From Russia, Not with Love

Pat. Kyrill celebrating in Kiev last week.

Unlike the Syossetophiles who worship at the Shrine of American Sovietology Conciliarity, it looks like Moscow just reproved the OCA by way of liturgical diplomacy.

Please read this report sent by one of my sources in the Moscow Patriarchate. Fr Leonid “Lefty” Kishkovksy (already called out for spinning the story of Jonah’s removal in the Russian press) tried to convince everyone who would listen in Russia that Jonah suffers from mental disturbances. His back-stabbing scandalized all who heard him.

One thing is for sure, even with a bishop in charge of External Relations, they never rise higher than mediocrity. Does this man any difference in the long run? I doubt it. Once a regime does something this stupid and non-canonical (criminal?) it closes ranks and hopes to ride out the storm.

Smart people would read Moscow’s snub sent earlier today as a signal to start ameliorating the damage. But then, if Syosset denizens were smart, they would have attempted an intelligent and humane way to retire His Beatitude.

OCA Snubbed in Kiev by Russian Orthodox Church

Of course Big Brother will tell us that all reports to the contrary, the unjustified ouster of Metropolitan Jonah has not caused any hiccups in our relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. We will be told that Bishop Alexander (Golitzyn) and Fr Leonid Kishkovsky were greeted warmly by the Moscow Patriarchate this weekend while they were in Kiev. Unfortunately, such a rosy view will be hard to square with the facts on the ground.

High level sources in the Russian Orthodox Church traveling with Patriarch Kirill in Kiev for the celebration of the Feast of St Vladimir are reporting that the OCA delegation was greeted “politely” by officials of the Russian Orthodox Church but no special accommodations or recognition of them was offered.

Bishop Alexander served at the main liturgy led by Patriarch Kirill and other heads and representatives of Orthodox Churches for the Feast of St Vladimir. Of prime importance however is how the Russian Orthodox Church officially recognized the heads of other Orthodox Church during the Divine Liturgy. The Orthodox Church in America was not commemorated during the chanting of the Diptychs nor by Patriarch Kirill at the Great Entrance.

The chanting of the Diptychs and the commemorations at the Great Entrance are affirmations that the head of the local Church, in this case Russia, recognizes several other Churches. As is customary, all other Churches are commemorated in order of dignity and primacy. The Orthodox Church in America is last since it is the youngest autocephalous Church.

However after the commemoration of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, the OCA was skipped and the commemorations all all Orthodox Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops that were present was offered instead.

Even without a ruling Primate, the Locum Tenens of an autocephalous Church is commemorated; no mention was made of Archbishop Nathaniel however. [Editor’s Note: I remember the first primatial liturgy I attended in Dallas in 2001, the See of Jerusalem was vacant at that time yet Jerusalem was named in its proper order and Archbishop Cornelius was mentioned as the “Locum Tenens of the See of Jerusalem”.]

Is this a sign being given by both Moscow and Constantinople, who was represented by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France at the Divine Liturgy? Russian Orthodox Church officials and members of the Russian Synod are reported to be scandalized by the way the OCA has treated Metropolitan Jonah.

They were especially taken aback by Kishovsky who spoke freely to clergy and hierarchs that Metropolitan Jonah is “mentally disturbed.” If so, then the “justification” for the action of the OCA Synod is being accepted with the same level of seriousness as it is here in North America.

Compared to how the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are treating Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev (who is old, infirm, and barely aware of his surroundings), the contrast is stark and speaks for itself when compared to the way the OCA treats its primates, even when they’re relatively healthy.

It appears that the attempts by the OCA to peddle their version of the removal of Metropolitan Jonah is not going down well and that the impression by those in Russia and other Orthodox Churches is that the OCA is in chaos.

Here’s the video of the Liturgy:


  1. Defend The Faith says

    It is such a beautiful thing to watch the video and to see the gentle care that Metropolitan Vladimir was given by all those around him at the Liturgy. Despite him being confined to a wheel chair and the great effort it took for him to commemorate His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, he was righty shown all due respect in his infirm condition. As you said, George, when you compare this to how the OCA has treated its Metropolitans and especially +Jonah, it makes you want to weep tears of respect for Metropolitan Vladimir and to shed bitter tears of sorrow for how our Metropolitan Jonah was treated.

    Shame on every bishop of the OCA Synod. Shame on all those who showed their disrespect toward our Metropolitan. Shame on Bishop Alexander and Fr. Kishkovsky for traveling on our dime, halfway around the world to justify their bad actions. I pray that those in the Russian Orthodox Church and those in Ukraine saw right through their attempts to use this glorious celebration in Ukraine as an opportunity to curry favor.

    Today, I am ashamed to be a member of the OCA, yet again, for the sake of the OCA, there must be a full and independent investigation into the resignation/retirement of Metropolitan Jonah and I will add that the culture that led to his resignation also needs to be investigated. Anything less and it will be very difficult to respect whoever is the next Metropolitan.

  2. This is a most momentous moment in our history. The locum tenens of the see of the Metropolitanate of All America and Canada was OMITTED FROM THE DIPTYCHS!!!!!!!!
    If that doesn’t wake up the episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America, it’s hopeless!!!!
    This was a celebration of the Divine Liturgy by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia at the Kiev Caves Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos on St. Vladimir’s day, concelebrated with the Exarch of the Autonomous Church of Ukraine and a multitude of hierarchs Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Georgian, Romanian, Serbian,and Antiochene…



    • Your Grace. Are you being facetious? Much of what you write is tongue in cheek so I sometimes can’t tell. Your use of capital text inspires a sense of “over” dramatics.

      I am curious as to how serious you actually think this omission is. Like on a ten scale. Or maybe a modified 5 scale?

      • Dear Elijah,

        Do you remember who the MOTHER CHURCH (sorry for capital text) is ? The scale of omission?……. 100000+ ????

    • ProPravoslave says

      “concelebrated with the Exarch of the Autonomous Church of Ukraine and a multitude of hierarchs Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Georgian, Romanian, Serbian,and Antiochene…”

      Concelebrated with hierarchs of 12 of 14 Churches of undisputed autocephaly. The only Churches that didn’t send representatives were Albania (probably because there were already enough Greek hierarchs present) and Romania (which is in the middle of serious problems with Serbia and Jerusalem). Nevertheless, the primates of Albania and Romania were commemorated in the diptychs.

    • It’s hopeless. Nothing seems to wake them up.

    • Your Grace, if the ROC is this opposed to the actions of the OCA Synod, why do they not say so in plain words that the lay people and priest of the OCA can see it. I don’t say this to be flippant, it’s a genuine and earnest question.

      There are so many good people and good priests in the OCA who humbly accept what their bishops tell them. It has been shocking and frustrating to me. I would think anyone would question the harsh accusations laid against Met. Jonah. But people don’t. So far my few conversations with people in church indicate that people (including my priest) take the letter from the bishops at face value and conclude that the bishops did the right think in asking Met. Jonah to resign. I’ve been stunned that my priest so warmly and lovingly trusts his bishops, and with his encouragement, the parishioners do the same.

      If another church authority, like the ROC were to clearly defend Met. Jonah, good priests and lay people would not feel like they were doing something wrong by mistrusting their bishops.

      So, my honest question is, what keeps the ROC from stating their opion in language that your average OCA parishoner can understand?

      Thank you for taking the time to review and anwer my questions.

  3. It seems to me that the symbolically charged act of ommitting the OCA from the Dyptichs is tantamount to rescinding the Tomos of Autocephaly. The OCA hierarchy would appear to now be personae non grata, tolerated (which is what “greeted politely” means in diplomatic-speak), but not welcomed in world Orthodoxy. The question is, is this a temporary chastisement or a permanent cold shoulder?

    • Pravoslavnie says

      The ROC will not rescind the OCA’s autocephaly. It would be impossible and they have too much capital invested in supporting their decision to grant it in the first place. Can you just imagine the loss of face, the smug comments and “I told you so’s” that would come out of Constantinople?

      • I don’t think that the ROC would/will/need to officially rescind the OCAs Tomas of Autocephaly.
        From now on they may just ignore it, as the EP and others have done.

      • Apr. Seraphim Bell says

        @ Pravoslavnie: Maybe. But it may be a sign that in violation of the Tomos, the MP has planted a new parish with a priest from Russia in nearby Spokane, WA.

        • Pravoslavnie says

          Fr. Seraphim, that news surprises me and I don’t see it listed in the directory of patriarchal parishes which hasn’t changed for decades.

          It seems we now live in interesting times.

        • Michael C says

          In addition, I think the MP wouldn’t end up rescinding the Tomos, but would likely rather “encourage” the OCA HS to “voluntarily” give up the Tomos in favor of unity. That way, the MP saves face, and the OCA gets “credit” for submitting for the sake of unity.

          I just wonder – if that were to happen – whether the OCA HS, if she submitted to the ROCOR HS, would need to retire some bishops known to be morally tainted (either personally or by lack of disciplinary action).

          Yes, we are living in interesting times …

      • I agree, Pravoslavnie, Moscow will not rescind the Tomos for the reasons you cite. But they can certainly act in ways that are tantamount – i.e. amounting to – doing so (eg not commemorating the OCA Primate) in order to send a message. If that is the case – and I await clarification of Fr Kirill’s statement – the OCA is truly out in the cold, on the worng side of both Moscow and Constantinople. Not a good place to be at this particular kairos in the history of Orthodoxy.

        • phil r. upp says

          The autocephaly of the OCA can’t be rescinded. Once a “local church” is granted or recognized as autocephalous, then it is a fully independent, operating unto itself. Now, an autocephalous church may decide itself to modify itself, but this will not happen with the OCA. The other factor is that if all the other Orthodox churches refuse to accept an autocephalous church via non-communion, it can’t exist. Again, this is not the case with the OCA.

          • phil r. upp,
            maybe the autocephaly of the OCA can’t be rescinded or maybe not. It most certainly could simply lapse. The once might Local Church of Carthage in North Africa simply is , kaputtl over.
            Let’s not forget how autocephaly can come and go. Without mentioning Constantinople’s fickle historical attitude toward the Serbian Church (I think even in our time they expressed a very strange attitude toward its autocephaly.), we might recall that our own Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvenksy) was, before the Revolution, the Exarch of the Church of Georgia, Georgia, however, is the oldest “national” Church. Its autocephaly had been granted it by the Patriarchate of Antioch. The Moscow and Constantinople Churches disagree over Georgia’s rank in the diptychs; Moscow gives it sixth place, I believe, while Constantinople assigns it a higher number (lower rank). And no one could prevent the Holy Synod of the OCA, with its First Hierarch, petitioning the Patriarch to receive them under his omophorion and into the Synod of ROCOR.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Phil, that’s an incredibly optimistic view of the present situation. The more info I’m getting about the recent event in Kiev, it’s becoming increasingly clear that while the tomos won’t be rescinded, it will be increasingly ignored.

            As Helga and a few others have pointed out, there’s a very real possibility that the bishops are leading us into a schism with their grotesquely uncanonical actions. That’s just on the ecclesiological ramifications. As for the theological ones, what I’m hearing from sources regarding the creeping homonormativity in the DOW is even more troubling.

        • Michael C says

          The lack of commemoration during this interim (locum tenens moment) is certainly significant.

          I also think that the key is whether the MP fails to commemorate the OCA Metropolitan once a new Metropolitan is elected/enthroned in 4-6 months.

    • What would you think if you saw the MC’s Crisis Management Team waiting in the wings to run the church?

      • I would say it is a set up. Form a crises team, manufacture a crisis, and take over. Very simple.
        They have just forgotten a line in the psalms, Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Psalm 127:1.

      • face-it, just face it! why would the Crisis Formation Team come out from behind the koulisses to do what they already do?

  4. ChristineFevronia says

    The OCA should be ASHAMED of their treatment of Met. Jonah! To think that this small group of men, the Synod, in their insularization and egoism, has single-handedly broken apart the OCA by their unwarranted treatment of Met. Jonah breaks my heart! This very deliberate action against the OCA is evidence that this group of bumbling fools has placed us out of true “communion” with the Orthodox world.

    First, the Synod’s demand that Met. Jonah submit to six months of in-patient psychotherapy was the last straw. Who in the long-existing Orthodox world would trust 1) the accused-of-being-crazy metropolitan of a very small, very young and juvenile group of around 80,000 people in the US, or 2) the finger-pointing Synod who has cast heavy and pointed stones against the Metropolitan?

    Second, very recently Met. Jonah sought out both the Holy Russian Orthodox Church as well as ROCOR, and begged for reconciliation (end of May 2012 in Pennsylvania, which was covered here on Monomakhos and by the Russian Orthodox world, but of course not by the OCA). He went in such a spirit of brotherly love, seeking unity and harmony, working to bring together our churches. Guess what he got for that? “You’re fired!” How is the Russian Orthodox Church supposed to translate that as anything other than personal? I don’t blame the Holy Russian hierarchs at all for not celebrating the OCA in liturgical celebrations!

    Just who is the OCA Synod in obedience to? Their Metropolitan brought a monk’s perspective to legal dealings, seeking to seek a peaceful and Christian resolution to the OCA’s conflicts and lawsuits, and they have the audacity to call him insane and tell him to seek intensive psychiatric treatment at an inpatient facility for half a year. He ruffled feathers at Syosset by not being a paper shuffler and tied to his desk, and they call him inept and insinuate he has engaged in criminal behavior. They were never in obedience to their Metropolitan and they never sought to be. They wanted to control his actions from the very beginning, saying he traveled too much, that he needed to spend less time on politically charged topics, that he should just stay in the little ivory tower built for him in New York, where his predecessors had been happy. They have not been in a spirit of obedience to him in the slightest. After all, who was this monk to arise from the ranks and suddenly start guiding the helm of their good ole ship? And just who, may I ask, are these Synod members in obedience to?

    The OCA is a spoiled baby, with no parents

    Who will please come and take our young and wayward OCA in their arms and bring us back into obedience with the Holy Church?

    • ChristineFevronia says

      By the way, dear fellow OCA parishioners, that significant exclusion of the OCA is a spanking meant for us. That snubbing of our Synod (and thereby us) by OUR MOTHER CHURCH is a discipline of sorts. So please, by all means, pretend that everything is business as usual here on our American soil, that when a new Metropolitan is at Syosset, and when all this lack of “harmony” just runs its course, everything will be fine… It sure would be easy and convenient to buy that, but the truth is the OCA is out of alignment with our Orthodox brethren because of their treatment of Met. Jonah. This is a very hard time for us all, and may God save the True Church.

  5. Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov says

    I’m sorry, but for quite some time the practice of the Russian Church — which we have followed in the OCA — has been to not commemorate a locum tenens.

    • George Michalopulos says

      If so, Deacon, it has not been consistently followed. I vividly remember being in Dallas on Thomas Sunday, 2001 for the consecration of St Seraphim’s cathedral and the archdeacon there commemorating the locum tenens of Jerusalem. One reason is because his name stood out –Cornelius. I’ve never known a bishop or monastic in Eastern Orthodoxy with that name.

      Please forgive me as I mean no offense. But my sources also tell me how scandalized everybody was there by Kishkovsky’s continued denunciation of Jonah (to say nothing of how they ousted him). My correspondent used the word “politely.” In actuality it was more like “cold,” “chilly,” etc.

      Let’s face it: we blew it.

      • StephenD says

        You are correct George.I heard from afriend in Moscow who is active in Russian Church affairs that the MP is “done with the OCA”. Met.Jonah impressed all of them with his pastoral qualities and do not forget he is also a real monk from a real monastery. This was a pretty blatent spanking for those who follow this stuff..Not commemorating a Heirarch is pretty serious..I also heard a Locum Tenens being commemorated when I was in Israel.

      • George may be referring to conduct during the present visit of Bishop Alexander and Archpriest Leonid in Russia, where they are being left to their own devices, accommodation-wise.

      • George, I would like to second Fr Archdeacon’s opinion. I believe Fr Kirill is the only one here who can speak with authority regarding the said liturgical practice, since during the recent years he was the one proclaiming those diptychs both in the US, Russia, and wherever the Metropolitan served.

        At the same time, the practice may have changed since 2001. It happens.

        While your information regarding the reaction of MP to the “resignation” of His Beatitude is very valuable, I do believe that the reason OCA was omitted from the diptychs was b/c it does not currently have a Primate.

        • Reader,

          I believe that Bishop Tikhon is the expert on such matters. Although the good Protodeacon Sokolov is indeed an expert on many things, the practice of the ROC in the past has been to include a locum tenens in the commemorations. It could also be that with the Greeks present, the MP did not include the OCA because of the very public non-recognition of the OCA’s status.

          • ProPravoslave says

            “It could also be that with the Greeks present, the MP did not include the OCA because of the very public non-recognition of the OCA’s status.”

            In previous Russian Patriarchal liturgies the primate of the OCA was always commemorated in the diptychs despite the presence of Greek bishops

          • Nikos,

            I believe that while His Grace Bishop Tikhon is indeed an expert in the matters of liturgical practice, he was not during the most recent period the person serving with the Metropolitan at the primatial liturgies. Fr. Kirill was – hence he would be more familiar with the most recent practice of the Moscow Patriarchate.

            Moreover, see this video: This is late Patriarch Alexis II celebrating the liturgy in Kremlin on the Feast of the Hierarchs of Moscow, on October 18, 2008, i.e. during previous OCA interregnum when His Eminence Dmitri was the Locum Tenens. This video does not, unfortunately, feature the “great pokhvala” i.e. what we in the OCA call the “diptychs”, but at 11:16-17 you can catch the end of Patriarch’s commemorations of the primates of the autocephalous churches at the Great Entrance. Note that +Dmitri is NOT commemorated, but he goes from +Christopher of Czech Lands and Slovakia immediately to his concelebrants, Alexander of Dmitrov and Amvrosy of Gatchina.

        • Well Constantinople once dropped the Bulgarian First Hierarch from the diptychs for a very, very long time indeed FOR A MATTER OF CANONICAL DISORDER; namely, the erection of an Altar and temple in Istanbul which was NOT subordinate to the EP, but to the Bulgarian Church. At the time the break occurred there was no decree on “phyletism” in existence; that came afterward and as a result.
          Did someone just write that Archbishop Justinian commemorated Archbishop Nathaniel? Was that in his OWN church? Why would he recite the diptychs in his own Church; he’s not a Head of a Local Church? It would be unavoidable if he chose to serve in one of the locum tenens’s own churches, and means nothing at all. Of course, parish rectors can mention any hierarch or other personage at the Great Entrance or in a litany: no big deal there. He could mention Archbishop Spyridon if he felt like it, too!!

          • Your Grace, Archbishop Justinian did not read the diptychs, but he was said to have read Archbishop Nathaniel’s name as locum tenens at the Great Entrance.

    • First I have heard of it, Father, but if true I withdraw my previous comment. However, this practice seems open to misunderstanding, since the commemoration of a primate in the dyptichs indicates communion with that church, whereas non-commemoration has historically indicated a break in communion. What, then, is the rationale for this practice?

    • Archdeacon, I have it on good authority that Archbishop Justinian did commemorate our “locum tenens”.

      I have also heard the Diptychs many times at Primatial Divine Liturgies, and have heard locum tenentes commemorated therein. I can’t think of a time that I didn’t when there was one to commemorate. Primatial liturgies and vacancies in primatial sees are, after all, both comparatively rare events.

      The rest of the Syosset staff and the Holy Synod should endeavor to make sure this lack of commemoration is not a permanent thing. Not by trying to slather Moscow with attention, but by falling to their knees and repenting for what they did to bring about this “vacancy”.

    • During the visits of Patriarch Alexii I to the U.S. the names of one or two locum tenentes were indeed chanted in the diptychs. When the See of the Georgian Church, of the Albanian Church, of the Czech Church, of the Jerusalem Church fell vacant, the locum tenentes of those Churches WERE commemorated in the diptychs. As well, one may find them cited in the Patriarchal Liturgies recorded on the net since then. If it is now the practice of the Moscow Patriarchate to NOT elevate the name of the Acting First Hierarch of fhe Synod of Local Churches, surely such a change would be noted in the Acts of the Holy Synod of that Church.
      Incidentally, the formula sent out by our Holy Synod is rather embarrassing. “Locum tenens of the Orthodox Church in America?” Please. The Orthodox Church in America has not gone away/left its place to be occupied by a locum tenens! A locum tenens is a holder or occupier of an empty PLACE: that is to say, a vacant Cathedra/Throne/Seat. The Orthodox Church in America is NOT an empty see. It is not an empty place. One hardly needs more than one brain to come up with a sane formula! When St. Tikhon fell asleep, nobody named a locum tenens of the Church of Russia? What an idea! Rather a locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne was named. For whom one prays has been a matter of great importance never treated in an off-hand manner, such as, ‘Oh, let’sstop doing that,” without some discussion and even debate. Such matters are historically watched very carefully by the ordinary Russian Orthodox parishioner. If Rev. Archdeacon Kirill had not been the one who said the practice of the Russian Church has been amended for some time, I would have ascribed it to a Deacon at an All American Council who (like today’s Holy Synod) couldn’t figure out how to commemorate a locum tenens and upon asking the then primate how to do it was told, ‘Oh, skip it!”
      It would be indeed comforting if someone could tell us when the practice of the Russian Church since the restoration of the Patriarchate was changed and point us to the appropriate directive. Sorry, Father Archdeacon, but the “which we have followed in the OCA” is not reassuring any more. On the contrary!

      • Priest Justin Frederick says

        As I seem to recall, when we last changed Metropolitans and Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory was appointed Locum Tenens, his title was “Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See.”

        • That is true, Fr. Justin. In fact, I recall their initial announcement was that Archbishop Dmitri was “locum tenens of the Orthodox Church in America”, which was soon (within a day or two) corrected to “locum tenens of the Metropolitan See.”

        • That is the correct title, at least more correct than the current title for +Nathaniel. But, there really isn’t anyone in Syosset nor on the synod who has the institutional history to be a consistent voice on such matters.

          • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

            This has been on the OCA website for some time now.

            “The Most Reverend Nathaniel
            Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate
            Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See”

            see here:

            As to Abp. Justinian’s commemorations in the US, one does not have to take anyone’s word for it. On his website, regarding Liturgy for the Feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul (old-style) on July 12th, here:


            “За Литургией в уставные моменты Владыка совершил поминовение Местоблюстителя Митрополичьей кафедры Православной Церкви в Америке Архиепископа Детройтского Нафанаила, избранного на этот пост Синодом Православной Церкви в Америке 9 июля с.г. в связи с отставкой Блаженнейшего Митрополита Ионы. Со времени дарования Русской Православной Церковью Томоса об автокефалии Православной Церкви в Америке, имя ее Предстоятеля в Свято-Николаевском Патриаршем соборе г. Нью-Йорк поминается после имени Патриарха Московского и всея Руси на Великом входе на Литургии.”

            Which translates to:

            “During the Liturgy Vladyka, at the appointed times, commemorated the locum tenens of the metropolitan see of the Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit, who was chosen for that post by the Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on July 9th of this year in connection with the resignation of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah. Since the giving of the Tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America by the Russian Orthodox Church, the name of its Primate is commemorated at St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York after the name of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia at the Great Entrance at the Liturgy.”

            • The identification of Archbishop Nathaniel on the web page where the particulars of all the bishops are listed is correct.
              However, after Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation was got out of him by the Chancellor, wasn’t there official GUIDANCE sent out that called for the elevation of the name of Archbishop Nathaniel as “locum tenens of the Orthodox Church in America?”
              Please, dear and most esteemed Father Yousuf, refer us to any amended instructions. I don’t believe there’s been any liturgical instruction on the order of ‘” Go look it up on our web page.” Since Father Nicolas on Sunday clearly had Protodeacon Arkady utter the ridiculous “Mesto-bliustitel’a pravoslavnoj tserkvi v amerike” last Sunday, I understood that NO correcting guidance had been promulgated.
              The news release that is quoted, however, correctly identified Archbishop Nathaniel, but did not say whether or not he was commemorated according to the original official announcement by the Archbishop Nathaniel or according to the correct title. And, of course, the commemoration of the OCA First Hierarch could be a courtesy extended in the U.S. alone, having no relevance to continued recognition or not of autocephalous STATUS, as such a commemoration at a Patriarchal Liturgy DOES afford and as omission of the name of First Hierarch or locum tenens does NOT.

              • Your Grace, you are right. They have never run a correction on the incorrect commemoration they listed, although they did fix Archbishop Nathaniel’s formerly incorrect listing on the Holy Synod’s page.

                Do you like their new Holy Synod picture? It reminds me of Cartman’s Christian rock band on South Park when they were shooting photos for an album cover. “Haven’t you guys ever seen an album cover?! You’re supposed to be standing in random places, looking away like you don’t care.”

              • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                I would like to thank your Grace for your kind esteem. I offered things that seemed to me germane, but off the beaten cyber path. Some one “in Syosset”, we know not who, got the title correct, and the Podvorye gives some recognition of Abp. Nathanael as locum tenens. That is all. The announcements of direction are more more “on the beaten path”, and I think the lack of a revision or correction in the title is well established.

                I too, wish that there was another English word than “Primate” which is some what unfortunate, but well established, alas. Slavonic and Russian of course, have the expression of First Hierarch, and it was not used in the Russian text. And then, Abp Nathanael is, at the moment, and in himself, the first hierarch, the senior ruling bishop and bishop of highest rank, but is only locum tenens of the “Primate”. Perhaps a neologism? Proto-stant would sound too much like another word! I think the Greeks sometimes use “Protos” for the one who is standing first in any given situation. That might work.

                Your name’s day is coming up on Monday, and be assured of my prayers to St. Tikhon of Voronezh, recluse of Zadonsk on that day for you. С днем ангела!

                • Dear and still esteemed Father Yousuf! First, I am hiding behind a brick wall, so to speak, as I write this, but I feel compelled to say, that you and I both know that “Chairman”, a wholly English word, is the very most accurate name for the one elected by a Holy Synod to chair its meetings. Upon a vacancy, then, “Substitute Chairman of the Holy Synod” would be the logical and totally accurate version of “locum tenens of the First Hierarch’s cathedra”.
                  Of course, sometimes it’s hard to think. I’m totally confused trying to think about a sensible timeline for the events in which Fr. Symeon Kharon partiipated, let alone about the exact interactions of Metropolitan Jonah, a baptismal sponsor, a woman somehow or someway violated or potentially violated , etc., especially when the documents, e.g., police blotters, are so non-forthcoming.
                  But, does it matter? In the case of Archer-Midland funds in which Mister Dwayne Andreas (the donor) and Metropolitan Theodosius and Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick were concerned, immediately *****upon learning of the inception of a campaign by E. Wheeler eventually alleging embezzlement for nefarious purposes, etc.,****** Mr. Andreas wrote a letter which is exactly a DEPOSITION, i.e., real, documented EVIDENCE, to explain how it had been HIS stated intention, the actual DONOR’s intention, that Metropolitan Theodosius use that money as he personally saw with without any consideration from church bureaus or offices or officials, etc., that document suddenly, though read by all the members of the Synod, became as invisible as the Cheshire Cat behind her smile. In fact, I asked one Priest why the deposition of Dwayne Andreas had not been considered by the sanctified and most illustrious SIC whose legal adviser was Mrs. Julia Asrael, Esquiress,the Priest replied (and I’ll NEVER forget it) “Oh, that was considered to be ex post facto!””
                  I mean, “DUUUUUH!” Every deposition ever submitted in any court is always “ex post facto!”
                  The fact was, the letter was so inimical to the assigned purposes and mission of that committee/commission that it could not be considered by them at all, lest their entire “case” be seen for what it is, smoke and mirrors. Ex post facto!!!!!

            • It’s also interesting that the Russian text referred to”Otstavka” which often, perhaps primarily, connotes, in modern Russian, a process like an ouster of, or giving of the boot to,, while, of course, it may secondarily refer to a simple retirement, like Metropolitan Jonah’s simple retirement.
              “Otstavka” is what His Grace Right Reverend Nikolai got.. I don’t like the translation of “Предстоятеля” as “Primate”. After all, Father Yousuf Rassam was appointed Предстоятеля of the Tarzana parish, and Archbishop Benjamin was elected Предстоятеля of the Diocese of the West and its Diocesan Council. I realize that in the Russian Church’s polity, the Patriarch is much more than a First Hierarch: he’s like the hyperbishop of the whole Russian Church, i.e., IT’s Bishop. But in the more canonical spirit of, say, the Church of Greece, or ROCOR, he would be a First Hierarch: first AMONG, rather than first OVER.

              • Forgive me if this is too simple a question, but could somebody simply write to a russian bishop or the MP and ask what they think of this situation? It would certainly be helpful for parish people in the OCA to have a public opinion from a church authority outside of the OCA.

                On a related note, I am in an OCA parish in the DOS and my general impression is that, of the (very few) people who actually know what’s going on, people seems to support the bishops. My priest certainly does. Since his return from Miami, we have received multiple, hearfelt and sincere sermons and emails about how good things are in the OCA, how we should trust our bishops and that we should avoid gossip on the internet which is causing trouble and division in the church.

                My priest is very conservative and certainly does not fit the descriptions of the OCA leadership that people here claim to be liberalizing the church. So right now I assume he simply does not see or does not believe the information being put forth in defense of Met. Jonah, or in accusation of the bishops. It’s an added difficulty that he sincerely believes it’s the “gossips” on the internet, not the bishops who asked their Met. to resign, that are causing division in the church.

                Is anyone else having this same experience?

                • M.Vasiliou says

                  I did contact a few bishops. The only information they shared is that prayers are needed. Otherwise, their lips were sealed.

                  Do you think that any Orthodox bishop would issue a letter or email to me, to you, or to any other person (clergy or laity) if that communication could be duplicated and cause more political out fall? Get real. Whereas Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco (retired) has nothing to lose, those still in power could lose their livelihoods as did Met. Jonah.

                  Are we going to get the truth? Probably not.

                  Will Bishop Benjamin receive the white hat? Probably. I know a lot of people support him, so why would he rock the boat and expose all the secret proceedings, especially since Met. Jonah’s forced resignation involved alleged health issues that should not be revealed according to federal laws.

                  You must consider something else. Noticed that I used the words “alleged health issues”? Although there are many good psychologists and psychiatrists, too many have been compromised and can be bought off.

                  THE GOOD: Years ago, I consulted with a board-certified doctor who specialized in endocrinology when I was suffering from hypoglycemia. I found out that he used to be a psychiatrist, but as a Christian, he did not agree with the increasingly unchristian and immoral policies of the APA. His research indicated that many psychiatric patients actually have hormonal and endocrinological imbalances that could be remedied with a proper diet and/or hormone replacement therapy. His doctor’s orders usually recommended that all patients discontinue the use of all real and artificial sugars (corn, HFCS, cane, beet, maple, honey, molasses, Splenda (TM), Equal (TM), etc. ). The results were dramatic with an immediate drop in triglyceride levels and a stabilization in blood sugar levels. God bless him. I regained control of my life again.

                  THE BAD: Witness the psychiatric board at the University of Denver in Aurora who decided to do nothing about the Joker when his dangerous moods were brought to their attention as he was leaving the university. Irresponsibly, they washed their hands of him and did not notify any law enforcement authorities who could have monitored his actions. (See the recent ABC News story). Thus, this psychiatric board is responsible for the death of 12 people and one unborn child, and the physical and psychological damage to hundreds of victims, families, and friends. Can we trust psychiatrists and psychologists? No. They are humans and are very prone to error as the “science” of psychology is a recent product of the Enlightenment and is highly subjective.

                  Do you honestly think that we can trust the decisions of the OCA Crisis Management Team with their shrinks? I certainly cannot.

                  • Hm. I was asking why church authorities IN RUSSIA don’t state their opinion for american lay people to see. (there are many obvious reason why a bishop or priest in the OCA would not.)

                    Also, my question directed to lay people in the OCA is not “why wouldn’t priests in the OCA who disagree with the OCA bishops speak up against them.’ (there are many obvious ready why they wouldn’t.) It is why don’t priest in the OCA see that their bishops are doing something wrong.

                    What has surprised me is how readily my priest BELIEVES the bishops. I’m stunned that he did not seem even compelled to look into the matter, and discourages everyone else from doing so. He’s not afraid for his job out of fear of the bishops, he genuinely believes the bishop, with no inquiry on his own. I can only assume that the priests who are his close friends in the OCA also share his opion. (if they didn’t I’m sure he would be more sceptical.)

                    The willingness and eagerness of even conservative priests to accept the actions of their bishops in spite of all the evidence to the contrary has really shocked and disapointed me.

                    And I’m wondering if anyone else in the OCA is having the same experience that I am.

                    Thank you for your feedback.

                    • Rosa, priests have spoken up to their bishops and they are a little uncomfortable right now as a result. Others have spoken quietly in certain circles but are afraid to speak openly. I know these things first hand. It is a fearful time for our priests. It is a fearful time for some of our Bishops. I do not believe they were all against +Jonah. As for the apathy you see from your priest– most people do not want to get involved as do a lot of priests. It’s too disruptive to their lives, so they believe what they are told by the letters coming from the Bishops and they believe some of the “hero’s” from the last scandal, why not, it’s easier. Who has time to get into this, it’s a lot of work. I personally feel that each person matters and not one should be treated in such disregard as I have seen in the OCA. I also feel for anyone to not show interest into what has happened makes them an accessory to the guilt. They (all) will be responsible for what happens.
                      You know it’s so interesting. I have had my issues with what +Jonah has and has not done, but I have never once questioned whether or not he IS supposed to be THE Metropolitan. I’m in his cathedral, so I had to deal directly with his actions there-of course he had so much interference in his own Cathedral from OTHER BISHOPS it really is not fair to say that he was running it the way he would have otherwise. But it seems to me there is a heresy afloat, and it’s not one of homosexuality or disregarding sin, it’s one of disbelief. People talk about whether or not +Jonah should have been elected. He was. The Holy Spirit chose him. Man got in the way of what he was supposed to accomplish. And the deeper you look into this story, the more apparent that becomes. . . . When it all comes down to it it’s really all about weather or not you believe this Orthodox stuff.

                    • Beautifully said, Colette! Metropolitan Jonah is lucky to have you around!

                    • In my opinion, priests are scared. They want to believe everything is OK in the OCA, because what is the alternative? The collapse of the OCA. The end of their jobs, and maybe worse. So it serves their interests to believe the illusion. This is easy to understand, but it’s still very sad and frustrating.

                      This is all going to be very Shakespearean by the time it is over, and we are left to sift through the rubble and inspect the bodies.

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  I would like to know the answer to your question as well.

                  • M.Vasiliou,

                    If the basic working premise of the OCA Synod and Syosset apparatchiks was to remove +Jonah as Metropolitan, then they are going to keep fishing until they found someone who would give them a mental report on +Jonah to their liking.

                    If it is true that +Jonah had three mental reports and two of them gave him a “thumbs-up” to continue his duties and one (the St. Luke’s report) said that he could benefit from continued assistance, well I will leave it up to you all to conclude which report the Synod used to make their mental removal case.

                    Remember though that D. Bradley was instrumental in making sure +Jonah was seen by the team at St. Luke’s. Also remember that Bradley has the most to gain with a traditional Orthodox bishop out of the way in DC so he can continue to preach his gospel of uncritical inclusion at the DC Cathedral.

                    There is a spiritual rot that has taken deep roots in DC and it would have taken many years to root it out. I believe that +Jonah was taking the slow but steady approach there. This was too slow for some but also much too fast and potentially dangerous for the well-entrenched inclusion mindset in DC. This spiritual rot has led to an exodus of people from DC to other parishes outside the OCA. Attendance at the english liturgy is way down and the money has dried up from that Liturgy. The second liturgy at DC (Slavonic) has not suffered as much but the funding from that second service has never been enough to float the financial boat of St. Nicholas Cathedral.

                    So the fallout is underway. People are leaving the OCA and the latest episode in Kiev has only confirmed that the OCA is in deep kimchi. All very sad and all of it was avoidable if the brotherhood of OCA bishops thought more of others than they thought of themselves and their working relation with +Jonah. Same old OCA story, blame and scapegoat someone however if they keep doing what they have always done and expect a different result (like a different Metropolitan) the outcome will not change. I think this is where Moscow delivered its strongest message to +Alexander and Fr. Kishkovsky. Your Church is broken and we are not going to help you fix it.

                    • Amos, you are spot on. Painfully true.

                    • M.Vasiliou says

                      If the basic working premise of the OCA Synod and Syosset apparatchiks was to remove +Jonah as Metropolitan, then they are going to keep fishing until they found someone who would give them a mental report on +Jonah to their liking.


                      And the Russian Bishops of the MP and the ROCOR are going to keep quiet because they do not want to upset the American people nor meddle in the affairs of the OCA as that will only have political ramifications especailly during this presidential election year. No doubt, Putin has told the Russians to lay low on this matter.

                      No doubt, the people who tried to commit Met. Jonah are the very ones who need treatment for their own psychological problems of heterophobia and promiscuity.

    • In the past, has not the ROC/MP made it known publicly to the other Mother Churches that it recognized and supported the autochephaly of the OCA? So it seems to me that if the ROC/MP intended to show continued recognition and support of the OCAs autocephaly, especially in our “time of troubles,” Archbishop Nathaniel’s name would have definitely been included during the chanting of the Diptychs and by Patriarch Kirill at the Great Entrance. It also seems to me that, by not doing so, that recognition and support, which has been the foundation for the OCA to consider and present itself as autocephalous (and therefore a “major player” in the reorganizing of the Orthodox churches in the USA into one Church) has now become quite questionable, if not absent.
      So, OCA ”powers that be,” where will you take us from here??? (If into schism, I will not go with you to there.)

    • Denis Rukobludov says

      The archdeacon is correct…

  6. This seems to be a good indication that Moscow may de-recognize the OCA’s autocephaly. I wonder how certain hierarchs will react to that. It’s more than clear that a strong hand from an outside entity needs to restore order. Clearly the powers that be wont let it happen from the inside. +Jonah may have various deficiencies, maybe he should not be or should have never been metropolitan, but the way that he has been treated truly is disgusting, and it’s heartening to hear that Russia is acknowledging that.

  7. anonymous says

    It is interesting to add that this year is the 200th anniversary of Fort Ross in California. On Saturday, August 25, there is to be a Divine Liturgy served at the chapel at Fort Ross. Originally, Metropolitan Jonah was to take part, but still scheduled are Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), who is the head of the External Relations Department for the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Justianian, Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR, Archbishop Kyrill, and Archbishop Benjamin, and probably other hierarchs. On Sunday, August 26, it had been planned that most of these hierarchs would be serving at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, because it is the oldest Orthodox parish in the United States. It is now been announced that Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of the MP has cancelled his plans to serve at Holy Trinity Cathedral and will be serving at the local Patriarchal Church.

    • anonymous,

      If it is true that Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) has changed his schedule and will not serve at Holy Trinity (OCA) in August, this is another indication of the Russian Orthodox Church beginning to distance itself from the OCA. There is little doubt that Moscow is upset with the OCA and there will be no effort to help them get out of the hole they have dug for themselves.

      The Russians showed us how to take care of a bishop who is weak. Bravo and Axios to them!

    • His time is surely better spent there than at a cathedral that is home to Bishop Benjamin and the transsexual communion committee. I hope everyone turns their backs on Fort Ross this year. Fort Ross will survive it and next year maybe there will be a real celebration. I also suggest a trip to the local Patriarchal Church on Sunday, by everyone within driving distance. Go Met Hilarion!! It is definitely time to give up on the OCA and become part of the genuine Orthodox church.

      • Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) and the other hierarchs are also scheduled to be at Holy Virgin Cathedral in SF for a big concelebration on the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos (Old Julian–Aug. 27-28). Please come if you can!

    • This might be further evidence of the deliberate omission of the holder of the American see from the diptychs of the Russian Church’s being a most significant omission.

      • Lil Ole etc. says

        Dear Vladika Tikhon,

        The manner of the commemorations in the video replicates normal practice. Last Sunday, the Metropolitan commemorated both locum tenens, of the OCA and of the Diocese of D.C., not so normal practice. Nave was stuffed with extra folk and although we sang Eis Polla a few times, the diptychs weren’t done. Not ev3ery OCA service is identical.

        If you listen at the 25 minute mark to the video posted above of the outdoor service to St. Vladimir at Holy Dormition cathedral, you will hear the usual practice when someone of the number on the diptychs dies, retires or is not yet replaced, i.e. he is covered under the category of all bishops and archbishops right before the commemoration or the clergy and the people. About a half minute later, we ourselves, as part of the Orthodox Christians, are all commemorated. Note on the video that the deacon is reading off a pretty normal list that looks like a usual plasticated cheat sheet of its type, and the choir ies singing off a printed at a printing press version of the diptychs. All this is taking place at the Kiev-Pechersky Lavra in the Ukraine which still endures a couple of jurisdictional issues vis a vis the Russian Church. And the important event here is that the Patriarch of RUssia is helping serve the service in the Ukraine. There are also Georgian and Greek litanies in that massive national service, all done without any Ukrainian language outside of the pronunciation of the odd deacon. Compare:

        Can anyone find a video from Pechersky Lavra from four or ten years ago, in which the OCA was represented in the diptychs without a Metropolitan’s presence? Even with a Metropolitan presence.

        When you retired, was the locum tenans commemorated at your cathedral in Hollywood before a new bishop was in place? Were you forbidden from serving there? Can a Holy Synod dictate the retirement location of a retired cleric? If so, under which circumstances?

        • Dear Lil Ole etc. The recitation of the diptychs in parishes where the First Hierarch of a Local Church is not serving dropped out of usage centuries ago. The complete and formal recitation of those diptychs after the Little Entrance (as you discovered, apparently for the first time in that video) at every Hierarchical Liturgy served by Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman, and at the Hierarchical Liturgies I concelebrated with His Holiness Patriarch Alexi the First more than once included EVERY TIME the name of one or two locum tenentes of Local Churches awating the election of their own new First Hierarch. The Protodeacons ALWAYS had his list of those First HIerarchs and Locum Tenentes of First Hierarchs, and after they intoned each name on the list, the clergy in the altar, who also had copies of the same list, intoned them, then the choir(s) intoned them, just as you, apparently for the first time, discovered it is to be done in the video. I have been retired for a few years. I was astonished to learrn from Archdeacon Kyril Sokolov that the practice of commemorating the Locum Tenentes by name has been dropped from the practice of the Russian Church since I retired. I ask anyone who knows when the practice, in effect since the restoration of the Patriarchate in Russia, had been changed.
          Iil Ole etc., apparently is ignorant of the fact, too, that locum tenentes are NEVER appointed to diocesan vacancies, but only ‘temporary (sometimes rotating) administrators.”
          I found the Patriarchal Liturgy as served in that YouTube video to be quite disappinting, esthetically and liturgically and musically. The spectacle of a monastic directing a rich diet of bombastic concert hall compositions while clothed in klobuk, raiassa, podriassnik, while prominently flashing his natty white french cuffs (ever see such in a real monastery…french cuffs?) The poor old always-second-place Protodeacon instead of Protodeacon Andre, was a total nervous wreck who couldn’t stand still for the space of one breath… The open-air Altar Table with no cloth baldachine. Worst of all, a TONE-DEAF deacon (you hear him clashing with the choir in the first little litany). Surely in the vast Ukrainian lands, famous for beautiful song and voices, a Deacon who could carry a tune could have been found for this special event!?! It once was believed that having a tin ear was considered to be a sure sign that a man did not have a calling to the Diaconate or Priesthood, and it was not until after the Bolshevik Revolution desperation at the loss of clerical resources led to the same process of ‘standards-lowering” that has happened to drastic lowering of the standards for enlistments in the US Armed Forces took place in the Russian Church, especially, but not only, in the emigration. There are several points of disappointment in the steady deterioration of the Hierarchical service standards. The process won’t be stopped or slowed for the present, apparently. Ask, Lil ole etc., ANY choir conductor in the United States who has conducted at a Hierarchical Liturgy served by Metropolitan Theodosius or Metropolitan Herman just how the diptychs were done. Then you will discover that the ritual details you observed, open-mouthed, apparently, on YouTube, are the usual. You will also discover that the diptychs, as they were performed in Russia and observed by then Bishop Theodosius who officially received the Tomos there, were later performed just as they were performed in the Kiev video, but with the inclusion of the names of each and every current locum tenens (no “a”, Lil ole etc.) in the place in the order assigned to his Local Church. I assumed (apparently, mistakenly) that nothing had been altered by the Russian Patriarchate in that order. Now, I see that, according to some commentators here, locum tenentes (and, consequently the SEEs or CATHEDRAS of widowed Local Churches are now IGNORED AS IF THE CHURCH HAD DIED, TOO. Yes, all other hierarchs in the world are commemorated, too, but anonymously, right after the NAMED First Hierarchs of the individual Local Churches. INteresting to see will be what happens if, say, the Ecumenical Patriarch should fall asleep and a locum tenens be appointed for the time until the Sacred Synod of the Patriarchatr and the President of Turkey approve a new Ecumenical Patriarch. Will the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, just have the see of Constantinople SKiPPED and the Protodeacon will just begin with Alexandria? What do you think?

          • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

            Dear Vladika,

            Of the several kinds of commemorations in the video, in litanies and the entoning of the diptychs, you are right in suggesting that the latter was made difficult by the pitch problems of the entoning but I think mostly by the lack of coordination of keys between the deacon and the choirs. In the old method, the choir would follow the pitch of the clergy from some compatible interval, and in the new method, cognizant of the realities of the range of our blessed volunteer choristers, the tone is reentoned by the rhetor who prays that the deacon will adjust his tone to the rhetor’s lead and not divert by too many notes during the process of the commemorations.

            You missed or ignored a point in my reply to the video, and that is the jurisdictional issues involved in such an outdoor liturgical service in the Ukraine on St. Vladimir Day:

            Perhaps it would be interesting to see other printed versions of the diptychs from other countries online.

            Still not deleted or altered on the OCA website:

            OCA Diptychs
            To His Holiness, BARTHOLOMEW, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, THEODOROS, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, IGNATIUS, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, THEOPHILUS, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine: Many Years!
            To His Holiness, KIRILL, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia: Many Years!
            To His Holiness, ILIA, Catholicos and Patriarch of All Georgia: Many Years!
            To His Holiness, IRINEJ, Patriarch of Serbia: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, DANIEL, Patriarch of Romania: Many Years!
            To His Holiness, MAXIM, Patriarch of Bulgaria: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, CHRYSOSTOMOS, Archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, IERONYMOS, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, ANASTASIOS, Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, SAWA, Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, KRYSTOF, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia: Many Years!
            To His Beatitude, JONAH, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada: Many Years!
            To all Orthodox Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops: Many Years!
            To all Orthodox Christians: Many Years!


            The Chanting of the Diptychs According to the practice of the Orthodox Church in America

            After the clergy (or choir) have sung the final Kontakion, the Archdeacon or Protodeacon comes before the royal doors.
            Archdeacon: “Let us pray to the Lord”
            Choir: “Lord, have mercy”
            Metropolitan: “For holy art Thou, O our God…now and ever…”
            Archdeacon: “O Lord, save the Pious!”
            Choir: “O Lord, save the Pious!”
            Archdeacon: “And hear us.”
            Choir: “And hear us.”
            The Archdeacon then chants the Diptychs. After each commemoration, the choir repeats the same commemoration.
            After the conclusion of the Diptychs:
            Archdeacon: “…and unto ages of ages!”
            Choir: “Amen!” and then “Holy God…” in the usual manner at a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.
            It is helpful for the choir director and the first deacon to coordinate the translation to be utilized.

            • The style differs only slightly from that of the Russian Church. In the Russian Church each First Hierarch’s NAME is the first utterance:
              BARTHOLOMEW Most Holy Archbishop of, etc.
              THEODOROS, Most Blessed Patriarch, etc.
              IGNATIOS, Most Blessed Patriarch, etc.
              THEOPHILUS, Most Blessed Patriarch
              KIRIL (SHOULD BE CYRIL), Most Holy Patriarch
              ILIIA (should be Elias or Elijah), Most Holy Catholicos
              IRENEJ (should be Irenaeus) Most Holy Patriarch…
              DANIEL Most Blessed Patriarch (Good, but if you’re going to have “Ilia” why not ‘Daniil?”

              There was no pitch problem with Protodeacon Nazarkin. The pitch problem was with one of those Deacons who did the first Little Litany. Protodeacon Nazarkin used to seem like someone with “additional outside employment.”
              The choral ‘selections” made me even yearn, believe it or not, for the exotic (to my American ears) honking of Arabic or Greek Byzantine chant!

              • Denis Rukobludov says

                It also differs in the timing… the great pohvala starts at the conclusion of the kontakion after “glory…” and upon its conclusion, the “now and ever…” and final kontakion are sung.

          • ProPravoslavie says

            I agree that the Patriarchal Liturgy was disappointing in some aspects, although I’d like to point out that the altar was well within the shade of the large canopy. Archdeacon Andrei Mazur (who wasn’t present) is 89 and Protodeacon Vladimir Nazarkin is sometimes impressive, and sometimes… not at all. Unfortunately, Patriarch Kirill does not seem to be terribly interested in liturgical matters. We may have to wait for the accession of one of the young, pious metropolitans to the patriarchal throne at some point in the future for Russian Patriarchal liturgies to recapture their old glory.

            However, the hierarchical Liturgies frequently broadcast on the website of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra are usually beautiful.

  8. Pravoslavnie says

    The Russians have a lot of experience with Soviet-style psychiatry, and Fr. Leonid chose the wrong audience to spin that nonsense with. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the OCA was being sent to equivalent of Siberia, and it appears that we now see signs of the first frost.

  9. phil r. upp says

    You people are making more out of this than it is. The reality is that a permanent hierarch of the OCA has not been elected. In the interest in not offending the Romanians of Romania (who were hoping that the OCA Romanians would re-join them – won’t happen) Archbp Nathaniel probably wasn’t mentioned.

    • I suspect the Russians knew how their actions would be perceived and I’m not sure their concern for the Romanians would trump their concern about communicating the wrong message.

    • ProPravoslave says

      The Romanians didn’t send a representative to the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy, most likely out of respect for the presence of hierarchs from Jerusalem and Serbia, with which Romania currently has serious ecclesiastical disputes.

      • Anonimus per Scorilo says

        I do not know where anybody is getting this toxic news about the “serious ecclesiastical disputes” between Romania and Serbia or Jerusalem.

        The Jerusalem patriarchate has been in a financial dispute with the Romanians over the past 10 year over some pilgrimage sites in the Holy Land. When Romania sided with the Russians against Constantinople in Chambesy, the Jerusalem patriarchate received the green light from Constantinople to blow this financial dispute into a full break of communion, but it is clear to everybody they are just bluffing. This has not stopped the Romanians from getting the Holy Fire from Jerusalem this Pascha, etc.

        As for Serbia, ever since World War 1 there has been a Serbian bishop in Timisoara (inside Romania) pastoring Serbian parishes and monasteries, and there has been a Romanian bishop in Vrsac (Serbia) pastoring Romanian parishes. It is not a perfect and flawless arrangement, but it has worked for the past 90 years.

        • ProPravoslavie says

          A full break of communion is not a serious ecclesiastical problem?

          The Romanians still get the Holy Fire but there is no concelebration at this point. That is not serious?

        • Alexander says

          Perhaps this excerpt from the May, 2012 Communique of the SOC Holy Assembly of Bishops may help APS undertand the current SOC relationship with the ROC:

          With satisfaction and thanks to God, the Assembly observes that the Serbian Orthodox Church maintains liturgical and canonical relations and cooperation with the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches, but that in this regard there is, unfortunately, one exception. This concerns the uncanonical activity of the episcopate and clergy of the Romanian Orthodox Church on the canonical territory of other Orthodox Churches, including our own. In our case, certain bishops and clergy from neighboring Romania continue to come to certain cities and towns in Eastern Serbia, that is, the Dioceses of Timok and Branicevo, and carry out priestly activities there without the knowledge or permission of the responsible bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, thus violating the very foundations of Orthodox ecclesiology and canonical order. Because of similar unauthorized activities by representatives of the Romanian Church, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem repeatedly objected most energetically, and eventually broke liturgical and canonical relations with that Church, which continues. The Assembly once again, for the who knows how many times, sent a protest to Romanian Patriach Daniel and his Synod over the uncanonical intrusions into areas under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church and with regret informed them that, to the extent that individuals from the sister Romanian Church do not cease their unbrotherly and uncanonical activities, regardless of whether they are tolerated or sent by her Patriarch or Synod, we will take all appropriate canonical and legal measures to preserve the ancient canonical order and stop the irresponsible disruption of the holy unity between Orthodox Churches and between fraternal peoples, which the Serbian and Romanian peoples have undoubtedly been over the centuries. If these measures do not help, the Assembly will be forced, with deep regret, to follow the example of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. The Assembly Fathers are aware that there are many among the Romanian bishops, clergy and theologians who do not follow the aggressive ethnophyletisic course which has occasioned no small disruption in the entire Orthodox world in recent years. Similarly, the Assembly is, as it has been earlier, grateful to the Romanian Church for its correct relations with the administrator of the Temisvar diocese, its clergy and faithful, just as the Serbian Orthodox Church enjoys brotherly relations with the clergy and faithful of the Romanian Church who live in the Serbian part of Banat.

          • Has the Romanian Church ever repudiated its official validation of Anglican Orders, or have they just kept quiet about it and not implemented it?

            • Monk James says

              Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says (July 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm):

              ‘Has the Romanian Church ever repudiated its official validation of Anglican Orders, or have they just kept quiet about it and not implemented it?’

              Until this very moment, I was unaware that Romania accepted the authenticity of the Church of England’s ordinations.

              But I’ve long thought that any orthodox denial of that authenticity is driven by our perception of roman catholic standards since 1890 or so, not by those standards themselves.

              I think this because there are several groups (Old Catholics, Old Swedish Lutherans, Polish Old Catholics, etc., etc.) whose ordinations are recognized by Rome as authentic but illegal under the terms of RC canon law. At the same time, most of us orthodox do not recognize these RC schismatic groups as having an authentic episcopate with the authority to ordain priests.

              Yet we (most of us, anyway) find ourselves in the very odd position of agreeing with Rome that anglican ordinations are inauthentic.

              While I realize that some serious orthodox theologians and hierarchs think otherwise, it’s my well considered opinion that — in our contemprary situation — no clergyman of any unorthodox confession whatsoever should be received into orthodoxy except AS A LAYMAN.

              If it turns out that such a man would aspire to the priesthood, then he should be reformed in one of our seminaries for a few years, and only then ordained — if that’s a good idea. I don’t think that even the roman pope would deserve an exception from this, should he abandon his heresies and come to orthodoxy.

              At least in our OCA, we’ve got a very spotty record when it comes to receiving RC priests. To say that we’ve been inconsistent is an understatement of heroic proportions.

            • anonimus per Scorilo says

              There is a theoretical question about validity of Catholic and Anglican orders, and a practical one.
              Given that the grand total of Anglican priests who joined the Romanian Orthodox Church is very close to zero, perhaps it is more productive to focus on what the Russian and Romanian Orthodox Churches did with the thousands of Eastern Catholic priests who joined the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and Romania. Were they chrismated ? Were they reordained ? Were they at least revested and proclaimed “axios” ?
              The answer is “none of the above”. They had to sign something, and that was it.
              And I do not think they would do any differently if an Eastern Catholic priest demanded tomorrow to join the Orthodox Church.

          • anonimus per Scorilo says

            Indeed, the statement is very clarifying. The Serbian Orthodox Church wants to get a hand on the Romanian churches in its “canonical territory”, but in the same time wants to maintain its exarchate in the “canonical territory” of the Romanian Church 🙂

            Of course, since the Serbian priests in Romania receive a salary help from the Romanian state, and on the other hand the Serbian state is threatening to demolish certain Romanian churches in Serbia, the situation does not look very balanced. But the disbalance is more likely caused by the political pressure (the ultranationalist Serbian president was elected just when the synod took place), then by any church reasons, and will very likely stop at the level of words. The Romanians have much more to gain from the establishment of “canonical order” then the Serbians.

  10. Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

    It’s interesting, given all the turmoil in the OCA over the last several years (two Metropolitans deposed in four years), its demographic decline, seemingly unique organizational structure, and changes in the international Orthodox scene, that the OCA Strategic Planning effort doesn’t seem to include any kind of assessment of jurisdictional governance culture and structure in relation to other local Orthodox churches. (At least I couldn’t find any evidence of that at Maybe I missed it, but it doesn’t seem evident in the reports.

    If assuming the SP approach is good to take in the first place, one would think such an effort would include a plan for assessing ithe performance of the institution, by looking comparatively at peer and aspirational institutions (in this case other local Orthodox Churches, potentially both some in North America and around the world, including those that are growing). For an Orthodox Church, such an assessment would need to go beyond secular management assessments and include issues of ecclesiology and canonical models.

    Another related element missing in the SP effort seems to be any focus on strengthening the distinctively weak monastic element in the OCA’s overall jurisdictional culture (despite some fine OCA monastic communities). Such an effort was called for by a resolution at the AAC. Maybe both these items are being focused on elsewhere in OCA efforts, and if so I’m happy to stand corrected. But if not, why not get started on such self-examination in the lead-up to the upcoming All American Council?

  11. “The other shoe” is dropping.

  12. Perhaps it’s time for someone in the “nomenklatura” of the OCA to send out feelers to Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR about re-activating the old “‘Temporary Agreement” between ROCOR and the Metropolia, so that the diocesan ruling hierarchs of both entities sit on ONE Holy Synod under the Presidency of Metropolitan Hilarion. The details would not be insurmountable. It would be a “marriage made in heaven” rather than in Syosset. The Syosset Griswold Mansion could be re-named “The Holy Synod,” and accommodate the hierarchs and administration of the larger entity which would result from restoring the union of Synods and so on.

    • A sensible suggestion, Your Grace. If it took it could also solve the ROCOR Synod’s problems with accomodation in NY. The building on East 93rd Street, while a generous bequest originally, has long been a white elephant that the Synod could not afford to maintain properly. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion is also a wise and humble first hierarch of what is fast becoming the most missionary church in Orthodoxy.

  13. Just so there is no confusion, I don’t think that anyone applauding the potential removal of the OCA from Moscow’s diptychs is, strictly speaking, advocating schism.

    As a member in good standing of the OCA, I certainly do not relish the possibility of being excommunicated from the Orthodox Church, whether by my own sinful actions or by a breach between the local church and the other Orthodox Churches. However, I shall, God willing, remain loyal to the canonical Orthodox Church under all circumstances, even if this means departing from relations with Syosset.

    What is being seen here is, I believe, a grim approval of having the OCA hierarchy and administration finally face consequences for eschewing Orthodox teaching and praxis. This is an approval borne out of loyalty to Jesus Christ, and the Orthodox faith, over loyalty to a local church that has gone severely off the rails.

    May God grant the OCA a chastisement to drive the innocent further into the arms of our Savior, and the guilty to repentance and reconciliation with Him.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Stupendous Helga. The best possible summation of this entire imbroglio, and the best possible solution as well.

      • Hey, phil r. upp! What the !@#?&( sam hill are you talking about with your reference to Karma? I VOTED FOR FATHER ALEXANDER at the Diocesan Assembly which elected me for San Francisco! I actually got the ball rolling for that Assembly to be convened at last, in order to get him elected, and I failed. Hey! Hey! I’m retired and de[anged, why hide behind a pseudonym? Don’t even want your FRIENDS to know what you’re saying here,, eh?

    • Good one, Helga!

  14. phil r. upp says

    Well, we have a clue to the future. Bishop Alexander is introduced to world hierarchs. He will be the next Met. A great choice. He is extremely intelligent, a true scholar, a practical monk and he is stable. Hey BT, what goes around, comes around.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Why not? If the goal of the OCA is kenotic (as Met Jonah) believes, then what better way to make the OCA implode than to have the least dynamic bishop elected as Metropolitan? Personally though, I think Alexander’s chances just went down the toilet because of the multiple rebuffs he recently suffered in Russia. Even the Holy Politburo is not that stupid, unless of course they’re totally oblivious to what the ROC wants. So my money’s on Benjamin. If so, then look for the MP-USA to go into full gear establishing churches in the US.

      • phil r. upp says

        There are two possible candidates for OCA Met: Bishop Alexander (Golitzyn, who is by the way, of Russian nobility; a Prince) and Dahulich. Dahulich is well-educated and represents the Hunkies of the OCA. However, he was at St. Tikhon’s during + Herman’s consistent mismanagement of money & property. He claims he knew nothing. Really? Really? It will be Bishop Alexander and he’s not just an academic with no substance. He has parish exp. as well as spending time on Mt. Athos. He has come a long way since 1970.

        • And, phil r. upp, Bp. Alexander he is certainly “Lefty” Leonid’s choice, however it also appears his coming out party in Kiev did not go as planned. Bad reviews, very bad reviews!

          • Nikos, methinks, or at least “mewonders”, that the reason Fr. Kishkovsky presented Fr. Golitzin again and he was finally allowed to be elected to the episcopacy was so that Fr./Bishop Alexander could become a figurehead Metropolitan that would please the Russians more than Metropolitan Jonah, and hoping that would mean any swift and dirty execution of the American whiteboy would be overlooked by Moscow.

            If this was Fr. Kishkovsky’s plan, and what you say about Bishop Alexander’s reception is true, it appears this plan has fallen apart. Any Christian would be appalled at the brutality that went into removing Metropolitan Jonah, of course, but I am particularly interested in any other reasons why they didn’t like Bishop Alexander.

            • I think, Helga, that Bishop Alexander, in spite of ancestry, may not be considered “rodnoy” or ‘nash” by many Russians at home or abroad. Possibly the feeling is mutual and can’t be hidden. I don’t mean to even hint that he or his siblings are anything but proud of their ancestry, but this says nothing about their attitudes for or against Russians or russkost’. Whatever else is known about today’s Russian ecclesiastical establishment, one thing is absolutely clear: patriotism, political and cultural. Further, if he is being guided by Father Leonid’s perceptions of many leading personalities, he may not be awfully adept at managing expression of them, being less adept than Father Leonid himself!

        • Disgusted With It says

          If someone else does not get the “super-majority” in the voting, the synod will elect Benjamin. I hear it’s pretty much a done deal.

        • phil r. upp says:
          July 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm

          Bishop Alexander (Golitzyn, who is by the way, of Russian nobility; a Prince)

          I’m not sure what message that is supposed to convey or to convince us of.

        • Denis Rukobludov says

          There are NO good candidates at the moment.

      • Will not the next Metropolitan of the OCA, if there is to be one, and if not +Benjamin, have to be one who will willing consent to be a mere figurehead metropolitan, subservient to the real “powers that be” of the OCA?

        • Monk James says

          PdnNJ says (July 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm):

          ‘Will not the next Metropolitan of the OCA, if there is to be one, and if not +Benjamin, have to be one who will willing consent to be a mere figurehead metropolitan, subservient to the real “powers that be” of the OCA?’

          We must remember that the strictures imposed on Met. Jonah by the bishops and their co-conspirators were ad hoc and specifically intended to hobble MetJ personally, and not to redefine the office of the first hierarch.

          In addition, it’s doubtful that the next primate will have the meekness to accept such indignities with the graceful humility with which MetJ bore them.

          So it seems likely that our next OCA metropolitan will be reinvested with all the freedom which MetJ had at the beginning of his tenure.

          And then, maybe even the Holy Synod will begin to function again and the Metropolitan Council can stop thinking of themselves as the other house of our legislature, realize that they are in all things subordinate to the bishops, stop arrogating to themselves and their committees powers they could not and should not have, and return to their statutory obligation of merely executing the decisions of the All-American Councils.

          • Doubtful! You expect all those connivers to instantly reform?

          • As if nothing destructive and of consequence has happened to themselves and the OCA because of their “leadership”?

          • In the speech that got him elected Metropolitan, Met. Jonah blamed the Synod’s stagnation and collective poor behavior on its having been “leaderless”.

            Now we know the Synod didn’t need to be “leaderless” in order for its members to violate the church in their own special ways.

            They talk of the turnover in the Synod, expecting us to forget that the Synod is more or less self-selected. As the Diocese of the South has learned to its cost, you can nominate anyone, but you really only pick from those that the Synod is willing to vet. If your diocese doesn’t look like it will cooperate, they can just elect someone you don’t know and may not like, the implicit threat in Archbishop Nikon’s letter explaining why he unilaterally cancelled the Special Assembly.

  15. Norhing went into the “Statement” that was not approved by Archbishop Benjamin. No one in the Crisis Management Team and no one in the Holy Synod opposed Archbishop Benjamin in anything. I doubt very much if Chancellor Jillions or Archbishops Nikon or Nathaniel or Secretary Tosi or Gregg Nescott or anyone else at all would take a step that he had disapproved. It means he’s the first of all of them, and few, if any, are his equals. It’s just a matter of time then, s it not? Will his first place be recognized within the limits of the Statute or later, that’s the question that remains. He’s not “primus inter pares” He’s just primus and the rest are not pares.

  16. Archpriest John W. Morris says

    The OCA is not listed as an autocephalous Church on the diptychs of most Orthodox Churches. That does not mean that they are not recognized as Orthodox or that anyone has broken communion with the OCA. There is no doubt that the OCA is Orthodox, but as you well know most other Orthodox do not recognize the OCA as the American autocephalous Orthodox Church.

    Archpreist John W. Morris

    • With respect, that is stating the obvious, Fr John. The non-commemoration of the OCA by most churches is not the issue under discussion, but the significance of the non-commemoration by Patriarch Kirill, especially given that Moscow is the mother church of the OCA. Correct: such non-commemoration does not necessarily mean excommunication; that is simply the historical significance of such action, but we all know that in the still-Byzantine world of inter-Orthodox relations non-commemoration can mean other things, almost as significant. In any case, I expect that, failing further clarification of the exact significance of the non-commemoration, events in the next few weeks will illuminate us all as to Moscow’s position. In my view, the cold shoulder from Moscow would almost certainly spell the end of the OCA – such a small church could not survive the resulting ecclesiastical isolation. Thus, this action – if it means what we think it means – would be tantamount to the rescinding of the Tomos of Autocephaly at least in its effects. For 40 years, Moscow’s moral support of the OCA has meant that the latter could survive despite being unrecognised by a majority of world Orthodoxy; take that support away and the OCA is alone. Fr Schmemann’s experiment would then have to be deemed a failure.

    • That is absolutely true, Fr. John. However, there is a huge difference between putting a church in the diptychs and then leaving it out, and never recognizing it as autocephalous to begin with. Nobody’s arguing that Moscow and the OCA are suddenly out of communion. This is basically Moscow unsubscribing from the OCA’s updates as opposed to defriending them altogether.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Not meaning to pile on Fr John, but the other correspondents are quite correct. I grant you that the non-commemoration of the locum tenens may not be as big a deal but the non-commemoration of the OCA itself is a huge issue. Moreover, my sources tell me that the ROC went out of their way to not accommodate our delegation as much as possible.

        and if, as another correspondent stated that the MP-USA is establishing a parish in Washington State, then that would be a non-recognition of the validity of the tomos of autocephaly (as opposed to the actal rescinding of the tomos) by the MP. Why? Because the terms of the tomos clearly specified that the MP would NOT establish any more parishes in North America and more importantly, left open the door for the existing MP parishes to enter into the OCA when they saw fit.

        Now you may say, what about ROCOR? The tomos of union between the MP and ROCOR is a horse of a different color. ROCOR remains autonomous within the MP and it is free to establish as many parishes as possible anywhere it wants. The MP thus has plausible deniability.

        • phil r. upp says


          If the MP is going to establish a new parish in Wash. state as you say, it is with the permission of the OCA. With many Russians coming to the U.S., they want to worship as if home with a Russian priest. These Orthodox shouldn’t be ignored, but would Americans be so accommodated in Russia? No. The ROC and it’s outreach is still being used by the Russian govt as a vehicle to have operatives in many countries. Do we really want to participate in espionage and treason? Not this American.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Phil, this isn’t a rosy scenario, it’s whistling past the graveyard. The OCA is in no position to “give permission” to MP-USA at this point to do anything. Besides, the idea behind the reunification with ROCOR was so that missions catering to Russian-speaking immigrants would be established by it, not the MP-USA. If this is true, then MP would be violating the letter of the law as well as its spirit. No small thing.

            • phil r. upp says

              The MP nor ROCOR is of no significance in the U.S. The OCA will maintain strong relations with the MP, but at arms length. George, understand what and who Orthodoxy is in the U.S. The OCA is going no where. It has many educated priests and some very good bishops. It’s strength lies with it’s people & parishes with good, solid priests. ROCOR is nothing. The MP will shore them up, but so what? The Greeks are totally into themselves and their Hellenism. Their bishops have been emasculated since Ligonier and many, many scandals are on going. Go join one of their Greek clubs, uh, churches. The Antiochians have good parishes, good priests and a number of good bishops. They are operating unto themselves and more & more Arabs will be coming to the U.S. So, get a perspective. Whatever Russia wants means very little. The only hope for the Church in America is with ourselves, by ourselves. The OCA will be fine. Oh, and Istanbul is just about dead.

              • Fr. Ambrose Young says

                I’m afraid, Phil r. upp, that your comment shows a woeful lack of knowledge concerning ROCOR in this country. It is thriving, both in its Slavonic and English language parishes.

            • George, it certainly appears to be true that the MP has established a mission in Spokane. Right now it is listed on the web site of San Francisco’s St. Nicholas Cathedral (, as a “podvorie” of that parish. There is a link (, but it doesn’t seem to work.

    • phil r. upp says

      Fr. John,

      Not true. The autocephaly of the OCA is clearly recognized by the “Russian Contingent of Orthodox Churches.” The “Greek Contingent of Orthodox Churches” have taken their lead from Pat. Bart. The OCA is in communion with all the Orthodox worldwide and de facto, recognized. The formality of Pat. Bart not recognizing the OCA’s autocephaly is political. An autocephalous church in a territory is in charge of all the Orthodox churches in that territory. The OCA will not give up it’s autocephaly nor will it join ROCOR. After the Council of Florence where all the Greek Orthodox signed documents to re-unite with Rome, the Kievan Russ refused and declared the “Russ Church” autocephalous. Although Constantinople fell into heresy, the Greek Church refused to recognize the Russ Churches autocephaly for over 100 years. So you see, what the Greeks want or determine, isn’t always Orthodox and they are only motivated by their own interests. This is why the Greek controlled Episcopal Assembly in the U.S. is a joke. They are only interested in a united Orthodoxy under the thumb of Pat. Bart – ain’t happen’in.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        The claim is made, “This is why the Greek controlled Episcopal Assembly in the U.S. is a joke. They are only interested in a united Orthodoxy under the thumb of Pat. Bart – ain’t happen’in.”

        No, I don’t think it will.

        It will likely be the Antiochian Archdiocese, however—not the OCA—that will keep the thing from happening, at least a long as the Ecumenical Patriarchate is under the thumb of Turkey.

        • Father Patrick!
          I recommend you correct your last sentence by changing “thumb” to “thumbs” and then adding, after Turkey: “and of the Greek Foreign Office.”

        • StephenD says

          and the Antiochian Patriarchate isn’t under Damascas?

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Actually the Patriarchate does not interfere in the day to day administration of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Even before we achieved self-rule status, we basically took care of our own affairs here in America. Naturally, we are concerned with the situation in Syria because many of our people come from the Middle East. All Orthodox Christians should care about all other Orthodox Christians in Syria, Palestine or anywhere they are threatened. My identification with Antioch has nothing to do with ethnicity. It has to do with being a priest of the Church founded by Sts. Peter and Paul where Christians were first called Christian. It was in Antioch that Gentiles were first received into the Church. It was Antioch that sent St. Paul on his missionary journeys. It was Antioch through St. John Chrysostom that gave Orthodoxy its Divine Liturgy. Thus I am proud to be Antiochian. Being Antiochian has nothing to do with being Lebanese or Syria. Being Antiochian means being of the original Church in a very special way.

            Archpriest John W. Morris

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says

            StephenD inquires, “and the Antiochian Patriarchate isn’t under Damascas?”

            Good heavens, no. The political situation of the Antiochian Patriarchate in Syria does not even faintly resemble what the Ecumenical Patriarch must endure from the Turk.

            If President Assad’s government falls, however, it could get really bad for the Antiochian Patriarchate.

      • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

        Dear Phil:

        The diptychs in Greek with English explanatory overlays (noting that the English overlays are not a translation of what is being sung). Unfortunately, whoever did the video did not authenticate who is chanting:

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        That is not exactly true St. Mark of Ephesus refused to sign the union of Florence. He was the official representative of Antioch. Therefore, we were not involved in the folly of the union of Florence.
        Before there can be a true autocephalous American Orthodox Church there must be American Orthodox unity. That should be evident. Neither Moscow, nor Constantinople can dictate the future of American Orthodoxy without agreement among themselves and with the American Orthodox.
        I do not agree that the Bishop’s Assembly is a folly. It is the best chance we have to bring some sense of unity to American Orthodoxy. Take a look at its website and the committees. The Bishop’s Assembly has set before itself a very ambitious program which is to be accomplished by pan-Orthodox cooperation. Every committee is made up of Bishops from different jurisdictions who are advised by clergy and laity also from different jurisdictions who act as consultants. Once we get used to working together it will be easier for us to unite to form one American Orthodox Church.

        Archpriest John W. Morris

        • phil r. upp says

          Fr. John,
          The U.S. is unique with all these jurisdictions. The overseas bishops have nothing to do with us. What this new Episcopal Assembly should immediately do at their next total assembly is announce they are all proclaiming themselves an autocephalous church. Severing all controlling ties with overseas bishops. Then, as an assembly of bishops, chose a Metropolitan to lead. Call the new church whatever and it is done. And what could Istanbul, Moscow or any other foreign power do? Nothing.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            I could not disagree more with phil r. upp. .If our bishops declared themselves autocephalous without the blessings of the mother Churches, we would be uncanonical and cut off from the rest of the Church. Such a step would probably cause a multitude of schisms of those who do not want to cut their ties with the mother churches of their particular jurisdiction. Only when we all agree to unite and receive the blessings of the mother churches can we have a truly autocephalous American Orthodox Church. . We must be patient and let God work these things out according to His time, not our time.
            I do not share your American nationalism as far as the Church is concerned. I do not care if my bishop was born in Damascus or Omaha as long as he is a devout and loving man. To me Orthodoxy is more important than ethnicism. American ethnocentrism is just as bad as Greek, or Russian ethnocentrism. The Church is above ethnicism and nationalism. There are no foreigners in the Church for we are all members of one family. I have no problem being under the authority of a Patriarch in Damascus or Moscow or even Constantinople as long as his chief concern is our spiritual welfare.

            Archpriest John W. Morris

            • Lil Ole Housewife says

              Dear Father John,

              I am seeing this late. Are you rejecting the OCA’s already granted autocephaly? On all other points, you are absolutely right.

              One sad thing about what has happened to Metropolitan Jonah is that the possibility of an American (inclusive of all languages and peoples native or new in North, Central and South America) Patriarchate in with a oneness in Christ is delayed. The OCA is but a start. In Christ there is no Greek nor Jew

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                The issue is very complicated. Had all Orthodox in the US been united and been granted autocephaly as a united American Church the situation would be different. Unfortunately in 1970 American Orthodoxy was not united. The Metropolia was only one jurisdiction not the whole American Orthodox Church. To have a real autocehalous Church you have to have a united Church.
                The status of the OCA as an autocephalous Church has never been recognized by the Patriarchate of Antioch under which I serve. In fact, most of the Orthodox Churches of the world do not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA. We are in communion with the OCA and recognize them as a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, but we will not really have an American autocephalous Orthodox Church after we are united. If we were united we could then seek autocephaly.

                Archpriest John W. Morris

          • Disgusted With It says


            Don’t waste your time with fairy tales. This Episcopal Assembly “revolution” will NEVER happen. Anyone who still thinks that is like someone who still thinks the world is flat.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              In 1948 a pan Orthodox Council in Moscow did a detailed study of Anglicanism and concluded that the Orthodox Church cannot recognize Anglican orders. How can we? In order to have Apostolic Succession you have to have Apostolic Faith. I defy anyone to tell me in detail what Anglicans believe because there is no uniformity of belief in Anglicanism. Anglicanism was designed with vague doctrine to accommodate as many people with as many different beliefs and practices as possible. They call this the Elizabethian Settlement. The Anglicans had High Church that was somewhat Catholic, Low Church that was definitely Protestant and Broad Church that was not sure what they believed. In time another party developed, the radicals who have taken over the Episcopal Church. Actually, the victory of the radicals was the logical consequence of the beginning of Anglicanism, which was the total submission of the Church of England to the secular authorities. That meant that secular society set the agenda for Anglicanism. As long as secular society was fairly Christian it seemed to work, but when secular society rejected Christian values the Anglican settlement ceased to work and the Episcopal Church followed its traditions and allowed the secular authorities to set its agenda. Secular society accepts homosexuality, so the Episcopal Church follows the lead of secular society and accepted homosexuality.

              Archpriest John W. Morris

              • Archpriest John Morris is right about the Conference of the Heads of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches held in Moscow, July 1948; however the terminology he uses to summarize the decisions of that Conference was not that of the Conference. No one said at that Conference ‘In order to have Apostolic Succession you have to have Apostolic Faith.” The Conference did opine and conclude that before a union of the Anglican Church with the (an) Orthodox Church the Anglican Church must hold and profess the Orthodox Faith. And the discussions on this topic were not held in any terms resembling those discussed by Archpriest John Morris. I have the proceedings of tha Conference in front of me right now, and I’ve just read the entire section, including all presentations from different autocephalous Churches on the topic. The minutiae of episcopal consecrations were hardly discussed.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Your Grace:

                  I am not sure what the difference is between what I wrote and the decision of the Council of Moscow in 1948. The Council stated that before recognition could be granted by Orthodox to Anglican orders, the Anglicans would have to affirm the Orthodox Faith The Orthodox Faith is the Apostolic Faith. Therefore before the Orthodox Church could recognize Anglican orders, the Anglicans would have to affirm the Apostolic Faith. The Council declared, “The Orthodox Church cannot agree to recognize the rightness of Anglican teaching on the sacraments in general, and on the sacrament of Holy Order in particular; and so it cannot recognize Anglican ordinations as valid.”

                  Archpriest John W. Morris

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              What exactly do you know about the work of the Bishop’s Assembly? Look at their web site. The Assembly has a very ambitious agenda that will do a great deal to bring all Orthodox in America together by eliminating conflicting practices. Every committee of the Bishop’s Assembly is made up of bishops from several jurisdictions who are advised by clergy and laity called consultants who are also from several jurisdictions. These committees will submit a multitude of reports to the Assembly for discussion, amendment and eventually adoption. When we learn to work together we will be able to overcome the divisions among us and will be ready to discuss real Orthodox unity in America.

              Archpriest John W. Morris

              • Disgusted With It says

                Fr John,

                I agree with you 100%. Unity will come through working together, respecting one another and actually “being” the Church. It will not come about simply by telling the mother Churches to “take a hike”, as Phil and a small minority out there would have us do.

              • phil r. upp says

                The entire problem with the Episcopal Assembly is that no matter they may decide on anything, the bishops overseas have final say-so. There is a Russian practice of doing things and a Greek practice. No big deal. The Russians may accept RC’s via Confession of Faith and Communion while the Greek practice is Confession of Faith, Chrismation and Communion. There may never be complete uniformity, but this is not the issue. SCOBA was a fine clearing house. The Episcopal Assembly is the Greeks trying to rule all of Orthodoxy in N. America and around the world. Everything reporting into Istanbul with their approval or disapproval on EVERYTHING. The Episcopal Assemblies are + Bart’s vision of becoming an Eastern Pope. Sorry, this is not Orthodox. The bishops in each territory control their own churches – this is Orthodox.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Do you have a better way to bring us together than the Bishop’s Assembly? The problem of the reception of converts can be solved in America the way that the Church has always solved it. I know something about this subject because I have done a great deal of research on this matter. I served on the committee of clergy of the Antiochian Archdiocese that dealt with this issue. There is a whole chapter in my book on Orthodox Fundamentalism on this matter. The Church has always allowed each Bishop to decide how to receive converts. Canon 95 of the Council in Trullo allows for the reception of converts through Profession of Faith, Chrismation or Baptism. Therefore as long as each Bishop recognizes the converts received by another Bishop there is no problem. Pan-Orthodox Councils in Constantinople in 1484, Moscow in 1667, and Jerusalem in 1672 have allowed for the reception of converts baptized outside of the Church through Chrismation. Therefore there is pan-Orthodox agreement that a convert can be received through Chrismation. However, we do have a problem in America because some ill informed zealots demand that every convert come into the Church through Baptism and tell someone received through Chrismation that they are not fully Orthodox. Some self appointed defenders of Orthodoxy try to persuade someone received through Chrismation that they have to submit to a so called corrective Baptism. This is heretical because it fails to recognize the grace received through Chrismation that the Church teaches perfects whatever is lacking in the non-Orthodox Baptism. It is also arrogant because it ignores the historical practice of the Church which mandates that once a person is received into the Communion of the Church they are fully Orthodox.

                  Archpriest John W. Morris

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Fr John, I will leave discussion of the EA for another time in favor of commentating favorably on what you write regarding reception of converts. However, I must take slight exception with what you write about certain Orthodox “fundamentalists” who demand re-baptism for reception of converts. I agree completely with you that it is heretical to mandate that but there must be some understanding that times are certainly different. I know a great many Anglicans who have come into Orthodoxy since the 1970s. But what about an Anglican who was “baptized” by a lesbian priestess in the name of “the Creator, the Child, and the Sustainer”? Is this a valid baptism? How can it be? This is nothing but a politically-correct contrivance created by people who like to dress up in vestments but can in no way be called “Christian.” Snake-handlers in Tennessee are far more Christian than these.

                    I guess my point is that times have changed, the level of apostasy has sunk to lows unimaginable to even the most deluded person of a century ago.

                    • George, if I had been “baptized” in that way I would have requested (begged for, if necessary) for re-baptism in order to become Orthodox. And I would certainly hope that anyone converting to Orthodoxy (and that person’s priest) would not recognize that as a trinitarian baptism.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I served on the committee that wrote the guidelines for the reception of converts into the Antiochian Archdiocese. Therefore, I have done a great deal of research on this subject. There is a fuller discussion of this subject in my book on Orthodox Fundamentalism published by Light and Life Press with the blessing of Metropolitan Philip.
                      Anyone converting to Orthodoxy must provide proof that they were baptized “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. before they can be received through Chrismation. If they cannot, they are baptized, not rebaptized because we do not recognize their non-Orthodox baptism. Naturally, it is clear that anyone baptized in so called inclusive language like “the Creator, the Child, and the Sustainer” must enter the Orthodox Church through Baptism. Even when a person who is baptized outside of the Church with the correct Trinitarian language is received through Chrismation, that is not a recognition of the validity of the non-Orthodox Baptism. It is instead an act of economy that through Chrismation perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism. The use of economy to receive converts through Chrismation is an ancient practice of the Church that is mentioned in the writings of Eusebius, the canons of St. Basil, and Canon 95 of the Council in Trullo in 692. In more modern times, the Church has sanctioned the reception of converts through Chrismation by economy at pan-Orthodox Councils in Constantinople in 1484, Moscow in 1667, and Jerusalem in 1672. All Orthodox authorities recognize that a Bishop may elect to use economy by receiving someone baptized outside of the Church with the correct language through Chrismation. Even the resolution of ROCOR in 1971 mandating the Baptism of all converts has a clause that allows a local Bishop to use economy for the reception of “Roman Catholics, and Protestants who perform Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity…by means of repudiation of heresy and Chrismation.” The modern guidelines of the OCA, the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Greek Archdiocese mandate the reception of a convert baptized with the proper Trinitarian language through Chrismation. The Book of Needs published by St. Tikhon’s contains a service for the reception of a convert who was baptized with the correct Trinitarian language through Chrismation. Since this is translated from the standard service books of the Moscow Patriarchate it is an authoritative source on the proper reception of converts into the Orthodox Church. Naturally a Bishop may elect to instruct his clergy to receive all converts not through economy but through strictness by receiving everyone through Baptism.
                      All recognized Orthodox theologians agree that if a person was received through economy they are fully Orthodox. The practice of “corrective baptism” is heretical. It not only ignores the ancient practice of the Church and the authority of the local Bishop to decide how to receive converts, but also the grace received through Chrismation and Communion which all Orthodox authorities agree perfects whatever was lacking and unites a person to the Church.
                      I know that there are people who produce reasonable and well thought out arguments that all converts should be received by Baptism. However, we must be guided by the actual practice of the Church, not how effective someone can argue that we should depart from the accepted practice of the Church. There is no doubt that the practice of the Church allows a Bishop to allow his clergy to receive converts through Chrismation. Therefore, this is a legitimate Orthodox practice.
                      I hope that this answers your question.

                      Archpriest John W. Morris

                  • Archpriest John Morris! You appear to have left out water from your guidelines.
                    I was always careful to warn clergy that “in the name of the Holy Trinity” was not enough, since, in the 60s and 70s, some presbyterians and some methodists, for example, were “baptizing” with rose petals, etc.!

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I assumed that it is so evident that Baptism requires pouring, sprinkling, or dunking a person in water that I did not have to mention water in my discussions of the reception of converts. Although in extreme circumstances when a person is dying and there is no water a person can be baptized in air, the normal practice of the Church requires water as an essential part of Baptism. Just to make it clear, a convert who was baptized in water with the words,”In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” by a non-Orthodox church that has a reasonably Orthodox understanding of the Holy Trinity may be received by Chrismation as an act of economy. It should also be obvious that a “Baptism” done with rose petals, etc. is not a Baptism.

                    • Monk James says

                      Archpriest John W. Morris says (August 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm)

                      ‘I assumed that it is so evident that Baptism requires pouring, sprinkling, or dunking a person in water that I did not have to mention water in my discussions of the reception of converts. Although in extreme circumstances when a person is dying and there is no water a person can be baptized in air, the normal practice of the Church requires water as an essential part of Baptism. Just to make it clear, a convert who was baptized in water with the words,”In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” by a non-Orthodox church that has a reasonably Orthodox understanding of the Holy Trinity may be received by Chrismation as an act of economy. It should also be obvious that a “Baptism” done with rose petals, etc. is not a Baptism.’

                      It should be clear that Fr John Morris understands that baptism with ANYTHING other than water is ineffective, but it’s not.

                      At the same time as he accepts baptism ‘in the air’, he must also accept baptism ‘by sand’, as do many arabic orthodox Christians in their folkloric way. But this is a serious mistake.

                      Such ways of ‘baptism’ are muslim incursions into christian practice, mostly based on the idea that if Muslims — obliged to wash themselves before prayers five times a day — have no water available, they may perform their ablutions in sand or in the air.

                      But only triple immersion in water in the Name of the holy Trinity satisfies the requirements of christian baptism.

                      At the same time, it may, even must be said, that the Lord recognizes our intentions, whether for good or evil, as much as those good or evil acts themselves.

                      So, if Christians intend to baptize speople who WANT to be baptized, or intend to baptize their infants who cannot yet speak for themselves, yet those people or infants die before the rite of baptism can be performed, the Lord will accept their good intentions without all that air and sand nonsense.

  17. It is pretty much widely known in Moscow that Patriarch Kirill has had his eyes on the EP and replacing the EP at some point as the authority on Orthodoxy. He is a very different man from his predecessor. He is someone who wants power and has no problem with letting you know it. It’s pretty simple and if there is a way that he can try and reign in the Russian branch of Orthodoxy in the US, he will.

    For those of you who think it’s not a bad idea or preferable to what is in place now, I have some swamp land in Florida that is ripe for building your home on. If that happens, you can forget about getting ONE Orthodox Church OF America for a long long while. The whole situation here is uncanonical and needs to change. This would be a big blow to Orthodoxy in America should it happen. Because next time…well I don’t think there would be a next time.

    • ProPravoslavie says

      Tim G:

      The implosion of OCA is not Moscow’s fault. If Moscow has to end up picking up the pieces of an experiment that, after all, began only because Moscow consented to it in the first place, then that is not Moscow’s fault either. Or are you saying that Moscow shouldn’t bother to do even that, and just let the OCA fragment and explode further?

      As for forgetting about getting ONE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF AMERICA, you’re barking up the wrong tree. That’s not Moscow’s fault, but Constantinople’s, as the history of the past 40 years demonstrates.

      It is strange, this hatred for the Moscow Patriarchate, which has defended OCA’s autocephaly for more than 40 years. The ingratitude nauseates me.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Tim, I second ProPrav’s defense of the MP here. The ROC has done everything in its power to morally support the OCA and this is how we repay them? With smears?

        although I’m an autocephalist who believes in territorial integrity, the fact is now blindingly obvious to me that we Americans don’t deserve an autocephalous church. Whether Kirill or Bart finally pulls the plug is immaterial. The vast majority of the Orthodox in America were only tepidly in favor of unity. Now, everybody not in the OCA is probably on their knees enthusiastically thanking God that the OCA is not the “one, true, local, territorial autocephalous church in North America.”

        I mean, let’s get real here. The OCA Nomenklatura treats dissent and/or administrative disagreements with INSTITUTIONALIZATION? And Lefty Kishkovsky has the temerity and ignorance to tell any Russian bishop who would listen that Jonah needs to be committed? Does he know nothing about the Soviet Bloc?

        How much more idiotic could one get?

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I cannot agree it is solely the EP’s fault. The USSR, via the ROC, IMHO, gave the Tomos to weaken the Orthodox Church in Russia and its supporters the ROCOR. Divide and conquer my friend and good old fashion cold war politics. If anything the great majority of Orthodox Churhmen inside and outside the US recognized this and properly fought against it.

        In the end it takes two to tango and there is enough fault to go around. The old spins are just that old and in the current climate mean nothing.


    • pelagiaeast says

      I have been pondering what the administrative structure might be for a united Orthodox church in America. How many bishops are we actually talking about, needing to be a synod that can function with any kind of reason and spirituality? Would there be a patriarch, or a metropolitan? If I understand it correctly, in Russia there are bishops, and then maybe archbishops over a group of bishops? And then the Patriarch over the archbishops? How do THEY herd that bunch of cats? Maybe this is not the best place to ask that question, but it seems relevant. I understand what happened in the AOCA, because I have lived through the bishops being demoted after Met. Phil saw what happened to Met. Herman. No matter what we think of Met. Phil’s politics, what he did made sense, for him and for now. The dream and ideal of a conciliatory body of bishops, a real synod, is so appealing, but would it ever work with so many egos, so many cultures to consider, so many very different expectations? I begin to see that hoping for the Episcopal Assembly to bring to birth a REAL united Orthodox church is my lifetime is probably unrealistic. Only by the grace of God. And I noted the one entry about two parishes attempting to combine to be more efficient, more fruitful, and getting squashed by the “authorities.” Will it absolutely have to be grass roots change, no matter what the hierarchy says?
      Back to the question. How many bishops are we talking about, and what structure for authority, if you will, is being purposed? How do they do it in the “old country?” (It is probably obvious that I am a convert, and even 25 years is not enought to understand it all.)

      • Michael C says

        I agree with those who say that we ‘Americans’ are not ready for autocephaly. We are not ready; we don’t really want it. We don’t even have one language in this territory, for communication or for worship. Our monastic presence is, well, rather weak, ROCOR and Ephraim’s monasteries notwithstanding.

        I put ‘Americans’ in quotes above, because many of our fellow Orthodox brothers and sisters are much more interested, due to language, history, culture and plain old ethnocentrism (which fuels the heresy of phyletism) in anything but America.

        Do some of them care more about the politics of Greece than America’s? Yes.
        Do some of them care more about their linguistic/cultural ghettos than they do about American culture and language? Of course.

        As long as we have a wide open immigration policy here that shuns assimilation (as we’ve had for 47 years), then we’re more or less screwed in our efforts for unity, one of the chief pillars of which is language.

        But, more importantly, we need saints in America. Living elders. For that, we need monasteries. Lots of them. And, not the casual kind. The real, strict, traditional kind. Not with abbots like Fr Meletios.

        And, then – only then – we will get saintly Bishops. Not the Abp Benjamins, nor the Metr Theodosius, nor Metr Hermans.

        But this will take a generation. At least. 2042.

        If the OCA devolves from autocephaly into a “Metropolia” or under ROCOR again, then I will praise God. The OCA parishes will thrive under mostly traditional Bishops. The Tomos is a political document, granted by a compromised and enslaved Soviet Church to a worldly (graspingly so) Metropolia desperate for independence and recognition. Let the OCA qua OCA perish, so that Orthodoxy here in America take one more small step towards unity. And let her (the OCA qua OCA) worldliness die with her.

        But, that unity must be spiritual, not organization, primarily. And, too, when we as American Orthodox Christians demand that all of our Bishops speak English; that all of them liturgize in English; that all of them start monasteries … then, we will be getting close to what we need.

        Then, we can call for our autocephaly on Orthodox principles, after our preconditions are being met.

        “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

        • AnonCanadian says

          There is also the problem that many members of the OCA are not American, and have no interest in being lumped together with them in the long term. I think the differences between Mexico and the US are obvious, so I won’t go there, but Americans fail to realize that Canada is not the same as America. We have a different mindset, different priorities, different cultures…. and it rankles to see American agendas worked into Orthodoxy.

          • Rdr. Benjamin says

            It would really make much more sense for the Mexican Church to be either an Autonomous Mexican Metropolitan Church (much like the Ukrainian Church or the Uzbekh Church under Moscow) under the leadership of the future American Patriarchate or as a part of a future South American Metropolitan Church (which would probably eventually have an autonomous Brazilian Autonomous Church until they reach the critical mass of faith and people to constitute an Autocephalous Church.

            Just my little pipe dream at least.

            Until then, I, being in the OCA, do think that we might need to be matured through contact and submission to our elder brother and sister Churches in order to establish a strong and natural Orthodox faith not subject to the whims of our current generation of re(de)formers.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Michael C, IMO, we will only get what you desire when the bishops and the people start loving the land in which we live–not the secular excesses and worldly extravagence, but the people.

          Right now that is largely not true. Orthodoxy remains foreign because we have never embraced the goodness of America, its people, its language and our striving for God. There is the constant effort of attemption to put a square peg in a round whole and blaming the peg.

          As Bp Tikhon points out, we don’t need an ‘American’ Orthodox Church anymore than we need a Greek, Russian, Syrian, or Genuine Orthodox Church. We need the Church.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Tim G. claims, “It is pretty much widely known in Moscow that Patriarch Kirill has had his eyes on the EP and replacing the EP at some point as the authority on Orthodoxy.”

      This is a heck of a thing to say—even to publish—without a shred of evidence.

      • There are many things that are said on this board and blog without a shred of evidence. The difference? Seems that I don’t own this blog and haven’t been a contributor or poster to have my word mean anything. If I say I have “contacts and sources” in the MP, OCA, AOCA, and GOA as well as in the home Churches of the latter two does that change anything? No, since there is no evidence for me to provide that would not name names that I won’t do. I learned a lesson a long time ago about naming names…it gets people into a ton of trouble that isn’t necessarily what they want, nor is the attention something they seek.

        So I write what I hear. And I leave the people who have conversed out of it. If it means that my word is nothing on an internet blog site…I think I’ll be okay. Back on this topic –

        Please understand, I do think there are some things that are broken and need fixing. That does not, to me at least, mean to rip up the Tomas – which really can’t be done unless the OCA goes and asks back in the MP which won’t happen anytime soon. And why wouldn’t Patriarch Kirill want the OCA back under his thumb? Think of the millions that are sent over seas to Turkey or Damascus from the American churches. While I doubt that Russia would receive that much money (OCA churches tend to be a bit more cash poor than their counterparts) it’s a possibility. I don’t begrudge or blame Moscow for what’s happening – however I don’t view having Moscow ruling the OCA as an answer.

        And George – who are we smearing in Russia? A metropolitan that we elected and they might have liked? They liked Theodosius too. They liked Fr. Zacchaeus too. They’ve liked plenty of people that have been sent there. Do I think they are pleased about this turn of events? Heck no. But to me there’s something below the surface that we are not being told…and I believe it is what is driving everyone crazy with different theories.

        I’ll say this, I was pondering this very topic and this past Sunday’s Epistle to Corinthians. We are not from the Church of Moscow, or Greece, or Damascus, or any other “jurisdiction” but from the Church of Christ. what irks me is the call to “schism”. It’s bad enough we have about 563 different jurisdictions (hyperbole) and have all these arguments about who is right and so on. To think that is the only solution is in my mind defeatist and purposeless.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Tim G believes that

          There are many things that are said on this board and blog without a shred of evidence.

          Yes. But there are also many things said here (and that includes the comboxes) that have proved to be true.

          Even more interesting is the fact that there is evidence on this site regarding the claims of the “Stinkbomb” letter from the Synod . That is more than the Synod and Central Administration has to offer at the moment. Of course, I welcome an independent investigation and whatever evidence they bring to light.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Tim G claims, “So I write what I hear. And I leave the people who have conversed out of it. If it means that my word is nothing on an internet blog site…I think I’ll be okay.”

          No, you won’t. For spreading slanderous rumors, you will have to answer to Someone who is not amused. Indeed, I fear He will find your irresponsible attitude as contemptible as I do.

  18. Slightly off topic, but why can’t our Bishops make controversial public stands like this?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Because after a long fight the RCC is part of the American social and political culture. We are not.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        So true. also the RCC is older, bigger and currently much richer than the USA. They survived alot down through the ages. They view the USA like every other temporal entity – Temporary!

        • Michael Bauman says

          Peter says: “They view the USA like every other temporal entity – Temporary!” An attitude which we, largely, have yet to cultivate: Greece, Russia, Syria those are permanent. America has not even risen to the temporary status let alone a place that is worthy of real mission.

  19. There is an odd tendency among the OCA (I was once in the OCA) to think that the ROC or the ROCOR desires to take over the OCA. Why? I’m in the ROCOR and am close to many in the ROC and I don’t think we would want to touch the OCA with a 10 foot pole. Please stay self-ruling, continue renovating the Church in the American image all you want, and may God give you the just rewards of your labors. Just please, please stay away from us.

    • Heracleides says

      Ditto. And for those who continue clinging to the OCA after the latest debacle – just think “Continuing Anglicans” – because your delusions for remaining are identical.

    • Dorothy Allen says

      I do not post here often, because I am a lay person, but I read everything. However, I feel it is necessary to reply to Coleman’s post “I don’t think we would want to touch the OCA with a 10 foot pole. Please stay self-ruling, continue renovating the Church in the American image all you want, and may God give you the just rewards of your labors. Just please, please stay away from us.”

      Mr. Coleman, I hope that you had directed your comment to the OCA asdministrators and not to Orthodox lay persons. If it was directed to lay Orthodox believers, it was extremely hurtful, and I will tell you why. There are those of us who attend OCA parishes NOT because we have ever agreed with the decisions made by OCA administrators but because of loyalty to the specific church. Many of us are “cradle” Orthodox who grew up knowing our grandparents who immigrated from Russia and actually built the churches that we attend. Although I do understand Christ’s admonition in Matthew 10:37 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”, I personally felt a loyalty to do all that I could to maintain family unity during the events that transpired in the OCA that affected the parish that we attended.

      During the time period that the OCA adopted the “new” church calendar (which I understand is actually called the “Revised Julian calendar), the ethnic communities in the location where I live were compelled to make the decision whether to remain in the OCA or to go elsewhere. Most remained within the parish where they had been baptized and some chose to attend nearby churches of the “other” jurisdiction. Individual parishioners had not been given the opportunity to voice our feelings when the OCA made this decision. In most cases, whether a person ended up attending an OCA parish or a ROCOR parish depended on which specific parish the individual had grown up in. In some cases, this caused rifts within families and animosity among friends, which had never healed for three decades. In the past, we had all been free to attend services at “our own” neighborhood Orthodox church or to sometimes attend special services at a variety of neighboring Orthodox churches. We were “all one” and there was no animosity. My paternal grandparents (Ruthenian/Rusyn immigrants) had attended a parish in one town where they lived, and my maternal grandparents (immigrants from great Russia) had attended another parish in a neighboring town where they lived. For whatever reason, we all considered ourselves “Russian Orthodox,” and we were viewed that way by the outside community of non-Orthodox. There were many of us in this location, and in fact, the Russian language was taught in the public school during the decade that I attended it.

      After “the time of troubles” as many in my location refer to it, we were not allowed to attend one another’s parishes. Three decades passed, and in May of 2012, Metropolitan Jonah concelebrated a Liturgy at Saint John’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Mayfield, Pennsylvania. Members of neighboring OCA praishes were invited to attend. This was the first time in three decades that I felt free to attend a parish of my maternal ethnic background (Russian). Although I attended an OCA parish, I kept my ethnic identity. Whether that was a wise thing to do or not, I do not know, but I felt (and still feel) that I cannot be forced to pretend to be anyone else than the person I am. My identity was formed when I was a child living in a very ethnic Russophile community.

      When we were invited to attend a service and a dinner at a ROCOR parish, I cannot describe the joy that I felt. Tears of thanksgiving flowed. I thought that, finally, after three decades (half of my life-time), the rift had been healed. I was once again “free” to be who I am. Metropolitan Jonah’s talk after the Liturgy provided a sense of healing to both sides. This was an important event in the lives of many lay persons, both ROCOR and OCA members. The parishioners of the ROCOR parish welcomed us with open arms (literally!) I met people who In had not seen or communicated with for thirty years. The former animosity seemed to fall away, and we exchanged telephone numbers. The choir director invited me to come back and sing as a guest (I am a choir member and I remember the Slavonic, love it, and have all the sheet music.) That too was a joy to me.

      I had even thought that perhaps I would join that ROCOR parish. However, I delayed, in order to think it through. At the OCA parish that I attend, I have a good spiritual relationship with the priest, who is a caring pastor, and the choir director who is elderly and depends on me to sing at special services (weekdays, when most members cannot attend due to job obligations). And I teach middle-school age children in the parish’s church school where the priest has told me that I am one of the few “cradle” Orthodox who knows the faith well enough to teach it (plus having a degree in education). It would be difficult for me to abandon these people, in order to pursue my (selfish) sense of “needing” my ethnic roots. BUT, I do want to feel free to attend the neighboring ROCOR parish from time to time, as we once did feel free to attend one another’s services.

      Since, for many of us, the decisions made by OCA and ROCOR in the past were beyond the control of the simple lay parishioner, we felt more-or-less forced to accept the changes in our parishes’ status. We weren’t joyful about it, but we accepted it. During the past three decades, the OCA parish of which I am a member has expanded and the congregation has grown to include parishioners of various ethnic backgrounds, including Ruthenian/Carpathian, Russian, Greek, and persons who left Uniat parishes, and converts to the faith whose ancestry is English, German, Irish, and African. It has become a multi-ethnic parish, which was the goal of the OCA. The younger persons are very “American.” Those of us who are older are still very ethnic.

      I realize that this post is undoubtedly more personal than the topic of the thread warrants. However, I felt it necessary to express my feelings, to show how a lay person has been affected by the current problems which seem to be an extension of the “time of troubles” that began more than three decades ago. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to share my thoughts.

      • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

        Dear Dorothy,

        I loved your sharing how many of us feel, especially your harking back to that time in America in which we all felt free to attend each others parishes, no matter which jurisdiction. Whereas you ended up after the 1970 avtokefalia in the OCA, I instantly a became a member of the ROCOR in a parish that had once been Metropolia. In the case of my old parish, the laity was involved in the decision of whether to join the ROCOR.

        After the unification, we all should feel free to attend each others Orthodox parishes. I love the lessening of animosity between jurisdictions when the ROCOR joined the Patriarchate.

        The sermon you enjoyed by Metropolitan Jonah has been recorded by the Eastern Archdiocese of the ROCOR and is on the You Tube. I copy information from the You Tube:

        Information: Published on Jun 8, 2012 by eadiocese

        On Sunday, May 27, with the blessing of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Jonah, Metropolitan of All America & Canada, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA.

        It’s a great sermon.

        We can hear such sermons again. All the OCA Synod has to do is to :

        1. Admit they were misinformed on the issue of the monk from Karditsa under Dionysios ever being a member of the OCA, that indeed Jonah knew nothing about this monk’s actions

        2. Rescind their uninformed decision and make a public apology, apologizing for forcing the Metropolitan into an untenable position.

        3. Say Axios again.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          From your mouth to God’s ear.

        • Dorothy Allen says

          Thank you, also, for sharing your thoughts, Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia. I agree with your analysis.
          I had seen the video of Metropolitan Jonah’s sermon on YouTube (and downloaded it). After the visit of Metropolitan Jonah to Saint John’s Cathedral in Mayfield, the invitation was extended to ROCOR to concelebrate a Liturgy at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery (OCA) in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, on Memorial Day. I attended that also. It was a joy to see everyone worshiping and receiving communion together “just like old times.” I met Metropolitan Jonah there briefly and received his blessing. I have also read his book “Reflections on a Spiritual Journey” and was impressed by his deep Orthodox spirituality.

      • Dear Dorothy,
        The Lord’s blessing be upon you!
        Thanks so much for your letter which lifted up my spirits. I’m often very testy and critical but my testiness and addiction to criticism were unable to survive your so well written and good letter.
        Asking for your prayers and giving thanks to Almighty God,
        +Bishop Tikhon

        • Dorothy Allen says

          Thank you, Your Grace. I have read many of your posts and I personally do not view your comments as testiness but rather as constructive criticism, urging people to think.
          You are in my prayers. Please pray for me also.
          Господи помилуй всех нас.

  20. Alexander says

    No time. Too busy rearranging thrones on the Titanic. Plus, the new Executive Assistant has yet to be hired. That person, among other things, “prepares or facilitates the preparation of Archpastoral letters for major feast days and events”

  21. Heracleides says

    Posted a new image – “Scuttle-butts” – that sums up on so many levels my take on recent events. I am starting to think that (for +Jonah in the short-term and the remnants of the OCA in the future) the outcome of the Unholy Synod’s actions will ultimately prove providential in advancing the formation of a functional American Orthodox Church. The image may be viewed here.

    • This is one of your best, Herc. This, and Alexander’s “rearranging thrones” metaphor, really capture the situation on the O.C.A. Syosset.

      Let’s hope Met. Jonah really does get to a lifeboat instead of staying locked up in the brig!

  22. Kolja Sulyma says

    “Compared to how the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are treating Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev (who is old, infirm, and barely aware of his surroundings), the contrast is stark and speaks for itself when compared to the way the OCA treats its primates, even when they’re relatively healthy.”

    How do you know the contrast is stark? Metropolitan Vladimir has been under fire for over a year, and has two significant antagonists on the synod of bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, namely Metropolitan Agathangel of Odessa and Metropolitan Ilarion of Donetsk who have been laboring publicly and privately to change the canonical status of the UOC so that it is an Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate. This change would diminish the increased influence the Ukrainian Church has enjoyed in Ukraine by having its own Local and Hierarchical councils, glorifying its own local saints, and making its own decisions, which Vladimir himself has repeatedly interpreted as “broad autonomy,” since the Church is NOT officially autonomous as is erroneously reported (before you bash me, read the official canonical status in the statute on the Church’s web site – the language is unique). Metropolitan Agathangel and his local goons in Odessa, including the riotous Valery Kaurov and other proponents of political Orthodoxy censured by the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, stole Metropolitan Vladimir’s seal while he was hospitalized. When his health improved enough for him to return to office, a new seal was prepared for him.

    Metropolitan Vladimir’s thorny dispute with Metropolitan Agathangel concerning the future of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church appeared in several online publications, which republished the testy letters exchanged by the two. In short, Metropolitan Vladimir will be despised by many of his own synod for refusing to implement Patriarch Kyrill’s “Russkiy Mir” initiative. If you don’t believe this, read Kyrill’s speeches outlining the Russkiy Mir strategy in the two speeches he delivered to the Assembly of the Fund “Russkiy Mir” in 2009-10 and compare these initiatives to Vladimir’s lecture delivered on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the local council in Kharkiv. The two pastoral visions are incompatible.

    Sometimes the person receiving an honor, in this case Metropolitan Vladimir, also receives his fair share of backstabbing in the course of receiving the honor.

    oh and by the way, Metropolitan Vladimir suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. that said, he is very well aware of his surroundings. Don’t let his appearance fool you.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Sulyma, you are in some ways proving my point. I know nothing about the internal workings of the UOC-MP and I am sure that there are tussles and kerfuffles galore, yet at the end of the day, they treated their infirm and aged primate with love and respect. The contrast with how the Nomenklatura in Syosset has treated Jonah could not be more stark. Convicts are accorded more respect.

      • ProPravoslavie says

        They treated their infirm and aged primate with respect, and most importantly, Patriarch Kirill has clearly welcomed Met. Vladimir becoming healthier and better. The speculations that Patriarch Kirill was behind the Russophone metropolitans in Ukraine who allegedly wanted Met. Vladimir out has only appeared on websites such as (run by autocephalists) and (run by Greek Catholics). Both websites spew a lot of nonsense and gossip about the Russian Orthodox Church and the UOC-MP.

        It might be interesting for everyone here to note that during the Patriarch’s visit to Ukraine last week these two websites (especially RISU) were predicting that the Patriarch won’t meet President Yanukovych because the relationship between the latter and Putin of Russia are not good right now — the implication being that Patriarch Kirill was a puppet of Putin. Sure enough the two still met before Pat. Kirill went back to Russia! This is not the first time that these two websites made a spectacularly wrong prediction. That should say something about the reliability of their sources.

        What is funny is the way that autocephalists in Ukraine are forever trying in vain — against the glaring proof of Met. Vladimir’s own career — to present Metropolitan Vladimir as a crypto-autocephalist himself! If he wanted to be autocephalous he had all the time to join Filaret Denisenko in the past 20 years, and he wouldn’t have endured the constant anti-UOC-MP propaganda of autocephalist, diaspora and Uniate sources!

  23. Heracleides says

    Acting on a request, I’ve uploaded a new image – “Fool’s Errand” – which deals with Rev. Leonid’s most recent adventures in Russia. It may be viewed here.

    P.S.: Hat-tip to Pablo Picasso

  24. You have to hand it to the Syosset spin doctors how they glossed over the real news of their talks with Pat. Kirill. They were indeed frank and Moscow delivered to the OCA representatives the severe displeasure of how Metropolitan Jonah is being treated.

    Come on folks, the word is out and all over the world. Can’t you at least be honest with your own flock that OCA got a tongue lashing in Kiev? We are not stupid.