers and sisters gay or straight.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      We love them as well, just not their lifestyle Anna. Big difference.


    • Pravoslavnie says

      Metropolitan Jonah would likely share your sentiment. In his speech given at the Acton Institute a few months ago he descibed the basis of homosexuality as resulting from great inner pain, and that Christians should offer homosexuals struggling with their affiction only unconditional love.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      The issue is how we love them. We can’t love them with lies minimizing their affliction, or trick them into the truth by hiding it to spare their feelings.

      • Canonical questioner says

        I can agree with this…

        The issue is how we love them. We can’t love them with lies minimizing their affliction, or trick them into the truth by hiding it to spare their feelings.

        …but only to a point.

        I question the effectiveness of communicating one’s love by making one’s first and only conversation with a sinner a refusal at the cup before the congregation.

        Public humiliation is generally not the best first step toward even the toughest of “tough love,” and it’s certainly not scriptural.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      “I’m going to love all my brothers and sisters gay or straight.”

      This is the kind of comment that simply “cakes the brain,” to use Melville’s expression.

      Anna juxtaposes “gay and straight” as though they stood in some sort of mutual parity—as though they were rendered somehow equal by the common love that she decides to bestow upon them.

      Respectfully, this is arrogant as all hell.

      “Gay” is a euphemism for biological and/or moral perversity.

      To call a healthy sexual instinct “straight” makes no sense at all.

      There is no biological nor moral parity between the erotic attraction to the opposite sex and the erotic attraction to one’s own sex.

      There is no genetic foundation for the impulse to treat an orifice of the alimentary canal as a sexual organ. The impulse to do so is perverse to the root. And it is a sin against the Creator to act on that impulse.

      And it is a bad sign that one should have to insist on this point on a blog discussion of Orthodox Christians.

      • I love it when someone, especially a leader, speaks straightforwardly and puts it right out on the table. As it should be. May God give strength to all our leaders in the Church to do the same. This is an excellent demonstration of “unconditional love” in case someone was wondering what that looked like. Speak the Truth in Love.

      • I’m not insisting on anything nor am I arrogant. I use the terms gay and straight because those are terms most familiar to most people. I can change it to be “I’m going to love all my brothers and sisters regardless”.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          “I use the terms gay and straight because those are terms most familiar to most people.”

          And these terms are radically mendacious. The correct terms are “normal” and “perverse.”

          How we think about a subject depends very much on the words we use to do the thinking.

          A bit of clear thinking is what is needed in this discussion about the sacramental discipline of the Church. Gushing about one’s feelings of indiscriminate love is no serious contribution to the discussion.

    • Anna says:
      I’m going to love all my brothers and sisters gay or straight.

      Feel free to love your fellow humans as much as you want, it may “cake your brain,” but it will be in a good way.

  24. I am speaking of unconditional love.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      I was speaking of REAL love, not phoney, timid, sentimental, politically correct niceness.

      We weren’t loving this woman in any way by allowing her to continually eat and drink her own damnation. That’s what the Apostle says she was doing. Don’t you believe him?

    • Anna, what is your definition of unconditional love? please.

  25. Unconditional love is real love. I wasn’t speaking of any one individual. As a sinner, I hope I won’t be denied the chalice.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      As sinners we are all denied the Chalice unless we are worthy to receive it. This is why confession and repentance must be tied to Holy Communion.


    • Heracleides says

      Depends. Are you repentant or do you glory in your sin? If the latter, then you’d best hope you are denied for the sake of your own soul.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Anna, although being denied the Chalice is neither easy nor something one would want, it can be a time of tremendous healing and a time to set one’s mind and heart aright.

      When one willfully disregards the teachings of the Church, having a time to reflect and pray in the presence of God as others receive is at once both humbling and restorative. While we should not seek such, it is nothing to be feared either.

      The key is whether one is actually carrying out a penance or simply biding one’s time until it is over; whether one longs for the blessing of communion or really doesn’t care at all.

      Unconditional love does not mean turing a blind eye to the danger of another-just the opposite. Not everything we do in the name of human love can or should be blessed by the Church.

    • Anna, please give specific examples of what you consider to be unconditional and/or real love.

  26. And that my brothers would be between me and my priest and repentance would be up to me. I may fall and I may fall several times but that doesn’t mean I am not striving for a pure heart. I hope there would be someone to help me back up.

    • Heracleides says

      As a sinner, I hope I won’t be denied the chalice.

      Again Anna, are you repentant or do you glory in your sin? If the latter, then you’d best hope you are denied for the sake of your own soul.

      If you were to glory in your sin, making it a matter of ongoing public conversation at coffee hour and subsequently processing forward to receive the Blessed Sacrament, then you are a cause for grave scandal amongst the faithful. Once that happens, your sin is no longer simply “between me and my priest.” Sin is never private as it always affects those around us and the more boldly it is flaunted, the more harmful it is to both ourselves and those around us.

      You can bet on it that if I had been present at St. Nicholas and witnessed what was going on that I would have packed my three God-children up and made a beeline for the exit. Why? Because the spiritual health of those three young girls is my concern, and I would never put them in the situation wherein I would have to try and answer their questions while driving home from Divine Liturgy about the “married” homosexual woman/women profaning the Cup of Salvation by partaking unworthily. Maybe your God-children are slow on the uptake – mine are not – and the question would arise, and most likely sooner rather than later.

      Instead of playing word games Anna, you should in thanksgiving be asking God to richly bless Deacon Patrick. Why? Because protecting the Eucharist from being profaned is an act of truest love. (And is not something limited to presbyters or above as is borne out by the witness St. Tarcisius the acolyte.)

      • I feel waterboarded. Of course I’m repentant but I keep sinning just like all mankind. It doesn’t mean I don’t try and won’t help my brothers and sisters. BTW, it’s not nice to attack others’ children. “Slow on the uptake” …..they are perfect to me. Perhaps, it’s the highway for me.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Anna, I’ve been thinking about your use of the pejorative term ‘waterboarded’, i.e, a method of enhanced interogation (or torture) to obtain information from an enemy. During the procedure the person to be waterboraded is tied down and has a piece of cloth over his/her face.

          Your term assumes that you did not enter this forum voluntarily;
          That those who disgaree with your are your enemy
          That the enemy is using force against you to get you to betray your side.

          That’s a whole lot of negative assumptions, none of which are true.

          As Fr. Readon pointed out, your use of language is quite sloppy and ill-conceived.

          As he pointed out further, lanugage in this battle is really the battle itself. Those who wish to change the Churches moral and spiritual teaching on homosexuality want to redefine quite a few words. The following list is not at all exhaustive:

          Chrisitan from a person willing for the sake of God to battle against evil (in themselves, in their commuinity and the world at large) to a person who just ‘loves everybody’ no matter what they do ala Barney the Dinosaur.

          Sin: from an act that has ontological significance that it cuts us off from God, to, acts of others that offend us.

          Human being: from a creature made in the image and likeness of God and given life by His Spirit whose purpose is the commune with God and be a sacramental presence in creation to a creature defined by what exites him in a carnal and sexual manner.

          God from an uncreated being that loves us in an ineffable manner and beyond any reasoning to well, something they can control and determine on a case by case basis to allow for the implentation of their own will.







          And the list just keeps going on and on. Now in a really offensive metaphor tyou describe those who are faithful to the received tradition of the Church as torturers.

          Ever read George Orwell?

  27. As far from the question of divorce the discussion about LGBT acceptance moves the further from the realm of reality it becomes. The question comes again and again to answer the question of the immutable laws of the Orthodox Church can in fact be mutated. The rationale for all things determined about homosexuality have their ferocity in this claimed of immutability. From correct readings of Paul’s epistles we know of the people he condemned for homosexual activity has to do with rituals at pagan festivals. He does not speak to current day notions of LGBT love and committed relationships.

    Jesus speaks not a word directly about LGBT sexual behavior as sin. Nor does he cure a person believed to be suffering from it. These 2 facts leads me to believe that this matter, which you state is one of the worst sins possible, is certainly open for discussion. Also, this is the least worrisome problem which the Orthodox Church/people face today.

    • Prospective Nomad says


      The Church’s laws about divorce haven’t been changed. They just aren’t being followed in this particular generation. When judgment returns to the House of God in the form of persecution, as history and the Scriptures guarantee that it will, the remnant will rediscover and uphold the Church’s teachings on many questions, including divorce and remarriage. The rest will go the way of the ten lost tribes. Each of us should be principally concerned with preparing to be in the former group rather than the latter, should we live long enough to see that day.

      The phenomenon of laxity, followed by oppression, followed by repentance, followed by deliverance, followed again by laxity characterizes virtually the entire history of the Old Testament. Some scholars now refer to it as the “Deuteronomic Cycle” and quite properly so: The Second Biblical Ode, taken from Deuteronomy and read at Orthros on Tuesdays in Lent, lays out the whole process quite clearly. The more forms of apostasy we indulge in this age of laxity, the more intense and prolonged the consuming fire of purgation will have to be.

      It’s later than you think.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      “From correct readings of Paul’s epistles we know of the people he condemned for homosexual activity has to do with rituals at pagan festivals. He does not speak to current day notions of LGBT love and committed relationships.”

      No, Stephen, we don’t know this at all. In Romans and First Corinthians, Paul is addressing EXACTLY our “current day notions of LGBT love and committed relationships.”

    • Some upstream wrote:

      “As far from the question of divorce the discussion about LGBT acceptance moves the further from the realm of reality it becomes. The question comes again and again to answer the question of the immutable laws of the Orthodox Church can in fact be mutated. The rationale for all things determined about homosexuality have their ferocity in this claimed of immutability. From correct readings of Paul’s epistles we know of the people he condemned for homosexual activity has to do with rituals at pagan festivals. He does not speak to current day notions of LGBT love and committed relationships.”

      Me: There is no evidence whatsoever that St. Paul was limiting his condemnation to temple prostitutes. See: http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2011/07/bible-church-and-homosexuality.html And if you want detailed documentation on the question, see: “The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics” by Robert A. J. Gagnon, who is a respected and reputable Bible Scholar from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, which is under the denomination authority of the PCUSA… which just approved the ordination of homosexuals, and so is not a fundamentalist denomination by any stretch. It is also published by Abingdon Press, which is the official publishing house of the United Methodist Church (another very liberal denomination), and publishes scholarly tomes that are highly regarded. See:


      SM: “Jesus speaks not a word directly about LGBT sexual behavior as sin. Nor does he cure a person believed to be suffering from it. These 2 facts leads me to believe that this matter, which you state is one of the worst sins possible, is certainly open for discussion. Also, this is the least worrisome problem which the Orthodox Church/people face today.”

      Me: Jesus speaks not a word, so far as we have it recorded in the Gospels. Jesus also spoke not a word about incest, or cannibalism, so far as is recorded in the Gospels. However, approaching Scripture in this manner is not only not Orthodox, it is not even what informed Protestants do. We Orthodox not only believe that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20), we believe that there are a great many things that are not recorded in Scripture anywhere that are binding based on oral Tradition. In his case, however, we have both Scripture and Tradition.

      As for divorce, in the law of Moses, divorce was allowed for any reason. Homosexual sex of any kind was forbidden as an abomination. Christ did not lower the bar on the divorce, he raised it. Why would anyone think he would lower the bar on sodomy?

      And in Acts 15, when the Apostles determined that Gentile Christians did not have to observe the ceremonial law, they nevertheless made a few things clear to the Gentiles: “…it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” The sexual ethics of the Old Testament Law remain in force, as St. Paul made clear in 1 Corinthians 5 & 6.

      • Father..I didn’t write his..my name on this blog is now StephenD….I have never written post this long as I am an awaful typist…Stephen and StephenD are two differnt people
        Stephen Montgomery

        • I posted the following on July 10,2011

          There are now two Stephens here..I am now StephenD…for some odd reason all of the posts by both Stephens are combined..very odd..I am now StephenD

          » Posted By StephenD On July 10, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

        • My apologies.

          • Thats fine,,I forgive you as I wish to be forgiven..Is there any way you can delete my name from your above post ? or post a disclaimer..I do not agree nor will I ever agree with whay the other Stephen wrote.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Excellent observation Fr. “he didn’t lower the bar for divorce…”

        If I may interject here. Some of the liberal priests whom you quote speak that the type of homosexuality that Paul was condemning was of a virulently licentious type. Gay, Inc., and these priests would have us believe that homosexuals live in “committed, monogamous” relationships and thus the Church should somehow sanction it.

        This of course is poppycock.

        When I began my practice in the health care field in the the 1980s, it was at the start of the AIDS epidemic. We had to learn a lot real fast about male homosexuality. Reader’s Digest version: it ain’t pretty and it ain’t monogamous. I know Gay, Inc wants us to believe that homosexuals like to get together and have deep discussions of Proust or recite the poetry of Auden and then retire to their bedrooms so they can “cuddle” and hold each other in their arms while they go to sleep dreaming about each other but the truth is usually far from that. I won’t go into any more details.

        • That’s true, but the Scriptures use the broadest language to condemn all types of homosexual sex, and so it doesn’t matter whether the relationship is monogamous, any more than it would matter if a man had a monogamous sexual relationship with his sister. Such relationships are forbidden, end of story.

  28. Stephen,

    Look at the picture of the so-called bishop Gene Robinson and his partner. Orthodox laity are drawing a firm line in the sand in conversations and action that such a wrong will not take place in the Orthodox Church. It is bad enough that our seminaries have done a poor job of vetting students with homosexual tendencies and actual homosexual lifestyles. We are living with that mistake now from decades past when SVS did not vet a guy like Stokoe and his fellow classmate Brown, who now make up the team of Stokoe-Brown.

    Marriage is between a man and a women. Period. There is no discussion on this. Holy Scripture, the Church, the Fathers, the Canons have all spoken. I agree with you that it is not the most worrisome issue in the Church, but it is an issue and this site did not bring it up. It was brought up by the likes of Stokoe (by his lifestyle), Arida and Vinogradov, by their sympathies, and advocates by Inga Leonova. But all of this posturing does not change one iota what the Church has taught and will continue to teach.

    And finally, how do you know that Our Lord did not heal a person afflicted with homosexuality? Just because it is not written down in Holy Writ? Have you not read that,

    “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31.

    One either accepts what the Church teaches on this subject or they don’t. You have free-will but that freedom does not give anyone license to reinvent the mind of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, unless you buy the line of folks like Robinson who believe that his election and the position of TEC reveals “new” truths of the Holy Spirit. You either believe that or you don’t. Respectfully, I don’t believe that. If you do, then just say it. Recovery starts by admitting that something is amiss in us. God be with you.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Ignatius writes:

      “Look at the picture of the so-called bishop Gene Robinson and his partner. Orthodox laity are drawing a firm line in the sand in conversations and action that such a wrong will not take place in the Orthodox Church.”

      No, dear Ignatius, this firm line is written in stone. Our Orthodox laity will not stand alone on this one.

  29. Fr Patrick,
    I will defer to your superior geologic!

  30. Heracleides says

    A New Day Dawning? I’m not so sure. Mrs. Stokoe-Brown in his latest hit piece has once again put Met. Jonah within his cross-hairs. The last paragraph is pure Stokoese – the snake is such a twisted word-assassin it makes me shudder to think what further havoc he would have raised had he been ordained whilst at St. Vald’s rather than wholeheartedly embracing his homosexual passions. Here is the last paragraph (emphasis mine) of his latest piece, Mischief in Moscow, Aporia in Syosset:

    The Metropolitan,for his part, choose to abandon the country and leave for an eight day trip to Prague this morning. The visit to the Church of the Czech and Slovak Lands is at the invitation of Metropolitan Christopher of Prague, and includes Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco. The Synod, based on past experience, prefers another bishop accompany the Metropolitan whenever he is abroad.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Herc, as in a lot of Stokoe’s writings on all subjects +Jonah and traditional, there’s a lot less there than meets the eye. I used to find it fascinating how he could manufacture a mountain out of molehill or try to whittle down a mountain to a molehill but now it’s so tedious it’s pathetic.

      As far as I’m concerned, let +Jonah always travel in the company of one of his opponents, the better for our brother Orthodox overseas to compare and contrast. Most if not all have already taken the measure of the men in question. They are not fooled.

      BTW, did you notice that this particular bishop (supposedly +Jonah’s baby-sitter) wrote an encomion to +Jonah in the latest book on HB’s writings published by SVS? I wonder how MS is going to spin that one?

    • Jane Rachel says

      Stokoe also shoots himself in the foot if people will only get what is really going on.

      Taking my gloves off now because it is so maddening. Look at Bishop Benjamin’s proven track record for acting immorally in the past. Some of it, like the police records, is documented fact, and I’ll bet there’s evidence that hasn’t been made public to prove the other things that have been written. Regardless of the link’s source, we know Bishop Nikolai Soraich wrote this letter to Bishop Benjamin Peterson because he said he did. You can find that fact in a search on ocanews.org. Not even Hollywood soap opera writers could concoct such things out of thin air. I suppose that’s why everyone ignores it. Too shocking. Keep supporting Mark Stokoe, Bishop Benjamin and the rest. Stokoe’s implication that the Synod sent Bishop Benjamin along to “babysit” Metropolitan Jonah as if Bishop Benjamin is the good guy and Metropolitan Jonah is the bad guy clarifies once again who butters Mark’s bread. Hah.

    • Bishop Benjamin is also the one who refused to allow Met. Jonah to visit St. John’s during Lent. That left a negative impression on me that isn’t going to wipe away easily.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Oh, geez . . . he has no shame.

      • Tell me about it, Lola. It turns out Met. Jonah is only fleeing the country on Friday. He didn’t leave when scheduled because he wanted to go see Archbishop Dmitri first.

        That reminds me of when Stokoe revealed Met. Jonah’s heinous crime of going to visit his parents in San Diego.

        • Heracleides says

          Doubtless Stokoe will next be “reporting” that instead of fleeing the country, Met. Jonah is now holed up in a bunker deep beneath St. Nicholas Cathedral…

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            Bunkers? That’s news to me . . . supposedly there is a tunnel between the cathedral and the Russian Embassy . . .

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              I thought +Jonah plans world domination from his nuclear-powered Zepellin a la some nefarious Bond villain.

              • Well, that certainly explains Met. Jonah’s bizarre behavior as of late. He’s having his likeness carved into the side of a mountain, and he has hired a bunch of pretty women assistants with names that are sexual puns.

  31. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Not to worry about world domination! His Beatitude is surrounded in his synod by Honored Matres who have learned shape-shifting, even while Baron Harkonnen, assisted by his nephew in Moscow prepares his end.

  32. cynthia curran says

    well, pre-christian are not the only ones into castration. As we all know here the Byzantines had a lot of castrated males in their mist. The law forbid castration in the empire but it seems as time went on more Byzantines castrated their sons in order to get a career in the imperial palace. These guys castrated males were no sassy- generals like Narses proves this. Interesting tale about your dog George.