Another Hole in the Official Story: ‘Alleged Rape’ Timeline Reporting is Wrong

It is increasingly clear that the forced resignation of His Beatitude was botched from the beginning. His detractors did not expect the furious blowback they received from within the OCA and other jurisdictions. Unable to put out the fire, they foolishly threw more gasoline on it with an unsigned letter released earlier this week.

I was able to deconstruct the Synod’s letter fairly easily. Since then more commentators have pointed out other inconsistencies. Two points have risen to the surface.

The first deals with a priest named Fr. Symeon. We are told not once, but three different times that Jonah “unilaterally” received this man into the OCA. The second involves the date in which His Beatitude was supposedly told about a rape that Fr. Symeon allegedly committed. The conclusion was that His Beatitude did not act with alacrity, did not inform the Synod of the priest’s malfeasance, and allowed this priest to remain unpunished. These reasons became the justification for his removal.

The first is easy to deal with: Fr. Symeon was never in the OCA. As to why the Synod (if it was indeed the entire Synod which wrote this inflammatory letter) did know that Fr. Symeon was not a member of the OCA is still an unanswered question. His membership could have been verified easy enough by checking the records in Syosset.

The second involves the date in which the victim informed the Metropolitan that she was allegedly raped by Fr. Symeon. The Synod’s letter states that it was in February of 2012. This is incorrect. +Jonah did not know about it until mid-May 2012.

I will allow the Godmother of the woman who reported the rape to Met. Jonah to comment directly.

Letter from the Godmother

On behalf of many parishioners both at St. Nicholas Cathedral and elsewhere in the OCA, who have contacted me, we would like to express our shock and concern about the letter of the Synod of Bishops regarding the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah. We know him and seriously question the contents of this letter. It seems to be a deliberate attempt to destroy a hierarch by creating a public scandal on the basis of procedural issues related to many untruths which cry out to be countered with the truth. We would like to set the record straight.

The case of the hieromonk whose crime the Metropolitan is accused of covering up, is well known to me.

1. Metropolitan Jonah did not know about this crime until mid-May 2012.

The victim of the crime is a God-daughter of mine who lives in another part of the country. No one here knew what had happened to her in 2010 until she contacted me in mid-May of 2012. At that time she and her husband had contacted the police who said that nothing could be done without more evidence. They then decided to turn to the church in order to initiate an ecclesiastical court to defrock him. She wrote a testimony of her story later in May and sent it to a ROCOR priest and to me, asking that I pass it on to Metropolitan Jonah, which I did. She included a confidentiality statement that it pass no further. Metropolitan Jonah had already in 2010 issued a letter forbidding this hieromonk to serve in any OCA church. Since he was still in a Greek jurisdiction, nothing more could be done by the OCA except to offer pastoral help to her and her husband, which the Metropolitan did by phone.

2. This hieromonk was never received into the OCA so it was not possible for the OCA to defrock him.

Metropolitan Jonah issued a “no blessing to serve” in any OCA church already in 2010 in response to reports of unpriestly behavior. I myself had made one of these reports on the basis of alcohol abuse and an attempted assault of a neighbor on property owned by my family which occurred in late May 2010. Based on the information known at that time, this was the most that could be done. This hieromonk then left the area.

Nothing more was known about him until he returned to the area early in 2012, having sought from ROCOR a “blessing to serve” in its monastery outside of Washington. Now, with the revelation of his crime in May 2012, ROCOR has also rescinded its “blessing to serve”. Shortly after Pascha, he returned to the Church of Greece and the jurisdiction to which he has always belonged.

3. My testimony to ROCOR for it’s investigation was ignored in the OCA.

I was recently requested to send a copy of the testimony that ROCOR asked me to write for it’s investigation of this hieromonk who had managed to receive a “blessing to serve” within it’s jurisdiction earlier this year before anything was known to them of his criminal activity. With the revelation of his crime in May 2012, that blessing has been rescinded and a case is being prepared for presentation to the Greek jurisdiction and the heads of all Orthodox jurisdictions. However, the description of this case cited in the letter of the Synod of Bishops is completely at odds with the evidence presented in my testimony and can be corroborated by others in Washington.

All of this and other accusations are simply unfounded. Was this letter published to counter the outpouring of support for Metropolitan Jonah?

We prayerfully persevere in our belief that the Providence of God will bring good out of this evil.

These errors of fact are so egregious that they discredit the entire letter put out by the Synod and implicates them in a grave miscarriage of justice. With these two corrections the rationale justifying +Jonah’s removal collapses.

Two new questions arise in its place that the Synod must answer:

1) Who made the allegations against Met. Jonah?
2) What was the source of his information?

Lord have mercy.


  1. Wow George. That testimony is one gigantic cannonball hole in the Synod’s Canoe! Seems to totally obliterate the Synod’s letter as an almost complete fabrication.

    The skeptic in me though pauses that there is actually somebody out there who was the godmother of the victim and also was the one who told +Jonah about this, and just so happens to have all the details that would vindicate +Jonah, and happened to own the property where some of this happened. Its only a small doubt though, mostly I believe it since I have no reason not to.

  2. Rod Dreher says

    Well done, George. The mystery deepens. I hope people who have information that can get to the bottom of this will come forward and say what they know.

  3. I do not doubt the authenticity of the letter, but I do wonder why the godmother didn’t wish for her name to appear with the letter, as this certainly would carry more weight. Perhaps she is trying to protect the identity of the victim?

  4. Sub-Deacon David says

    Say what you will about the internet, but it has revolutionized the ability to check the veracity of public statements and news stories. While it make take a while for all the facts to come to light and the full truth to be know, rest assured that it eventually will given multi-directional nature of information these days. It is not like the old days when you sat and watch Cronkite or Brinkley on TV , read the morning paper and just accepted whatever set of facts was given. The media can no longer do this and neither can an organization, religious or otherwise. The truth will out!

    • Michael Bauman says

      All things will be revealed. The key is that we cultivate a desire for the truth even if we don’t like the truth. We have to be able to handle it and even rejoice in it no matter whose ox is gored. That is what will overcome the spirit of scapegoating and bring healing to the OCA.

  5. This demands an IMMEDIATE response from the Holy Synod.


    • Sub-Deacon David says

      This story has been linked in a comment to the posting on the OCA’s FB page of the Synod’s statement. Perhaps people should post additional comments such as Helga’s demanding a response.

      • I didn’t see it linked there anymore, so I reposted it. I expect it to be deleted any second.

        • They deleted it in less than 2 minutes! Thats annoying.
          So I posted the text of the letter above. That one stayed there for almost 5 minutes before they deleted it.

          Transparency eh?

          • No its information control. Syosset will try to ignore it and claim its fabrication.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Ah deleting a letter that’s already on the internet. Smart. Very, very smart. Now word will never get out that the synod messed up. Brilliant!

            Now you know why the synod letter was jumbled in its facts and no clear timeline was present. The Synod had knowledge and it was more culpable than Met. Jonah. However, as we have just seen that although this matter of the alleged Rape is serious it was obviously used as a pretext.

            If the God-Mother of the alleged victim or victim herself can come forward with more facts, which I will assume now will happen, the synod will be dealt a heavy blow.

            Again, the Covering up of a RAPE and suborning such misconduct requires not only that Metropolitan Jonah face criminal and civil charges, but also a Spiritual Court. This did NOT happen. His resignation was forced to prevent due process. To limit the synod’s and OCA’s liability and criminal exposure and to pin everything on Met. Jonah.

            I will continue to say let’s wait and see but I know how this is going to play out. No matter what the Metropolitans faults were he got onto certain people’s bad side and they are taking him down. I saw this same pattered in the GOA growing up, saw it with Abp Spyridon, and have seen it too many numerous times on the local level when the priest get on the wrong side of certain powerful wealthy families or groups.

            Get ready its going to get alot worse. Buckle up.


            • George Michalopulos says

              Let’s say you’re right: expect another flurry of disinformation. I say “bring it on!” Nobody’s buying their load of crap anymore. Even they know it’s not true.

          • Perhaps someone younger and more energetic than I will use the U.S. Postal Service to send a copy of that letter to each individual member of the Holy Synod of the OCA by registered signature-required first-class mail. I’d be glad to help with the postage!
            An extra copy should be sent to Greg Nescott and Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky.
            Is it too late for someone to read it at the DOS assembly?

            • Sub-Deacon David says

              I have emailed the text to my priest who is in attendance and expressed my grave concerns that the either the Synod has been seriously mislead or has been seriously misleading in its public pronouncements on this matter. Not sure what more I can do.

  6. Well this certainly fills in the holes in the synod’s timeline and it now seem more clear that the “What did you know and when did you know it” is now the problem of the synod and not Jonah. Now, sans any more information from the synod, they have hanged Jonah for a procedural error for not doing enough, by their standards, when Jonah banished this monk from serving in the OCA in any capacity.

    i sure hope this moves the disclosure ball down the field. Your turn synod. We await your reply.

  7. Cal Oren says

    This is truly a bombshell because, if true, it obliterates the central incident behind the Holy Synod’s unanimous demand that Metropolitan Jonah resign. It now clearly puts the burden on them to offer detailed verifiable proof that the many other allegations in their July 16 explanation are credible. Even more urgent for them is to figure out who duped them, how, and why.

    • They “duped” themselves.

      • Can someone send a copy of the letter to the Philly Inquirer? That might, just might, lead to more investigation and new info.

        • Harry Coin says

          While you’re at sending things along to the press, this was posted on the Orthodox Forum:

          It is a letter from Bp Jonah to Bp Basil suggesting the acceptance of Fr. Symeon who was ‘greatly slandered’ and so not going to be accepted within the OCA. The letter suggests many problems existed in his life, which certainly suggests a ‘cards up’ attitude. It is dated april of last year, about a year after the problems in DC resulting in Symeon being suspended at the OCA by Met. Jonah.


          • Harry Coin says

            Now more than ever there really needs to be a comprehensive timeline.

          • Harry, it says Met. Jonah was aware Fr. Simeon was troubled and “slandered” in some unspecified way, not that he knew he was a rapist and wanted to shield him.

            It also shows it was not Met. Jonah’s idea to try to transfer the priest, he only sent the documents to Bishop Basil when one of his priests expressed interest in trying to help a troubled man. And that, incidentally, shows Met. Jonah was not the only one who thought Fr. Simeon was not as troubled as he would turn out to be.

            • Jesse Cone says

              In this tangled web of confusion, one thing has become clear: Harry admits Fr. Simeon was not accepted into the OCA and, therefore, the Synodal smear letter was wrong.

              • Harry Coin says

                Jesse you certainly get half marks. There was indeed a time after mid 2010 and also before 2009 that he was not in the OCA. During at least a few months in the middle there: if the church is an OCA church and a priest is there offering services with the permission of the diocesan bishop and the OCA Met (in this case both +Jonah), what left is there but quibbles about paperwork?

                Then, It appears the priest made bad choices and Met. Jonah suspended him. A suspended priest is certainly suspended within a church. He wasn’t ‘released’ or ‘defrocked’ only ‘suspended’. So, then we see this letter in 2011 where he’s being offered to Bp. Basil indicating he wasn’t defrocked. Then we hear about rape in a synod letter and Met. Jonah resigning.

                Someone else will have to fill in those blanks, I don’t have anything but hearsay.

                A timeline, seriously. There is too much detail to manage in prose fragments.

                • Jesse Cone says

                  Harry says,

                  He wasn’t ‘released’ or ‘defrocked’ only ‘suspended’.

                  Your semantics are hilarious. Never mind that defrocking someone who is not under your omophorion isn’t in line with P&Ps and can alienate your neighboring jurisdictions. Just defrock the guy! Everyone will thank you!

                  And never mind that the Synodal letter is wrong, dead wrong, in its central claims against their own former primate. I mean, it’s just an issue of paperwork really.

                  • Daniel E. Fall says

                    The ultimate question is if Metropolitan Jonah did not err as this unsigned letter purports, then why on earth would he resign? I know all get lots of negative votes for it, but it is the question and I think Dreher would agree. If someone gave me this for a reason for me to resign and it were untrue, I’d demand it written and demand a termination. I know people are different, but I surely can’t imagine anyone resigning under this pretense being false.

                    The letter open more questions than answers. I think questioning the authenticity of the letter is valid for one. Unsigned letters are like all the anonymous posters; questionable. I don’t care how many people ‘know the godmother’. She has her notion of facts and we won’t get a piece by piece detailed account from anyone as to why her facts are right or wrong, but it’d be good to…and she doesn’t address all the facts the OCA presented.

                    We all know one thing for sure, the Metropolitan was especially active in DC.

                    When did Metropolitan Jonah counsel him for the chaplaincy and why?-that is unstated by this ‘godmother’. That enough would be reason for the Synod to remove him if he knew about the accusations and tried to send him to the US military. Why would he counsel him out of service as a priest if he weren’t his priest? Just as a favor? Aren’t there conflicts of interest if you are counseling a priest out of service that isn’t your priest? Is he your friend?

                    The OCA suggests he was involved in transferring him. The OCA really needs to respond to this if he wasn’t an OCA priest…but if he was being counseled out, wasn’t he under Jonah?

                    The OCA really must continue to be transparent as legally possible, especially for the sake of the argument itself.

                    If that means rebuffing factual errors publicly released by innocent thirds, to every degree legally possible, it must be done.

                    my thoughts, like em or no

                    • Let’s get the chronology straight. Met. Jonah did not resign over this issue – at least not explicitly. They tried to get HB committed a year ago, it didn’t work. Then they put him on a leash. At this point, they simply compelled him to resign, and drew up the quickest accusation they could muster.

                      Wouldn’t you resign if you worked somewhere where all of your co-workers fought you tooth and nail for over a year, and tried to get you committed? When I resigned my teaching post a few years ago, there were only a handful of troublemakers, and it only took three months of HELL. His Beatitude has faced 3 years of opposition, and a year of Hell. I’m surprised he had the stamina for this much madness.

                      Put simply, the reasons in the letter are the excuse, not the cause.

  8. Pravoslavnie says

    Thank you George. This information is a bombshell which certainly confirms my suspicion that the Metropolitan was railroaded.

  9. Gregg Gerasimon says

    Thanks, George, for publishing this., while decried by so many as a bunch of crazy “Met. Jonah supporters” or, worse yet, as the “Orthodox peanut gallery,” seems to be one of the only things that keeps pushing for the truth to come out, and it will.

    I’m curious if those around the central church administration are still amazed about the public outcry concerning Met. Jonah’s forced resignation — did they really think that we wouldn’t care why this happened? Do they think that we care more about being in the National Council of Churches than we do about living our Orthodox faith?

    Foremost, we are concerned faithful of the Church, we want her to thrive on this continent, we want her to continue in her mission to evangelize America. As such, we want and need to have confidence and faith in our church leadership.

    I pray that in the near future the Synod will respond to this letter from the Godmother. I sure hope that they simply do not ignore it.

    But yes, right now it certainly does seem like a cursory hatchet job that the Synod did to get Metropolitan Jonah forcibly retired — I hope I’m wrong, but that is where the data point at this time.

    All the more reason for an independent, unbiased investigator to look into things. It makes no sense for the central church, especially with our track record for the past 10 years, to investigate themselves.

  10. Why can the Metropolitan not speak up in his own defense to verify this letter? Surely he didn’t sign away his ability to comment on the details surrounding his resignation!

    • M. Stankovich says

      It is not a matter of “cannot” speak. He “will” not speak. It’s right out of the Wizard of Oz:

      What turns defiance into compliance? The truth.
      What turns “defense” into awkward silence? The truth.
      What prevents lightning from striking the Synod? The truth.
      What prevents Moscow from raising the roof? The truth.

      And wouldn’t you know, “Godmother,” the Good Witch tells him, “You’ve had the secret with you the whole time! Click your heels together three times and say, ‘I resigned because of truth'”

      “But wait,” says the VICTIM, “you promised salvation in my silence!”

      Fr. Symeon says, “Drinks and firearms for all my friends!” (Oh, sorry, that was Mickey Rourke)

      Fade to white – as in the chapeau de couleur blanche – and we all fall down.

      • All in the Family says

        Your cynicism has sunk to a new low. Your comments making light of this serious matter are not appreciated. This is not a joke. I would hope you don’t treat your patients which such contempt.

        Best you just fade to white.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Yes, that’s right Know the Score: all of the ‘facts’ have to be delineated and gone over with a fine tooth comb by several peer-reviewed journals before anything can be asserted.

  11. Ken Miller says

    The real “smoking gun” that had even Jonah’s supporters thinking maybe the HS was right was the question of whether Jonah had neglected to notify authorities. This letter lays that to rest beyond question. The victim had ALREADY notified the authorities, and they had made the determination that there was nothing they could do. It appears Jonah has done NOTHING wrong. Jonah acted skillfully and properly.

    All of this information was sent to the Chancellor well before this decision of the Holy Synod. They knew the source, that it represented the facts relayed by someone very close to the victim who is one of the few people in the world to actually know the facts, yet they chose to either willfully believe a lie or to fabricate a lie to suit their political objectives.

    I, for one, will not be satisfied or trust anyone in Syosset or the Holy Synod until they give a full accounting of what the chancellor did when he received a copy of the letter that had been sent to ROCOR, why the Holy Synod chose to ignore the testimony of a direct witness that contradicts their official line, and why they removed the metropolitan based on information that, at a minimum, they knew to be contradictory to the credible accounting of events, or alternatively, that they knew to be a lie.

    This is not over, not by a long shot. Jonah should be re-instated and an independent investigation needs to begin regarding the actions of the Chancellor and the Holy Synod.

    • Cal Oren says

      I believe Louis Freeh, having just completed his last assignment, may be available.

  12. Wow. Way to go George! There is something seriously wrong happening. Whatever the case, the truth will come out, be it good, bad or otherwise! Lord have mercy on our little part of the Church!

  13. Defend The Faith says


    With this latest information, and you are to be thanked for your not letting this story slip away, it is even more important that there be an independent and unfettered investigation. Anything less is not acceptable. The time for internal OCA investigations is over. We truly need the whole truth.

  14. Catherine P. says


    As a new reader of your blog, I want to let you and other long-time readers know that you have new followers out there. We haven’t been posting, but we’ve been reading very carefully and sharing what we read with others. I write this for your information as well as for that of any of the OCA leadership who are reading this blog: more people than you know are paying close attention.

    Though not a member of the OCA, I have been deeply inspired and encouraged by Met. Jonah’s fervent evangelism and his fearless articulation of Orthodox beliefs in a public arena that has become so hostile to the truth. I pray and hope that justice will be done in this situation.

  15. Disgusted With It says

    Could this Fr Symeon case be a diversion by the synod? They hint also at the Fr Zacchaeus case in their letter, in particular where they mention something about HB speaking with attorneys of people involved in investigations. Could this forced resignation be in retaliation over that issue?

    If you think about it, they’d probably figure it’s easier to get him to go quietly if they threaten him with public humiliation over accusations of “rape” and “abusive clergy” (obviously more appealing buzzwords to the secular media) rather than “he still talks to a priest we don’t like anymore”. Sorry, but I wouldn’t put that tactic past some of these bishops.

  16. Ask Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, who knows the lay of the land better than anyone, to pick a couple helpers, Greek Orthodox Archpriests, let’s say, and get going on an investigation of what von Ranke called ‘What Really Went On?”
    Or, if you’d like a hierarch NOT on the Synod under no ecclesiastical discipline and COMPETENT, why not ask Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) to lead a team of Greek, Russian (ROCOR), or Serbian hierarchs?
    If it turns out that an attorney in the Pittsburgh diocese composed that letter, where would he stand relative to being held responsible for its deleterious effect on other instances?

    • Yikes, that will go over real good. I am not sure any bishop outside the OCA would be interested in trying to plug this sinking ship. But it would be logical for the ROC, the Mother Church of the OCA to be involved.

      • Oh yes, this is just the type of sinking the ‘mother church’ will use to unhinge the OCA and return it to the ROC proper.

  17. Rod Dreher says

    This is amazing stuff. I regret that “Godmother” didn’t put her name to this. She should. It would only lead back to the alleged victim in the minds of those who know them personally — but from Lola’s comment, it sounds like people in the parish already know their identities. The rest of us don’t know Godmother, so how can we assess her credibility?

    It is time for an independent investigation. If Godmother is telling the truth, and it’s the whole truth, then the Synod railroaded the Metropolitan into resigning. If the Synod did that, then I see no way out of a schism. Absent the Synod shooting down this claim by the Godmother, I don’t see how it’s possible to credit their account. For all we know, this Godmother could be making this up. How would we know? Understand, I’m not trying to impugn her integrity; I’m just pointing to how complex this story is.

    Syosset is controlling the narrative. Even if the Synod’s account is true, nobody can take them at their word.

    If you haven’t realized it yet, Jonah cannot afford to speak to give his side of the story, given that the Synod holds all the cards regarding his financial future, which is to say, his ability to support his elderly parents and disabled sister.

    • Rod,
      People in the parish know the godmothers identity, but not the victims. I know mine is just another voice, but the godmother is a credible person who has been active in the parish a long long time.

      • Colette,

        One can deduce that the Godmother is also close to Jonah which is a plausible reason why her account of the events in question were ignored by the internal OCA investigation. I would like to know who are these folks who did the investigation?

        • George Michalopulos says

          I guess my ultimate question is two-fold: who are the people who fed the Synod this drivel and why are they so inept that they couldn’t get their stories straight?

          • George, how many hundred hits has this site got since you posted this one? Can you handle it all?
            Anybody want to bet how long before that “Synod Statement” comes down?

            • George Michalopulos says

              I just strolled over to our Internet Services Department and the guys tell me that as of 5pm Pacific today it was 3500+ visits (288,528 hits or clicks) and over 30,000 visits the last seven days. Russia seems interested. In the last week I received 105 visits from Moscow.

      • Ken Miller says

        I also know the Godmother. She is kind, pure hearted, and full of integrity. To my knowledge, she does not and has not participated in the political feuds on the web. She is about as trustworthy as a witness can be. If she is making up a story now, how could she have put the same information in her letter to ROCOR and copied to the OCA chancellor many weeks ago? The Holy Synod knows the letter posted her is true because they have the letter she sent to them weeks ago.

    • Harry Coin says

      Well I thought that too Rod. But then, Met. Jonah isn’t Met. Jello. I don’t buy he caved on these facts.

      • Rod Dreher says

        Alas, Harry, you’re wrong. Jonah cannot stand conflict. I find that to be a vice in a bishop, not a virtue. I find it entirely plausible that he gave up not because he believed himself guilty of anything, but because he realized once and for all that he was never, ever going to have peace with these people, and that he cannot lead a Synod composed entirely of bishops who don’t want him.

        It’s possible that he also believed himself guilty of their charges. I highly doubt it, though. We need to hear from him.

        • If this letter can be validated, Met. Jonah can easily make the case that he was asked to resign under false pretenses. His letter of resignation explicitly cites the “unanimous” vote taken by the rest of the Synod as the reason for the resignation. If the letter is true, it means the vote was taken based on faulty information, and so Met. Jonah’s resignation is based on this false decision by the Synod.

          • Maybe he will be the only one standing when we finish, with this group of cheaters and liars who are in charge of the OCA.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Harry, when you’re surrounded by antagonists who are always ready to pounce on you because you’re not part of their corporate culture (and when that culture has devolved into a racket), then you’re toast.

        One of the silver linings of this whole debacle is we now see that the Apparat that governs the OCA is completely dysfunctional.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Exactly how much would I have to pay you, Mr. Dreher, to compromise your integrity, your “Confession of Faith” at an episcopal election, your good will, and your good name to falsely and deceptively sign a statement that would be transmitted around the world, all in the name of your “financial future?” I would take my elderly mother with me into poverty and welfare before I would compromise my integrity before God and the Church. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Mt. 10:37) Your “defense” is to make him to be a liar and a buffoon, and he is neither. But neither is he the object of your fantasy. Too many “thumbs-up” have obviously gone to your head.

      • M. Stankovich says:
        July 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm

        I would take my elderly mother with me into poverty and welfare before I would compromise my integrity before God and the Church.

        That’s just pride.

        “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Mt. 10:37)

        Not apropos.

      • Jesse Cone says

        Stank, Oh Stank, you assume so much. If you want to dialog with others, you may want to find a way to meet on shared ground or at least be honest about yours.

      • Exactly how much would I have to pay you, El Stanko, to take John Pappas’s advice?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Everybody, let’s cool it. Mr Stankovich has the right to his opinion. Let’s not make fun of his name, I know from personal experience that that hurts.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        We can be certain that Mr. Stankovich will not respond substantively. Name-calling and derision are in order from him. I don’t think even his faux intellectualism can help here. The “rebuttals” will just be nasty and rude.

      • Seraphim98 says

        Dear Mr. Stankovich,

        Please correct me if I am wrong. Were there not saints and holy ascetics of old whole would affirm any calumny raised against them short of admitting to being a heretic.

        In the Ladder of Divine Ascent doesn’t St. John tell of of a brother who for a penance was commanded to ask the prayers of those visiting the monastery because he was an epileptic…even though the brother was actually not an epileptic?

        If these things are so, then short of admitting to being a heretic might not Met. Jonah have reasons consistent with the faith for not challenging accusations leveled against him, even if he is actually innocent of the accusation. One may argue of course that the nature of situation may demand he defend himself…not for his own sake but for the sake of the Church and its laity many of whom might well be injured in some way by a more humble and self effacing course of action. And it may indeed be so…but then again it may not be such a situation, or at least may not yet appear so to Met. Jonah, in which case letting others say what they want without rebuttal or correction…even giving such accusations the nod (true or not) is not outside the range of responsible behaviors which are consistent with the faith and its legacy…at least as I have read our Churches history. It seems to me it’s difficult to be so certain of any of our judgements until we known more.

        • M. Stankovich says


          Of course you are correct in your examples. And as I’ve frequently quoted beloved Prof. SS Verhovskoy, “God is our Father and the Holy Spirit goes where He wishes,” all things are possible, but conversely, not all things are probable. It seems reasonable to assume that, in the tradition of the Fathers, to present the story of individuals (“There was a certain monk whomever who lived in the desert…”) who conducted extraordinary acts of piety, the lesson referred to the benefit of piety, and not the extraordinary conduct of an individual. Was the lesson of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:33) to pick up every homeless person you see in the street, or “who is my neighbor?” In other words, anomaly of extraordinary behaviour is used to teach a larger principle, not instruct in extraordinary behaviour.

          In my mind, then, the issue here is probability and likelihood. So, in applying the probability statistics in Ocamm’s Razor (sorry, I couldn’t help it!) I reasonably conclude that when the former Metropolitan composed and signed a letter of resignation, considering that he is an Orthodox Christian, a monastic, and a consecrated bishop, he would not and did not lie, purposefully deceive, or was impaired to the point of questionable judgment. His statement and signature is “his side of the story.”

          If you say, “we don’t have all the facts,” I say he took an oath to “do nothing through restraint or coercion,” and to “watch over the flock now confided to me in the manner of the Apostles.” to prevent superstition, rumor, customs, or schism that “may injure Christian conduct.” It is obvious that the Holy Synod had some expectation of him to make some form of explanation – or so they described their delay in releasing a full explanation – but they obviously believed that it was not essential. For this reason, I reasonably conclude the matter is complete by his resignation.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Rod, I think Syosset has lost control of the narrative about 10 days ago. What we’ve seen since is a bunch of hysterics running around with their arms flapping screaming at the top of their lungs that Jonah is Jerry Sandusky’s ennabler.

    • Harry Coin says

      Rod, there will be no schism because there shouldn’t be. Met Jonah deemed it wise to resign, if as you say he did that because of a dislike of conflict— well I do not see the makings of a schismatic there do you?

      The right thing to do, if people in the OCA love it, is to expose and replace any on the synod or in the MC who knowingly abused their authority, if they indeed did. If a total whopper has been told, who told it that knew it was false or should have checked before committing the church to such a course?

      It’s all so very odd. Folk who are usually quite measured in their public remarks do not idly use words like ‘rape’ and ‘Sandusky’ and so forth.

    • There could be any number of reasons (good or bad) for +JONAH’s silence, but I sincerely hope Mr. Dreher is mistaken in his assertion that fear of financial loss is foremost among them.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’d say that His Beatitude is being obedient. Unfortunately, there’s a difference between obedience and tyrrany.

        I’m not so concerned about the financial leverage they have over him is what’s holding him back now. Given what we’ve seen with this latest broadside –utter falsehoods if now outright lies–I wouldn’t be surprised if the cabal* that’s orchestrating this whole shebang isn’t going to tie something criminal against him. So on top of not getting a severance package, he’d have to hire lawyers on top of that. Get it out of your heads once and for all that we’re dealing with well-meaning men here. We’re not.

        And let’s not be naive and think that innocent men have nothing to fear. Innocent men have been railroaded through juridical means since the dawn of time.

        *The “cabal” in question is not the Synod in its entirety (although they will bear the ultimate blame) but the Apparat of about a dozen men on the MC, Syosset, and perhaps three bishops.

      • Rod Dreher says

        Are you sure? If I thought the only thing standing between my parents and sister suffering was my reputation, I would allow my reputation to be shredded for their sake. I am certain Jonah is the kind of man who would allow himself to be destroyed rather than cause his family to suffer. I hope I am that kind of man too.

        • George Michalopulos says

          But Rod, they want to not only shred his reputation but hurt his family too. It’s not either-or.

          • Well, yes, but if Met. Jonah even thought, however mistakenly, that throwing his reputation in the toilet would spare or at least delay hardship for his family, that takes extraordinary courage and character.

        • M. Stankovich says

          It has nothing to do with “reputation.” It has to do with truth, integrity, a commitment to “to do this out of love for you, the people of the Church, and for my brother bishops,” and an oath taken by each and every candidate for the Orthodox Episcopacy as set forth in the rubric of the Order of Electing a Bishop:

          And now I promise also to do nothing through constraint, whether coerced by powerful persons, or by a multitude of the people, even though they should command me, under pain of death, to do some-thing contrary to divine and holy laws.

          And as St. Thomas More explained to his wife

          When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then he needn’t hope to find himself again. Some men aren’t capable of this.

          That is the “kind of man” he promised to be.

          You mix words and irrelevant melodrama about “reputation” and “filial piety” that are fit for Hallmark, not shodding your feet “with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (Eph. 6:15) If you would presume to preach and instruct, submit yourself to the seminary and be instructed first. Your urges and lack of appreciation for history are oppressive and offensive.

          • Yes, and the Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Jonah for no other reason but “because of the multitude of the people.”

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Pappas,

            Do you count even one single original thought in anything I’ve said? One? No. I am not a “prophet” or “father,” or original thinker. I have simply had the good fortune to listen and learn from extraordinary teachers God has placed in my path. Do you get it, Coolio? It’s not about me! You are making me more important than I am. Would you like your money back for reading my comments? “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8)

            That you apparently have no more contribution than to inordinately fire insults (“Shut up,” seriously, Mr. Pappas?) across the “bow” of my sorry ass, Mr. Pappas, suggests you could use some serious inspiration. Hey, how about Matthew 10?

        • Mr. Dreher, I meant no disrespect at all to you or to +JONAH, nor would I presume impugn his motives in my ignorance of the facts. If it is important to the Church that he speaks, I hope – sincerely hope – that he speaks without fear of the repercussions. If his silence is not motivated by fear, I respect that completely. There is any number of good reasons for silence other than fear. The same can be said to be true of some of the silence of the synod. If speaking the truth out of love for the Church cost him his income I suspect there are many (including me) who would ensure that his family’s needs are met.

          Far too many clergy have been silenced by fear of the loss of their family’s income. Many good clergy have commented here that self-supporting clergy is likely the best way to go for this very reason.

  18. It seems that the Synod’s technique is one of..


    …which sounds like their main complaint against +JONAH.

    What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  19. While I appreciate having an alternate opinion/news source on these developments, I think you’re flattering yourself by saying you “deconstructed” the letter, George. In actuality, what you did in that post is mostly what I’d call “sniping.” The current post, however, with new information about the priest the letter referenced, his standing vis a vis the OCA, and when knowledge of his activities came to light, is more substantial. A quick question on that: how did it come about that he was thought by some to be in the OCA? Is it only the bishops of other dioceses who would be unlikely to be familiar with his standing that might make that presumption? Did any locals likewise presume he was on the rolls of the OCA?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      You didn’t see the incoherences involved in their many assertions? I pointed them out in blue.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      I think the other bishops knew full well that this priest was never in the OCA. What they also knew was that the vast majority of parishioners and almost no newspaper reporters will understand the difference between letting a priest serve in your Diocese and receiving them into the jurisdiction. So they wrote it in a way that 90% of the readers and 99.99% of outsiders would read, accept without question, and run sreaming Sandusky down the aisles. They weren;t confused at all. They were deliberately disingenuous.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’m not so sure about that Mark. I’m coming down on the side of some of the bishops were hoodwinked. Look at this way: each of them is probably very busy. They’re all pretty old. I myself won’t read anything less than a “12” font, even with reading glasses. You have a central bureaucracy that takes care of petty synodal things so you don’t have to. “Here, Your Grace, just sign on the dotted line,” etc.

        Think of it this way: “Your Grace, it’s clear that HB is inept. Now it looks like he really stepped in it. It seems he accepted this Greek priest into the OCA. This priest has problems. Nescott’s on the phone and he’s screaming ‘Jerry Sandusky!!! We’re gonna lose our shirts! We gotta cut Jonah loose for the sake of the Church! And we gotta do it NOW or all is lost!!!’ This time we got the goods on Jonah. And he wants to resign, he now realizes he’s out of his league. It’d be good for all concerned. Moscow and Istanbul don’t care. It’ll be like Theodosius and Herman, like yanking off a bandage.”

      • What I’m getting so far on this profligate priest is that, though he was not officially on the rolls of OCA clergy, it may have appeared to some that he was owing to the fact that he received +Jonah’s blessing to serve in +Jonah’s diocese (DC area, presumably?). Is that correct? But the priest was actually on the clergy rolls of some other church ( which, GOARCH? Constantinople?)? If that’s true, then +Matthias and the Synod have made a terrible blunder in stating that the priest was “unilaterally accepted into the OCA” by +Jonah. That wording simply looks slanderous if the priest actually remained under another jurisdiction but was allowed by +Jonah to serve in a certain region. Btw, where is this priest now? What is his full name? How can we get more information on his ordination, activity in the US, and his current standing in the Orthodox world? That’s very important information relative to +Jonah’s resignation.

        • Furthermore, is it true, as Harry Coin posted a few minutes ago, that “he (aforementioned profligate priest) was seen offering the liturgy and doing confessions in Met. Jonah’s DC church in early 2010, this is beyond any doubt?” If that priest were serving in +Jonah’s “home parish” in DC or in the cathedral there (the church at which the metropolitan most regularly worships and the diocesan cathedral are not always one and the same), it is understandable how some might presume this priest was part of the OCA clergy. It is unacceptable for an official memo describing events that precipitated +Jonah’s resignation to overlook the distinction between being accepted into the OCA and being, as representative of another jurisdiction, allowed to serve in a church or diocese, but the casual observer could easily conclude that this priest was on the rolls of OCA clergy. What the letter might have said by way of justification for +Jonah’s resignation, then, is that he “unilaterally blessed to serve in his diocese a priest from another jursdiction who had a sullied reputation.” Doesn’t sound as forceful, though.

          • Harry Coin says

            When you are at the same time the OCA met and the diocesan bishop, your decision to have someone serve as a priest in your diocese is in no sense more ‘unilateral’ than all other clergy assignments, indeed owing to the double authority ‘more blessed’ than a priest being transferred within one diocese.

            No, this ‘unilateral’ language just won’t do.

  20. Now that, thanks to George Michalopoulos, one of the fraudulent elements in the lawyer’s letter purporting to have been written by the Holy Synod has come out for all to behold. I’d like to send out a call for the facts in the “case” of Archimandrite Isidore (Brittain). Was a spiritual court ever held? Who suspended Archimandrite Isidore from serving as a Priest? What canonical and/or criminal proceedings preceded that suspension. When, if ever, were the accusations of Mr. Widebottom (sp?) validated by ANY authority or accepted in any court of law? Was Mr. Widebottom a trustworthy and mentally/emotionally balanced witness according to expert testimony anywhere. Was there ever a finding of guilty relative to ANY charges ever made in ANY court, spiritual, civiil or criminal?
    Was it not a fact that Bishop Benjamin asked Metropolitan Jonah to lift Father Isidore’s suspension based on legal advice relative to expensive liability if that suspension were not to be lifted? Father Isidore, without anyone’s coaching or direction, went off to the Mayo Clinic to be treated for alcoholism and completed it. He then returned home to the St. Ann parish in Oregon where he was originally received into the Orthodox Church by Father Stephen Soot. No one doubts that Father Isidore is a recovered alcoholic and that Bishop Nikolai was severely opposed his drinking, while he himself had professional experience as head of a substance-abuse cliinic for teen-agers in Las Vegas. I know, too, that Alaska to the rest of the OCA is like race-relations in America: every member/American is an expert on the matter and contributes opinions on the topic.
    Please, do not re-publish all the opinions that were published on Stokoe’s site relative to guilt or innocence: none of them bears the authority of this letter by “the godmother.” Just give us the official findings and tell us who made those findings and when, in the case of Father Isidore.What a filthy mess Stokoe et all made of that matter!!! Motivated by jealousy, resentment, and revenge most of the time.
    In my opinion, the only possible justification for Father isidore’s suspension was alcoholism. If Bishop Benjamin, a recovering alcoholic himself, who was blessed to continue serving (without restriction) as a Bishop after treatment for alcoholism, he would have had to have been truly vicious to have prevented Father isidore to serving. And, by the way, one may not disqualify a Priest authorized and blessed to serve in one locale from serving elsewhere. I am grateful to God that Father Isidore did not resign his Priesthood or worse, no matter how some sane persons might have felt it to be an appropriate response to injustice.

    • What do the following men – three OCA Metropolitans, several bishops, chancellors, and assorted priests from the Central administrative staff – have in common from 2005 to 2012?

      They all received letters similar in content to Metropolitan Jonah’s. His was the worst, but the pedigree has been around for almost a decade. The names and the dates on the letters change, too, but if you look carefully, the relative content remains the same.

      The faults of an administrator are concentrated into a single, laser-like focus; data is collected on that person, and then he is shamed and crucified until he leaves office.

      The script goes something like this: “O, You incompetent fool. HOW could we have ever trusted you? You did x, y, and z (long list of evidence follows). You consistently failed in your duties. We can’t work with you (unanimously) anymore. And now we reject you. Go! “

      It’s like a best-selling soap opera – “Inside the OCA” – with a killer script that keeps you on the edge of your chair. You wonder who is next to get the ax? Or shamed in the upcoming pilot for next season? Who will be cast as the new Metropolitan?

      Lastly, someone mentioned a timeline earlier. It would be interesting to begin with Metropolitan Theodosius’s last years and list the dates, times, and excuses since then that were used to capriciously nail maybe a dozen administrators to the OCA’s wall of shame. If an actuary added up the human toll ($) in legal fees, shame and psychiatrists, it would probably be in the millions.

      And nobody seems to question that it’s the same script each time; just different names on the marquee. That’s what a killer script will do for you.

      • Jesse Cone says

        John, I think you nailed it.

        I think, however, that you left out Bp. Basil (Radzianko) of blessed memory.

        It was suggested earlier that the only play out of this for the Synod was to make +Jonah look crazy. This is exactly what it seems they’re doing. Apparently significant time at the DOS hang-out in Miami was spent on extolling this narrative. I heard the same thing from my priest after liturgy on Sunday. They are trashing his reputation.

        Stankovich and I have been bantering about “systematic failure”. I’m wondering if that’s code for “bullying”.

        • to quote Tony Campolo, “It’s Friday by Sunday is coming!

        • This is depressing.

        • It has long been a source of unprofitable speculation to try to guess which bishops are secretly homosexual. I guess what we should have been concentrating on was figuring out which ones secretly don’t believe in God.

          • Seriously Helga. Its all just so shocking. Do they not care for the Church? Its not his His Beatitude’s reputation that is now smeared all over the webbernet news circles its the whole OCA.

            • If reputation means anything to us, and it need not, I suppose it is the reputation of the Orthodox Church that is suffering. They can’t be expected to keep track of who’s who and what’s what. Once it was vending vodka, very recently, those millionaire monks at Vatopedi were in the news again, this time not just because of the skill at wheeling and dealing while Greece’s economy went down the toilet, but because of since unproven Wall-Street-Style crimes. Now, as Helga guesses, they must be wondering what’s Christian about the people that write these letters, like Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation letter and the Statement of the Holy Synod, God being TOTALLY, UTTERLY ignored in both documents emanating from, as some Chinese medium might note,: their priests.
              Neither in Metropolitan Jonah’s letter nor in the Statement is there any reference to any deity whatsoever, no “in the name of”, and so on. No mention of Scripture, and, above all no evangelical counsel AT ALL. No opportunity to preach the Word of God taken; rather utterly scorned, ignored!!!! Why did the Bishops pass up an opportunity to give bread? They gave us stones, my friends, STONES. May all the Holy Fathers of the Church assist us towards out salvation in Jesus Christ at a time when our archpastors are otherwise occupied, even about to embark on a rape investigation. Which Saint is in charge of the investigation of sin and crime, so we may invoke his or her aid in this Holy Investigative Endeavor!

        • Mark from the DOS says

          And this of course, was the expected and intended consequence of that letter. Whether the truth is ever rolled out or not, once the accusations have circulated, Met. Jonah is forever tainted, and can’t be restored and probably can’t be assigned to a Diocesean see. The Synod “wins” at any cost.

    • pelagiaeast says

      With all do respect, Valydka, if you do not even personally know Paul Sidebottom, you have no grounds for making comments about him.

      • Daniel E. Fall says

        The good Bishop has had a habit lately of changing people’s names in his postings. He needs to recognize it has no reflection on them on only casts a dark shadow on himself.

  21. Boom

  22. Theodore says

    No tithes to OCA until this is resolved. Depending on resolution, maybe not even then. Meanwhile my tithes will be directed outside the OCA.

    • Tithe strike! Me too. Who else?

      • Sub-Deacon David says

        DOSnik, send the text of the godmother’s letter to your priest. I have sent it to mine. While they are still at the conference there may be something that can be done. I don’t know what, but perhaps if all the priests of the DOS can shake off the Chancellor’s and Archbishop’s koolaid, there is hope.

  23. Rod Dreher says

    Syosset and the Synod have this woman’s statement, and had it before they moved against Jonah. Why did they find her testimony unbelievable? What discredited her in their minds? Were all the bishops informed of this woman’s testimony before they joined the call for Jonah to step down?

    It should be remembered that the Synod might have facts that the rest of us don’t, and may even have facts that the Godmother does not. If they do, they should make them known to the full Church. They cannot ignore this woman’s testimony, however. It must be answered.

    The Synod asserts in its statement that Jonah knew about this alleged rape in February 2012. The godmother insists he wasn’t told until May 2012, when she told him. She also asserts that the victim and her husband didn’t contact the police until that time. It is possible that the Synod has other evidence that Jonah actually learned about the incident in February, from someone other than the Godmother. If so, they had better share it, or enough of it to be convincing to outsiders.

    They also had better produce evidence that Jonah had anything to do with trying to silence the victim, as the statement of the Synod strongly implies, though does not outright state it. If you read the language, the Synod asserts that “certain others” told the alleged victim not to mention the rape, on pain of losing her salvation. The next sentence in the release says that Jonah was “as recently as last week … regularly communicating with one of those” who discouraged the victim. The implication is clear: Jonah was behind this.

    Well, maybe he was, but that’s a completely unsupported, though damaging, insinuation. For all we know, the person with whom Jonah was in contact “as recently as last week” was a friend, a parishioner, or some other person with whom he would normally have contact. If my neighbor is an embezzler, the fact that I talked to him across the fence yesterday morning does not implicate me in his crime. The Synod implies that Jonah was part of a conspiracy to compel silence on this alleged victim. How do they know this?

    If they’ve gotten this basic fact wrong, that does not mean that Jonah is completely blameless in this incident, but it does call all the Synod’s allegations into question, and, of course, its credibility.

    If any of the bishops believe they’ve been duped by Syosset, I hope they have the courage to stand up and say so.

    • Harry Coin says

      Rod, wait a minute now: Wasn’t this priest totally out and gone from the OCA’s control fall of 2010? Whether he did serious crimes or not afterward, why is that properly a cause of action against Met. Jonah or the OCA? Beyond trying to support any in the OCA that were harmed, what are they so fussed about? What have I missed?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fat chance they’ll ever do that, Rod. Do I believe that His Beatitude was blameless? Sure looks that way. The victim’s godmother certainly believes so.

    • Rod, although you raise some good questions, I don’t see how it really makes a difference whether he found out in February or May 2012, if Jonah had issued a “no blessing to serve” for the priest in the OCA already back in 2010. After that, the priest was not Jonah’s responsibility, other than that, as a brotherly courtesy, he should have let ROCOR know what he knew as soon as he knew it. ROCOR is involved in all this too (since they received the nuns), so it will be interesting to see what they conclude about it all.

    • Actually if there is a ongoing criminal investigation, then nothing has to be answered. Here’s my question to all of you…are you taking into account the victim’s own wishes or feelings? Or are all of you just looking at your own selfish reasons for answers. As you say, there are most likely things that are not public knowledge, and for the sake of any victims, they should remain that way. It’s disturbing to me that a lot of you are calling for the heads of bishops and anyone else because they are not acting in a Christian way. At the same time you are asking for information regarding possible crimes, that realistically you have no right to know – regardless of how you personally feel.

      Have any of you been the victim or known the victim of a crime like is being discussed? Would you ever want the facts being discussed on an internet forum to justify or not justify the resigning of someone? I can tell you having worked with and unfortunately known young women who have been assaulted that in no way would they want anyone talking about this. The fact that this “godmother” has chosen to do this, quite frankly shocks me. Any victim of a sex crime that I have ever known as always wanted to control that flow of information. Not have a ‘godmother’ write a letter to justify some facts and dates. as we have seen with the recent trial in PA regarding a predator, dates have been confused…still didn’t make him any less guilty in the end.

      If having your own personal needs for self gratification in this ordeal means airing out an assault of a woman on the internet – then maybe Rod is right and you all need to form your own version of Orthodoxy – because I can tell you from my 30+ years as an Orthodox Christian that is no where near what is taught in the Bible, the sayings of the Desert Fathers, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Nicholas, any Saint or Holy Father.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Have you considered the possibility that this godmother may have spoken with her goddaughter before proceeding with this? She isn’t the type to go forth recklessly.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Nor is she the kind to be reckless. I would assume that this letter was crafted with a lawyer consulting and with its publication here being just one of means of trying to straighten this out.

      • Tim, nobody here would be discussing the assault if it had not been used as a political football to begin with. I have to tell you, if it were me, my anger would be with the people who exploited my assault for political purposes, not the people protesting the political maneuver.

        To put things in a less confusing fashion, I certainly hope it does not turn out to be the case that the Holy Synod/Syosset used this instance of sexual assault because they found it a convenient tool to take down Met. Jonah, rather than any genuine concern for sexual misconduct or for the dignity of the woman who suffered this ordeal.

  24. ForcedAnon says

    THANK YOU, GEORGE! I knew most of the letter was one-sided misinformation, but you have exposed the central lie of it.

    So… THIS (Matthias’ letter) is what the bishops were talking about, which Fr Eric Tosi (Possi!) described as “the varied facets of the administration’s operations and outstanding work and projects,” and, “critical issues that need to be addressed in the immediate and near future,” and “various aspects of the past week and some critical actions to be done in the coming weeks,” and “much discussion on a wide variety of issues.”

    You can fault me for this, but I believe, just like I believe Met. JONAH is a good man, that +Matthias is an honest man, with good intentions. Assuming +Matthias is only passing on what he’s been told (and what he genuinely believes), the question is, Who gave him (and the rest of the Synod) these falsehoods?

    It is understandable why +Matthias would be chosen to deliver this pre-composed letter, as he is the newest bishop and the least tainted with scandal. (It is even understandable why he would go along: he was already being opposed by his brother bishops for abandoning and speaking against Fr Alexander Schmemann’s steps toward liturgical renewal.) But who lied, to frame Met. JONAH?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Re Bp Matthias: when I first heard about his letter Monday, and then that the Synod put out another version later that day, I thought to myself that they put him up to it so he’d be the fall-guy. Since only he signed his –and the Synod didn’t sign theirs’–they can always say that he duped them. Then, because he’s a conservative and he’s trying to straighten up the mess that Job left, the liberals could get rid of him. Don’t forget, Stokoe and his coterie (Kishkovsky, Tossie, et al) are mad at Matthias because he took out Stokoe last year.

      What do you all think?

      • Diogenes says


        That’s baloney. Stokoe has no axe to grind. + Matthias is having his own troubles since he has also been acting in a unilateral fashion. You wish to imagine factions that don’t exist. Paranoia anyone?

    • It looks like it’s time for another DOM bishop to ask, “Are the allegations true or false?” If he discovers he’s been fed half-truths or lies and been used in a perverse game of klobuk-and-dagger, I am confident he will do the right thing, now.

  25. ALEX ELLER says


    • Michael Bauman says

      We have the right answers Mr. Eller, we just don’t listen. It appears that neither the Synod nor Met. Jonah has been listening “all we like sheep have gone astray, every one to his own way”

      Jesus Christ took on our sins, we should not be laying them off on someone else, anyone else (+Jonah, +Benjamin, +Nikon) no one else.

      Further, the attempt to do so should be rejected.

  26. This is all so sad and disheartening. It just makes me want to cry. It’s hard for me to believe the Bishops love God and care about those they are supposed to shepherd. This is the Body of Christ? This is the Bride of Christ? Don’t they know the Gospels, hear them and read them? I expect better of them.

  27. Rod Dreher says

    The Associated Press is now out with a story about Jonah’s resignation. It contains this bit:

    It said he gave unauthorized people a detailed internal church report concerning “numerous investigations into sexual misconduct,” which risked leaking names of accusers and the accused.

    I would like to know the names of those people. I don’t believe he gave it to a single person. I know he didn’t give it to me. Mark Stokoe reported on his site on February 25, 2011:

    This multi-page report, signed by all the Committee members (including Fr. Garklavs and Tosi)was emailed to the Synod on February 10, 2011. Among the topics covered were issues relating to the allegations against Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa; issues surrounding Fr. Symeon Kharon, a monastic who, together with and a group of nuns from Greece, was brought by the Metropolitan to start a monastery in the DC area; issues surrounding Archimandrite Isidore (Brittain); the Committee’s concern with the Metropolitan’s unilateral appointment of an investigator for clergy sexual misconduct they felt was unqualified; and other, related concerns.

    Mark Stokoe, who is to be congratulated on his scoop, clearly had seen the SMPAC Report, or been informed of its content by someone who had access to it. Everything he reports in it is accurate. I know this because I just consulted my copy of the report. There are no other names of people accused of sexual misconduct in the nine-page report, and no names of witnesses. The report, prepared for the Synod, tells them that details had been left out “in order to provide a readable document in a timely manner,” and that if they wanted to see documentation, they could find details out in the files at the Syosset chancery; so much for the claim in the Synod’s statement on Jonah’s resignation that the report was “painstakingly detailed.”

    There are no names of accusers in the report; the names of the accused had already made public by Mark Stokoe, in the report I quoted above. (Abp Seraphim Storheim’s problems had even earlier been revealed in the Canadian press, as a result of legal action.) Stokoe had that SMPAC report, or at least had a list of the names of those in it accused of sexual misconduct, before I did. As far as I can tell, Stokoe broke the news.

    We can be certain that Jonah leaked nothing to Mark Stokoe. Who did? Where is the concern in Syosset and on the Synod with finding who gave Stokoe that confidential report?

    Again, for the sake of argument, I suppose it is possible Jonah did make that report available to other people. I don’t believe he did, but that is only my guess. Does the Synod have any proof for its public assertion, which has been repeated in the media, that Jonah gave the SMPAC Report to “unauthorized persons”? If it doesn’t, then this is slander.

    • Rod, bear in mind that there were actually two versions of the SMPAC memorandum. One is the nine page document that you have. A second was produced during Lent and produced for the May 2011 meeting of the Holy Synod.

      To my knowledge, the second report is hundreds of pages long (and probably a lot harder to pass around), but is merely the original SMPAC with the “supporting documentation” in line rather than “available in Syosset”. What you have would basically be the digest version of this longer report, although your version was the first to be produced.

      This does not affect what you said about whether Met. Jonah sent it out or not, though, of course.

      • Rod Dreher says

        Thanks, Helga; I did not know that. Which version of the report is Jonah supposed to have distributed? To whom did he supposedly distribute it? Could Jonah have sent out that long version of the report to someone? Sure. Did he do so? The Synod says he did. What does Jonah say? Does he not have a moral right to face his accusers?

        Remember, the first paragraph of that Synod release chastises Jonah for refusing to accept responsibility for his crimes misdeeds, based on things he supposedly said after his resignation. Neat trick, that: the man is not allowed to say a word in his own defense, even to dispute the allegations leveled against him.

        The people of the Church have a right to know exactly why the Synod forced the Metropolitan out. Their story to this point does not pass the smell test — and I say that admitting that the Synod’s account may be right, and its move justified. We know that we’re not getting Jonah’s side of the story. We have nothing to do on but the Synod’s story now. And I don’t believe that story, not based on the information we have available to us at this present time.

        • Rod, I’m afraid I wouldn’t know which version of the report. I would guess if any version was leaked, it was the first version, like your copy. I don’t know that the second version was leaked at all. I do know the second version just had enclosed documentation to supplement the claims of the first.

          This is purely hypothetical, but I would hazard a guess that if Met. Jonah did leak the report to anyone, it would have been to a confidant in order to assist in his defense.

          What keeps my head above water is the fact that even if Met. Jonah were guilty of all of these horrible things, the way the rest of the Synod and Central Administration have been acting for about eighteen months simply does not jibe with their accusations.

          For instance, they certainly don’t seem at all concerned that a man, whom they claim is crazy enough to need to spend half a year in a loony bin, is being left in charge of the care of his elderly parents. Either that is flagrant negligence, or they know he’s not really crazy.

    • I just went the Yahoo’s AP article. Naturally, they made it as inflammatory as possible: “Leader of US Orthodox church quits amid rape claim.” Yikes… Thanks Holy Synod for handling this with such care, prudence, and thoughtfulness (insert sarcasm font here).

      • Now THERE is a hatchet job. I wonder what would happen if they watched Metropolitan Jonah celebrate Liturgy and receive Holy Communion. “Church leader kills ‘God’, cannibalizes remains”

        • “Didn’t report a rape” is bad enough, but “rape claim” makes it sound like he is the actual rapist.

          Poor Met. Jonah.

        • Daniel E. Fall says

          Ah, nice try, but the Synod ain’t the AP.

          CNN had a headline today ‘Surprise from neighbors of alleged shooter’.

          Guess what…no surprise, just a catchy title.

          Don’t blame the Synod for someone juicing up a title-it ain’t on them..

      • Catherine P. says

        Regarding the slanderous newspaper articles on Met. Jonah, is there anyway someone with a thorough grasp of the situation can alert the press that there is another side to this story? Would the press even care? These are honest questions that I don’t know the answers to, but maybe someone here does.

        • Would the press even care?

          I doubt it.

        • Harry Coin says

          Catherine, it’s a great idea. The fact it hasn’t happened after all this time makes me think even though folk with great connections to the press, including some posting here, could have done that, would have liked nothing more than to do that, haven’t done it because: There exist no facts that could even almost be report-worthy to marshal. No documents, no even minor official saying ‘wait, stop’. Right now, the only article would be about a group of core supporters much in favor of +JP’s many good speeches and ability to connect with folk, sad beyond words he might not be able to keep doing that.

          I mean, let’s face it, the best shot anyone’s taken here was investigating whether church paperwork was in order regarding Fr. X. I mean, you know, probably seriously small beer no matter the result, right? What else does anyone have, even alleged? Exactly.

          Can you imagine a newspaper quoting ‘Nikos, Helga and Amos’? No. They might quote George owing to his blog (maybe) or Rod, or Bishop Tikhon, maybe Dn. Brian. Certainly Fr. Hans. What could any of them tell a reporter? Don’t know. Me and most others here? Hey we’re just well wishers.

  28. Don’t.

  29. Getting kind of desperate here aren’t you? We’re supposed to believe that the entire Holy Synod got together and came up with a false accusation so they could get rid of Metropolitan Jonah. Now why would they do that since they could have easily removed him last year for disobedience. So why now and what was the real reason being what (are we back to the Lavender Mafia fantasy?)

    And the proof that Jonah was a threat to the homosexuals is As Locum Tenens he allowed a repentent homosexual to serve the liturgy?

    I mean do you people even read what you post?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      James, these are good points you raise. However, let’s examine whose story is changing. Please consider that it’s not Jonah who’s changed his story or shut down his Facebook page, it’s Syosset. It’s Syosset that’s going around trying to tamp down fires. Based on the simple fact alone –that their neat little narrative has been completely obliterated–don’t you think that people have the right to be skeptical of what the OCA’s peddling?

      As for the “repentent homosexual,” who are you talking about?

  30. Tom Jeffrey says

    Has anyone else noticed that the OCA has shut down the wall on its Facebook page? I was going to post this piece up there again, since it was previously deleted, figuring that a very early morning post might get some hang time. I suppose that its just another form of censorship to simply close the venue when you can’t control it completely.

    • It looks like they’ve shut down their Facebook page entirely.

      Metropolitan Jonah’s fan page is still up, though.

      • Post there folks. That is not run by the OCA. Maybe a shadow OCA website needs to be created to demand the truth.

    • Yeah, I was going to wait until late at night to post the article again (after whoever moderates the FB page goes to bed) so it would be up for maybe a few hours before they deleted it. As of 9pm lastnight it was already taken down.

  31. Now the OCA took down their Facebook Page. What a joke. I guess they can’t stand the truth that people are sick of their underhanded ways. Confirmation to me that they are in full message control mode and just trying to ride out the storm they created. Incompetent fools. Do they really think they will get away with this? If they do, then we are the fools.

    And you can bet there will be no independent investigation. Let Jonah’s blood be on all of their hands, the synod, Jillions, Tosi, Kishhovsky, Reeves, Skordinski, Solodow, Stokoe, Nescott, all of them.

    • Harry Coin says

      A bit over the top here, isn’t it? There is a little space between a church job assignment and ‘blood on their hands’, right? Perhaps the real tension here is whether or not the folks who you send to participate in the major decision making bodies of the church just aren’t doing their jobs explaining things and collecting your views about what ought to be done. What does your member to the MC have to say? What does your priest have to say? When you ask about the things you care about what answer do you get?

  32. Philippa says

    Unbelievable. You all demand information, you get it, don’t like it or believe it and then are angry because the information you requested and was given has gone world wide. You got what you asked for from your bishops. Would you like their collective heads on a platter too? Have you thought about what pain nd suffering you all are causing Jonah? Geesh.

    • Philippa, they got rid of Met. Jonah based on a lie. They claim he did something terrible that he really didn’t do. What do you think causes him pain and suffering but watching what this is doing to his family and his church? If you ask me, having the other bishops’ heads on a collective platter would be a nice start!

    • If you will read previous posts, the synod’s letter was origionally taken at face value. Then the holes became apparent followed by an embarrassing letter that reveals factual problems with the official statement.

    • Rod Dreher says

      Information is only valuable insofar as it clarifies and leads to the truth. I was and am grateful that the Synod released a detailed rationale for its actions. But we now know that there are serious problems with the narrative provided by the Synod. Based on what we know now, it appears that Jonah has been railroaded.

      I still honestly believe that Jonah might have behaved in such a way that justifies resignation. But I am not convinced of that based on the story the Synod has put out, certainly not in light of the Godmother’s testimony, and certainly without hearing Jonah’s side of the story. We need more information, not less. Why are you so eager to believe the official story when a) serious problems with it have been identified, and b) Syosset is the only source of information?

      We need to all be careful about confirmation bias — myself included.

    • It’s not really about +Jonah at this point — that ship has almost certainly sailed, one way or the other. It’s about the integrity of the Synod and the other OCA “organs” such as the MC and the CA, in this matter, and the truth *must* come out. And it will,even if it takes a while for it to do so.

    • Thank you for making the exactly correct point.

      As of now, it would seem that the crazy mob, led of course by Dreher, would like – what exactly? denefestration? bishops sent to the GULAG? Nothing good, surely.

      Dreher and George are at this point leading a cyber lynch mob. They do not care about facts. They care about their worldview, and no mere facts can get in the way of that. +Jonah was The One, they told themselves that so many times nothing else can be true. It HAS to be a plot, a conspiracy. Nothing but the facts.

      Rod, George, et al – think about what you have done and what you are doing here. Cut it out. Act like Christians – calm down, pray, and see what develops. Your have your ideology, it is not more important than people or the Church. If you think it is, then you are Bolsheviks and you are secretly delighting in what you are doing here.

      Rod is a very sick man, he has done terrible damage. Cut it out. Let the OCA heal. The +Jonah thing is over. Period. It is NOT all about YOU – Rod, George, or ANY of us.

      • Rod Dreher says

        Rod is a very sick man, he has done terrible damage. Cut it out. Let the OCA heal. The +Jonah thing is over.

        Oh, please. Quit whining, or if you must whine, at least wipe your eyes, blow your nose, and characterize my views correctly. I have said over and over again that the Synod might have done the right thing here, but that we can’t be confident of that based only on the story we have from Syosset. I’m asking for more facts, more information, and more credible information. I agree that Jonah’s days as metropolitan are over, but it is cowardly and morally corrupt to be willing to accept what might be lies — lies that destroyed a man’s episcopate, and continue to destroy his reputation — for the sake of peace in the Church.

        If you are willing to embrace a gross injustice based on lies for the sake of peace, then you will never have peace. I do not know that the Synod has been unjust to Jonah in this matter, but the assertions in the Godmother’s testimony, and the fact that the Synod appears to have put an effective gag order on Jonah (denying his right to contest publicly the allegations against him), ought to raise everyone’s suspicions.

        And by the way, if you wish to believe that I am a hero-worshiper of Met. Jonah, I invite you to read my most recent reflection on his leadership. Unlike many of the folks who comment here, and unlike myself a couple of years ago, I am not confident in his judgment and leadership style. But that does not justify compelling the man to resign in disgrace on trumped-up charges, if, in fact, they are trumped up charges.

        • Someone who writes like a tipsy priest, in my opinion, came out with this howler, Rod: “Rod is a very sick man, he has done terrible damage. Cut it out. Let the OCA heal. The +Jonah thing is over.”

          Rod, you seem quite healthy, even remarkably healthy, in your balanced messages here. You’ve done a lot that may lead to repair of the damages done by the “Becks” in the OCA. Keep it up, by all means, please! The OCA won’t heal until it addresses ALL the “Jonah things”, and it won’t heal at all if it doesn’t treat those self-inflicted wounds and stops making new ones.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        Dreher and George are at this point leading a cyber lynch mob. They do not care about facts.

        To the contrary, it is only the facts that people want. It would be more proper, Beck, to say that you do not care about facts that are inconvenient to your narrative.

      • You have TOTALLY discredited yourself. Rod doesn’t need me to defend him, but I have to jump in here. Rod has posted NUMEROUS times that the Synod may be correct, but that based on the info put forward, we can’t trust them.

        Reading comprehension is a skill. Too bad you didn’t learn that in the first grade.

      • With all due respect you sound like a raving lunatic here. A raving lunatic who hasn’t bothered to actually read much of anything here either.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Beck, you are completely deluded as to the facts as we have them now. And there is nothing Christian at all about standing aside while a good man is slandered and destroyed. Or a bad man for that matter.

        To all: remember one important thing: until his dying breath, St Nektrarios of Aegina was slandered horribly by thousands of people all over Greece. And they were sure that they were right.

      • Michael Martin says

        ” +Jonah was The One”

        No Beck, no one thinks that. We all know Neo in The Matrix was the One.

  33. Rod Dreher says, “Mark Stokoe, who is to be congratulated on his scoop, clearly had seen the SMPAC Report, or been informed of its content by someone who had access to it. Everything he reports in it is accurate. I know this because I just consulted my copy of the report.”

    His copy of the report?

    Here’s an idea. Perhaps the OCA should just distribute copies of every document, letter, memo, report, etc. on any subject to all their membership and let the rank and file weigh in on every decision.

    Just a thought.

    • And why not? That couldn’t possibly make things worse than this klobuk-and-dagger stuff we have going on already.

      • Monk James says

        No. It really could make things worse, since these reports often contain allegations (or references to them) which are false but not yet proved false.

        Internet correspondence being what it is, letting out all this information while it’s still incompletely being digested by appropriately credentialed bodies and let out by them while still in process is likely to cause our very wide orthodox readership to come to conclusions prematurely.

        That said, I do think that The Church, at least our OCA, has been more secretive than we need to be.

        Out of pity, most of our deposed clergymen are not dismissed with the reason for their laicization made public. Perhaps it’s time to say that ‘Father SoAndSo was laicized because….’

        But the charge and the canonical trial and the punishment had better all be true and appropriate and finally resolved before such a public statement is made.

        We’re a bit lacking in that area. We must be better than that, kinder to all and more focused.

        • Fr. James, please know I was being somewhat facetious. I do have respect a healthy sense of pastoral confidence. What I don’t respect is using that principle to harm people or cover up abuse of church disciplinary processes.

  34. MartyOlson says

    All this being true, and Jonah knowing the truth, why did he sign the resignation letter? There’s got to be something else going on…doesn’t make sense.

    • MartyOlson, this is speculation, but maybe he was simply heartbroken at seeing that ALL of the bishops had asked for his resignation. He was clearly looking out for his family, and perhaps he agrees that he mishandled some crucial matters, even if not as badly as portrayed in the Synod’s account. Under circumstances such as those, being rather conflict-averse myself, I’d probably do no different. Whether signing was morally right or wrong is another matter that I’m in no position to judge.

  35. Well folks, the story has apparently gotten worse, as of today. I googled “Metropolitan Jonah” in the news section and got articles from the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Herald, all of them repeating the official story that, in light of the negativity surrounding the Catholic scandals, looks and sounds really bad. May God have mercy on the Orthodox Church in America!

  36. Rod Dreher says

    I would like to know what Monomakhos readers are hearing about the Miami assembly. I will wait till tomorrow to find out from my priest and our lay delegate what they saw and felt there, but my sources elsewhere tell me that a feeling of despair and defeat pervaded the group.

    • This is not an exact quote..but we were told “upbeat…hunky dory….and MUCH about tithing”.

      • Heracleides says

        As I’ve said previously: “Sit down, shut up, and PAY as you pray!”

        • That’s kind of stupid. We don’t sit down in our Church.

          • Heracleides says

            Not nearly as “stupid” as your observations both above and below; I’ve several times attended divine liturgy at an OCA cathedral (Transfiguration of Christ), located in your former diocese no less, where plenty of sitting occurs. Yes, that’s right, Orthodox fundaments on – gasp – rows of Protestant pews… “Imagine such a thing!” (quoting of course a certain daft bishop).

            The rows of pews which occupy two-thirds of the nave at Transfiguration have been a fixture since its founding over a century ago… makes one wonder why you never addressed such a weighty travesty at this “temple” whilst your backside occupied the episcopal throne??? Tell me, Bishop, will this astonishing lapse in episcopal oversight make it into your much anticipated memoir??? If not an entire section, it is deserving of a chapter at the very least.

            • Ever-Memorable Archpriest Joseph Hirsch, long-time Rector of that Cathedral, which I designated as such, andan important figure in the local Globeville Community, as well as his great wife, Paulette, had it on his agenda to get rid of “THE REST” of the pews before he fell asleep. As you may see on Facebook in the photos provided by the current Rector, the excellent Archpriest David Lowell, taken in the Great Fast and at Pascha and Pentecost, the nave of the temple is now only a little less than HALF occupied by those old benches. But, well, Heracleides, a lot of people don’t occupy those pews but stand in front of them. Nobody likes them that much. (Of course, no one out here went as far as Bishop Iakovos of Chicago who said, ‘We should all get rid of those EVIL pews,’ indicating that he too, thought that in an ideal world nobody would even have a chair in which to be told to “sit down.’
              Heracleides, given George’s new guidelines, I’d like you to identify just whom you mean by “a certain daft bishop?” You often sound JUST LIKE Voices from Russia, you know? The very mirror image of Stan/Barbara Drezhlo, in some matters, but not all.
              Why do you see a lapse in episcopal oversight, George? The whole world knows that Orthodox temples ([the word for temple in Russian and Greek is the same word Russians and Greek use for the Temple in Jerusalem, called the House of God, or Beth-El in Hebrew, but called Temple in English; Russian “xram” and Greek “oikos” (Get it now?)] do not traditionally have benches (pews). Why, even in the ‘Temple that Skouras built”here in LA, DEVOUT parishioners are seen to stand in the side aisles or in the back.
              Yes, Transfiguration Cathedral and its clergy and people and its pews and so on are already in my still incomplete memoirs. And yes, a chapter may be as short as page, or part of one page, Heracleides,. I might list you in an appendix among the multitudes (it sometimes seems) who constantly tried to score a “gotcha”on me,but failed over and over!

        • I’ve heard others say this: but they were embittered non-Orthodox, alluding to a slanderous idea that their church or denomination was only interested in filthy lucre. I’ve always found it to be a stupid saying, i think that League of Militant Atheists used to accuse Churches of that kind of attitude and mocked them with almost identical sayings. I’ve never ever heard anyone being commanded to pay in our Church, and though I’ve yearned often to say “shut up!”, I’ve only let myself say it once or twice.
          Anyhow, it seems “not quite” (if you know what I mean0 to tell those who don’t have benches in their temples to sit down and shut up. Am I the only one who sees things that way? No one has rebuked the faithful, have they? I hope my words are not deemed improper for polite company.

    • Subdeacon Julio says

      Against my better judgment, I’m posting here just to correct that last statement. It is not true. I was there every day. There was no atmosphere of “despair.”

      Subdeacon Julio Gurrea

  37. I experienced no despair nor defeat. None at all. Perhaps those who are reporting to Rod attending some other DOS Assembly in an alternative universe? Yes, there was sense of very real sadness regarding the situation at hand, and the experience of grieving was apparent on the part of all, including AB Nikon and our Chancellor Fr. John Jillions. AB Nikon was very gracious, kind and forthcoming, as well as very respectful regarding his love and concern for Metro. Jonah – as were all others I heard. But no, Rod, not a bit of despair not defeat in either the clergy or the lay delegates I spoke to… Sorry to disappoint you…

    • Rod Dreher says

      Sorry to disappoint you…

      What a special lady.

      • Please forgive me Rod, but as you and some of your friends here well know, I am not special in any way. Quite the opposite: I am just a Matushka…living in a small, remote Parish of little account to many. Even so, I am loved by Christ, as are you, friend. So, did your Priest and Lay Delegate come home pervaded by despair and defeat, Rod? And George, did your pastor, Fr. Ambrose and your Lay Delegate, Robert, come home pervaded by despair and defeat? I do know Fr. Ambrose, and I met Robert at the Assembly. I do not really know Robert yet, but as for Fr. Ambrose, it is beyond my imagination to envision him coming back pervaded by despair and defeat. So, did any of you who are part of the DOS and had either clergy, laity or both attend the assembly, see these parish representatives come home pervaded with a sense of despair and defeat? If so, I would love to hear about it, and to know who and where they are, so as a very non-special lady who is still a sister in Christ, I could talk with them personally and find out why they felt that way so I could perhaps better understand, since so very many others experienced the gathering in such a completely different manner.

        • This is now the 3rd blow up that has happened in my presence in the OCA. I was new with the first one and although I saw many people suffering I chose to listen to them and pray for the situation, but did not personally get involved. In the second blow-up I chose not to get involved, even though churches around us were really struggling and some people chose to leave then. Most people will not get involved if it doesn’t immediately affect them. They don’t want their world rocked. Life is stressful, many people struggle and need a peaceful church life, so they intentionally stay uninvolved and want things to be ok. They welcome hope. Any message the chancellor can give them of hope they’ll take and be happy with. I was like that too until I saw immediately what was happening in my parish and thought, wait a minute this is screwy. The more I looked into it, the crazier it got. And now I see there is a real problem with our structure. Some of our leaders are pushing agendas that are not who and what we believe as Orthodox and it’s a fact that we are not going to be received as autocephalous for a long, long time if ever by the whole of Orthodoxy. On top of that -we are allowing our Metropolitans to be treated less that human! SO while there are many -even most who are hopeful and looking to the future, I think they are like I was–not thinking not looking, trusting everything will be ok. I don’t think any of this glorifies God and none of it should be supported.

        • A simple “Bite me, Rod” would’ve been more concise and forthright. Rarely have I seen such humility. How humble and how kind to club someone over the head with one’s very meekness. Is this sort of supercilious claptrap what passes for motherly Christian counsel in the OCA? Then, truly, Lord have mercy.

          • Rod Dreher says

            Heh. I read it as a very special Orthodox kind of “bite me,” and was only disappointed that all that time in Texas didn’t teach Mother Betty to add a “bless your heart.” When an Orthodox person starts talking about his or her own humility, I put my hand on my wallet.

            • The magnificent Rod Dreher says, “When an Orthodox person starts talking about his or her own humility, I put my hand on my wallet.”

              Quote of the day!

      • Not only is she a “special lady”, but she is a truthful person.

      • Rod, do you like C.S. Lewis? I do. One of my favorite quotations from his works is this one:
        “She’s the sort of woman who lives for others—you can tell the others by their hunted expression.”
        (The Screwtape Letters)

    • Jane Rachel says

      Knows the Score wrote:

      “Is this for real? She chirps away in the basement unaware that a storm might take off the roof.”

      Exactly… um, on second thought, what roof?

  38. Michael Martin says

    You said “detractors did not expect the furious blowback they received from within the OCA and other jurisdictions.”

    What other jurisdictions? I have not found any responses or statements from other Jurosdictions regarding this incident.

  39. As a follow up to my previous post, I actually did take time to speak to many people at the DOS Assembly: Clergy, Laity, most of our DOS Deans and more. Besides the “healthy” grieving, sorrow, disappointment and questions people rightly had (and asked), what was most predominant to those I spoke to regarding this more sober and more “sobor” than most DOS Assemblies were the renewed feeling of hope and the beginnings of healing. Not a bit of despair. Not a smidgen of defeat. But a very real coming together as one family in Christ our Lord. I am very sad for any who attended but who did not experience Christ in our midst… Perhaps it was these persons who experienced the assembly with feelings of despair and defeat? That is tragic, indeed. May our Lord have mercy.

    • Priest Justin Frederick says

      I, too, did not feel despair or defeat. I came home encouraged in many ways, encouraged by our bishop, and especially by our faithful brethren who labor diligently in the harvest fields proclaiming Christ and building His Church. Our diocese shares a common vision and purpose, and that was enhanced by our gathering. Yet the ongoing sense of scandal, the open question as to whether we are being told the truth; the appearance at present that someone has and is lying to us from on high in crafting a narrative against the former Metropolitan does not help us to preach the Gospel or build trust in our leaders whom it should be our default position to trust. And that story is now getting out in the press. It makes our task more difficult. It puts stumbling blocks before children. It compromises our witness. We do have a problem that only the light of truth will disperse. “Live not by lies!” “The truth will set you free.” We’ve had too many lies over the years. It needs to end.

      • Rod Dreher says

        After the Synod came out with its statement explaining its action, I was willing to be open-minded, knowing Jonah’s faults, and knowing how serious clerical sexual abuse is — not only spiritually and morally, but also as a matter of law, and, alas, money. The OCA cannot afford to have a negligent metropolitan, period.

        But so many questions have been raised publicly about the Synod’s official story, reasonable questions that have not been answered by the Synod. Plus, on closer examination, the first paragraph of the Synod’s statement denies Jonah the opportunity to defend himself — a violation, it seems to me, of elementary principles of justice.

        Finally, there is the question of whether or not bishops like Benjamin and Nathaniel will be held by the Synod to the same standard of rigor regarding the handling of sexual misconduct among the clergy as they are holding Jonah. As it looks right now, all bishops are equal, but some bishops are more equal than others.

        Not another penny of my tithe will go to the OCA until the Synod gives us all credible answers.

        • Harry Coin says

          Rod, in the most serious church controversies I’ve seen over the years there have always been at least a few people in actual positions of responsibility who, when the ‘official line’ lacked integrity, spoke out. They may not have given any specifics owing to promises of confidentiality, but they put their name and honor on the line saying that an injustice was being done. Some could go so far as to identify facts offered officially that materially were false, or pointed to major facts of importance that if known would make a difference.

          But in this case we see none of that, not one that I’m aware of. George has his ‘enemies list’ but that’s a small fraction of the whole. Not one of those other folks deems it wise to come forward? And when some go to explore the actual details ‘dumped upon’ as ‘reasons those synod boyos are bamboozling us’, well those details when investigated turn out to be somewhere between mostly to entirely as characterized in official statements. George won’t let specifics out but if folk go get copies of the pages in the church record books from Greece there they will find unwelcome truth.

          This just doesn’t have the smell of a railroad job, since nobody, not one, given to know, even privately is coming forward. And it has been a while too. Now I don’t know everybody or even most of course. But I have looked and I have asked and zippo. You know folk would be coming forward with cash and support if there was anyone credible saying ‘things are not as we were given to know’. Or if there were documents and so on. This idea about ‘lacking cash for family so I resigned’… the leader of a whole church with supporters everywhere lacks cash for self family? Just. Not. Credible.

          Does not one credible person exist with official role or at least document access in the OCA think along the lines folk here suggest? Not one? Zippo? None? Only anonymites and factless emotion stokers inviting us to consult our dark passions as guides? Except Dn. Brian who made a good point about balance in response to similarly bad choices, and a few others who go by their names and offer their justified true beliefs.

          Why Met. Jonah and not those in lesser authority alleged to have done worse by Dn. Brian and yet in their jobs? I’m guessing perhaps because in the OCA statute the Metropolitan has added authorities, choices he makes that end badly have the ability to wreak broader pain than should a regional or local figure do similarly. A regional person generally is surrounded by local people who want to be there, his friends mostly. The national figure has less control over who sits on the various bodies with which he works. Less hand-pick folks, more ‘calling it like it is’ and less ‘making excuses for my friend who baptized and married my kids’.

          My $0.02.

          • Harry, no one expected the Holy Synod to elect a saint as Metropolitan, or paragon of any kind. One has as right to expect that a Holy Synod would elect a competent and upright man to the post, someone THEY examined and found suited in their scrupulous attention to one of their most important duties: something they do not do every day, and which effects so many.
            But what do they tell us now? They tell us that they were bewildered and astonished by the character and deeds of this man that they selected and elected!

            Even though no bishop in any church can effect the reception; of a Priest into another church by releasing him to it (and that is all that you, Harry, seem to be able to come up with), that is beside the MAIN point: that the Holy Synod has SHOWN they made a mistake, but they have not allowed one word of apology to cross their holy lips. Why not? Because they are saying “It’s Jonah’s fault!”

            • Harry Coin says

              Nobody wants to deal with the fact it was Met. Jonah’s signed letter to Greece, referenced in the letter of release by the abbot and referenced and approved by the Metropolitan that caused the transfer to occur. Unless in those documents the Greek abbot and Metropolitan Cyril made it all up.

              • You’re right, Mister Coin and I believe we all believe you are right, that Metropolitan Jonah caused the Greek Archbishop to ISSUE A DOCUMENT OF RELEASE/TRANSFER. However, Mister Coin, you are mistaken and indulging in wishful thinking when you say “caused the transfer to occur.” As you well know, “it takes two to tango,” Mister Coin. NO TRANSFER WAS EFFECTED; Metropolitan Jonah did NOT issue a decree or sign a blessing placing that Priest under his own omophorion/into the OCA which would have completed a transfer. The transfer did NOT occur, Mister Coin. It Fell Through! Q.E.D.
                You are beating a dead horse, and all you are getting is glue. What do you expect?.

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                Fine, YOU give George the Greek original. And then, we’ll deal with this, okay?

              • Fact is, we nor you have seen that letter. So you are speculating as to what it actually says.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Matushka, I am glad for what you report, but I also know that it is easy to mistake a sense of relief that the fighting seems to be over for what you describe. Then when the next victim of the scapegoating is identified, it starts all over again.

      I pray you are correct in your discernment.

      Father Justin is correct. The lies must stop. All lies. And that means each policing their own hearts not to speak ill of anyone but seek the truth. If that is what began at the assembly–God be praised. If not…..

      • Hello, Michael. Hope you and yours are well. Guess Kansas has been nearly as hot as S. Texas this summer, right?!? God bless you all!

        I understand your concern, but in fact, and after speaking to many, many people and taking the pulse and temperature of their experience of the Assembly, they conclude the same as I. There was a much greater understanding of things; and although grief and sadness, a sense of common purpose, the beginnings of healing and, as Fr. Justin said, most brought home the sense of encouragement. I was glad to be present. There were no protests, no mutinies, no parishes nor parishioners threatening to leave or withhold funding to their parishes and the DOS.

        Lies are not good, no matter whose mouth (or emails) from which they originate. The truth twisted is also a form of lying. Lobbying with an agenda which attempts to tear the body of Christ apart and advocates for brethren to separate themselves from the body is also a lie and a sin. Discretion and discernment , love and mercy, these are all virtues to remember and attempt to embody. The OCA was and still is the chosen church of Vladika Dmitri of Blessed Memory. He knew its challenges and problems and loved it still. He did not denounce his brothers. He loved them all. Those who love Vladika Dmitri but who denounce the the OCA and both ‘predict’ and attempt to cause its doom, do not love him very well. Those who work to divide Christ’s Holy Church do not love Christ well either, and are misguided in their thinking and actions. May God have mercy upon and heal us all!

        • Elizabeth! You should not condemn those who differ from you for working to divide the Church and not serving Christ well. You also should not allege that Vladyka Dmitri still chooses the OCA. He had no idea or inkling that the Holy Synod would elect someone to be the Metropolitan and then claim they do not know himi, are astonished and bewildered by him, claim he is not the man for the job, and fail to apologize, to ask for rorgiveness of those most affected by their election of the same man. Surely, they knew every other hierarch in the OCA better than they knew Bishop Jonah, no? Yet they elected the man they knew least in the whole episcopate and now say he astonished and bewildered them! Their long Statement, signed separately by some Diocesan members of the Holy Synod (which did not meet—-where are even the minutes?) admits no thought of the crucial part they played in the selection of someone who bewilders them!! I’m sure, Elizabeth, you’re not one of those “Pollyannas” who keep affirming that God is His Heaven therefore everything’s all right in the world,” but you must realize that despair and disappointment are not ruled out by affirming the lack of protest, or the lack of mutiny (sic) the lack of parishes or parishioners threatening to leave their parishes and the DOS. One may be filled with despair and disappointment and never say a word or make a PEEP. In fact, silence is often the sign of deep depression. It’s great when a Priest’s spouse can “smooth everything over”, but it’s no substitute for a poll.

          • Your Grace, Archbishop Dmitri did help elect Metropolitan Jonah. Remember, Vladyka Dmitri was locum tenens of the Metropolitan See (not “the Orthodox Church in America” in the commemoration they still haven’t run a correction on). But Vladyka Dmitri knew Met. Jonah. He was the one who, in Met. Jonah’s own words, discipled him into the episcopacy.

            Also, the Synod’s vote for Met. Jonah to become Metropolitan was unanimous, so not only did Archbishop Dmitri vote for him, so did Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop Nikon, Archbishop Tikhon, and Archbishop Benjamin.

          • Her title is “Matushka Elizabeth”, and it should be used. Similarly, any clergyman referenced here should be referenced with the appropriate clerical title. Ones personal dislike of, or disdain for, an individual takes back seat.

            • Antonia. “Matushka” (Mom, or Mommie, or Mother Dear) is, in the Russian Church, a way of addressing Priest’s wives by the Faithful. It’s also used for any husband to address his wife (as in English, when husbands sometimes or always address their spouses as “mother”, or “mom.”). My father sometimes addressed my mother as “Mom.” it’s also used for senior female monastics. The Church Slavonic word for a Priest’s wife is “Presviterissa.” When I was ordained a Priest, the Rector’s wife, Margarita Romanovna, (daughter of Ekaterina Apollonovna nee Urusova, once a Maid in Waiting to Her Imperial Higheness), asked me to please stop calling her “matushka”, because, she said, she no longer had that kind of relationship with me, as a father-in-Christ’s wife. I was careful not to unwittingly offend any other Priest’s wives (some of whose patronymics I did not even know) by what some one them (like Antonia) consider to be an “entitlement” of priests’ spouses!!!! Anyone who is in th relationship of Son to some man, should call that someone “father’; likewise, anyone who is the relationship of Son to some woman SHOULD call that woman mother. That is a widely accepted custom (only) in the Russian Church. As I am not in a son-mother relationship to Elizabeth, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to call her “mother!” I’m not even in a filial relationship to her husband, a Priest, whose OFFICIAL title is Priest, or Archpriest or Protopriest, etc. Moreover, here in America, we have clergy who are Romanian or Greek or whatever, who do not address Priest’s wives as “matushka” at all, and sometimes as anything “special.” In Germany, in
              German, one might address a pastor’s wife (whether Lutheran or Orthodox) as “Frau Pfarrer.”
              Antonia, since becoming an hierarch, I do not EVER call a Priest’s wife “matushka, so please exclude me from your seemingly universal censure. “Matushka” is NOT a title, it is a form of address SOMETIMES used by those who have occasion to speak to, to address the wives of those to whom they are spiritually subordinate, as a son or daughter should do.

            • PashkaFan says

              There are no pedants like Orthodox pedants!

        • Matushka, Well said!!!!

  40. Michael Bauman says

    Mat. Elizabeth, my family and I are well thank you. God be praised.

    Again, I pray you are correct. You are correct that ‘dividing’ the Church is not the proper manner to go about things. I look at the Cappadocian fathers who fought long and hard against the Arian heresy or more properly for the Incarnational/Trinitarian understanding of God.

    They never left the Church, they never taught schism, they lived their lives with holiness and steadfastness. The tendency to remove oneself to a more ‘pure’ place is another aspect of the scapegoating spirit. No place of purity existes except our own hearts cleansed by the grace of God.

    There still needs to be an accounting of the truth. Such an accounting is required from bishops especially. If they do not live up to what is required of their office, then they will be removed sooner or later, but that is not up to us. A new environment needs to be created in which truth not self-serving constructs becomes the norm.

    What needs to be avoided is any attitude at all that smacks of justice, or a desire to ‘make things right’ or protect anyone or anything. Resisting the idea that there is but one ‘right’ way to proceed or seeking power and control (that includes withholding tithes IMO).

    The Church does not need our protection or our justice or our efforts to purify her.

    If however, the atmosphere of lies, obsfucation, and power-seeking is allowed to continue, the OCA is in deep trouble. These attitudes are in each of us. That is the place of battle.

    From where I sit, the OCA was given a great gift in the person of Met. Jonah and the gift was rejected. OK, he is not an ‘administrator’ everyone who knew him knew that; but is that all we want from our bishops? Met. Jonah has a gift for inspriring the heart to reach for higher and deeper things. He is an evangelist and a true preacher. It would seem prudent for the Synod to find some place, some way of allowing Met. Jonah to exercise that gift. The Synod elected him in ignorance and then reacted as if a snake had been put in their midst (or so it seems to me)

    It is one of the sad fruits of our schismatic existence in the new world that the folks are available who could have moulded and formed Met. Jonah in a manner that would have allowed him to exercise his gift in a more palatable manner. They just are not in the OCA or so it seems.

    Let me ask you, do you think that the main points of Met. Jonah’s vision (as I see it) for the OCA are so far out of bounds as to not deserve consideration:

    1. A truly diocesan form of government in which both the MC and the Central Administration become less important and less powerful while the Synod itself would become the principal focus of teaching, unity and policy to be applied in parish life in communion with their respective bishops.

    2. A conscious and definite public stance for the moral teachings of the Church that includes working with the poor and the disenfranchised in opposition to the prevailing world mind.

    3. A softening of the ideal of the OCA and her Tomos being the core organizing kernal around which a fully integrated Orthodox Church in America must be built.

    4. That Orthodox should be leaders in communicating and living the Gospel of Christ in its fullness offering hope and healing where there are primarily lies and destruction.

    These ideas are what he communicated to me and excited me. It saddens me deeply what has occured in part because I know that if the scapegoating spirit is allowed to continue, Met. Jonah is not the last victim.

  41. I heard some good news about Metropolitan Jonah’s future, but I don’t think I want to post it in this more and more judgmental and censorious place. I’ll just let it transpire, and let the nastier voices repose in their nastiness and let those who would counter them be moderated.

  42. Michael Bauman says

    One other thought on ‘dividing’ the Church. The bishops are tasked with ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ of both discerning the truth and of communicating and distributing that truth to the whole body. It is not ‘dividing’ the Church to ask that the truth be spoken. It is not dividing the Church to discern what is true and what is not.

    It is attempting to divide the Church when lies are fostered and people are scapegoated.

  43. Rod Dreher says

    Someone who was at the Miami assembly and who heard OCA Chancellor John Jillions’s talk sent me his/her notes from the talk, which was not confidential. Here they are, for what it’s worth:

    Fr. Jillions 7/17/12, DOS Assembly, Miami

    “The OCA is weak and small, but we have to believe that the Lord is still working with us.” [like Gideon]

    Our Church is hurting, perhaps no part more than the DOS.

    This is what happened in regard to Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation:

    Jillions initially found HB to be “gentle, kind, thoughtful.”

    When interviewing for Job, he asked the bishops, “Can you work with HB?” They said, yes there is hope, yet every bishop (whom he called) had had his problems with HB.

    In Oct 2011 he took a survey of the bishops.

    Oct 26, 2011, he signed the employment paper and reported to HB what the bishops had said. HB was not fully persuaded that he needed help.

    At the AAC in November, 2011, HB was persuaded to speak about the problems. He went for a week of evaluation. He did not want to go. The report from that evaluation was read to the bishops. Six months of in-house treatment was recommended; they settled on once a week therapy.

    On July 5, 2012, the Lesser Synod (Tikhon, Benjamin, Nikon, Jonah) had a productive meeting. At the end, the bishops met privately among themselves, discussing two issues: HB hadn’t followed through on getting help, and a sexual misconduct case. They gave him a choice: take six months leave to get help or resign immediately. The bishops asked Fr. Jillions to meet with HB, who said, “I’ve lost the confidene of the bishops.” He decided to resign. His sister and Marilyn Swezey were there. After making the decision, he said, “What do you want, gin or scotch?”

    HB loved travel and meeting people.

    He didn’t like politics, meetings. He felt relief upon resigning.

    The Synod’s letter was “totally accurate.”

    Lessons to be gained from this:

    1. We see demonstrated the manliness, intelligence, and pastoral care of the bishops, resisting letting the tail wag the dog. They listen to the experts, but discern the Holy Spirit.

    2. We see the conciliarity of the Church at work.

    3. We see the commitment to trust, transparency, and accountability.

    4. We see pastoral patience and discretion

    [end of notes]

    What I would like to know, aside from the Synod answering questions raised about their statement, is what mental health issues Jonah was being treated for, or for which treatment was recommended. He was the primate, after all; given his prominence and his responsibility, the people of the Church have a right to know what professional evaluators concluded his problem was. If there’s anything embarrassing but not necessary to know, we don’t need to know it. But we do need to know what was so serious with him that it merited sacking him.

    I’ll say it again: I believe the bishops may have done the right thing. But if they resorted to deception or other underhanded tactics to accomplish something that may have needed to be done, then we need to know that too, because it is a cancer in our weak and small part of the body of Christ.

    • There have been suggestions (e.g., the synod’s letter, the talk by Fr. Jillions here) that the issue was one of substance abuse. That needs to be gotten to the bottom of, one way or the other, in terms of whether it is true or not.

    • Michael Bauman says

      “To do the right deed for the wrong reason is surely the greatest treason”

      T.S. Eliot in Murder in the Cathedral

    • Rod, you know as well as everyone, that no one can release that kind of sensitive and private information (re: “What I would like to know, aside from the Synod answering questions raised about their statement, is what mental health issues Jonah was being treated for, or for which treatment was recommended.”), unless HB authorizes such release or he himself chooses to publicly disclose what it is.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Well, Chris, then this whole enterprise is illegitimate. If there are valid (and I mean valid) reasons for doubting the Metropolitan’s fitness/sanity/whatever, there are valid, canonical measures for bringing them up, charging him, trying him, and if necessary, removing him.

        Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev gave them the go-ahead last year to do so. he was operating under the assumption that they had legitimate beefs. It appears they did not.

        • Absolutely, George. I do not understand why getting sentenced to six months in the thoughtcrime penalty box, and the Metropolitan’s alleged refusal to go through with it, would not have been termed “certified medical incapacity” under Article IV of the OCA Statute.

          Unless, of course, Met. Jonah is not really crazy.

          • lexcaritas says

            But who gave the certification????


            • No one gave any such certification, Lex. I’m just saying that if Met. Jonah were really as mentally ill as they claim, though, they could have easily removed him from office using “certified medical incapacity”. It’s right there in the Statute. They chose not to do that.

      • Rod Dreher says

        I see your point, Chris, but I think George is right too: if the primate of the Church is mentally ill, then why on earth is it not the business of the whole Church? If he’s not, and he has been falsely accused, then why is that not the business of the whole Church?

        Jonah ought to have forced them to convene a spiritual court.

      • lexcaritas says

        I understand your point, Christ, but if one is unable to release the pertinent diagnostic information substantiating the claim, one should not make statements which are defamatory per se casting aspertioin by innuendo on another person’s mental health such as would be commonly inferred from statements that the Synod was unananimous in its determination that JONAH needs “help” and “treatment” (not training or practice) and that he refuses to accpet the need for such help and treatment and get it.

        While it is true that persons in need of counseling frequently do refuse to admit the need and submit to it, it would also be just as consistent for person who doesn’t need it to, likewise, reject the suggestion. But here, we are led to conclude that it MUST be JONAH who is nuts because all the other bishops are in agreement about it medical and psychological experts that they are. I’m not convinced though, were it not for the inconsistencies in the story coming out of Syosset, I could be.

        If, however, everything were on the “up and up”, why not simply get on with a fair severance arrangement with the presence and assistance of counsel for JONAH–he has, after all resigned–and an agreement for an outlet for ministry and service to the Church or some part of it worked out with the help of such counsel and the agreement of the intended beneficiaries of such service? That’s all his resignation asked for. Why the change to the apparently error-laden smear campaign?


    • George Michalopulos says

      Rod, Jillion’s speech was the most repulsive, self-serving piece of incoherent drivel I’ve ever heard. People who were there said that he was rambling and meandering.

      Here’s the problem: they acted illegally and they got caught. Everything else is just them trying to clean up their mess. Theire credibility is shot and they have no moral authority whatsoever.

      And no, I don’t expect Jonah to be restored to the primatial throne. I don’t want want him ever sitting in the same room with these bishops ever again. The OCA’s days are over. For us peons in the pews, go to church, fellowship, partake of the sacraments, and then when the Great and Holy Council meets next year and deconstructs the OCA, accept your lot. The “American” church is going to be greekified in the worst way (as opposed to true Hellenism) and we’ll shrink into a ghetto for another generation. Like the Israelites who had to wander another forty years in the wilderness because they worshipped a false idol (in our case our self-idolatrous America exceptionialism) accept it as God’s punishment on us.

      We had gifts to bring to the table, we threw them out the window. Oh well.

      • That’s right, George, I feel the same. The question that popped up for me was the indication that Father Jillions may have stated that Metropolitan Jonah agreed to a Holy Synod Statement that had not yet been made, when he signed the resignation. And, clearly, he shows, gives evidence, that the members of the Lesser Synod conferred not as members of any Synod, but socially, AFTER their meeting and made crucial decisions in that context, no? God forbid they’d act between the boundaries of blessing and dismissal, with “all those prayers,” right?

        • lexcaritas says

          That the decision was made after the meeting was over and JONAH had departed is what the Chancellor averred.


      • Is it “self-idolatrous American exceptionalism” or just plain, old-fashioned, pride?

      • Michael Bauman says

        Oh come on George. Just a trifle gloomy don’t you think?

        • M.Vasiliou says

          How many people posting here have ever studied psychology?

          When I was studying psychology, we were constantly reminded of several studies whereby normal healthy college students were given a battery of psychological tests and interviews, in which they were found to be within the norm.

          Then these same students were instructed to act normal as they were sent to various mental health hospitals. Believe it or not, about 80 percent of these students were given false diagnoses of some kind of mental illness usually paranoid schizophrenia.

          Perhaps we have forgotten how the KGB likewise sent their political and religious opponents to state facilities where those people were likewise given false diagnoses of mental deficiencies or mental illnesses, heavily medicated, and/or forced to sign false confessions in an attempt to discredit them and permanently ruin their good reputation.

          I was reminded that OCA Bishop Basil of San Francisco, may his memory be eternal, and OCA Bishop Nicolai of Alaska were also railroaded out of their dioceses under false pretenses, so the OCA Synod seems to have a history of this ungodly competitive behavior.

          Nevertheless, two modern saints were able to rise above persecution by their fellow Bishops and laity: St. Nectarios of Aegina (Greek Orthodox) and St. John of San Francisco (ROCOR). They achieved the Crown of Eternal Life by their silent and patient endurance and by their love of the Truth, which is Christ God.

          May we be blessed to hold on to the True Faith in spite of the ungodly behaviors of others, and follow the examples set by St. Nectarios and St. John of San Francisco.

      • The thing is George, I also don’t want to sit in the same room with these bishops ever again. I don’t want to go to their banquets, I don’t want to read their homilies, and I don’t want to take their advice. They have proved beyond a doubt, they are untrustworthy on every level. May God dismiss them as they have dismissed their most beloved brother.

        • lexcaritas says

          We Orthodox certainly can sing, however. Each Eis polla eti despota in Miami virtually raised the roof and would have given you goose-bumps.


      • Here’s my interpretation, and I’ve been (mostly) pro-Jonah:

        Jonah may be an alcoholic. This would preclude the Synod from releasing this (health-care, HIPAA-related) info, although here he very seriously hints at it. He not only has a lack of administrative skills. He possibly is such an alcoholic that he’s been a source of literal chaos in Syosset. They probably did not know which Jonah they were getting. He probably said one thing and did another, to such a degree that weren’t really sure what elements of his story were true and which were not.

        They do look like the keystone cops, but I think this is what they’ve had to deal with. They weren’t able to effectively do an investigation of what’s gone on in D.C. for some reason or another (part of it was the fact he’s in D.C. and they were not). I think after 4 years of this, they’ve had to assume the worst and made a decision based on fear, uncertainty, and past experience.

        I could be wrong, but this seems to be the most probable explanation of things.

        • StephenD says

          Archbishop Benjamin is an alcoholic too…h has the DUI to prove it!!

          • Stephen D, Archbishop Benjamin has never denied being an alcoholic and went immediately upon being released from the drunk tank, etc. to the same rehab center back East where Metropolitan Theodosius and Mrs. Kucynda, and other Orthodox alcoholics have gone. And, as a matter of fact, a DUI proves nothing but DUI.

            • M. Stankovich says

              This information has been disclosed to you from records protected by Federal confidentiality rules (42 CFR part 2 – Regarding the Confidentiality of Alcohol & Drug Abuser Patient Records). The Federal rules prohibit you from making any further disclosure of this information unless further disclosure is expressly permitted by the written consent of the person to whom it pertains or as otherwise permitted by 42 CFR part 2. A general authorization for the release of medical or other information is NOT sufficient for this purpose. The Federal rules restrict any use of the information to criminally investigate or prosecute any alcohol or drug abuse patient.

              • M. Stankovich! If you are speaking of ME when you write “disclosed to you from records,” you are mistaken in that.
                I have had access to no records whatsoever pertaining to alcoholism of Metropolitan Theodosius, Archbishop Benjamin, or Mrs. Paul Kucynda and, further,, have no access to information in such
                whatsoever. Arrest records are not medical nor diagnostic. A DUI conviction is not a record of alcoholism.

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                And if said individual undergoing a similar treatment regime verbally told someone else, say, an acquaintance or co-worker, what he or she was going through and why he wouldn’t be able to attend something on so-and-so date, hypothetically? Your comment doesn’t apply – it only applies to cases where a medical care professional is the source of information.

        • I’ve never seen any sign of that.

        • lexcaritas says

          It COULD be, Steve; but at this point you’re PURELY speculating without any evidence of this specific problem.

          And, assuming you be right, why wouldn’t the Synod’s letter of 7-16-12 stay on this tack? Why bring in all the sleazy stuff about Fr. S and the alleged (but unpursued) charges with the erroneous assertion that JONAH new about it in February, did nothing and informed no one, when the testimony is that he didn’t know till May, the alleged crime occurred two years ago and the priest in question is not under his control or that of the OCA?

          Had the Synod stayed on message and presented a bill of particulars–a list of occasions over the past 3-4 years when JONAH had acted contrary to agreements freely made, or mistreated persons, or betrayed confidences or expectations, etc. many of us would have been persuaded that a resignation was in order. Sevferance could have been addressed as well as appropriate future service using JONAH’s gifts and seeking to address and minimizes his weakensses.


        • Rod Dreher says

          Maybe. One never knows what goes on behind closed doors, but this would surprise, even shock, me. I can only tell you that I’ve been present on several occasions — including twice at my own house — where there was plenty of alcohol served before and with dinner, and Jonah barely touched the stuff.

          If there is no evidence of alcoholism there, and Syosset is leading people by insinuation to believe Jonah is a closet drunk, then that is utterly despicable.

          • That does seem to be what they are trying to insinuate by the quote about gin. If it’s not true, it would be utterly despicable, yes.

            • Priest Justin Frederick says

              I was there. I heard no insinuation of a drinking problem. I merely heard Fr. Jilliions showing that the Metropolitan graciously offered him hospitality once he had signed the resignation letter (rather than being angry, bitter, or desiring to throw him out of the house.)

        • SteveL

          Jonah is not an alcoholic. He does not display addictive behavior. Your interpretation is dead wrong and you should apologize. Jonah may have other issues, like not being able to administrate himself out of a paper bag but remember the administrative chaos in Syosset was a two-way street and there is and will be that same chaos as long as they surround the Metropolitan with people other than his own team who know his strengths and weaknesses and work to build up the first and compensate for the latter.

          The administrative model of the OCA has been broken ever since the “experts” like Zarras, Kornafeld, Whetmore and Danilchick turned it into a heartless business model. Jonah is just the lastest employee to have his job outsourced.

          • I couched it in enough “maybes” and “possiblys” that I don’t have anything to apologize for. I’ve met him and he seemed sober at the time. But that’s really the only clue that caught my eye. How many monks, after going through a terrible experience, reach for the drink, instead of an icon? Just curious.

            I hope I’m wrong. It saddened me to even write it. Perhaps you have other suggestions of why Fr Hopko called him sick back in Feb/Mar 2011? I’m all ears.

            • You might ask, Why is Fr. Hopko diagnosing a man he only knows very slightly in a professional capacity and with no M.D to my knowledge.?

              • Knowing somebody or something “very slightly” has never prevented the Dalai Lama of Protopresbyters from giving us his two cents on the person or topic. It’s the Universal Commentator Syndrome, sometimes expressed in one of two ways: “How could anyone dream of deciding anything in Orthodoxy without being guided by me?” and: “The Church, the Lord NEED ME. They need me to set things right and make the complicated places plain.” From everything I’ve ever heard, he was a good and bright parish pastor at one time who got tempted to build a *****career**** above and beyond a lowly parish ministry, and he succumbed to that temptation.
                It’s too bad: we need devout, bright parish priests more than we need brilliant careers and media prominence. No theological seminary, academy, or theological faculty can form/make men devout or bright. Perhaps that Protopresbyter sees himself in Metropolitan Jonah?

            • Jesse Cone says

              SteveL says,

              Perhaps you have other suggestions of why Fr Hopko called him sick back in Feb/Mar 2011? I’m all ears.

              Perhaps it has to do with whose advice +Jonah did/didn’t take.

        • Exhaustion yes – alcoholic – no way

        • Wow, Steve, now there’s an interesting assumption! Does it not strike you as the least bit odd that Met. Jonah has spent copious amounts of time around very different groups of people, people who love him and hate him, and there is no general understanding or even suspicion in the OCA that he might have a drinking problem?

          Like Rod, I’ve seen him around free-flowing booze. For an Orthodox bishop, Met. Jonah’s practically a teetotaler.

          I think that quoting the offer of a drink was just Fr. Jillions’ way of saying Met. Jonah was friendly and hospitable towards him, as opposed to hostile or angry. It did not strike me as a suggestion of alcoholism in any way.

          Really, the whole idea of Met. Jonah having a mental problem fails on the reality that nobody, outside a very select group of people, has any real clue, idea, or inkling what this “mental problem” might be. Exhibit A is this speculation that he might be an alcoholic based on no evidence whatsoever.

          • I hadn’t considered your alternative interpretation (being hospitable).

          • Helga says:
            July 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

            I think that quoting the offer of a drink was just Fr. Jillions’ way of saying Met. Jonah was friendly and hospitable towards him, as opposed to hostile or angry.

            Could indicate that Fr. Jillions is a drinker rather than Met. +Jonah.

            • Protodeacon, I just really didn’t get the alcoholism vibe from that statement. Maybe there was one in the actual speech, I wasn’t there, but I really think it was just a way of saying Met. Jonah was a classy host and didn’t treat him with bitterness.

              Whether or not Fr. Jillions actually has some kind of drinking problem, I don’t think he’d make a speech that would say “Metropolitan Jonah this, Metropolitan Jonah that, hey guess what I’m an alcoholic just throwin’ that out there, and here’s more on Metropolitan Jonah”.

              Naturally, Fr. Jillions left out the whole paycheck part.

              • Helga: I was kind of wondering along the same line as:

                Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
                July 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm
                Maybe Metropolitan Jonah was saying something about the CHANCELLOR when he asked ‘Gin or Bourbon?”

                in the thread “Another Hole in the Official Story: ‘Alleged Rape’ Timeline Reporting is Wrong.”
                Please note His Grace only says “Maybe,” and nothing more.

          • lexcaritas says

            Our sister Helga reminds us: <>

            I couldn’t agree more. We know he has waffled sometimes, but who outside the Synod and Syosset has seen anything requiring “help” or “treatment” via a facility like St. Luke’s House, which appears to specialize in psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health outpatient treatment and life skills development (if I’ve got the right Maryland -based institution).


        • Yes. That exact quote. Why else would he mention that?

        • Maybe Metropolitan Jonah was saying something about the CHANCELLOR when he asked ‘Gin or Bourbon?”

          • lexcaritas says

            Aye, and/or the Chancellor about himself?

            My initial impression was . . . is?. . . the same as Fr. Justin’s: the reference to an offer of a gin or bourbon seemed innocent, and droppoed in so one would infer that +JONAH was hospitable and not angry. But now I’m not so sure that there wasn’t, in Freudian terms, a double-message. After all such beverages would not, commonly, be thought of as the prefernce of one vowed to the monasitc life . . . At the same time, the offer was to Fr. Jillions, was it not. I think he said he turned it down, and we don’t know whether +JONAH would have joined him had he accepted. Besides, didn’t Fr. Jillions indicate that were (or had been) some heated words from other members of the family gathered for dinner when he first arrived?


            • Fr. Jillions interrupted their dinner?

              Now THAT is just rude.

              • Anonymous says

                IIRC, this was the evening of the day the Synod’s letter came out and there were rumours afloat (I thought THIS was the rumour mill, but I don’t recall reading this here) that the ROC was courting +HB or vice versa to set him up over the DOS as a separate Church or a Russian ambassador was at +HB’s residence, etc., etc. Apparently numerous bishops tried to get a hold of +HB, who had been away and the hotel he was in had no wifi and poor cell reception so no one could get in touch with him and they were in a panic (an interesting image, no?), so Fr. Jillions drove back down to +HB’s residence, where he found him having dinner with his parents and sister. +HB asked him to give them an hour, at which point Fr. Jillions waited outside in his car. After that, FJ asked +HB to write the second letter in support of the Synod.

                IIRC, it was after the resignation letter was written that +HB made a humourous aside about a drink – though I think it was scotch and vodka and not bourbon and gin as FJ relays it, but I would have to go back an listen to the recording again. This could have happened after the second letter, but I think it was the resignation. FJ was relating that +HB seemed quite relieved after that (having emphatically rejected the six weeks of in house therapy, with which FJ was not happy and appears to have been more evidence of +HB’s intransigence to him). What is interesting is that FJ states he never saw and doesn’t know the contents of St. Luke’s initial evaluation of +HB, yet he seems convinced it was serious and appears disconcerted numerous times in the talks over +HB’s rejection of that assessment and the other Bishops’ evaluation of his “troubles”.

                • My, what an interesting track record that innocent offer of a drink has had. 🙂 Perhaps it will turn out to have been a choice between lemonade and iced tea.

                  Also interesting to see the stir Met. Jonah caused by being out of contact, combined with the rumors. If anybody from Moscow is watching, PLEASE TAKE MET. JONAH AND REVOKE THE TOMOS.

                  Was the in-house therapy supposed to be six weeks or six months? Six weeks is a little more reasonable-sounding than six months. However, there remain several issues with the idea, including the Synod insisting that he go to a particular provider for medical care (especially a place that has a questionable reputation), instead of allowing him to make his own choice from a list of reputable providers that are covered by his insurance.

                  There’s also the very odd aspect of this “problem” in that it only appears around people who have a vested interest in finding something wrong with him. That’s a BIG red flag, especially combined with the Synod’s insistence that he go to a particular provider for his healthcare. One would think that some of his monastics and spiritual children would see this and say, “Hey, I did notice something about how he acted a few years ago…” and join in the effort to help him, if he needed it. But those spiritual children of his seem as perplexed as everyone else about what the “problem” could be.

                  We also know Met. Jonah did get evaluated by a different provider during Lent 2011, after the Synod had ordered him to go to a certain drug and alcohol rehab(!). While that provider was not pre-approved by the bishops, that provider found no issues with Met. Jonah. Of course, the results of *that* evaluation were rejected out of hand by the Synod.

                  • Anonymous says

                    I mis-wrote, it was six months. FJ definitely relayed +HB’s offer of a drink as a demonstration that +HB retained his sense of humor. And it was alcoholic beverage. While +HB apparently did have some issues around following through, consistency and confrontation, none of these would warrant any kind of in house “treatment”. While I think it is probably better for +HB that he no longer be Primate, it is not clear whether it is better for the OCA yet (though obviously better for the Synod). FJ did mention that one of the things the Bishops were frustrated with was having to spend so much time dealing with issues they thought the Metropolitan should be dealing with, but wanted to concentrate on their dioceses. IOW they didn’t want to BE a Synod, or at least not do what that entails. It would seem they invested an awful lot of authority and trust in both the Lesser Synod and MC.

                  • The chancellor wanted it on the record that the Metropolitan serves hard liquor, that’s all. It’s a little bit like campaigning for office: every little hint helps!!

                  • Geo Michalopuls says

                    Helga, it’s almost as if the Soviets had won the Cold War and in their quest to consolidate their power, had set up a Renovationist Living Church here in the States. It bumfuzzles me to no end that Syosset continues to believe in the Cult of Freud while everybody else has abandoned it for the false religion that it was even in its heyday.

                    Ironies abound.

                  • lexcaritas says

                    Yes, according to the Chancellor’s remarks the “in-house” therapy for the never defined “trouble” for which +JONAH needs “help” was for 6 months (not 6 weeks). Two other points in his key-note address that have not, to my knowledge, been mentioned: (1) The Chancellor admitted that he is a close friend of Fr. Garklavs, his predecessor as Chancellor whom the Metropolitan had insisted be removed and who, by virture of their accidentally published e-mail, had been shown to be invovled with certain members of the MC in efforts to make a case for his suspension for never published reasons; (2) when questioned from the floor about whether the Synod had been split by the “culture wars,” the Chancellor discounted the suggested and avered that “all the bishop are traditionalists” in mattes of faith and have sworn to uphold the faith, and that there have never been any harsh word or conflict in the Synod on these issues. None were identied but presumably the questioner and he had in mind such things as abortion, the ordination of women and the acceptance of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and the blessing of homosexual “marriages” and “unions” and other matters addressed by the Manhattan Declaration. Of course, just as the Chancellor failed to identify exactly what might be at stake in the “culture wars”, he may have been technically truthful in saying that there has been no open conflict on the Synod about such matters, but that would not mean there have not been unexpressed conflicts. It is reasonably to think that there is something more than administrative problems, since these would be overlooked unless the person deemed guilty of them were, as result of his “deficiencies” doing something with with other strongly disagree, or failing to do things others strongly desire. When +JONAH sought to portray the opposition as a “clash of visions” was he been obstinate and oppositional–or is he on to something?


    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr. Dreher,

      You are welcome.

      If you check the record on this site, I believe you will see that in November I took great exception to your unqualified, misinformed, and grandstanding criticism – better, outright derision – at the utilization of St. Luke’s, a licensed and well-respected facility that, in hindsight, may well have made a significant difference in the outcome of this sad episode. I have been raising this issue of St. Luke’s for months and have met nothing but scorn and contention. And now you would take the “high ground” because “we need to know?”

      You began in this entire fiasco as an “anonymous,” self-righteous purveyor of “oca truth,” laying traps for others, but in your arrogance you fell into the trap and got caught yourself! I have no issue that you are a convert – converts to the Faith will lead the Church in America – but you have no appreciation for history because you have none, and demonstrate that you clearly lack the credentials for “defender of the Faith.” You will pardon me, but a voice as loud as you would promote is and must always be earned:

      The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge.
      She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city,
      calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way.
      “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment.
      “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” (Prov. 9:13-17)

      You apparently learned nothing from the public exposure of your arrogance at attempting to assume a “voice” with neither history, experience, or standing. Wisdom would suggest that you reconsider your second “trip to the plate.” As you have experienced, “unringing” bells is futile, and, I believe, cumulative. Boys who cry “wolf,” tend to be eaten.

      • What “trap” did Rod Dreher “lay” and for whom did he “lay” it?!

        Your condemnation of Mr. Dreher’s character is obtuse and your vague allegations completely unsubstantiated. Your hatred of Mr. Dreher is the only thing you consistently make clear. The reasons for your hatred, you have never made clear. Put some effort into clearing that up next time. You speak as if he somehow soiled your pristine church. But it’s not clear why you would think the church was pristine before, how Mr. Dreher soiled it, or why you attribute so much power to Mr. Dreher’s efforts if he is truly the ‘nobody, no how’ you make him out to be.

        As for St. Luke’s, I don’t know anything about the facility itself, but it is extremely odd that an employer (let’s go ahead and call the synod the metropolitan’s employer since they view themselves that way and took actions consistent with that model) or a professional, pastor, or friend of any kind would insist that someone else go for a general evaluation at a specific facility. I’ve been involved with several clinical professions, and one of the common-sense ethical principles my colleagues and I always follow in making a referral is to give the individual at least 2-3 options for meeting their needs. While the individual is free to go wherever they wish, we provide these names and contact information as a service. Even in a scenario where the individual is neither constrained nor compelled, providing multiple options helps to avoid a conflict of interests and recognizes the dignity and freedom that all human beings ought to be given. If I was giving an order and had the authority to force compliance, it would be even more critical that I give the person under my authority every single option possible for their health care. Even to an outsider with no knowledge of context, it is a huge red flag to see someone with authority trying to compell someone under their authority to receive health care from a specific health care provider. If the services relate to mental health, this goes from red flag to alarm bell. Your claims that there are licenses and accreditations for the kinds of services provided at this facility only confirm that there MUST be other facilities with competent professionals that could have served the employer’s needs without violating the rights, dignity, and freedom of the employee in this case.

        What say you?

        • M. Stankovich says

          What say I? Apparently nothing you have in mind.

          I most certainly do not hate Mr. Dreher, nor do I have any particular opinion as to his character. I have never met him. I do, however, strongly oppose his “tactics” and see no significant difference in his mindset and that for which he hypocritically “scourged” Mark Stokoe. Whatever you think of Mr. Stokoe, he did have the integrity to risk identifying himself, while Mr. Dreher fell victim to his own arrogance: “Whosoever digs a pit shall fall in it.” (Prov. 26:27)

          I have insisted since November, 2011 – and now that the “read all comments” is restored, you can review the discussion yourself – that the offer of outside assistance was honorable, unprecedented, and a remarkable attempt to address and preclude what has now become a sad catastrophe for the Holy Synod. Mr. Dreher led the charge at the time, disparaging the “idea,” and the facility in specific, and as you can read yourself, I took great exception to his unqualified and uninformed opinion. I stated then, and I maintain to this day, that the ignorant disparagement of this option for redirection of the entire Synod is tragic. For you to conclude I “hate” Mr. Dreher is quite a shallow appreciation of my criticism.

          Let me simply say that you do not know enough about the dynamics of “employee assistance” theory to pursue this discussion – such as the necessity for limiting the available options – and that any organization with sense (legal & fiscal responsibility) would rely on consultation before ever undertaking such an option. Make of that as you will.

          And amidst all this stupid discussion of “he was uncanonically dismissed,” “he was coerced,” “he is a suffering martyr,” is ignored the fact that he was again offered the option of remaining Metropolitan, but participating in a program as St. Luke’ss recommended, but again he refused and chose to resign. What happened to his commitment to do “whatever it takes” out his loves for the Church and his brother bishops?

          Seriously, what say you?

          • Well I start by repeating my original question to you: What “trap” did Rod Dreher “lay” and for whom did he “lay” it?!

            Then I go on to ask what you mean by “tactics”. Do you mean communicating his understanding of things going on within the church in a public forum? I just don’t see how that is dishonorable (or “self-righteous” as you characterize it).

            And let’s be clear, to call anyone “self-righteous” and a “fool” and “arrogant” is to say something pretty concrete and negative about their character.

            Also, given that everything Dreher has predicted would happen, everything that he begged the church to guard against, has come to pass, he would now seem like a trustworthy voice (someone who has “earned” a listening ear as you put it). Given that everything Stokoe has asked for from the church leadership (including the head of the metropolitan on a platter) he has received, you cannot seriously say Dreher’s concerns were unwarranted (or “hysterical” as some have mocked). The man had some real concerns. He tried his best to get the word out. He failed to motivated individuals like you to care or to do anything positive about the crisis, but he tried. Seems like he deserves a lot of respect for trying, and in the future should be listened to more closely. In the meantime, he also deserves some sympathy for losing a major political battle in his church to a gay rights activist.

            I also do not understand why you keep repeating that Dreher has “fallen into a pit” and been “caught in his own trap”. From a reader’s perspective, you are insinuating things that you do not care enough to explain. Since the insinuations are so negative, this comes across at the very least as unkind. Dreher himself is alive, he still has a job. Jonah was scheduled for this kind of treatment before Dreher tried to do something about it (read Stokoe’s blog if you doubt it). Now its over. They got rid of Jonah as planned. I just want you to tell a coherent and consistent story here rather than throwing vague condemnations at people. It feels like trying to talk to a bully on the school yard, and all the bully can think to say is nanee, nanee, boo, boo. If you are seriously claiming that Dreher got Jonah fired, you really haven’t read Stokoe’s blog at all. And assuming you are bright enough to realize Dreher did not get Jonah fired, you must have some other “pit” or “trap” in mind. So what is it?

            As for publishing anonymously, you are bizarrely implying that Dreher and Stokoe were operating from the same position of power and prestige and with the same resources within church and society. Dreher’s reasons for publishing anonymously were very understandable. He was never in the position of power that Mark Stokoe was. He didn’t have half a dozen bishops and at least as many MC members feeding him secret info the way Stokoe did. He had very limited resources, limited time, some legitimate concerns about harm being done to him and those close to him, and he did the best he could. He may have offended you, but he did nothing wrong in the moral or ethical sense. Even if you disagree with his objective, it was not the kind of thing that could cause the church permanent harm. So Jonah was metropolitan for six months longer, big deal, you kick him out in six months and move on, that’s how Stokoe and his buddies on the Holy Synod have approached it, why can’t you? But now Dreher is posting under his own name, so thank him for that, and move on. The anonymous thing is really old news at this point. Your harping on Dreher’s preference to remain anonymous a year ago just seems extremely petty and is in fact completely irrelevant at this point.

            And then I continue by asking: How in the world did you become an expert on “the dynamics of employee assistance theory”?

            And then follow up by asking: How do you possess definitive knowledge of the extent of my personal knowledge of this subject matter or any subject matter? Are you God Himself?! Seriously man, do you not see how arrogant that kind of assertion sounds?

            What I “will make of that” is that you are obfuscating. You don’t want the discussion because you are facing an argument that you have already lost even in your own assessement. This interpretation makes sense, and it is less troubling than the notion that you are God or believe your knowledge equal to His.

            I’m sorry if my frustration with you comes across as harsh. I have tried to listen to your points. I can understand that you might feel like you have not been taken seriously and listened to. But the listening process must be a two way street, and I can assure you that I have tried sincerely to imagine the synod’s request for psychiatric treatment as loving and legitimate. I have considered that possibility, but I reject it for a number of reasons, some of which I have already explained. But it is also not consistent with the reasons given for Jonah’s resignation in the recent letter from the Holy Synod to the church. And I could list additional reasons as well, if I can find the time to invest in these efforts. In the meantime, can you also try to listen to the concerns of others?

            • M. Stankovich says


              My impression – however misguided you may determine – is that you enjoy a good argument and the topic and discussant are of no particular importance. Interestingly, I have noticed a significant diminishment of my “god-like” knowledge, but attributed it to the aging process. You now force me to revisit the possibility of obfuscation and untenable argument.

              I make no claim to be an “expert” regarding employee assistance or intervention theory, though I will claim some expertise by virtue of specific training and direct clinical experience. Relying solely upon your statement:

              it is a huge red flag to see someone with authority trying to compell someone under their authority to receive health care from a specific health care provider. If the services relate to mental health, this goes from red flag to alarm bell

              I was confident in stating that you are not familiar with the foundational dynamics of the theory. I certainly had no intention of offending you by my observation, but neither do I find it necessary to apologize.

              In that you arrive later to this garden party, I had thought by pointing out that my participation in this topic began in November, 2011, it might suggest that there is a history to this sordid “discussion” to be read at your leisure. Everyone’s “concerns,” including my own, have been played out and heard ad nauseum. What is fascinating, if not quite remarkable, Um, is that after two extended essays in my honor, you have yet to figure out that nobody cares what I think. And so it goes…

          • Jesse Cone says

            M. Stankovitch claims we have

            ignored the fact that he was again offered the option of remaining Metropolitan, but participating in a program as St. Luke’ss (sic) recommended

            Good point, let’s talk about it. It’s obvious to me that if he spent 6 months (!) in a treatment program at St. Luke’s for an unidentified “problem” he would (1) be declared unfit and retired and (2) would give those who want to explain away everything as “crazy +Jonah’s fault” the ammo they need. Those of us who share the opinion that +Jonah is fine, not the only problem, and further desire his spiritual leadership would all fail to see this as an option.

            Someone said a while ago that the best play the Synod has right now is to try to get the “crazy” label to stick. I think that’s probably what they’ll do, but it’s not their best option. Nothing will erase how they didn’t allay concerns last year by simply speaking up in support of +Jonah, the fact that a “unanimous” voice came out of a Lesser Synod meeting instead of a meeting of the entire Synod, the fact that they’re explanation of his resignation is factually inaccurate as well as obviously scapegoating, that scapegoating has continued as the bishops and CA talks to the clergy and laity.

            Insisting on going after +Jonah and this “treatment program” just confirms the suspicion that the “reasons” for the resignation were just “hook” they used to accomplish their anti-+Jonah campaign.

            The only way forward is for the Synod to own up to their mistakes and apologize. That wouldn’t restore trust, but it would be a start.

    • The account of Fr. John Jillions’s talk presented here seems to indicate that the request for Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation came from the three members of the Lesser Synod: +Tikhon, +Benjamin, and +Nikon. However, Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation letter addresses the full Synod and speaks about their “unanimous request.” Also, the letter from the Synod “explaining” their action is signed as “The Holy Synod,” not “The Lesser Synod.” So, did the request for resignation come from the three bishops of the Lesser Synod or from all members of the full Synod? I think that this is an important question as the answer may indicate whether all or only some of the the bishops participated in what looks like a conspiracy expressly prohibited by two of the Holy Canons. Does anyone have an answer? Any information that may clarify this issue?

      • Mitrich,

        Who cares at this point. The synod got their man. Now we lucky folk get to choose from who is left on the synod to be the next Metropolitan. They were all in on the removal of Jonah, they all have blood on their hands and now we are suppose to trust them to do the right thing. Really? Canons, really? These “leaders” have discredited themselves from any serious consideration and the rest of the Orthodox world knows it. The OCA is beyond a laughing stock, it is a mockery and the clergy and faithful of the OCA will bear the brunt of the synod’s actions.

        But according to Pope Nathaniel, our sorrow will turn into joy when one of them is elected Metropolitan. What a joke.

        • Nikos, I know it’s hard, but we have to care, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

        • Well, I do care. First, I still hope, perhaps unrealistically, for an eventual investigation and a canonical trial. Second, the answer will help me form an opinion of my current bishop and the Locum Tenens of the OCA who are not members of the Lesser Synod.

          • Mitrich,

            I know you care and I don’t mean to dampen your caring, but there will be no independent investigation or spiritual court. That will not happen unless it is a kangaroo court called by the OCA synod in a closed and predetermined effort to prove their case against Jonah. There is simply no way that this synod is going to open themselves up to scrutiny over this matter. The letter of +Nathaniel proves this. We are all simply expected to be quiet and “rejoice” when a new Metropolitan is selected; a Metropolitan who will be from the same field that took Jonah down. It is within that context that I said “who cares at this point.”

            This is the same group that protects Maymon and Archdeacon Gregory in Miami. +Nikon himself says to others that moving on the Gregory question is not up to him but the next bishop of the South, yet he gives a blessing for new missions to start in the South. So it is apparent that he picks and chooses who he will be involved in the life of the DOS. All of this goes to show that they are more interested in how they interact as a synod with little regard has to how that interaction has such detrimental effects on the lives of clergy and faithful.

            This is also why the credibility of the OCA has suffered greatly in the eyes of other Orthodox jurisdictions and Patriarchates. The OCA is a lamentable sideshow now and no amount of self-serving pronouncements from Syosset can change that course. One can only feel great sorry for the faithful clergy and laity in the OCA who must endure again another scandal of self-inflicted wounds. Lord, have mercy.

      • Mitrich, you bring up several essential points about the “unanimous request” that have been somewhat neglected in the discussion since the release of the Synod’s statement. I’m glad you did. I would like to know the answers to those same questions.

        I would also like to know what impression Met. Jonah received from Fr. Jillions about the Synod’s “unanimity,” and whether the impression he received was in any way different from what had actually been achieved by that point in time.

    • Anonymous says

      I have listened to an audio recording of this talk and will give you my initial impressions. First, it appears that Fr. Jillions is absolutely sincere and the Synod sincerely believes it has taken the right action. While I found much of what was said couched to put the Synod in the best light, I did not perceive any prevarication in the talk. From the talk itself I learned a) that the bishops had issues with +HB Jonah practically from the start of his tenure; b) that even before officially accepting the job as Chancellor, Fr. Jillions talked with all the bishops about their “difficulties” with +HB prior to any talk he had with +HB himself, he shared this with +HB and once he officially accepted the job, he received +HB’s blessing to have “official” conversations with each bishop over their issues working with +HB (which strikes me as predispositioning him against +HB, having gone into jobs doing something similar); c) Fr. Jillions shared no real information on what the issues the bishops had/have with +HB other than to state they are “pastoral issues” and, from the context of their request he be evaluated at St. Luke’s (?), they required “therapy”; d) +HB’s “refusal” to “understand” (both words Fr. Jillions used) his problems were the bishops #1 issue with +HB and was perceived to be additional evidence of those “problems” – the facts that he did not want to go for evaluation, did not want six months of “in house” therapy, and did not consistently follow the weekly therapy were all evidence of his “problems”; e) by inference of all that was said, the Synods’ letter was produced by the MC’s Crisis Management Team over many hours of back and forth emails (the team apparently includes lawyers, psychiatrists, law enforcement officers, clergy and laymen – and Fr. Jillions confuses working with individual laypeople as working with “the laity”) and then submitted to the Synod for approval; the “complicated” issue with sexual abuse involving a Priest was listed as the second problem; f) the Lesser Synod offered +HB a choice – either agree to six months of in house therapy OR he must immediately resign – no “or else” was stipulated, but it seems strange to me since both choices required actions by +HB; what if he refused to do either? g) the Crisis Management Team was concerned over the rumours flying around the internet that the ROC was negotiating with +HB and Fr. Jillions went back to +HB to ask for another letter supporting the Synod; that letter presented the issues as a conflict of vision, which upset (my word, but I think appropriate) Fr. Jillions and the Synod since to them it represented +HB “not taking responsibility” for his “problems”; h) after that, the Synod issued it’s letter (that was “absolutely correct” though facts presented here contradict some of the facts in the letter and it certainly wasn’t crafted along an accurate timeline).

      My reaction to all this? While I cannot know what the “issues” really are that the bishops found to be troubling in dealing with +HB, has there EVER been an individual evaluated for therapy who the evaluators concluded did not NEED therapy? And is there any question that the more one’s views and perceptions are cross cultural, the more therapists find that as evidence of the need for therapy? While I am pretty much convinced that +HB was NOT suited to be Metropolitan of the OCA, I come away from listening to that talk deeply troubled for the future of the OCA as a truly Orthodox institution. We are obviously being run by “professional clergy”, “pastors” if you wish, but “professionals” none the less who are deeply entrenched in all the biases that brings to the table. My impression is that the OCA is dominated at that level by “Northeastern establishment” types, by education, training and inclination. While Fr. Jillions spoke a great deal about +HB’s “self justification”, I wondered if he recognized the irony as he justified both himself and the Synod? Oh, and he does seem somewhat fixated on the “littleness” of the OCA, which he must have mentioned more than a dozen times.

      • Anonymous, thank you for this report. Three questions: 1. Is this recording accessible online? 2. Was it only the Lesser Synod or the whole Synod that presented Metropolitan Jonah with an ultimatum? 3. Did Fr. John explain how (and whether) the Synod letter was approved by all the bishops of the full Synod?

        • Anonymous says


          No, the recording is not accessible online. It was Fr. Jillions that presented the utlimatum to +HB upon the Lesser Synod’s recommendation to the entire Synod. Fr. Jillions stated that once the letter was drafted, it was sent to the entire Synod for their approval.

      • Anonymous listener-of-recorded-talk, thank you for sharing your insights. I feel both anxious to listen to it myself, and deeply afraid to.

        With regard to “f”, it seems the “or else” they gave to him, if he refused to do either, was to stop paying him his salary. As Met. Jonah has dependent family members, he simply could not afford to hold out.

        There is also no word on what would have happened to his family while he was in the mental hospital and unable to care for them. Would they have continued paying his salary so his family could manage? Would they have found someone to hire in order to replace Met. Jonah’s caregiving in the home? I’m going to guess the answer to both questions would have been no.

        It’s interesting that the Synod’s complaint about the therapy was not that Met. Jonah didn’t go, but that he didn’t “follow” it “consistently”. What does that mean? If Archbishop Benjamin skips an AA meeting, does that mean we can get rid of him, too? Does it mean maybe the “therapy” didn’t have the effect they wanted it to have, so they accuse him of not following it?

        “g” and “h” confirm my suspicion that the control of information was part of a carrot-and-stick routine with Met. Jonah. Write the letter we want you to write, you get a carrot. Do otherwise, you get the stick. In either case, Met. Jonah is not allowed to speak freely for himself about anything, not even to defend himself against the charges against him.

        Anonymous, I also think you are right about the “professional clergy” takeover. I have noticed that for all the talk about Met. Jonah’s alleged problems, the Synod and the administration don’t treat him anything like a sick person who they care about, they consistently treat him as someone they don’t like and want to force under their control.

        I really hope Moscow is starting to see how shallow and ridiculous this is.

        • Anonymous says


          If your assertion regarding f) is correct, then it was implicit and not explicit if Fr. Jillions’ account is comprehensive and accurate. Regarding his therapy, inferring from what Fr. Jillions said, the Synod was not happy that +HB did not acquiesce to the first recommendation of six weeks in house therapy and that weekly therapy was a “compromise”. The “inconsistency”, as I understand it, was both in +HB’s attendance at weekly sessions and in keeping the Synod updated with his “progress”. I agree with you regarding g) and h). Fr. Jillions mentioned that +HB was quite suprised that the Synod were displeased with his second letter (additional evidence, of course, that he is somehow “delusional” or in “denial” about his “problems”).

          Honestly, I wish there were something that Moscow could do, but how can a Tomos of Autocephally be rescinded? It would be like trying to rescind the emanscipation of a slave or taking back an automobile once ownership has been legally transferred. I think the OCA will (and is) dying a slow death, except for some pockets that will eventually find their ways into other Orthodox Churches. Perhaps this will be used by God to bring about a true American Church? Who knows. I am happy with my parish and priest, but am waiting with bated breath on who will be elected Bishop of the DOS.

          • Honestly, I wish there were something that Moscow could do, but how can a Tomos of Autocephally be rescinded?

            Perhaps, this can be achieved by making them taste their own medicine. ROC can present them with a choice: submit voluntarily or face being put on trial and declared deposed for blatant violation of the canons.

            • so disgusted says

              Is it possible for the laity to call for a canonical trial? Perhaps petition Moscow or the EP to bring outside bishops and look into what has occurred here?

              It seems that the only kind of court that the OCA knows how to run is the kangaroo kind, so outside help would certainly be in order.

              • So Disgusted, I’d like to know that answer myself. I agree that outside help will be essential for any real solution to this.

          • It’s not so much rescinding the tomos (not really doable), but rather something along the lines of refusing to recognize the leadership or some such thing. It’s not likely that this would happen, because +Jonah resigned, which is also canonical, so there really isn’t anything canonical to object to. If the Synod had deposed him against his will without canonical grounds, that would have been a very different situation, but a resignation makes it easier. Therefore it’s very unlikely Moscow is very interested in what is happening as long as a new Metropolitan is selected in due course.

            OCA has been shrinking for years, of course, and this is likely to continue the trend of a slow shrinkage, but otherwise I wouldn’t expect anything dramatic in the short term.

            • KB, whether Moscow is currently interested or not, I think we’ve witnessed what’s basically a deposition without canonical process.

              – The underlying case against Met. Jonah is full of holes you could drive a truck through.

              – “Consensus” was reached among the Lesser Synod on those false pretenses.

              – The Lesser Synod reached that “consensus” in a meeting that in and of itself was a canonical violation worthy of deposition from office for all clergy involved.

              – Met. Jonah may have been falsely led to believe the whole Synod was against him rather than just the Lesser Synod at that point. The letter is addressed to the whole Synod, referring to their “unanimous” decision, yet only the Lesser Synod had actually made that agreement. Perhaps Met. Jonah suspected he was being deceived and placed that “As per” statement in as a trip wire for the Lesser Synod and Fr. Jillions, making his resignation contingent on their being truthful towards him.

              – Other factors, such as the way Fr. Jillions was able to force an immediate decision, which allegedly included cutting off Met. Jonah’s salary, an immediate threat to the well-being of his innocent family.

              – Did I mention the underlying case is completely bogus?

              The only saving grace here is that Met. Jonah has not been removed from holy orders. No, they just expect him to float around like a lowly priest and stay quiet until he dies.

      • I missed Anonymous’s message.
        Now, I’ve just read this about the composition of that STINKBOMB of a Statement by the Holy Synod:
        “…the Synods’ letter was produced by the MC’s Crisis Management Team over many hours of back and forth emails (the team apparently includes lawyers, psychiatrists, law enforcement officers, clergy and laymen – and Fr. Jillions confuses working with individual laypeople as working with “the laity”) and then submitted to the Synod for approval.”
        This explains some things. “lawyers, psychatrists, law enforcement officers clergy…” I always keep in mind that in each and every profession there are really only remarkably few that are minimally competent, while there are even fewer whose capabilities and performance could be called excellent. Just think of your school years. How many of your grade and high school teachers were really good, really competent, and how many were time-servers? It’s the same with M.D.s, lawyers, cops and clergy etc., etc. I suppose there’s a good chance that in the above report “lawyers” were, say G. Nescott and F. Skordinski or their ilk, that “law enforcement officers (plural?!?) are Bernie Wilson of the SIC committee,and “clergy” were “the usual suspects,” possibly including the Dalai Lama of…
        How is it though, that with a supposedly competent Chancellor, and a supposedly competent Secretary, a letter so poorly representative of a document coming from Christian believers, let alone a Holy Synod, could be produced, even if it IS the actual work-product of the Metropolitan Council miscellany?

        • Roboacolyte says

          I agree .

        • Sub-Deacon David says

          I think your observations are fairly accurate your Grace. I also think writing a document by committee is destined to produced a failed document. I was reminded of this by a recent Dilbert comic that makes this very point. I thought it was very apropos.

        • MORE questions. According to that recording the Metropolitan Council’s “Crisis Management Committee was tasked to write the Holy Synod’s Statement. Did the Metropolitan Council meet and did it entertain a motion to have their Crisis Management Team compose a letter FOR THE HOLY SYNOD? Where is such allowed according to the Canons or the Statute of the OCA? What Bishop or what Priest or just WHO can activate the MC’s Crisis Management Committee? Is the Metropolitan Council’s Crisis Management Committee under the supervision of the Holy Synod or any of its members?
          I ask not “Who’s on first?” but ‘Who is in charge?” Why are the names of the Crisis Management Committee, the one that crafted that letter not revealed? Who has the authority to keep secret the names of members of a Metropolitan Council Committee? Who? Somebody, tell us who these nameless, faceless, anonymous instances ARE! Is this Nazi Germany or Fascist Romania or Tojo’s Imperial Japan with its “thought control?”
          They crafted a letter to control not just the speech of Church members, but to try and control our thoughts. They are molding our opinions and not for the Gospel’s sake and not in order to fulfill the Great Commission, but to cover their behinds in advance.
          Some Commission,right? It should be calling the “Shoot Yourself in the Foot Commission.” By the way are they still scurrying around in Syosset “checking on’ whether or not the despicable Priest was ever in the OCA?

        • so disgusted says

          Crisis Management committee:

          Dr Dmitri Solodow (chair)
          Archbishop Benjamin
          Fr Eric Tosi
          Sam D’Fantis
          Fr Alexander Kuchta
          Bernie Wilson (consultant)

          • I suggest they re-name that committee. It should be called, The Crisis-Manufacturing Committee!” All in favor….?

            • Aye!

              In fact, Your Grace, I would like to respectfully suggest that you make that a formal request in writing.

              The OCA’s “Crisis Management” team is like a brigade of firemen whose hoses spray gasoline instead of water.

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            where did this information come from? And do we know what are the professions of the non-clergy individuals on the list?

        • Your Grace, Dmitri Solodow is on that list, too. Before the last AAC/DOW assembly, he came out with a “delegate’s guide” that was basically a hit piece against Met. Jonah. As I recall, it was very simple to debunk, but of course that information, unlike Solodow’s hit piece, was not sent around to the delegates.

          Archbishop Benjamin oversees the Crisis Management team, by the way.

          • So-o-o-o, Archbishop Benjamin reports THROUGH Chairman Solodow to the Metropolitan Council as a member of the MC’ s subordinate “Crisis Management Committee?” Thanks for the whole list, “so disgusted,” it really explains that STINKBOMB of a Statement! Mr. Bernie Wilson is a good Christian soul, and a kind one. I can’t imagine that he had anything to offer relative to his long experience as head of the LAX airport police force, and he’s probably relieved, therefor. Not much white-collar crime at LAX, but if airport crime comes up….in a crisis…look out! (And I’m surprised that he took part in this because I thought he was in the hospital at the time!
            I’ve never heard of Mr. O’Fantis. I don’t understand how Subdeacon Dmitri Solodow can be chairman over Archbishop Benjamin—poor Dmitri must have been even more nervous and distracted than usual. I’ve never told him, but I always had a warm spot in my heart for him, because when he serves it always reminds me of one of my all-time favorite Broadway and TV stars, Marion Lorne, who used to be on the Garry Moore show and was unforgettable on Broadway in “Harvey!” Does Father Alexander Kuchta have some special experience with crises, perhaps in the Archbishop Job Era in the Midwest? So, who was the fact-checker in that Committee that fell down on his job? The one that didn’t know that the rape-perp was never in the OCA?

          • Solodow was the hit man for the SIC, he was the hit man with Benjamin for the DOW attack on Jonah and now he is doing it again. The man has no scruples in his campaign to elect Benjamin the next Metropolitan. And do notice who quiet Benjamin is these days trying to keep his head down so that he can work his way to the white hat.

            Note to +Benjamin, your DUI and resisting arrest and your underhanded actions to take out Met. Herman are not forgotten and the the OCA will be reminded of your antics. Best for you to drop out now, publicly so that your constant distraction can be eliminated.

          • OCA just posted this on FACEBOOK and they’ve done it again!!! Note in particular “As best as can be ascertained”(!!!!), and then, the quotation marks around the word “explanation.”!!!! I thought Mr. Nescott had something to do with it rather than the good Bernie Wilson!

            “As best as can be ascertained, the following are members of the Metropolitan Council’s Crisis Management team and who, according to Fr. John Jillions’ address to the DOS Assembly, drafted the letter of “explanation” for the Holy Synods’ actions against +HB Jonah:

            • Representative of the Lesser Synod – Bishop Benjamin
            • The Chancellor of the OCA – Fr. John Jillions
            • The Secretary of the OCA – Archpriest Eric G. Tosi
            • The Chair of the Metropolitan Council Legal Committee – Gregg Nescott
            • The Chair of the Metropolitan Council Crisis Management Committee – Dr. Dimitri Solodow”

            • Anonymous says

              Please note this was not posted on the official OCA FB page, but to “Orthodox Church in America – We demand accountability” and is based on Fr. Jillions’ description of the composition of the letter and the OCA’s own documents regarding the makeup of the Crisis Management Team. It may not be entirely accurate regarding the composition of the letter, but is a list of who the CMT is supposed to be.

      • lexcaritas says

        Anonhymous, Thank you for your very fair and accurate summary of the Chancellor’s keynot address to the DOC Assembly. I share your amazement at the fact that <> he did not seem to notice <> Like you, I was also struck by his fixation <> Perhpas, he realized that +JONAH’s evangelistic approach was destined to lead to growth; the Synod’s to maintenance and, likely, shrinkage.

        While the address was effective in calming dissent; it was propganda and spin. It may not have contained any explicit prevarication, but it is disingenuous to suggest that +JONAH was wrong to suggest, in his second letter, that there has been a conflict of vision between him and those on the Synod that have sought his removal. The only reason that “adminiistrative” failures would provoke the intense response with which they were met is that +JONAH represented a movement that was disapproved in some quarrters.

        May they be caught in the net which they have privily laid and may Christ be glorified and His Church edified and grow.


  44. LordSave says

    Matushka is relating what Archbishop Nikon told the Diocesan Assembly, which in many ways was very warm and sincere. However, on the very first day, beginning in the session with the clergy, and throughout, the clergy we told that those who take issue in what has happened in the OCA are putting their faith in a personality rather than the church. Also, that those who dialogue on blogs, like this one, are speculating and causing division in the Church and are distracting us from our mission to spread the Good News. He also said that contrary to what the blogs say, everything is okay, everything is Godly and in good order in Syosset. Who wants to contradict? Who wants to be thought of as caught up in a personality cult? Who wants to distract from the mission of the Church? Thus, I like to think that the lack of dialogue was not necessarily because the clergy in the South think everything is okay. On the other hand, silence is sometimes taken as implicit agreement. Most of the comments were about moving forward, but nothing questioning the recent decisions.

    The silence was hopefully, either because they felt cowed, unable to make any effect by speaking, or because they were apathetic, I hope the former. Of course, it is possible that many so want their Orthodox Church to be the ideal healthy organism, that we are willing to move ahead as though that was indeed the case. Some of us are willing to trust when trust has been thrashed. Those of us who are not so giving of our trust are being told we are as bad as the Metropolitan – kooks, conspiracy theorists, and unbalanced, when we are just simply asking the hard questions. This questioning is being disregarded, discounted, and at times, disdained. In certain 12-step groups, a sure sign of severe family dysfunction is contained in a saying: don’t talk, don’t think, don’t feel. That pretty much sums up many reactions what might be a great travesty. Things to all add up. Again, how do you put your trust in something that has repeatedly destroyed trust?

    On might say that the OCA has, since the beginning, been trying to be a uniquely American Orthodox Church. Well, American’s are more and more calling for transparency. It is the way of America. There has to be some accommodation to this tendency (whether good or bad) for there to be true growth and progress. As yet, the Synod and Syosset have pretty much kept things to themselves. “This is an issue for the bishops alone; its none of the laity’s business.” While this may be true, and while this may be a valid sentiment, this surely occurs naturally in a situation where there is trust between the Hierarchy and the people, where there is love unquestionable, within a somewhat functional Church. Perhaps its not so easy in a Church where there have been years of animosity among the hierarchs themselves, and byzantine intrigue and immorality at the level of “national church.”

    There must be animosity toward Met. Jonah. While Met. Jonah hasn’t offered one comment in His defense. When Archbishop Nikon was asked about the pain of the people, he retorted with, “it is the Synod’s pain.” What the? When the people talk about being hurt, the bishops say in effect, “no, it is our hurt.” The Metropolitan hurt them? Perhaps. To be sure, both sides are hurting. I don’t believe it is reading into something by observing that the Synod has demoted the Metropolitan to “His Eminence,” while the former Metropolitans, who we know had much worse moral issues, remain their “Beatitude?” This is unbelievable. It might come across as “sticking it to him.” That would certainly be dysfunctional.

    The sad thing, is that the voices and thoughts here shared are surely being discounted as fast as they are shared.

    • I thought it was “Don’t talk,Don’t ask questions, Don’t feel” which is certainly how the Syosset crowd want people in the OCA to be. This,however, cuts through all jurisdictions and is at 79th Street and in Englewood ,NJ. Just try asking the wrong question at an Antiochian Convention. Remember what happened to Sara Hodges in the Desert?
      It also seems to be something the Episcopal Assembley wants to engender in the future.

    • “LordSave: says: “When Archbishop Nikon was asked about the pain of the people, he retorted with, “it is the Synod’s pain.” What the?”

      Rather, just to set the record straight, AB Nikon said that “it is the Synod’s pain AS WELL.” He was not discounting the pain of others. He was saying that the Holy Synod was hurting as well. That they genuinely care about HB Jonah.

      • Matushka,

        Ab. Nikon saying “he feels our pain” is rather cheap grace. It is easy to say but the actions of the synod tell another story. If you believe that the synod “genuinely care(d) about HB Jonah” then I can conclude that nothing the OCA will do in the future will ever disturb you and that is exactly what Ab Nikon wanted to project to the good people of the South in Miami. He succeded, at least with you. Lord, have mercy.

        • Sub-Deacon David says

          It is a bit much when one of the people who inflicts your pain says he empathizes with you. It is somewhat reminiscent of the rich young heirs a number of years back who shotgunned their parents and then in court asked for sympathy because they were orphans. It is hard to take seriously.

      • “Son, this hurts me more than it hurts you.”

        It was patronizing BS when Dad said it, and it’s patronizing BS when Archbishop Nikon says it.

        I do not believe anybody’s faith in Orthodox Christianity demands that we pretend that the OCA bishops mean well and are trustworthy.

    • What I hear you saying is that the bishops want the $$$$ of the laity, but nothing else. Just keep your mouth shut. Great situation.

  45. Diogenes says

    Here, I will give you a clue. + Jonah never liked to stay in the same place very long. He’d go here, then there, then over there, etc. Why? Think about it!

    • Imagine that, Diogenes. A bishop, who was for a period of six months either the diocesan bishop or the locum tenens over 28 states, had to travel a lot.

      • Why, Diogenes! Would a missionary, then, make you go ALL to pieces? But don’t answer, please, just to back to thinking: “he’d go here, then there, then over there,” and “why?” Keep thinking, thinking: he’d go here, then there, then over there.. You’re feeling sleepy…Now you feel like sending a donation to Metropolitan Jonah, don’t stop: he’d go here, then there, then over there…..

        • Your Grace, I think I’ve figured out the problem Diogenes was hinting at, and I have to admit that it’s pretty serious.

          Apparently, Metropolitan Jonah had the delusion that he was somehow the “primate” of an “autocephalous Orthodox Church”. He also apparently thought he was the “locum tenens” of several dioceses at the same time, and his frequent travel was because he was trying to provide archpastoral care and oversight to all of these churches he thought he was in charge of.

          What a wackjob, right?

    • Are you saying the suggested 6-month period of treatment was for ADHD?

  46. Michael Bauman says

    SteveL, or they could be the arrogant jerks they appear to be who are acting out of fear that they’ll loose their power. The are either that or impotent cowards. Frankly I wouldn’t want either for the Synod

    It is slanderous speculation to call Met. Jonah an alcoholic without clear, unequivacable knowledge.

    Seems the ol’ liar is doin’ his work. Nice job Synod.

    • Michael,

      I hope I’m wrong. I didn’t call him an alcoholic. I suggested that it might be a possibility. I’m just as troubled as you about this whole thing and I’m trying to make sense of it.

      • Reader John says

        Possibilities are where gossip begins. Gossip is the beginning of slander and slander bears the fruit of division.

  47. The private lives of public officials are subject to greater scrutiny than everyone else, even humble priests – just ask their wives or children – and certainly bishops and primates. It may not seem entirely fair, but it’s the reality. I’m not suggesting it should be open slather, but there is greater scrutiny for good reason: we expect high standards of those who have high responsibility. Every public official should consider that reality and whether he is prepared to live with it before he or she enters office.
    The reverse is also true – it is not good form for church officials to publicly hint at problems in Met Jonah’s private life, problems which are deemed serious enough to make him unfit for his office, and yet refuse to clearly state what those problems are publicly, especially to those who have a valid and great interest in the matter: the faithful. The Metropoltan’s problems qua Metropolitan require public investigation, for they have evidently washed over his private life into his public life. That is what spiritual courts are for. Not that every detail needs going into publicly, but the basic nature of the problem does need to be investigated and declared. The faithful need to know why HB was treated the way he was and that he was dealt with justly. To perpetuate secrecy or to reveal the truth “veil after veil” under pressure only brings suspicion on the Synod of Bishops and the church administration.

  48. Veronica says

    Hmm…alcoholic, crazy, rapist, any other ideas???

    Holy Synod presents different allegations for different groups of people, and always without proof. If DOS doesn’t like the Symeon’s story, it’s OK, HB will be presented as “crazy”. If crazy doesn’t work, he will be something else. Go ahead, you pirates! You took a holy ship of the OCA and threw it’s captain overboard.

    Where are we going now?

  49. Matt Gates says

    Whenever “therapy” or “evaluation” are involved, there are almost certainly issues of medical privacy that, ethically and legally, can’t be discussed or revealed. Unless HB publishes a tell-all memoir, we’re never going to get the full story, nor should we. As can sit around, pick apart apparent chronological discrepancies, construct conspiracy theories, and tear apart the Church, or we can take the leap of faith to trust our bishops and move foreword. I think +Jonah need our prayers much more that he needs us to make a martyr of him.

  50. MartyOlson says

    I would be most cautious about speculating concerning Abp Jonah’s physical or mental health. Spreading rumors as to his having substance abuse problems is at best improper, the worst possibly slanderous. The six month treatment program is a long one for a substance abuse plan, but not unheard of. Yet, I would think generally that people would want to not engage in such speculation.In the end, there is something wrong. Not to be judgmental, as all who have passed through middle age have found the weight gain occurring, but his weight would give a solid enough reason that he needs to be dealing with his physical health.

    The unfortunate reality in our litigious society, the alleged inability of Jonah to follow the policies of the Church would still have been a problem. All the “administrative” personnel of the Church have to follow the personnel policies, incl. esp. child protection/molestation. Inadvertently, a Metropolitan, or other administrative person can end up costing the church aplenty and even get themselves name personally in litigation, civil or criminal. The supporters of Abp Jonah may not feel these are significant reasons to end his time as Metropolitan, but this alone is of major consequence to the church financially in particular.

    • lexcaritas says

      These are good points, Marty. But if so, why didn’t the Synod’s letter of 7-16-12 stick to this point and develop it in general terms w/o going into the specific slacious but unproven allegations about Fr. x with apparent errors in timing that have cast the whole thing in an unfavorable light?


    • Michael Bauman says

      MartyO, then it needs to be dealt with there was no reason it could not have been dealth with in better order and more privately with a well thought out communication to the rest of the Church. I don’t think there would have been much of a peep had that been done.

  51. Antonio Arganda says

    Abba Anthony said: The time is coming when people will be insane, and when they see someone who is not insane, they will attack that person saying: You are insane because you are not like us.

    • M.Vasiliou says

      Abba Anthony said: The time is coming when people will be insane, and when they see someone who is not insane, they will attack that person saying: You are insane because you are not like us.

      Exactly, the MMPI has purposeful design flaws so that those who believe in God will not fall within the norms unless they answer certain questions very carefully. Recent APA diagnostic codes are worded to label as mentally unfit those who believe that homosexuality activity is sinful. Those who live the monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience (particularly chastity) will be considered inhibited and rigid. Certainly today, any devout monk who walks into a mental facility is going to evaluated as mentally unfit. Look at the roots of psychiatry and psychology. Hasn’t Jesus Christ, our great physician, been replaced by humanists?

      Metropolitan Jonah is probably breathing a sigh of relief now that he is no longer required to attend meetings of the “Humanistic” Synod of the OCA.

  52. A. Binkin says

    I have a thought after reading that Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) has cancelled his planned liturgy at OCA Cathedral in San Francisco and will serve at the MP church. It is clear that Moscow is very unhappy with OCA. If MP and ROCOR play their cards correct, many parishes of the Diocese of the South will defect to ROCOR, and the most vital part of the OCA will be rescued from that sinking ship.

  53. recently received a copy of the November 16, 2010, report of the
    Special Investigation Committee into allegations of misconduct by Hieromonk
    Symeon Kharon. This report was presented to the synod of bishops of the Orthodox
    Church in America. A copy of the report is linked on

  54. Martin Paluch says

    Have you forgotten the 9th Commandment?

    LordSave says:
    “while the former Metropolitans, who we know had much worse moral issues, remain their “Beatitude?” This is unbelievable. It might come across as “sticking it to him.”

    What a marvel, I have worked side by side with one of the Metropolitans for over 40 years and I have not met a man of greater moral and spiritual integrity in all of my life.

    Would you please provide us with some facts and specifics of the moral issues that you are accusing the past Metropolitans of committing? You are claiming that you know of much worse moral issues committed by these spiritual men, yet refuse to use your name placing instead the holy words spoken by St. Peter as he cried out to our Lord.

    Please read the disclaimer written on the first page of both the SIC and STIC reports and this after over 4 years of investigation. Many of the great saints suffered banishment and later were glorified as loving servants of God.

    For the sake of the salvation of your soul repent and never forget that whatever you say and do is written in your “book of life” which our Lord will merely open and pass righteous judgment on.

    We read over and over in the “Book of Psalms” that God does not need us to build his “Holy Church” but to make a change, repent, obey and fill his “Holy Church”.

    Yours in Christ,

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