And Now, Some Good News

Every now and then, something good happens within Orthodox-world. Something that is both philanthropic and visionary at the same time. This is one of those times. Read for yourself what Fr John Behr of St Vladimir’s Seminary just announced:

“It is now possible for students to come to St. Vladimir’s Seminary with their tuition fully funded,” announced Archpriest John Behr, dean, as he unfolded a new plan designed to help seminarians cover the cost of their education.

“Effective for this coming academic year,” explained Fr. John, “we’re instituting a newly devised ‘matching grant’ program for students seeking either a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts degree in theology, and we’re expanding tuition grants available to students in other categories and degree programs as well.

“It is our intent,” he continued, “to care for our seminarians by lowering the burden of monetary debt that so often follows priests and lay ministers as they enter the field of church work.”

[..] Read the entire release.

The plan, which was initiated by the seminary Board of Trustees in November 2011, is simple: the seminary will provide 50% of total tuition costs in outright grants, and up to 25% more in dollar-for-dollar matching funds to qualifying students, that is, students who meet the need-based criteria set by the seminary. The other 25% of tuition would be paid through matching funds donated by ecclesial sources, such as dioceses, parishes, parish organizations, and parish aid and scholarship funds.

With this bold move, St Vladimir’s Seminary, probably the most prestigious Orthodox seminary in the English-speaking world, made a committment to the future. Now men who have a calling for the priesthood but who are otherwise constrained by their finances can now choose that path without worrying about being saddled with a lifetime of debt.

A hearty AXIOS! to those who made this action possible.


  1. May the Lord prosper their good work and preserve them for many blessed years!

  2. St. Vlads has been trying to achieve this goal since the 1960’s. It was a dream of Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff to be able to fully fund those wishing to study at SVOTS for the upbuilding of the Church. Please remember, St. Vlads has always been committed to a Pan-Orthodox vision including all nationalities, converts, women and all who wish to study Orthodox theology. This current achievement is a milestone in promoting the study of Orthodox theology in the Western hemisphere. It should be noted that many bishops, priests and lay people all over the world have studied at St. Vladimir’s.

  3. What wonderful news. Glory to God!

  4. What a wonderful thing for St. Vladimir’s to do! God bless them!

  5. Fr. Hopko on: Forgiveness Sunday and Adam’s Expulsion from Paradise

    • Is there anything in that podcast where he publicly asks Met. Jonah’s forgiveness for his disparaging remarks about him, and the AAC, and so indicate that he practices what he preaches?

      • Couldn’t happen in that podcast, which Fr Thomas Hopko made more than three years before he offered his intemperate remarks re: MetJ. That was so unlike FrTH. I pray that he’ll yet have an opportunity to correct himself and redeem his reputation.

        • Don’t hold your breath. He still believes what he said about Jonah and Fester is true and only regrets the way he said it. He pontificated his correctness in the South recently. Kinda puts his podcast in a sadly new perspective. But let’s pray that he will correct himself and redeem his reputation.

          • Sorry, fellas, Fr. Hopko and + Jonah are good friends. In fact, + Jonah, wisely, is taking sound advice from Fr. Hopko. The entire episode with Fester and the web site fighting against OCAnews was ridiculous. + Jonah was wrong in letting Fester and the right-wing Christian guy try and twist the truth. Fester is gone and he should have never been in ANY authority in the OCA after his assoc. with RSK. The right-wing Christian guy had no real understanding of the OCA, only blind support for + Jonah.
            Fr. Hopko does not need to apologize to anyone; he was right! Now that + Jonah has had his wings clipped, hopefully he has learned his lesson. After all, as + Jonah himself has said, “I don’t need this. I can return to my little monastery in CA.” So be it!

            • That sounds like something copied and pasted from OCANews.

              • Heracleides says

                “That sounds like something copied and pasted from OCANews.”

                Diogenes channeling Mrs. Stokoe-Brown… interesting and even plausible.

              • It’s Eric–not channeling anybody but himself. If it sounds like something from OCA news it’s because he, Mrs. Mark Stevens and Cabal, Inc., rely on his oracular pronouncements. These latter are marked by Pop Psychology and cutsieness. They are unmistakeable.

            • Isn’t it sad that the Metropolitan is spoken about as “having his wings clipped,” that the spirit of the Soviet purge is alive and well in the OCA, and that apparently Fr Hopko (he and only he) has some sort of gnostic wisdom to advise the bishops and the Metropolitan Council of the way forward? Welcome to the new OCA.

              It’s honestly all beginning to sound cultic to me.

              We certainly must be on the heels of Great Lent. Maybe we should just have Fr Hopko send out the Lenten Encyclical every year and Met Jonah can sit it out? After all, Fr Hopko did such a bang up job last year on the first day of Lent – commanding us not to trust a senior Archpriest (who has a proven record of accomplishments) but instead we must trust a conniving ne’er-do-well (who has a nasty record of priming movements against bishops and administrations).

            • And by the way, since this topic IS supposed to be about SVS, maybe we could discuss why Fr Hopko’s tenure as dean was cut short? Why didn’t they renew his contract if he has all the answers? I mean, if he has the Keys to the Kingdom when it comes to running the OCA, then why couldn’t he run a small seminary in NY?

              • Well, it’s pretty clear both Spasi and PdnNJ have a grudge against Fr. Hopko. Unfortunate. Again, + Jonah studied under Fr. Hopko and respects his wisdom. + Jonah was going down the wrong road with Fester and hopefully now, he has gotten on the right road. As far as Fr. Hopko’s tenure at SVS, after 10 years as Dean, he himself decided to retire and write, teach and do seminars as he now does. He still teaches at SVS as asked. Fr. Hopko’s presence at SVS is still sorely missed by many.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Fr Hopko squandered what moral authority he had last year with his Clean Monday foray into long-distance psychiatry. For what it’s worth, he told the confreres at the recent DoS pastoral conference that he never intended it to be broadcast to the world. I guess this means that Herr Stokoe surreptiously released it. What did Hopko expect? Honor among thieves? This is what happens whenever an old boy network believes their own propaganda. His screed was emblemmatic of the Deep Institutional Mediocrity tha was Syosset. A sad end to a career that was already in decline.

                  • George says,

                    For what it’s worth, he told the confreres at the recent DoS pastoral conference that he never intended it to be broadcast to the world.

                    The OCANews release says Fr. Thomas Hopko not only wanted that letter released, but specified Clean Monday. Either he’s lying now, or Stokoe did and Fr. Thomas didn’t bother doing anything about it until people criticized it.

                    If Fr. Thomas is referring to his arrogant and inflammatory statement that Metropolitan Jonah’s election was devoid of the Holy Spirit, all I can say to him is “Well, Sweetie, that’s what happens when you publicly say ugly things about people behind their backs. It will reach your victim, and will usually wind up biting you in the tush.”

                    • After all that, how and why in the world was he chosen to speak at the DOS Pastoral Conference?

                    • Protodeacon asks, how did Fr. Thomas Hopko get chosen to speak at the DOS pastoral conference?

                      I don’t know, except like attracting like, with Bishop Nikon and Bishop Mark (Maymon) also there. I noticed Bishop Mark did the ordinations instead of Bishop Nikon, who looked rather unwell.

                      If you want my opinion, I think Fr. Thomas was there in his capacity of INFALLIBLE SPIRITUAL TOUCHSTONE FOR ENTIRE OCA to grease the skids for Bishop Mark (Maymon) to be elected DOS bishop.

                    • Another “Amen” from way up in the snow country, Helga. So disappointing and hurtful. Really. It still makes me cringe to remember it. Okay. I’m done now.

                    • Can Bishop Mark (Maymon) be “forced” onto the DOS should it prefer someone else?

                    • Protodeacon, here’s the relevant part of the OCA Statute, scary part in bold:

                      Article VI, Section 10


                      The election of the diocesan bishop shall proceed as follows:

                      1. The Diocesan Assembly shall nominate a candidate and submit his name to the Holy Synod;

                      2. If the Assembly [fails] to nominate a candidate acceptable to the Holy Synod, the Synod shall elect the bishop of the diocese;

                      3. Upon the approval of a candidate by the Holy Synod, he shall be summoned to a session of the Holy Synod for the canonical election.

                      So in the case of a diocesan bishop, the Synod gets free rein over selecting a candidate over the preferences of the diocese. By the time there’s a need for a “canonical election”, the outcome is already a foregone conclusion.

              • Good point, Spasi. From what I’ve heard, he and Erickson were both unqualified disasters. Which one of them hired the pervert who got defrocked?

                Things certainly have gotten better there since Fr. Chad and Fr. John came around.

            • Diogenes says:
              February 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

              ‘Fester is gone and he should have never been in ANY authority in the OCA after his assoc. with RSK.’

              Why should Fr Joseph Fester be deprived of any authority in the OCA after his association with Fr Robert Kondratick?

              Neither of these men has done anything to deserve such condemnation.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Diogenes, your characterization is beyond bizarre. If true, then there is no justice in th world.

              • Jane Rachel says

                I know, I’m like, “What’s up with that, guy or girl who calls himself or herself ‘Diogenes'”?!?

                • He/she identifies with Diogenes of Sinope, ancient pagan Greek, founder of Cynic school of philosophy?

                  • It’s so typically Eric. Anyone who has had the most insignificant conversation or written intercourse with him should recognize the defensive style.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      As soon as he was called “Eric” by Your Grace, “Diogenes” stopped posting. Reading his posts here gives a person a pretty good idea that he’s not the heroic martyr he was made out to be. Thinking back to the one email exchange I had with him, I see what you mean.

                    • Jane Rachel observes, “As soon as he was called “Eric” by Your Grace, ‘Diogenes’ stopped posting.”

                      So Eric/Diogenes works like Rumpelstiltskin instead of Betelgeuse or Bloody Mary, eh? Good to know.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Spinning gold out of straw, um.. a drink with tomato juice… and a red planet? Sorry, Helga, I’m not that clever. If you’re referring to something I wrote years ago, then yes, that’s me. If not, never mind.

                    • Betelgeuse and Bloody Mary are both fictional characters who are summoned when their names are called. Rumpelstiltskin, on the other hand, is vanquished when his name is called, so I was making a joke that Protodeacon Eric must be like Rumpelstiltskin (disappearing when someone knows his name) rather than Betelgeuse or Bloody Mary

                    • That’s classic, Helga! 🙂 So if I say “Betelgeuse!” up he pops to grant my wishes? I was thinking of the red giant and the tomato thingie you drink with a stick of celery. What’s ironic is that Eric Wheeler tried to make us think he was spinning gold when he was really spinning lies. Oops. I suppose I’m in for it now.

            • This posting by Diogenes (of the Cynic school of philosophy?) tells me that the OCANews’ers & Co. may still be active but now from “undreground.”

            • Diogenes says,

              The entire episode with Fester and the web site fighting against OCAnews was ridiculous. + Jonah was wrong in letting Fester and the right-wing Christian guy try and twist the truth. Fester is gone and he should have never been in ANY authority in the OCA after his assoc. with RSK. The right-wing Christian guy had no real understanding of the OCA, only blind support for + Jonah.

              Am I the “right wing Christian guy?”

              Pretty much the only thing I agree with here is that “the entire episode with the website fighting against OCAN was ridiculous”. For that reason I am grateful OCAT has been introduced to mothballs recently, but veracity of OCAT’s claims and the uprightness of our motives have gained traction over this past (rather embarrassing and miserable) year. Had we been as off base as the Stokoevites claimed we would have been less relevant than VFR. Perhaps with OCAN canned and OCAT in mothballs Team Due Process can carry on more effectively.

              • It’s good to see you, Jesse. I hope “mothballs” just means dormant, not totally offline. The analyses are worth a lot.

                • OCAT’s express purpose was to provide balance to Stokoe’s reportingagenda. I’m not sure what the future holds, but hopefully OCAT as it was will not be part of it.

                  Thanks for the kind words.

                  • Jesse, searching for “Metropolitan Jonah” plus a few choice words relating to the recent situation will come up with some awful stuff, including Stokoe’s articles and comments. I hope OCAT will at least stay online as an archive to stay in those search results.

          • It’s premature to make comparative pronouncements about this year’s bulletins by the Dalai Lama of Protopresbyters.. We should wait to see if he’s going to bad-mouth any of his brother clergy tomorrow, Clean Monday. That is, apparently, the time he finds fitting for us to learn who is worthy of his blessing and who of his condemnation. I just wish I had known that such personal condemnations could be sent out to the whole Church on Clean Monday or any other time. It’s never, apparently, never to any (power-mad?) hierarchs in the history of the Orthodox Church to make such clear judgments within their own dioceses, let alone “urbi et orbi!”

  6. Ashley Nevins says

    May they learn what the cause of structural and systemic corruption without solution really is and how toxic faith leads to a toxic state of church that is not safe and healthy for those involved.

    May they learn that religious codependency cowardice that does not face down corruption results in corrupt church failure.

    May they learn that unless reform of structure and system come no amount of tuition monies will reverse the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state of church.

    May they learn that paradigm shift to Gospel relevancy in our modernity and contemporary generation is going to take revolution over the corrupt and failed state of church.

    May they learn that unless there is a transparent and accountable vision, priorities, strategy and plan for the church that nothing is going to change away from its corrupt and failed state.

    May they learn what a real world church grow strategy that really works is and how to deliver it.

    May they learn what spiritual abuse and spiritual abandonment are, what they are based in and how they destroy the future of any church that practices them as its norm.

    May they learn what a shame based church is, how it comes about and how to reverse that state of church.

    May they learn from their bishop role models and examples what not being a corrupt bishop is and when it is obvious where the bishops have taken the church by their role model and example.

    What they will learn is that orthodoxy by definition cannot change and that tradition by definition cannot change. They will be indoctrinated into believing any real change to the structure and system will cause the church to fall into heresy and that will then lead it into corrupt failure that has no solution. They will learn that no objective real world evidence is needed to back up the claim that this is Gods only alone right and one true church. They will learn how to enable corruption and how to support failure.

    They will not learn what solution is or how to deliver solution. No EO learning institution teaches solution to the obvious structural and systemic failure. Either people are in denial of it or they really do not have a real solution that can really solve the corrupt and failed state. If any solution is given to them it will be the solution of orthodoxy and tradition by their definitions and that when defined mean nothing changes and so no change is the solution provided. They will learn that a exclusive closed box system of church is a inclusive and open system church and they will believe it. They will learn that what is top down power and control is humility and service and they will believe that it is (Top down is bottom up, exclusive is inclusive and closed system is open system = white is really black and upside down is right side up, etc.).

    The one thing they will learn above all else is simple: Don’t change anything and sustain what will not change and what results in corruption and failure. They will learn powerlessness and live in powerlessness and like all of you who are corruption and failure constipated whine and complain about.

    Learned powerlessness in learning that you are not to change anything and if you try you will be persecuted and called a heretic for it. It is learned intimidation and coercion that must think only like it is tradition told to think and that means stop thinking by not thinking for yourself. It is the subtle power of spiritual abuse no seen and spiritual abuse is the Orthodox tradition seen by not changing away from that abuse. Stop thinking will never admit the cause of the corrupt failure or find its solution. Stop thinking is tradition that can’t think past its traditions or its past. It thinks the definitions of orthodox and tradition are future forward vision thinking and when the only vision is orthodoxy and tradition that by definition cannot change to future forward vision thinking.

    Do you know how to kill a church dead? Turn into to stop think and then turn that stop think into the only truly Godly way to think. (Yes, I know, I am repeating myself. Stop think needs think for yourself to repeat how to think for yourself over and over again for stop think to just begin to understand what thinking for yourself is really all about)

    Do you know what the greatest killer of thinking for yourselves to solution is in the EOC? It is your claim of being Gods alone right and only true church. You have arrived and when you arrive you stop thinking for yourself. Your stop thinking becomes the only way to think and you believe you are thinking by practicing what is stop thinking. There is no thinking outside of God as your church and because God is really only in your church. There is no other thinking outside of your only alone right and true thinking. Tradition is stop think too. It thinks past and not present and future. It takes thinking for yourself in the present to think about the future with any relevancy vision. Put tradition and orthodoxy that by their definitions cannot change, stop thinking by tradition and a closed system of religion by tradition together and you end up what kind of a church outcome?

    You end up in a nothing changes outcome. Are any of you frustrated and concerned about how nothing really seems to be changing and that there is no real solution that works? More of you are thinking exactly those two things more than all of you care to admit. The only thing a tradition based church can turn itself into by its tradition is into more traditions. It’s your basis and your DNA, and so nothing is going to change. What, you believe a tradition based church can turn itself into future forward relevancy by paradigm shift in our modernity generation that is without Christ as salvation? I suppose it could if this was theocracy Roman church and state dictatorship planet Orthodoxy and where you were the only church and state as one in tradition unity power and control of the entire planet.

    By a Google search you can find out a lot about the words STOP THINK. But, it takes thinking for yourself to research such things and stop think does not like you thinking for yourself and outside of the closed box it wants to keep your closed system mind set locked inside. It would be very interesting to be able to change into a closed system stop think mind and research stop think and then hear what I say to myself about it. How much you want to bet that the Ashley stop think closed system conclusion about it would be way different than the Ashley open system think mind set conclusion about it? Stop think would refuse to believe it is of stop think by believing stop think is open think. Stop think is highly subjective about itself and so that would be its conclusion. It’s thinking can be the only way to think and that in its mind is not stop think.

    Yes, Orthodox try and tell me how a Roman church/state dictatorship based in a closed, isolated and subjective system of we are Gods only alone right and one true church is not stop think. Tell me how the divine right of king and church state are Christ come to me as my salvation. Show me where missionary Paul taught this in the NT. Tell me how this is Christ come to us in the Gospels and as the ONLY alone right and one true way to THINK about Christ. Tell me how your TRADITIONS don’t tell me this is the only way to see God and church. Tell me how state rule with your religious tradition is not your Christ. Tell me how none of this has ultimately ended in a corrupt and failed state of church. Bet you have never thought about it quite this before. It’s called thinking for yourself without stop think thinking for you.

    The ROC is Failure.

    The GOC is Failure.

    EOC America is Failure.

    Of course, there is no common denominator systemic theological failure cause tying all of these failures together, right? Nothing that a good Orthodox seminary education couldn’t fix, right? Yes, I know, I am over stating the failure and making blanket statements that have no proof or evidences to back them up. Why anyone can see the state of your church and know I am exaggerating the seriousness of the problems. Things are not that bad and for sure they are not growing ever worse, right? The future of Orthodox America looks better than ever before, correct?

    Do you know what the number one problem is for anyone who cannot paradigm shift to change that is relevancy? STOP THINK. You stop think your paradigm is the only paradigm and so you get left behind in an old and dying paradigm that stop thinks it is the only way to think. What, none of you have ever seen a paradigm shift that left those holding onto the old paradigm behind? Ever hear of buggy whips and wagons left behind by automobiles and gas peddles??? What about Christ paradigm shifting right past the old Sanhedrin paradigm? Have you seen the EO left behind by what paradigm shift ???

    And, all of you believe the freedom in Christ bottom up and open system church is made up of a bunch of spiritually ignorant country bumpkins and who if they understood EO would just run into your church for what they have been missing. They would see the heresy of their ways, repent, understand what they are missing and come into the original church of God on the planet.

    This would be my first bumpkin question to my Orthodox theology professor at Orthodox cemetery:

    Professor, why is our church found in a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state and when it claims itself to be Gods only alone right and one true church on the planet and the comparison to other churches that determines them right before God or not right before God?

    Care to guess what my next thinking for myself question would be?

    (Hint, it would be a question about Stop Think by tradition.)

    I honestly do wish this seminary and its students the best. However ‘wishing’ does not provide a real world and positive outcome. Only applying what really works by hard work does. If you keep applying what is proved not to work by thinking it will still work you will fail and no matter how hard you work to keep it from failing. So, I truly hope the seminary teaches what works and does not teach what no longer works. All the money in the world to students will not make your church work if its seminary teaches future church leaders what does not work. Your church can seminary teach and train all the future priests it wants, but if the church is dying a slow, ugly and painful death will there be the numbers there to bring in more priests for the local parish contraction that is not expansion of the church?

    Ashley Nevins

    • This guy (whose mother may have watched Gone with the Wind in the 8th month) secretes hundreds of words to try and establish a playing field for his own sports. Too bad he’s the only one who can see or wants to see into his private world, although many have tried to respond, not knowing that the goal posts have been not only moved but removed. it’s like some guy on a corner, dancing in place in a chicken suit, while brandishing a huge cardboard arrow overhead with nothing written on it.

      • Ashley Nevins says


        Thank you for your bishop solution to the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state of the EOC in America.

        Ad hominem is not solution and it is not solution because it has no real solution it can deliver.

        No solution is the solution. That is the best solution any of your bishops have.

        All of you might consider having this man cast future forward vision for your church.

        Let him cast the vision, define the priorities, develop the strategy, set the goals and implement the plan.

        Bishop, I see right through you.

        Ashley Nevins

    • I know we’re not Catholics, but I’m giving up Ashley for Lent.

    • Did he actually start with a sort-of Great Litany? Progress?

    • Well, if anyone wants to take up Dostoevsky’s mantle and carry on, they could write a novel with “Another, Not-So-Grand, Inquisitor,’ about halfway through it, and have him utter one of Oh, Ashley!’s perorations, especially like the most recent, stunning in its notsograndness of composition.

    • The Busybody is back!!
      Again, as defined in an online Bible study group, a Busybody is:
      “Anyone who volunteers their services (usually opinions) where they are neither asked nor needed … They are meddlesome, intrusive, obtrusive, tactless, prying, annoying, exceeding the bounds of propriety in showing interest or curiosity or in offering advice, offering unwelcome attention, they are offensive, interfering, and/or inappropriately inquisitive.”
      Ashley, if you can’t see yourself in all that, you are in denial.

      • Ashley Nevins says

        Yes, I at one time was in ignorant of what Orthodoxy really is, but that is not denial of what I know it to be now.

        I find it interesting that I am offensive, but the GO Patriarch of sexual corruption and who is not accountable is not really offensive to the Orthodox. Yes, Orthodox, keep him and see where he takes the GOC. When ever he comes to America and blesses your parishes with is holy presence bow to known corruption and kiss its ring.

        I believe those children sexually abused in Astoria NY are offended and I clearly see how offended the GOA laity is at their sexual abuse. They are so offended that they are demanding those monks face the rule of law and the patriarch be thrown out.

        I know who is not being inquisitive about why the GOA and greater GOC allow homosexual bishops, pedophile protecting bishops and a patriarch who enables all the sexual corruptions. No doubt if you were inquisitive of the hierarchy and why this is allowed to go on they be calling you prying, exceeding bounds, offering unwelcome attention, interfering, etc.

        Don’t believe me? Then go confront them on the sexual corruption issues and see what response you get. Start an organized effort in the church to face down sexual corruption with zero tolerance and see what kind of response you get. Go tell the hierarchy that you and others like you are organizing an effort to throw out the sexually corrupt and see how welcomed you are.

        One of the central reasons why a church goes sexually corrupt and the sexual corruptions are tolerated is that the laity is spiritually carnal corrupt and dead. If that offends you then you are completely clueless of the sexual abuse offenses young people in the GOC receive from its hierarchy. You have no idea what sexual abuse does to the victim and you don’t really care to know.

        Now if I got that wrong please list for us how hierarchy spiritual abuse of power that is delivered to victims by means of sexual abuse damages children.

        I am waiting for your informed knowledge on the subject and what its practical and real world solution is.

        Ashley Nevins

        • Does anyone who fancies himself good at parsing sentences or who is experienced with the special language of those suffering psychological pathologies, care to test his skills on the following?
          “Now if I got that wrong please list for us how hierarchy spiritual abuse of power that is delivered to victims by means of sexual abuse damages children.”

          • Ashley Nevins says


            As a SPIRITUAL leader bishop in your church can you list what the negative SPIRITUAL impact that sexual abuse by bishops upon children has on those children?

            Consider answering the question in two parts:

            1. Direct bishop sexual abuse of children.

            2. Indirect bishop sexual abuse of children by enabling sexual abuse by other church leaders under their bishop authority.

            Orthodox, this is how you hold bishops transparent and accountable. You ask them the direct and hard questions in public for all to see their answer. By doing that you expose’ their real mind set, attitude and behavior.

            Bishop, have you ever protected a leader who is a sexual abuser under your authority?

            Bishop, have you ever spiritually abused a victim of sex abuse who came forward and reported the sex abuse to you?

            Bishop, have your ever sexually abused a child while in ministry or prior to going into ministry?

            Bishop, are you involved in masturbation around lust fantasies?

            Bishop, do you look at porn?

            Bishop, are you heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual?

            Bishop, have you ever been involved in a sexually inappropriate relationship with a adult member of your church?

            Bishop, are you in any way sexually attracted to children of either sex?

            Bishop, have you ever been involved in any inappropriate sexual activity outside of the church and while in ministry? (Strip clubs, prostitutes, porn shops, phone sex, etc.)

            Bishop, did you just lie to me in the answering of any of the questions posed to you?

            Orthodox, this last set of questions is how you become more specific with bishops as you expose the corrupt mindset, attitude and behavior.

            Orthodox, you trust what you can verify and then you hold them transparent and accountable with consequences that have real teeth. You must take a zero tolerance approach to them and have the laity authority to remove the sexually corrupt or the sexually corrupt will rule over all of you and destroy the church by their arrogance, grandiosity and pride around the power and control in their bishop position of authority.

            Orthodox, if you cannot ask your bishops questions like these in public and when they engage in such conversation on a public forum you will never find solution to bishop sexual corruption in the church. For instance, in the GOA this sexual corruption has reached such a stage of sick organizational pathology that it is destroying them from the top down and from the inside out. To believe this cannot happen to any other jurisdiction is delusional.

            Bishop, we are all waiting for you to give the transparent and accountable answer to the questions posed to you.

            Bishop, if for any reason you do not answer the questions that means you are hiding something.

            Orthodox, a corrupt and failed church leadership keeps secrets, covers up, hides, lies, spins, rationalizes, avoids and plays you. The corrupt will tell you anything to avoid answering the hard questions.

            Ashley Nevins

            • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

              This is sick

              • Jane Rachel says

                Sicker than this?

                Sorry, fellas, Fr. Hopko and + Jonah are good friends. In fact, + Jonah, wisely, is taking sound advice from Fr. Hopko. The entire episode with Fester and the web site fighting against OCAnews was ridiculous. + Jonah was wrong in letting Fester and the right-wing Christian guy try and twist the truth. Fester is gone and he should have never been in ANY authority in the OCA after his assoc. with RSK. The right-wing Christian guy had no real understanding of the OCA, only blind support for + Jonah.
                Fr. Hopko does not need to apologize to anyone; he was right! Now that + Jonah has had his wings clipped, hopefully he has learned his lesson. After all, as + Jonah himself has said, “I don’t need this. I can return to my little monastery in CA.” So be it!

                Whose words do more damage, Ashley’s or Eric Wheeler’s? I know, I know, there’s no proof that Diogenes is Eric Wheeler. But If this was written by Eric, it speaks volumes. It doesn’t do any good for me to say so, but it should make people stop and think.

              • Oh, I know, Father Yousuf, I know! But Ms Nevins did cheer me up, in that her wordsbrought to mind the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketches. He should have started out with,’Tell me, Bishop, OR ELSE!” Instead he gave us the spastic “If you don’t answer you’re hiding something.” (I’m always hiding SOMETHING, by the way….bad breath, B.O., dandruff, dirty fingernails, GAS, oh…the days are just too full!)

              • Jim of Olym says

                I think Ashley has outed himself. He doesn’t like sexual abuse. so….
                who does like sexual abuse?

    • Just so I (at least) can understand just what’s at issue here with all this ‘relevance’ stuff, I’d be very grateful to Ashley Nevins if he’d BRIEFLY bullet-point list the characteristics of a ‘relevant’ religion and maybe name a few churches which meet those criteria.

      • I’d be happy if everyone would just ignore Myers and Nevins, and stopped letting them ruin threads. They are trolls. Trolls can’t be reasoned with. The only way to beat them is to ignore and exclude them.

        • @Helga…


        • Ashley Nevins says

          Yes, ignore and exclude him from the closed, exclusive, isolated and subjective system. Your true mind set is showing through and it is closed system.

          His speaking of the ruin of a church is ruining the threads.

          Ignore and exclude is the solution to the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state of the EOC in America.

          And, if you cannot come up with a solution and face the confrontation with solution ad hominem him by calling him a TROLL.

          Perfect, Helga, perfect. I could not have stated the reason for the corrupt failure better myself.

          Ashley Nevins

        • OK, Helga. I’ll sign up for that. I’ll always wonder if he, like any native Russian speaker, realizes how his difficulty with the use of definite and indefinite articles gives him away

        • I promise, and not just for Great Lent.

        • I promise, Helga, and not just for Great Lent.

      • Monk James, please do not ask for more, we will NEVER live to see the end …

        Stop think needs think for yourself to repeat how to think for yourself over and over again for stop think to just begin to understand what thinking for yourself is really all about

        Take this and be satisfied… it explains everything. More would be less…

        • Funniest freakin’ think I’ve read all morning. Thanks for the chuckle!

          Yes, I know I’ve fed the troll, and I am truly sorry. As I said, I’m giving up troll for Lent. Anyway, it disagrees with my stomach.

          Anyway, best wishes to all for a good Great Lent.

          Forgive me, a sinner.

        • Ashley Nevins says

          The urban monk gives the solution provided to the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church.

          All of you need to listen to his solutions and follow Orthodox his role model and example. He has isolated the core systemic causation of the corrupt failure and he has the solution.

          Yes, keep coming up with solutions like these and then see the present and future of your church unfold right before you denying eyes with undeniable proofs of its failure confronting your denial.

          Ashley Nevins

      • Ashley Nevins says

        Simple is this: A relevant church reaches into the society and culture with mission, evangelism and ministry that meets people at their various points of need. It is not a single dimension one size fits all church that is exclusive. It is a multiplicity of ministries that are INCLUSIVE multidimensional.

        The relevant church has the following 10 characteristics:

        1. Vision, priorities, strategy, plan and tactics that move the church forward.
        2. It is bottom up and open system inclusive.
        3. It can paradigm shift to relevancy change in the generation it is found in.
        4. Leadership and financial transparency and accountability with real consequences that have teeth.
        5. Real world leadership development process that actually produces sound leaders.
        6. Youth ministry is a central priority in the church.
        7. Training of evangelism is a central priority in the church.
        8. Zero tolerance of any form of corruption (real transparency and accountability).
        9. Laity has the authority to confront and remove corruption.
        10. Healing ministry to the society found in this church.

        This is not a complete list, but you can conduct your own research by starting with the words: Church growth strategy or the dysfunctional church, etc. George Barna writes a lot about church relevancy in our century. There are many others with good thinking on the subject. No, none of them are Orthodox. I have yet to find any Orthodox websites on church growth strategy, toxic faith church, the healing model church, church vision, financial transparency and accountability, how to deal with church corruption, etc, etc, etc. I am open system open minded to find out if they do exist and if I somehow missed them.

        If you do the research that I will not do for you then you will find many fine examples of churches that are of a relevancy to our society model. You will be able to name them yourself if you do the necessary research. This is as far at this point that I will thinking for myself take you. You have to think for yourself by your research to find out what churches have a relevancy model. You might consider driving around your city on a Sunday morning and see what churches have thousands of cars in the parking lots. Then, again, I know many smaller churches that have the relevancy for their size of any large mega like church.

        The relevancy model church is all about humility to repentance to salvation to transformation to innovation to change to church relevancy. It is ALIVE today and it has vision for the future. It represents the edge of the cutting edge of relevant church ministries that actually meet people where they are by being what they need. Most of them have more than one ministry to specific needs.

        For instance, I know of several healing model churches that reach into the society and meet it at its points of need with ministry that is specific to their need. In one church in my city there is a Christ centered sex abuse recovery ministry with about 60 involved at any given time. Another church in southern Cal has developed a model for healing ministry that can be duplicated and implemented into most any church. Thousands of churches of all sizes now have this program and it works. Another church in my city has a healing and recovery ministry to the homeless and about 500 homeless show up each week, etc, etc, etc.

        Several of these healing model churches have several thousand in avg. weekly attendance.

        This is just one example of how a relevancy model of church really works in outreach to a wounded and broken society in need of Christ’s healing ministry. It is not the only relevancy model of church. There are other models that fit and meet other kinds of society spiritual needs.

        Since I just posted comment on the National Herald article I felt bringing forward this healing model was the most relevant to the discussion. I believe it is RELEVANT to why sex abuse is tolerated in the GOC. Others will call it troll dribble that needs to be ignored or excluded.

        Does the GOA have a recovery from sex abuse ministry in the church??? If not, then why not?

        Many of you have told me that the EOC is the hospital church. Oh, yes, I have heard that a lot over the years.

        When you begin to think church relevancy you ask hard questions that demand real world answers. If you do not think church relevancy you really don’t know what questions to ask.

        Well, does the GOA have organized healing and recovery ministry to sex abuse victims??? If not, then why not?

        Those are relevancy hard questions that require honest answer and no one in the GOA is asking or answering the questions. This is tiny tip of an iceberg of questions I can ask the GOA regarding its relevancy.

        The question you asked was THINKING CHURCH RELEVANCY. You asked it because it was made a question issue posed to all of you from someone who thinks church relevancy. Now, the real issue beyond this is, will you just stop thinking about how to turn your church into relevancy or will you continue to ask thinking for yourself questions regarding how a church can come into relevancy in our modernity generation?

        BTW, I have been involved in 3 churches that exploded with relevancy grow by multiple ministry that meets people where they are and all of them are not that far away from the local EO parish that has been here for 55 years and maybe on a good Sunday 100 show up. One church in my city has a Christ centered drug and alcohol recovery ministry that has about 100 show up each week. Which church is practicing authentic, merciful and relevant church as Christ meant it to be practiced in modernity?

        How do I know all of this? I am relevancy connected to what makes a church relevancy in today modern world. It absolutely fascinates me to no end. I was converted into Christian relevancy through a highly relevancy centered church that had a singles ministry specific to my needs at the time. I met my wife of 34 years in that ministry. There was about 100 in attendance on a weekly basis in that singles ministry.

        Orthodox, how many single adults are there in our society? Does it make for wisdom to innovate specific ministry to them on the local church level? Would having such a local church singles ministry be relevancy to the single adults found in our modernity generation?

        When you are involved in a highly growing, living and dynamic relevancy church it makes it easy to see what is irrelevancy as a church. When you understand how relevancy model church really works then you come into full understanding how irrelevancy model church fails. If you in most any way compromise your church that will have a serious irrelevancy impact on your church. The more you compromise the more the negative impact and the more irrelevancy seen and experienced. I don’t make the common sense rules. Reality does.

        The thing that interests me the most as a Christian is relevancy church growth strategy. We all have things in the church that interest us over other things. That just happens to be mine and I have spent 30 years in serious research and study of it. I have developed well more than one relevancy ministry in the church and I fully understand how to turn a church into relevancy from the bottom ground floor laity UP.

        Ashley Nevins

      • Jim of Olym says

        Perhaps (a big perhaps here!) Ashley would tell us what church he actually goes to on Sunday. That would be a big help in understanding ‘where he’s coming from’.

        • Jim AN has been asked many times by various people, but he keeps his secret closely guarded…. We shall never know…. so please don’t hold your breath.

          BTW, are we neighbours? We are waking up every morning to the “lovely” song of the donkeys on the pasture next to ours… Okay, I live in BC and despite their having a loud voice, I don’t think they can be heard all the way north of your border.

        • He won’t because he don’t, and he comes from the land of the yellow brick road where is Pope.

  7. Ashley Nevins says

    And Now, Some Bad News

    As I was TROLLING around the news for financial information on Greece I found an interesting article.

    The National Herald has a front page article regarding the GO Patriarch and the Astoria NY monks.

    Any GO on this forum might want to consider reading it to see the current state of the GOC in real time corruption and failure action.

    What I noticed in the article was the following:

    1. A complete lack of moral authority
    2. Compromise with sexual corruption in the church
    3. Weak church discipline of the cult-prits.
    4. No mercy towards victims
    5. Facade of credibility and integrity
    6. No sexual boundaries
    7. Self protection of abusers
    8. Liars
    9. Mind control of laity
    10. Enabling sin in leadership

    Orthodox, how a church thinks determines its outcome in the real world. Today the entire world can see the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state of the GOC and know why it is found in this state. This is undeniable and indefensible. That is, unless you are brain dead by apathy and indifference towards Christ centered church ethics and morality.

    This is the relevancy of the EOC that I speak too and most all of you take exception with me over. I am not telling you nice enough. I am really mean and harsh on all of you. I am out of line. Yet, the harsh sexual abuse of youth is not out of line and the discipline given to the sexual abusers is my proof. Yet, the Patriarch of systemic corruption is kept in power and control and is not held transparent and accountable. He has no consequences for these corrupt and enabling actions.

    I hope all of you find it in your hearts to pray for the victims of this shaming abuse and shame based church whose center of authority is pure evil that self protects the evil doers and their structure and system of evil. Yes, I know, I am exaggerating, over stating the problem and making blanket statements that have no proof to support them.

    Orthodox, is sex abuse emotionally damaging and spiritually abusive to youth in the church?

    Orthodox, is sex abuse the future forward vision of the GOC for youth mission and evangelism?

    Orthodox, is evil in rule or is Christ in rule in the GOC?

    Orthodox, are youth staying and/or coming into the GOC or are youth leaving and/or staying away from the GOC?

    You will have to think for yourselves without the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church thinking for you to answer the questions. All of you need to realize that all of you are expendable to this corruption to keep this corruption in power and control. They will use you and throw you away to stay in power. They are nothing more than dictators of dead religion who kill the emotional and spiritual life of youth dead and all of the GO are nothing but religious codependent pawns being PLAYED on their power and control game board. Keep sending them your money and do nothing to address this with your priests and bishops.

    What bishop was removed from office over Katinas?

    Yes, Orthodox, tell me why you take your children to a church that puts them at KNOWN sexual abuse risk?

    Please explain to me why the GOA laity does not confront its homosexual bishops and pedophile protecting bishops and remove them?

    Are spiritual charlatan’s with sexually corrupt cult mind sets in rule in the GOC?

    I know who the real TROLLS are. I saw them in the article. I also know who enables the trolls in the article and who supports their leadership. I know who is powerless to throw out the corrupt and I know why they are made powerless to throw them out.

    Sexual corruption of the most horrific kind RULES in the GOC and I got the proof.

    Now, let the self protecting denial of the indefensible proof begin.

    Ashley Nevins

    PS: Like my son told me upon leaving the GOA, the elder is a charlatan and the GOA is a cult.

  8. Fr. Hopko on recommended readings for Lent:

    • ….do I hear the sound of clanging cymbals?

      • Exactly what I was thinking – “physician, heal thyself.”

      • More like the sounding brass and the braying of Balaam’s Burro, who must have eaten too many spoiled chili-cheese dogs.

        • Jim of Olym says

          Your Grace, I’m the owner of two mammoth donkeys and they would never ever eat spoiled chili-cheese dogs.
          They much prefer bananas, apples and carrots. They are vegan by nature. Just so everyone knows…
          PS Actually, sometimes I think we are owned by the donkeys…

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yes you do, Jane!

        BTW, I’ve just been informed that I made a mistake in an earlier post: Fr Hopko was not sandbagged by Mark Stokoe when that infamous letter was released last Clean Monday. Hopko wanted it to be published, just not on Clean Monday. As if that would’ve made a difference.

    • Fr. Tom should practice what he preaches if he wants to
      be a real pastor and not just an “academic.”

    • This podcast is a half hour commercial for his book on Lent. Listen and tell me if I’m wrong. Count how many times he says “I”.

    • And also, he’s not aware that the weekday texts for the Lenten Triodion (called “The Lenten Triodion Supplement”) were published five years ago by St Tikhon’s! Very odd…

      • Carl Kraeff says

        The first thing that he said was for everybody to read the Bible. I did not have a chance to listen to the rest of the podcast but I would think that he would indeed plug his own book. All that said, I think y’all’s carping and nit-picking just before and during Clean Monday is making me nauseated.

        • I learned all about carping and nit-picking on Clean Monday from the master himself.

        • We are talking about the Bible here, Carl. It’s called 1 Corinthians 13. Nothing is more nauseating than that letter Fr. Thom Hopko wrote to the Church, like a false shepherd urging his flock to run out of the fold and follow the wolf in sheep’s clothing over a cliff.

          • (Except that letter the priests of the Midwest signed. Yuk. Definitely more nauseating.)

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Of all the passages in the Bible, I find it extraordinary that you would use 1 Corinthians 13 to justify the opposite of “faith, hope and charity (love).” I guess some folks are genetically wired to hate and to call it love.

            • And I find it extraordinary that you would see people calling out and rebuking Fr. Thomas Hopko for his cruel, unpastoral, and seditious behavior, and call it “the opposite of ‘faith, hope, and charity (love)”.

              I don’t see any charity from you for Fr. Hopko’s victims, nor for the man himself who needs to be brought to recognize the depth and gravity of his crimes against his bishop and a brother priest.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Interesting. I will refrain from commenting, unlike my reaction to Spasi. Let’s just say that reopening old wounds is a hateful thing. Not only y’all are bringing discredit to Metropolitan Jonah but to the entire Orthodox Church.

  9. Has anyone seen the latest article on the Hail Mary Plan (aka Strategic Plan) of the OCA?

    I’m looking forward to giving a point-by-point review of the Plan, the vast majority of which are things that get dusted off every three years, and then forgotten in a few months after that. Most of the stuff in it is at least 30 years old. The whole thing reeks of desperation. Maybe there’s a Chapter 11 Spiritual Bankruptcy that the OCA can file instead? It would be so much cleaner than dragging this out, no?

    And for fun, make sure you see the colorful powerpoint presentations which would do a sixth grader proud. Very colorful! I’ll bet there were even slide transitions with words and pictures flying in and out – maybe even sound effects? Beautiful. It’s like decorating the Titanic!

    • Sorry, the colorful powerpoint presentations are here. The link above is the Hail Mary (aka Strategic) Plan, “version 6.1.” The “version 6.1” part I didn’t make up, I couldn’t possibly make that any funnier. Next year I’m looking forward to Strategic Plan Vista.

    • Hang on there, Eeyore. They may actually be trying to put some of those 30-year-old plans in motion.

      The real problem, which they’re totally ignoring, is the administration that has abused, undermined, and scapegoated Metropolitan Jonah, while allowing a morally-compromised group of clergy and laity to entrench itself in OCA governance at every level.

      Still I can’t help but imagine myself sitting in the OCA chancery, listening to the band play “Nearer, My God, to Thee”.

      • I’m unsure of what you’re saying here. Are you saying that the last 12 attempts they didn’t try to put the plans in motion. And in any event, not all of these plans are worth moving. How many parish priests want Syosset’s long arm dictating new “standard practices” in a parish, when Syosset can’t get its own house in order? Who’s for tinkering with the rubrics to make a point about inclusiveness?

        Your point is well taken about the governance issue. But let’s face the facts here. Met Jonah has lost that battle. The MC is firmly in charge of the OCA, not Met Jonah, and that will not be changing until a stronger Metropolitan takes the reins. Sadly, Met Jonah did not have the internal constitution to stand up to his accusers, and now they’re driving the bus. He’s simply their hostage. And I believe he has a case of Stockholm Syndrome. Demanding that Met Jonah be given his rightful due is simply too little, too late. They’ve moved on, and apparently so has he.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          How (and why) can you be spouting such nonsense? Everybody and everything is now functioning as they should be. Why are you trying to create strife and discontent? Why are you acting like the serpent at the Garden? Why are you a trouble maker? Why are you leading astray the faithful? Go back, no crawl back, to where you came from!

          • Carl wrote:

            Everyone and everything is now functioning as they should be.

            i think that would make a wonderful masthead for And put it on all the official stationery too. It’s like Orthodoxy meets Orwell’s “1984.”

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Unlike some people, I respect process and rule of law, instead of putting my trust in princes and sons of men. The Holy Synod, the Metropolitan, the Metropolitan Councill and the national officers and functions of the Church are functioning as laid out by the OCA Statute and the Holy Canons. To say otherwise is a malicious falsehood that you have been trying to plant among the faithful. I do not know who you are or what your objectives are, but you are up to no good.

              • Jane Rachel says

                Maybe Carl is right.

                “The Holy Synod, the Metropolitan, the Metropolitan Councill and the national officers and functions of the Church are functioning as laid out by the OCA Statute and the Holy Canons.”

                • Jim of Olym says

                  I dunno about Syosset and the OCA in general but my parish in our corner of WA state is growing (a new catachumenate family admitted just yesterday), and yes! we have a vibrant youth group and young people who read things and generally help out including cleaning the temple). And we have services daily except most Mondays. Weird, huh?
                  And incidentally, no one has mentioned a ‘strategic plan’ as long as I’ve been here (20+ years)

              • And who on earth runs proccesses and interprets law but “princes and sons of men” (such as yourself).

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Spasi says, ” It’s like Orthodoxy meets Orwell’s ‘1984.’” It does have that bizarre, “Twilight Zone” feeling to it. Just go on as if nothing bad ever happened, be quiet. everything is wonderful, la la la, ignore, ignore, ignore, happy happy happy.

                • I believe Carl’s point, Protodeacon, is that in properly constituted societies (the church included) the Law (Lex) is Rex (i.e. King). That is, in such societies governance is not according to the often capricious ways of the men (and women in civil society) who lead them, but even they (yes, even if they wear panaghias and mitres) are subject to the Law (in terms of constitutions, statutes, by-laws, etc). Of course, we know that corrupt men can subvert the Law, but in the end they usually get caught and pay a heavy price for doing so and if not they still have their conscience to live with. Lex is Rex – and thank God (and the English, the Scots and the Americans) that it is so.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Carl, what if the system is broke? If we’ve learned anything at all in the last year is how defective the system is. I’ll give you just one example right off the bat: everytime the MC went into “executive session” because what it was going to discuss was so highly sensitive. Well, isn’t that what a Holy Synod is for? I thought the MC was supposed to be the laity’s “eyes and ears.” Instead, it’s just another layer of episcopate.

                OK, I’m on a roll. Here’s another: The fact that the confidentiality of the Holy Synod was breached by Mark Stokoe (“Jonah in his own words”). Which bishop gave Stokoe that speech?

                I’m sure others will come to me in due course.

                • How about the MC becomes the laity’s hands, and not worry so much about being eyes and ears, OK? The OCA needs less eyes and ears and more hands.

                  I heard Carl talk about “checks and balances” and I wanted to vomit. That’s a big problem. The MC is more worried about power brokering than doing good things. Let them learn how to take orders and not worry about who’s giving the orders. There’s a novel concept.

                  “More hands, less eyes and ears.” A motto worth adopting.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Y’all cannot have your cake and eat it too. I have read on this august blog many distinguished clergy and laity carry on about the faults and foibles, and even the grievous sins of the members of the Holy Synod. All the while that I was stressing the importance of the Holy Synod and urging respect for it, many of the posters here, to include our gracious host, was telling me I was a fool for putting my trust in the system. Indeed, it seemed to me that many of y’all were pushing +Jonah against the Holy Synod, and of course the MC. You were blinded by something and failed to see that the system and due process matters more than individuals. You did put your trust in one Prince instead of in the institution. And, you were foiled because the OCA Statute won, which by the way was also responsible for saving your Prince. Now, that things are proceeding normally, some of you cannot stand it. Lord have mercy!

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  The system is not broke and it never was. We had players who screwed up but the system eventually took care of them.

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Carl, I must beg to differ. If the “players” hadn’t of screwed up and been exposed, the OCA today would be led by a corrupt metropolitan and probably placed under the jurisdiction of the EP.

                    Do I need to recount the “press release” which announced Jonah’s resignation broken on days before the Santa Fe meeting was adjourned?

                    Do I need to recount the leaked e-mail which showed an active conspiracy against Jonah by Stokoe, Solodow, Skordinski, et al, which clearly spelled out how they were going to get rid of HB?

                    Do I need to recount how Bp Mark Maymon hacked into Fr Joe Fester’s e-mail account and sent the contents to OCANews which released them for maximum effect at the May HS meeting?

                    Do I need to recount one bishop (Maymon again?) revealed Jonah’s speech given to the HS to OCANews (“Jonah in his own words”)?

                    Do I need to recount how Syosset kept Fr Garklavs employed at $140K/yr even though he was fired by the Holy Synod?

                    Do I need to recount how they had every intention of keeping Garklavs employed in some flunky position at Syosset but hiding his income from the delegates at the AAC?

                    Do I need to recount how they tried to force Johah into “rehabilitation” at an institute that has a less-than-stellar therapy rate?

                    Do I need to go on?

                    If this system doesn’t fit your definition of “broke,” then I’d really hate to see what you would consider to be dysfunctional.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      “An optimist believes that this is the best of all possible worlds, a pessimist knows that it is.”

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      You are being exceedingly nit picky. Besides, the coin that you are toying with has an obverse. I can counter each one of your points with an equally cutting “fact.” The point is that everybody is playing nice now; why is the pot being stirred again?

          • Oh, Carl takes me back with his: “Everybody and everything is now functioning as they should be.” Is anybody acquainted with “The Unity School of Christianity?” They encouraged the repetition at least every day of that famous mantra: ‘Every day in every way every thing is getting better and better!” It made me think of the Pollyanna school of Christianity as well. Thanks for the nostalgia trip!

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Funny that you should say this Your Grace. When I was growing up I was often accused of being excessively optimistic–in short a Pollyanna. I don’t mind.

            • Jim of Olym says

              I thought it was ‘…in every way I am getting better and better.’
              But then I used to listen to stuff from the Great I AM on the radio, in my youth in El Ay, and also Amiee at the Angelus Temple.

              why can’t we have tambourines in church? the Ethiopians do, and they are serious about it!

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Spasi, your spin is way too pessimistic. We all know that central administrations do not go quietly into the good night. A lot of what was discussed at the MC was based on yesterday’s paradigm to be sure and this power-point that you put up (thank you, btw) has a lot of bells and whistles that don’t really signify anything. But I firmly believe that HB has his eye on the big picture and that includes devolving power to the dioceses (which let us note for the record are far stronger than the dioceses of the other jurisdictions). Besides, the economic retrenchment that is ongoing in this nation (and will continue for another 6-10 years) will force issues into their proper perspective. In both the secular sphere as well as the spiritual, decentralization will continue to take place.

          Now this is not going to be all good mind you. Look at Texas which is growing and California, which is becoming a Third World state. Even all the centralized directives and regulations emanating from DC will not be able to equalize the outcomes that are happening before our eyes. Sure, California will continue to be the largest state in the Union for decades to come. And I suppose a tsunami or hurricane could wipe out East Texas or a million Mexicans will flood Texas and strain its infrastructure, but all things being equal, Texas will continue to grow for the foreseeable future while California will continue to decline.

          We will see this as well in the Church. There is no way that the bishops of the OCA are going to be forever wedded to the Syosset model based on the present circumstances. What’s in it for them? Are they getting money from Syosset like the GOA metropolises are getting from 79th St? No. Instead they’re giving money to Syosset. As I mentioned last August, the DoNY/NJ give close to 90% of its income to Syosset. Its bishop makes less than most priests. They have $20,000 left over for missions. That’s a joke. No matter how much Bishop X of Diocese Y may say he likes the present system, he is going to allocate less and less money to Syosset. Especially if the economy doesn’t turn around (and it ain’t anytime soon).

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Spasi, I do accept your point about the “long arm of Syosset” and its “tinkering.” I just think that it’s doomed to failure, that’s all. And besides the economy, you know who else is going to help strangle it in its cradle? The bishops. After all, why would they want some bureaucrat who makes more money than them sticking his nose into their business. Sure, some bishops may use the threat of a Central Inquisitor against priests whom they don’t like but what about their golden boys? Every bishop has more than a few. These are the priests who run successful parishes and keep the money flowing to the diocesan chancery. What do you think would happen if an allegation was made against one of these guys? Forget for the moment that the allegation may be false. I’ll tell you what will happen: first the bishop will come down like a ton of bricks on Syosset, and two, priests will start lawyering up.

          It’s amazing how minimal knowledge of human nature these central planners have.

          • Jim of Olym says

            Fr. Sergei Glagolev some time ago gave a talk to the OCA West Mission deanery regarding the evacuation of elderly Orthodox from the skoufia belt to Arizona and other warmer climes. He started the first English speaking parish in southern California (St. Innocent, in Tarzana) and he was much ahead of his time in predicting the default of the old line parishes in PA and OH. I think he was a prophet not honored in his own country. South and West is growing, North and East is not, from what I hear.

            any other comments, I’d welcome them!

      • Jane Rachel says

        Who would want to join the OCA at this point? They will be drawn to the beauty and truth of Orthodoxy, but what happens to them when the reality shoe drops on their heads like a ton of bricks?

        • That’s actually borne out by the pitiful enrollment statistics at SVS and STS. Young men (and middle aged men) are watching. Why was it so timely for SVS to announce tuition assistance? Because it’s the only way to get enrollment up. No one in their right mind would look at this organization and say, “I want to be a priest in that church.” Now, if a man wants to be a priest and has a discerned calling from God, that’s the most important thing. But…

          The practical matter must be considered. A man is considering all of this, looks around and says,
          “OK, I’m going to make this decision to be tied to this jurisdiction for the rest of my life, and yet I’m seeing…
          *parishes fail
          *Metropolitans get pulled around by their pony-tails
          *a church obsessed with sexual misconduct investigations
          *bishops more interested in intrigue than in leading their dioceses
          *a church not interested in giving due respect to their clerics
          *a Metropolitan Council that is power-hungry
          *parish priest’s lousy pay
          *Syosset in chaos
          *priests being tarred and feathered and careers summarily ruined
          *internet bullies making sure they control the church while being themselves morally compromised
          *parish priests being moved around like chess pieces by bishops
          Do I really want to be a priest in that jurisdiction?”

          • Carl Kraeff says

            More demonic nonsense.

            • Demonic…?


              • Sounds like you are seeing Demons, Carl. Not Good!

                • On the subject of seeing things . . .

                  I’d like to post some evocative reflections on certain things, by a contemporary great thinker (and seer) who’s still with us. As sort of a Rorschach test. Let’s see what’s seen in here in here:

                  A few excerpts:

                  Cynthia Haven: You say that the history of scapegoating is suppressed by those who do the scapegoating.

                  Prof. René Girard: Scapegoating itself is the suppressing. If you scapegoat someone, only a third party can become aware of it. It won’t be you, because you will believe you are doing the right thing. You will believe that you are either punishing someone who is truly guilty, or fighting someone who is trying to kill you. We never see ourselves as responsible for scapegoating.

                  If you look at archaic religions, it becomes clear that religion is a way to master, or at least control, violence. I think that archaic religions are based on a collective murder, on a lynch-mob murder, which unites the people and saves the community. This process is the beginning of a religion: salvation as a result of scapegoating. That is why the people turn their scapegoat into a god.

                  CH: You’ve said elsewhere: “I think ultimately the Christian view of violence will overcome everything, but we might consider this a great test.” Do you really have that kind of confidence?

                  RG: Christianity will be victorious, but only in defeat. Christianity is the same scheme as archaic religions; it is an instance of scapegoating, but—and this difference is enormous—instead of blaming the victim, and joining the scapegoaters, it realizes that the victim is innocent and we all try to interpret this type of situation in the light of the innocent victim, that is, Christ himself. In a world that is no longer organized along the rigid lines of scapegoating and the sacrifices that reenact it in the penal systems, we have more and more disorder. More and more freedom, but more and more disorder.

                  CH: So tell us a little about this “great test”?

                  RG: History, you might say, is this test. But we know very well that mankind is failing that test. In some ways, the gospels, the Scriptures, are predicting that failure, since they end with eschatological themes, which predict the end of the world.

                  CH: You’ve said that, for modern societies, “the confidence is in violence. We put our faith in that violence, that violence will keep the peace.” How can nations be strong without violence?

                  RG: Truth begins with the acknowledgement of our violence that Christianity requires of us. Well, the alternative is the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is, by definition, nonviolent. It never comes true, because people are not Christian enough and this is the same as what I said before: We must acknowledge our own scapegoating and we cannot do it.

                  CH: It’s hard to imagine going to the negotiating table in the Middle East, without having the prospect of war as a last resort.

                  RG: I agree completely. But this is the same as our eternal deadlock. We must see history as a long process of education. God is trying to teach man to renounce violence. The kingdom of God would be no violence at all, and we do not seem capable of it. That’s why you have the apocalyptic texts at the end of the gospels.

                  Right now, the world is moving more and more towards various types of catastrophes. It knows this very well; it talks about little else. Today we are in such a situation that we cannot distinguish the instruments of war and the instruments of peace.

                  When you look at the apocalyptic texts, they seem absurd and childish because they often mix up culture and nature. This sounded absurd until recently, but now it really happens. When there is hurricane in New Orleans, we wonder if it is not man rather than nature that is responsible. Unbelievers think that the apocalyptic texts of Christianity are antiscientific because they mix up nature and culture. But in our world it cannot be denied that man can interfere with the functioning of nature. The world has never known such a possibility before, but it does now and I think this situation is specifically Christian. So, far from seeing a Christianity that is outmoded and ridiculous, I see a Christianity that makes a great deal of sense. This sense is just too amazing to be understood by people who stick to conventional thinking.

                  RG: In a way, the Western world has been sitting on its privileges, and paid not the slightest attention to Islam. It has been absolutely sure that—in all its ways, even the least Christian—it was superior, which in a certain sense is true, but it’s due to something that Christianity has not earned.

                  CH: In what way superior?

                  RG: All the spiritual advantages it has because it knows the truth. It knows the sinfulness of man, the fact that man is a killer, a killer of God. In the East, their contempt for Christianity is due to the fact that they feel absolutely scandalized by the Crucifixion. What kind of God is it that will allow himself to be persecuted and killed by men? In a way, it’s good to see because of the shock, you know. In a way I think what God is saying is that “I allowed these scapegoats. But you, I teach you the truth. So you should be up to that truth, and become perfect, and that is the kingdom of God.” You are the chosen ones, in the Jewish sense.

                  CH: And you said Christianity had these advantages but had not earned them?

                  RG: It has not earned them, and it has not behaved as it should have. Christians are unfaithful to Christianity.

                  CH: You have said that this apocalypse is not necessarily a bang, or even a whimper, but rather a long stasis.

                  RG: In the Gospel of Matthew, it says: “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved”—because it’s an infinitely long stretch.

                  CH: So this is the period we’re in?

                  RG: I think it may well be. We are proud of the achievements we call modern and there are scriptural indications that they coincide with the dangerous times we live in.

                  Some of the fundamentalist Christians think the eschatological themes show that God is angry with man and is going to put an end to the world. But the eschatological texts are more meaningful if you understand the situation as I just defined it. If man doesn’t become more modest, his violence will increase in an unlimited way. This violence doesn’t increase through physical fighting and wars only, but through the increase and multiplication of weapons, which now threaten the very survival of the world. Our violence is not created by God but by man; in a world that is practically more and more oblivious God, if you look at the way nations behave with each other, at the way individuals behave with each other.

                  Before the invention of apocalyptic weapons, we couldn’t see how realistic apocalyptic texts have become. Today we can see that, and we should be extremely impressed by this realism. Now only one thing is left to man if he wants to survive: universal reconciliation.

                  • I think I will stick with the “Great Thinkers” of Holy Scripture and the Orthodox Church.

                  • Well, I haven’t heard so much Weigl-Neuhaus newspeak for decades. Shamefully, I’ve lost touch with the whole Vatican II and post Vatican II world of Roman Catholic neo-Scholaticism, of which, as he affirms, MM’s copying is most evocative.. Some “great thinker and seer” this Girard turns out to be! He’s such a great thinker, he posits that Clausewitz both loved and hated Napoleon! What a lazy brain and smart-aleck! Clausewitz hated Napoleon and admired his strategic skills, but he never showed the slightest hint of “loving” him as this seer foolishly writes. Cynthia (CH) and Rene (RG), ending up in the ditch as Scripture predicts. I think points should be subtracted from an quality estimates of any essay which starts out with “love-hate relationship.’ I mean! is that trite, hackneyed, or what?

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Well, CH is a literary journalist, and a convention in such cases is to sally forth at once with the obligatory cordial bon mot about the interviewee’s latest. Prof. Emeritus Girard had just published something surprisingly different in theme from his earlier books, almost all of which took their analytical point of departure from literature and Scriptures. In the new one he takes on policy and geopolitical tactics and the psychology of some of their practitioners.

                      To understand the basis for the love/hate angle on this particular “mimetic rivalry” (Napoleon/Clausewitz), you’d first have to be remotely acquainted with his work, as CH presumably was. I take it you’ve read this book then but were unpersuaded by his argument and scholarship? Perhaps there is more to that than a couple of polite off-the-cuff remarks would suggest. And to him.

                      Care to say more about why you heard “newspeak” in this or why the chat evokes neo-Scholasticism? I’d be very interested to listen.

              • Carl is in the same category as AN, MM, and Diogenes in that he kind of “goes biserk” when someone doesn’t recognize his superior intelegence and sees things differently than he does.

                • PdnNJ!! The ancient Britons used to color their savage bodies with blue paints when they went on the mad warpath. They were called “Berserkers.” Therefrom originated our English idiom: “to go berserk.” You’re right about Carl being cut from the AN-MM-Diogenes cloth, but I, frankly didn’t find any elegance or “int-elegance” in their addiction to horse-blinders.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    His Grace wrote, “…but I, frankly didn’t find any elegance or “int-elegance” in their addiction to horse-blinders.”

                    Okay. Now I’m laughing.

                  • Berserkers were Norsemen, Vladyka.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    They were the Picts, right Your Grace?

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Right, ancestors of the Welsh, mainly.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Ancestors of the Scots, rather, not of the Welsh. Painted with blue woad, from Isatis tinctoria, aka Asp of Jerusalem. Ancient Egyptians used it to dye mummy wrappings.

                    • Geo Michaloplulos says

                      Right, the Scots were living in Ireland at the time, being indistinguishable from the other Gaels (who became the Irish).

                  • Jim of Olym says

                    Picts painted themselves blue with woad. Vikings went berserkers…
                    Probably different peoples but mine were brits and Vl. Tikhon’s were vikings.
                    Possibly both cut from the same cloth originally but who knows?

          • Thomas Mathes says

            Spasi, you are probably right that SVS wants to increase its enrollment by offering tuition assistance, but that’s been a typical practice of universities for decades to keep up their enrollments.

            Other than perhaps your statement about “the lousy pay of priests,” I’m not sure any of the problems you mentioned are unique to the OCA among orthodox jurisdictions. Even in GOA, where priests receive better pay, the bishops and laity were able to accomplish the removal of an archbishop. But better pay is very important, especially for married priests. The rest of the problems you mentioned they will find pretty much anywhere in one form or another.

            Lastly, I find ironic your statement about “a church obsessed with sexual misconduct investigations” since this blog seems obsessed by the alleged sexual misconduct of Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop Benjamin, and Bishop Mark (Forsberg), numerous priests, deacons and laymen as well as others on the Synod or Metropolitan Council who, if not homosexuals, have allegedly protected them (e.g., Bishop Nikon). Besides, from what I have seen reported on the OCA website, not much has happened, and so I fail to see the obsession you report.

            • Regarding obsessions, the OCA is hiring a person to run the SMPAC, which to me, seems odd. First, the new chancellor admitted that there was an inordinate amount of time spend on “a handful” of cases. Second, such a person, to prove his financial value, will certainly have to “produce.” and how else will they do that unless they’re needlessly aggressive? Third, the SMPAC was supposed to be an ad-hoc committee called at the behest of Met Jonah – not a functioning committee of the MC. Fourth, the guidelines state that the diocesan bishop is the head of all investigations, and only calls the chancellor when he deems in necessary. Fifth, why is the MC involved in any of this at all? Why is it a regular part of their agenda, when their role in any matter relating to priests should be to handle matters that have become legal issues (not potential legal issues, but actual legal issues where the church has to defend itself against a suit).

              This obsession came out of the Sidebottom suit when the the OCA sold their soul to a lawyer for essentially nothing.

              So the matter is not so much about what is reported on the website, but what is going on behind the scenes. The OCA apparently has a Star Chamber that operates in secret but executes their judgment as they see fit.

            • In fact, let’s be very clear on this broader point: The Metropolitan Council should be returned to its statutory function – it is there to implement the decisions of the AAC. They absolutely have NO authority over or within dioceses, parishes, or over clergy at all. None. Why is the Metropolitan Council getting involved in the affairs of diocese, parishes, and priests? They should be held to only have within their purview implementation of decisions – in other words, they are functionaries, not authorities.

              This is what happens when you have weak men on the Holy Synod. The MC saw an opening, a weakness, and now we have MC creep.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Would you please back up your assertions with some citations?

                • (Note how many times the Statue asserts “in the areas of its competence.” In other words, it’s very limited to these things… and absolutely nothing about pastoral matters or anything having to do with clergy discipline, which is limited to Diocesan Bishops, or in the case of deposition, the Holy Synod.)

                  OCA Statute, Article 5

                  Competence The Metropolitan Council:

                  Implements the decisions of the All-American Council and of the Holy Synod in the areas of its competence;

                  Assists the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod in Implementing decisions within the areas of its competence;

                  Establishes the budget for the operations of the Church and examines all financial reports of the Church;

                  Supervises the collection of the assessments and fees established by the All-American Council and determines the allocation of such funds;

                  Organizes plans for obtaining voluntary contributions for the satisfaction of the needs of the Church;

                  Provides for the maintenance of the central administrative bodies of the Church and for the allocation of the general Church funds;

                  Decides on the purchase, sale, or mortgaging of property of the Church, except in cases covered in Article X, Section 8;

                  Maintains an inventory of all properties of the Church;

                  Provides for the establishment and maintenance of institutions of charity and education, as well as for publications for the propagation of the Orthodox Faith;

                  Determines the forms and books necessary for the keeping of records and statistical data by the dioceses, requiring all statistics necessary for reports;

                  Appoints officers and committees on matters within its competence;

                  Initiates, prosecutes, and defends all legal matters affecting the interest of the Church;

                  May receive reports from any department in areas within the competence of the Metropolitan Council.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Thank you for your citations.It seems to me that the MC is the executive arm of the Church at the national level, while the AAC and the Holy Synod are the policy bodies. Of course, since the Holy Synod reviews and approves all, the Synod is in effect The Highest Authority and not only in canonical matters.Here is how the Statute defines their respective authorities

                    Holy Synod: The Holy Synod is the supreme canonical authority in the Church.

                    AAC: The highest legislative and administrative authority within the Church is the All-American Council.

                    Metropolitan: The Metropolitan Among the bishops of the Church, the Metropolitan enjoys primacy, being the first among equals. He is the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and is the diocesan bishop of one of the dioceses of the Church and bears the title, “Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.” He supervises the internal and external welfare of the Church and represents it in its relations with other Orthodox Churches, religious organizations, and secular authorities.

                    MC: The Metropolitan Council is the permanent executive body of the Church Administration Which exists for the purpose of implementing the decisions of the All-American Council and continuing its work between sessions. It shall consist of the Metropolitan as Chairman, the Chancellor, the Secretary, the Treasurer, two representatives from each diocese, one priest and one layman to be elected by the Diocesan Assemblies, three priests and three laymen elected by the All-American Council. Vacancies occurring among diocesan representatives are filled by the respective dioceses.

                    So, since MC is chaired by the Metropolitan, includes officers and members elected by the AAC, as well as by the Diocesan Assemblies, it is truly a significant body–designed to be the “permanent executive body of the Church Administration.” The check and balance on the MC comes from the powers of the Holy Synod, which are extensive (see Article II in toto, Article III, Section 12) and the functioning of the first-among-equals of the Holty Synod chairing the MC.

                    It seems to me that the competencies of the MC fall broadly into three categories:

                    1. Those that are defined in the Statute, such as establishing the budget, deciding on the purchase, sale, or mortgaging of property of the Church, and all legal matters. Indeed, out of the 13 listed competencies, 9 fall in this category.

                    2. Those that are assigned to the Metropolitan Council either by the AAC (must be blessed by the Holy Synod to take effect) or the Holy Synod. There are only three of these:

                    a. Implements the decisions of the All-American Council and of the Holy Synod in the areas of its competence;

                    b. Assists the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod in Implementing decisions within the areas of its competence;

                    c. Appoints officers and committees on matters within its competence;

                    3. The optional category that is a cross of the first two categories: “(the MC) may receive reports from any department in areas within the competence of the Metropolitan Council.”

                    As an administrative body, the MC does not have any function that is not given to it either by the Statute, the AAC or the Holy Synod. Thus, the corollary: If the MC has a function not specifically listed in the Statute, then it must have been given to it by the proper authority, which ultimately is the Holy Synod. And, since the Holy Synod is the supreme authority, any issues with anything, including the MC, must be laid at its feet.

                • The OCA does not have a bicameral system of governance. I believe, unfortunately, that today, many think that the OCA is bicameral – it is not. The Metropolitan Council is to take their direction from the Holy Synod and the AAC. Their role is to implement, while the Holy Synod is to rule. It’s really quite simple, and if that were actually asserted by the Holy Synod, if you actually had men that had strong leadership qualities, then we wouldn’t be having the problem of an overreaching MC as we do today.

                  So back to the matter at hand. Tell me, Carl, how is he MC involved in any way, with forming or implementing policies and procedures that effect clergy? How can one possibly defend this from either a canonical or statutory POV? *IF* there is a lawsuit, then their job is to defend the church from legal and financial harm.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I think that the MC, as I proved above, “rules” in the sense of being the permanent executive body. Have you heard of delegated powers? We live with that day in and day our in the form of our priests.So, if the MC is told to do something by the AAC (again must be approved by the Holy Synod) or the Holy Synod, what is it supposed to do? Can anyone even imagine +Jonah or any Metropolitan reporting back to the Holy Synod: “Sorry fellow bishops, I could not the MS members to agree, and we could not in good conscience design or implement the x, y and z that you (jncluding me) told us to do.”?

                    • Sorry, but the term ‘executive’ in this sense is purely administrative. The MC has no power of enforcement, no authority. Yes, they are “told to do something,” and that is the point. Like in a manager to employee relationship, the manager has the power to tell the employee to do something, but the employee knows that they report to their manager. In this way, the employee is a functionary, while the manager is the authority. While the delegation may include decision making, the authority resides in the manager, not the employee.

                      Your example of priests falls flat. While it’s true that priests in essence represent the bishop, and the authority of the bishop, the office of πρεσβύτερος is clearly outlined in the New Testament. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. (πρεσβυτέροις)” (I Pet 5:5a). You cannot submit to someone who has no authority. So the NT describes the role of the presbyter as one having authority in the community.

                    • Carl, “proved”???

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Spasi–You and I are in agreement about where real authority resides; it is where it should be and is the Holy Synod. I do not care what words that we use to describe the competence of the Metropolitan Council: administrative, executive, managerial—they are all good for me. I would not even bat an eyelash if MC members were to be designated flunkies, gofers, servants…

                      The problem is that you were implying that the MC had assumed duties and responsibilities beyond those that they should have. I was trying to point out that since the Holy Synod has the real authority, those responsibilities given to the MC that was not given to them by an AAC or the Statute, must have been given to to it by the Holy Synod. So, let’s say that the Holy Synod decided to assign some tasks regarding sexual misconduct by the clergy to the MC. First, the Holy Synod has the power under Article II, Section 7.9 to address “Solution of problems arising in the administration of individual dioceses and requiring the judgment of the entire episcopate.” Second, the Holy Synod can delegate parts or the whole of this function to the MC under Article V, Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.10-13. Ergo, unless you can point out a specific function or action of the MC that does not conform to the above provisions, I have no idea what you are talking about.

                    • It’s really quite simple, but it seems to elude you. The MC should have nothing to do with the Misconduct Policy. If they want to police themselves, that’s fine, but they should not be involved in, have their hands in, or in any way have any activity surrounding the Sexual Misconduct Policy or SMPAC committee.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      No, you are the one who is being extraordinarily obdurate. The MC would not be involved with the Misconduct Policy unless it was asked to do so. Are you saying that the current MC, led by +Jonah, is proceeding on this on its own? That +Jonah is complicit in a unlawful power grab by the MC? I have no idea where you are coming from; are you saying that the OCA Statute is defective? that the Statute is AK but +Jonah and the MC are acting in contravention of it? or that the Holy Synod should not have involved the MC in this?

                    • The reason WHY it’s happening is not as important as that it’s happening at all. Whether Met Jonah did this as sop for the MC, or whether the Holy Synod lets it happen out of lethargy or ignorance really makes no difference. I’m quite sure the MC is more than happy to get their tentacles into this, but it should not be happening – it’s inappropriate and it’s not within their competency.

                      I would encourage clergy who might have to go through such an investigation to simply not cooperate with any investigation that might involve any committee that is connected in any way with the MC.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Spasi–If you were an Orthodox priest, you might be subject to disciplinary action by your bishop for urging clergy not to cooperate with the MC, and by extension, the Holy Synod. Or, perhaps you are a clergyman who is the target of an investigation, which makes your advice also self-serving. By the way, it is not nice to imply that the Holy Synod is letting things happen “out of lethargy or ignorance.” However, in the spirit of the season, I will try to help you out. If you would but read the agendas and minutes of the Holy Synod, Lesser Synod and the MC, you would see that we do not have a rogue Metropolitan or MC, and we do not have an uninvolved Holy Synod.

                      By the way, don’t you think that it would be the decent thing to do if you tell us who you are?

                    • Carl, don’t you think you should stop speaking about things of which you have no knowledge? The MC is NOT an extension of the Holy Synod. Their function is clearly outlined in the Statutes, and I assure you there is no canonical basis for having them in any investigation of clergy misconduct. Whether what I said is ‘nice’ or not is of no concern. What I am concerned about is a church which is spinning out of control and subjecting parishes to questionable programs out of sheer desperation, a church which is losing membership at a rate of 10% a year, and a church which has a serious lack of leadership.

                      My identity is irrelevant here. If you don’t like my ideas or thoughts, ignore them. But don’t act like some type of baby and simply contradict everything because you don’t like to hear the truth.

                      The idea you expressed that “everything and everyone is happening as it should” made you look like an idiot, if not a fool. After that statement, everything you say at this point is just so much hot air.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      He did, however, use the term, “Extraordinarily obdurate.”

                    • Wow!, Carl, “obverse,” “obdurate,” “pithy,” you really “have a way with words,” a real walking, talking dictionary!
                      (It makes me remember my mother teaching me, when I was very young defending myself against street bullies, to “never throw anything at anyone that can be thrown back at you.”)

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Protodeacon–I am an off-the-boat naturalized citizen. I suppose I am still translating. And, yes I do have a large vocabulary which I should control better when talking to some people.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Spasi–I did not say that the MS is and extension of the Holy Synod, I said that “you might be subject to disciplinary action by your bishop for urging clergy not to cooperate with the MC, and by extension, the Holy Synod.” I was accusing you of a serious infraction. If you are a priest, you are fomenting insubordination. If you are not a priest, you have no business in urging priests to disobey properly instituted and empowered organs of Church. If you are a bishop, I am at a loss at how to say “shame on you.”

                      Every time that I have cornered your sorry behind into a corner, you have tried to squirm out of your predicament by hurling invectives (another 35 cent word I put in just for the good protodeacon). You still have not proven your point. Now, you say that iy is not canonical for the MC to meddle in sexuual misconduct matters. So pray tell us, o sage one, what canons are you thinking of and why are they applicable?

                    • Carl, you’re giving yourself way too much credit.

                    • Carl, canonical matters, of which priestly discipline is most certainly one, simply do not include laymen. For instance, if there is a canonical trial, the OCA Statute clearly states, “In cases involving accusations against members of the clergy, the court shall be restricted in its membership to members of the clergy” (XI. 2).

                      The interpretation of the 8th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (which speaks about those who defy the authority of the ruling bishop or a decision that he’s made) cites Act 10 of the Synod held in the time of Basil the Macedonian that “no layman whatsoever is allowed to provoke an argument about ecclesiastical matters.” Later the interpretation is summed up as saying that “even if laypersons are reverent and wise, they ought not to meddle in ecclesiastical matters.” In other words, issues regarding the clergy, especially as it relates to discipline, is of no business to the laity. They should stay out of it.

                      But this is all obvious to anyone who is steeped in the authentic tradition of the Church.

                      Now, a question for you, Carl. What canonical basis is there for the existence of the Metropolitan Council? I await your answer.

                    • Jane Rachel, somewhat mockingly, I assume, balanced out criticism of Carl Kraeff’s message(s) by pointing out that Carl had used “extraordinarily obdurate” in a message. I suppose if one has himself been called “extraordinarily obdurate”, he might save it up for future use when he in a corner himself. To use the Kraefftian idiom, he got backed into a corner (he was not “cornered” in a corner—good grief!) and, in desperation began spouting (“throwing out”) phrases like “extraordinarily obdurate.” I believe Carl was naively flattered, however, by Jane Rachel’s =comment, since he modestly explained his accomplishments-against-great-odds.
                      Nevertheless, he wrote this to Spasi; “The problem is that you were implying that the MC had assumed duties and responsibilities beyond those that they should have. I was trying to point out that since the Holy Synod has the real authority, those responsibilities given to the MC that was not given to them by an AAC or the Statute, must have been given to to it by the Holy Synod.” Carl, that’s known both here and abroad, in the port you sailed from, even, as “non sequitur.”
                      “MUST have been given to it by the Holy Synod.” Oh, boy. While I’m not claiming that no members of the Holy Synod had a hand in this larceny, I am claiming that the matters in question were simply assumed into the MC’s bailiwick because a couple MC members, the chancellor at the time, the ‘get the Metropolitan in Santa Fe or Seattle Cabal, saw to it that it was discussed there. Now, it never occurred, to the Holy Synod, sitting as the Holy Synod, to oppose that fait accompli and ask the Metropolitan to rebuke the MC. That, Carl, is not the Holy Synod “giving” anything to anybody, just failing to exercise due diligence in addressing what might have been moot anyhow, if they had succeeded in giving the Metropolitan the bum’s rush.

                • (From the Policies, Standards, and Procedures of the OCA on Sexual Misconduct. Note absolutely no mention of the Metropolitan Council, since they have no canonical authority over priests. Note also that a bishop only uses the Office for Review at his discretion, unless it involves a minor.)

                  7. Church Structure Concerning Sexual Misconduct Allegations

                  7.01. Authority of Bishops: (a) Diocesan Bishops have full hierarchical authority for all Church activities within the diocese, including all matters concerning allegations of sexual misconduct. Bishops may fully exercise that authority in accordance with these Policies, Standards, and Procedures, and may impose any clergy discipline not requiring action of a Church court.

                  (b) Bishops also may refer all or any part of a review or investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct to the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations, which is created in paragraph 7.02 below, or may request assistance from such office in connection with the matter.

                  7.02. Creation and Management of Central Office: The Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations is hereby created within the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America to assist with matters concerning allegations of sexual misconduct. The Office shall be under the authority of the Primate of the Church, shall be responsible to the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be supervised on a day-to-day basis by the Chancellor of the Church.

                  7.03. Duties and Responsibilities for Reviews and Investigations: (a) The Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations shall, at the request of the Bishop with jurisdiction, assist the Bishop in reviewing, investigating, or dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct. In accordance with the Bishop’s request, the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations may supervise and administer all or any part of the review and investigation. For purposes of this section, “Bishop with jurisdiction” shall mean the diocesan hierarch with canonical authority over the diocese where an allegation of sexual misconduct is alleged to have occurred, and where the alleged offender is resident. If more than one Bishop appears to have jurisdiction, they may agree upon their respective roles and advise the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations accordingly.

            • Thomas Mathes! You must be very sensitive on the topic of homosexuality to have written this astounding bit: “this blog seems obsessed by the alleged sexual misconduct of Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop Benjamin, and Bishop Mark (Forsberg), numerous priests, deacons and laymen as well as others on the Synod or Metropolitan Council who, if not homosexuals, have allegedly protected them (e.g., Bishop Nikon).”
              This blog, Thomas, is FAR from being primarily concerned with, let alone ‘obsessed’ with alleged sexual misconduct of ANYONE; in fact, you’re the first one to bring it up and name names in quite some time! You should apologize to George, it seems to me.
              Perhaps some who post here ARE obsessed, but they are obsessed with hypocrisy. The administration of the OCA during the tenures of Metropolitan Theodosius and Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick was the most transparent and accountable administration ever seen in the entire history of the North American Mission: Missionary Diocese, Metropolia, OCA to date! Yet that administration (or “therefore?”) became the target of the obsessions of a couple disgruntled men who didn’t make the grade in their jobs and a couple hierarchs who were indescribably resentful of a Priest who showed them up in every way, every day. You can detect those who are obsessed with that administration every day on this blog, due to the generosity of George Michalopoulos, in allowing almost anything that is not terrorist to be posted here.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Thank you for the compliment Your Grace. As well as your frequent contributions, which have done much to shed light on our history. Pray for us as we continue our Lenten journey.

              • Thomas Mathes says

                Your grace. No particular sensitivity to homosexuality. Those were the only type of sexual misconduct charges that I found. You shouldn’t read too much into “obsessed”; I was simply playing off Spasi’s wording. I intended no attack on George or this blog. I hadn’t seen enough in the OCA to believe that the church was any more “obsessed” with sexual misconduct than this blog. From Spasi’s reply, I gather he has access to first hand knowledge of OCA “Star Chamber” proceedings on sexual misconduct which gave rise to his choice of “obsessed.” Since they are secret, I don’t know about them. I’m always a little cautious about accepting assertions which I have no way of verifying or confirming. Finally, you rightly criticize my naming names–especially since this is Lent; but I didn’t want to be too vague in my references to sexual misconduct accusations on this blog. Of course, I was not making any accusations about the individuals named, only reporting what others had alleged. Still I should have considered another way of making my point.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Spasi,, good points all but you find the same problems in the other jurisdictions. Priests are regularly sandbagged by well-heeled donors leaning on the local bishops. It happens so often it’s a yawner anymore.

            What we need are more dioceses, more monasteries, and more Godly bishops who can stand up to lay thugs.

            • Now, George, I agree with what we need as you state it, but I think you made a glaring omission: you should have said “who can stand up to Lay AND CLERICAL thugs.” The “Dons” in some of these gangs of thugs are often Archpriests. I remember the always witty Archbishop Peter exclaiming more than once: “we’re in danger of turning into a protopapacratia!” That could be englished into something like “Archpriestocracy”, but the Greek has a better bite to it! And (I do hate to say this) I’m afraid that some individual hierarchs have acted as the most thuggish of thugs in, e.g., the case of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick—later in the case of Archpriest Joseph Fester and Metropolitan Jonah.
              Tonight, there is not (for the first time in the parish’s history, I believe) any evening service at Los Angeles’s Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral here. There is this weekend one of those awful Pan-Orthodox Orthodoxy Sunday jamborees, and Bishop Benjamin and the Greek and Serbian and Antiochene hierarchs, are all getting together for the spectacle: one of American Orthodoxy’s greatest and most original (or outlandish) contributions to Church history. Archbishop Kyril, of ROCOR is the only one who is doing what he’s expected to be doing by the customs and canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church: serving in his own see Cathedral not only the Vigil and Liturgy of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, but The Office of Orthodoxy. (I used to do it as well). Not Bishop Benjamin, not Bishop Gerasimos, not Bishop Maxim, not Bishop Joseph, though; they’ve probably NEVER done this traditional office since they either don’t get it themselves, don’t know how to do it, or they don’t want to be criticized by “the denominations.”
              Instead of doing their duty, then, they are participating in yet another entertainment for their people and another advertisement for their being wonderful hierarchs.. In L.A. we used to just entertain the people and ourselves with a “Pan Orthodox Vespers”. There people can poke their neighbors in the pew and say, ‘that’s MY priest,” “that Litany is Romanian,” ‘that Litany is Greek” and so on, kind of like the opposite of Pentecost, while observing which Priest has the best vestments, voice, or chanting style. The Sacred Cow of American Orthodoxy Popular Liturgical Participation, finds its apotheosis in the icon parade. (Here it would be appropriate to give the origins of the word “Liturgy” as “The Work of The People (of God)” To me, “participation” means, first and foremost, praying.Of course, in those Vespers-Jamborees, there was little praying going on at all. It was all entertainment and spectacle. There was always a homily.. The last time I participated in one of those was after I became a Bishop. Bishop Anthony asked me to give the homily. I agreed, on the condition that no clergy were allowed to relax and shoot the breeze while sitting on their keesters in the Altar while I was standing up “outside’ giving a homily to which they didn’t even have to pretend to listen (that had Always been the custom until then). I, frankly, do not like Liturgies with many Bishops concelebrating. It’s confusing to have so many men standing in the place of Christ at the same time, don’t you think? Surely ONE hierarch is more than enough, although a Vicar and, as seldom as possible, the First Hierarch joining in is tolerable.

  10. cynthia curraWen says

    Well, Geoge Texas is just as bad as California because their just as many Mexicans. Texas in 2030 if continue the Rick Perry open borders and cheap labor is Calif II. I have greater hope for North Dakota, New Hempshire and the states that don’t have that many hispanics. Growth don’t help you if its mainly poor hispanics and the white population will get smaller and smaller and Texas will look more like Brownsville if it doesn’t do anything about its hispanic population.

    • Jim of Olym says

      Si! Them Metzikins are goin’ to take over our white country…
      And they might vote Democrat! Sad but get over it, cynthia.

      And we white folks used to be the pure people of God.
      Think again, folks. there are many more of them than there
      of us. Get used to it.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Jim, you are misguided and naive. Nothing wrong with Mexico. Like America it’s got its own share of problems. The question is whether we want Mexico’s pathologies transferred over here. How would you feel if Americans started forcing their values on Mexico? It’s really that basic.

        As for your numeric logic, let’s expand that. Lots more Charismatics than Orthodox. How about letting their ecclesiology take over Orthodoxy?

  11. cynthia curraWen says

    Please George read Pat Buchnan about conservative Republicans that allow illegal immirgation like Orange and San Diego did in Ca will cause their state to be the next El Paso or San Ant not great like North Dakota or New Hempshire that have low poverty rates NH is about 9 percent and ND is 9 percent not 17 percent like Texas and not great income New Hempshire is the highest and Texas border areas are the lowest, Brownsville about 98 percent hispanic its the same as Imperial Valley in Ca which is 90 percent hispanic.

    • Geo Michaloplulos says

      Cynthia, you are completely correct. The Chamber of Commerce is allied with the Democrat Party in one large “treason lobby,” the purpose of which is to dilute the historic American nation. The Democrats want a new class of welfare-dependent voters while the Republican country-clubbers want to depress the wages of the white working class.

  12. cynthia curraWen says

    Actually, his grace is right its in Caesar’s commentaries about the blue dye. I just look it up in Widepedia on ancient Celtic warfare. Sorry, George that I bew up.

  13. cynthia curraWen says

    George back in 1975 California cut taxes a lot by passing prop 13 and the Republicans had a lot of influence even if the Dems were in the majority. However, Businessmen hired thousands of illegal immirgants in the huge Los Angeles to Santa Ana metro area. These conservative businessmen thought if you just lower taxes but don’t care if the people you are hiring are low pay and have larger families you can go on for years. Some folks in Texas with excpetions like Lamar Smith think that if you have conservative Republicans things will keep growing but I know of people that went to Washington State since Texas is said to have too many illegal immirgants, so even cheaper housing costs will not help if you allow the foreign born to approach over 30 eprcent.

  14. cynthia curraWen says

    George back in 1975 California cut taxes a lot by passing prop 13 and the Republicans had a lot of influence even if the Dems were in the majority. However, Businessmen hired thousands of illegal immirgants in the huge Los Angeles to Santa Ana metro area. These conservative businessmen thought if you just lower taxes but don’t care if the people you are hiring are low pay and have larger families you can go on for years. Some folks in Texas with exceptions like Lamar Smith think that if you have conservative Republicans things will keep growing but I know of people that went to Washington State since Texas is said to have too many illegal immirgants, so even cheaper housing costs will not help if you allow the foreign born to approach over 30 eprcent.

    • Geo Michaloplulos says

      The difference between Texas and California at this point is that Texans still have a sense of “American-ness” and patriotism that goes all the way back to the Alamo. Except for the Okies and their descendants, Californians have no national memory. That’s why Texans are not as easily bullied-about as Californians are when it comes to the PC nonsense. Oh sure, in time they will be but the rising consciounsness of the Anglo majority in Texas and Arizona shows that the tide may be turning. The irony is that our elite overlords have spent the last forty years fomenting ethnic identities in order to better balkanize us but they forgot that the historic American nation (Europeans) have an identity as well.

      Incidentally, New Mexico, which has a slim majority of a mixed Anglo-Old Hispanic (going back to the days of the Conquistadors), has less of an illegal alien problem. One thing the wealthy natives there don’t do is purposely hire illegal aliens to undercut the native working class to the extent that this happens everywhere else. Being of part-Iberian descent, they don’t feel the 0white guilt that has been assiduously cultivated in our public school systems lo these past years.

    • Jim of Olym says

      I am white and I went to Washington State because I had retired and my wife got a job there. Been there since 1991 and love it, and sorry Cynthia, we have lots of nice Mexican and other Latin American restaurants here. Get used to it, you might be a minority..

      • Jim, I think you are the victim of “because-of-this-that” fallacy concerning Mexican restaurants and South American food. Just because they are listed in the Yellow Pages as restaurant, there is no indication that there is “food” being served inside. There has never been any proof that there is such a thing as edible Mexican or SA food… heck there is also very little US American food that is edible… 😉

        Any thing containing corn (maize) is disgusting. The only way this can be considered food is if it has been fed to the pig first and the pig has ended its useful life on my plate.

        ….and “Rare” Hamburgers…. Pfui Teufel!

  15. Does anyone remember what this thread was originally about?

  16. Carl Kraeff says:
    March 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm
    “I am an off-the-boat naturalized citizen.”
    Didn’t know that about you, Carl.
    Since my parents and grandparents were “off-the-boat naturalized citizens,” I have a certain degree of empathy for that.

  17. Vladyka,
    I got the “feeling” you don’t like these “pan” things….;-) Well we don’t either. That is why we gave up on them. We will have a procession with our icons around our church, and a big BBQ with the “pans” some time in summer…

  18. Carl Kraeff says

    Sp[asi wrote: “Carl, canonical matters, of which priestly discipline is most certainly one, simply do not include laymen. For instance, if there is a canonical trial, the OCA Statute clearly states, “In cases involving accusations against members of the clergy, the court shall be restricted in its membership to members of the clergy” (XI. 2).

    The interpretation of the 8th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (which speaks about those who defy the authority of the ruling bishop or a decision that he’s made) cites Act 10 of the Synod held in the time of Basil the Macedonian that “no layman whatsoever is allowed to provoke an argument about ecclesiastical matters.” Later the interpretation is summed up as saying that “even if laypersons are reverent and wise, they ought not to meddle in ecclesiastical matters.” In other words, issues regarding the clergy, especially as it relates to discipline, is of no business to the laity. They should stay out of it.

    But this is all obvious to anyone who is steeped in the authentic tradition of the Church.

    Now, a question for you, Carl. What canonical basis is there for the existence of the Metropolitan Council? I await your answer.”

    First, my apologies to George for started another thread (the other one was getting unwieldy).

    Spasi objected above to my statement that the OCA Holy Synod may assign to the Metropolitan Council duties and responsibilities regarding sexual misconduct by the clergy. His fist objection is something of a non sequitur as I did not say that lay persons would be involved in a trial of a clergyman, Obviously, before one gets to a trial, there would be an investigation that may involve lay persons to provide their expertise in areas that clergy may not possess.And, during the trial such lay persons may be called to testify before the court. However, I was merely pointing out the obvious (made more so by His Grace Tikhon’s observations above): while the vast majority of MC’s competencies are spelled out in the Statute, the Mc is also able to carry out decisions of the AAC and the Holy Synod as assigned to the MC. As I also pointed out, the MC is not composed solely of lay persons; it is chaired by the Metropolitan and includes the national officers (traditionally largely clergy) approved by the Holy Synod, at-large members and alternates (many of them clergy) elected by the AAC, and diocesan delegates (both clergy and lay persons) elected by Diocesan Councils. It is true that the MC is not a clergy only body and it seems to me that Spasi would like it to be so. Indeed, he does not fancy the idea of a Metropolitan Council at all.

    Let’s now look at Spasi’s exhibit number 1: the Eight canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon):

    “Let the clergy of the poor-houses, monasteries, and martyries remain under the authority of the bishops in every city according to the tradition of the holy Fathers; and let no one arrogantly cast off the rule of his own bishop; and if any shall contravene this canon in any way whatever, and will not be subject to their own bishop, if they be clergy, let them be subjected to canonical censure, and if they be monks or laymen, let them be excommunicated.

    Ancient Epitome of Canon VIII: Any clergyman in an almshouse or monastery must submit himself to the authority of the bishop of the city. But he who rebels against this let him pay the penalty.”

    Obviously, the Canon itself does not in any way shape or form address what Spasi is talking about. In all fairness to him though, he does mention an interpretation of this canon by a council held during the time of Basil the Macedonian. I would love to check out his citation but I cannot; he did not give us a reference.

    Finally, he asks the direct question: “What canonical basis is there for the existence of the Metropolitan Council?” This is an extremely telling question that indicates either that he does not understand what canons are and why they exist, or that he is trying to send me on a fool’s errand. I’ll cut to the chase and tell him that the OCA Statute is all that is needed for the OCA for the MC is not prohibited by a canon.

    NOTE: Of the 34 members of the Metropolitan Council, 14 are lay persons that include two outstanding persons from my diocese–Judge Lanier and Ms. Jury. Enough said.

    • I’ll type slowly so that you can understand it this time. There – is – no – canonical – precedent – for – having – lay – people – in – authority – over – clerics. None.

      The whole exercise seems to elude you. You speak about checks and balances, you speak about delegated authority, you speak about the state of the OCA being ‘normative.’ In other words, you refuse to look critically at the situation through the lens of the accepted tradition of the church. All you say is, world be damned, if the OCA does it, then it’s OK. That’s a non answer, Carl. And it won’t be accepted outside of the four walls of Syosset.

      The MC is an administrative body, a glorified secretary. By it’s very nature, it cannot have any authority in the church, nor can it rightfully be given authority. If you can’t figure that out, then I’m not sure how you can be helped at this point.

      You also say ridiculously obvious things like, “It is true that the MC is not a clergy only body and it seems to me that Spasi would like it to be so,” and “he does not fancy the idea of a Metropolitan Council at all.” Pray, tell, why in the world would any Orthodox Christian who wishes to align themselves to the accepted canonical tradition and practice of the church for 2,000 years accept such a thing as the Metropolitan Council as having any authority in the Church? If they want to exist as a consultative body and an implementation body, let it be so. But let them step out of the way of the priests and bishops who’s God-given task it is to lead and have authority within the church.

      And frankly, I don’t care if Oprah is on the Metropolitan Council. It doesn’t change the nature of what their role should be.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        “There – is – no – canonical – precedent – for – having – lay – people – in – authority – over – clerics.”

        How about historic precedence? Let me start with Saint Constantine, who when he presided over the First Ecumenical Council was a lay person and a non-Christian to boot. The Church of Constantinople has had its share of having “lay – people – in – authority – over – clerics” since the glory days of Byzantium; how about, the Sultan and later the Turkish Government deciding who is the Patriarch? Let’s switch over the Third Rome: do I need to give an example or did you skip that class as well?

        “If you can’t figure that out, then I’m not sure how you can be helped at this point.”

        That’s exactly how I feel about you. If you are in the OCA, I ask you why remain? If you are not, why are you meddling? Which jurisdiction do you belong to anyway? Are you a priest by any chance?

        “Pray, tell, why in the world would any Orthodox Christian who wishes to align themselves to the accepted canonical tradition and practice of the church for 2,000 years accept such a thing as the Metropolitan Council as having any authority in the Church?”

        I have absolutely no nostalgic wish to emulate all of practices of the Church for the past 2,000 years. Old Calendar, infrequent communion, papal pretensions of some Patriarchs, monarchical pretensions of some bishops, “pray, pay, and obey”–none of these do I respect as true Orthodox praxis. You are the one bringing up canonical tradition but fail to demonstrate exactly which canons proscribe conciliar governance. Incidentally, you still have not provided the citation for Basil the Macedonian’s council (talking about not having lay authority!). You are fond of proclaiming this and that is Orthodox and those other things are not, as if you expect to be believed and obeyed (that is why I think you just may be a cleric hiding behind a fake name). You have no formal authority as “spasi” and you have personal authority with me. As the current idiom is “put up or shut up.”

        • So the justification for having a Metropolitan Council having lay people in authority over clerics is:
          *The emperor of the Roman empire (the divine right of kings)
          *Governmental authorities who made decisions within the church during Symphonia or under the Turkish yoke
          *Russian governmental procurators created by Peter the Great, the greatest westernizer in history

          That’s just brilliant. Thanks so much.

          Of course, I’m sure that the real reason has nothing to do with making the church more democratic (that is, overthrowing it’s ‘horrible’ monarchical past) and that the power is not centered in the clergy.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            No, sir. What I wrote was to debunk your silly notion that “There – is – no – canonical – precedent – for – having – lay – people – in – authority – over – clerics.” Since canons (rules) came into being to correct deviations from Orthodox praxis, the lack of a specific canon that supports your contention means that the Church was comfortable with (or had to live with) “having – lay – people – in – authority – over – clerics.” Now, I can understand your frustration but did you seriously expect the Church under emperors kings, sultans and commissars to have enacted such a canon?

            More to the point, why are you stirring the pot when things are quiet? Is this a smokescreen of sorts to cover yet another difficulty? Or, are you wired to pick a scab over and over again so that it never heals?

          • “Things are quiet.” Very revealing.

            Let me translate for the rest of our readers: “Now that Met Jonah is compliant with the way we want him to do things, and now that we hold the threat of an ugly retirement over his head, and now that he knows we’ll send him back to St Luke’s for another round of humiliation, and now that we have some of the old gang back at Syosset, and now that we’re setting the church up to accept under duress our social agenda, why are you disturbing our plan?”

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Spasi–You might just learn something from this:

            “Reflections in Christ by Fr. Alexander Schmemann
            February 28, 2012

            Clergy and Laity in the Orthodox Church”


      • Carl Kraeff says

        Spasi: “All you say is, world be damned, if the OCA does it, then it’s OK. That’s a non answer, Carl. And it won’t be accepted outside of the four walls of Syosset.”

        Interesting: so, according to the sage Spasi, the OCA Statute is not the product of the Orthodox Church in America that met in a Sobor, an All-American Council, to approve it and has had the opportunity to revise it in additional Councils since. It is merely a construct of Syosset or just a few folks who pull the levers like the Wizard of Oz. What planet do you come from? Don’t you know that a local church can set its own governance rules (canons)? Don’t you know that, despite the OCA Statute and the MC, all canonical Orthodox churches are in communion with OCA? Therefore, don’t you realize that your opinion about the non-canonicity of the Metropolitan Council is just your opinion?

        BTW, my last two sentences in the post above should have been “You have no formal authority as “spasi” and you have no personal authority with me. As the current idiom says, “put up or shut up.”

        • Let’s face it, that the OCA is canonical doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of the world blesses what the OCA does. In fact, it’s quite clear today that the OCA is being put in it’s place not only by its historical non-supporters (Constantinople, et al) but now even by its former supporters (Moscow, et al).

          If you want to know the history of the Metropolitan Council, you’ll have to do better than “it exists.” Clearly you have no living history of the Metropolia or the early OCA.

          You’re breaking my heart, Carl. I was really hoping I could put you under my thumb.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Well, enlighten us please. How did the MC come into being? For example, do you agree with the following analysis:

            “Our present fix can be traced back to two men in particular, Aleksandr Schmemann and Ivan von Meyendorff. Meyendorff was the brains… the ideologue, a brilliant Bukharin and Suslov (but he lacked the ability to inspire others). Schmemann was the “rain-maker”… the dreamer and salesman… a tin-plate ersatz Lenin and Trotsky in one (with all the flaws of both, with none of their strengths). His logic was faulty, his scholarship was often derivative, yet, he had one thing… he had charismata, in the classic Greek sense, he could make people believe in the reality of his opium dream. Yes… two determined men changed the course of history… and not for the better.”

            • I’m not doing your homework for you.

              • You are wasting your time with Kraeff and his unreasonable reasoning and illogical logic. He also comes from the land of the yellow brick road but only blogs here “for the sport of it” and the attention and “kick” he gets out of it.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Here is something logical and reasonable:

                  “The Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is now accepting applications for the position of Assistant to the Metropolitan.

                  This demanding position requires an individual to to assist the Metropolitan in his daily routine, including serving as his subdeacon, driver and general assistant. Specific duties include arranging and maintaining his schedule, travel and correspondence, as well as assisting him during liturgical services.”


                  • What was illogical and unreasonable before this “logical and reasonable” step?

                  • I’m glad you posted this. Let me go on record and say that this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. You’re going to have a search committee for a personal assistant to the Metropolitan? The man should pick who he wants and then be done with it. So I think it’s absolutely perfect that you posted this, because it’s shows just how far down the rabbit hole the OCA has fallen.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Let me return the compliment: I am so glad you posted your response. You assert that there is a search committee. The announcement that I linked to has no such information. What is in the announcement is standard operating procedure for personnel matters. Your assertion to the contrary, on the other hand, shows how paranoid Syosset haters have become.

                    • Was my punctuation wrong too? Search committee, search effort, search process – whatever.

                      Standard Operating Procedure. Yes, I forgot. Everyone and everything is as it should be.

                      Everyone and everything is as it should be…
                      Everyone and everything is as it should be…
                      Everyone and everything is as it should be…
                      Everyone and everything is as it should be…
                      Everyone and everything is as it should be…
                      Everyone and everything is as it should be…

                    • The result of “unreasonable reasoning and illogical logical” by CK.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                But, you can certainly answer the question.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Here is more good news:

                “Bulgarian Diocese announces plans for May 4-6 consecration of Archimandrite Alexander [Golitzin]” Another good bishop on the Holy Synod!


                • Not sure if he will be a good bishop, but it is interesting how he was put on a “never to be made a bishop” list by the OCA Synod in the past but now he is ok?. Maybe Bishop Tikhon would know more about the previous serious reservations.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Jacob–Wasn’t that a long time ago? I guess in your mind people do not change? Also, I suppose that you are so much wiser than the folks at the Bulgarian Diocese who nominated him and the present Holy Synod which elected him.

                  • I will acknowledge that this subject matter is totally out of my hands and none of my business.

                    Whatever flaws this person has, he must also have some qualities that would have made him stand out as a possible episcopal candidate. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t bother putting him on a list like that.

                    On the other hand, you may be cynical like me and can guess why whatever put him on that list might also work in his favor. You know what I mean?

                    Unfortunately, the OCA has a hard time finding candidates for the episcopacy. Metropolitan Jonah did propose establishing a new monastery with the express purpose of making it a place where monastic episcopal candidates could be trained and prepared for that ministry.

                    But it’s anyone’s guess how, not to mention when or if, that idea will ever turn out, because if Met. Jonah likes anything, the He-Man Jonah Haters Club has to destroy it.

            • The Metropolitan Council of the OCA is an example of the evils of bureaucracy. One axiom of bureacracy is that you never do away with any positions or offices…EVER.
              The North American Missionary Archdiocese had an Archbishop and he had his Diocesan Council. It operated as Diocesan Councils do even today. Thus, in addition to the presiding officer, the Archbishop, all the other hierarchs in the diocese were on it: some members were appointed or were, according to custom ex officio. When one ruling Archbishop returned having been promoted to Metropollitan when appointed Exsrch of Georgia, Metropolitan Platon, a lot ot terminology changed. As you know, in Russian one referred to the Metropolitan’s Cathedral as A Metropollitan (Mitropolichii) Cathedral; to the choir that sang there as “the Metropolitan (Mitropolichii) Choir. In America, the Archdiocesan Council became a “Mitropolichii Soviet” instead of an Eparchial’ny Soviet. So, with the return of the Metropolitan Platon to America, the diocesan council became what we call the MC. However, other dioceses came into being, and they had (more or less, and not all of them) their own diocesan councils. Nevertheless in one of the earliest attempts at a Governing Statute, the Council of Hierarchs, ruled that the Mitropolichii Soviet would include, automatically and ex officio, ALL bishops. That was the first deviation from the canonical norm that led to the present uncanonicall oddity. The oddity lasted throughout the twenties, the Depression, WWII, the Post War\ era until now, through the laws of bureaucrtic perseverance and INERTIA. The optimum time to re-form the upper administrative organs of the OCA was when the OCA became autocephalous. If we all could focus, we’d see that it’s ridiculous and wasteful for a First Hierarch to preside over two Diocesan Councils: his own (Now) Washington Diocesan Council, plus the evolutionary detritus known as the Metropolitan Council. The reflexes of bureaucracy are like the tentacles of an octopus. Something can and should be done. The main impetus given to those attacking Metropolitan Jonah is the idea that he might actually do away with that utter anomaly, the old diocesan council of the North American Mission now referred to as the MC.
              Believe it. There’re absolutely no issues of democracy or conciliarity at stake, nor of Freedom. It’s almost past time to act. The tentacles of the bureacracy are tightening. Who will they rip off from the Body next?

  19. Carl Kraeff says

    Yet another good news (they are a-coming aren’t they?):

    The renowned Orthodox missionary Father Maximus is now listed at the St Nicholas Cathedral as Missionary Priest. Glory be to God and many thanks to Metropolitan Jonah. I had read an article about this wonderful preacher a few years ago when the ROC recruited him and then lost track of him. However, reading through an article on missionary activities in Alaska, I came across his name and looked him up. The Lord has truly blessed his missionary work. I would urge all to use the links below for more information.

    From the last link:

    “Maximus has preached Gospel campaigns in 39 nations, face to face with millions of people. Meetings have ranged from five people, to five hundred thousand people in a single service, as in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Noteworthy, is the fact that multitudes of people from the Muslim faith have converted to Christianity in both North Africa and Central Asia as a result of these numerous campaigns, held from Mali to Kyrgyzstan.

    Over the past few years, the ministry has hosted campaigns and conferences in various cities in Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Armenia, Pakistan and Cuba. One unique outreach was in historic Armenia, in the city of Sevan , where from a population of approximately 10,000 people, up to 7,000 people attended the largest service. In the evenings, multitudes of people, including all the local prostitutes, responded to Maximus’ words for repentance and church attendance, while during the day, a conference was hosted with up to six hundred people from local churches – attending daily teaching and discipleship.”

    • Carl,

      This is not new news. Fr Maximus has been attached to St. Nicholas for quite a while, at least a couple of years if not longer while he continues his missionary activities.