Another Barn-Burner from +Jonah

Please take time to listen to these wonderful, off-the-cuff remarks by His Beatitude following the banquet at the 16th All-American Council. Truly inspirational.

Kudos to the fine people at Ancient Faith Radio for their fine coverage of the Council. As usual, they’re stand-outs and continue to be the best all-around Orthodox media presence on the Web.

It’s only twenty minutes but well worth it.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Metropolitan Jonah – Closing Banquet Speech


Below is the video tribute that +Jonah references in his Banquet Speech. From the OCA website:

This video presents a brief outline of the life and ministry of Archbishop Dmitri [Royster], the first convert bishop in the Orthodox Church in North America (Abp Dmitri had been raised Baptist in Texas). He was the founding bishop of the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the South. Beloved not only in his diocese, but by all the Orthodox faithful in America, Archbishop Dmitri fell asleep in the Lord on August 28, 2011, after nearly 60 years of ordained ministry in the Orthodox Church. May his memory be eternal.

You can view the view the video on the OCA website.


  1. I give AFR and the OCA web team pats on the back for posting these. A job done well is a job done well. Since we have benefited so much from AFR’s efforts this month and they are a bit short of their monthly budget at the moment, maybe we should all consider leaving something in their tip jar in thanks.

    May Archbishop Dmitri’s memory be eternal.

    I thank Metropolitan Jonah for giving such a beautiful and heartfelt encomium, and for carrying on Vladyka Dmitri’s legacy of love for his flock. AXIOS!

    • But what happened to the last session, in which the sanctity of marriage resolution was passed?

      • YES, the Sanctity of Marriage Resolution Passed–in amended form from the original. St. Nicholas was asked to amend it to “request” from the Holy Synod the possibility of a specific day–its up to the Synod now.

        I also emailed AFR last week asking the audio from the last session be posted–they said “Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, we will be posting this session. We were not able to record it ourselves and are just waiting for the audio to be sent to us. Thanks again for contacting us, and God bless!”

        My guess is that Syosset has a recording–email the New Chancellor–i think he is starting to get Syosset in line.

        Here is what +MJ said– (page 75 of the minutes )
        “Proponent: His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan
        of All America and Canada (Diocese of Washington): Thousands are looking to us to support
        the integrity of morality and Christian faith. In no way do we want to exclude anyone – we need
        to embrace and care for everyone with all the compassion we can muster. But marriage is a
        sacrament which reveals God in the world. “I strongly affirm this resolution.”

        Here is the resolution.
        7. Sanctity of Marriage
        Submitted by St. Nicholas Cathedral, Washington DC, and reviewed by the Resolutions
        Committee September – October 2011
        WHEREAS the Metropolitan of the OCA was among the hierarchs of SCOBA who
        adopted the 2003 Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation, Whereas we live in a society
        in which, ever increasingly, divorce is common, marital infidelity is common,
        pornography is common, abstinence before marriage is rare, and “marriage” is being
        redefined to include same-sex partnerships,
        BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Sixteenth All-American Council of the
        Orthodox Church in America re-affirms the 2003 SCOBA Statement on Moral Crisis in
        Our Nation, viz:
        The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy
        Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists
        in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed
        by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or
        sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex.
        Holy Scripture attests that God creates man and woman in His own image and
        likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union
        that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage is blessed with the birth of
        children, every such union exists to create of a man and a woman a new reality of
        “one flesh.” This can only involve a relationship based on gender complementarity.
        “God made them male and female… So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark
        The union between a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage reflects the
        union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). As such, marriage is
        necessarily monogamous and heterosexual. Within this union, sexual relations
        between a husband and wife are to be cherished and protected as a sacred expression
        of their love that has been blessed by God. Such was God’s plan for His human
        creatures from the very beginning. Today, however, this divine purpose is increasingly
        questioned, challenged or denied, even within some faith communities, as social and
        political pressures work to normalize, legalize and even sanctify same-sex unions.
        The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. Whereas marriage
        between a man and a woman is a sacred institution ordained by God, homosexual
        union is not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by
        Scripture (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This being said, however, we must
        stress that persons with a homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same
        mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All
        persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.
        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Holy Synod be requested to explore the
        designation of a day in the Church calendar to annually commemorate the sanctity of
        marriage, so that the faithful, both married and unmarried, may be exhorted to live

        • Jane Rachel says

          It was good to read this, thanks for posting it.

          Mister Stankovich has removed the photos of Father Robert Arida, Father Vinogradov and Protodeacon Eric Wheeler from his web site. Why were their photos there in the first place?

          Father John Jillions states the following on his web site:

          “I am especially interested in:

          how divine guidance, discernment and decision-making are understood
          interpreting Christian faith to those with little or no religious background
          20th c. émigré Russian religious thought and theology (the Paris School in particular)
          how Orthodox relate to the “other”
          how the insights of conflict studies might be used in ecumenical and interfaith contexts
          the relationship between North American culture and Orthodox Christianity
          newness, change and reform within the Orthodox tradition
          the experience of Orthodox clergy (and their wives)
          the experience of sexual minority groups within the Orthodox Church
          Orthodox churches and the defense of human rights ”

          What is he saying? Does anybody know?

          • “Mister Stankovich has removed the photos of Father Robert Arida, Father Vinogradov and Protodeacon Eric Wheeler from his web site. Why were their photos there in the first place?”

            Sorry Jane Rachel, but the clerics you mention still have their mugs on Stankovich’s website. Look under “Contacts” – the rugs (yes, pun intended) are viewable in all their glory. 😛

            • Oops. Shoot. Oh well.

              So why are their photos there… I don’t have a problem with Mr. Stankovich particularly (except for those sideways insults) since he’s not a leader. But what about Father Jillions and Father Arida?

              I would like to ask Father Jillions directly which traditions he (or “they) would “reform” and “change” in the Orthodox Church, and what “newness” he is interested in. He has a web site, he states it clearly, but he doesn’t tell us what he means, and I think there is good reason to want to know what he and Father Arida are really saying. I assume they are on the same page and are interested in the same reforms, changes and newness in the Orthodox Church.

              Hoping for answers, expecting silence.

              • Send him an email, call, fax and ask!


                Office: 516-922-0550 ext. 130

                Fax: 516-922-0954

                • No. Way.

                  • Go on. You know you want to. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.

                    • Because Fr Jillions has made it a public matter by placing such conerns on his website.

                    • Now that Jillions is the OCA chancellor it is not appropriate for him to have a personal website. His personal opinions are not the policy of the OCA. He should close down his site. His job is to support the actions of the Holy Synod.

                    • [In response to Amos]

                      I don’t know about Fr. Jillions site.

                      Actually, I would really love to see a blog section on the official OCA site. I’d like to see a blog for Met. Jonah, and for that matter, I’d love to see the bishops rotate through writing articles on matters important to the church.

                      If it could have comments, even better!

                      Many parishes might see a bishop, what, every two years or so? And if they sit high on the dais and are served on china while the faithful eat from paper plates, well there’s not a lot of chance to get to know any bishop in that circumstance.

                      A blog would actually be using some of the great blessings of the Internet to provide real connections with our hierarchs. How they think. What is important to them. Their vision for the Church.

                      Not press release pap.

                      And rather than have editorial reactions from us ‘anonymites,’ the faithful could draw their own conclusions based upon the bishops’ own views, unfiltered.

                      How did St. John Chrisostom get so well known? Many people read his sermons, perhaps?

                    • I’d like to see that. Transparency and unfettered writing go hand in hand. There’s the OCA Wonder Bread, um, I mean ‘blog’, but it’s a little too scripted, if you know what I mean.

                      Metropolitan Jonah already has an AFR podcast; maybe he should do that more often. They have it set up so it’s basically like an interview conducted by a Syosset staffer (first Fr. Andrew Jarmus and then Fr. Eric Tosi). Instead of that, they could set it up so that people could write in questions, and the Metropolitan could respond on his own when he has time.

                • At the risk of being called “hateful,” I think it is completely wimpy to speak around something. If you believe it enough to want to “reform” the Orthodox Church (goodness!), say it. Who are “The Other”? Aliens from Outer Space? If he is talking about homosexuals being “the other,” he is, in my opinion, alienating them further.

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Well said, Jane. Here’s my 2 cents: all you liberals and progressives out there, stop shouting “hateful” everytime you hear an argument that hurts your feelings.

                  • Perhaps, by ‘the other’, Fr Jillions means Republicans, pro-lifers and those who regard homosexual acts as intrinsically sinful…then again, maybe not.

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      There’s been an interview, in Russian, with Fr. John Jillons. Hopefully there will be an English translation.

                      Svetlana Vais interview w/Fr. John Jillions

                      Interview republished by:

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      I am getting to the bottom of it.

                      Father Jillions does not call others “the other.” Note that he puts the term in quotes.He says we call those who are not like us “the other” and we need to see the close-mindedness of this view. He puts the term “the other” in our mouths, where “our” is referring to those who do not think like he does. He thinks those Orthodox who do not think like him think everyone who is not like them is “the other” – and further says that we see “the other” as our “enemy.” Homosexuals would fall into this category, but so would non-Orthodox Christians, “liberals” and everyone else. We say the Orthodox Church alone is the True Faith and stand firm on that. This is triumphalism, says he, and this close-mindedness about Orthodoxy is what’s alienating people and causing the Orthodox Church to fade away. He says we all need to work together, not alienating other churches, but uniting with them to conform, reform, change, renew Christianity, soas not to turn anyone away (so the world will like us) . He says that we (i.e., traditionalist, triumphalist, non-ecumenical, conservative, homosexual-haters), who are not like he (i.e., ecumenical) consider everyone not like “us” to be our enemy. We want to turn them away (i.e. stop them from being bishops?). He says we think “the other” (i.e., all non-Orthodox including everyone) are our enemy. Ah, yes, this would mean we do hate homosexuals, other Christians, and everybody else who is not like us. It’s tribal! We hate them because they are not like us. Now I understand. So that’s why we are so hateful! Can we not be more like Christ, says Father Jillions?

                    • Svetlana Vais is the person who writes all those cheerleading articles about Stokoe and OCAN. She’s a parishioner at the St. Sergius chapel in the Syosset chancery.

                    • Readable if you use the translation tool available.

                      Father Jillions says, “I have not so many, but I think the most serious work “Language enemies.” It’s about the conflict in the church life, the reasons for hostility, about the origins of strife. The basis of the work are historical facts and trends can be traced to the present day. Most New Testament tells us: “Love your enemy.” But in real life this is not always the case. We quarrel and fight, and with passion. I’m trying to find better ways of resolving conflicts. And most importantly, how we – the Orthodox, treat people not Orthodox, other Christian groups. This work is about rethinking the evolution of the conflict and its consequences.”

                      “We quarrel and fight.” Who quarrels and fights? Bishops? People who post on blogs?

                      Disagreement, and often passionate disagreement in the Church over vitally important issues is not the same as quarreling and fighting. We are not bickering like children with their siblings,and if we are, we need to grow up. Conflict exists, true, but if “resolving conflict” means compromising truth, the Church cannot compromise, not even for peace.

                      He speaks of conflict within the Church, then says, “most importantly, how we Orthodox treat non-Orthodox – other Christian groups.” I am glad Father Jillions wants to help resolve conflict and think he looks like a nice, gentle person. So does Father Robert Arida (whose work I have read and whom I’ve met). This is why I wish they would just come out and say whatever they really mean when they write these articles and speak these speeches. I guess they don’t want people to get mad at them. Hmmmm….. makes a person think, now, if I get mad at them when I find out what they are really saying, who is at the root cause of the resulting conflict , me, or them? Who turned it into a “me” vs. “them” situation?

                      I haven’t experienced an overall mistreatment of non-Orthodox Christians by Orthodox Christians. I guess I didn’t know it was a big problem. Or again, am I missing something?

                    • It’s not that complicated.

                      In philosophical and theological parlance, ‘the other’ is just someone/some group different from ourselves. These differences get defined and redefined in dizzying designs as we come closer to understanding each other.

                      Of course, this all depends on a benevolent intention to try to understand/be understood by all ‘the others’. This is the essence of peacemaking.

                    • Is Fr. Jillions using “Fuzzy Logic”? (Intentionly or unintentionally?)
                      fuzzy logic
                      : a system of logic in which a statement can be true, false, or any of a continuum of values in between
                      First use: 1969

  2. I can’t play this video because it is a vimeo video. Using their link it costs $59.95. Can it be converted to a youtube type video? Thanks

    • Stephen, you can reach it by going to and clicking the links there. Unfortunately, I don’t think it can be embedded in other websites.

  3. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    If someone could sponsor a transcript at the AFR site . . .

  4. Are we allowed to eat Turkey today?

    • No one can give us ‘permission’ not to observe the customs we receive by way of the Tradition.

      Still, how much of those customs we can or will observe, or just how we will observe them, is a highly individual thing. Regional and even family practices come into play, too, and not just in the ways we practice fasting and abstinence.

      Only let us be kind to each other, as St Paul teaches us: ‘Let those who eat not condemn those who do not eat; let those who do not eat not condemn those who do.’

      And let us be grateful to the Lord God for all His bounty to us.

    • Robert, today is a day to give thanks to God and partake of the gifts He has provided. 🙂

      • Yes, Helga, like in the Akathist “Glory to God for All Things” that we served at our parish last night.

  5. I notice those who support Met. Jonah and who are fiercely critical of those who complain about Met. Jonah give many links and references to documents and recordings of what they don’t like. Notice the authors of those unwelcome references and documents are described as ‘a cabal’ and so on by many of Met. Jonah’s supporters. What jumps out at me is that everyone knows who they are, and there are a quite of view of them. Search here on this website and you’ll get a big list, various bishops, Mark Stokoe, Fr. Hopko, and of others whose names would fill a couple three pages.

    Now flip it over and look at it the other way. George Michelopoulos, Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald, Monk with a monastery allergy James Silver, to some extent Fr. Hans Jacobse and myself who like his speeches but aren’t really ‘going after’ those who have through their experiences came to a not-supportive view. After a while it was revealed Jesse Cone and Rod Dreher but possibly not his wife are/were supporters, and Fr. Fester whose use of language one doesn’t often find among clergy. Also those who make anonymous postings, whether their number is more or less than the pen-names they use is anyone’s guess.

    Those who like what he’s said or like his decisions and are willing to say so in the manner of those who have come to the opposite view— well I think we could fit around a big table in a cafe. What do we know they don’t know? What do they know that we don’t?

    • Sounds to me like the bloggers “Harry Coin” and the former “Anonymous Since it is All the Rage” are one and the same.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        I think Harry must be using Dragon Naturally Speaking< MacSppech or another speech-to-text application. For instance, he writes "quite a view," but he no doubt must really have dictated, "quite a few."
        But the second paragraph begins with words that make me think there's another problematic at worK "misfiring synapses" often associated with the elderly: "Now flip it over," he writes. But what is the "it" that is to be flipped over? Is it a CD? A DVD? A pancake?
        And does he really think the names he mentions would fill two or three pages? I bet even his exaggerated list would have a hard time going to three lines!
        Somebody's brain is on "idle", any way you want to define the word.

      • There’s an anonymous person using ‘me’ again. Too funny!

        Anyhow I’ve never posted anything here except under my name. In fact on all the lists where I’m active my name is given right in my email address.

        I do often type quickly on this sort of ‘chat blog’ between other jobs. Grammar and spelling do suffer as the retired bishop points out.

        It’s fun the anonymous game isn’t it, who is really who and so on. Worked out so well for Met. Jonah so far hasn’t it!

        • Harry Coin says:
          November 24, 2011 at 11:12 pm
          “There’s an anonymous person using ‘me’ again. Too funny!”
          Yes, Harry, and even though it “drives you up a wall,” “I” am a real person with freedom of speach who, no matter how hard you try, will not allow you to deny me, and some others here, our authentic Personhood and Constitutional right. So “chuckle” on, Harry, and keep on making more and more a fool of yourself.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Harrym, is it just possible that you and other critics (named and unnamed) of +Jonah may be wrong instead? Let’s develop this further. Hundreds of people have come to know HB since his election. To a person they have said “wow! he’s the real thing!” He’s lauded in the other jurisdictions and other traditional Christian confessions (like ACNA, the Acton Institute, etc.)

      Now let’s look at those who are critical: two bishops, a few priests in Syosset who are worried about losing their Oyster Bay addresses, homosexual activists, in other words, not a lot of people.

      If I may quote Oliver Cromwell: “Think ye in the bowels of Christ that ye might be mistaken?”

      • George you know I want to go along with the idea ‘the silent majority is all with him’. Remember I think his speeches (at least the ones I’ve heard online one way or another) are really good.

        But, you know, it’s not exactly rocket science to post and put groups together on the internet. And right now you’ve got Bishop Tikhon’s list of venues… Well you go count noses.

        • Harry,

          Do you really want to

          go along with the idea ‘the silent majority is all with him’. Remember I think his speeches (at least the ones I’ve heard online one way or another) are really good.

          Your innuendos, your sly implications of something unsavory, about a man you have never met suggests something other than good will. Your writing is reminiscent of those seminar callers on talk radio who claim to be “lifelong Republicans who have left the party over [fill in the blank.]”

          You seem to be a Mark Stokoe shill, repeating and amplifying some of the very worst of what he had to report/spin. You do this with no evidence other than it appeared on that site. Makes me wonder about your motives, Harry.

          Since you do not belong to the OCA, what reason do you have to be stirring this particular pot in the way that you have?

    • Not that I made much sense of this post altogether, or that I feel the need to defend myself….

      It distresses me to have to address this, but it seems fair and right to engage the matter here and now (‘again, yet again’) for the sake of Harry Coin’s mental health and even his salvation.

      Anyway, HC writes: ‘…Monk with a monastery allergy James Silver….’

      This was neither good nor kind nor necessary, and not even true.

      Considering that he knows nothing of my situation beyond what I (without fear of embarrassing myself) choose to make public, his negative attitude toward me expressed over the years here and on other websites deserves, even demands an explanation and an apology.

      Whence comes this animus, this iakovophobia or maybe even monakhophobia? I’ve certainly never done anything more to him than to challenge his irrationalities as they occasionally appear. I’ve never attacked him personally.

      Maybe a monk scared him once? Or maybe he thinks that monastic men and women ought to be locked up in their cloisters so as to be put out of his misery?

      In any case, HC is way out of his depth when criticizing me in his ignorance of the hows and whys of my situation, and he needs to get a grip on himself and gain a clearer, more authentic and traditional understanding of the place and meaning of monastic life in its several forms, even of celibate life in broader contexts, within christian life altogether.

      Or is his hostility toward unmarried people a cover for his tacit accusation that they are, by merely being unmarried, ipso facto to be condemned as suspected homosexuals?

      What would HC have said about Jesus, had he — with his own ears — heard the ‘ordained young, never married’ rabbi preach and teach in first-century Israel?!

      There are people who’ve introduced ‘queer theory’ into a deconstruction of christian literature and history, and come up with a pseudotheological justification for homosexuality on the bare notion that neither Jesus nor John (‘the disciple Jesus loved’ and who leaned back on Jesus’s chest as they lay down to eat) was married. But that’s all they have: not married and affectionate. Guys can’t hug each other affectionately, no sexual signals involved? Why don’t they call ‘deconstruction’ what it really is: destruction.

      And it’s this sort of destruction which runs through HC’s representations re: celibacy and monastic life, poisonous insinuations which undermine faith and trust and the blessedly optimistic ‘benefit of the doubt’ which we owe each other.

      He really ought to ‘consider his words, lest he sin’, and lay off me and monastic life in general. I realize that he thinks he’s being helpful and offering constructive food for thought, but he’s bady mistaken and being self-delusional in this.

      He ought to stop it.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Harry Coin refers to “Monk with a monastery allergy James Silver.”

      Why the gratuitous insult?

      You need to mention this in Confession, Harry.

      • Those who use religious titles leave the uninformed reader with usual and customary presuppositions. When those who use titles offer views in public forums, the readers need to know if the usual presuppositions are inapt, that the views expressed are not those informed by the usual and customary meaning that goes along with the title.

        For example, one reads the title ‘monk’ the usual and customary presupposition is ‘one who lives if not all the time, then nearly all the time in a monastery’.

        The use of a title carries with it responsibilities.

        • And Pope Harry has spoken!!!

        • Harry Coin is being delusional here, or at least deliberately disingenuous. He’s far from ‘uninformed’ wrt my situation and status, as I’m sure he remembers from his previous attempts to spar with me on the Orthodox Forum list.

          At a certain point in that rabbit warren of a conversation, I invoked the assistance of the moderators who explained to HC that it was his problem, not mine. It’s just that HC doesn’t like the uncomfortable (for him) fact that I don’t/can’t conform to his template of monastic life.

          His template is warped and useless and therefore causes his opinions to be warped and useless. But, while his warped template is neutral in itself, his attempts to apply it falsely to me or any other monastics is doing great damage to his soul and spirit, maybe even his digestion.

          So, the View From Here suggests that HC should better quit trying to play Prokroustes with me. Not only can he never hope to make that one-size-fits-all bed of his accommodate me, I won’t even enter that bedlam of a bedroom for a fitting.

          He should stop it.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Harry Coin—with no authority but his own—comments, “For example, one reads the title ‘monk’ the usual and customary presupposition is ‘one who lives if not all the time, then nearly all the time in a monastery’.”

          This is raw nonsense. If I were to list all the canonized monastic saints who lived most or all their lives outside of monasteries, George would have to start a new blog.

        • A monk is a man who has been tonsured into the monastic life. The cornerstone of the monastic life is obedience, not necessarily living in a monastery.

          • In Obedience to whom, and living where?
            that is the question some of us ask.
            But we never get an answer.

            Jim of Olym

            • Jim, my point is that the necessary condition for being a monk is the tonsure, not living in a monastery. If Fr. James is tonsured a monk, he has vowed obedience to somebody. Whether or not he keeps that vow is his problem!

            • Jim of Olym says:
              November 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm
              “In Obedience to whom, and living where?
              that is the question some of us ask.
              But we never get an answer.”

              Ask Met. Kalistos Ware and Fr. Meletios Webber who were both tonsured at the monastery of St. John the Apostle on the island of Patmos but never have lived there and you will get your answer.

            • Jim is mistaken, or his memory is failing him.

              I’ve made my situation quite clear several times on the Orthodox Forum list when challenged on these points, usually by people who are quite satisfied with themselves that they know all there is to know about monastic life and who disingenuously try to give me a hard time.

              But for the sake of our esteemed correspondents here, I’ll do it again. I was tonsured in 1978 for the Monastery of Our Lady of Tikhvin in Kansas. For our sins, that community no longer exists and I am the last surviving monk.

              After three years of community life and fifteen years or so of solitary life in the monastery, Abp Job of Chicago blessed me to study for a doctorate in theology, which I pursued at Drew University in NJ. I had previously earned a degree in Classical Languages (Greek concentration) and Slavic Languages (Russian concentration) and minored in linguistics. When I left the midwestern eparchy of the OCA in 1994, the monastery formally and canonically ceased to exist.

              During my studies, Abp Job directed me to ask Abp Peter for his canonical protection. AbpP agreed, then disagreed, and behaved a bit strangely. Since AbpP was in communication with Fr Robert Kondratick about me, and since FrRK knew my situation well, he arranged for me to be under the omophorion of Met. Theodosius. Apart from a couple of wrenches thrown into the works by Met. Herman, I remain under direct obedience to Met. Jonah as first hierarch of the OCA.

              After I finished my twelve seminars at Drew, I moved out of noisy, inadequate campus housing to a small apartment convenient to the parish church and to my elderly grandmother, who depended on my help.

              Shortly before my grandmother’s death, I also inherited the care of my mother, who died in 2006. I could go nowhere then: there’s a divine commandment that we must honor our fathers and mothers. After her death, I fully expected Met. Herman to tell me what to do next. But she died just five months after Met. Herman fired FrRK, and OCA central was in chaos. I could go nowhere then, either.

              Things are much calmer now, and I fully expect some marching orders in the very near future. Met. Jonah has had a lot on his plate these last three years, so I’m waiting for his cue. He doesn’t need any prodding from me.

              I trust that this minibio will refresh Jim’s memory. Ya’ll can go back to sleep now.

              • BTW: I forgot to mention that I’ve never been supported by The Church, neither the official OCA not the laity. I’ve never taken so much as a nickel from The Church. When I was occasionally sent on church business, OCA central paid my travel expenses, but that’s all.

                Like all monks, I’ve always worked to support myself. When I was no longer able to work because of my physical limitations, I was required to retire on a disability pension.

                It’s not much, but I can make it.

                • Monk James, I’m gonna need to see your last three tax returns to verify that… (just kidding).

                  By the way, you should probably remind Metropolitan Jonah about normalizing/finalizing your situation, just in case he’s forgotten.

                • This is an example of one of the limitations/realities we have to live with regarding monasticism in America. It is not likely that the church will have the funds to fully support monks, if at all. Monks that work in the world to support themselves is not the ideal model, though those who do it should get credit for making the best of a bad situation. I guess even the Pilgrim occasionally took on work in order to have shelter and “rusk” to eat.

                  Perhaps the model we should work towards is a monastic work cooperative where a brotherhood can live in “exile” from the world yet earn their sustinance through making candles, farmwork, making wine, etc. Just a thought…

                  • Ken, That IS the way monks live in this country. It is the way they are suppose to live.
                    It is not the job of the Church to support monasteries. However, having said that.
                    Monasteries, mostly end up needing donations to stay afloat.

                  • Pravoslavnie says


                    That’s pretty much the way monasteries operate the world over, including here, and many parishes try to offer their support by purchasing their candles and incense from these communities. Not to shortchange any other monastic communities, but these brothers in WV may come closet to the ideal of a “bunch of guys in the woods” trying to scratch a living off the land and selling their surplus. They make really nice soap and honey too. Christmas is right around the corner.


                    • Thanks for that insight. My knowledge about monasticism comes from reading about St Anthony, the desert fathers, St John of the Ladder, the Philokalia, St Gregory Palamas, and forth. I’ve never looked into the nuts and bolts of how monasteries actually operate from a financial standpoint.

                      If we take St Anthony as an example, he basically lived in a desert cave rent free with a stream nearby and he ate very simple food delivered by the local townfolk, so even though he didn’t get much if any support from the church, neither did he have to go out into the world to work. Probably the best way to simulate that today is for the church to purchase inexpensive land in the country so that the monks at least don’t have to worry about accommodations. Then the monks only need to produce enough goods to provide simple food and clothing. People making pilgrimages are another source of support.

                    • Pravoslavnie says

                      Most monasteries here operate in a similar fashion. Pilgrims are a source of support through donations for prayer lists, overnighters in a guest house, or goods and services. The US based monastery with which I am most familiar is Holy Cross as linked above. They will gratefully accept support in any form; monetary, food, and supplies. If you linger for a couple of days they are not shy about putting a hammer in your hand or a feed bucket. Several monasteries are ideally suited for cemeteries, and they take prayer obligations very seriously.

                  • It’s a fact that many/most of us monastic men and women in North America support ourselves and our communities (if we belong to a community) by working in the secular sphere.

                    In my own monastery, two of us worked outside in order to allow our hegoumen (at least) to work within. This economy shifted a bit as others came and went. It was a fragile little group and eventually went out of existence.

                    It would be good for the laity to encourage the establishment and growth of monastic communities at the same time as we monks and nuns are ideally not dependent on the generosity of the laity, but rather — by the work of our hands and our minds, our God-given talents — we might support the laity and clergy of The Church and pay our own bills.

                    The laity and the clergy should be able to come to the monastics for help and prayer and consolation just as much as we must rely on the clergy for their priestly offices and on the laity for their love and friendship.

                    When monastic communities grow large and strong, of course there’s the possibility of ministering to all comers, living and dead.

                    Except for the monasteries of the Holy Trinity at Jordanville NY and St Tikhon at South Canaan PA — both communities in short supply of men — we’re just not yet at that point in North Americ. God haste the day!

                • The Lord bless you and keep you, Monk James.

  6. Sounds like Harry had too much Tryptophan today

  7. Hey Harry, yesterday on TV there was an offensive lineman on the Miami Dolphins with the name “INCOGNITO” on the back of his jersey. Do you think he should have been allowed to play with a name like that?

  8. Wasn’t really sure where to post this, but here goes. I’ve completed a new satirical image, entitled “Darth Mel” and it may be viewed here:

    • Gee, you guys are all so funny! I love reading your posts.
      thanks for the laffs.
      the church will go on in spite of us all, I hope. Gospode Pomilue!

  9. Heracleides says

    I’ve created a faux ‘icon’ called “Gravely Troubled” and it is available for veneration here:

    (Yes, I admit it – I had a lot of fun creating this one. If anyone loudly objects, I will gladly offer a non-apology apology…)

    • Jane Rachel says

      Unbelievable, really. How can it be? And yet, I think you are right. Father Thom reminds me of Boromir , and then I think of of Gandalf crying, “Fly, you fools!” and of Edmund (“Lion, Witch, Wardrobe”) eating the witch’s Turkish Delight until he was green around the gills. Why do you suppose Bishop Benjamin wore magenta robes at the ACC? i don’t know. But I sure am sad, and also, mad. These people need to get a clue.

      Speaking of the Inklings, my favorite writer among them is Charles Williams. My copies of his novels are old and dog-eared from being read so many times. Have you ever read Descent into Hell?

      Here’s one passage from that novel, which can be found onine here. Full of powerful imagery dealing with a man’s descent into hell when he gives way to all-consuming jealousy, hatred of those who are good, and self-absorption):

      The character’s name is “Wentworth.” The passage is taken from Descent into Hell, Chapter Five, “Return to Eden” by Charles Williams.

      “The evening wore into night. He could not bring himself to go to bed. He walked about the room; he worked a little and walked, and walked a little and worked. He thought of going to bed, but then he thought also of his dream, and the smooth strange rope. He had never so much revolted against it as now; he had never, waking, been so strongly aware of it as now. It might have been coiled in some corner of the room, were it not that he knew he was on it, in the dream. Physically and emotionally weary, he still walked, and a somnambulism of scratched images closed on him. His body twitched jerkily; the back of his eyes ached as if he stared interiorly from the rope into a backward abysm. He stood irritably still. His eyes stared interiorly; exteriorly they glanced down and saw the morning paper, which, by an accident, hehad not opened. His hands took it up, and turned the pages. In the middle he saw a headline: “Birthday Honours”, and a smaller headline: “Knighthood for Historian”. His heart deserted him: his puppet-eyes stared. They found the item by the name in black type for their convenience: “Aston Moffatt”.

      There was presented to him at once and clearly an opportunity for joy–casual, accidental joy, but joy. If he could not manage joy, at least he might have managed the intention of joy, or (if that also were too much) an effort towards the intention of joy. The infinity of-grace could have been contented and invoked by a mere mental refusal of anything but such an effort. He knew his duty–he was no fool–he knew that the fantastic recognition would please and amuse the innocent soul of Sir Aston, not so much for himself as in some unselfish way for the honour of history. Such honours meant nothing, but they were part of the absurd dance of the world, and to be enjoyed as such. Wentworth knew he could share that pleasure. He could enjoy; at least he could refuse not to enjoy. He could refuse and reject damnation.

      With a perfectly clear, if instantaneous, knowledge of what he did, he rejected joy instead. He instantaneously preferred anger, and at once it came; he invoked envy, and it obliged him. He crushed the paper in a rage, then he tore it open, and looked again and again-there it still was. He knew that his rival had not only succeeded, but succeeded at his own expense; what chance was there of another historical knighthood for years? Till that moment he had never thought of such a thing. The possibility had been created and withdrawn simultaneously, leaving the present fact to mock him. The other possibility–of joy in that present fact–receded as fast. He had determined, then and for ever, for ever, for ever, that he would hate the fact, and therefore facts.

      He walked, unknowing, to the window, and stared out. He loomed behind the glass, a heavy bulk of monstrous greed. His hate so swelled that he felt it choking his throat, and by a swift act transferred it; he felt his rival choking and staggering, he hoped and willed it. He stared passionately into death, and saw before him a body twisting at the end of a rope. Sir Aston Moffatt… Sir Aston Moffatt…. He stared at the faint ghost of the dead man’s death, in that half-haunted house, and did not see it. The dead man walked on his own Hill, but that Hill was not to be Wentworth’s. Wentworth preferred another death; he was offered it.”

      • Descent Into Hell is one of my favorites!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Jane Rachel, I knew, just knew that you were an Inklings fan! Be still my heart! I was waching the expanded version of LOTR this weekend on Encore. I got to thinking which character has parallels in our own drama in OCA-land. I haven’t figured it all out but Kishkovsky makes a good Grima Wormtongue.

        • George, what can I say? I hear you.

          We can’t forget George MacDonald, who wrote so many works in the 19th Century. My favorites are Phantastes, Lilith, Diary of an Old Soul to name a few. He was closer to Orthodox thinking than he knew, and helped get me there (not that I am there, my faith is too tiny). Thank God for C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, and most-loved, most wonderful, George MacDonald. True Saints among the great Cloud of Witnesses, praying fervently for us.

          • if memory serves, MacDonald was a great inspiration to Lewis, who made him a pivotal figure in his book The Great Divorce. I agree with you, though I was born in the Faith, the Inklings soldified my faith and in their own way, kept me in it. One of the high points of my ilfe was visiting Oxford about 15 years ago. Me and the boys tried to make it this last trip but we couldn’t. There was something wonderful about that place when the Inklings flourished.

            • Jane Rachel says

              Now, George, mention Oxford and the first person that comes to mind is John Thaw as “Inspector Morse,” and that is WAY off topic. On the other hand, maybe not… In the final episode of the Inspector Morse series on “Mystery!,” Morse, in a poignant scene with Kevin Whateley’s Inspector Lewis, recites the last few lines of the poem “Remorseful Day” by A.E. Houseman. I just watched that clip again and as usual, it made me cry (sniff).

              Remorseful Day

              How clear, how lovely bright,
              How beautiful to sight
              Those beams of morning play;
              How heaven laughs out with glee
              Where, like a bird set free,
              Up from the eastern sea
              Soars the delightful day.

              To-day I shall be strong,
              No more shall yield to wrong,
              Shall squander life no more;
              Days lost, I know not how,
              I shall retrieve them now;
              Now I shall keep the vow
              I never kept before.

              Ensanguining the skies
              How heavily it dies
              Into the west away;
              Past touch and sight and sound
              Not further to be found,
              How hopeless under ground
              Falls the remorseful day.

          • I love Chesterton, MacDonald, Lewis, and Tolkien. Truly the golden age of old Oxford. When Chesterton wrote his book “Orthodoxy”, he was using the term in the “small o” sense, because he was Anglican at the time and would later become Catholic. Still, “Orthodoxy” could easily have been written about “big O” Orthodoxy, and if Chesterton had lived in an Orthodox land, there is no question he would have been Orthodox. My favorite quote from that book is:

            “This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad…. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling, and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.” -G.K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Somehow, I missed Jane Rachael’s reference to Charles Williams. I first hears of his “theological thrillers” when I was serving in the Signal Corps at Ft. Gordon, GA, in 1956. A (Catholic) chaplain’s assistant put me on to him, and I am everlastingly grateful for that. I own just about everything he wrote. Later on, after becoming Orthodox and just after I’d gone off USAF active duty for a year at SVS, I had a conference with Father Alexander Schmeman about a fellow student, and I casually made reference to Charles Williams. He brightened up and exclaimed, “Charles William! But he’s a poet!” I had known only the fiction (and “THE DESCENT OF THE DOVE: A History of the Holy Spirit in the Church’) by Williams. Father Alexander read very widely, indeed. I remember when I visited SVS after leaving it to go back on active duty, while I was assigned to Hqs USAF on the Air Staff in the Pentagon. He asked to meet with him and while we were “” in his office he asked me if I had read “The Fourth Man”. (It had recently just come out.} I was astounded. I had indeed read it, but I had never stopped to think that anyone like him would do. He went on to say that he loved “that sort of thing, with espionage and treason in high places involved.”
        Yes, Jane, when I think of the “septuagint” of presbyters who signed that putrid letter, I get an image of something like a conclave of Williams’s hierophantic beetles, crouched over and signing the thing.

        • Jane Rachel says

          As I would say in my lighter moments, “Boy, I hear ya, Your Grace.”

          For those who haven’t read Charles Wiliams, the book with the beetles is titled “All Hallow’s Eve.” Available for free reading online here. If you search “beetles” you’ll find the passage, which gave me chills when I read it again with that scene in Chicago in mind. The whole novel is fantastic reading and spot on.

          P.S. Who is the author of “The Fourth Man”?

  10. Oh, Herc, I must admit it made me cringe a little. But when I read what he said on OCAN back in February, I relive the horror, anger, and disappointment I felt when I first read it, because as much as I had respected Fr. Hopko, I knew in my heart that he was lying.

    And he does get hagiographied a little bit in the OCA – ‘if Fr. Hopko said it, it must be true’. I can’t reconcile that with the man who told this cruel lie.

    • I know what you mean. When I decided to go ahead and post this one (there are many that never get posted) I did it with the thought of ‘sauce, goose, gander.’

      • I must admit I’m sorely tempted to deface my Hopko books by changing his name to “Fr. Thomas ‘Gravely Troubled’ Hopko”.

        I’d like to see how many OCA bishops and priests could pass a psych evaluation like Metropolitan Jonah has. Let Fr. Hopko waste a week of his life answering questions about his mental state, and then spend a month in drug rehab to get him off the drugs he doesn’t even use. I’ll send him a get-well-soon card. Or maybe a get-a-life-and-keep-your-diagnonsense-to-yourself card.

        • “and then spend a month in drug rehab to get him off the drugs he doesn’t even use”

          Is this true?

          • That’s what Bishop Benjamin allegedly wanted Metropolitan Jonah to do back during Lent, according to a report on OCAT: a 28-day drug/alcohol rehab program. Of course, not being a drug or alcohol abuser, Met. Jonah wouldn’t have much use for that. I suspect that this alleged substance abuse is what Fr. Thomas Hopko was getting at when he called the Metropolitan “gravely troubled”.

            As far as I know, Met. Jonah is currently free to conduct his hierarchical duties without constraint.

            • Jane Rachel says

              It does not make sense. Why would they want him to go through rehab? For what reason?

              • Where have you been, JR? It’s to humiliate and discredit him. The whole point was to make it so that if they couldn’t remove him from office by direct subterfuge, they could ruin his reputation and undermine his credibility. Places like ACNA and the Acton Institute would be afraid to invite him to speak or to listen to what he says, if they think he’s some kind of drug-addled psycho. Same for members of Congress and the pro-life movement.

                What they need to know is that there’s nothing wrong with Met. Jonah at all, he’s just facing down a powerful and angry heretical movement that has resorted to ridiculous means to discredit him.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Well, that is what seems to be and could be and looks like what they are doing. I would like to know what reasons they would give if asked directly (no, I’m not going to email them) other than, “he is gravely troubled.” Does anyone know what they would say if asked? Ahem. I’m asking.

                  • They would answer this way: “To project +Jonah’s privacy and dignity we are not free to say what those troubles were. He’s a good man, but unfortunately the job was too much for him. We wish him well and ask that God would bless him.”

                    IOW, you would never be told no matter how many times you asked.

              • For what reason? To discredit Met. Jonah. If he went into rehab, they would come back and use it as the proof he was not fit to lead. They would confirm their own lie, a slam dunk in their eyes.

                Remember, Stokoe, Reeves, Garklavs and all the other conspirators were in on it from the beginning. If they could cast doubt on Jonah’s mental stability, then confidence in him would diminish and when they moved him out everyone would think they were doing the right thing.

                Look again at Stokoe’s reporting starting with the failed Sante Fe putsch. Look closely at his “breaking news” press release. The first two paragraphs were written extemporaneously, the rest of the article was written beforehand. People began to notice things like this and the stench of dishonesty grew stronger the closer they looked. When emails were leaked that confirmed the conspiracy, it was only a matter of time before their lie was exposed completely.

                The Stokovites are an arrogant bunch, full of ideas about their own self-importance. Jonah, coming in from the outside was not properly vetted in their eyes, which really means that he was not corrupted by the meager ambitions that corrupted them. He threatened the status-quo (particularly Syosset salaries). It was decided he had to go.

                Stokoe played the game poorly. His arrogance did him in. It’s not clear whether Stokoe was the brains behind the outfit (probably not), but he was their mouthpiece. He had to be cut loose because he would bring down everyone if allowed to continue. Most likely he was forced to close OCAN by his fellow conspirators but no one really knows for sure.

                By the time of the AAC, Jonah defenders had figured it out. The only way to clean house completely was to defund Syosset and start fresh.

                • Ian, et. al.,

                  There was only one reason for Jonah to be checked into the SLI and that was to “get something” anything on him so that the Synod could then say with clean hands, “see, there was something wrong with Jonah and therefore he has to go.”

                  That was the game plan then (see above links) and it continues to be the game plan today. Jonah is skating on the thinnest ice yet. The synod meets around Dec. 9. I would not be surprised if they want to make his evaluation public. Of course the only way that could be done is if Jonah signed a disclosure agreement prior to entering SLI saying that his results could be made public. If he did, then they synod, at least, could know his results. As for the rest of the Church, I guess that depends. We will know soon enough.

                  I think they have Jonah clearly in their sites and they are going to take him down. Nothing has changed since Santa Fe. What that means for the OCA? I am afraid nothing good.

                  As for OCAN shutting down, actually when that happened and the timing of it, I concluded that Jonah was finished. Now, Stokoe can have plausible deniability since the take down will be after OCAN went down. I took OCAN going down as a very bad signal for Jonah. As it were Stokoe’s “work here was done” and he got his man.

                  One can expect that whatever comes out the synod will be bad for Jonah. He is going to be put in the worst possible light. They have not gone through all of this so that they can say, “Never mind. Jonah is fine.” The OCA synod never works that way. They always have to cover their assets and they will this time too.

                  The worst days for the OCA are not behind us but still ahead and it could be very ugly.

                  • If you are correct (and I don’t think you are), then the Church will be run by homosexuals and careerists. It will die.

                  • Jacob, if all that’s true, Met. Jonah is in serious trouble. But there’s one big strategic flaw in their plan, and that would be the possibility that SLI found nothing wrong with him. Met. Jonah is free to make his results public whenever the hell he feels like it. If SLI thinks he is clean and sane, there’s not a damned thing they can do about it.

                    The fact that he hasn’t been taken into residential treatment is a good sign. It makes the possibility that SLI is somehow in collusion with Met. Jonah’s enemies less likely. They may not be as stupid and spiritually dead as Met. Jonah’s enemies, mistaking religious fervor for mental illness.

                    And that leads me to the other flaw in their plan, which is the fact that Met. Jonah is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. God loves His servants and will surely provide for our Met. Jonah. Met. Jonah may have a long struggle for the rest of his earthly life, working out his salvation in some degree of restriction to a monastery, but remember that he was made for the monastic life, so it won’t be too hard on him.

                    Also, imagine the successors of those who tormented St. Nektarios prostrating themselves before icons, begging forgiveness from the man their predecessors loathed so much!

                    • Helga, great point (re St Nektarios). We must also remember that despite the continued repentance of the Church of Alexandria, there has been nothing fruitful from it since the Saint’s ostracism. It’s merely just a pathetic dependency of Istanbul.

                    • Helga,

                      We will find out soon exactly the disposition of Jonah and just as importantly the disposition of the OCA. The image of St. Nektarios is an apt one. It seems like all the great bishop saints had to deal with agendas by those who desired “the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts” Mk. 12:39.

                      Jonah is not like the others. He may be stark raving mad for all I know based on his “evaluation” but he is not envious, nor does he wish ill of others. He may be as weak as a willow, bending way too much for the sake of the other and certainly at his own expense. He may be the worst administrator the OCA has ever had, but what is also true is that previous Metropolitans of the Metropolia and OCA were not stellar administrators, even going back to the saintly Leonty. He had Besermtney. Ireney had Pishtey, Theodosius had Kontratick, Herman had Kondratick, and a few other less memorable helpers. Who has Jonah had? A chancellor who was fired (still getting paid) who was proven to be stabbing Jonah in the back, an Interim Chancellor who was working for who? And, now, Jillions. Hired by the MC and “confirmed” by the Synod. Who does he work for?

                      No, being a lousy administrator is not why Jonah was sent to the SLI. You don’t send an administrative blunder bust to SLI. He will be tarred and feathered with whatever they can stick on him. They will make it out to be or it really is much more serious. But in the end the OCA will not be better for it. We will lose more credibility and we will be leaderless for the next three years with a series of Temporary Administrators (the a la Bekhish) plan all along.

                      There will be no winners only losers and the rank and file will be further disillusioned and good young men who might have been willing to go to seminary will think hard and long about being affiliated with the OCA.

                      And the answer to all of this? How about taking a good hard look at the last 10 years and stop being such an ugly mean-spirited church and rather work to be reconciled to one another. I don’t think the OCA can survive if it continues to listen to those who think it more important to have best practices at the expense of having a forgiving heart. Jonah projects that forgiving heart and that is why he is so dangerous to those who would rather destroy the OCA than seek the true medicine of salvation – forgiveness.

                  • Referring to your wish that the OCA would die: Really, Helga!!!??? Initially I was tempted to rebuke you. But,, as I started to type a great sadness came upon me. May the Lord have mercy on us all.

                    • Carl, you’re totally missing the point. Anytime a church exists for careerism and corruption, it will inevitably die. The Holy Spirit will simply pick up and leave. He won’t stay where He’s not wanted.

  11. From Syosset Press ™ I’ve received the cover of their newest “Best Seller” non-fiction novel which is available for viewing here:

    • Herc, your talents are much appreciated!

      • Thanks George. Excuse my ‘English,’ but as my Grandfather of blessed memory was fond of saying “Sometimes you’ve gotta hold the bastards’ feet to the fire.” Which is true, or so I was taught as a social worker in my propaganda… er, “community organization” courses during my university days. Who would’ve guessed it’d come in handy someday.

        • Herc, that one is easily my favorite.

          Sadly, Met. Jonah does need to watch his back. Now that the SMPAC manufactured outrage has sputtered, the Stokovites are likely to try to sink another hook into him to pull him down.

        • Powerful images, Heracleides. I do hate this awful mess they got us into.

    • You know, Herc, I feel hypocritical.

      I have laughed, or at least been pretty amused, at all your graphic efforts. I’ve always loved political satire.

      But on the one hand, there are people firmly in the Stokoe camp, and will be there no matter what the evidence shows. (Harry??) On the other hand, are those of us (most of whom I believe know the Metropolitan personally, or minimally have a pretty conservative outlook on Orthodoxy.) who have staunchly supported the Metropolitan, while conceding that he has been thrust into the job without all the training required.

      In the middle are the “lurkers” – they rarely, if ever, comment, but they follow the discussion closely. And they try to discern the truth by picking through our comments. In my discussions with such people in my parish, I have noticed that when the rhetoric gets pointed, dare I say nasty, then the reaction from such people is “Aww, they are both the same.”

      Note that this has nothing to do with the principles, or the argument. It is clearly ad hominem, we are judged by our behavior, not the issues.

      But nonetheless, that judgement affects their view of the debate.

      We are not going to convince Mark Stokoe, or Father Garclavs, or Father Kishkovsky, or Bishop Benjamin. They are all in for the strategy of destroying this Metropolitan. But this is maybe the only forum where the fate of the OCA is openly discussed. That is a new development for the OCA. However, if we return snark for snark in airing our perspective, those who are looking here will stop lurking – if only for the health of their own souls. Or they will discount our point of view.

      Then we become an echo chamber.

      And Herc, a non apology apology is not required.

      • Good point. I hope that those of us on this site can exceed the Stokovites not only in fidelity to the ancient faith, but also in charity. As I try to teach my kids, the way of Christ does not allow for paybacks. I don’t want to take away from Herc’s creative satire, but we also need to be careful not to cause problems for +Jonah to mend whatever bridges he can.

      • Heracleides says

        Actually Trey, I agree with most of what you have written, at least intellectually. (As I told Helga, most of the images I create I do not post, usually because they are more than a little over-the-top and often simply help me to blow-off steam.) However, those images that I do decide to post are of course meant to illicit a response, and sometimes an extreme one.

        Let’s be honest – the Synod-Syosset-MC axis play for keeps. The stakes are high and they are more than willing to go for broke to achieve their ends. Those of us who oppose their aims can, I suppose, sit around and engage in mildly distressed & ever oh-so-polite hand-wringing and then, like the Continuing Anglicans, wake up one day soon too find we’ve lost the OCA. Or, we can, like the saints of old, stand up to these people and take the battle to the back-rooms (or basement in the case of Harry – just joking Harry – I know you’re GOA) where they hatch their schemes. I have chosen the later course, because for me, they should be held accountable for their actions, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for some. Fr. Hopko did attempt to paint our Metropolitan as “gravely troubled” just as Fr. Graklavs did stab +Jonah in the back in the SMPAC report. While it is likely true that pointing this out in a stark manner will upset some lurkers and they will then depart, my hope is that it will also cause some of them to step-up to the plate and not let the future of the OCA be trodden underfoot. Is the OCA worth fighting to preserve? I sometimes wonder, but will continue posting on the assumption that it is, at least for the time being.

        Anyway, my approach could well be wrong and if George asks me to stop posting links to my images on his site, I will of course do so. Until then, I will persist in shining a bright light on those seeking to oust our Primate.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Herc, I love satire. Jonathan Swift was a great Christian and satirist. What you’ve done is not nearly as ugly as what +Jonah’s antagonists have done. Trey, I take your criticism seriously but if I censored Herc I’d have to censor everybody and I don’t have the time to do it. Please forgive me.

        • I honestly don’t know what to say to this. Like most people I enjoy a good laugh, even at my own expense.

          But I do know how we should think about it and what we should measure our actions against.

          Of all the commandments the one about loving one’s enemies is the most difficult – and by far the most powerful. If there is any one thing that seems to me to be exemplary in Metropolitan JONAH, it is the power he demonstrates by living this commandment of our Lord. I’m sure he would want his flock to follow his example, for therein is the power of God Himself.

          “But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you and spitefully use you…”

          “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

          • Brian, I can’t speak for Heracleides, but I do believe he loves these men, though he doesn’t like them, probably, and posts these satirical cartoons because he wants them to repent for their sakes and the sake of the Church They got us into this mess. He doesn’t play games. Artists sometimes have the kind of perspective that can cut through niceness and dig down into LOVE that hurts if necessary. We have Christ driving the money changers out of the temple and St. John the Baptist blasting away at the scribes and pharisees for their hypocrisy. These are only the top two examples. (I didn’t post the passage from Descent Into Hell just for kicks, but in hopes that people will read it and understand. I am still in shock about Archbishop Job and Bishop Benjamin, and can hardly bear to think about it, it hurts so much.)

          • I think you are right, Brian. I apologize to anyone I might have offended. If I can offer an explanation, though, you have to understand that this has wounded a lot of people deeply. And like any wounded animal, we have a tendency to lash out in distress.

            Speaking for myself, I’ve been forced to write off people I truly cared about, or at least would never have expected of trying to pervert the OCA, because I could not countenance what they were doing or supporting against our Metropolitan. I liked Metropolitan Jonah okay before all this, but I never expected to have to help shore him up against such a tsunami.

            So I’ll admit, it felt satisfying to see pain and humiliation inflicted on the people who did this to him, to see them thrown in the manure pit that they threw Met. Jonah into.

            But you’re right that Metropolitan Jonah wouldn’t want that, even if it was an indirect effect. We of all people should listen to his advice and follow his example, not because we would somehow hero-worship the Metropolitan, but because of the Christ he serves in doing that.

            Maybe it would be an acceptable compromise if Herc left out photos of particular people, and just published the satirical images poking fun at the general situation.

            • well put, Helga, Jane. All: the critics of +Jonah brought a lot of this on themselves. Maybe I was wrong to pile on but I could not stop others from seeing the absurdity of the situation and commenting accordingly.

              I mean, what in tarnation does Fr Hopko think he was doing when he abased himself before OCAN? Doesn’t any mature adult know that when you throw yourself into the arena you’re going to get called on the carpet? Really?

              • Jane Rachel says

                Yes, it was like another betrayal. It was in fact a bit like being stabbed by someone you loved… I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read “trust, honor and support Mark Stokoe’s continued efforts….” and then, “gravely troubled Metropolitan Jonah” without any other information, and this coming from Fr. Thom Hopko? There it was, and yet, it couldn’t be. Impossible, yet there it was. And we are not to question Father Thom Hopko, the great and wise teacher. Just as we were not allowed to question Archbishop Job. Oh my gosh, he was elevated in the Midwest by the priests and parishioners to cult status! After everything that has passed, I would have had to put my brain in a jar of formaldehyde to follow Fr. Thom’s advice. And then, a few months later, Bishop Matthias tells Stokoe to shut down his “trustworthy and honorable site.” What does that say about Father Hopko and the validity of his praises of Mark Stokoe, who is married to Steve Brown? Tell me, does this sound like the “Theatre of the Absurd”? Would someone explain, please?

                A Letter On The First Day
                of Great Lent, 2011
                by Fr. Thomas Hopko, PA

                (Editor’s note: Fr. Hopko specifically requested I post his letter today. )

                Dear fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ,

                Asking your forgiveness on this first day of Great Lent, I beg you to trust, honor and support the Synod of Bishops of our Orthodox Church in America, together with the Metropolitan Council and Chancery staff, in their unanimous efforts to fulfill their duties responsibly, which now most sadly include insisting upon and providing for proper counsel and care for our gravely troubled Metropolitan Jonah.

                I also ask you to trust,honor and support Mark Stokoe’s continued efforts through OCANews to report, question, criticize and comment on the words and deeds of our Orthodox Church leaders for the sake of securing their best possible conduct of their God-given duties.

                And, while respecting his right to speak and act as he sees fit, I also ask you not to trust, honor or support Fr. Joseph Fester’s opinions and views since his record hardly demonstrates worthiness of serious consideration.

                May the Lord forgive our sins and failures. And may He guide and protect us in every way.

                Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko
                Dean Emeritus
                St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

                • Fr. Hopko should not have let his authority and good standing be used in this way. His error was not in holding the wrong opinion, but in affirming Stokoe as an honest broker of the facts. Heterosexually challenged persons lack the masculine self-confidence required for making good judgments. Hitching your wagon to that horse is dangerous because sooner or later it is going to choose the wrong path. Stokoe led Fr. Hopko down a path that damaged his credibility.

                  • Ian,

                    Hopko was a willing accomplice in all of this. He knew exactly what he was doing. Hopko’s credibility suffered, but it also suffered when he was removed as dean of SVS for his poor judgement and terrible administrative abilities. He displayed an angry bitter part of his personality on that first Monday of Lent epistle and he revealed an even deeper contempt for anyone who would dare to question the legacy of his father-in-law and his vision for the OCA. Truth be told those days were long gone before this past year and it is those who consider Fr. Alexander has the alpha and omega of the OCA, frozen in time, never to be questioned, as the real agents against the OCA to moving forward. Jonah never has been a blind servant to Schmemann’s legacy, thus on outsider to those in power.

                    Why is it that only a small portion of Fr. Alexander’s diary was printed in English whereas the Russian version portrays an honest picture of Fr. Alexander that is not always pretty? Fr. Schmemann’s hagiographers (Hopko, Garklavs, Stokoe, Stankovich, Arida, Vinodradov, Bobosh, Jillions, Tkachuk) prefer to keep their memory of him alive for us rather than present a more accurate portrayal. Those who have read the Russian version of his dairy know him more accurately in the flesh. It is honest because it is his own words.

                    No, Hopko’s fingerprints are all over the Jonah take down and he will have to answer for that someday.

                    • So are you saying Stokoe is a creation of an inner circle? Was he used?

                    • And what about the homosexual angle? I see names (Arida, Vinodradov, Stokoe, Stankovich, Bobosh) that are all preoccupied with homosexuality to some degree or another. What’s with that?

                    • Stokoe is part of an elitist group that thinks Schmemann’s vision for the OCA was sidetracked prior to his untimely death when he was ousted by Bp. Peter and Nathaniel from his insider role of directing the OCA synod. Since that time the “golden age” of SVS in the 70’s and its close alliance with Syosset are likened to the “symphonia” between the Byzantine Church and State; however that was lost but finally now with Jillions as Chancellor, maybe a revival can occur?

                      SVS in the 60’s and 70’s until Schmemann’s death, was the unquestioned center of Orthodox life in the USA in education, publishing books in English, faculty fanning out across the world to project the OCA. Meyendorff’s untimely repose was another blow to the OCA and with Hopko replacing Meyendorff, he was simply a disaster and SVS has never really recovered.

                      Meanwhile, the world is a different place now and there are many new Orthodox centers with the fall of the Iron Curtain. The hegemony on Orthodox academia that SVS once enjoyed no longer exists and the demise of the OCA in recent years with their propensity to “shoot their wounded” has done nothing to promote any OCA legacy. We appear to be exactly what critics of the OCA have always said, an immature church which was not ready to be self-governing and that Russian made a mistake in 1970.

                      I would suggest that the latest chapter in this saga will be written shortly and we will again prove our critics correct. However, the elitist go blithely along thinking they still have all the answers (listen to Hopko) and the OCA will prevail as the catalyst for what world wide Orthodox must look like.

                      This arrogance was on display in Seattle but the rank and file have had a belly full and sent a message at the AAC that things are far from ok. Trying to tug on the emotional heartstrings of the gathered by presenting a video of Matushka Schmemann was a sad attempt to gin up an imaginary base.

                      I will simply add that the OCA has been infested with pro-gay clergy and bishops for decades, maybe another sad legacy of the untimely repose of Fr. Schmemann who gave no quarter for such men. Maybe it was better he left us when he did or else he might be considered a conservative right wing homophobic gay bashing cretan.

                    • “Truth be told those days were long gone before this past year and it is those who consider Fr. Alexander has the alpha and omega of the OCA, frozen in time, never to be questioned, as the real agents against the OCA to moving forward.”

                      This is the most asinine statement I have read on this site or anywhere this side of the He/She Blog. It would be completely against Father Alexander’s legacy not to question his legacy that is based on the fundamental impulse to “question everything!” Your assertion is so ridiculous that I suspect is a construct (a lie) to help you connect some dots. Shame on you!

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Jacob, you mean “cretin,” don’t you? Not “cretan” which is a native of the isle of Crete. Otherwise, a superb summation. I hope your prognosis is wrong though.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Jacob, as usual, is almost spot on; however, the following paragraph is totally off and not factual literally or figuratively:
                      “I will simply add that the OCA has been infested with pro-gay clergy and bishops for decades, maybe another sad legacy of the untimely repose of Fr. Schmemann who gave no quarter for such men. Maybe it was better he left us when he did or else he might be considered a conservative right wing homophobic gay bashing cretan.’

                      One of the greatest puzzles for those who, like me, venerated Father Alexander for his teaching ability and his great knowledge and insight into Orthodox Church history,, ;and his morality, was his almost notorious toleration, not to say, coddling. of apparent homosexuals in the clergy, the seminary and at large in the Church.
                      On my very first day at SVS in 1965, I was accosted by a Priest who said, that he made it a habit to always come to SVS at registration to look over (here followed a head-to-toe assessment) the new arrivals. He was very prominent on DRE, and had served in Alaska. Among his closest friends and associates were Connie Tarasar and Fr. Tom Hopko. One may say without contradiction by anyone who knew him that he was a “flamer” who “camped it up” all the time. A prominent member of the faculty then was a youngish man who taught Greek there. Long after my year at SVS, he finally got ordained, and even was promoted to Archimandrite, I believe. He was an early victim of AIDS, and died from it. One student from Montreal was constantly flirting. I used to wear nightshirts, but I had to go out and buy pyjamas because that student would come around after hours if we were having a talk session in someone’s room and begin to say, “Oh, my, Stephen, I can just about see everything you’ve got, you naughty boy.” Then there was the pre-theological seminarian who became so enamored of a senior student, that he was finally knocked down the stairs by a senior who is now very well-known, prominent Archpriest, to keep him from pushing himself on that senior. What a shock at Forgiveness Sunday Vespers to have that same pre-theological student stick his tongue in my mouth after we made mutual prostrations and asked for forgiveness! Father told me that student would be asked not to come back the next year. True, but he was readmitted after one year, after “maturing as lot” and he’s been serving as an Archpriest in New England since the days of then Bishop Job, as happily married “family man’ of the sort Harrry Coin would like to see in the episcopacy. Another student confessed to me that I was appearing in his dreams as a unicorn. Both Father Alexander and Father John said that this student would be referred to a psychiatrist they knew. (The student was a convert who had previously been booted from the Episcopalian seminary for psychological problems, but decided the Orthodox Church was for him). That student did “get help” but he went on to become a Bishop overseas. When Metropolitan Vladimir of blessed memory was accused of sexual abuse by a few “young men” in the Bay area and encouraged to retire to Canada, Father Alexander was asked if he had ever suspected that Metropolitan Vladimir was homosexual. His answer? “Suspected! He LIVED with us when he was a student, my dear!” I loved Father Schmeman very much and am glad to keep him in my prayers. Why, when then Bishop Dmitri proposed ordaining me to the Diaconate, he asked Father Alexander if the seminary would object to his ordaining someone who had completed only one year at SVS. “Object?” Father Alexander exclaimed, ‘Tell him to put me down as as character reference!” Jacob is otherwise quite right. SVS was once dirt poor, really dirt poor, but rich spiritually and intellectually Compared to their days of poverty they became “richer than Croesus” financially (although they have all the financial problems all prosperous institutions and even banks are having today), but rather challenged intellectually and spiritually after Father John M. fell asleep.
                      The brilliant Father Alexander Golitsin tried teaching there for a year or so, but he found that whatever he was able to communicate to his students was contradicted or diminished by the “teachings” of the token Antiochene teaching in another department. Now SVS is in a new era w/o Protopresbyter Hopko and Prof. Erickson and so on.
                      Having said all that, I wish to assert that Father Alexander, who was an absolute Master of ridicule and the put-down, would have let loose with such a barrage of ridicule at the mention of “same-sex marriage” as has ever been heard on earth.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Thank you, Your Grace, for the added perspective. I would guess that such toleration came from viewing SSA kindly as just another podvig, but maybe SVS in its poverty was just desperate for paying pupils.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      “…but maybe SVS in its poverty was just desperate for paying pupils.”

                      Do you know something that you want to share with us? Or, is this another oddity that springs from your learned mind?

                • Rebecca Matovic says

                  Ian James opines, “Heterosexually challenged persons lack the masculine self-confidence required for making good judgments.”

                  Do male challenged persons, such as myself and about 51% of the people on the planet, ‘lack the masculine self-confidence required for making good judgments’? Would this imply that particularly ‘butch’ lesbians have better judgment than other women? Would you care to expound on your fascinating theory of the relationship between gender identity/biology/sexual orientation and the ability to reason?

                  • Heracleides says

                    Having viewed your photograph, you tell us. BTW – how’s life at Leonova’s coven?

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Regarding your slur on Ms. Matovic, Heracleides–I suppose if I ever have the misfortune to behold your visage (even if you were Venus or Adonis personified), I will have to remind myself that it’s inside that counts and that in your case you are one ugly humanoid indeed.

                      BTW, Father Deacon Nicholas–Yes, I have fallen off the wagon and before I climb back on it (hopefully tonight), let me please wish you a blessed Nativity Fast. I am just a passionate old man who cannot stand various types of Festerites, even though I am enjoined to love everybody, even those who hate me..

                  • Miss Matovic, you totally misconstrue Ian’s argument (as I understand it). I certainly would have added “feminine self-confidence” as well into this mix as most of the women I’ve been fond of and attracted to in the past have always been self-confident as women. So he may have made a mistake.

                    That being said, I believe you are engaging and in the old bait-and-switch argumentation. Women and men who are sure of their sexuality (i.e. not “heterosexually challenged”) understand the normal workings of their bodies and psyches and how the created order manifests and glorifies these differences. It’s like the Yin and the Yang –both must be in perfect balance.

                    Ian, if I’ve misconstrued your argument, please set me straight (no pun intended).

                    • I think he might have meant masculine self-confidence in the same sense that women martyrs are sometimes said to have shed the “weakness” of their sex, that self-confidence itself is a masculine property wherever it is found. He’s saying Stokoe’s sexual proclivities (customarily associated with weakness and a lack of masculinity) diminish his judgment.

                      With that said, I don’t agree. For one thing, I don’t think Stokoe is at all the master here; he has never been anything more than a puppet and convenient tool. Fr. Hopko would not follow him in a million years. Fr. Hopko is obviously one of the people who holds Stokoe’s strings. However, I think Hopko has strings of his own. Who holds them? I can’t say for sure.

                      For another thing, I’m not sure I buy Ian’s chain of logic. I can see calling self-confidence a kind of masculine-type of trait since it is associated with strength, but I don’t think it follows that a gay man is necessarily effeminate or that he would be lacking in self-confidence.

                      A lot of the gay ‘rights’ movement pretty much defines arrogant prepossession: their ‘facts’ about homosexuality (it’s inborn and immutable, and therefore it can’t be sinful to act on the attraction) are indisputable. Anyone who shows the slightest resistance to their ideas (biological, moral, theological) is necessarily a bigot and must be destroyed. They are wrong, but they are not weak. It’s not the same as moral strength, obviously, but it’s a twisted form of the same kind of trait.

                      The Christian way, on the other hand, to me, seems to be to point out, as it says in the Didache, that “there are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways.”

                    • Rebecca Matovic says

                      For the record, it’s ‘Mrs’, although, horror of horrors, I generally use ‘Ms’.

                      As for Heraclides, you might consider that childish and churlish personal attacks based on nothing might not aid your arguments. The accumulation of posts like this brings a very ugly tone to this site and undermines your (presumed) attempt at Christian witness.

                    • Rebecca Matovic says:
                      November 30, 2011 at 5:40 am
                      “For the record, it’s ‘Mrs’, although, horror of horrors, I generally use ‘Ms’.”
                      I’m wondering why you use ‘Ms.’ instead of ‘Mrs.’
                      But that is really none of my business.

                    • Please forgive me Mrs Matovic. Unless I know a woman is married, I was raised to call her “Miss” especially if wasn’t familiar with her. (Older ladies we were taught to call “Madame” but this presupposed a marital state but even old maids didn’t mind as it gave them some type of honorable recognition and at the very least distinguished them from young ladies who were eligible for marriage.)

                      I reject the use of the neologism “Ms” as it is not native nor proper to the English language and to my knowledge, no other civivilized language uses such a locution.

                    • “Ms.” was an archaic title (abbreviated from “Mistress”) that was merely revived by the feminist movement. One shouldn’t presuppose a connection to that movement or its excesses and abuses. They didn’t invent the title and certainly don’t deserve credit for it. “Mistress” has always been a marital status-neutral term of address for women, and all of our present-day titles were initially abbreviations for it.

                      I use “Ms.” for myself when I don’t feel like advertising my marital status, and for others when I don’t know their marital status or title preference.

                    • You described my argument well, George.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Helga, thank you for clarifying that. I always that that “Ms” was a neologism. Bad riddle alert (get ready to groan):

                      Q: “What’s the difference between a Mrs and a mistress?

                      A: “A mattress.”

                    • Rebecca Matovic says

                      A couple of responses on minor points —

                      On the use of “Ms.” for PdnNJ — Helga perfectly captures my reasoning and motivation.

                      And to George — no harm, no foul. I was just clarifying since there might have been the merest subtle hint of an implication in at least one comment above.

                  • In your case Rebecca it would deal with feminine self-confidence.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  To those who are being peevish, please focus on what’s important. Look not at a few accumulated comments you take offense at, but at the accumulated facts about the OCA.

                  Father Thom Hopko’s childish and churlish insults of a good priest and a good Metropolitan give the worst witness to Christian love I’ve ever seen in a public statement.

                  Focus on the bad witness of the Christian leaders, not the people who comment here. Talk about a bad Christian witness, let’s talk about the leaders in the OCA. I nearly lost my faith when the OCA began to crumble around my ears, because of the betrayal of some of my bishops, whose lives were lies, and because of:

                  1) Archbishop Job’s and Bishop Benjamin’s homosexuality and drinking and sexual addictions
                  2) the constant, unrelenting, attacking and mean-spirited postings on, listserv Orthodox, and Orthodox forum;
                  3) the hypocritical, head-in-the-sand slathering of compliments on Mark Stokoe and his site;
                  4) the cultish support from my parish and former priest of Archbishop Job and that archbishop’s role in what happened and the resulting alienation from my spiritual family;
                  5) the fact that two bishops and one priest have said (one publicly and the other in a private, stolen email) that same archbishop was a child molester and should have been, in one bishop’s own words, “defrocked and convicted.”
                  6) shall I continue? There’s heaps more!

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    There should be no reason to keep bringing all this up. It needs to be dealt with.

                    I have done a lot of bronze casting in my work. When the bronze is added to the crucible and heated to almost 2,000 degrees F, the impurities in the bronze are lighter than the molten bronze and rise to the surface where they can be scraped off. We used to add broken glass to the top of the liquid bronze. The impurities float up and stick to the molten glass, making it easier to scrape off the slag. When the bronze was pure, glowing a beautiful molten red, and at the right temp, we lifted the crucible out of the kiln with chains and long handled bars and tipped the crucible, pouring the molten bronze into the molds. After that cooled we broke the molds and then there was a lot of sanding, chasing, grinding and polishing, adding patina, and a marble base to make the piece into a sculpture.

                    This is what is happening to the OCA. It’s being refined in a refiner’s fire. But first the slag must be scraped off, and it hasn’t been fully scraped. You can’t be a wimp to work with molten bronze. You have to be determined or you’ll get burned. Malachi 3.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Brava Jane Rachel!

                    • The archbishop is gone, but the priests of the Midwest are still alive and ignoring the fact that they need to make amends and ask forgiveness. That’s why the truth should be addressed by the leaders in place now. Address the truth about the reposed archbishop wisely, write a letter to the people that will be read out loud in the parishes, and privately ask the priests who signed the petition to do what is right, admit they were wrong, and ask forgiveness. That would bring the truth outside this unreal venue of blogging, make amends, and begin to heal the hurt.

                    • Jane,

                      What you write about the late Archbishop Job is a hard saying. Many inside and outside the Midwest diocese knew his weaknesses. We all are guilty in that he died in his sickness.

                      His sins were covered, especially by the former OCA Chancellor, Robert Kondratick, and please note, even in the midst of Job’s assault on Kondratick as the chairperson of the first SIC and who was scheduled to be the accuser of Kondratick in the spiritual court, Kondratick NEVER uttered a word about what he knew about Job. And, he never will. It will be up to others to do so. To his credit, Job recused himself from being the accuser because he knew he did not meet the standard for being an accuser (one who’s character was unimpeachable.)

                      The history of Job and the Midwest is complex as was his tenure in New England. There was no love lost between Bobosh and Stokoe for Job prior to the Kondratick affair. Job exiled Stokoe’s partner, Steve Brown when Brown, as a member of the Midwest Building Committee overseeing the renovation of the LaSalle Street property, questioned Job on how the Building Fund monies were being used. Brown ran afoul of Job and Fr. Zacchaeus, Job’s deacon and secretary at the time. For his efforts at questioning Job, Brown was removed or quit the Committee. Bobosh and Stokoe both considered Job a disappointment as a bishop until he found his voice over Kondratick. What is tragic is that they all knew of Job’s weaknesses, especially Zacchaeus. To my knowledge there was never an intervention with Job on the diocesan level. There may have been people who pleaded with Job to get help, but in the end he did not.

                      The OCA synod will never admit their culpability either in ignoring the many signs of Job’s sickness. They simply averted their eyes and let him sink deeper and deeper into depression, alcoholism and other distractions. It was a very tragic end to a life that was tortured in many ways. He hated being a bishop and tried to resign while he was the Bishop of New England. His “countdown to retirement” clock was well known in the Midwest.

                      The nearest thing to an intervention on the part of the Synod was the confrontation that Bp. Nikolai had with Ab. Job. Job admitted that he interfered into the internal affairs of another diocese. Nikolai wanted Job deposed for such a canonical offense. That incident provided a window for Job to get help, however the synod closed ranks and nothing ever came of that episode except that Nikolai and Job were asked to forgive each other and get along. They did, but Job never forgot that encounter and when Nikolai was on the ropes in Alaska Job let him twist in the wind as did the other members of the synod.

                      Job may be one of the most tragic figures in recent OCA history. One can only wonder if Job was elected Metropolitan if he would have been asked to get an “evaluation”? It is a shame and a sin that he didn’t get help before his untimely demise.

                      Healing the hurt? Only the whole truth can heal the wounds. Sadly what we have had up to this point are only partial truths. There is more than enough blame to go around as we have failed each other but the truth can set the OCA free. The question becomes if, as Jack Nicholson uttered, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Can we handle the whole truth? I think we know that the Pandora’s Box of truth has been opened and it is too late to close it.

                      So we either live in the land of our current partial truth and division or we finish this chapter in our history with what I would suggest is a “Reconciliation Commission” with the goal of healing the OCA and not prove who was right and who was wrong. The starting point is that we were all wrong, we all could have made better choices. We are each, “the chief among sinners.” The alternative is what we have now, a house divided and we know that we cannot long stand like this. We have a bishop on the synod right now who is almost a clone of Job, and yet, we allow him to live in his sickness, and no I am not speaking of Jonah, although he has set a standard for meekness and humility by going to the SLI.

                      We either come together and learn from the past, forgive one another and work with each other in a spirit of reconciliation or we will die alone in our sins having squandered the gift that was given to us.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Jacob, thank you.

                      The people followed the Midwest priests like sheep, and the priests came together as one voice to put their names on a petition, as if they were dead right, and they were dead wrong. That caused a lot of damage. When you hurt someone, and you wish to make amends, you need to cleanse the wounds by admitting you were wrong and asking forgiveness. As for the truth getting out, well, we’ll get over it. I’ve been through worse than this and made it.

                      Simple lay members apparently don’t know what you have just written because no one has told them. I think aside from Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald)’s posts, you are the first person who has spoken about Archbishop Job (aside from my chirping away about it). The disparity between what was written by well-respected priests in reflections and comments on ocablues about Archbishop Job, the mess, the scandal, the slandering of Fr. Bob, and the TRUTH is too great to ignore.

                      Before there can be reconciliation there must be cleansing. Otherwise, you get gangrene.

                    • @Jane Rachel By petition, do you mean the “are the charges true or false” letter signed at the Midwest diocesan clergy convocation in 2006?

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      DM: yes, I meant the letter. Tell you what, I’ll cut and paste it. No harm in that, right?

                      Midwest Clergy Appeal To Holy Synod

                      Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia
                      February 7, 2006
                      No. 16

                      His Beatiude, the Most Blessed HERMAN, Archbishop of Washington and New York Metropoliltan of All America and Canada

                      The Most Reverend and Right Reverend Members of the Holy Synod of Bishops
                      Orthodox Church in America

                      PO Box 675
                      Syosset, NY 11791

                      Your Beatitude, Your Eminences, Your Graces:

                      Master, bless!

                      We, the undersigned clergy of the Diocese of the Midwest, gathered around our Archbishop at the Diocesan Clergy Convocation of 6-8 February 2006, express our unwavering support for His Eminence, Archbishop JOB’s call for an answer to the question: “Are the allegations true, or false?”

                      We humbly appeal to Your Beatitude and to the Holy Synod to initiate an investigation into these allegations. This investigation must include an independent, professional forensic audit of all church accounts from 1996-2005, in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.

                      We appeal to Your Beatitude and to the Holy Synod to appoint an investigative commission, including three bishops and such clergy and laypersons as deemed appropriate, to review this audit and report the findings to the Church.

                      We believe that this will indeed enable us to carry out Your Beatitude’s desire and that of the Holy Synod “to place our focus on Christ and His saving mission.” We make this appeal to You in a spirit of love and a desire for mutual peace.

                      Your servants in Christ,

                      Clergy of the Diocese of the Midwest (as undersigned)

                      Archpriest John Zdinak
                      Archpriest Thomas Mueller
                      Archpriest Daniel Rentel
                      Archpriest Peter Pawlack
                      Archpriest Andrew Yavornitzky
                      Priest Timothy Sawchak
                      Archpriest Michael Simerick
                      Priest Robert McMeekin
                      Priest Mark Hodges
                      Archpriest Michael Matsko
                      Archpriest Basil Stoyka
                      Archpriest Andrew Clements
                      Priest Paul Gassios
                      Priest John Peck
                      Priest James Dank
                      Priest Christopher Rowe
                      Archpriest John Steffaro
                      Archpriest Steven Kostoff
                      Archpriest Theodore Bobosh
                      Priest John Schroedel
                      Priest Andrew Moore
                      Priest Christopher Wojcik
                      Priest Bartholomew Wojcik
                      Archimandrite Alexander
                      Priest Joseph Gibson
                      Priest Gregory Dye
                      Priest Zachariah Trent
                      Priest Dusan Koprivica
                      Priest David Maroney
                      Priest Frederick Janecek
                      Priest Michael Butler
                      Archpriest Paul Wesche
                      Priest Philip Lashbrook
                      Priest Gregory Grivna
                      Priest Moses Berry
                      Archpriest John Kuchta
                      Priest Jonathan Cholcher
                      Archpriest Alexander Kuchta
                      Priest Joshua Frigerio
                      Archpriest Peter Bodnar
                      Priest Joseph Kopka
                      Priest Thaddeus Nielsen
                      Priest John Baker
                      Priest Stephen Hrycyniak
                      Protodeacon Nicholas Dzubay
                      Deacon Robert Northrup
                      Deacon Edwin Aasen
                      Deacon Mark Griffin
                      Deacon Danial Doss
                      Priest Anastasy Richter
                      Deacon Kelsios Willis
                      Priest John Wehling
                      Archpriest John Adamcio
                      Archpriest Stephen Karaffa
                      Archpriest Andrew Harrison
                      Priest David Lis
                      Priest Elijah Mueller

                      And, for good measure, the accompanying article:
                      Midwest Clergy Unite
                      In Call For Audit, Investigation

                      Clergy in the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest have signed a letter addressed to Metropolitan Herman and all ruling Bishops of the OCA, calling for an audit and full investigation into the finances of the OCA. The letter, posted on the Midwest Diocese’s website ( on Saturday, February 11, begins:

                      “Your Beatitude, Your Eminences, Your Graces:

                      Master, bless!

                      We, the undersigned clergy of the Diocese of the Midwest, gathered around our Archbishop at the Diocesan Clergy Convocation of 6-8 February 2006, express our unwavering support for His Eminence, Archbishop JOB’s call for an answer to the question: “Are the allegations true, or false?”

                      We humbly appeal to Your Beatitude and to the Holy Synod to initiate an investigation into these allegations. This investigation must include an independent, professional forensic audit of all church accounts from 1996-2005, in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards…
                      (Read full text with signatures here)

                      The Convocation

                      Some 80 OCA priests and deacons from the OCA’s largest diocese met for their annual pre-Lenten convocation/retreat, held this year February 6-8, at the Aylesford Carmelite Retreat Center in Dairen, IL, outside of Chicago. The meeting began Monday evening after Vespers with a frank and open discussion on the issues facing the OCA. The discussion continued the next day following Liturgy.

                      At the request of his ‘council of presbyters’, the Archbishop selected Fr. Tom Mueller of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (a former Chancellor of the Archdiocese, and current Dean of the Chicago Deanery,) Fr. Ted Bobosh, of Dayton Ohio, Fr. Alex Kuchta of Palatine, Illinois, Fr. Robert McMeeken, a mission priest from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, and Fr. Andrew Moore of Springfield, Missouri, to draft a letter, expressing the concerns of those present. Less than an hour later, the priests and deacons reassembled. The letter was read by Fr. Tom Mueller, changes were offered and made. It was agreed that all who wished to do so would sign the letter individually.

                      Dramatic Moment

                      The actual signing of the letter took place in the chapel of the retreat center. Fr. Andrew Yavornitzky made it clear that all present were free to sign, or not sign. Those clergy who wished to sign the letter were then asked to come forward to the Ambo and sign, as the rest began singing “O Lord Save Thy People”. Once completed, the letter was left in the Church until the next morning so those who wished to pray on their decision overnight would have the opportunity to do so. In the end, all six deans, 45 other priests, and six deacons signed the letter. Only a handful chose not to sign.

                      Tikhon’s Letter Revealed

                      On Wednesday morning, according to participants, Archbishop Job read a letter, dated February 3rd, from Bishop Tikhon of the Diocese of the West, to the assembled clergy. The letter, a faxed copy of which was received by the Archbishop only the night before, asked the Metropolitan to consider sanctions – yet again – against the Archbishop for his “egregious behavior” and “rebellious principle”. A discussion ensued among the priests as to how the Archdiocese should respond if such an attempt were made.

                      The 14th annual Midwest convocation concluded Wednesday afternoon, February 8th, with a discussion on general pastoral questions and local issues.

                      -Mark Stokoe

                  • Lots of folks here are throwing stones as if they are part of the Benevolent Order of Living Saints (BOLS). In case you have not heard, BOLS members are empowered to act outside the bounds of decency and without any fear for their own souls. They are the Great Avenging Gallant Agents of the Almighty, mutaween in Christian garb.

                    • Well, Carl, THAT is the most asinine statement that I have heard in a long time. Are you saying that we should just be quiet? That certainly isn’t in the spirit of Fr. Alexander. Isn’t transparency and accountability also about people speaking up and leaders listening?

                      “They?” I guess you don’t consider yourself a card-carrying member of BOLS? You also don’t follow your announced pledge to not post during the Fast. So much for acting outside the bounds of your own word.

                    • Kraeff wags his bony finger and thinks it should be enough to close the discussion.

                    • Why don’t you fix it then, and I will shut up.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Yes, I am indeed guilty of not keeping to my announced intention not to post here during the Nativity Fast. Yes, I have fallen and must get up again, and again, and again… But, is the Fast only for me?

                      I am not saying that folks should shut up. I have never been an adherent to “pay, pray and obey.” OTH, I find a certain amount of self-righteousness and even glee in the accusations being flung far and wide. I find the resident funny man lauded for crude and obnoxious sophomoric art that is masquerading as satire. I feel like I am in the midst of “Occupy Syosset” of sorts, with the mob mentality infecting otherwise sensible folks.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Now Carl, you hang in there. The fast will soon be over and you can then regain the composure and solicitude for which you are widely famed once you gorge yourself and raise those blood-sugar levels.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Carl, you had better leave the mob and get back to your safe chair, we are about to swarm the castle.

                    • “Occupy Syosset”? Good idea, Kraeff! We’ll get right on it!

                  • Dallas Texas says

                    I hate to say it, but I will, and not out of any prurient interest: DO CONTINUE. The whole truth must come out about everything, now. Who were/are the pervert bishops and their priest consorts and who are not? What’s the truth about Fr. Kondratick? Bp. Nikolai? There’s so much suspicion and misinformation and division and cover up out there that I don’t trust a single clergyman in the OCA to be honest. Not a one. ENOUGH ALREADY! If you want to spill it, you will do the faithful in North America a big favor. Let the chips fall where they may.

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      Yeah, what exactly is the truth about Fr. Kondratick, and Bp. Nikolai? In real life, I do not like it when I’m in a group conversation trying to lipread people, asking them what’s going on and be told, oh, I’ll tell you later and they never do. That’s what’s going on here . . .

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      I’m glad you asked. Keep asking.

                    • Also, I can’t say I don’t know the truth because I know Monk James and Bishop Tikhon are not lying, and they have said a lot. No matter what the pooh-pooh heads say, they are not lying. Anybody wanna challenge that assertion?

                      I believe Bishop Nikolai is telling the truth, why not? And I believe Father Joseph Fester is also telling the truth in the email exchanges that were stolen by you-know and you-know. Anybody wanna challenge that belief? Go ahead. Give it your best shot.

                    • Dallas Texas says

                      OK, I’ll keep asking.

                      1. Was RSK guilty of financial malfeasance or mismanagement, or not? Was he morally compromised in similar fashion to the bishops? Did RSK permit the OCA have such a sorry crop of bishops because he benefitted from it or had too much to lose if he revealed what he knew publicly? Was he innocent as Bp. Tikhon, Monk James, Bp. Nikolai, and others assert? (I personally find that hard to believe, but I do find their revelations about the disgraceful lives of several bishops to be credible.)
                      2. Is the letter on the internet purportedly from Bp. Nikolai to Bp. Benjamin authentic and truthful? I believe it is. If it is, then in what kind of “church” could BB become a clergyman, let alone remain one? Why were MJ’s accusations against BB in Santa Fe squelched? Why has not one bishop pursued them?
                      3. What really happened in Alaska? Are the Alaskans a hysterical mob of degenerates with a huge ethnic chip on their collective shoulder, or is Bp. Nikolai a malignant nut job, or both?
                      4. Was Abp. Job justified in his campaign against RSK, or did he have a sinister agenda, or both?
                      5. Does the metropolitan have serious personality problems or not? Does the Syosset crew have serious personality problems or not? Is Syosset a tool of the gay agenda and willing to destroy anyone who gets in their way?
                      6. How on earth did things get so bad? I believe the foundation was laid during the halcyon days of St. Vladimir’s where, we learned from Bp. Tikhon on this site, that morality was optional. From a bad seed comes bad fruit.

                      Until those questions are answered honestly and convincingly, the OCA can never emerge from its dismal state, and it would be better off shuttered. Is any credible person out there willing to do the church a favor and reveal the whole truth? Does anyone this side of Heaven know the truth?

                      Regardless of the answers, the faithful are all betrayed.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Dallas, you have to take some time to ponder this. Either Bishop Tikhon and Monk James are lying or they are telling the truth. Go back and read everything they have written right here on this blog. Who are we to decide that they are lying? No. They are telling the truth. What they write, is TRUE.

                      Now, GET ON WITH IT, LEADERS. I am so TIRED of this game. We are pawns on your chessboard. Stop it. You are hurting us.

  12. George, I was in no way suggesting censorship, aside from that restraint that comes from one’s own conscience.

    And Herc, as I said, I have certainly clicked on and snickered at your offerings.

    I debated about posting that at all; it was really a reaction to a conversation I had with a person in my parish who I believe is a true. pious servant of the church. I know he is distressed by the events, and sometimes distressed by our comments.

    I keep thinking – after all this vitriol, what? How can this church heal, and move forward, with this contempt for one another? With these Soviet plans to unseat one hierarch after another? Some things can never be unsaid. For me personally, Herc’s satire hits bull’s eye more often than not; my comments addressed collateral damage to the reader who is on the margins of this conflict. Or the inquirer who happens upon this firefight.

    The nightmare here is that we burn the whole church to the ground, because nothing less will do but to destroy “the other.” I pray that the administration and the Synod members who ginned up this pogrom will stand down and figure out a way to sweep up the ashes and begin again. Met. Jonah has been willing, more than willing to cooperate with them. So they have used his good will to send him on psychiatric fishing expeditions. If we are looking at gravely troubled folks, he doesn’t even make the top ten list. But if they continue with their contemptuous and contemptible behavior, I wouldn’t blame him if he developed some real live post traumatic stress disorder.

    “Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from ego……” That is the battleground of the spiritual warfare that is occurring in the OCA

    Most of the commenters here take up the fight. And Herc, I honor your efforts on the behalf of the church. But most people, lurkers or not, are avoiders of conflict. They will not fight, they leave.

    I think the high road works, and George provides the venue.

    The OCA news “neglects” to congratulate HB on his three year anniversary? Well, George did it very nicely, and people are perceptive enough to understand the insult offered by the OCA site and the small thinking that engendered it.

    Syosset tries to suppress the after dinner speech given by His Beatitude? George can put out a call to those who may have recorded it on their I-phones, maybe. But the word gets out, one way or another.

    I believe the OCA, under the leadership of Metropolitan Jonah, is worth fighting for. I will try to minimize collateral damage around me as best I can.

    Your mileage may vary.

  13. I thought I read on a previous post that Carl K. said that he was going to take a “time out” during Nativity Lent.
    But maybe I am wrong about that.

  14. From the works of our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian in “A Spiritual Psalter,” extracts from #86, A Confession of Redemption and a prayer for the Church:
    “Thou didst establish on earth the holy Church in the image of the heavenly kingdom: Thou didst build her with love, establish her with compassion and Thou didst spiritually betroth Thyself to her, and gain her by Thy suffering.”
    “But the hater of mankind, in his shameless impudence, attacks her in the person of her servers.”
    “O Lord, do not leave Thy holy Church without Thy care, … .”
    “Do not let her majestic beauty be disfigured… .”
    “Fulfill the promise that Thou didst make to Peter; … .”
    “Fortify her gates, strengthen her bars, exalt her horn, raise up her head.”
    “Bless her sons, preserve her children, give peace to her priests… .”
    “May Thy peace dwell in her and drive away from her all evil schisms.”
    “May we maintain our faith with great confidence and perfect love.”
    “May we ceaselessly bring praise to Thee, O Lord, and to Thy Father and to Thy Holy Spirit.”

    • Source (on line?) please?

      • Yeah, I’d like to know if it St Ephraim is available online also. I love the Syriac fathers. I have compilation of Syriac writings, but it doesn’t have that psalter.

        BTW, there is some really good stuff on Amazon kindle for cheap prices, like 99 cents. You can get the entire Philokalia for .99 (though it doesn’t have a table of contents). Other stuff available for .99 include St Anthony, St Macarius, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Chrysostom, John Cassian, and many more. Amazon has a free kindle reader available for download for PC, which means you don’t have to buy a kindle to buy and read kindle books.

      • My source is the small book published by St. John of Kronstadt Press,
        I don’t know if it is available online.

  15. Your Grace,

    Master Bless!

    I stand corrected on the points you mention. Your memory is better than mine on that period of time in the history of SVS and I completely forgot about the untimely repose of the Archimandrite.

    Thank you for your kind correction!